“I hear a child screaming,” I say and the cold that lies within me does not soften up at all.
“You are fae.” The magician does not turn, the words gentle not to wound. “How can you not hear that often though the worlds and all through time? You are old beyond mortal meaning, power beyond mortal weaving yet it is me you bring these words to, each one leavened as a curse?”
“There are laws and rules that govern.”
“And not a one you’ve shared.” He turns and there are shadows hiding deep within his eyes, his destiny in roots digging deep inside his being but if he knows or feels it he does not give a sign of knowing. “There is one night each year I work no magic of my will, not a single touch of wishing, not a single desire needing; only this, remembering a life so strangely lived.”
“You set aside an evening for regrets after the gloaming?”
“For remembering and reliving and if it is allowed a mourning. I brought down my father for those he had destroyed, because our paths were crossed and none other would raise up power. Because the city was his own and no one else could challenge there. But I wander where I’m needed and I’m not without a will. I burned him into ashes for all he had done, for every life he had destroyed to hide from cost and sacrifice.”
“And you expect the dead to forgive?”
“The dead cannot forgive; all I can do is remember them, for he was not the first I killed. Even innocents have died. I was young but I had power and deeper still my pride. And every lesson that tempered me, that tore away each life –.” He turns away them, swift and sharp, to stare up to the sky. “Magic is the power to make the world a poem, but all it has are dreams, and dreams are made of words. There are limits to our doing and prices for each action and I’ve left behind me ruins I can never make amends for.”
“And you think there is any sword that has uses without a blade?” My voice is low and hard, but he barely knows I’m there. For once I feel so naked, no matter the glamour all fae wear.
“So much more than I have wishing of,” he says soft as he knows. “A blade is made for cutting and a sword is meant for slaying and there’s other shapes to magic and other ways of being. It was a long and ugly knowing and there are ghosts I’ve left behind me and all I can do is move forward and so many times it never is enough, so much I have no telling.”
“The dead are only silent, for every ghost that cries,” I say, because some things must be spoken and he weaves a magic still. A magician is a magic and a magic is a calling and everything in him a seeking though he would deny it still.
“And if I cast the magic down, what would be left of me?” He does not turn at all, the words falling like stones. “If I could be that sort of me to drop this burden on another than every ghost that should haunt me should tear me deep and through. All I can do for all I’ve done is continue on my way and find a way to kindness though justice bars the way.”
And to that I have no speaking, and he turns and studies me.
And his eyes are deep and knowing, and I almost seem a seeing but he lets out a deep sigh and bows his head in shame. “A child is crying, as you say, and there are needs out in the world. Needs deep and wild and hungry loss that matters more than this.” He bows them, the magician as a man, and smiles without power, almost soft in his regard. “You shame me to my duty and pull me from reverie. And I may not thank you but I am certain of what you see.”
He turns and walks away, weaving magic for a child. And I gather up my courage, for magicians won’t see ghosts – too many needs they cannot me and maddened with desire – and I face the ghosts that wait behind him and bar their way a while. One night of peace I give him, and know Jay gave him more, and that was a deep reason why he left that boy behind. And I am fae and ancient, a power deep and wild, and there are no tears with him, not for him and none for me.