Desperate for Clues

Jason’s rooms had been a mess, but Julia was familiar with how his mind worked, so she wasn’t overwhelmed by the chaos. Thomas’s rooms, in contrast, were tidy and organized, but her unfamiliarity with how his mind worked prevented her from discerning the order. Instead, she was forced to meticulously go through every book, every drawer, looking for anything that might help.

Several spell beads had been tucked into various nooks throughout the room, probably for emergencies. She could identify the temporal magic within but not the specifics of the spells they contained. She had also found a file containing notes about the past and future; she put it back as soon as she realized what it was. Other notes made little sense to her.

“Not sure Thomas would approve of you going through his things.” Sarah was standing in the doorway.

“Well then he shouldn’t have gotten stuck in time.” Julia didn’t look up from the drawer she was searching. “Every temporal mage we have managed to locate has already died, so this was my last idea for finding… something.”

“And have you? Found anything, I mean.”

Julia slumped back to sit on the floor. “No. I just don’t know enough. There are these spell beads that I don’t dare use without knowing more about them. Some notes that are difficult to interpret. Do you have any insight?”

“Sadly, I doubt I know any more about Thomas’s magic than you do.” Sarah walked over to the two mages standing frozen. “Do these two unnerve you?”

“Not really. They’re just part of the scenery at this point.”

“Are you still keeping tabs on our friend?”

“Yes. So far, he hasn’t stayed in one place long, so I’m still not certain where he’s hiding. On the positive side, he doesn’t seem to be aware that he’s being tracked, so we’ll get him eventually.”

“Good.”

“Do you think Thomas would mind if I took some of these beads and notes back to my room? I want to study them further.”

“I think he would hate the idea.”

“Do you mind?”

“Not at all. If you can find some way to break the spell on him, it will be worth whatever irritation he expresses.”

“Great. Oh.” Julia pulled a crystal from a pocket. It was blue with green swirls. “This should be able to knock down any barriers.” She handed it to Sarah. “I want to keep refining it, make it stronger.”

“Thank you, Julia.”

“Sure. And I’ll let you know if I make any progress on our temporal magic problem.” Julia gathered up the items she had found and carried them back to her own rooms.

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