Two separate visions draw Jhond and his fellow mage Ninian to the icy wastes – to a pretty mage and an evil entity.
Ninian drew a tiny gem from his pocket and with a few choice magic words the jewelite lifted from his palm, brightened as it rose and soon the space was illuminated. Ninian recognized one of the underground rooms in the Temple of the Magi. Even with the illumination provided by the jewelite the corners of the room were still dark with an air of mystery. The stone blocks were in remarkable condition considering the age of the structure, which pre-dated the Withdrawal by at least ten centuries.
“I always felt something very powerful in this room,” Jhond said as he moved toward the back wall, hand outstretched as if searching for something.
“I know just what you mean but I was never able to find out what caused it.”
Jhond glanced over his shoulder and smiled. “I do now. There is a strong spell protecting this wall, something is hidden behind it.” Jhond closed his eyes and Ninian knew he was concentrating so he’d be able to push through. “This spell has been in place for a long time,” Jhond said, his voice tight, “And it’s still very powerful. No wonder it takes the power of the Eynan to break through.”
There was a bright flash and where once there had been what appeared to be a section of wall of stone blocks there was now a heavy wooden door. “This is the ideal place to store the chest until we can return and research it properly,” Jhond said as he entered, Ninian close on his heels.
It was a small area, as long as the wall through which they had passed but only as wide as two arm widths. The sole thing inside was a stone bench topped with a large iron banded box.
Jhond reached out a hand, stopping before touching the box and said, “The box is spelled too. I’m curious as to what’s inside but we don’t have time now to investigate.”
Ninian moved closer, a strange feeling stealing over him. “I… there’s something odd.” He slowly laid a hand on the box which shimmered at his touch, then he sucked in a breath as he removed his hand. “Hartees,” he murmured. He turned to stare at Jhond. “I sense the power behind this, it’s from my house, it’s Hartees.”
“It’s becoming clear that the more we discover, we find we have much yet to learn,” Jhond said thoughtfully. He regarded Ninian who was still staring intently at the banded chest. “Tell me, Ninian, do you still feel the need is urgent to travel north to find your female mage?”
Ninian glanced at him knowing Jhond understood the quandary he was facing. Ninian stared again at the large box and let his talent loose. He sensed there was something special, almost personal, inside, something important but as it had been sealed up in this place long ago he couldn’t claim it was urgent that he investigate immediately. He sighed and said, “I do. I admit I’m consumed with curiosity. This is an unexpected mystery but it’s been here a long time, I suppose it will have to wait a little longer.”
“Good! I feel a tremendous pull to track down whatever I saw via that cracked crystal.” He removed the small chest from his pocket, placed it on the floor by the stone bench and Ninian restored it to full size. “We will have much to investigate when we return from the north.”
Ninian slowly backed out of the small space and Jhond allowed the original spell to reform and as the door disappeared behind the fake stone wall, Ninian’s sense of what was trapped inside faded.
“I’m still going to add another layer of magistry to ensure the crystal library is doubly protected,” Jhond said.
Ninian might have lost any sense of what was hidden inside that secured chamber, but he was determined that one day he would know all its secrets.
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