Tharash’s head was still so full of questions he barely knew where to start. However, they all started with “Why?”
The magister slightly tilted his head, looking at Tharash. “That’s always a good way to start a question. Do finish that thought.”
It was still impossible to pick one, so he just fired off three that probably came down to the same thing anyway: “Why you? Why me? Why here?”
“I am the one that will educate you about this place,” the magister said as if it all made perfect sense.
While it was indeed a sensible enough answer to Tharash, it didn’t fill all the blanks. “Not all students receive these lessons, do they?”
“Now you’re actually thinking. You are correct. Tell me, have you ever had the feeling you’ve been treated differently?”
Tharash sensed that the magister knew the answer to that question as well as he did. He had been treated differently all his life. “It’s as if everyone wants me to be exactly like a father I’ve never known.”
“Yes, I would have gotten you here sooner, if I could. To spare you from those boneheads of magisters, trying to form you into a man they thought they knew. Fools, they are.”
Now that was something Tharash didn’t see coming. He had never heard someone call the magisters fools. And he certainly didn’t expect it from one of the magisters. Yet there was one thing that stood out even more: “They thought they knew?”
“The one thing you and your father share is a talent that none of the magisters ever knew about. It was exactly this talent that turned him into such a powerful wizard. A phenomenal talent for the chaos arts,” the magister explained.
“But that’s the forbidden school!” Tharash said shocked. There was no way the man that was considered one of Nevarus’ greatest heroes was a warlock.
“Why did you think he kept it hidden?” the magister chuckled, but then formulated a more serious question: “Do you know why it is forbidden?”
Tharash nodded. “Chaos arts are destructive and cannot be controlled. It is the antithesis of wizardry.”
“Indeed, that’s the explanation they´re giving. Yet here we are, everywhere and nowhere at once, at the nexus of chaos. None of the terrible things they promised have happened to you. So what is the real reason for prohibiting it?”
That was a much more difficult question. Tharash had never before thought beyond the given explanation. It had always seemed logical.
Seeing the student’s difficulty, the magister answered: “Chaos arts require a radically different philosophy. One that is not taught at the academy. One the academy is neither willing nor capable of teaching. By forbidding that which the magisters cannot control, they maintain their fearful dominance over our knowledge.”
“It´s oppression?” Tharash asked, not sure if he understood.
“Exactly!” the magister said excited. “A tyranny that was established two centuries ago in panicked response to a devastating military defeat. It was an ill-conceived law that only weakens Nevarus. And the two of us are going to defy that law. Because, as Magister of Shadow, it is exactly my job to do that.”
“And I?” Tharash asked, wondering what exactly his role was in this mad scheme. For he was seriously starting to doubt the magister’s sanity. Of course, Master Corastes once explained that warlocks inevitably go insane, their minds warped by the madness of their art.
“You are my apprentice. I will teach you the ways of chaos, and together we will break the chains that bind us.”
The magister’s words both terrified and excited Tharash.
“If you are to be my mentor, by what name should I call you?” he asked.
“The Magister of Shadow has no name. However, since that’s quite a mouthful, you may call me Shadow.”
That didn’t exactly reduce his uneasiness.