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29.5. Magic, Misuse, & Mullings

The Grand Magister shut the door to André's suite behind him, only then taking a moment to let out an audible exhale. He strides towards the lobby of the Diamond block, brow scrunched together as he reviewed the exchange with the bard. 'I could be mistaken...'

Alexandre continues to the lobby, passes by the receptionists' desk, and then turns on his heel after a double take. An individual in a dark green hood chats away to Sylv Peth, a display that may have otherwise started a scene if not for the ungodsly hour.

"Sylv." The archmage strides towards the desk, straightlaced in his appearance as ever.

The receptionist seems to match his posture. "Grand Magister! I intended to contact you. This individual—"

Alexandre smiles at him, giving a small nod of his head. "Forgive me. It had slipped my mind to inform you of this appointment. I shall handle matters from here. Thank you." With a gesture of his hand, he begins ushering the individual.

From beneath the hood, Xandran just grins at Sylv and then looks to the Grand Magister, walking in pace with him. "Well, good evening, Grand Magister!"

Alexandre swallows and holds back another sigh.


"Are you mad? Why would you go through the front lobby, Xandran?" Alexandre snaps, as soon as the door to his office closes behind them.

The elf takes no time to reach the tray of drinks, pouring them both a glass of wine. "Hmm? What was that?"

"Xan..."

"You're too tense, squirt!" The elven prince shoves the glass into his hand. "Anyways, I forgot how to use the backdoor. Mind's still a bit addled."

"Are you going to keep using that excuse?"

"Forever and eternity." Xandran smirks at him before taking a seat in one of the chairs opposite the whitewood desk. "But, in all seriousness, I'm still reeling a bit. And, I couldn't remember if it was safe to, yet."

The Grand Magister sighs. "It should be now, after all the trouble we, and the others, went through." He sits back in his chair, and quietly begins to sip.

"Lot on your mind?"

"Only the entire magical world."

"Shoot."
"Wow, I'd hate to be you right now."

"Thank you so much, Xandran, for that. Truly."

"I mean, I can put in my two cents to a few things, but not much. I'd rather not presume y'know, Al."

"Shoot." Their second bottle opens itself and starts pouring out into their glasses.

"Well, for that merry band you've been talking about so much, sounds like you trust them, so why not just ask the kid directly, eh?"

"I suppose I can." Alexandre downs his glass. "Though, I feel ...like I shouldn't. I've trusted them this much already..."

"Yet you're fretting over it now. Face it, Al. You have too much on your plate right now to think about this, of all things."

"It is important, though. With his...record, and if it is as I surmise..."

"Then why not be candid about it instead of being some crotchety, cryptic ol' mage."

"That was at least two adjectives too much, Xan."

The elf grins at him.

"But! Fine! I'll go ahead and message him. Straightening some things out can't hurt. I'm sure I'm just making more of it than it is."
Alexandre keeps his face buried in his hands, thumbs rubbing his temples.

"Oh, divines. You're a pushover!" Xandran laughs. "You know, he said you'd be bad at discipline, but now I can see what he meant."

The half-elf lets out a groan from behind his hands.

Xandran gives him a few pats on the back. "We both know a few people who'd do the same."

"I don't want to turn into my father..." The archmage sighs as he reaches for his glass. Xandran proffers him a bottle of whiskey instead.

"You won't, but...Some methods keep cropping up in these organization structures for a reason. They work, Al." The elf grabs a bottle of his own. "I warned you before, standing so high up in the tower's gonna make you lose sight of the little things."

"Damn it." Alexandre stares at the whiskey before opening it and taking a long swig. "I know..."
The bottles begin to pile on the table.

"He'd know what to do," Xandran muses, holding onto a bottle.

"Won't say anything, though..."

"So you can figure it out!"

"Look all the good my figuring's doing me..." Alexandre looks up from his desk. "Feel like I'm running in circles. With this bloody war, and its dumb politics...Stupid censure. And stupid rogue magic. Oh! And the Scourge--"

"Bah!" Xandran throws his hands up, startling the half-elf. "No work talk! Not now!...You're wound up too tight, Al." He clinks bottles with the other. "How 'bout that tournament, eh?"

"You're being stupid." Alexandre chuckles and then clinks his bottle as well. "Should be fun. Even if it is my last one...

"Bittersweet."

"Something like that...Oh, there was this project at the Convention..."

"Is this the one with the pig?"

"It is, actually!...Did I already tell you?"

"No, but you mentioned it. Never got the full story." Xandran smiles at him, raising his bottle to his lips, as his friend continues talking.
"You know, how's it that he got hitched first?"

"I'm not sure. True love?"

"Was it? Didn't know he could..."

"Makes it even more not fair..."

"Is it, though...?"

A pause. "Yeah, fair enough."

Both take a long swig.

"Hey, are you married yet?"

"Are you married yet?"

Both men look at each other then burst out into a fit of laughter, that devolves into drunken contemplation.
"Do you—do you think I'm a bad Grand Magister, Xan?"

Xandran jerks his head towards Alexandre. "What?! Youuuuuu?!" He shakes his head. "Naaaawwwww! You're a great Mand Gragister, squirt!"

"It's like—" The archmage suppresses a burp. "It's like, I can't even, handle my own...people? I dunno. Maybe I'm not, not cut out for this."

"Pssssshhhh! It's just the festival! Everyone's all loooopy! Your subordinates will straighten up after, I'm sure!"

Alexandre snorts. "Subordinates?" He stares at the elf, blinking, before taking another swig from his bottle. "Yeah! They're my subordinates! I'm the Grand Magister!"

"You're the Mand Gragister!"

"Yeah! I've got the robe! And the—the thing! I have a super sword!"

"Dunno what's that got to do with it, but—" He clinks bottles with the half-elf. "Buuuuh...Yeah!"

"I'm really good with this sword!" Alexandre pulls out the blade and swings it around.

"You're the—the Great Dueler!" Xandran empties the rest of his bottle. "We, we should spaarrrr!"

"We should spar! Like old times!" Alexandre stumbles to his feet.

The elven prince pulls out a bow from his bag, holding it like a club. "Yeah!"
"Xan, think I got hurt..." Alexandre slurs as he glances at his bleeding hand.

Silence.

"Xan..."

He receives only a snore for a response.

"Oh..." Alexandre begins dragging himself around. "Somewhere, bandages," The archmage grumbles to himself, stumbling around the back of the office and against the shelves...


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