Bin had heard of the dreaded time of adolescence. When young mages of all races established their hierarchy. They made deals, clung to those with power, and dominated anyone who seemed even the slightest bit subservient. All in the name of social progress.

But the Circle of Bel Haven was not like that, supposedly. Beyond Bin, all of the apprentices were supposed to be mature students of the art of magic. Each individual was hand-picked and groomed for the honor of being at the Circle. They were above petty squabbles, and had long left childhood whimsical feuds behind.

So, when the elf slammed into Bin and sent him tumbling into a hedge, this was a calculated measure in a long war.

Bin bit back a cry. The branches tore at his golden skin, ripping tufts of his hair and poking holes into his clothes. He knew it had to be an elf. No one else in the building was brazen enough to hit him. And not just any elf.

The boy pulled himself out of the hedge, and looked around. Whoever had pushed him had disappeared, run off. One of a dozen faces that stared at the young ogre in confusion. Not the real perpetrator.

Bin’s eyes narrowed, and found Raemillin. The elf mage lounged from the edge of a window, the very picture of a student. Quill in hand, his eyes scanning through a spellbook for a difficult incantation. He mouthed the words, careful not to intone them lest the spell come out. It looked to the world like he was lost in the book.

Bin looked closer, focusing on the lips. Sure enough, even as he spoke, Raemillin smirked, letting Bin know he was behind it all.

That was enough. Bin ran up to Raemillin, and stopped right in front of the elf. “Well? You got something to say for yourself?”

Raemillin marked his place in the book, set both book and quill down, and straightened to fully regard the ogre. He smiled with a slow warmth that seemed more filled with poison than comfort.

“Why, Bin. What happened to you?”

Bin glowered. The last time he and Raemillin had tangled, he had waited until dark to pay the elf back. He had also made a promise.

“You want to do this now?”

The area was not empty. A fact that Bin was well aware of, since no one had said anything to help him. If he was going to get any respect, if anyone was going to leave him alone, he was going to have to make it happen himself.


Ogre and elf turned. A fairy waved his hand, and lighted next to Bin. Dressed in bright purple clothes, his teal skin and bright golden wings sparkled behind his four foot frame.

“Don’t tell me you two are at it again! What, has it been a week already?”

Raemillin darkened. “Nutrose. Where’s your little flock?”

Nutrose smiled, and pointed behind him. “Over there.”

Bin turned around. Five people looked back at them. A dwarf, another fairy, a troll, and two gnomes.

“And we saw everything.” Nutrose said.

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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