The search for control
Anselm woke once again in his bed of rags. The clean, comfortable bed with new sheets he had crawled into the night before was all but destroyed. With a glance down, he could see the telltale signs of his Mark fading. Last night’s dreams had been particularly bad; no doubt the two were related.
Master Auris raps on the door with his cane as he enters. “Are you up yet b-oh, you are. And you’ve ruined your new bedding. You’re a disgrace. Hurry up and fix it, or there will be no breakfast for you. You have a lot of chores to do today. Until they are done, there will be no dinner either.” With that the grouchy old man turns and leaves the room. Anselm sighs and starts pulling the necessary equipment out of his work box: a candle, a mortar and pestle, several test tubes, a small empty salt shaker. Grinding up some materials he pulls out of glass bottles in the box, he mixes everything together in very precise ratios, then heats it over the candle. Despite the audible growling coming from his stomach, Anselm is completely focused on the task at hand. Mixing this incorrectly could make things much worse than they already are. Finally, the mixture has boiled down to a powder and it is poured into the shaker, then carefully dusted over the bed. After a couple seconds, the bedding starts glowing a faint purple that fades away. The bedding is untouched, as if it had just come from the market. Tossing his ruined bed-clothes into a heap in the corner, Anselm grabs a clean, if cheap, shirt and pants from his dresser before rushing down the stairs to breakfast.
“You have to get that abomination under control or you’ll ruin us both. Are you even trying?” Master Auris continues on his usual tirade. Anselm looks contrite and nods at all the correct times, but really isn’t listening. Doesn’t Auris realize he’d control this damned Mark if he could? All your clothes and possessions disintegrating when you touch them isn’t exactly fun. “And don’t forget to wear your extra layers when you go outside. If anyone sees that thing on your back, I’ll help them stone you for the abomination you are.” Anselm bows to his master and adds two battered tunics and an oversized cloak onto the shirt and pants he is already wearing. Grabbing a quarterstaff from beside the door, he leaves for his first chore of the day: getting water from the town well…
...to be continued