Jeremy, 43

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Lots of tea!!!
Jeremy, 43 of Vancouver, British Columbia,  dating

Spotted on these apps:

  • Other
0 0 votes
Resembles Photos
0 0 votes
Hygiene
0 0 votes
Intelligence
0 0 votes
Ease of Conversation
0 0 votes
First Date Quality
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
14 Reviews
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Anonymous
Anonymous
1 month ago

Just looking at him, I know enough. Stay away ladies!!!! LOSSSER!!!!!!

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 months ago

I’ve heard that this man date rapes a man at one of vancouvers gay bars, kind of like a modern day Jeffery dahmer

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 months ago

Is it just me or does he look exactly like Brad pit, if Brad pit looked like this guy.. wild

Kendrah
Kendrah
3 months ago

Eats pieces of shit for breakfast.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 months ago

Had rats living in his bed and refused to wear a condom. His mom lives in the room next to him and he’s stealing from his sisters. Got fired from his job as a nurse for stealing. Total narcissist abuser, horrible person.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Can you PLEASE JOIN a facebook group called cheatchat and let the females know in that group also!!! This is important.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 months ago

Killed my cat narcissist

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 month ago
Reply to  Anonymous

The room was just large enough to be intimidating without being impractical. The walls were perfectly smooth despite being the natural stone of the cavern, and apart from the door we’d entered through, the only other exits were several doors along the back wall, all guarded. The floor was tiled in an elaborate mosaic of swirling black and white patterns that looked kind of like runes, but not quite. The room was mostly empty, barring a long table almost cutting off the back quarter of the room. Said back quarter was raised significantly higher than the rest of the room, so that anyone sitting behind it would look down on the people in the middle of the room.

Behind the table were nine chairs, seven of them already occupied. Alania and the strange man left us to take up the remaining positions. There was no furniture for Kylie or myself, so we just stood kind of awkwardly in the middle of the room.

The man sitting in the very centre of the table stood up. He had long, greying hair, wore pitch dark robes, and his eyes were completely cold. “Kylie,” he said. “The High Council wishes to inform you – ”

Behind us, the door opened. The man looked up, startled.

“Sorry I’m late!” panted Fiore, pushing his hair back with one hand and trying not to drop Socks with the other. “Wow, this meeting really was sudden, wasn’t it? It’s almost as if someone didn’t want people to make it here.”

The man who had come to get us narrowed his eyes. “Lord Fiore of Madja – ”

“That’s the Fiore to you, Lord Solus; Lord Madja was my father. Apologies for the interruption, Grand Master.”

The man in black (the Grand Master, I assumed), cleared his throat, but before he could speak, Lord Solus cut in. “The Fiore was not summoned to this meeting.”

Advertisement

“And yet my student is here. As Mr James’ surveyanto – ”

“Mr James was also not summoned,” Lord Solus snapped. “We can’t bar a familiar access to his mage, but he is not the subject of this meeting, and you have no claim to be here.”

“He’s my witness,” Alania said quickly. “Under article 7 of the supervisory agreement, any Council member is entitled up to two civillian witnesses to any gathering. The Fiore is mine.”

“You’ve never brought one before.”

“I have today.”

“Miratova has that right,” the Grand Master said. “Now, if we may begin? Kylie, you have been summoned to this meeting to inform you of a decision reached by this Council, over the matter of an ownership dispute over the spell known as the Faith of Fionnrath. The Council has elected to honour the town of Fionnrath’s claim over their ancestral spell, and comply with demands that you be released from your contract with Skolala Refujeyo. You will be held by your contract until the end of next semester, after which you will be free from your obligations to us.”

Seven months. Seven months before we had to leave the school.

Kylie gripped my arm hard enough to leave bruises.

“Hang on,” I said. “What? Why?”

“Refujeyo respects our sister nations and their traditions. Fionnrath has long – ”

“Don’t give me that bullshit. A mage’s spell doesn’t belong to any organisation. If a spell’s inside someone, it belongs to that person – that’s your law!”

“Yes. It is. However, Fionnrath have successfully argued that the Faith was not acquired at Refujeyo. Australia has no standing on spell ownership; Fionnrath’s claim is as valid as ours.”

“Yeah, well, if yours isn’t valid then neither is theirs! Kylie didn’t obtain her spell in Fionnrath either!”

“And if she wishes to dispute their claim, then she is free to do so. But we are withdrawing from the affair. There has been enough conflict over this already, including a death.”

“That woman tried to kill Kylie! And now you’re throwing her to – ”

“To clarify,” Fiore cut in before I could say something I’d probably regret, “this school is caving to foreign demands to release one of our students, under our protection, in the face of all precedent?”

“As opposed to asking Fionnrath to release their ancestral spell in the face of their precedents? Yes.”

“You’re granting them an extradition treaty.”

“Yes.”

“And what facile excuse are you using to expel my student without cause? You can hide getting rid of the girl under the guise of political expedience, but no foreign claims have been made for Kayden’s spell.”

“Kayden James is under contract with us.”

“He’s her familiar! He has to go with her!”

“That is his choice. If Mr James chooses to follow his mage to Fionnrath, the school will make accommodations for him to do so. But it is his choice to leave. We aren’t forcing him.”

Advertisement

“Choice?! He’s her familiar! If he has a place in this school, then by ancient right, so does she.”

“Incorrect,” Lord Solus said, a touch smugly. “Mr James has every right to go where Ms Kylie does. Ms Kylie does not have equal access to Mr James. There’s no precedent for such a thing.”

“Because there is no legal precedent for both parties being human. But in this case – ”

“In this case, the school is willing to work with Mr James’ unique circumstances and provide him with transport and off-campus support, should he choose to accompany his mage to Fionnrath,” the Grand Master said firmly.

“This is expulsion with extra steps,” Fiore grumbled.

But I had an idea. “I’ve been offered an apprenticeship by Malas,” I said. “I’m going to take it. And he can’t leave campus, meaning I have to stay, meaning Kylie has to stay.”

“I am sure that your master will be happy to provide you with the transport between Refujeyo and Fionnrath that would be necessary for you to complete your duties,” the Grand Master said.

Dammit. It was worth a try.

“I won’t go,” Kylie said. My arm was starting to go numb under her grip, and her magic skittered along my spine. “You can’t make me.”

“In fact, we can.”

“What’s all this even about?” I asked. “Kylie has a powerful spell! Isn’t that supposed to be really important to you guys?”

“Not when there are political implications,” Fiore cut in drily. “And perhaps a politically contentious spell isn’t as important as safeguarding the future of someone’s favoured protege, hmm? I thought better of you, Alania. The prophet is your responsibility, too.”

Alania’s voice was tight. “If you think for one moment that I support any part of this decision, Fiore, you have woefully misunderstood the situation.”

“Wait,” I said, “is this about Max?”

The Council Masters hesitated.

A woman at the end spoke up. “The Nonus Acanthos’ future is his own affair, although his decision to kill a Fionnrath woman – ”

“She was trying to murder one of your students!”

“ – is unhelpful. But the issue here is Fionnrath’s claim on their ancestral spell. Legally, only Kylie’s status here is under ques – ”

“Oh, bullshit!” I went to stride forward, but I didn’t have much of a range of motion with Kylie gripping my arm like a limpet. “If this is some stupid, misguided attempt to stop Max from doing dangerous shit, then I can guarantee that suddenly taking away his best friends absolutely isn’t going to help! I’m sorry if you think us poor outsider witch kids are a bad influence on your precious baby legacy mage, but I guarantee this isn’t going to make him settle down and focus on becoming a good little politician.”

“Maximillian Acanthos’ schooling is not the issue here,” the Grand Master said sharply. “Neither his contract with the school nor yours is affected. The only legal issue in question is Kylie Nic Fionnrath’s contract, and that issue has been decided.”

The magic was starting to itch my teeth. At this rate, Kylie could start casting at any moment out of sheer distress. “Well, undecide it!” I snapped. “You were supposed to teach and protect us. We went through the Initiation, we have the right to be here. I’m happy to play ball while you hold up your end of the bargain, but throwing us out like this with some flimsy justification that has nothing to do with us? No. If you won’t protect us, we have no reason to protect you.”

Silence, for several seconds.

“Please,” Lord Solus said, “Elaborate.”

“How would you like the whole world to know about how curses and spells are the same thing? About how the only difference between one of your oh-so-sophisticated mages, and some kid’s curse melting their family’s faces, is money? PR is important right now, right? I’d imagine that the new legislation in Australia is something you’re trying to spread to other countries, too. How hard do you want that job to be?”

One of the Masters cleared their throat. “A minor PR problem – ”

“How would you like the world to know that you’re so embarrassed about this little detail that you’re mind controlling the entire student body to keep it a secret?”

The silence stretched longer this time.

Eventually, the Grand Master said, “One of the things a student agrees to upon accepting their education is to keep their master’s secrets. We will forgive this outburst based on the assumption that you didn’t know, but you agreed not to announce these things when you entered the Initiation. You are threatening to break an ancient and solemn contract, Mr James.”

“You’re threatening to break your contract with Kylie.”

“In fact we are not. We intend to legally annul Kylie’s contract. You’re suggesting treason.”

“Oh, semantic – ”

“How would you even get anybody to believe you?” Lord Solus cut in. “You think you can just announce this to the world’s media and that they’ll take it remotely seriously?”

“We have proof,” I said. “Testimonies. Evidence. I’ve had some friends collect it and put it aside, just in case. It’s all ready to go. I don’t want it to, but if you’re going to force our hand, we’ll do it. We’ll make sure the world knows. I’m sure you’ll recover from such a PR slip up, but ask yourselves – is that more or less convenient than simply honouring Kylie’s contract?”

“The rules and laws that you threaten to violate – ”

“You think some stupid spooky ancient law is going to stop me? I don’t give a shit!”

This silence stretched longer than any of the previous ones. And for a moment, just a moment, I thought I’d won.

Then I saw that Alania had slumped forward, her head in her hands. “Oh, Kayden. You really, really shouldn’t have said that.”

Lord Solus rubbed his hands together, triumphant. “Well, then. Is anybody going to argue that that was a clear confession of treason, under the Law of Intent?”

Fiore stepped forward. He looked afraid. I don’t think I’d ever seen him look afraid. “No damages have taken place,” he said, “and an emotional outburst hardly counts as a declaration of intentional lawbreaking. A teenager made a statement in the heat of the moment. You have no evidence of intent.”

“The heat of the moment?” one of the other Masters asked. “He did just declare that he’s had friends gather what they need to violate the secrecy clause and set it all up for a reveal. That sounds pretty premeditated to me.”

“You have no evidence that he was telling the truth,” Fiore said. “That was just an empty threat.”

“Quite correct,” Lord Solus said. “Given a confession and no evidence, the responsible step is to use that confession to go and find some, wouldn’t you agree? We’d have to verify that such activities really did take place. Have a proper trial, perhaps. We’d have to thoroughly investigate Li Hua, and Talbot Ericson, and Cheryl Castor, and put them on trial for any evidence of treason we found. That would be the responsible thing to do, if Mr James and Ms Kylie were to insist on more evidence, would it not?”

Fiore nodded. “It absolutely would – ”

“No,” I cut in. “They don’t have anything to do with this.”

“Well then,” Lord Solus said, leaning back.

“Any objection to summary conviction?” the Grand Master asked.

I glanced at Alania. She sat still, glaring into the middle distance, jaw clenched. It was hard to be certain at that distance, but were ice crystals forming in her hair? Her spell certainly looked a little more visible than usual, with some kind of light vapour or something coalescing around its form on her shoulder.

But she didn’t object.

Fiore stepped further forward. “If you lay one finger on him – ”

“Oh, stop being so dramatic, Madja,” growled the Grand Master, glaring down from his higher-than-necessary judgement table, swathed in pitch black robes. “Both of these students are, as of yet, still under our protection. The usual sentencing for things like this is to protect a student from the consequences of their own decisions.”

“What do you – ?”

“Guards, have somebody track down the Voice.”

For a moment, it looked like Fiore was going to step protectively in front of us. He seemed to think better of it, and put a hand on my shoulder. “There’s nothing to worry about,” he murmured, sounding extremely worried.

“He’s waiting in the other room,” Lord Solus said.

“He’s waiting?” Alania rounded on him. “You summoned him in advance? You set them up!”

“I came prepared for a likely scenario. I didn’t set anybody up. Mr James made his own decisions.”

“Of all the stupid, dirty tricks, you cursed, mudsucking – ”

“This is a Council meeting!” the Grand Master bellowed, and everyone sat up straight and put their solemn faces on. “Now. The Voice?”

One of the doors behind the table opened. I tried my best to look calm and composed, as I prepared to meet the Voice.

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 months ago

Legally still Married – two kids, was determined to have me for the past 6 months showered me in gifts and txt 24/7. One of his other girlfriends called with a photo of her in lingerie and hearts beside her name while I was naked on top of him.

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

You sound like a desperate slut.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

He made his wife film him penetrating himself with a broom stick, total nut job narcissist

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 month ago
Reply to  Anonymous

I’d been nearly paralysed after turning my body into a charter bus for a bunch of magic spells, but in the five years since that day I had mostly recovered. Mostly. My hands were steady and my body did what I wanted it to, except when it didn’t, with muscles occasionally spasming or relaxing without warning. My recovery had plateaued about six months ago, and the doctors had warned me that this was probably about as good as it was going to get, but my physio wanted me to keep up with the exercises, just in case. I did so. I’d already accepted that it was too dangerous for me to ever climb again, but if I was lucky, I might eventually recover enough to be able to whip up a complex potion without breaking something important mid-brew.

In the driver’s seat, Magistus – Eugene, I reminded myself, he’d finally dropped that stupid family name a few months ago after years of it being inappropriate – steered the jeep one-handed, leaning out of the window to glance briefly at the sky.

“There’s nothing up there,” I told him. “Nobody’s going to drone strike us.”

“Gertie thinks there might be trouble.”

“Gertrude is paranoid. It’s her job to be paranoid; Sekura Refujeyo would’ve discovered her years ago if she wasn’t. We’re close enough to Duniyasar that there are definitely prophets watching us. Nobody’s going to try anything where they can see.” I took a gulp of water. “Anyway, if there were assassins out there looking for revenge against me personally, they could’ve gotten me at any one of the many, many isolated locations I’ve been wandering around alone over the years.”

Advertisement

“They’re just scared that if they didn’t get us both, they’d have to face me,” he said, grinning and flexing an arm. “The world’s sexiest fierce protector.”

“Oh, please. You have the muscles, but I’ve got the exotic tattoos.” I rubbed a hand up my arm. I’d developed a deep tan over the years, and the runes that had been laid in my skin in the Lake of Inquisition stood out white, like a geometric lace coating my whole body.

I felt a familiar force pressing at my mind. The Eye of Duniyasar. I let her in.

Saina didn’t distract us with conversation, but as we drove up to Duniyasar she was out the front, waiting. If I couldn’t see through her eyes, I wouldn’t have been able to pick her out of the crowd of people swarming the place. Duniyasar itself was clean and maintained, the windows and the glass dome at the top long since replaced, and surrounded by temporary portable buildings and storage sheds. Eugene pulled into one of the designated car park areas and I stepped out and practically into Saina’s embrace.

She pulled me into a hungry kiss and then pulled back, running her hand through my hair. I ran my fingers over her shoulder, down her arm, over her growing belly.

“So,” I said. “This is the little one.”

“All healthy and growing,” she said. “He’s going to be born into an exciting time.”

“And he’ll probably never forgive us for that. How is the exciting time going? I’ve been somewhat isolated in random African villages for the past few months.”

Saina sighed and rubbed at her arm stump, a nervous habit. “The same. Our revolutionaries are still chomping at the bit for me to properly depose my mother and dissolve the government of Refujeyo, apparently under the delusion that a monarchy that rules by right of magical inheritance would somehow be a good thing to establish in this day and age. Refujeyo supporters are still yelling at my mother to convict me as a criminal and have my property seized, so that they can rebuild on and under Duniyasar without being beholden to my influence, apparently under the impression that they have any hope of rebuilding anything useful without the support of my people and the other mage societies around the world that we’ve re-established traditional relations with. The legacy mages are trying desperately to pretend that Refujeyo is still the magical world power in any respect except for sheer population size and playing their little political games with each other, but very carefully, so they don’t actually start anything that would force them to confront how weak they are. The other eighty per cent of us are trying to just keep things moving along in a way that doesn’t start any wars, and some idiot has once again suggested that we blame Refujeyo’s collapse on Fionnrath and declare war, like that wouldn’t be a waste of time and lives and turn basically all of the other mage societies against us in a time of great vulnerability.”

“Oh, so exactly the same, then.”

“Well, someone’s floated the idea that mum should resign and I should be voted in as High Crone to unite the remnants of Refujeyo’s structure with our traditionalists into a single, unified front. Mum and I both think it’s a bad idea. Firstly, because there’s enough people who hate me that even a very weighted election might fail, and secondly because even if it did work, it’d just anger both groups. Supporters of the old Refujeyo system would see it as a coup, and my traditionalists would see it as a milquetoast half-measure, their destined leader pandering to the regime that they were supposed to dissolve. At this stage I think the plan is to just keep avoiding war and building shelters until the fringe members on both sides get tired.”

Advertisement

“Well, the place is still standing, so you’re doing better than I could,” I said.

“How long do we have you, this time?”

“Well, I just got here, I don’t have my marching orders yet. But knowing how things have been going lately, probably… a few days, before I have to hit the road again?”

She pouted. “You’ve been gone for two months, and we only get a few days?”

“Critical time. Ask your mage scientists about it. I’m just the messenger.”

“Well, you’re having dinner with us tonight. Hammond’s promised to wear that blue vest you bought him.”

“I love that blue vest. He looks so great in it.”

“Oh, I know you do.”

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear you two were trying to make me forget my mission and stay longer.”

“Oh, love, we know that your work is too important for that.” She gave my arm a squeeze. “We just want to make absolutely sure that you remember to come back home.”

“As if I could ever forget.” I kissed her hand. “Until dinner, my lady.”

“I’ll be waiting.”

I walked away, making not for the giant stone temple but for one of the arches surrounding it. Several of them had been set to keep their own single, specific portals open to specific locations, mostly so that everyone knew where to go to get anywhere. I stepped through an archway and into a cave network.

This area was a restricted one, but the guards didn’t stop me. The lattice of runes covering my entire body made me very recognisable, and it was rare that I was asked for ID in places like this. I walked down a narrow hall, pausing only once to lean on a wall while my left leg decided to stop working properly for a few seconds, and turned into a large room full of lab tables and scientists working very hard.

“What have you got for me, Q?” I asked the man nearest the door, who was overlooking his assistants with an air of authority.

Di Fiore sighed. “No matter how many times you say that line, I’m never going to refer to you as 007.”

“That’s because you, unlike me, are not funny.”

“Anyway, even if I did play along, you wouldn’t be Bond. I make gadgets for the delvers, not you; they’d be the secret agents in your metaphor.”

“You made my extractor. And you make the spell traps.”

“The spell traps are for the delvers. You take them when they’re full. So that makes you a Secret Service garbage man. And yes, I have a garbage bin ready for pick up.” He handed me a small box full of small spheres, like little glass beads, each faintly glowing a different colour.

The spell traps were an ingenious device created for the temporary storage of spells. Based on Max’s research into magic entrapment and release, and Miratova’s ichor preservation experiments, they were incredibly weak enchantments that could hold onto a trapped spell for about six months to a year at most, unless a more tempting host (such as a compatible human) came along. They were easy enough to reproduce, but had basically no use outside of Refujeyo.

Inside it, they had one use.

I dipped my hand into the box and swirled the beads around. The lights in them died as the spells jumped into my fingers, into the magic trap that was my body. It was only a hundred or so spells; no burden at all. I could barely notice that they were there.

“And where are these going?” I asked.

“Let me double check.” He turned to a desk with a large paper map laid out on it, a map that was only recognisable as a map of the world if you weren’t too attached to the concept of distance being absolute in three-dimensional space, and donned a pair of gloves. He opened a small drawer in the edge of the table, and carefully, reverently, retrieved the single item from within its velvet-lined depths.

The item was a silver compass, its arms etched with runes. Di Fiore took a few measurements, nodded to himself, and then carefully put it away again.

“Oh, you’ll like this. We have a magic deficit in Australia.”

I perked up. “Anywhere in particular?”

“You can drop them off anywhere in Australia that you like.”

So I’d have a chance to visit both Melissa and Kylie. Fantastic.

“Great,” I said. “I’m off, then.”

“If you die out there, try not to let it be in a boring way,” di Fiore said, turning back to his work.

I continued down the corridor, stopping outside a large room where a lean blonde woman was pacing in front of a line of nervous-looking people sporting backpacks. The oldest of them looked to be in their fifties; most were a lot younger, starting at fourteen.

“For those of you about to delve into the dungeon for the first time, I warn you; it’s a mess down there. Any coherency that those runic hallways once had has been lost, and now it’s just a bunch of collapsed tunnels in a bog of dream logic. From the moment you go down there to the moment you come back up, you are not safe. Remember; your goal is not to delve the deepest, or have the coolest story when you get back. Your job is to collect spells.” She held up a small jar of spell traps. “You each have three of these. Do not ask for more. Anyone who’s trying to trap more than three spells for trip has a death wish, and frankly if you’re making a habit of trapping more than one then you’re too reckless to last long in this job. Now, as you know, spells are dumb as shit and you’ll usually have to use force, but you can trick or negotiate with some of the bigger amalgams to give you a piece of themselves. If you see some big creepy amalgamation of spells, don’t swagger up to it looking for a ‘big score’. I’m sure everyone wants a cool heroic story to tell, but in this job, a spell is a spell. If doesn’t matter if you beat an imaginary dragon in a riddle contest for one of his scales or easily skimmed it off the top of a lake of your own sad memories and moved on without trouble; they’re both spells. So don’t take stupid risks and please, stick together.”

The group filed out through a back door. The woman turned to see me, and her face split into a wide grin. “Kayden!”

“Hiya, Chelsea. New recruits?”

“Most of them.”

“A lot of kids.”

“I know! Half of the legacy mages have taken to adopting witches to continue their line, but the other half seem to have this ingenious idea that because in their day people were marched into a giant vortex of magic until they came out with a spell, their kids should do the same. And it doesn’t matter how many times you tell them that dungeon delving isn’t safe and that the dungeon is an undirected soup of spells and broken tunnels and not a carefully managed stage for exposing people to spells as safely as possible, they all think that their child is special and will come out with a shiny new spell and be their family mage for the next generation.” She scowled. “And then of course the kid, who has been sent here not to do a dungeon delver’s job of trapping spells for release but in the hopes they’ll get one caught in their own body, takes stupid risks in the hope of making this happen, and delves too long or too deep or too far from the group and we have to send in a rescue party. And it doesn’t matter how many times we campaign to try to get the minimum delving age raised to eighteen, your insane society has fourteen as the traditional age of majority for some stupid reason, so this is going to keep happening.”

“To be fair, I didn’t make good decisions at eighteen, either. And neither did you, clearly, since you came here to do this.”

“We’re outliers. Anyway, who wouldn’t want to do this? I can’t believe that Melissa actually went to boring nonmagical medical school.”

I shrugged. “My friend Mae is a ‘stick it to the man’ revolutionary fire mage. After the collapse she went to a nemaganti school to study accounting. Some people are weird.”

“Unlike us normal people, who spend out lives trapping spells in magical dungeons or carrying them to remote parts of the world.”

“Exactly. I’m still not sure why you call it a ‘dungeon’, though.”

Chelsea shrugged. “I didn’t come up with it. Whenever I ask, someone makes a nerd reference. It’s never the same reference.”

“In my day we called it the Labyrinth of Dreams and we liked it.”

“In your day it was an actual labyrinth instead of a bog of pure magic. And I can guarantee that if we went around calling it the Labyrinth of Dreams, we’d get three times as many reckless idiots thinking that a jaunt through there in search of a spell would be a good time.”

“Good point.”

“Alania’s here for a conference, by the way.”

“… Oh. Well, I won’t be sticking around long, so…”

“You’ve been avoiding her for five years. You’re going to have to talk to her eventually.”

“Chelsea, I lied to her for years, went behind her back, and killed her oldest friend while breaking her world. What am I supposed to say to her?”

“I don’t know, but do you think it’s going to get any easier to say if you keep putting it off?”

“Good point,” I said, but I had no intention of talking to Alania. I’d give her a wide berth, she wouldn’t try to track me down, and in a few days, we’d both be gone again.

“Oh, and someone told me to send you to the top of the tower when you get here.”

“Someone…?”

“A surprise.” She grinned.

“Not Alania?”

“No, not Alania.”

I made my way out of the caves, back outside, and then to Duniyasar itself. I brushed past old rooms that had once been silent and crumbling, now refurbished and housing student prophets and apprentices. The well in the centre of the room was in good repair, its traditional mirrored dome replaced and bouncing feeble sunlight from high above around the room, with bars welded over the well mouth so that nobody tried anything dumb like climbing in.

As I ascended the tower, I recalled the first time I’d done it. Kylie and I had been brought here by a portal accident, with no idea where we were or why, and the tower had been lifeless, just level upon level of rooms with bits of abandoned furniture hinting at their purpose. This time, hints weren’t needed; every level was filled with students working, learning, reading. The tapestries that hung on the staircase, concealing the second hidden staircase below, were bright and clean, the library was well stocked, the air was full of voices.

And at the very top, under that glass dome, stood two people looking out over the Sahara desert; a young woman, and an adolescent boy. The boy I didn’t know, but I recognised the woman’s back immediately.

“Kylie? What are you doing here?”

She turned rushed over to give me a hug. The wounds of our last adventure here didn’t show as plainly on her skin as on mine; the scar on her face was far from invisible, but it wasn’t stark, and it was impossible to tell that her eye was glass. “I missed you,” she said.

“Me, too. But why are you here?”

“To see you. Well, to see a lot of people, but we stuck around until you arrived. It’s a magical matter. Kayden, this is my nephew, Owen.”

Owen gave me a solemn nod. “Pleased to meet you, sir,” he said.

“Kayden,” I insisted automatically. (When you’re The Guy Who Broke Refujeyo and you’re going around the world with your very distinctive markings dropping the gift of magic in various locations, you get called ‘sir’ a lot. It was better than ‘that fucking terrorist bastard’, but I still preferred my name.) “It’s nice to meet you too, Owen.”

“Owen wants to be your apprentice.”

I opened my mouth. Closed it again. Now that was a request out of fucking nowhere, especially since I didn’t even know this kid.

“Owen,” I said, “I’m not a mage.”

“You can do magic.”

“Not my own magic. Potions and runes, sure, but I’ve got… these runes throughout my body, they prevent any spell from being active in me. Ever. And while I can carry and release spells, I can’t give them to other people. It’s the spell’s choice. Being my apprentice won’t make you a mage. Starting school at Refujeyo would be better for – ”

“I know.” He crossed his arms. “I don’t want to be a mage. I want to learn magic.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Auntie has taught me a lot about her time as a mage. And, and I’ve read a lot of books, and found other mages to talk to, and… this place. This place took magic, from everywhere, and made it work together, and got everyone to work together, and achieved amazing things. But… magic has existed everywhere, long before Refujeyo existed, and different people learned to do it differently, and I think a lot of that was lost when Refujeyo took over. But now, after the collapse, it’s being found again, or it’s being invented again, new ways to do thing come up by people who didn’t learn the existing ways of doing things. Maybe they do some things worse than Refujeyo, maybe some things better. And that’s what I want to see. What’s the same, what’s different. I want to see it all.”

There was a familiar spark in his eye. I exchanged a glance with Kylie. She smiled, and I understood why she’d brought me this kid.

He was so, so very much like Max.

“How old are you, Owen?” I asked.

“I’m twelve.”

I shook my head. “Way too young. I won’t take an apprentice younger than sixteen.”

“But… but even Refujeyo takes students at at least fourteen!”

“You’re not fourteen either, but even if you were, my apprenticeship, my rules. Sixteen.”

His face fell.

“How good is your handwriting?” I asked.

He looked up again, puzzled. “My… handwriting?”

“Yes. How good is it?”

“It’s… fine?”

“We’ll work on it, then. Can you cook? Or, I dunno, do chemistry experiments at school well? Are you good at measuring ingredients, following instructions?”

“Sure, I… guess?”

“We’ll work on that, too. I won’t take a twelve year old apprentice, Owen, but I am in the market for an assistant. You see, I like to make potions, and there’s a whole lot more runecrafting in my line of work than you’d expect, but these muscles just aren’t up for fine control for long periods of time any more. I need someone who can help with basic physical tasks, and with magical ones. It’d involve a lot of learning runes and potions, as well as basic life skills like cooking and sewing and first aid – you’d be amazed how much first aid is in my job, too. You’d have to travel all over the world with me while we take magic to all kinds of places, and talk to the witches we find about their practices and tell them about other groups they might want to be with, like Refujeyo. And if you’re not totally sick of me by the time you turn sixteen and you’re still in the market for an apprenticeship, we can talk about it then. Are you interested?”

His eyes lit up. “Yes! Thank you so much!”

“Don’t mention it, Owen. We’ll discuss the details tomorrow, alright? And I can catch up with your aunt. For now, I have a very important dinner to get to.”

We’d given a lot to get here, often with only half of an idea of where we were even going. Things were still messy, but… things were always messy, and always going to be. Tomorrow, there would be a world to wake up to, and friends to spend time with, and another adventure to prepare for. And all over the world, people with their own messes to deal with, their own problems to solve, their own sacrifices to remember, would be doing the same sort of thing.

And as I made my way back down from the top of the world, I couldn’t shake the feeling that things were going to continue to be okay.

SHARE THIS:

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Can you PLEASE JOIN a facebook group called cheatchat and let the females know in that group also!!! This is important.

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 month ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Cum guzzler.

Disclaimer

Jeremy, 43 was added to Are We Dating The Same on October 25, 2023. Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed about Jeremy, 43 by the commenters are solely that of the commentor and do not reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of Are We Dating The Same.

Someone missing?