Later that day, when they’d gone home, Emery leaned back against the chair he’d been sitting in while he tried to read. He pulled his eyeglasses off and set them on the table that held the reading lamp and his notebook. He couldn’t concentrate.

His father, who he had figured must be dead by now, had been found. The man had been living in a cave and scaring the locals by masquerading as a legendary ghost. It was clear to anyone who met him or even saw him that he was quite mad. The question that remained was simple: why? What had caused the once brilliant mage to lose his mind?

Some mages used high level spells so often that the energies destroyed their minds. Emery thought back to the once proud man his father had been. He’d never known the man to use a high-level spell once, let alone to excess. He’d actually warned his very gifted sons about the dangers of using high-level spells.

Something had to have caused the madness though. Surely a simple hereditary metal illness would have been discussed once the boys began learning magic. Those with mental illnesses were all but forbidden from even learning magic.

Emery snorted. The wardens wanted both of them re-evaluated. They couldn’t afford to have two mad mages on their payroll. He stood and looked up at the books his father had left them. Once they’d made the decision to return to their family home, he and Miles had begun pouring over the books as they had in their childhood.

With older eyes and the experience of practicing mages, the texts were clearer. There were some gems in the expansive collection. There were some unusual books regarding such topics as semi-magic and off-magic. Not much was known about the gifts that were almost magic but not done through the casting of spells. Emery had always figured it was something like his ability to sense trauma.

Morrissey and even Miles had to cast spells to find where trauma had originated. Emery, on the other hand, seemed to feel it in his mind. Sometimes he even felt the pain of the injured person or the feelings they’d had while undergoing the trauma. It was something he’d learned not to mention during his schooling at the academy.

“Mi, do you sometimes do magic… without casting a spell?” he asked abruptly. “You know, like I do with sensing trauma.” Maybe, just maybe, their father wasn’t paranoid after all. Maybe he was onto something. Maybe he thought someone was out to kill him because he was actually in danger. Emery turned to his brother, waiting for the answer to his question. He thought about that strong, honest man who’d raised them… he couldn’t think of the bedraggled madman as their father. He would find the answers.

Miles looked down, chewing his bottom lip thoughtfully and said, “I sense emotions, Brother. It’s strange. They’re outside of me, but it’s almost like I’m feeling them too. I have since school. I just wasn’t sure how to tell you. Why?”

“Something Dad said,” Emery said softly. “I think I might need to talk to him; if he’ll talk to me.”

Continued here