Black Rising By: Kevin Adams & Steve Bolin


Black Rising
Chapter 2 – Part 1
By: Kevin Adams & Steve Bolin

“Are there any other questions before I begin? No? Very well then. I ask everyone to respect our elders, allow me to perform their interviews first. Let’s begin by forming in rows of ten.”

The elderly, bald man, who’d asked the one and only question, grinned at the request. He seemed unaccustomed to such preferential treatment. Merik returned the smile and moved to sit behind a desk he’d ordered set up on the stone-lined courtyard. He opened a book in front of him and dipped his feather pen in a small vial of ink.

He motioned for the bald man to step forward. “State your name and place of residence.”

The man gave it and Merik wrote the information down in his book using a unique writing system. Merik asked about experience concerning herbs and healing. He was especially interested in whether the man had heard of or used the Source in any way. If not, would he be willing to try manipulating this Source for purely benevolent healings and enchantments? Last, but not least, he asked the man for a strand of hair.

The man plucked a white hair from his chest, making some small joke about his hair growing everywhere but on his head. Merik held the old man’s hand and looked at the hair in his palm as though seeing some invisible play being acted out.

Merik dismissed him and wrote a few stenographic symbols in the book. He thanked the old man for coming and said a messenger would be sent to his residence if he were chosen. The old man seemed satisfied and thanked Merik for his consideration. Without further comments or questions, the bald-headed elder left the courtyard.

* * *

By early evening, Merik had finished the interview process. The task had taken longer than anticipated because some of the candidates were especially promising. A messenger was sent to notify the selected candidates and within the hour, the chosen ones arrived to formally accept their appointed position.

The chosen apprentices followed him into the castle and down a long flight of stairs. They walked through a large laboratory and into a connecting office. Returned from the courtyard, the desk stood in the office with Merik seated behind it. An open book lay before him.

He leafed through the numerous, handwritten pages, and copied the names of those standing before him on a separate sheet of parchment. Afterwards, he decided to save the album. Another name may yet be needed should one of these apprentices fail to complete the course. He sat the interview ledger on a nearby shelf, between two other thick books entitled “Metallurgy” and “Weapons & Armor.”

When Merik looked back at his chosen group, one of them, a young man of twenty, raised his hand. “Lord Merik, may I ask a question?”

“Of course, Son, you may ask anything you wish. However, I insist that you not refer to me as Lord, for I am a mere man such as yourself – no better, no worse. Instead, you may call me, ‘Master Wizard.’ For that is what I am, a White Wizard such as you will be when your training is complete. Now then, remind me of your name and ask whatever you wish.”

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