4 An introduction to mages
Jide stared at Musa in shock while Nnenna looked at him like he was an idiot. Musa just smiled at them waiting for this news to sink in.
Nnenna bravely stated, "Musa there are no mages. It's just stories that Jide reads in books, you know make believe."
"Ha ha ha ahah. And I suppose you know everything and have been everywhere in your many years of experience. Let me tell you something, Nnenna, the amount of things you don't know could fill a library the size of this town." Musa said a tad bit vindictively.
"Now, there is a lot of conflicting history. Some stories say that this is how the world has always been while some stories say the world was different before or has even changed more than once. All I know is about our present world and not the ages that have passed. Mages are humans who have inherited an amazing ability. I will start with the general abilities and then go into the specifics. Generally, all mages are physically superior to regular human beings. They are stronger, faster, keener and live longer. They also heal faster and are usually even smarter when they are in control...I will get to that later. Now to the specifics. Each individual mage has an element they have an affinity, which is not determined by your mageline, that means, it is not hereditary."
Musa paused to grab a book that Jide had never seen before. It was made of exquisite material and was a thick tome that looked prestigious.
"This is the book of my mageline." After Musa said this, the kids were surprised again. "Yes, I am also a mage and my element is darkness. A mage's element gives the mage addition abilities beyond their general stats. For instance, my darkness ability is called dark sight which means I can see clearly even in pitch blackness. However, even if two people have the same elemental affinity, they may or may not have the same ability. For example, people with the fire element could have heat vision, which means being able to see the heat given off, or heat generation, which means their bodies can generate more heat in cold weather or what is called burst, which allows the mage to explode with greater physical abilities for a short amount of time. Finally, two different elements may have similar effects as both the earth and metal element can grant increase sturdiness."
As Musa explained all this, he passed around his mageline tome to Jide to view. Jide took the tome with quivering hands but also excitement as which kid wouldn't want to be special. This feeling was doubly exciting for him being an orphan.
But before Jide could get carried away with his thoughts and while Nnenna was getting a bit jealous but also curious to read the tome, Musa said in a serious voice, "But being a mage, and the effects of the elements, has it risks. Mages have problems controlling their ability... and controlling themselves. For instance before I learned to control my sight I would get splitting headaches in bright light. And...and I still have problems with control hence..." At this, Musa glanced at an empty beer bottle.
The room became very quiet with Jide looking at the tome, Nnenna staring at Musa and Musa watching the empty bottles on the floor.
"Musa, even if I believed everything you just said...why does that have to mean that Jide is a mage. I mean he is not physical stronger than me." Nnenna said, avoiding saying that Jide was weak instead.
"The ability usually manifests when entering your teenage years and that is because that is when you start getting nourished by the elements. It is the nourishment of the elements that provides the improved physical abilities and it differs from element to element and even among elements." Musa responded.
"So what is my ability." Jide finally asked.
"Now, that is a good question. If my guess is correct it is one of the rarest elements and abilities. Your element should be time and your ability is called clairvoyance. You see possibilities of the future. Now what is most important is making sure your vision does not come true or those strangers, whom I suspect are also mages, do not realise what you can do. I think the best thing is for you to pack what is important to you and bring to my house so you can run at a moments notice...I am sorry, my ability is not really for open, upfront confrontations against other mages... so this is the best plan I have."
The two males continued planning while Nnenna, who was sceptical, was advised to be ready as well and if possible get her family to travel.
Back at the inn, as Uncle Emeka was complaining about his nephew not doing his chores for supper, the old man was alone in his room as Nze had gone out to find Danjuma and Osaze. He was dressed only in a wrap around his waste while he did a complex exercise routine as slowly as possible to tense and flex all the muscles in this body.
He was covered in scars from head to toe with a particular scar near his heart that it was a mystery he survived. However, what was most remarkable was that the sweat that formed on this body was reabsorbed.
Much later, when he was done with his exercise, Nze walked into the room.
"Master, I didn't find them but I left a message where we agreed they should start searching the ruin by tomorrow. We will definitely find it this time and then you would make does old men pay."
"Enough, don't talk about them...those old monsters are no easy meat." Nze's master croaked.
"I didn't see that boy." Nze added.
"I know you want to grow our strength as much as possible but we will not need to resort to kidnapping awakening mages. When we find it...people will flock to our banner."
The old man looked up with glee while Nze watched him with worship.
Jide finally returned to the inn just before it closed. At this point, Nnenna had already been home and was talking to her parents, trying to convince them to take a trip with no luck. She was sent up to her room and didn't even notice that the sphere had grown to the size of a babies head. Outside the inn, Musa was a shadow in the darkness, keeping a vigil.
Meanwhile, a gigantic man, who seem to be at home with nature, was squatted on the ground observing a scattering of sticks, leaves and stones that directed him to a note stuck in a tree. After reading it, he returned to his camp to his companion, who was playing with a couple throwing knives.
"It's time to work."