No matter how many times Micah had visited the magic realm, it seemed there was always a new portal he hadn’t gone through yet.
He looked around as they emerged on the other side of the field. It seemed awfully quiet. From what he’d been told, Spooky Day was supposed to mean a huge fair would take place in the magic realm, but there was nothing of that sort in sight.
“So, where are we? I was expecting fairgrounds.”
“The Spooky Day fair is a bit of a gimmick. I like to show my face there, it’s good for appearances… but not much more.” Morgyn shrugged. They seemed impatient. Excited, almost. “The real power of today lies elsewhere. But I suppose Cordelia wouldn’t know that – I assume it was her who told you about it?”
“It was Dandelion, actually.” Micah corrected the sage.
The elf seemed to think very highly of the fair, even though this year, he wasn’t going – apparently him and Cordelia were playing dress up in the glade. Micah was glad they were reconnecting again.
Morgyn raised an eyebrow. “You’ve been spending a lot of time with Dandelion.”
Strange observation, Micah thought. Morgyn never seemed to care much for what Micah did in his own time. He wasn’t sure why this would be any different.
“Why wouldn’t I?” He looked at Morgyn.
“He’s very young.” The sage didn’t elaborate, forcing Micah to keep digging.
“How old is Dandelion, exactly?” It was something he’d wondered before, but he never got a straight question out of the elf.
“To my knowledge, he’s around 30 years younger than L Faba.” Morgyn tilted their head, doing the math. “Which would make him 58 years old, 60, at most.”
Micah hadn’t expected that. That would make the elf much older than him, even though he’d been frozen in time for the last 14 years. “And that’s young?”
“For an elf, yes. Their lifespan is significantly longer than that of humans, which means their aging is… proportionate. Most of them don’t fully mature until their seventies. Of course, some never do, if the mischief sage is anything to go by…” Morgyn sneered, trailing off.
“My point is, he still has the mind of a child, a young adolescent boy, perhaps.” The sage concluded.
“That… explains a lot.” Micah thought out loud.
“Doesn’t explain how the two of you could possibly hold a stimulating conversation. Him and Cordelia, I can maybe understand, but you?”
Micah felt strangely offended – he wasn’t sure if it was on Cordelia’s behalf or Dandelion’s, but the spellcaster’s tone didn’t sit right with him either way.
“He has a good heart.” He told the sage stiffly.
Morgyn smirked. “Ah, yes. A pure heart, would you say?”
So the sage was aware about the Sylvan Glade protective spell, then, Micah concluded. He tried to downplay his reaction. “You know much about the whole ‘only the pure of heart’ business?”
“About having a pure heart? Have you met me?” Morgyn chuckled. “Anyway, here we are.”
The tall gate opened before them. The path was lined with tombstones, winding around two large crypts.
“A cemetery?” Micah looked at the sage.
“You’re the one always fixating on the dead. Who better to bring?” Morgyn said casually. “I thought this might be a good experience for you. To show you what the dead are actually good for. A lesson, if you will.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Micah snapped. Did the sage just bring him here to mock him? “My fixation on the dead worked out well for you, don’t you think?”
Morgyn ignored his question. “Just follow me.” Their tone was calm.
Micah sighed. He couldn’t help but wonder about the place, though. “Who gets buried of the magic realm?”
“Spellcasters, of course. Powerful ones, typically. Mostly sages. It’s considered an honour to be buried here… make no mistake, I have no intentions of being buried here. I have no intentions of being buried at all.”
That wasn’t particularly surprising to Micah.
“Almost got your wish then, rotting away in some temple in the middle of Selvadorada instead.” He said sarcastically. “Much better than being buried.”
Morgyn gave him a strange look. “I don’t want to fight, Micah. I meant what I said. I thought you might find this useful to get some perspective.”
“Care to tell me why we’re here, then?”
“It’s an old tradition to draw power from the graves of deceased spellcasters. Using their magical energy for the present. Instead of getting lost in the past.” Morgyn emphasised the last few words.
Micah hesitated. Did he misinterpret the sage’s words? Morgyn always seemed to have an agenda. This was probably no different.
They followed the path until they reached a large marble tombstone towards the back of the cemetery. Neither of them said anything for a moment.
“Who’s buried here?” Micah asked, breaking the silence.
“Aine, the former sage of the untamed.” Morgyn said. “You’ve had the pleasure of meeting her, in a way.”
“The spectral woman from the ritual. The one from your memories.”
“The one and only.” The sage confirmed. Micah could detect an undertone in Morgyn’s voice, but he couldn’t place it. Resentment? Admiration? Both? The woman was their mentor, after all, from what the vampire understood.
It was unusual for Morgyn to pause this much. No doubt there was plenty on their mind, but as per usual, they weren’t sharing it.
Micah opted for the question that he found would be most useful to him. “You know what I don’t understand? You said all dead move on fairly quickly. The memory I saw… seemed like quite some time ago. But her ghost…”
Because if this woman could still come back after such a long time, than surely…
“Her ghost has very much not moved on?” Morgyn finished the sentence. “Yes. I suppose some ghosts refuse to let go, if they feel they have a strong enough reason to stay, unfinished business. But that is not the norm.”
“What exactly classes as unfinished business?” Micah asked. “I’m assuming her unfinished business was with you.”
“Clearly. I suppose our little duel that you saw was long overdue.” Morgyn nodded distractedly. “In a sense, you could almost say, I helped her move on.”
“Ever the altruist.” Micah laughed under his breath. The sage didn’t respond. Instead, they knelt down beside the grave, muttering something to themselves.
An eerie mist lifted from the grave and absorbed into Morgyn. It enveloped Morgyn for a moment, and then it disappeared. The spellcaster stood up.
“Looks to me as if you’re making sure she’s definitely gone.” Micah said sarcastically.
“Perhaps.” Morgyn replied quietly, not taking their eyes off the tombstone.
“Cordelia said there’s rumours around the magic realm that you killed Aine.” Micah couldn’t help himself but comment.
The sage’s reply was noncommittal. “Oh yes, they do say that.”
“Is it true?”
Morgyn turned around to Micah. “Why would I tell you that?”
Typical. “I’ve told you about those I killed. Seems fair.” Micah pointed out, trying to stay as calm as possible.
“What if the answer doesn’t help you?”
Of course Morgyn’s reply was not a reply at all.
Micah let out a sigh of frustration. “Whatever. Guess I saw enough of the memory to fill in the blanks.
The sage looked into his eyes. “You were right when you said that your inability to move on was in my favour. But it’s not in yours. You need to let go of the dead, Micah.”
Micah suddenly wasn’t sure what to do with himself. He looked away from Morgyn. “How did you do it?”
“Do what?” Morgyn frowned. “Kill Aine? I didn’t.”
Not what he was asking, but there it was. Perhaps Micah was the only monster in the graveyard after all. “Oh.”
“I suppose, in a sense you could say I killed her during the duel you witnessed, but can you really kill someone who is already dead? In any case, I told you the answer won’t be of any use to you.”
“What I actually meant was how you let go of the dead.” The vampire clarified. “If not her, then your parents.”
He knew it was below the belt to bring that up, but Micah couldn’t help himself. He needed… something.
“Micah, no.” Morgyn stopped him. “You don’t want to be like me.”
Micah finally allowed his frustrations to air. “A cop out answer, as per usual.” He hissed. “You talk about all these grand lessons you want to teach me, but then you never really share, so what do you expect me to learn?”
The sage didn’t reply immediately, turning away from him instead.
“Perhaps the lesson is that you shouldn’t look to me for answers.” The said slowly. “Because sometimes… I may not have them.”
At first Micah was shocked that Morgyn would admit to something like that. That they’re not always as in control as they’d like to claim. A strange, almost inappropriate relief washed over him, the corners of his mouth curling up. He suddenly felt light.
“Hang on. The sage of the untamed, the all-brilliant Morgyn, the well of infinite wisdom… are you actually saying that you don’t have it all together?” He teased, wrapping his arm around Morgyn.
Morgyn looked up at him conspicuously. “It can be our little secret.”