He blinked back the bright light of the room. Eight runes for light creation and focus had been etched into the walls of the dank room of the disciplinary station. One on each side wall, two on both the front and back, along with two on the ceiling. He scowled at the messy arrangement. So unnecessary, and so messy.
“Boy, are you listening?”
His eyes flickered back to the guards who had stopped him at the gate to the city. They were burly men, well built, and powerful if just speaking in terms of raw muscle, but probing with just a little Insight, one could tell they weren’t magically inclined. That made them a naturally poor match for this unusual boy.
“What’s your name and your purpose for coming here? You don’t look like a foreigner, but all naturals of the capital have an ID card. If you were a native here, you most certainly would’ve known that.”
Do they think me an enemy from another city-state looking like this? It’s why I took on the form of a young teenager in the first place. “I came from the other side of the Divide. My name is uh, Zelfer.”
The two men exchanged a look, half dubious and half fearful. “We’ve never heard of a follower of Zanzir returning after crossing the Divide.”
Zelfer shrugged. “Most people are content where they are, why would they return?” Before they could ask the question he knew would be on their minds, he continued quickly, “But I’ve seen all there is to see of Zanzir’s ‘paradise’. It’s not a bad place, but the world is too expansive to stay on a small island my whole life.”
“I understand where you’re coming from Zelfer, but we can’t allow outsiders into the capital, especially not from the other side of the Divide.”
Zelfer humed a single note as one finger touched the cuffs at his wrists. They were designed to hinder magic, and perhaps would work on most mages, but not him. Not the one who created the rune in the first place. And certainly not on the most powerful mage the continent had ever known.
He tapped the table once with his finger. The pressure struck the table hard, compressing the wood. It stayed for the breadth of a second before Zelfer raised his finger. The recoil from the release shot the table in the air just a few inches before it landed hard against the stone floor. The guards flinched backward, staring at the table before their widened eyes turned to him.
He smiled back at them pleasantly, and drew a line across the metal cuffs. Starting at the pad of his finger, the metal disintegrated to dust before the degradation spread outward, leaving a simple pile of gray powder.
“Hold it-!” The guard that had refrained from speaking until now dived forward in an effort to restrain Zelfer, but the boy’s magic was quicker.
“I agree,” he spoke lightly, clapping his hands together. A shockwave rode on the sound vibrations and both guards were immobilized by an invisible force. “Now then gentleman,” Zelifer stood and walked behind them. “I was hoping you’d let me into Ælanor’s capital without a permit, but it seems that that won’t do, so I suppose I’ll have you help me with crafting a new identity instead. And then I’ll have to supress your memory of the encounter. You there on the right, give me your ID card.”
Each movement the guard made was stiff and unnatural as if he were fighting against the force that commanded him like a puppet. From his pocket, a black square piece was produced.
Zelifer turned it over in his hand. “Hm, what material is this?”
“Modified r-resin,” the latter guard choked out.
“What a fantastic idea.” Zelfer dropped the piece onto the table and sat down heavily into the chair before crossing a leg and propping his chin on the back of his hand. “So it registers your magical signature for identification. Finally someone’s expanding upon my old works. How clever. Tricky to replicate, as you can’t simply duplicate it straight out. It would distort the ingrained magical energy.” As he spoke, his left hand flew across the table, tracing red glowing runes into the wooden surface. When it was finished, he placed the resin piece upon the rune before his right hand started drawing.
A moment later, he tapped his fingers against both runes and they glowed brightly. Then, the rune on the right began to change, lifting off the surface of the table and spiraling toward a center point as if it were being sucked into a vortex. Once condensed into a small ball, it flattened out into a square mimicking the ID save for the fact it was blank.
“What do you think? Not too bad for a counterfeit is it?” Zelfer wagged the card at the guard’s face before starting on a new rune that engraved his name into the surface before tracing the magical signature rune on the back. “I think that should do. Now then,” his attention turned back to the guards and he snapped his fingers with a loud crack. Both slumped over, unconscious, and Zelfer tapped on the nape of their necks with the second knuckle of his middle finger.
Once verifying that he’d suppressed their memories, he walked out of the room, leaving the guards to awaken on their own in the next few minutes.