A Price too High to Pay
Part 1 - Those Arrogant Brats
Arkadi grunted again, something about the insolence and disrespect of the young Apprentices that the Council forced him to put up with on a daily basis. They would never change, those insolent brats! And all because the majority of them had no idea about what it really meant to actually to be a Mage. Most saw Magic as an interesting way to pass the time, to learn a few useful tricks, or even a fast, efficient way to attain unmeasurable power. But those arrogant brats wold soon regret the irresponsible way they faced his lessons. Because it was always like that, those who disdained his teachings, those who didn't take his lessons seriously, always ended up suffering in the Final Test. And he personally made sure that that premise was quite real, being him the Mage responsible for their evaluation and all.
Yet, at the moment, his anger could no longer be appeased by the certainty that his revenge would soon come to fruition. His hurried steps, accompanied by mumbles and grunts that no one could understand, filled the shadowy corridor of the Tower of High Magic.
Without making himself announced or asking for permission as he was supposed to, Arkadi burst into the Council room like a living hurricane, carrying with him his uncontrollable anger. The instant he barged in the two older men, that had been apparently engaged in some deep philosophical discussion, instantly went silent, turning their wise, patient gazes towards the younger Mage.
"That's enough! I don't care anymore! And don't tell me that it is my duty! To hell with my duty! I will not put up with those petulant brats another second! I rather have the sky fall down on my head!" Arkadi spat in one breath and the two men smiled softly, a smile full of wisdom and endless years of life experience.
"Arkadi! Good Morning. We were starting to miss your daily visit. I almost thought that today you wouldn't grant us the privilege of your company. Please, do sit down."
"I don't want to sit down!" the Mage replied, crossing his arms, even more irritated by the calm tone of the older man.
"Come on, Arkadi, do as I say. You're too riled up right now and you know that such uncountable anger will only hurt you the end. Strong emotions bring forth Chaos, and Magic has no place amongst Chaos!"
"Oh! Spare me! I know that better than anyone!"
"Then. Sit down so we can talk."
Arkadi sighed and finally sat on the red upholstered chair that the older man had shown him.
"Then I'll leave you to it, Amambar," the other Mage told the one that had just spoken and Amambar nodded lightly, in appreciation for the other man's calm understanding. Arkadi followed him with his annoyed and unfriendly gaze as he left the room.
" Now then. Please tell me what torments you so early in the morning. "Amambar kept his friendly tone and smile.
"You know very well! I just can't stand those insolent brats!"
"But Arkadi, those insolent brats, as you call them, are, for the moment, young students who wish to become part of our Brotherhood."
"No, they are not! And you know that as well as I do! The only thing that interests them is attaining power, nothing else."
"Not all are like this ..."
"Most of them are, and I don't have the patience to put up with them! Every time I look at their stuck-up faces I feel the urge to cast a decomposition Spell on them, so that I can watch as first their hair will fall, then their teeth and nails, then the tips of their fingers, the nose and the ears, followed by ..."
"Arkadi! Enough, please."
Arkadi looked up and was faced with the older Mage's sickly expression.
"I'm sorry. I got a bit carried away just now."
"Well ... you can't be so radical. After all, just before last year you were also like them, a part of this group of young people that you now despise and find so hard to put up with."
"And that's exactly why I despise them. Because I know better than anyone what goes on in their heads and what they really expect to attain from all this!"
"You're still young and too impatient. Please try not to be so hard on them. In the end most of them will eventually give up ..."
"And I have to bear with them until they do!"
“Won't you please make an effort? You were one of our best students and you are one of the few who inhabit the Tower with qualifications to teach the Art. The Council needs your help."
Arkady sighed, overcome by the pleading tone of the man he had learned to love and respect as a father, and Amambar smiled at the victory he had once again succeeded in attaining. It was always like this. Piratically every day Arkadi would burst through his door fuming with exasperation, angry with the entire world. But he always ended up listening to what he had to say and eventually left the room with enough patience to allow him to go through yet another day or two of lessons. Until the whole scene would repeated itself again.
"Amambar ... I swear! One day I'll just loose my head!"
Amambar smiled, following the young Mage's movements as he stood up, preparing to leave.
"The rest of a nice day to you too, Arkadi."
Arkadi didn't answer and simply left.
Amambar sighed. Another peaceful day, he thought. But deep inside the Mage knew that days like that would soon be over. There was a smell of change in the wind, a stirring in the shadows that surrounded him. Something was close, and as strange as it might be, that foreboding feeling that something was about to happen was renewed with increasing intensity every time Arkadi left his room.
With a sigh that perfectly translated his impotence regarding such things, the Official Representative of the Council of Mages of the Tower of High Magic returned to his duties, throwing those dark premonitions behind his weary, time-bent shoulders.