The Mirarion was a fiction piece I started last year and has stalled due to my health issues. I do hope to get back to it eventually. This was my first shot at a beginning. I think it’s too slow, so you’ll see the proper beginning next week.
He asked me what I remembered and I said “Nothing.”
He was a man in middle age, seated opposite me on a chair made of intricately carved wood. I stared at him, trying to understand where I was, and why. His eyes were brown. His skin was dark. He wore gloves. I could not connect these disparate parts of him together into a deeper meaning that related to myself.
“Absolutely nothing? Do you know my name?” he asked. His teeth were perfectly white, and even, and this struck me as disturbingly unnatural in a man his age.
“You are Toxophilus Viridis of House Mycetias.” He straightened in his chair and looked pleased. He seemed very tall.
“And do you know where you are?” His hands moved slowly and placatingly as we talked.
“I am in your laboratory.”
He smiled, “Which is where?” He leaned forward. I know now he was examining my eye movements.
“In Hungary, in Lycaneon.”
“Excellent.” His hands came together in an accidental clap. He looked down at them for a moment and asked “Can you move normally?”
“Have I been ill?” I asked.
“No, no.” he answered, smiling encouragingly, with his unnecessarily excellent teeth. He threw a small leather ball toward me, and I caught it automatically. I realised I am left handed. My hand was so small that it could barely cradle the ball. My fingers were callused, and stained with dark ink. I inferred that I was a child, and able to write. He was not as tall as I had imagined. I was far shorter than he was.
“Why aren’t I worried?” I asked.
“About your memory loss?”
“Yes. I think I should be terrified, but I’m not.”
“Ah, yes. That’s magic, you see. I’m controlling your emotions.”
“Why?” I noted my continued absence of fear. I was unsure precisely why my eyes were serruptitiously roaming his possessions until they light on a pen knife. Something inside of me, noting that I should be feeling fear, had sought a weapon. I concluded that I was the sort of person who feels more comfortable when armed.
He noticed. “Well, for the reason you just mentioned. I’d prefer you weren’t terrified or enraged.” he replied. He lifted the pen knife from the writing desk, and handed it to me, handle first.
“Enraged at you?” I asked, accepting it, without thought, into my left hand. I didn’t feel any particular desire to keep hold of it, so I set it down on the arm of my chair.
“So you did this to me?” I still didn’t feel anything in patricular, beyond a sort of gentle lassitude.
“Yes.” he answered. “To protect you.” forestalling my obvious question, but leaving me with more.
“From what? How can you protect me by hiding my memory?”
“Erasing, actually. It’ll never come back. It’s a present for you. One you even asked for, although that may suprise you.”
“I don’t understand. I feel like I should be afraid. I feel like I should want to run away.”
“That’s understandable, but unneccessary. You are safe here. Let me ask you a question: when you think of Lycaneon, do you think the people here are safe, or unsafe?”
“Safe, but I don’t know why I think that.”
“If the spell has worked properly, only your biographical memories have been destroyed. You will still recall places, facts, and the ways of doing things, just nothing about yourself.”
“I asked you to do this?”
“Yes, you even wrote a note to yourself to that effect, but since you cannot recognise your own handwriting at the moment, perhaps that should wait for later.”
“Who are you to me?”
“I am your teacher.”
“So, I am an apprentice?”
“How long have I been your apprentice?”
“About ten minutes.”
“What is my name?”
“Was that always my name, or is that an apprentice name?”
“What made you ask?” he tilted his head to the side, examining me.
“It’s Latin. So either I was raised in a covenant or it’s a name chosen by a companion.”
“Ah, good. Yes, it’s a replacement for the name taken from you by my spell.” He relaxed back into his chair.
“I’m newly your apprentice?”
“So I’m seven?”
“How did you know you were seven?”
“Apprentices at Lycaneon are trained in grammar until they are seven, then taken as apprentices.”
“Oh. That’s rather more than I expected you to remember. It comes close to being biographical.”
“What does taking my memory protect me from?”
“Yourself. In the next few years the powers of the elements, and of the living and the dead, will be opened to you. It will be tempting to use your powers to make yourself feel better, to enjoy yourself. Many of our kind find it difficult, at this time, not to seek out their parents, and enact revenge.”
“Because mortals hate us?”
“Mortals don’t hate us. There is something in us which gives us the magic, but which scares dogs and curdles milk. Mortals can sense it. They know how dangerous we are, and it makes them distrust us.”
“And so my parents distrusted me?”
“From the day of your birth onward, and their distrust took distressing forms, which are better forgotten. Our cousins, the Tytalus, never forget, and their adolescent magi make sport at the expense of their mortal bloodkin. Such things attract faeries and demons and the attention of the Judges. It is better to forget. It is better to start again.”
He gestured and the lassitude fell away from me. I could feel an ache in the tops of my legs from sitting, for how long I did not know, on the edge of the hard chair. I could feel trepidation, but under that, a sense that something new and interesting was close at hand. He examined my face carefully, although for all I knew he could read my thoughts.
“I am Celeres, an apprentice of the House of Mycetias.”
“You are.” He nodded.
“I see. I am not certain what to do next.”
“You seem to be taking this far better than I expected.” he comments, again trying to reach into my mind through eyes.
“What were you expecting?”
“Well, sulleness, now that the spell controlling your emotions has been lifted.”
“Your other apprentices were sullen?”
“You remember my other apprentices?”
“Yes. You’ve had two.”
“Do you know what they look like?”
“Yes, the older is a man, and the younger is a woman.”
“Do you know what you look like?”
“Interesting. I have a mirror if you wish to look.”
“I am at a loss to know what I want.”
“Then let us begin at the beginning. Are you hungry or thirsty?”
“No, but my legs ache.”
“Then you should rise. Walk with me.”
“Where are we going?”
“Immediately? To the courtyard. Eventually to the Tribunal. We must tell the other magi you are my apprentice.”
I rose. I saw my feet were in shoes. They were small. I followed him to the courtyard. I could think of no better thing to do.