After casting the spell the night before, Elemix was disappointed nothing had happened. There was a nagging feeling that something did occur, but Elemix couldn’t quite place it. After attending the races with Emmeline, Rivanon and Tiffanie for a brief time, Elemix excused himself and headed north west into the depths of the city.
The feeling never changed even as he kept going. Getting to a city gate, a guard asked Elemix for his passport. Showing it, the guard nodded, and Elemix walked.
Looking into the hills and the slope of the mountain beyond, he felt a connection, one to the Sarthe Forest several miles up the slope of the mountain dominating the city skyline. The spell hadn’t failed. It was out there. Waiting. He just had to find it. But evening was coming, his mother expected him for dinner, with his friends.
Elemix turned his head away from the mountain, acting as though he had been admiring the view. Though he wanted to go further, he knew it was simply too dangerous. The assassin could be anywhere, and if he was watching, Elemix didn’t want him to know what he was up to. He could use invisibility to lose the assassin he thought briefly, but knew it simply wasn’t smart to go and climb a mountain with the sunlight fading and no one knowing where he was going.
No, he thought. I will go home and join my family for dinner. I’ll ask mom about the spell and see if she knows anything that might be helpful.
With that Elemix turned and began the journey home. He stayed on the main streets and canals to ensure he was relatively safe, just as he had been doing since learning of the assassin’s arrival.
As he boarded a boat, he investigated his surroundings and sat down. He would have to ask his mother about that as well, he thought. Bella had been pretty clear the other day about ensuring her family was kept safe, but Elemix didn’t really know what that meant from a practical standpoint. One thing was clear though, he did not want to get on his mother’s bad side.
Before long the boat made the last familiar turn and Elemix could see his family home. After paying for the ride, El walked up the short path smelling his mother’s cooking, and entered the home.
Bella was in the kitchen with the new house servant Mirabelle and another young woman whom Elemix hadn’t met yet. El’s father Peren was in the main room watching his two daughters and El’s little second cousins playing with toys. His cousin Brigitte and her husband Baldwin were out on the balcony with wine, taking in the air. Typhon and Emmeline had not arrived yet, and El did not remember if Emmeline’s new friend Rivanon or their priestly ally Jocelyn were going to make it. The tug in Elemix’s mind remained.
Elemix headed toward the kitchen. “Hi Mom,” he said while entering the room. He then proceeded to wait patiently while slyly eyeing the choicest bits of the food that had been prepared and picking at them when he was certain his mother couldn’t see.
When she had finished with the house servants and he was sure Bella and Elemix were alone, Elemix poured his mother and himself a drink and said. “How was your day mother? Mine was a bit busy as I am sure you can understand. I told the guild about Emmiline and introduced her. I think it went well, but it remains to be seen if she will be accepted, and also I fear there may be consequences to you or I. If her magic is of the blood and you and I are related to her, it would stand to reason that we may be questioned, or watched by the less trusting of the guild. You would know more so than I. I don’t know if they know yet that she is related to us.
Oh and as you know, I met your mother. I can see exactly what you meant when you warned me of her. Still, she seemed pleased to meet me and took to me I think. She is happy to call me her grandson and I am not sure what to think of that really. You are my mom, and what she did to you is unthinkable. As such, I can’t help but be wary of her. Oh and she adopted Emmiline. She was happy to do so and plans to announce her or something soon.”
El waited for Bella’s response to the news.
“No. It is not forgivable.” She paused a bit, crossing the kitchen for ingredients. “On Adelade, the less that is said, the better, but I will say this – nothing good can come from her. Someday she’ll abandon or hurt Emmeline (more so than the Guild ever will, but that isn’t my business. You on the other hand, your reputation and by extension Vorn’s, mine, your father’s, and the Guild ride somewhat on yours. Do I make myself clear?” Bella was dead serious.
Elemix was somewhat surprised at her response. She clearly wasn’t happy he attended the party, but he didn’t do anything to damage the family reputation. Well there was that one thing he thought. How had she learned about that? Had she learned about that? El, replied simply. “Of course mother, I understand completely.”
Changing the subject seemed like a good option at this point so El asked, “Do you know anything about the spell find familiar?” El thought back and as far as he could remember he didn’t think his mother had ever had a familiar.
“The reason I ask is I cast the spell earlier today and I thought a familiar would appear at the end of my casting but instead nothing happened. Ever since though, I have felt a strange compulsion to go up onto the mountain outside of town. I can only assume this has happened as a result of the spell. Perhaps my familiar is in some kind of trouble. It worries me. I would have gone that direction but the hour was already growing late and I know better than to wonder out of town on my own without telling anyone, especially with an assassin after me.”
He hoped his mother may have some insight.
Bella said, “find familiar?” in a quizzical way. Her mood became slightly less serious. “Of course. Remember our cat, Isabeau? She was my familiar when you were very young. She takes her role as a cat very seriously. The various strays I’ve adopted over the years, including the calico in the shop right now – all are a new manifestation of Isabeau. I just don’t broadcast it. It is part and parcel to our agreement from, well, when I was your age.”
She smiled, “so you bought and cast the spell already. Pretty common actually to do so. Many wizards can’t be bothered, like Vorn. So you cast the find familiar spell and nothing happened, save an urge to journey somewhere? Makes sense. You see something did happen. It depends on what was in your mind. Knowing you, and what was important to you when you were a child, I guess you didn’t want any old familiar, but something special. The spell binds with your wishes. Most people desire a familiar to take a form, while some few choose a form to become a familiar. Because of your desires, that happened and the familiar is trying, through the spells dwindling power, to reach out to you. It is probably drawn to you as you are drawn to it, but the City is a scary place for an animal to just enter. Be aware though, an animal familiar takes care and feeding – and may have its own agenda,” she smiled knowingly.
“You should go first thing in the morning and let the power draw you. Bring a friend. Just one, you don’t want to scare it,” Bella added.
El was transfixed. “All these years and I never knew.” El would have to go and find that cat.
“I will indeed go in the morning. I am anxious to meet this new friend. And of course I’ll take care of it should it choose to travel with me.” El knew his mom would always treat him as her child in some ways.
“Actually, I’d like you to go with me if you are free. You have always been such a great mother, and friend. It would be good to spend a day with you and I can think of no one better to journey with me on such a special occasion.”
El hoped that the invite alone would help smooth his relationship with Bella. Given the events of yesterday and grandma coming unexpectedly back into the picture El wanted to ensure Bella that he was with her and that she held his love and respect beyond anyone else – with the exception of his father of course.
Bella smiled, “Sure! I can go. But, despite what I said, bring one of your friends as well, maybe your cousin. It may help ease her into the family and maybe connect her to the wonders of being a member of our Wizard fraternity. Thoughts?”
Elemix was a little let down at the suggestion. He had been hoping to spend the day with his mother alone but but understood the reasoning and agreed with it. Besides, he was sure his mother appreciated the invitation and that was the important thing.
“You’re right. That would be great. I shall invite her tonight. I believe she is coming to dinner.”
Bella noticed the disappointment, “Elem, we don’t have to take her if you do not wish it. I mean, you’ve had a mother and good family all your life. Giving you a major advantage. As I understand it, she never did, and I know Adelaide won’t be for her, so I’ll need to step up as her aunt. It is all about responsibility and duty to one’s family and one’s honor. It is something your father and I truly believe in.”
Elemix replied enthusiastically. “You are right of course. We should include her. Honestly I can’t believe how quickly this has all moved. I mean in the course of a day I learned that my grandma still lives and Emmiline – a woman I met seemingly randomly on the road far from here is actually my cousin. Its a lot to process.”