Leto left the holies’ cave in a numb haze. Snow began to fall while he was inside the cave, but he barely noticed it as the flakes obscured his vision and soaked the shoulders of his tunic.
The magic of the world could rip. He never pretended to have understood magic beyond his specialty, but if someone had suggested this earlier, he would have thought it ridiculous. It seemed like such a steady thing, like a flowing river.
But rivers had bends and falls, didn’t they? Even the wisest of holies and scholars didn’t truly understand how magic worked; why some people were born with spirits and some weren’t; how a specialization was determined; what originally gave them the power to use it in the first place. It was as enigmatic now as it had been when it was first utilized by the ancients. So why couldn’t it be rent in two? Before the beasts began to act erratically, no one would have thought it possible, but what did they really know?
It was common knowledge that elves had been the first to create the first spells and properly utilize their spirits, and that humans began to hone their spirits into modern spell-casting. It ended centuries of spurning those with magical spirits; they were not understood, and were ostracized for their peculiar emotional outbursts when their magic manifested. Public executions, torture, imprisonment: they were common ends for those with magic. But discovery of spells changed that, and turned magic into something to be revered.
But where had that knowledge come from? How did the elves of old discover what magic was?
If a rift in the magic was affecting the beasts so dramatically, surely the answer lay in Willowfirth. He knew, of course, that the beasts were magical creatures in themselves, but could there be more to it?
He shook himself from his reverie and found himself staring at the distant shadows of Voln. Even from this distance, he could see the craters in the mountains where the peaks had exploded in a cascade of molten rock and fire. Long in the past, the communities of Voln had been suffocated by ash when the volcanoes erupted, and the history lay buried and forgotten ever since.
If the beasts were heading in droves to the old mountains, maybe there was knowledge to be found there.
A shiver passed down his spine, and he shook his head and began the walk back to Morwenna’s family home. He would not go to Voln if he could help it. He had enough trouble in his life without stirring the ghosts of the past.