Where Ages Meet: Ch. 5: Promises & Hopes

  • Word count: 750 (1 to 6 minutes) | Rating: T
  • Available on Kofi and Simily
  • Note: Magic, historic elements
  • ©2022 Quillful

“No, no, no need,” he swept the idea away, every ounce as frantic as he thought he would be at the suggestion. He’d be in quite a spot of trouble if his aide quit. Rick peered at him from underneath his arm, and Oliver waited with hands out and palms up. “Sit up, if you would. Set your hands like this.”

“Oliver,” Rick bemoaned the request, but his self-doubt was a wicked creature best vanquished as a team. Although Oliver was guessing blindly on that point. Not the first time he’d done something like that, and he was right often enough to keep doing it.

“Please, you’ll see.” Pushing his hands out toward Rick for emphasis, he insisted. “I was going to do this in the morning, but it won’t take long.”

“Ugh,” Rick exhaled, lifting his torso to sit up again like the force of the planet itself worked against him. But he dutifully put his hands out to mirror Oliver anyway. He wouldn’t waste that rare charity!

The beacon spell welled up in his hands, glowing and rippling into place like a bubble shielding a little grey star.

“This here’s a beacon. All mages can manage magic like this, no matter their specialty. Once they’re taught.”

Basic as it always was, something about a beacon was also so vast. All that potential, right in his hand. A new mage didn’t even know where to start until they got their beacon. Life didn’t have a ton of moments that were that ripe for choices and futures, and when you could hold one? Well. Oliver had to appreciate that.

He scooted closer on the bed, wiggling in place to settle in right in front of Rick. Knee to knee, exactly like the best of friends, or what Oliver knew about them. Hm.

“Specialties? Like the bag thing you do?”

“Yes! Though you don’t have to trouble yourself with that just yet.” Oliver held out the beacon to Rick, hovering over his cupped hands. “Here, hold it.”

Looking at Rick’s wide, earthy eyes and tense shoulders, Oliver pulled it back with a giggle. Maybe it’d break the tension?

“You’ll scare it like that, Rick. Think of calm afternoons, sun streaming through windows, the breeze sweeping through the workhouse.” Oops. Perhaps too much sharing on Oliver’s part. Nothing he couldn’t shrug off with a literal shrug. “Memories you are at peace in, that manner of thing.”

“Um. Okay.”

Rick took another attentive breath, and his shoulders relaxed. He only glanced at Oliver for a second or two instead of staring him down like he was going to pass him a rabid bear. If Oliver could hold a bear.

“There you are.” Lowering the ball in his hands, Oliver rocked back to watch the actual magic happen. The rippling of the beacon slowed to a stop, courtesy of being passed to Rick. It went fuzzier at the edges first, then crisp with a mellower light than before. “Look at that! Clear, steady, and precise. I should’ve expected as much.”

Gently, Oliver applauded his assistant’s discovery. He lamented that it was too late for proper clapping.

“What?” Rick scrunched up his face, stopping only to blow some hair out of his face. He really had to see someone good with scissors about that… Oliver figured that was particularly rude to say right then. “You got all that from a speck?”

“You’ll hurt its feelings with talk like that!” He covered the ball with his hands, like that would change it. The beacon sensed magical energy and for the especially attuned, their mood or thoughts. Likewise, the thought counted for the beacon. Oliver was smoothing things out between them for all their sakes. “You saw the energy it had when I held it, didn’t you? When my mother first passed this little fellow to me, it fizzed right out. I was inconsolable. Cried for days.”

“I bet,” Rick drawled, smirking.

“Yet here you are,” Oliver pushed on, refusing to linger on the playful jab that characterized their deep, immediate friendship. He opened his hands again to reveal the grand prize of Rick’s synced beacon. “Calm and reliable. Highly promising in an aide, if I do say so!”

Barely sighing a laugh, Rick examined the orb in his rough hands. It slowly spun inside its bubble at a barely perceptible speed, grey swirls drifting inside its darker core.

“You better hope so. If you still want that worldwide renown, you’re gonna need promising.”

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