Chapter 1: Wizard's Apprentice
I was getting frustrated. I was in my third hour of sorting through all the stones in Wellmet. Still no call. Sighing, I flopped down, petting Pip, my mentor's dragon. "I'm never going to find my locus stone." I told Pip, who rubbed my hand.
"Jay?" A voice called. Conn, my mentor. I'm twelve years old, about when most wizards start training. I think. My name is Blue-Jay, Jay for short, and I lived with my aunt until she died last winter. Then, at Nevery's insistence, I became Conn's apprentice. Or something like that. I got up and carried Pip with me to talk to Conn.
"Yes?" I asked, and Pip squirmed out of my hands and flew over to rest on Conn's shoulder.
"Still nothing?" He asked. I shook my head. "Well, uh, don't worry. I was the same way." I knew that. Everyone knew Conn's story. Even though the wizards still didn't trust him, everyone in Wellmet knew of his awesome stories. "Lunch is ready. Then we're going out to the Sunrise to get you better clothes. Nevery's idea." Conn said, apologetically.
Well, I was starving. "All right." I followed Conn to the kitchen, where Benet was making lunch. Mmmm. Smelled great. I scarfed down my lunch almost as fast as Conn.
"Okay, I've got a purse string." Conn said.
"Be careful." Benet grunted.
"I'm always careful." Conn replied. I followed Conn and Pip out of Heartsease. Conn lead me to a small clothes shop in the Sunrise. "Uh, I think what Nevery wanted was just good clothes." Conn looked around, obviously confused. Eventually we picked up a new coat, boots, shirt, and trousers. Satisfied, Conn paid. "Should be good enough."
The coat was a bit to big, but other then that, the clothes were good. "Uh, Conn? Can I please take a break from looking for my locus stone?"
Conn sighed. "Sure. Be back by dinner." He turned back to Heartsease. "Oh, uh, here's a keystone, so you can unlock the gate." He and Pip left. I strolled across the Night Bridge. Maybe my locus stone wasn't in Wellmet. I crossed into the Twilight. It used to be a lot worse, but the new Underlord made it better. Crowe was scary, but Embre is nice to his people.
I walked through bustling streets and cramped squares. I picked up every tiny pebble I found, and nothing. Maybe I wasn't cut out for being a wizard. But Nevery thought I could be one, so I guess I am. Lost in thought, I bumped into someone.
"Oh, hello!" It was a girl, short, with short red hair. Her green eyes sparkled. Literally. And she was definitely magic. Not magic in the way that Conn, Nevery and the magisters where magic. "Ooh! You're a wizard!" She said.
"Um, yes?" I responded.
"Cool! I'm a locus stone!"
Chapter 2: Wizard's Locus Stone
I stared. "No, you're not." She frowned.
"Yes, I am!" She said. "Say a spell!"
"But that'll only work if you're my locus stone! And you're not a stone!" I pointed out.
"But-" She stopped, staring. "I'm not a stone?" She looked bewildered.
"Uh, no." I said. She looked down at her hands. Her eyes widened.
"Oh!" She exclaimed. "I'm an owner!" She said, looking at me. "Like you!" Then her face turned serious. "Say a spell!"
"Ugh. Fine. Lothfalas!" I said, expecting nothing to happen. But something did happen. She glowed.
"Told you!" She said, holding out a glowing hand. "I'm a Locus Magicalicus!"
"You're.... my locus stone!" I breathed. "Come on!" I grabbed her still glowing wrist.
"Where are we going?" She asked. I led her to the tunnels.
"Okay, put your hand on the gate." She did, and I said the opening spell. The gate blasted open.
"Oops." She said, looking at the gate. It was more powerful then I expected. Obviously more powerful than she thought as well. I made it to Heartsease and rushed up to Conn's study.
"Conn!" I yelled.
"Yeah? What is it?" He asked, not looking up from his paper. He was writing a second paper. Nevery had been making lots of edits, and Conn was getting a bit frustrated.
"I found my locus stone!" I said. He finally looked up.
"Really? What kind of stone is it?" He noticed my Locus Magicalicus.
"Uh, human kind?"
Chapter 3: Cooper
"What?" Conn asked, confused. "I don't get it."
"I'm a locus stone!" She said. Conn looked at me.
"Lothfalas!" I said, and like before, the girl's skin glowed. Conn eyed her warily.
"Well, I've never run into this sort of thing before. But to seems she is your locus...stone." Conn said. I nodded. "Does she have a name?"
She looked at Conn. It hadn't occurred to me. It made sense, I mean she was a person... sort of. I looked out the window. A bird had landed on the tree. A cooper's hawk. "Cooper." I said.
"Cooper." Cooper said, thoughtfully. "Ok!" Cooper smiled.
"So I have my locus, I mean, I have Cooper. What's next?" Conn handed me a book.
"This is a grimoire. Read it. Then, you get your own." He responded.
"All right!" I said, taking the book and Cooper's arm and rushing up to my room. "I finally get to start practicing magic!"
"Yeah!" Cooper agreed. I opened the old book and flipped through it. It had a ton of spells and experiments in it. "Oh! Look!" Cooper pointed at a particular spell.
"Locus stone experiment number 58. Locus stone to human!" I cried. "This is the person!" I searched for a name. The only resembling a name was 'The Property of The Wizard of Red'. "The Wizard of Red?" I asked.
Cooper shrugged. "Maybe that's what we should be looking for!"
"Dinner!" Benet called.
"Coming!" I yelled. "Wait, Cooper, do you eat?"
"I'm not sure. I think so." Cooper replied. It turned out that Cooper did eat. A lot.
"Hey, Nevery." I said.
"Have you ever heard of The Wizard of Red?" I asked.
"No." Nevery said, quickly leaving. How could he not know if the grimoire belonged in his library?
Chapter 4: Nevery's Library
"Sure, Nevery knows something!" Cooper said.
"You really think so?" I replied, browsing the grimoire.
"It makes sense. The book was in his library, so he's either heard of the Wizard of Red, knows them, or they owned the house before him!" Cooper explained, fidgeting about. I glanced over at her as she poked around my room. Cooper had been fascinated with all things human, or 'owner', as she called them. Conn, Nevery, and I had all asked her many questions. She wasn't able to answer them very well, which I guess makes sense. You don't have sight or hearing as a rock.
"Hey, Cooper, I'm tired of this research. Want to go for a walk?" I said, tossing the grimoire back onto my bed and standing up, careful to avoid the many books scattered on the floor. She nodded enthusiastically, bounding to the door.
"We should walk to the library, see if they have anything on Heartsease." Cooper reasoned. I nodded in agreement. It would also be a time to practice control of our magic. As we neared the gate, Cooper put her hand out, touching the bars. She looked at me, signaling she was ready.
"All right, this time, soft and quiet." I said, remembering the mini-explosion from last time.
"Soft. Quiet. Think small." Cooper breathed, and I tried to do the same. I imagined the door slowly creaking open, and spoke the spell. The gate nearly didn't open, barely unlocking and moving less than an inch. I sighed. Cooper pushed the gate open the rest of the way.
"Maybe a bit bigger next time." I said, walking through the tunnels. Cooper nodded.
"Medium?" She asked.
"Yeah, medium." I replied. We wound through the streets, and I watched people rush from place to place. They were all in such a hurry, something important, someone important, always something to do. I wondered about Cooper, as I often did now. I wondered if she would age. People were in such a rush because they only lasted so long. Rocks last a lot longer.
Cooper hummed tunelessly, bouncy and cheerful as ever. Would her mood change? Would she have emotions? Does her mood mirror mine? We arrived at the library quickly. I told Cooper to check the bottom shelves while I checked the top shelves.
"What are you doing here?" I turned at the familiar voice.
"Hey, Veronica." I've known Veronica since I started being a apprentice. Conn had taken me to school for a while, and Veronica had become my friend there.
"I don't often see you in the library. Did you finally realize reading is as great as I say?" Veronica said, laughing slightly. I shook my head.
"I'm here researching with Cooper." Veronica looked down at Cooper, who waved.
"I'm Cooper, Jay's locus stone!"
Chapter 5: Veronica
Veronica stared. "Woah!"
I looked at her incredulously. "I didn't know you'd believe her!"
"Come on, Jay. I live for research. This is a fascinating find!" Veronica said, holding out her hand, which Cooper took cautiously. "So, how are you a person, instead of a stone? Does that change your abilities?"
"No, actually, I didn't know I had changed forms until I met Jay!" Cooper said, smiling.
"Wow! You're one of a kind!" Veronica said, awe in her eyes. I remembered why we were in the library and tapped Veronica's shoulder.
"Hey, Veronica? We actually need your help." I held out the grimoire. "Look at this spell. It's experimental, for changing locus stones into humans, like Cooper. We're trying to find out who wrote it, and why they changed Cooper."
"Or if it was them." Veronica pointed out. "Someone could have taken their work. There are many advantages to a human locus stone. Hard to lose, you can give it orders, even plan strategies with it. But Cooper has a will of her own, and a personality. Maybe that wasn't what the creator or the caster of the spell intended?"
"Good point." I said. Veronica gave me a look. An of-course-it-is look.
"We were actually going to see if the library had anything on Heartsease." Cooper said, pulling books off the shelf at random.
"Oh. records are in the back. Follow me." Veronica pointed past some shelves and started walking. Cooper and I rushed to follow. "It should have records on Heartsease, owners and such probably." She store over to some shovels and started scanning them. "H, h, h..."
"That's exactly what we need!" I said, patting Veronica on the back. "Thanks!" Veronica glanced at me, eyes narrowed.
"Didn't Nevery build Heartsease?" She asked pointedly as she found the 'H' drawer. Veronica pulled it open and started flipping through cards. Cooper loked at me. I thought back to everything Conn and Nevery had said about Heartsease.
"Actually, I think so." I pondered.
"So that narrows down the list of suspects." Veronica straightened, holding a file. "This is records on Heartsease." Veronica put the file on a nearby table and Cooper started flipping through it. Veronica caught me eye. She held up a different file with a dramatic flourish. Veronica's eyes flashed. "This is Nevery's file."