Under the Shadow of Night

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Chapter 29

Xanenax found Knel alone at the back of the apartment compound. Her eyes burned into his with scorn.

“He won’t survive if you encourage this delusion,” Knel said as Xanenax approached her.

“It is his choice to make,” Xanenax replied calmly.

All choice will be taken away if Kira’thaz wins.”

Xanenax walked closer and embraced her. “I made a promise to him. I have vowed to help him, however I can. It is the only thing I can do for him. His ideals are unrealistic, but do not doubt his sincerity.”

“I don’t doubt his sincerity,” Knel said, pushing herself out of Xanenax’s arms, rubbing her temple with her hands as she walked away from Xanenax. She stood still for a few moments. “You are both blindly idealistic and it will get you both killed.”

“If it does, we will die with the peace of conviction. But that doesn’t mean you have to die because of our determination.”

Knel sighed and shook her head, her back still turned to Xanenax. “More like stubbornness. And sheer stupidity. I told you, I am coming with you.”

“I won’t-”

“You are so impossibly stupid,” Knel snapped as she spun around and stormed up to Xanenax. “I love you. We are going to fight together, and if need be, die together. Fucking accept that,” she demanded as she slapped Xanenax’s face with one hand and walked past him.

Xanenax grabbed her around the waist before she could make it past him and pulled her in close. “I know. I’m sorry. I’m… terrified.”

Knel sighed and tutted wearily, “I thought you weren’t afraid to die for your ideals.”

“That’s not what scares me,” Xanenax said, lifting her face gently with his hand. “You… terrify me. Loving you terrifies me. Being loved by you terrifies me. But losing you terrifies me most. You… are everything I don’t deserve... I love you, but-”

Knel lifted her finger to Xanenax mouth to silence him and smiled gently. “I know,” she whispered. “It’s alright. We are together, and that’s what matters.”

“...Thank you,” Xanenax said, pulling her close to him again.

“You are such an idiot,” she chided lovingly, her voice muffled as she buried her face into his chest. “Do we acquiesce to the fool’s wishes?”

“I believe in you,” Xanenax replied, pulling Knel back to look into her eyes. “Have faith in yourself.”

“Easier said than done when you are asked to do the impossible,” Knel sighed as she began walking back to Eron’s room. 



“How can I move something with my mind?” I ask Knel as she enters ahead of Xanenax. “I’ve been trying to make my staff move, but it won’t even speak to me, now.”

“Speak to you?” Xanenax asks, perplexed. “You don’t need to have a conversation with it.”

“Well, how else am I supposed to do magick? I can’t just force it with my mind.”

Knel’s face shifts to an expression of understanding as she raises her hand over the staff, and the weapon flies rapidly to her outstretched hand.

I stare with my mouth agape, confused and a little pissed off. “How did you do that?”

“You must tell the weapon what it must do with finality, with utter knowing,” Knel explains. “It is beyond a question of whether or not you can do it; only a matter of what it is you want.”

“Well, how do you know if it’s the right thing to want?”

“How, indeed,” Xanenax replies, smiling.

My frustration returns with a vengeance. “How do I get the staff from the ground to my hand?”

“Tell it,” Knel answers

I frown, grit my teeth in frustration, and summon the staff to my hand with my mind. The staff immediately complies, flying in an arc out from Knel’s relaxed grip into my own outstretched hand. “...What?”

“When you were trying before we came in, what did you ask the staff to do?”

“To go up.”

“What is ‘up’ to a staff?”

I am silent for a moment. The question is odd. I can’t wrap my brain around it. 

“What did you ask the staff this time?” Knel prompts.

“To come to my hand.”

“A weapon knows the hand that wields it, Eron, as well as the enemies of the one who wields it. When you work magick, you must be aware of who you are and how you relate to what you are interacting with, even in how you think and communicate.”

I am too shocked to speak at first. “Like when I tried to use ‘Luxa’, a word that had no meaning for me. ‘Up’ has no meaning to the staff. So… I have to speak the staff’s language, in a way that makes sense to it.”

“With knowing intent,” Knel affirms.

I tell the staff to arc around my body, simultaneously acting as a shield and telekinetic weapon, just for practice.

The weapon shoots out of my hand in a spinning arc that rapidly degenerates, breaking out of its unsteady path and rushing toward Knel. As it approaches within inches of her, she catches it barehanded.

Knel’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise. “That was… creative, but a little outside your skill set. I think this may help in specific situations, but I fear you will have too little time to practice for it to be of much use,” she adds as she hands the staff back to me.

David Rauenzahn

Edited: 29.07.2019

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