The sound of an explosion shakes the air, though nothing trembled. A sure sign that the sound was caused by a magical hiccup. I listen for a moment, allowing the feel of the power wash over me. It is familiar enough that I know who was responsible. Even the spell itself strikes a note inside me and brings up memories I had laid to rest long ago.
"It's time," I sigh. There is no avoiding it, and I know this. Though I had hoped I was wrong. I had hoped that I would never have to besmirch her name.
I console myself that she wouldn't have cared. Not really. She wasn't one for reputations. In fact, if she knew how revered her name was, she would probably laugh. Even I think it is ridiculous, sometimes. However, everyone needs a hero. One does not go through what our people did without feeling the desire to put someone on a pedestal.
With a shake of my head, I stand from my comfortable reading chair and check the time. It is still early in the morning. A glance out the window shows me the trees full of vibrant green leaves, and flowers beginning to bloom. I remind myself that winter is long over and that it is the middle of spring.
Sam is not home yet, and will not return for several more weeks. I know that my nephew is looking forward to the return of his partner and more than occasional rival, though he would never admit to it. I, too, am looking forward to Sam's return. I have had few such open minded and talented students as this one, and I do not look forward to when Sam decides that I have taught all there is to learn.
I know it will happen eventually. Youth has a way of leading to arrogance and the belief that one knows everything. The understanding that one knows nothing, really, only comes with age and, ironically, knowledge.
In a stroke of genius, if I do say so myself, I paired my arrogant nephew with a newbie to the magical arts. Needless to say, when Sam rapidly began to surpass him, he forgot that I had nothing more to teach him, and was ready to learn.
With a sigh, I shove these thoughts aside. I am getting old, my mind is wandering. I laugh softly at my own thoughts. There was once a time when I thought that such a thing would never happen to me. I had my hands full with raising the children, among other businesses that I had to attend to. It was easy to keep my mind focused on one thing.
But that was a long time ago. The children are grown now, the other matters settled. I have found myself with more time than I know what to do with, and as a result, my mind seems prone to wandering. As it is doing now.
Sam will not return for several weeks, and no one expects me for anything important. I will not be missed. I suppose that this is the most opportune time for what I must do, and I thank whatever gods are listening for this small mercy. What I must do will be difficult enough without having to juggle other responsibilities at the same time.
As I make my way out of my study and through the stone halls of the palace I have come to call home, I cast my thought backwards. I will have to handle this delicately, or the situation will go much, much worse than it could.
By the time I have reached the library, where the explosion came from, I have a good idea of how to begin. I pause in the doorway and watch the three youths as they try to wheeze air back into their lungs.
"I've warned you about the ancient spells," I tell them, startling them. The youths spin to face me, each as wide eyed and guilty as the next.
"What ancient spells?" the smallest asks, quickly looking away from me. I know that they often think that I can read lies in the eyes. Many seem to share this opinion. I have decided not to correct them. It leads to others being more honest with me.
"There's no ancient spells here," the oldest adds nervously. He fold his hands behind his back, a sure sign that he is lying.
"Give it up, guys," the tallest coughs. "He already knows. I'll bet he's known for awhile."
"I have," I admitted. "I knew one day you'd find your way to this spell. No matter how well I hid it, someone was bound to find the enchantment that she used. You lot might as well get comfortable. It's time I told you the truth."
"The truth?" the smallest asks, suspiciously. He shakes his head sharply, trying to dislodge the magic residue left over by the spell. They would think it was a failure. However, they don't know the true purpose behind the Saviors Enchantment.
"Yes, the truth," I sigh. I find a comfortable chair and ease myself into it. Though my body remains fairly intact, and I do not suffer the aches and pains of one my age, sometimes I feel as though I should. I can feel the weight of time weighing heavily on me.
Cautiously, the three youths find perches on tables and chairs around me. The tallest of the youths doesn't take his eyes off of me. I knew that he would be the one to figure things out first. Doubtlessly, he had been the one to attempt the spell, at the goading of the others. Though he was the most reasonable of the three, the other two could be far too persuasive for my liking.
"What truth?" the oldest asks, studying me in confusion. "You're not mad at us, are you? You should be. You should be livid. We broke into your library and used one of the ancient spells. You told us never to do that."
"I said you shouldn't do it without supervision," I corrected with a chuckle. "You botched the incantation, didn't you? It didn't work quite the way you wanted. Things could have ended much more poorly for you boys. Be grateful that it didn't."
"We just wanted to see what the SE was like," the smallest mumbles, guiltily. "We were just curious."
"It's not like you ever tell us anything," the oldest adds. The tallest remains quiet, patiently waiting for me to begin.
"That's about to change," I inform the boys. "It is time that you know the truth, and not the myths and legends that most of our people know."
"You're going to tell us about the savior?" the tallest asks, trying hard to keep the interest out of his tone and face.
"I am," I confirm. I cast a disapproving frown on the group. "However, if you keep interrupting me, then I'll keep the truth to myself. I have no problem taking it to the grave with me."
"We'll be quiet," the smallest quickly assures me. The oldest rolls his eyes in disgust at how eager the smallest is. Doubtlessly he believes that I will change my mind if they seem to be too interested.
"You already know a good deal about the savior," I begin. I close my eyes and lean my head back, allowing my words to flow as they wished. "She is remembered and honored by all of our people for her courage and benevolence. A veritable saint, there was nothing that she didn't give to others. She was everything that a hero should be, kind hearted and generous. She was a natural leader, and drew everyone to her in times of danger. Truly, she was an incredible individual, and anyone who met her was blessed."
The youths exchanged uncertain glances. I was not telling them anything they didn't already know. The savior had been hoisted up onto a pedestal, and everyone refused to speak or think ill of her. How could one believe the woman who saved our entire people as anything but perfect?
"Anyone who had truly met her would tell you that all of that is completely bullshit," I inform the boys, bluntly. They gape at me in shock. I don't believe they have ever heard me swear before, and under normal circumstances, I abhor such foul language. I can make my displeasure known in much more elegant ways.
However, I could think of no other word that would allow the youths to understand just how off the legends and myths were.
"She went by the name Angel Silverthorn. No interruptions," I quickly add, holding up my hand to stifle the protests I knew were on their lips. "I will explain everything in time. Just listen from the beginning and keep your mind open. Forget everything you think you know of her.
"Angel was a foul mouthed, guarded, harsh individual. There were very few people that she truly cared about, and I can assure you that she didn't give a damn about our people. I see the question on your faces. How could such a selfish person become renowned as our savior if she didn't care for us?"
The boys glanced at one another, once again uncertain. Should they ask the questions that they wanted to? Or should they keep their mouths shut? If they spoke, would I stop my story? Was it possible that I was looking for an excuse to leave them in the dark?
Finally, the tallest nods slightly, to confirm that I was right. They were wondering how such a person could become the savior.
"To fully explain that," I sigh, "I must first tell you how her story began. I warn you now, I will hold nothing back. I will tell you everything, the good, the bad, and the hideous. And it is a hideous truth, my boys. Our people turned her into the hero they wanted, but at the time, she was the hero we needed."
I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Where best to begin? The beginning was a bit too early. Though I had told them that I would hold nothing back, I felt no reason to begin when she was a mere infant.
However, the most notable beginning did occur when she was a mere child. It was then that things began to change in her life. Most would not consider it an appropriate beginning, I suppose. However, most did not know the woman they claimed was a saint.
Finally, I nod, coming to a conclusion. Yes, that would be a good place to begin. Not quite the beginning, but close enough…