They had taken Nox back to Derrick's estate as well, and Derrick had called in the best of the best to examine the invalid.
Kathering had been summoned there, along with four of the top palace physicians and healers. Soren Falcain, Alexander Kahner, Jada and Delta Typhaeus, Artorius, and the king were all present.
Twelve was the highest recommended number for a Medigius*, but Derrick felt that it wasn't enough. A team of fifteen with several outside supporters still couldn't break the level nine seal placed on Adrian Eldrisha by the previous Magister Lords . Would thirteen be enough to even crack the binding of a level eight? It would be hard enough to place a stabilizing brand without Gwendolyn, who could cast them with ease.
Nox hadn't awakened once since the lightning spectacle, a side affect that Derrick had hoped would happen so that he and the others could take their time. However, everyone was curious to see the slave responsible for causing such an uproar. Wasn't this Nox a weakling and not the strong, albeit damaged, man laying unconscious before them?
The bed in his guest room was surrounded. Everyone wanted a good look. Only Alexander Kahner hung back from the crowd, tapping his foot impatiently.
"Haven't they wasted enough time looking at him?"
Derrick smirked. "I doubt Nox would approve of their gawking."
"The Medigius is complete, right? Why don't you get started?"
"Just wait. Delta's almost done looking." Derrick pointed at the Underground's best source of defence, who was staring at Nox in what appeared to be awe. "Any minute now his sister will come here and tell us what he thinks we should do. Watch."
Sure enough, Delta began whispering to Jada, who nodded, touching his arm and closing her eyes in concentration.
"Is that how they communicate?" Alex asked, squinting. "There's a rumor that they're not normal, even in this sort of circle."
"No, Delta is a selective mute because of his Auric magic."
"Will you launch into a monologue if I ask you what that means?"
Derrick sighed and ran a hand through his hair, frustrated. "In short, he can read people's feelings, intent, consciousness, and magical abilities. He can sense the abstract workings of a person's mind. I'd like to see the look on his face when he meets your wife."
Alex glared at Derrick. "What does that mean?"
"Command magic is very special." Derrick replied, deciding to leave his explanation vague as Jada approached them.
Alex shook his head. "Whatever."
"Delta thinks he might have the answer, but we don't have enough people for this particular task." Jada said, giving Alex a curt nod.
"How many people do we need?" Derrick asked.
"He says one or two more will do. He mostly wants to supervise so that he knows everything is going right, but he will be giving support."
"Does 'one or two more people' include the king, or is he only going to watch?"
"The king is most certainly not going to sit back and watch, Lord Keane." Jon interrupted sternly, causing Derrick to jump.
"That's not entirely up to me, Your Highness." Derrick countered. "Jada, is the king magically able to participate in the bindbreaking?"
"I will see if Delta can find a place for him in this particular Medigius." Jada replied. "But then we would still need at least one more person."
"Alright. Sir Kahner, can you find someone for us?" Derrick asked, turning to Alex.
"I'll do my best, sir." Alex said stiffly, stepping away from the group. "Give me an hour."
As he made his way across the guest bedroom, the door burst open. "You cannot do this without me!" a familiar voice exclaimed.
"Make that a minute." Alex snatched Uther Elhawk by the front of his shirt, pulled him inside the room, and slammed the door. "Will this suffice?"
"Absolutely not." Derrick muttered, turning to Jon. "I can't believe he found out. Damn nuisance. We should throw him out of here.
"He is a respected teacher and a powerful mage." Jon reminded him. "Let him in. It might do us some good to have his input."
"But, Jon, he is at every turn a suspicious-"
"Welcome him in." Jon ordered. "We don't have much time, and you're not flying through it a few times to try and find someone else. This isn't the battle against Sarine, it might be worse. He is as much a convenience as he is a nuisance."
Derrick breathed in and out slowly a few times before shooting back a tense "At your command, Sire."
"Let go of me, you beast!" Elhawk, who was much smaller then most mages, was saying as Alex dragged him towards Derrick.
"Welcome to the one hundred and tenth Emergency Medigius, Master Elhawk." Derrick said, holding out his hand. "Sir Kahner, please unhand him. We need all members in good condition before we can begin."
As Alex dropped the teacher onto the carpet, Derrick could have sworn he heard Jon snicker.
"Thank you." Elhawk as he got to his feet, dusting himself off. "What services may I offer, milord? Your Majesty." he added quickly, bowing low. "An honor as always."
"Thank you." Jon said quickly. "Miss Typhaeus, please enlighten everyone as to Nox's condition."
"Absolutely." Jada smiled, stepping forward and taking Elhawk's arm and leading him to Nox's side. She raised her voice as she said, "Everyone, you'll need to know what we're dealing with before we begin the bindbreaking. My brother Delta has already examined the seal and the mind of its victim. . ."
Alex and Jon drifted towards the bed where Nox lay, Delta drifted away.
Derrick walked towards him, confused.
"You already know what we must do." Delta said once they stood close enough.
"Yes." Derrick whispered back. "I have much experience with seals now."
"So I have heard." Delta agreed. "Your magic is the most powerful. This will take quite a toll on your body even with the right support in the right places.
Derrick shrugged. "I'm already fully recovered from the worst toll that my body's ever taken. You don't need to worry." It felt weird, talking to Delta without Jada as a medium.
"I don't. But I could not help but warn you personally, Lord Keane. I know you prolonged your recovery by experimenting on the Nine."
Derrick did a double take. Delta knew about Adrian? "Well, I had to do something while I was recovering. That kid doesn't deserve to live with a mind like that forever."
"The Eldrisha boy was warned of his punishment. Imagine being tricked into it. If the bindbreaking works and we destroy the seal, the freed slave will be very distressed when he awakes." Delta nodded to the bed where Nox lay, surrounded by the rest of the Medigius.
"What did you sense when you probed him?" Derrick demanded, fighting to keep his voice low. What had happened to Nox?
"Nothing concrete or worthy of note to the others." Delta replied, cryptic. "That is all you should know for now."
*Medigius - a team compromised of physicians, healers and high-class mages and/or sorcerers