The Martyrdom of the Grand Master, Chapter 52 and the end of the book.

Sorry about not posting this earlier. 

“Why kill the Grand Master?”

“The Darkmage killed the Grand Master because the Grand Master stood in the way. That is why this key was here and broken. The Grand Master gave himself so that the key would not be used to Scourge anyone.”

“I think that the Grand Master was trying to save the Darkmage from himself, Grand Master. That was who he was. The world has lost one of the greats today.”

Chapter 52.

The Mage Academy.

Lyari said to Onvyr, “You have had a firm hand here.”
“Too firm, master?”
“Perhaps, but that may be what is needed. Of course you have your own children as examples.”

“Saevel certainly wants discipline in his life and takes duties seriously. The girls on the other hand, have other things on their minds.”

“Do you approve of their choices?”
“Maylin and Myrdin were a thing before I returned and they seem to have settled with each other very quickly. Of course Myrdin is a lot like an older Saevel will be as far as tasks and duties goes. On the other hand he does get into scrapes.”

Lyari laughed. “The manure was not his fault. Myrdin and his friends were doing important work for the Justiciars and the Mage academy and had plops dropped on them without any warning.”

“I will admit that. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t get into other scrapes.”
“Would you have it any other way?”

“I suppose not.”

Vestele joined them on the patio and said, “Lady Qinvaris is here with her youngling for her appointment.”

“Bring them in, bring them in!”

Vestele left and returned with Nimue and Sylvar. Sylvar bowed, Nimue curtseyed and Lyari said, “What brings you two younglings here today?”
“Sylvar and I want to discuss the training to become a mage.”
Lyari put his hand on his chin and said, “You both are rather old to start on that path. On the other hand you both have very good contact with mana. This is an unsual request.”

“I don’t think that Sylvar was tested because his parents were trying to be discreet about him for dowager Empress reasons and I wasn’t tested because of daddy and the prejudice of the Mage Academy. What we want to propose is that we continue with our education in the Republic for next year and then take the advanced mage courses and start our studies.”

“Now that is actually an interesting proposal. I assume that both of you are prepared to take mage oath?”

“Sylvar?”

Sylvar looked at Lyari and said, “Without reservations, Grand Master. I have known enough mages to know that the mage oath is not a burden, but an acceptance of responsibility. I have also seen those who desire power, but not the responsibility that abilities create.”
“Well said, “Youngling. Now you, Nimue.”
“I also will take the oath without reservation when the time comes. Grandmaster, we found a rather interesting tablet recently of my great great aunt and how she lived her life in some rather terrifying times. She was not a mage, but I think that you will see that she held the same sort of values that the mages are supposed to.”

“Did you bring the tablet with you?”
“I did. I thought that you should see this. My sister found it in the House’s old headquarters when she was going through some tablets”

Nimue pulled the tablet out of the satchel she was carrying, set it on the table and started it. When it was done Onvyr said, “She was a remarkable lady.”

“My uncle is making a book about her story. We all thought that it was pretty incredible.”

“I think that we have a path forward, Young Nimue,” Lyari said. “I should mention that many of the advanced classes that do not require use of mage abilities will be transferred to the new university that your mother is creating. So having you and Sylvar here is a good thing for the academy.”

“Thank you, Grand Master.”

The pair said their goodbyes and left. Onvyr looked at Lyari and said, “I don’t think that there was any way that you would have turned her down, was there?”
“Actually, if she had not been truly committed to the oath, I would have. Since there was no doubt in my mind that she and Sylvar were both truly committed to the oath, I could not deny them. The Academy made a mistake in only testing the high when we were fully aware that much of the power was in the low. I thought that the high, without the concern of making a living, could more easily hold to their oaths. That did not work out well as they instead followed the interests of their families over their oaths, the most extreme case being your father.”

“I cannot argue with you there. What my father did in pursuit of the Project was an atrocity. The only reason he did what he did was simple greed and it was not even his own greed. I see your point.”

“You have come a long way since your daughters rescued you.”

“I have. I have had to because I never want to put myself in the postion of having to be rescued by my daughters again. There was something rather crazy and backwards about that.”
“Indeed there was. It was entertaining though.”

“Very much so.”

“I think that I will take my leave and take a nap. It is quiet here now. The quiet will not last when the students return.”

Would you have it any other way?”

“No, I would not. I go to my rest.”

Lyari walked inside and down the hall that smelled of fresh paint and linseed oil with a touch of shellac toward his quarters. As he walked past the room full of odds and ends of mysteries that the mages had stored away, the sound of glass breaking came from inside the room. Lyari looked inside and the Darkmage had broken the glass in a display cabinet and taken a key from the cabinet. Lyari looked at the Darkmage and said, “Haven’t you caused enough death and suffering, Dúrgúl?”

“What do you know of suffering? Your family was never declared Anathema!”
“No it was not. It may have been close to coming to that, but my family was not. Why don’t you put the arming key away and we can discuss your family. I’m afraid that the stain is too heavy for you, but some of your family have redeemed themselves and have rejoined the world.”

“The failures and traitors. They deserve to be destroyed.”
“Put the key away. At this point most of the devises have been dismantled or sent to a place where they could explode harmlessly and hurt no one. So the key is rather useless.”

“I have enough devises! I can finish this!”
“Can you? I have seen what the Mage Wars accomplished, just this morning, when we saw a brave young lady’s diary. Rather an amazing document in fact, from the time of the Mage Wars, when they were throwning the Scourge around like firecrackers. Is the Scourged earth the kind of world you really want?”
“That is the only course open to me.”

“Do you want to have your only memory being that of the most hated man on earth, Dúrgúl? Put that key back and I will not raise my voice. You may leave.”

“I will take this and go now.”

Dúrgúl charged and Lyari had the time to shield his heart or use his abilities to break the key, but not both. Without hesitating, he sent a spike of force at the base of the crown, causing the key to snap in half. The Darkmage’s blow landed on Lyaris heart, putting it in attack as the Darkmage dropped the two pieces of the key. The Darkmage ran out of the room as Lyari fell with a tremendous pain in his chest.  Onvyr must have heard something and rushed in, with several other mages behind him.  Lyari looked at Onvyr and said, “Take care of my charges, Grand Master. I move on to another task. Remember to hold mercy in your heart and a willingness to forgive.”

With that, the Grand Master gave his last breath and joined the gods. One of the other mages turned to Onvyr and said, “Where do you lead, Grand Master?”

“We go down the path that this elf has given us. Now we must give this elf to the fire and the gods.”

“Who did this? Did anybody see?”
Onvyr picked up the two halves of the key and said, “The Darkmage did this.”

“Why kill the Grand Master?”

“The Darkmage killed the Grand Master because the Grand Master stood in the way. That is why this key was here and broken. The Grand Master gave himself so that the key would not be used to Scourge anyone.”

“I think that the Grand Master was trying to save the Darkmage from himself, Grand Master. That was who he was. The world has lost one of the greats today.”

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