Chapter 13


Spider had taught the students a very crude song involving a paladin and an alchemist. They were in mid chorus when Raze strode in, grabbed Spider, and left.

"Do you think the Monks know anything about Spider?" Seth asked.

"Maybe. Monks are scholars so it's possible." Theo nodded. "He looked a bit pissed off though."

"Probably going to batter Brother Snogger with it." Harvey rolled his eyes. "Right! Verse two?"

///


"Where are we going? What about the brats?" Spider asked as Raze made his way back out of the building. "Raze? What did Snogger say?" Raze wedged Spider between two rocks and sat on a crumbling wall. "What ... "

"Just hush, Spider. Shut up." He ran his fingers through his hair. "What do you know about Curses?"

"Why?"

"Because I just asked you. Trust me Spider, I'm in no mood for your antics. Curses." Raze demanded.

"I'm not telling you how to cast Curses and furthermore, if that's one of your interests, then you're not the man I thought you were." Spider stated flatly.

"I've no desire at all to learn how to cast Curses but clearly, you know how to do it." Raze got to his feet.

"Probably, yes. I know many things. That's not to say I'd do it, or tell you how to do it. Some things you just don't do, Raze, even if you can. Are you going to tell me what all this tripe is about?"

"It's about you not telling me you're Cursed!" Raze shouted.

"What?" Spider yelped. "No! No you have it wrong. I have the knowledge, that doesn't make me Cursed. I'd have to have been the recipient of a Curse to be Cursed."

"And how do you know you weren't?" Raze said quietly. "You don't remember your creation or your spells being imbued. You say you don't remember anything of that but you remember something as archaic as Curse magic, that hasn't been used for eighty years. You're aware of everything, Spider, Curse magic included. You are Cursed and you've always known it."

"Is that what that wrinkled old gett said?" Spider said defensively.

"He was a Mage back in the day when Curse magic was used, and detected. How can an ancient, intelligent artifact such as you not be aware of its own properties. I was a fool not to think of it. You said yourself you were in a vault and a lava cave and I found you in dump that dates back beyond living memory, and more. Now I know why. I took you into a University full of students, Spider. Kids. I brought you out here with a group of sixteen year old novices and all the time you were carrying a Curse."

"I didn't know." Spider said quietly. "Maybe I am Cursed and old Parchment Arse is right. I don't know. If that's the case then I am what I am but please believe me, I have no memory of it. I'm a pain in the fundament, crude, and arrogant but I'm not a liar."

"I'm not sure what to believe right now. All I know is that I'll not risk my students, or anyone else for that matter. I'm probably not on par with you, but I'm the best placed and best able to monitor you. You'll stay with me until we get back home then I'll decide what to do. In the mean time you'll be wrapped and you won't communicate anyone, especially the students. Absolutely no magic. I'll cast detection glyphs on you, the wrappings, and the harness. If you act up in any way between here and home, then the quake spell I'll use to bury you will register all over the land." Raze picked up Spider and tried to control his feelings. "I wish it wasn't like this."

///


"Is Spider damaged?" Theo asked as they left the ruins.

"In a way, yes. The wrappings are necessary. Spider is out of action." Raze replied.

"Oh." Theo said in dejection. "Can it be fixed?"

"I don't think it can, no." Raze said quietly. The whole mood was quiet and very gloomy. "Spider is old and unique, so any fixes for it will have long gone with the Mages who created it." He felt a huge wave of sadness, not only for such a huge loss to magical study and history, but also a huge loss to himself. Basically, Raze knew he'd miss Spider.

"I don't suppose the Elders could do anything? Seth suggested.

"Seth, the Elders can barely get dressed in the morning." Harvey reminded him. "If Raze can't do anything then no one can"

"What about the libraries? We've just left one with books as old as Spider." Theo said.

"And the Monks will have read every one." Raze sighed sadly. "It was Brother Snogger who saw Spider's ... flaw. He's over a hundred years old and very well read."

"Spider's older." Theo said stubbornly. "Which means there could be things about Spider that he won't know."

"Theo there are things about Spider that no one knows, nor will they ever know. It's that uncertainty that makes Spider's flaw a serious one." Raze tried to explain.

"Is Spider dangerous?" Berwick asked carefully.

"Potentially, yes, but not while it's with me." Raze tried to smile at his worried pupils.

"No, I can't accept that." Theo said firmly. "Spider's magic is different. We all know that. Different isn't dangerous!"

"Theo it's not that." Raze said. "Believe me, if I thought anyone could sort this out then I'd see to it. The powerful magic needed to fix Spider doesn't exist anymore."

"But it was." Theo just wasn't giving up. "Spider could have been fixed in another age. It's us that's flawed, not Spider. Our magic is weaker and that isn't Spider's fault."

"Theo, enough!" Raze said sharply."Sorry, I shouldn't snap. We can't do anything to fix Spider because Spider is Cursed. I wasn't going to tell you all but you aren't going to accept anything else but the truth. No one can lift Curses these days because no one can cast them, thankfully. Magic has a way of weeding out unhealthy aspects and Curses are definitely unhealthy."

"Cursed?" Theo said in despair. "But ... but ... you can't punish Spider for that! It was something that was done to it!"

"Something that Spider neglected to tell us about." Raze actually was very impressed with Theo's debating skills. He'd taught him well.

"Oh ... bollocks to that." Theo swore. "Maybe it didn't even know. Did you think of that? Even if it did, maybe it neglected to mention it because it knew you'd react like this. We're Spider's friends, Raze, the only ones it has."

"I can't do anything!" Raze raised his voice. "No one can do anything! We have a Staff with an unknown Curse that no one alive can identify or remove. We can't afford such a potential danger to any of us. Not only us but everyone else too. I know you understand what I'm saying, you all do. I have no choice but to immobilise Spider because I have no remedy, no one has. Don't make it harder than it already is, Theo."

"I'd never stop looking if it was Dick. People learned once how to do that sort of magic so they can learn again. I'll walk on ahead." Theo did just that and the other three students followed him.

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