“What do you mean?”

Suffrn smiled. “The legends say that I never left the cliffs. That I spent my entire life in this hall, trying to master my magics. That much is true. For centuries I tried to discover the secrets of lightning and energy, to unlock them for the greatness they could bestow.

“But it was possible only because of my family. While I wasted away in this range, they would visit me with stories. Of the great balls under the mountains, the trade routes with humans and elves, or a curious tale told by a traveling minstrel. They kept me sustained as much as my own studies. I loved them like no other.”

Suffrn turned away. “Looking back on it, I may have made the wrong decision. When I discovered my last secret, I knew the cost. I would be confined here, trapped in my own spell. It did not seem like such a hard price. But I never again saw my family. Or perhaps they could not see me. But I promised, swore even, that at the first news of my kin, I would grant a boon to the messenger.”

The dwarf smiled. “And my family is alive. Centuries later, we are still strong. Thank you, Bin Tract. Now what is your desire?”

Bin smiled. “To be the greatest mage ever!”

Suffrn bowed his head. The air crackled and sparked. The lights flared and dimmed, and the ghost floated above the ground. “So be it. I shall confer all my power, the knowledge of lightning, upon you. You shall become the greatest lightning mage in an age. This I swear!”

“No thanks.”

Suffrn looked at Bin. “Excuse me?”

“No thank you. I’ll do it on my own.”

The ghost sank to the ground. “But, my vow. Your greatest wish is within my power, young one.”

“Your power,” Bin said. “Not mine. If I become the greatest just because of you, is it really me? Or is it because of you?”

“I understand your reasoning.” Suffrn gave him a pained look. “But I cannot be forsworn. You must allow me to grant you a boon.”

Bin nodded. He scrunched his eyes shut, and thought about it for a moment. How to be a good friend? How?

His eyes snapped open. “Make sure my friends outside are safe? And that I can tell Ona about you?”

Suffrn nodded. “It is done. Anything else?”

“Yup.” Bin reddened. This one was hard to say, it had to be worded carefully. “I know you are a great mage, and I don’t want you to just give me power…”


“But maybe, you could…I don’t know. Help me become better?”

“My help?”

“Yes, please.”

Suffrn smiled. He waved his hand. A portion of the hallway wall fell apart, to reveal a cavern of rock. The ghost pointed at the rocks scattered on the ground. “Pick one.”

Bin did. A small, smooth blue-flecked rock, with a crack like a lightning bolt running through the center.

“My promise is fulfilled, and I may pass on.” Suffrn bowed his head. “Thank you, Bin Tract. May fortune follow you.”

The ghost faded away.


copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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