The Old Man appeared in front of Rosie Ketielas’ front door just as she was about to leave to meet Grace. He had travelled a long way to get there and wasn’t getting any younger, and certainly wasn’t getting any stronger. And it had to get worse, he thought. Rosie had gone really white by this point.
“Are you ok Rosie?”He asked.
“Umm, I was, How did you do that?” She replied
“Can I come in? I’ve got a lot to tell you,” Was the response.
“Ok if you must, but I have to meet Grace soon; you still haven’t answered my question though”
“It won’t take very long” the Old Man replied ignoring her question.
Rosie led the last Elder Mage Of Old back into her house for the last time.
“So how did you suddenly appear on my doorstep?”
Squeezing his bland eyes in fixed concentration, Zacaim Small lifted a knurled hand and summoned most of the magic he could handle these days and formed it into a ball.
“Rosie what you see in front of you is magic in its purest form. A ball of energy, with this I can do almost anything I want… or I could have many years ago. I am too old now, those days are lost to me now, it’s something I’ve had to live with for a long time now, and things aren’t going to get any better anytime soon.
‘I know you want to meet Grace and in truth I need you both together, so I’ll come with you to meet her, but for now I have some things to tell you. Firstly today a lot of things are going to change, a lot of people are going to get hurt, millions, no billions, of people are going to die and there’s nothing I can do about it other than protect those I can find, those that want protecting, and those that need protecting, there is nothing I can do. Rosie if you don’t believe me just put the on T.V, these ‘unexplained deaths ’are caused by things that aren’t worth thinking about, and WILL kill us all if they are allowed to. I can’t, I won’t, allow them to have us all. Humanity has survived so much more and will continue to do so as long as two continue to live.’”
“And how am I to believe you? Zacaim if this is so important, why aren’t you out trying to stop it? Why-“
“I can’t, I’ve delayed his release for longer than I thought possible, oh shouldn’t have said that…” Zacaim interrupted.
“You will find out, I can tell you that much, your not ready to here this.”
“You know I hate when you work your way around my questions”
“I simply can’t tell you,” Zacaim sighed “"Things are going the way I knew they would centuries ago, but that doesn't make it any better."” He shuddered at the memory, and Rosie thought he just might cry, but he soon shrugged it off.
“Rosie, even if you don’t believe me now, even if you think I’m talking a pile of rubbish, please understand that the next couple of months are going to be long and hard, I need you to have supplies, clothes, food, drinks bottles etc. so if I was you I would make sure I was ready early, like now for instance?” Zacaim stated.
“Yes I get your point,” she said whilst standing up.
Watching her leave the room, Zacaim paused for a moment. She still isn’t ready. Truth was none of them were, the Three he had brought together, had watched grow up to become the young man and women they had become. But he knew there was no point in wondering about the past, it would not server a better purpose.
Rosie ran off up the stairs to her bedroom with barely a glance at Zacaim as he made his way into the kitchen at the end of the hallway which Zacaim thought to be really very garish and well purple… But that’s these youngsters for you he thought in his ancient ways. Entering the rather too small door for Zacaim, being the enormous height he was even at his age, he entered the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea.
Boiling the kettle, Zacaim got impatient with it very quickly, believing him to be alone he used magic to speed up the process, and it was only then that he noticed the little child in the next house along watching him wide eyed. Almost instinctively, Zacaim raised the hand not boiling the kettle and with a swish of his hand he erased the memory of the last few seconds from the child.
Realising the kettle was boiled; he diverted his mind back to the kitchen, shaking his head at his lack of attention. He poured himself a cup of tea, and went in to the other room to wait for Rosie knowing it would take a little while for her to get her sack ready.
If only I had more time he mused I could double check.., STOP IT! Use what time you have, it’s all you can ever wish for now, she will be ready, just wait and see, just wait.
Sipping his tea he looked up as Rosie poked her small potato chip body around the door. While i was pacing i got thinking. Why is Grace so special? And why am I coming for that matter? What’s so special about me? If anything..."
"And that is why your so special, you are so very inquisitive, the new world needs a mind like yours to develop. the other questions i cannot answer you, it is not my place to, the time will come very soon when you will find out, but what I will say is I feel I must bring some light to this world, I must bring you two in this new existence we are to discover together, as I know you will be a major part of it to come. You may not feel like it will happen now but it will. But it’s not just that, I... I guess part of it also is I feel I must do some good for all the bad I have done in the past in a way, for myself. I have made many mistakes and sacrificed so many lives for no real reason, and worst of it is most of these have lived to see how they’re life will be destroyed,” Zacaim was so absorbed in his past Rosie got the impression he would never return but as inevitable as that the sun will set in the evening to come, he did return to her.
“Right are we ready to go now?”
“No not yet, I must pick one more thing before we leave,” was the reply from Rosie.
“Well be quick about it then, because we need to be out of here now,” Zacaim was starting to feel impatient and Rosie could hear it in his voice. Reaching into a cupboard just behind her she pulled out a long white staff of the most beautifully crafted wood Zacaim had ever seen. The end nearest the floor looked very sharp, like a finely sharpened sword, but it only held Zacaim’s attention for a few seconds, for at the top, near where Rosie was holding was the insignia of Elder Mages come and gone, but now only his insignia.
Reuben had just finished his last lecture at university and was on his way home when he literally bumped into Grace, between them spraying his books all over the pavement.
“Oh I’m sorry... oh hi Reuben,” she beamed.
“Hey Grace you ok?” he replied as shyly he always was a little bit around the beauty of Grace he just couldn’t help it, couldn’t stop it, he loved her and would never stop.
“Yeah I’m fine, look I’m late meeting Rosie, so I’ll love you and leave you” he wished for the hundredth time she did love him for all the good it did him.
Grace wished she wasn’t so ashamed of the fact that she had strong feelings for Reuben, she knew how he felt, she could see it every time she talked to him, but every time she did so, she thought that nothing would come out of those feelings, the truth was she loved him so much it hurt. She just wished he would have the courage to talk her about it, because she knew that she wouldn’t wait forever, telling herself that hurt, like a lot of things to do with that man.
Thinking about her purpose of being here she realised how late she was, so she ran as fast as her tiny legs could carry her brushing away her thoughts of Reuben for another time.
When she saw Rosie she was a little bit unsure of herself, Rosie seemed to be talking to herself! Or at least until she got closer, out of nowhere an old nan at appeared beside Rosie, a man who seemed too old to be alive. I would recognise Zacaim if he had a bag over his face with I’m not Zacaim Small on its front she thought chuckling with her awful piece of wit. Well time to go find out what the hell’s going on I guess...
Zacaim had sensed Grace the minute she was on the high street, so wanting to make sure she couldn’t see the two of them until he wanted her to, he set a ward to avoid any unnecessary confrontation and so no-one could see the two of them.
“... Zacaim are you even listening to me?” he heard Rosie saying at one point. Even if he wanted to, he doubted he could reply he was engrossed in the situation. But he suddenly realised that his ward wasn’t working, Grace was looking right at and was walking directly to him! How could this happen? Okay she was the most power magic creature the world had produced in the last two hundred years but she had had no really training, she shouldn’t be seeing him. But yet she could. Oh well i'll have to puzzle that one out later... 'cause now we burn he thought grimly.
Before the last of the Elder Mages could notice, the earth began to rumble. Load groans came from everywhere and nowhere at once. Soon the groans and the rumbling stopped, and in the silence before the world cried for forgiveness, Zacaim Behalrius revealed to the world his true nature for the first time in nearly three hundred years.