Timothy Durston found himself pacing anxiously in a stereotypical study often found with the elite. The room was filled with the used smell of fine paper, treasured leather, expensive cigars, and spiced spirits. Before him sat an older version of himself, though it was with high hopes Duston’s own age would be graced with more laugh-lines and less of a stern gaze.
“I already accepted this assignment father, there is no reason for you to interfere.”
“You told me yourself that Abstractor Kireek held off giving any information about this mission. As a lord I can tell you this, the situation is extreme and requires military action. How the High Council was convinced untrained Clerics could handle a small stealth operation is beyond comprehension.”
Frustration caused the young man to rake his fingers through his hair, disturbing the carefully placed locks. “Listen, father, I know you mean well but this is a golden opportunity to -”
“To see my youngest son killed because of some fool’s negligence in understanding the current situation and wanting to advance their career. And yes, son, I know you hope to have it do the same for you.”
Timothy flexed his hands in a burst of irritation. For his father, no age, no experience, no accomplishment was going to make him an adult. But still, Durston forced his position, desire to be heard, understood, and supported coating each word. “I didn’t come here to argue this father.”
Raising a single brow in skepticism, his father leaned forward with clasped palms. “Then why are you here, son, if it isn’t for the usual help and advice?”
“It is for help, just not the kind you currently have offered.” Timothy gave a heavy sigh, letting it release the tension in his shoulders as the conversation headed in his intended direction. “I need my casting circles renewed. I was hoping you could get Alchemist Truvile to do it before I leave.”
“Let me see your hands, son.” Timothy turned towards his father for the first time, meeting his eyes. Hesitatingly, he made the short trip to the front the man’s desk and held out his hands to be inspected.
Cursive writing and odd symbols marked the tip of Durston’s index finger, across his purlicue, and reached the end of the thumb. Tapping the tattoo, his father caused a light blue flash to cross from end-to-end. “Hmm…what is it you are wanting Truvile for, son?”
“You know what I need him for father. The marking is only half charged.” Timothy withdrew a few steps, feeling the small distance hid his vulnerability. “I want the brand to be fully charged for this. As you said yourself, this is an extreme situation. It would be best if I were able to perform to the best of my ability.”
Several moments passed between the two with ticking of a clock the only sound. A slow, authoritative tone lined his father’s voice. “You are asking for me to obtain Truvile’s assistance to renew your Cleric’s Circle instead of going through the temple’s services?”
“Yes, as I said, I would like to have my mark at full charge before we leave in the morning. The temple always has a delay and they don’t give full charges to Clerics of my rank.”
“So you’re wanting your father to use his connections to go over the temple’s rules and arrange a full charge?”
An amused smirk crossed Timothy’s face. “Oh, come now father, rules? Besides, there is nothing that denies me from having a fully laden brand, it’s just not something the temple does. You gave an invitation of help when I first arrived.”
“As with any offer, Timothy, what’s in it for me?”
Anger flashed in Durston’s eyes as his back went rigged over his father turning the conversation into a business exchange. “Either you are able and wanting to help your son, or you’re not. The benefit would be knowing you prepared me for this dangerous mission and realizing that if successful, you will have a son in higher standing with the council and our family would gain additional political pull.”
Soft knocking reached their ears just as the door opened to the study. A man gave an easy bow and apologized for the interruption. “Alchemist Truvile is here as requested my lord.”
“It is good to see you my good friend.” An older man with a thinning crown of gray hair, maroon robes, and standing a few inches under Timothy made way into the study before the servant closed the door once more.
Standing to greet the older man, Timothy’s father made his way around the large desk and gave a two-hand embrace. “Thank you for coming on short notice. It has been too long since we have last seen each other and I feared you may not find the time for my invitation. My son has foolishly accepted to go with Abstractor Kireek and his mad brain of a plan in dealing with those unsanctioned casters. It wont do for him to have any disadvantage that we can help avoid.”
“Um…Hello Alchemist Truvile. It’s a real honor to have you here.” Timothy overcame his moment of surprise and confusion, giving a formal bow to the older man. “I should have known my father would have the foresight petitioning for you.”
The three gentlemen set up the equipment Truvile brought with him, and began the work of renewing Durston’s tattoos he used to cast quickly through. All Clerics from the realm carried similar markings, so that when the index finger touched the thumb, they could immediately activate a caster’s circle to perform their work. Though the small markings allowed the Clerics to cast in a moment’s notice, they weren’t ideal since they required an alchemist to charge them. Charging the tattoos negated the staleness a permanent casting circle, and lack of energy usually gathered into such a small area.