Chapter5


There was no way in the realm that Raze could sneak Spider into the classroom. It simply wasn't possible so he decided to be as casual as he could and not create a fuss.

"Oh wow!" Theo Potter noticed straight away, and so did the rest of them. "What a tool!"

"He means you, not me." Raze whispered to Spider while standing it in a corner. Spider sniggered childishly. "Yes, Theo. Thank you. It only recently came into my possession and I've not studied it fully."

"I bet it's worth a fortune! Can we have a better look?" Theo asked.

"As long as you're all careful." Raze said and the whole class stampeded. "I could probably do with a few tips, Theo.You're the only other person with one and you've had yours for years."

"Yes but that's a work of art. Mine's my prize possession but it's just a simple elderwood staff."

"Staff? Where?" Spider butted in and the whole class almost fainted. "Oops. Sorry. I forgot. Ignore that kids."

"You git." Raze rasped at his staff and threw a dust cover over it.

"It spoke!" Theo squealed. "It ... it ... spoke!"

"Nope! Not me." The duster said. "It was Raze throwing his voice. He's such a japester." Raze heaved a sigh and pulled the cover off Spider. "Much obliged."

"It can speak!" Theo was still a tad overwhelmed.

"A bit more extensively than you it would seem." Spider said rudely.

"I'm warning you." Raze said menacingly. "I'll bung you in that plant pot."

"Touchy." Spider muttered. "OK. I am Spider. I am one of a kind. I am exquisitely crafted. I have more spells than you can ever imagine. I am bloody awesome. So where's this other staff?"

"I ... I ... I'm Theo Potter and it's here." Theo went over to the cloak pegs and took his staff from its back harness. "I've had it for over eight years."

"It's pure elderwood and Theo sanded and polished it himself. He also oils it every evening." Raze interrupted incase Spider said anything to ridicule Theo's staff.

"Oil? With a chamois?"

"No!" Raze said loudly. "Not nut oil either. Pack in in Spider." He pointed at the plant pot.

"Pfft! So what name do you have?" Spider asked.

"Er ... Theo Potter, like I said." Theo answered in confusion.

"Der! Not you, the stick! Staff! I mean staff. No plant pot, it was a slip of the sigils." Spider grovelled to Raze.

"Well it doesn't have a name and even if it did, it wouldn't answer you." Theo said warily.

"How rude! What sort of riff-raff is this, Raze?"

"We've done this, Spider. Staffs don't speak these days. Unique and ancient? Remember?" Raze reminded it.

"So how do you know what it's named?"

"It isn't named anything." Theo said in concern. "I didn't know it had to be. Do I just pick a name for it? Did Master Raze pick yours?"

"Say what?" Spider shrieked. "Oh heck no he did not! It took him and that oddity in the graveyard ages to even work it out! It's here!" The staff made its name pulsate a lime green colour. "Bloody kids these days. You don't pick its name, it picks its name. Actually it's more of a feeling and a sense rather than a choice. It'll sense its name and make it known to you."

"That's actually quite amazing, Spider." Raze was taking notes. "No one in living memory can possibly know all this ancient lore. I don't know how common intelligent tools were in your day, but they don't exist at all today."

"So common and old eh? Keep it up Raze, you're doing so well." Spider drawled sarcastically. "I was never common! Cheek of him. I honestly don't remember how many there were but seeing how splendid I am, I can't see intelligent artifacts being ten a penny. I think the magic is different here. It's too ... pissy. Everything is too structured and ordered and magic isn't ordered into nice little pockets. What is the point of titting about to cast a weedy little spark to light the fire? Either go large or go home."

"So are you suggesting my students send a dirty great fireball into the hearth? Half the city would be alight." Raze said condescendingly and irritated Spider.

"No, I'm saying they use a bloody tinder box like any bugger else! Quake spells! The clue's in the name! Why cast a teensy piddling quake spell to plant your sodding flowers? Use a shovel! Quakes aren't piddling. Ask your Slag Heap."

"So do you think our magic today is weaker?" Raze really was engrossed in all this.

"Yes because you're shoving everything in boxes. It's too formulated and that weakens it. Just bung it all out there and get waded in. Magic needs to be chaotic because that's its original nature. Oh and don't get me started on Alchemists. What a waste of naffing time they are."

"Is our weakened magic the reason why my staff isn't intelligent?" Theo asked in disappointment. "Not that I'm bothered." He lied. "It's my staff and that's all there is to it."

"Who said it wasn't intelligent? It's a staff, isn't it? Just. Staffs are intelligent by definition otherwise it's just a stick." Spider said and gave Raze another thing to write down.

"So it must be me then. Eight years and I don't even know its name."

"Yes, probably." Spider agreed.

"No it isn't." Raze gave Spider a dirty look. "If Spider is right ...."

"No ifs about it matey."

"Applying Spider's information ..." Raze corrected. "Our diluted magic has forced sacrifices. Verbal communication with our weapons and tools could be one such trait that's been forfeited. That's just speculation. It would take a few lifetimes to fully study the evolution of magic."

"Heck he's at it again. Who of sound mind and a decent social life wants to study that cobblers? Oh wait. That would be Mages." Spider stated and made the class laugh.

"Is Spider coming on the field trip, Master Raze?" Theo clearly thought that was an excellent idea. Raze didn't and tried not to cringe.

"What's a field trip?" Spider wanted to know, predictably.

"Oh just school stuff." Raze answered vaguely. "You'd be bored stiff."

"I'm a staff, you burk. I am stiff. Anyway I do want to go just because you don't want me to. You're being enigmatic and secretive. So come on, how and why do we take a field on a trip?"

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