Halfling Part 6
Caden didn’t speak much as Uncle Rand and he continued their travels the next day, only occasionally granting fake smiles to those villagers whom thanked him again for his help as they left Dorgate. The pair walked for about a candle mark before Caden actually spoke up.
“You implied that I wasn’t a normal mage,” he said. “Can we talk about that now?”
Uncle Rand nodded. “Of course,” he said. “All I meant was that you had always been strong. When I had first brought that mage to the house to sense your abilities back when you were younger, he had confessed that he had not sensed such powerful magic before, not even from the professors at the school. It was that Fire Mage that had suggested I make you practice a little every day before you were old enough for the school. He was afraid that such strength would one day overpower you if you did not practice it enough.”
Caden stayed silent, not wanting to interrupt this spiel and listened closely.
“Perhaps it already has,” Rand said, “when it became strong enough to kill a man without your conscious effort.
“I believed that maybe your heritage has something to do with your strength,” Rand continued. “Your mother, gods bless her soul, passed away giving birth to you, and my sister had never revealed to me who your father was. All I had known was that she had met him in Geist.”
“Was my mother a mage?” Caden asked.
“Not a full one, no,” Rand said. “She had a touch of magic in her like all humans, but she hadn’t wished to nourish it. She was a mercenary and had met your father on a mission. I’ve no idea what he did.”
“Do you believe my father was a mage?” was Caden’s next question.
“Perhaps,” Rand said. “I have little belief that you inherited your magical strength from your mother, or anyone on our side of the family, actually. You’ll need to find answers about your father and his life.”
“Hm, I suppose—Hold up.” Caden looked sharply at Uncle Rand. “What do you mean?”
“I mean you should get out a little more,” Rand said, looking at his nephew with a kind smile. “I love having you around, Caden, but you’re young. Go out in the world and learn new things. Discover who you are.”
“So, you want me to just go out alone?” Caden asked, slouching in his saddle.
“You’re a smart and powerful young man,” Rand said. “If going solo is what you wish, then so be it. Otherwise, maybe you can apply to a traveling mercenary guild.” Caden didn’t respond, and Rand added, “Think about it, Caden. Give me an answer once we get back home.”
Caden did as he was told and thought of little else other than the news and stories that had just been revealed to him. He honestly hadn’t thought about what he would do in the future and realized that he had only thought of the present. Did he want to take over his uncle’s business? Become a moneylender and make profits off of debt and interest? What of his magic? What had been the point of going to Akyna’s Mage Academy if he wasn’t going to do anything with his status?
Dahlia was currently a mercenary, having earned her place in a guild. She had enough power and wits about her to climb the ranks, perhaps earning herself a leadership position. The last time Caden had heard about Jaxon, the other Air Mage was well respected in his father’s construction company, and was currently being groomed to become a manager of one of the company’s divisions. Caden himself didn’t have any long-term goals, but had always been content with his life. Surely there was nothing wrong with that.
However, as Caden and Uncle Rand made it to the yeoman’s lands, Caden realized that Uncle Rand had been right. No, there was not anything wrong with his current life – he was going down a good and safe route, after all – yet Caden knew he wouldn’t be satisfied with it, not when his friends’ letters detailed new places and lands.
Dahlia was a warrior, always had been a fighter and stood up for those whom couldn’t stand on their own. Jaxon was excellent with people and creative with solutions, making him an ideal manager and business owner. Caden, at the moment, was just his uncle’s nephew, standing to the side of the foyer while his uncle bartered back and forth with the yeoman on how to settle a debt. Listening to the yeoman try to offer cattle as payment for the debt, Caden made up his mind.
The day after, the debt was somewhat settled, with Uncle Rand getting the majority of his money and a couple of horses, and the yeoman getting one more month to pay back what he owed before Uncle Rand took more of the yeoman’s livestock as payment. Caden tied the reins of one of the new horses to Pepper’s bridle, and waited until Rand had tied the other horse to the wagon.
“Uncle.” Caden broke the silence as the pair were making their way back home. “Would it be too much trouble to ask for an allowance on my inheritance? Just a bit to help me start my travels to Geist.”
Uncle Rand’s grin was contagious, and the two spent the rest of the journey home discussing plans and strategies for the next part of Caden’s life.