Azadus couldn’t stop grinning on the way to his cell. Pinching small portions of food always made him feel like a master thief. Sneaking in and sneaking out, like a shadow and no one would ever find out. Except Pienna. And the Prior.
Maybe stealing wasn’t his forte. However, the short distraction didn’t last long. How could he get in touch with the Essence of Fate? It had always fascinated him, more than the other strands. His tutors often warned him that no one has ever been able to use the Essence of Fate, if he was not born with the talent for it.
Back in his small room, he created a small sphere of light and warmth. It had gotten warmer but the chambers in the cloister still were cold all day and especially at night.
How would it be? Seeing the future? He had read all the books and scrolls he could find about the topic, reports of fateweavers, describing their experience, mediums talking about their contact with the deceased, even though Azadus thought that this was just a ruse or a mental disease anyway.
People talking about a sixth strand, the Essence of Chaos? This was ridiculous and they had no evidence to back it up, none of the suggested experiments were repeatable.
But forecasting the future of individuals, this was proven to be true. So why exactly were his experiments failing?
He had talked to Ephihom a few days ago, during one of the morning prayers, about the sequence he was going to use in his experiment. Ephi said that it seemed to be good and he trusted Ephi’s opinion on magical rituals.
But not when it was about going for a drink. He could still remember him saying “Just one beer, come on”, but the memories of what happened afterwards were blurry, if present at all. What he could remember, however, was the torture; morning prayer had been the day after. The priest had noticed that they were still drunk and had appointed them to be his acolytes, just out of spite. Azadus had to sing three prayers, trying with every sentence not to throw up, while Ephi had to stand still holding the ostensory.
It was their bad luck that it had been the fest of Dina’s rise, where the sermon took twice as long as usual. And Azadus could not get rid of the thought that the priest would just stall the whole sermon already. He held back as long as possible but in the end, when the last churchgoer was gone he puked in the font. The priest’s screaming could be heard for miles. For six weeks he had to clean the lavatories using only a hand shovel and was not allowed to speak, except for prayer. And even months after his original punishment was over, he still got the cold shoulder from the other monks. It was only when he had taken care of Buren Ashendai, the head librarian, during his sickness, that he was treated as a fellow monk again.
Ephi had been on the easy end of the stick. He still claims that he threw up twice inside his robe and that it was therefore quite easy not to move. He had been punished to take a shower everyday in winter but when he developed a pneumonia, he was let off again.
But the relation to Buren had brought Azadus an enormous insight in the studies of magic and the five strands and was considered his starting point for being seen as an expert on the strands.
He often wondered if he could have foreseen those consequence if he had that ability.
Azadus lay muffled in his blanket for quite a while ruminating over his theories until he finally fell asleep.