The old man chuckled, said, “Whether you’re truly ‘the World’s Greatest Illusionist of All Time’ is still up for debate, but you make for the world’s worst liar.” A hand was lifted; arm dressed under folds of his cloak and an accusatory finger pointing at Dwyn. “I can see spell-smoke blowing past you now.”
“If you already have a talent for magic,” Dwyn said between gritted teeth, “then you obviously have no use for mine. Again I apologize that you’ve wasted your time, precious as that is for the elderly.” His hand palmed the door. “Now if you’ll kindly leave . . .”
The door closed to a near shut, stopped right against the old man’s boot. The toes of the boot jutted past the doorway. “I just want to talk, Dwyn.”
“I don’t give audience to anyone, so leave,” he shouted. Dwyn pushed harder against the door, struggling to close it completely.
“Not even to a friend,” pleaded the old man.
“I don’t have friends!”
“Again your attempts to lie miss their mark. You still have friends in this world, so long as I draw breath.”
Dwyn couldn’t help but continue sensing odd familiarity as the old man spoke. “And who are you,” he asked, “that you’d claim to be a friend of mine?”
“I’m Sevaan, former Justese and now appointed Piout of the Dawning Faith, Cleric and Disciple of the Holy Light, religious councilor to King Claymund of Moriya, proclaimed as a saving grace and knighted to the rank of Hawei in Lospor, founding member of the party formerly known as the Shield Alliance,” he paused briefly, then added, “and friend of Dwyn Olean!”
Dwyn immediately quit struggling to close the door. He was dizzy and faint, would have fallen over had he not been clutching the door’s handle. Composure slowly rejoined him. He reopened the door, parting it only midway, suspiciously peered past the threshold.
“Sevaan? Ektava! . . . It is you!”
“It is, it is. Now will you let me in? It’s cold out here. Nothing’s more precious to an old man than comfort, except perhaps time.” Savaan chuckled.
The door edged open sheepishly. “Had I known it was you . . .”