The man walked through the corridors of the German Sanctuary. His hands were clasped behind his back, and he walked and a slow pace. His black three-piece suit with a velvet red tie was expensive, and his light brown hair straight and tidy, combed back. He wasn’t too tall or short, too narrow or wide, but he was good looking. He managed to draw attention to himself with every movement, precise and careful. Every step he took, every time he shifted his shoulders or moved his hands, it all had a look of formality about it. A careful elegance.
The man had a small smile on his face. He was being lead through the Sanctuary by the Administrator. He was an important person, not just to the German’s, but to Sanctuaries worldwide. His dark brown eyes scanned everything around him. His footsteps were soft. The man’s name was Charles Decorous.
“Mr. Decorous,” a voice said, and Charles eyes found the source. The Grande Mage of the German Sanctuary, Dirich Whrait.
“Grand Mage,” Charles said, and gave a small bow of his head. Although he didn’t work in Germany, it was always important to be polite. You never know when any old person could one day be extremely helpful.
“I’m glad you did well,” Whrait said, trying to keep his face expressionless, but unable to stop the relief present on his features.
Charles raised an eyebrow but said nothing. Did well didn’t exactly describe how difficult Charles’ job was, and how he had managed to succeed against all odds.
None of the other Elders were present, because Whrait didn’t want them to know that he had employed Charles to find something that was never meant to be missing in the first place.
“May I see it?” The Grand Mage asked, and held out his hand. Charles reluctantly handed it over. He wasn’t certain what the artifact was, but he had spent his whole life perfecting his knowledge of them, and could sense the power coming off it. If he had known beforehand that it was this powerful, he wouldn’t allow Whrait to employ his skills, and would simply find it himself. More likely than not he would destroy it.
The Grand Mage held it up to the light, as if trying to determine if it was genuine. He looked back at Charles. “Thank you, Mr. Decorous. I have your fee ready.”
“If you don’t mind, Grand Mage, I would like to study it for a while,” Charles said, motioning his head at the artifact still in Whrait’s hand. “It is a hobby of mine, and this is very intriguing to me.”
Whrait plastered a polite smile on his face that failed to look real. “This artifact is the heart of Germany, Mr. Decorous,” he said. “It’s been missing for a long time. It disappeared during a war.”
Charles tilted his head slightly. To a regular person, that sentence would probably mean nothing. But Charles spent his whole life assessing everything around him.
A war. Not the war. The war with Mevolent was called The War by everyone. There had been very few magical wars previous to that, and besides, from the rumours Charles had heard, the artifact had been seen early in the war.
There had been no magical wars since, so the logical assumption was that it had been a mortal war. And although regular sorcerers could fight in any war they please, the Sanctuaries all agreed that it would be forbidden for any of them to get involved in any mortal war. They couldn’t risk their actions fuelling another magical war.
Charles allowed himself a small smile, although he lowered his head so Whrait wouldn’t see it. Did he just find evidence that the German Sanctuary could have been involved in a mortal war?
Leverage, if he would ever need it.
He looked up again. “Very well, Grand Mage. If there’s nothing else, I’ll just collect my fee and depart back for Ireland. It’s been a long time since I’ve been home.”
The Grand Mage nodded, and handed Charles an envelope. He didn’t bother checking its contents; he simply pocketed it and walked off.
As he exited the Sanctuary, his phone rang. He frowned at the caller ID, and answered the call.
“I didn’t think I would hear from you in a while, Agis.”
There was a silence on the other end for what seemed like ages. Then suddenly, a man sighed. “I figured it out Charles.”
Charles got into a taxi that looked more like a Mercedes. “What did you figure out Agis?” he asked distractedly.
“It, Charles. The puzzle. In Switzerland. I figured it out Charles. I finally did it.”
Charles eyes widened as he remembered. He sat there for a moment, thoughts racing through his head. Then he grinned. “That’s great Agis!” he said enthusiastically.
Agis was silent for a little while longer. “Charles… I had to tell them.”
Charles mood suddenly dropped. “Tell who?”
“They came for me. There wasn’t anything I could do.”
“Who did you tell?” Charles let his temper get away from him.
“It… doesn’t matter who. All you need to know is that news is going to spread like mad Charles, but only to the right people.”
Charles didn’t say anything.
Agis suddenly sounded as if he were crying. “I didn’t want to… but…”
“Where are you?” Charles asked. “I’ll come get you.”
“No!” Agis’ voice was suddenly sharp. “Go to Ireland, and wait until you hear word from me.”
Charles voice turned soft. “Agis-”
“Promise me, Charles. I need you to wait, just a few weeks at most.”
Charles knew that he needed to be quick, to have a good chance. But he also knew that sometimes waiting a little while longer for a little more information could very well be the difference between success and failure.
“Alright, my friend.”
Agis didn’t say anything else, he just hung up. Charles put his phone away, troubled, but also excited. The hunt was on. He was a little disappointed he would have to wait. But it didn’t matter. He would need that time to set up a good team.
Charles leaned back in his chair, and smiled. Yes, the hunt was definitely on.