~o0o~ Chapter ~o0o~
"It was a ritual killing," Mallac said. "We are sure of it. Each victim was cut palm to palm, all the way up the arms and across the neck. They were each left face down, left to bleed straight into the ground. There was no obvious trails in the dirt. It appears the bodies were killed where they were found and not brought from elsewhere. Until tonight, it had been one victim each night, but this time there were two deaths."
Mallac sat back and stared at Quaraun, waiting for the Elf to say something.
"I can't help you."
"But you are the world's most powerful wizard..." Mallac started to say.
"So?" Quaraun deeply disliked being called the world's most powerful wizard. Calling him thusly was the fastest way to offend him.
"But people say..."
"People say a lot of things," Quaraun said. "People can say, whatever the hell they want. It doesn't make it true."
"So are you the world's most powerful wizard or not?"
"So what if I am? What difference does it make?"
"It makes a lot of differance."
"You can save us..."
"Oh fuck off!"
"Do I look like I care?"
"You look increadibly pissed off right now..."
"Oh really? And I wonder why that possibly might be?"
"We need your help..."
"I told you already..."
"People in this town are being murdered left and right, blah, blah, blah. In what town isn't that the case?"
"But you're the world's most powerful wizard..."
"So? What do you even think that means?"
"Well, you can do things."
"You can use magic to defeat monsters..."
"Magic doesn't work that way. If it did, I wouldn't be sitting in this tavern right now with a bloody leg."
Upon saying this, Quaraun hiked his skirts up and threw his wounded leg up on the table, in the most unladylike way possible.
"You see that?" He pointed to the bite wound. "A monster did that. Magic didn't stop that from happening now did it?"
"But you're the world's..."
Quaraun pulled his leg back off the table and turned away from the soilder.
"Why can't I go anywhere without this happening," he asked Unicorn.
"Yis world's most powerful wizard," Unicorn stated.
Quaraun sighed. He hated the reputation he had. He almost wished it wasn't true. He never set out to become the world's most powerful wizard. He wasn't even sure that he was all that powerful at all. The only reason anyone said he was, was because of what happened to the DiJinn. Quaraun loved horses. Too much perhaps. He couldn't just stand back and do nothing while the DiJinn slaughtered an entire herd of innocent little ponies. That the ponies were really monsters in disguise hadn't mattered to him. He just couldn't watch someone kill a horse. And so he told the DiJinn to drop dead, and they obediently did exactly that. Seconds later all that was left of the most powerful guild of wizards, was piles of ash, where live wizards had once stood.
Quaraun wasn't certain how exactly it was he had killed the DiJin. He didn't even know if he could do something like that again. He wasn't in the habit of using magic. And it seemed, he had little control over the magic he did use, which was mostly sporadic bursts of his anger manifesting in horribly bloody disaster. That was him losing his temper and everyone around him dropping dead.
Magic was not what people thought it was. It certain wasn't what Mallac thought it was. Quaraun simply did not know how to explain to people the way magic worked, at least in any way they could understand. Especially not when he didn't even understand the workings of magic. Studying to become a wizard had not been his life choice. Like all wizards, he had been a child abducted by fanatical priests and raised in a self made temple that forced young boys into servitude to a demon. Wizards were a far cry from the magical beings the average person thought they was. They were nothing more then glorified priests who happened to serve real "gods". Not that their gods were actual gods. the gods of wizards were demons with true powers, powers wizards were taught to call up.
Unlike other wizards, Quaraun had not succumbed to the servitude his kidnapped had forced him into. He had rebelled constantly against them, rarely paid attention to the prayers and rituals they taught him, spent most of his days finding ways to escape rather than memorize chants to the god of the DiJinn.
The public image of wizards was nothing but a scam, put out their by the leaders of the wizarding guilds, to try to make the wizards of their guild seem more powerful then the wizards of the next guild. Nothing but pompous old men puffing each other up. It disgusted Quaraun and wanted no part of it.
All he had ever wanted to do was escape the egomaniacal demon cultists and go back home to his family. But now his family was ded. His people were dead. He was alone. Travelling with the last of the DiJinn priests and an undead Faerie who was trapped in the wrong dimension and loving it. So many people here for him to play pranks on.
Quaraun looked up from his thoughts. Mallac was still going on about the ritual murders taking place every night this past week. Unicorn had left the table momentarily. He had spied a sleeping patron at another table and snuck over to tie the man's boots to the table leg.
Quaraun shook his head. He did not understand Unicorn and his endless need to torment every one and everything. Unicorn was a Faerie after all. Quaraun had long ago given u trying to understand the irrationality of Faerie logic.
"And you are the world's most powerful wizard..." Mallac said again, in the middle of his explanation of the details of the grizzly murders.
Quaraun heard only that one line. The rest of Mallac's words drifted passed him. Quaraun thought about the little black ponies. Tiny little Shetlands, so out of place in the desert of the DiJinn. Galloping and playing. Sleeping along the river bank.
He had known they weren't really horses. No wild horses ran through the desert of the DiJinn and horses didn't have fangs or sharp claws instead of hooves, Quaraun had known from the first day he had seen them, that they were a pack of Faeries in disguise. He had also known that no good Fae ever pretended to be a black furred animal. The most telling sign of all was the fact that the herd was led by a little black unicorn. The size of a goat. With a gleaming silver horn on its head. And the skull of a dead Ef skewered on it's horn and worn as a crown. The Elf Eater of Pepper Valley. King of the Faeries. And he dark, evil army. Quaraun had known who they were and why they had surrounded the temple of the DiJinn. Why they called to him each day, luring him outside, down to the river, away from the safety of the DiJinn. They hunted Elves. Killed Elves. Slaughtered Elves. And ate Elven flesh. And Quaraun was an Elf. But none of this had stopped the young Elf from skipping his studies every day to go down to the river and watch the herd of little black ponies chasing each other, luring him ever closer to the marshy shores of the river bank.
Then one day, Quaraun snuck out, to find the DiJinn waiting, and frightened little horses crying out in agony, as one by one the wizard priests slaughtered the evil little pony-nots.
"You don't know what they are."
"Stop hurting them."
"They are here to kill our god. The Sacred Pink JellyFish must be protected."
The DiJinn heeded not the cries of the young Elfling. A child with barely any training, standing up against the most powerful wizards on the planet. It had been foolish to think such a small Elfling stood a chance against the DiJinn. The DiJinn - who were capable of cutting down the Elf Eater's army like they were nothing but flies.
And yet, the DiJinn themselves, worshiped the young Elf, proclaiming that a Demon god had burrowed itself into his body and now lived inside him. It was foolish of them to defy her will.
Quaraun watched in horror as the ponies fell before the wizards. One by one the ponies died. Their screams cutting through his soul. The ponies ran, but were cut dead in their tracks, no match for the powerful DiJinn wizards.
Seeing his army defeated, the unicorn ran too. The little black unicorn. Quaraun's favorite pony, fell to the DiJinn.
"You'll not kill my unicorn," the words of the Elf rang through the desert. His voice now changed. No longer the voice of the Elf, but now the voice of the beast that lived inside him. To hear her speak, caught the DiJinn of guard, as they turned to the Elf.
The last word any of them heard. The moment the word left his lips, every last DiJinn, save one coward who had fled earlier, withered away to dust. Their bodies burning in flames, twisted in agony. And seconds later, the DiJinn were no more.
ZooLock along survived and he fled to the desert, terrified of the wrath of his god. Terrified of the Sacred Pink Jellyfish. No doubt in his mind existed now that she was anything other then the one true god.
The unicorn had watched in awe, at the Elf powers unlike anything he had never seen. No wizard had the power's Quaraun had. This was not magic. The unicorn knew this. This was something else. Whatever Quaraun was, he was neither Elf, nor Wizard, and now both the unicorn and last of the DiJinn worshiped him like a god.
Quaraun watched ZooLock stealing food off people's tables while they weren't looking, and Unicorn, now dumping a bottle of red pepper into a jar of strawberry jam. They both believed he was the world's most powerful wizard and they both followed him, obeying him without question because of it. All because of how he had killed the DiJinn.
Perhaps it did make him the world's most powerful wizard, but it didn't mean he could control it or even knew how he did it.
Wizardry was not what the world thought it was. Magic didn't have all the dazzle and punch rumors said it had. Far too many people, people with no knowledge of magic, had it in their heads that all a wizard had to do was wave a wand and -POOF- they could do anything and everything. The problem stemmed from the fact that wizards were rare and magic uncommon, resulting in mystical glorification of both. Stories gave wizard's god-like powers they were not even remotely capable of in real life. Quaraun long ago gave up trying to explain to common folk what magic was and was not capable of.
The soldier continued to tell Quaraun of the murders that had plagued their town this past week and all the reasons why magic and wizards were exactly what they needed right now. Quaraun didn't listen to a word of it. He contemplated telling the soldier all the reasons his misconceptions about wizards and magic were wrong, but concluded it was a waste of his time to argue with the man, so instead let the man ramble on, while he dozed off.
"YOU'RE NOT LISTENING TO ME!"
Quaraun sat up and looked around. For a moment he couldn't remember where he was. Then he saw the soldier, glaring angrily at him.