Siege (part six)

The only type of mage rarer than temporal mages were those who specialized in chaos magic. Thomas had only ever met one of those, and that was Jason. Chaos mages had a tendency to fall victim to fatal accidents. On the other hand, he had met a few temporal mages during his apprenticeship. They weren’t prone to accidents; there just seemed to be fewer born with that gift. He had really never asked why; he simply had thought himself special.

Now that another house he belonged to was under attack, Thomas began to wonder if someone might be targeting temporal mages. That didn’t seem likely, though, and he still had no explanation for why his houses kept being attacked.

Without warning, the door to his rooms opened, and three men entered. The face of one of them was very familiar to him: it was the man Thomas watched attack him over and over again fifteen years ago. He was older, but Thomas was certain it was him.

“No destruction this time? Have you come to talk?”

The man sneered at him. “We just needed to get past that damn spatial mage of yours. But if you want destruction, we can oblige.”

A shimmer Thomas had only barely noticed disappeared from around the three men. Recognizing his chance, he tossed a spell sphere at their feet. As soon as it struck the floor, the sphere exploded in a blinding burst of light that enveloped all three of them. When it subsided, two of men were frozen in time. The third, the one he had recognized, was still moving.

“A stasis bomb. Clever. But I told you before, you aren’t the only person with access to temporal magic.”

“Who are you? What do want?”

The other man frowned. “You don’t really expect me to waste time explaining myself, do you? You have been a thorn in my side for too long. No more.” He pointed at the floor beneath Thomas’s feet. Thee floor began to rot away, and he barely had time to leap away.

“Impressive. But you can’t run forever.” The man brought out a spell sphere of his own and threw it at Thomas. He easily dodged it, but the chair behind him burst into flame.

Deciding to ignore the fire for now, Thomas cast a spell towards his opponent. The man ducked and smiled.

“That was a rather feeble . . .” His mouth kept moving but no sound came out.

“I wasn’t aiming at you.” The other man couldn’t hear him, of course. He began gasping for breath with no success. Thomas had stopped all the air around him. No sound could travel through that area, and it was impossible to inhale anything. The solution was temporary, since the area was finite, but it gave Thomas time to reach his cabinet.

As he opened it to grab something that would help, the intruder pulled another spell sphere out of his pocket and threw it at Thomas. This time, he didn’t dodge, and electricity shot through him causing him to collapse in convulsions. Meanwhile, the other man had finally found the edge of the frozen area. On his knees, he took several gulping breaths while recovering from oxygen deprivation.

The electricity had subsided, but Thomas was quickly losing consciousness. Out of options, he pulled out a small sphere and swallowed it. It was the only chance he had to save himself; he just had to hope that his housemates would save him from this desperate act.

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