The cold stone beneath Lindin’s feet seemed to seep into his bones as the funeral procession moved through the gathered crowd. Eight wizards, each wearing black robes of silk with no adornments, carried the casket of High Mage Gellinns forward to present him, one last time. At the front of the gathering stood Archmage Velsyph, similarly adorned in black. His robes, however, contained accents of gold. His features were particularly noticeable today, Lindin thought. His hollow face, and tired eyes, seemed to pull what light was in the room into themselves, rather than project the strength generally expected of an Archmage.
The gathering had been hastily planned. A wizard dying was not uncommon; the arcane energies they manipulated were bound to have disastrous results on occasion. But none had anticipated that Gellinns would be the victim of such an accident. Compared to what such an event could have been, Lindin was sure this would be remembered as a pitiful end for a brilliant mind.
Those gathered included what family he had – his mother was present, a sister, and an uncle. They were notable in that they held no rank, members of the wizarding elite through Gellinns alone. A few work associates were present as well, enchanters involved in the spellweave. A handful of high arcanists and archmages were present as well. Lindin was surprised to see so many in attendance. In his experience, only two or three archmages were in Arhals at any one time.
When the procession reached Velsyph’s position, they set the casket down soundlessly. As they walked away in a line, an image of Gellinns glittered to life above the casket, showing how he had appeared only days before. As one, the room bowed their heads in respect, offering their silent prayers to Argantin on his behalf.
A minute passed before Velsyph spoke, “We are gathered today to witness the life of our dear friend, High Mage Gellinns of Tementer. In his life, he accomplished the advances of the spellweave that we now rely on…”
Lindin tried to focus on the words, but his mind refused. His thoughts drifted to the past weeks, and his visit to Gellinns’ chambers. He had not gone far down the corridor when the High Mage’s cry of pain echoed after him. He had turned, running as fast as he could, bursting into the chamber. Even then, it had been too late. The poor’s man’s body had already crashed to the floor, writing in agony, clutching at his head.
The medics had followed soon after. They placed a shield around him, trying to cut off whatever had killed him. Then the artificers had come, scouring his chamber clean, hoping to determine which of his experiments had claimed his life. Then the scribes, claiming his precious notes, so that not a detail of his work were lost.
Except for one small scrap of paper, hastily written. That, Lindin had snatched before the medics had come. Gellinns’ quill had sat atop the parchment, dripping ink, when he had entered the room. It had only taken him a glance to discern that it described, in Gellinns’ words, exactly what Lindin had been telling him about. Worse, he seemed to have been interrupted mid-sentence, while he was more closely studying the phenomenon.
He hadn’t intended to keep the scrap, only moving the pen and picking it up to examine it. But as the medics dashed in, then the artificers and scribes, he hadn’t had the chance to put it back. And so, it remained in his possession, tucked away in a pocket of his robe. Together with Gellinns’ body, they were the proof of his claims.
Lindin’s thoughts returned to the moment as Velsyph raised his old, wrinkled hands towards the sky, and intoned, “May his soul rest forever with Argantin, Lord and Creator of All.” As one, the room did likewise, repeating the words.
As the echoes of voices dimmed, the casket began to glow a silver-blue color. The light filled the chamber, and yet somehow the casket itself remained perfect visible amidst the light. It appeared to rise into the air, floating towards the ceiling, fading as it did so. As suddenly as the light had come, it, and the casket, were gone, swept into the Eternal Ether.
Lindin sighed. So much for his proof.