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Korin had never imagined…he remembered Reneé talking about his Archwizard in unrepeatable terms. He remembered rumors and flinches when people talked about wizards of the Staff. And most of all, he remembered Teriad’s silence when questions about the rest of their order came up.

Korin had never imagined his Archwizard could be a man like this. “You’re a monster.”

Loukanos rolled his eyes. “Oh please, let’s not be dramatic. I’m a wizard, the same as you. Practicing my magic, the same as you.”

“No. Not the same at all. I help people.”

Loukanos crossed arms, looking Korin up and down. “Help people. I see. Tell me, Korin, where do you come from? Who was your teacher?”

“I learned from Teriad.”

“Ah yes, Teriad. Well, that does explain things.”

Korin bristled at the snide tone. “Teriad was a good man.”

“Teriad was…” Loukanos trailed off, a smile curling his lips. “It doesn’t matter. We’re not here to talk about Teriad. Except, perhaps, to say that Teriad was a wizard who decided to cripple himself. You have talent, Korin. That’s been clear as I’ve followed your magic through this city. But if Teriad was your teacher, you don’t understand half of what our magic is about.”

“I understand enough.”

“Do you?” His smile became cruel. “Fixing sprains and driving away coughs. You really think that’s what our magic does? Is that truly all you aspire to?”

Korin couldn’t imagine a level of desperation that would drive him to stay any longer in Loukanos’s presence than he had to. “My aspirations are my own business. I’m not interested in anything you have to say.”

“Do you even understand your potential? Korin, please, listen to me. Don’t waste your life—your future—wearing the same bindings Teriad imposed on himself.”

“I’m not wasting anything—except my time, standing here talking to you.” Korin was done. He turned to leave.

“Take your time,” Loukanos called after him. “Consider my offer. But keep in mind that if you’re not here for me to teach—if you leave me with nothing to occupy my time—I’ll have nothing better to do than to continue as I have been. Your little flock you’re building—how long will they keep worshipping you if their ills and injuries keep coming back?”

Korin slammed the door behind him.

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Barbara J Webb

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