The Round Tower, dusk. I sit and await their arrival. We three mages have made this tower our home. Teaching, protecting. Alysonius is aging. He is growing stagnant. The mage within him is dying. He is looking for someone to take his place. His body weakens with each passing day. But we are the final three mages in this city, possibly on this earth.

With every day, I grow worried. Alysonius is becoming a liability. His frail bones creak and break as his mind deteriorates.  This change within him is obvious. Near three weeks ago, our city began to freeze. Ru, Alysonious and I made our way to Grange Castle, to enchant the time-turner and revert our city’s atmosphere back to that of summer. Alysonius could not even conjure up the simplest of spells. I covered for him, putting all my strength into him. I did not want Ru to notice.

 

Even so, Ru and I are painfully aware of the fact that we are only as strong as our weakest link, Alysonius.

It has to be done. If Ru and I wish to survive, I must murder Alysonius. It is our only way out. We need to live on, to teach, to craft weapons to fight the dark beasts and to warm the cold earth. Without mages, this city is barren and dead. That’s it.

Darkness falls upton the city. Alysonius, lethargic as ever, lays down to rest. His eyes close slowly. I watch, silently awaiting his slumber, armed with a vial of poison I have concocted. I know I must be careful not to wake him up, and not to let Ru see me. At least two mages must exist in the Round Tower or beyond, as singularly, we have no power. But Ru does not know this. Alysonius made evident this fact to me when he first told me of his debilitating illness.

We do not yet know the cause. His veins have become cold and bright green over the past few weeks. Perhaps this downfall is an ominous sign of what is to come in this time of uncertainty.

Hush, I step closer. I lean forward and drop the vial into the ear of Alysonius. I watch as his body twists and contorts in a vile manner. Snow begins to fall as his soul leaves his body, as blissful end to a horrific event.

I know I have committed a sin, against the magistrate no less. It had to be done, for the sake of the greater good.

“Traitor!” screams Ru. I turn around slowly to face Ru,  who is armed with a sword.

“Ru, don’t – you don’t understand, this was his fate -” I whisper, but she does not listen.She does not know that two mages need to live so our world can survive.  She plunges the sword deep within my chest and I can feel blood seeping out of my arteries and veins.

My soul floats out of the window and up above the tower. Suddenly I can see the future of our city. It flashes before my eyes as I float higher and higher. The earth is quickly covered in a blanket of snow and all buildings are desolate. A portal opens by the railway line, without the mages protection, everything is pulled inside. Children pulled from parents, trees uprooted and buildings collapse. Ever floating higher, I sit amongst the clouds, watching the earth fall apart due to my decision. At least, I think it is due to my decision. I had reason for the murder of Alysonius, yet Ru had just as much reason for murdering me. We are both at fault, in truth. With only one mage left, humanity has no hope for survival in a cold, unprotected world full of evil beings we know not much about. I thought I was saving the people by removing Alysonius from this earth, I thought Ru and I would be stronger without him. In fact, I may have doomed the Earth.