The Unspeller and the Book of Days
Every morning for the next two weeks, Aesa met with Bephistoles in the cluttered room. He would
sit on an overstuffed chair that made him feel like a child, his feet barely touching the floor.
On a gray afternoon Bephistoles crouched on a low stool, a piece of glass in his hand that magnified
the words so he could see as he recited the spells.
“Could you say that again, please? I thought you misspoke the last lines of the spell,” the old
As always, the request might have been a reprimand, but it his teacher offered it so gently Aesa could
not feel chastened.
“Yes, sir,” he answered, and recited the spell again.
Bephistoles bent so close to the book he held that he practically touched it with his nose.
“Ah, you said it right,” the enchanter sighed. “I should know this one, of course, but it's been so long
since I've used rudimentary magic…”
The enchanter glanced up at Aesa anxiously, “Not that it isn't important, of course. I didn't mean
“Of course not, sir.”
The enchanter stopped his explanation and raised an eyebrow at his pupil. “Well, perhaps I did.”
“I have to start somewhere.”
“Hmmm. That's true,” the enchanter agreed, and cleared his throat to begin the next section.
After they finished reviewing what he had learned yesterday, Aesa took the small red book that
Bephistoles wanted him to study. It was bound in soft leather, almost silky in his hands. Aesa turned to the
page where he had left off. He read through the spells and eager for more, accidentally finished the book
while the absent-minded enchanter was searching his robes for a better magnifying glass.
When Bephistoles looked up and noticed that Aesa had finished the small book, he sighed and put
the now unnecessary glass on a table.
“I suppose if you already know my lessons there is no reason to learn any more today,” the enchanter
No reason at all, Aesa thought to himself, because if I get it wrong it won't matter. I can't spell
anything that I'm learning.
“I once had a pupil who learned as quickly as you did.”
This piqued Aesa's interest. “Loken?”
“No, it was long ago. A remarkable young man.”
“Did he serve on the Council?”
Bephistoles frowned. “No, he died.”
“In the Black Mountain wars?”
“Ah, no,” the enchanter replied, looking away and stacking books that were already stacked. “It was
rather odd. It shouldn't have happened at all.”
A bell chimed in the distance, signaling the end of the lesson.
“Until tomorrow, then,” the old man said, waving a hand.
The tale of the mysterious young enchanter who showed promise and died would have to wait until
some other time, it seemed. Maybe the old enchanter regretted beginning the story at all.
Aesa stepped out of the stuffy room and began the long trek down the stairs. He made his way
towards the dining hall. The corridors were filling with light gray cloaks and some of the older, darker
cloaked enchanters as well.
Thanks to a gift of a light gray cloak from Bephistoles, Aesa almost felt like any other apprentice. He
wouldn't advance to a darker color, but at least he had one. He liked walking through the halls with his
brothers and Dalynara, the five of them making a wall of differently hued grays.
Loken's cloak was a respectable dark gray—dark enough to stand out among the less experienced