Chapter Two: Bad Eye Talks
“Shadow spirits should know better really.” Bad Eye said. “I was young at the time, so was he in fact actually. See neither of us knew each other until he started studying magic, then I found him particularly interesting.”
“Interesting?” Beol asked.
“Yeah, he’s kinda unlike other wizards. He seemed to care at least, while the others just wanted to be all powerful and devilishly cunning, he just wanted to make flowers grow as a child, then wanted to learn magic to help others rather than cause harm.” Bad Eye said. “Anyway, I followed him in disguise for a while, he was only a boy, maybe eight years old when I knew him. I always knew he had magic in his blood, so I stalked him in hopes of bestowing him some magical properties or knowledge. We’re very well learnt on magic you know, spirits. Don’t take much to cast flames and lightning as me, I’ll tell you that now!”
“Yet a mirror and a bit of dust can be your bane.” Beol said.
“Oi! Don’t get smart, kid, it doesn’t suit you!” Bad Eye hissed. “Well I followed Mori for many years, I even followed him when his parents sent him away to some magic school, a castle somewhere east. He spent many long years there, I followed him and I was his only companion really, not that he even knew I was there! He was a very troubled and lonely boy see, the others thought he was odd, even for a wizard. He had unnatural dreams and troubles, his care for life was beyond anyone, even me. At the death of such a simple creature as a spider or a fly I beheld him weeping like an infant, especially if he saw it die or worse if he had dealt the fatal blow, by accident of course. Its not easy going through life without killing anything, especially for something as big and lumbering as a human. He loved life so much I was flabbergasted! This was truly a man worthy of some power, I thought, with such respect for life and appreciation of it how could he be dulled and shunned so? How could power go to his head?”
“I never knew Mori was so caring. All he seems to care about these days is…” Beol began, before realising he might have insulted Bad Eye’s friend.
“Hah! Don’t worry, you can say it kid!” Bad Eye said. “He cares about himself and his fashion more and more these days, I dunno what went wrong there. I suspect I might have had something to do with it.”
Mori seemed the type of person who was always of that nature; proud, concious of himself and little else or nothing else, and more oft than not concerned in nothing save his own will, even when summoned by king or queen he considered it improper for them to ask him to abandon his work, or else did not regard the invitations at all!
“Yeah, anyway, he was a good kid growing up, but no one much cared for him. The other students of magic paid little attention, then mocked him, eventually he was cast out as a sort of, if you like, runt among them.” Bad Eye said. “But there was a difference, he was better. Much better. While those among them who wanted to be popular and awe inspiring, as well as all-powerful paid little attention to the lessons, Mori would sit silently and listen, taking notes and performing spells almost perfectly on the first attempt. He was brilliant, much better than any of those attention seeking snobs or childish, pretentious arse-holes! He cared, he paid attention, he actually wanted to learn for the benefits of it not just for himself or to feed his ego. Then one day he was being taught by an Elder, I think they said he was a monk.”
“An Elder?” Beol asked.
“Don’t interrupt!” Bad Eye hissed, then backed on his own words. “Wait, don’t tell me you didn’t know about them?” Bad Eye asked, then continued without waiting for the response. “Oh they’re an ancient race, almost extinct now but not quite. Live on Gorse now, most of them. People think they’re all gone, but they aren’t. Anyway, he brought all the boys into a field to give them the lesson. He was an expert when it came to daemons and fiends, and as it happened spirits. One of the lessons he passed on was the capturing of spirits. Well, I wasn’t following Mori that day, I decided to chase some teens and scare them that day, for the fun of it really. How was I supposed to know that the Elder would teach them how to capture spirits, and how was I to know Mori would be so good at it?”
“He captured you?” Beol asked.
“They laced traps and when I smelt that sweet fragrance I had to investigate!” Bad Eye said.
“So, how do you capture a spirit?” Beol asked.
Bad Eye smiled cruelly. “Don’t go getting any ideas! I’m not telling you, Mori will tell you in his own good time, and only when he thinks you’re ready to know.”
“You’ve got to tell me the full story!” Beol insisted.
“I don’t have to do anything. I can disappear from your sight entirely if I please!” Bad Eye said. “Anyway, look, Mori captured me. He caught me in a little glass jar and everyone was impressed. The Elder hadn’t expected anyone to capture anything more than a frog or a few dull spirits, but when Mori presented me the Elder was shocked, so was the headmaster of that school actually. I was presented to the school as a prize in a glass jar, unable to smash it for fear of what the wizards outside would do to me and for knowledge that I’d be captured in a heartbeat afterwards. Only Mori seemed less than impressed with his own accomplishment, he pitied me and wanted me to be free again, not paraded around like some trophy. Eventually the teachers took me and Mori into an empty classroom where they sat him down and told him that I was a dangerous spirit, far too dangerous to be allowed back into the open world and far too dangerous to trust to the hands of a student. They had a choice which they debated among themselves; either to keep me under guard and captured, or else to ‘destroy’ me. Mori pleaded that I be allowed to live, no matter the outcome of my freedom, I hated the wizards then who regarded me as an object to be destroyed while Mori was the only one who considered me a living creature.”
“What was their decision?” Beol asked.
“They debated and rowed for ages, perhaps three months was spent deciding what my fate should be while I was kept in the glass jar which had since been enchanted to prevent my escaping. Then, finally, Mori came and found me. The decision was made that I would be slaughtered at the hands of the Elder magician. Mori and I disagreed with their decision, so he stole the jar and ran. He ran for a long while, well beyond anyone I had ever experienced, and being chased by a handful of angry wizards. Sometimes they caught up with us but Mori was cunning and gave them the slip, he knew that this was not just a thing he was saving, it was a life. He ran and ran until one day he came to Port Yealfalt. It seemed like there was no escape, then Mori brought me into a shop by the waterfront full of old, torn furniture and instruments. Among all those objects, all those weird and shabby old things, was this single golden mirror.” Bad Eye looked down at the golden frame, saddened. “By then the wizards had surrounded the port, there was no escape, but Mori was intelligent and more powerful than many of them combined, even more than they anticipated. He took me out from the jar, made a bargain with me to save my life if I would give him power and abilities to aid others. I was out of choices, there was no means of escaping, so I accepted. The wizard, whether right or wrong, took most of my powers and knowledge which I still provide the strength for, and in exchange for that he imprisoned me in this golden mirror.”
“Surely the other wizards could have taken you out?” Beol asked.
“Not so easily as you may have thought. Even they were unaware of this magic, none of them had taught Mori. I knew as soon as he took my powers he gained something terrible, this selfish nature and this unruly side of him, almost naive and disregarding. The wizards were afraid then, even as perhaps twenty fully trained masters and arch-wizards stood before one of their own students they looked like sheep before a shepherd. One by one I saw them sulk away back towards their school, but of course I knew Mori was not welcome back there.” Bad Eye said. “I was taken here in the mirror, over time Mori added more mirrors and enchanted them so I may move and have more space, but it is never the same, it can never be. All I want is some freedom!”
“But surely they’d hunt you again?” Beol asked.
“I’ve been long forgotten! They don’t care anymore, why would they?” Bad Eye asked. “Now the selfish and dark nature I gave to Mori is keeping me prisoner. Ironic, ey? Its my own vanity and my own selfishness which is imprisoning me.”
“You can’t persuade him to release you?” Beol asked.
“Mori is still in there, but the man now is more proud of his accomplishments and wouldn’t risk it by releasing me.” Bad Eye said. “I hate him, but he is one of my closest and dearest friends too.”
Beol nodded. “Why are you stuck up here though, why not place your mirror in the hall, or the library, or the room downstairs?”
“He couldn’t have me distracting him in the library, the hall’s too draughty and busy, he considered the observatory for a while then the ugly one showed up.” Bad Eye was implying this name belonged to Beol. “For a while he put me in the servants’ quarters until that became too crowded and became more of a storeroom than living quarters. The room downstairs I tried to convince him to put me in, but he refused saying I’d frighten guests.”
“Draughty? Can you even feel a draught through the glass of that mirror?” Beol asked.
“You’ll feel my wrath if you carry on like that!” Bad Eye suddenly turned quite unpleasant and harsh in his tone. “Listen here kiddo, I’ve got a list of people I’m gonna smite when I get out of here, Mori’s nearby the top and I’ll put you on there if you ain’t careful!”
“Alright! Sorry.” Beol said quickly. “I was only asking a question, I’m trying to help you.”
“Bah! This’ the first time you’ve visited me, why would you want to help?” Bad Eye asked. “I bets you’ll start calling me Bad Eye the same as the big fellow does as soon as you walk away, heartless cur!”
“Ginv?” Beol asked.
“No you, you sluggard!” Bad Eye hissed. “The big one calls me Bad Eye but I don’t mind him! At least he visits, you’ll just walk away and come back maybe once in a while, whenever you need information like now!”
“How did you know that?” Beol asked.
“I can see everything from here! Well, nearly everything.” Bad Eye said. “And I can’t see it so say, I just see glimpses and hear things, I can see certain places but can’t move about to see them. I can see all the tower though, and some of Port Yealfalt.”
“That’s impressive.” Beol said in awe.
“Its rotten, imagine seeing everything and not being able to join in or move about.” Bad Eye said. “Now listen here kiddy, the brute calls me Bad Eye because I told him to, the little fella calls me White Face coz I told him to, Mori calls me my name because he has earned the right to know it. Now I told you to call me Spirit, so you call me that to all your friends and me, or you’re going on my list!”
“Alright, Spirit.” Beol said. “I suppose you know my name, if you can see all the tower?”
“Yeah. It’s Ugly.” Bad Eye hissed a terrible cackling laugh like fire spitting embers. “Or room stealer, the observatory would be a nice room to live in. Hey, if I get rid of you, I get to live up there!” he cried as though this had only just occurred to him as an idea.
“How about if I find a way to free you?” Beol suggested.
“I told you, the wizards of a school couldn’t figure it out, what makes you think you’ll be able to?” Bad Eye asked.
“I don’t know. I seem to be good at figuring things out.” Beol stared at the runic shard in his hand.
“Yeah, you using that is impressive I’ll give you that, more powerful than any other Grulf mage I’ve seen.” Bad Eye said. “And I suppose you’d be wanting something in return for this favour, ey?”
Beol had not thought that far ahead. The idea of freeing this creature went against his master’s will, he knew that, but perhaps it would also help Mori more than the wizard knew. Beol was not one for complaining, but this seemed the strangest of his master’s guests and friends, although not the least pleasant by far. At least this one took the time to speak with Beol.
“Well ok, I’ll tell you what then. You free me and I’ll show you how to capture spirits, on the condition you don’t capture me of course, and you free all the spirits you capture!” Bad Eye demanded these conditions more than ask.
“You seem very selfless for a Shadow Spirit, demanding these conditions for other spirits as well. Very well, I’ll agree.” Beol said.
“Great!” Bad Eye said. “Well Ugly, perhaps you’re not as bad as I first thought.”
“How about you stop calling me ‘Ugly’ while I’m trying to help you?” Beol asked.
“No can do, hairy man, deal’s already been struck you can’t change the conditions now.” Bad Eye laughed again. “Well, what are you waiting for, are you gonna go learn how to get me out or not?”
“You can’t rush me.” Beol said. “I haven’t even started learning advanced magic yet! You’re going to be in there for a while longer yet, mystic friend, might as well try to make you more comfortable before I start trying to free you.”
The door of the tower slammed shut almost three days later, hurried feet rushing up the stairs towards the observatory. Beol was sitting at a rough made pine desk reading the tome his master had given him, the desk, like many of the mirror stands in Bad Eye’s room, made by either the wizard himself or Ginv. Suddenly the door of the observatory burst open, Mori throwing the door without a care of how hard it struck the wall behind.
“Beol! I’ve returned.” Mori announced as though this were the most important news. “And I have exciting news for both of us, fantastic news for me actually!”
“Master?” Beol asked meekly.
“I received a summons from the king! He’s asking for an audience with me at his palace in Baerukk Zaew.” Mori announced very pleased with himself. “I haven’t learnt why he’s summoned me, must be for an enchantment on his sword or something, I don’t know. Means I’m going up in the world though, Beol! Not just a wizard in Port Yealfalt tower anymore!”
“That’s good for you, Master.” Beol said.
“Oh its good for you too! I said I’d teach you more advanced magic, can’t do that while I’m away, can I? You’re coming with me.” Mori said.
“That would be very kind of you, Master. Are you sure I wouldn’t be too much burden?” Beol asked politely.
“Burden? What are you talking about. True your a bit troublesome sometimes, but I can cope with that.” Mori said. “Wait here a moment, I’ve got to see about some clothes. We leave at first light, Beol, pack everything you need!”
The wizard rushed out from the chamber, leaving the door wide open. This usually meant he was quick to return, so it was this time.
“Oh, I almost forgot, did you find a spell?” Mori asked.
“I found this one which I thought seemed reasonable.” Beol showed the page to Mori.
“Lightning!” Mori burst quite surprised, then nodded. “That is quite advanced, I thought that book was simpler than to introduce lightning. Lets see.” He stood and read the tome for a minute, pacing up and down the room as he read it. Often when he came nearby to Beol the Grulf caught a whiff of some flowery odour. ‘No doubt some perfume made to entice spirits,’ so Beol thought.
“This is still quite advanced, I’m not sure you’d be able to perform it very soon.” Mori said. “But I’m nothing if not optimistic, I’ll help you try to learn it if you wish.”
Beol liked the idea of lightning more than he liked the idea of fire, it seemed less useful but somehow more powerful and instant. Mori read the book again, then handed it back to Beol.
“Have another look and see if there are any others, but if you’re sure we’ll try it.” Mori said. “Honestly I’m impressed you found one so challenging and I’m impressed you found any at all, considering how much time you spent disobeying me and wandering. Bad Eye is a good spirit, but don’t trust everything he says.”
Beol leapt to his feet to defend himself, but by that time the wizard had slammed the door of the observatory, himself on the other side. He stood astonished for a moment; had Bad Eye himself admitted to Beol’s visit? Surely the spirit would not have shared the information that Beol plotted to free him? Beol did not wonder over the matter for too long, as Mori himself did not seem too concerned. The call of the capital lured Beol to start packing, the promise of learning more advanced magic even greater in his heart.