Poe knew the Magus was glad to have company, he could hear the excitement in his voice. He too was glad to not be alone. There was something about their interaction that was making it a little bit more bearable to swallow the gravity of the events that had recently unfolded. Thinking of it brought the tightness back to his chest, and tears filled his eyes. A sob escaped his lips, and to his surprise, a hand lay softly on his back. In the sightlessness of the well, Poe unraveled. His emotions spilled out in a wave of grief that could not be stopped.
He was inconsolable, and the Magus knew as much. The hand on his shoulder was the only support he could give. This was Poe’s obstacle, and only he could cross it; regardless of kind words or gestures.
The sliver of light, that shone like a dull star millions of miles away, had made its course through the well. It had climbed back up to the lip where it vanished; leaving them in complete and utter darkness. The sobs continued to echo, until sometime in the coolness of the night, sleep finally took him.
Poe opened his eyes, then closed them again and realized that there was no difference between the two. He sat up and passed a hand through his head. His ribs ached from the motion, and his fingers combed dried blood from his hair. "Did you say something?"
"What is it?"
"I've made up my mind." Said the Magus, a slight rustling echoing through the well as he slid closer to Poe. "If we're going to be here, I may as well teach you what I know."
Poe was confused. He opened his eyes again and willed himself to see, but was greeted with nothing but blackness. "What is it you want me to learn?"
"You are a sorcerer: an untrained, reckless being of immense power who knows nothing of the Weave and only casts when emotion is so intensely overwhelming that it channels your will. I can teach you how to quell the chaos."
Poe sat silently, unsure of what to think of the concept. For as long as he had lived, his ability had remained latent. Only once before had he witnessed its effects. Then, he was too young to understand, but his parents were not and they hid it from the world to save their child from persecution.
"Are you listening to me?" The Magus asked.
"Then the lesson begins now. Do you know of the stringed instrument the Tarratans must master as youths?"
"I've heard of it, yes. It's similar to the harp is it not?"
"Not quite, but a harp can be used in this example also. This analogy is simplistic only to make you understand the base concept. The Weave is infinitely more complex than what I am about to describe, but we must start somewhere."
Poe nodded, and then realized the old man could not see him and spoke up. "Go on."
"There is an energy that transcends all."
"No!" The Magus uttered, frustration sharp on his tongue. "Be silent. Let me speak. The Weave is the way with which we channel this energy. The energy itself is without name. It is existence itself."
"How do I channel this energy then?"
"Don't get ahead of yourself boy, you're years away from that, and stop interrupting me before I tear your tongue out."
The threat was most likely made in play, but Poe was nonetheless disturbed by it and couldn't help but feel slightly more uncomfortable.
"Just as a harpist plays her harp from a sheet of notes, so do the Magi rely on the scriptures of ancient warlocks to compose their weave and unleash the desired effects onto the world. You however, are a sorcerer. You do not read from scripture. You create from emotion, from rage; hatred; jealousy; lust; even love. You create whimsical weaves through existence that are not stable. They unleash immense force and use up so much potential that active Maleficarum will only last a few decades before withering into a decayed corpse."
"I thought we were ageless. Are we not?"
"The potential is what limit of power you have at your disposal. It is your life source. A Magus who uses very little potential, or uses it with great efficiency, will live a far longer life than one who goes about casting powerful wards and destructive spells. The more you use, the older you will appear. This potential is also what causes the curse. With it unused, a dead Magi unleashes his raw energies into the surrounding environment at the location of his demise. These energies reap havoc on the natural order of things. Warmth becomes cold; up becomes down; animals become violent or gain abilities they should otherwise not have. Anything is possible. The Magi call these areas deadspace."
"Have you seen this before?"
"Many times. As a Magus, I was often called upon to try and seal the areas with powerful wards. It would take many of us, and days of preparation. Much of my potential was spent casting out the death energies of my own kin."
"I couldn't imagine it being an enjoyable job."
"I treated every one of those seances as a funeral." He said, solemnly. "Now, let's get back to work."
In the darkness, the Magus began the preparations for instructing Poe on the ways of the Magi. For the weeks to come, he knew he would have to keep him as mentally focused as possible if he hoped for him to remain sane. The Magus was doing this for his benefit. He knew what lay over the next horizon for Poe. It was an obstacle that would test his very will to live.
The coming challenge was the budding gnaw of hunger that was growing within Poe's mind.