Author's Notes: From its start in NaNoWriMo 2007, Infused Magic has bloomed into an entirely different story than what I had originally predicted. It has helped me fill in holes in the history of Avairea (pronounced like Ah-vair-ee-ah). Though the year is set before the happenings in Dragonblade, you can read either one first. This is simply the back-story of a minor character (who will hopefully stay a minor character) of the main story arc. It's kind of a prequel, I guess.


Infused Magic

"If our nature is decided by color and innate skill, then why give us free will?"

Part I: Child Perspective

l—Year 9657—l

Prelude: Is He Dead?

A whisper. A word. A question.

"You promise he's not dead?" Came the whispered voice.

So many questions. So many unknowns. So little time.

As he took another step forward against the rocky terrain, Memorain moved his cat-like eyes to the annoying brat he was forced to babysit. Veedran usually talked for hours on end; he rarely allowed Memorain any peace.

Days like these were different.

Why am I here? How do I remain? What is life? Is this a dream?

On days like this, Veedran understood the importance for quiet. The usually bouncy youngster stood absolutely still as he studied the unconscious Catrek boy in Memorain's arms. Veedran's own cat eyes, hidden by a woven piece of cloth that he always wore, darted across the limp child. A red tail twitched back and forth between Veedran's feet, but that seemed to be the only sign of the boy's usual hyper self. The black ears were still amid golden hair.

Suddenly, the Catrek-like (for he certainly wasn't full Catrek) brat lifted his head, a hand reaching out to touch the unconscious boy in Memorain's arms. "He's not dead, is he?" Alarm filled his voice. "I liked him…"

Memorain snorted as he walked forward, heading for the small house closest to the mountains. It was on the outskirts of the village, a reason for his choice. "Of course he's not dead. Would I bring back a dead one?"

Veedran lowered his hand and stared at the ground, ears slightly down. "Well there was that one girl…" he whispered, kicking at the smaller rocks as he walked across the mountainous region.

A girl. A boy. Why should one mean any more than the other? A Catrek. A Human. An Elf. Even with the differences, aren't we all still the same inside?

Memorain froze in his steps, eyes checking to make sure the boy in his arms was still breathing. When he saw the rhythmic rising and falling of the chest, he allowed himself to remember his mistake.

There had been a girl before this one. A girl that Veedran had especially liked. "The best playmate ever" he had called her. Memorain himself had even grown fond of the little girl, the sad smile reminding him of his long dead sister. Her case had been tragic…

"Her death was an accident," he explained to Veedran.

The brat clenched his fists and looked up at the Catrek sorcerer. Memorain almost winced at the glare he imagined behind the strip of cloth. "I liked her. A lot."

The sun beat down on both of them, quickly drying up the tears that formed. "I did too," Memorain was surprised to find himself admit it.

"Liar," the boy stated. "You don't kill someone you like…"

This time, Memorain did wince. He liked to believe it hadn't been his fault. The girl had shown more energy than she really had. She should've been able to last the night…She should've lived through the day, soaking up more youthful energy with the passage of time. Young ones tended to pull energy out of nothing.

She shouldn't have died. None of them should have. It wasn't his fault!

Accidents. Mistakes. Purpose. Should it matter when the deed is already done?

"Why do you do this anyway?" Veedran asked into the silence.

It was very quiet outside during the day. Catrek, unlike every other race on Avairea, were a nocturnal species. The songs of morning birds put them to sleep, and sleep they did. Day was the perfect time to return kidnapped children.

Finally feeling the stickiness of his bloodied hands, Memorain glared at the unusual brat beside him. Shifting blame helped his conscience cope. "Your father wants me to protect you. To do that, I need to live as long as you, and to do that I need to st…borrow extra youth energy from the children." He had been about to say "steal" but Veedran was too young yet to understand the need for stealing.

"Then why not take mine?"

Life. Sacrifice. Honor. To give something up to help another. If we did this, would we not function better as a society?

Memorain stared. He couldn't help it. Always selfish until now, Veedran had seemed the last person to offer up a risk at his own life in the place of others. The process of "borrowing" youth energy had very dangerous outcomes as possibilities. His mistakes were proof of that.

"You used to! Why not now? I'm tired of saying goodbye to friends!"

Narrowing his eyes, Memorain forced himself to walk as he talked. The boy in his arms had shifted slightly at Veedran's loud voice. "Hush up! Do you want to wake the village up early?" He seethed between clenched fangs.

Veedran huffed but followed along. The sun was moving ever closer to the horizon. Catrek society would begin waking up in an hour or two. He had to hurry.

Your godly energy doesn't work like theirs does. It's kept me alive, but not young. I'm growing old, and age means death for us mortals. But I can't explain that to you. Shairokan commanded you not know your true birth circumstances. He wants to keep you hidden and protected from the others. Hence my pitiful point of existence. He showed me a way to stay young and he'll point out subjects, but…

"Memorain, you promise he's not dead?"

Clashing his fangs together helped to keep him from dropping the boy and smacking Veedran. "Yes…I promise." He said softly, swallowing an annoyed growl.

"Good." Veedran said simply, stopping in his tracks beside his guardian.

Promises. Vows. What do these mean to those who kill? So easily broken. Excuses so easily made. Is honor still viable? Is complete trust worth it?

They had reached the small house. Memorain was glad. The sun was beginning to aggravate his skin. Being of a nocturnal race, he preferred the dark or the inside of a building. Sunlight wasn't a curse, but it bothered him.

Without saying a word, he walked right up to the small shelter, leaving Veedran to watch from somewhat of a distance. He placed the unconscious boy against the wall of the wood house. Wood was easier to come by in the upper altitudes of the mountainous region of Catrek society, so it was no surprise to see it as a building material for a poor family. After making certain that the boy drifted into sleep and was still alive, Memorain moved away, walking back the way he had come.

"Are you sure he'll be okay?" Veedran whispered when they were some distance away, looking over his shoulder at the sleeping boy.

Memorain had learned long ago to never look back. "He'll be fine. His family is very religious. They'll make sure he bonds with a cat in the next year."

"Why can't I bond with a cat?"

Memorain stopped walking, crossing his arms as he thought of the best way to explain. The black gauntlet on his left hand itched like dried blood, but he ignored it. "You have magic. Cats don't trust magic."

"Yet they trust kids dressed like warriors?" Veedran sounded confused.

Memorain shrugged and resumed walking, his robes feeling heavier than normal. "It's not my religion, but it is true that only samurai get bonded."


"Ask the cats, Veedran."

"But they run from me!"

Memorain smirked, "Exactly."

Trust. Honor. Love. These are what I learned, virtues I strive to keep. To give me magic was to break my innocence. To give me magic was to open my world. Was it a mistake? Is anything a mistake?

Revised – February 27, 2008