Chapter 5:

What? Marcana and Illuden?

"I didn't think that was possible?" you say, confused.

"I didn't think it was… But I assume we were both told that you were sorted to our respective groups..." Alice trails out, lost in thought. She starts slowly pacing around, a very concentrated look on her face.

"Do we just rock-paper-scissors for it or something?" Robert suggests.

"What? Is that how Marcana make decisions?" A guilty look comes over Roberts face.


Alice sighs deeply and rubs her face.

"So, what are we going to do?" you ask, trying to make sure Robert and Alice don't get into another argument. "Can we talk to the Council of Trials or something?"

You've heard of the Council of Trials through conversations with other Unsorted. You think you've also spotted one or two of their members before—a cloaked figure hovering nearby the Trials, not really interacting with people, just observing. When you first heard about them you thought maybe Alice and Robert were part of it, but the Council of Trials seems to be this ethereal, unbiased entity that only appears every couple of years when the Trials take place to make sure everything goes according to plan. Completely different than the humanity and clear bias that came with Alice and Robert.

"The Council could work… but they are notoriously elusive…" Alice remarks, finally stopping her pacing.

"And frankly a little bit creepy," Robert tacks on.

"Isn't there just some tracking spell or something that you can use to find them?" you ask Robert.

"Hey hey hey… magic doesn't work like that" He gestures around animatedly. "I-I can't just do whatever, whenever. There's a process, limitations, a method."

"A method?" Alice sputters out, trying not to laugh at Robert.

"Shuddup. It's just not that simple. It's like—" Robert stops himself, struggling to articulate his thoughts. He sighs before adding, "You wouldn't understand."

"Try me." Oddly enough, Alice is not joking around. She seems genuinely interested… empathetic, even. You wonder if either group really talks to the other after they are Sorted.

"Magic to Marcana is like… a stream"—Robert suddenly has a very serene look upon his face— "And there are common things that float down the stream that I can just pick up. Some magic floats down the river like a fish that, with concentration and a tool, I might catch. And then…" He looks at you, his serene look replaced with one of exasperation. "And then there are things that you wouldn't really ever expect to see in a stream—like a rocket ship Things that just can't happen."

"So then how do we find the council?" While you are fascinated about Robert's explanation of magic and wondering if you too could feel a connection to magic like that, you kind of need to know whether you are going to be in either group first.

"Right," Alice says, getting back on track. "From what I've read, the Council won't appear to any Illudo or Marcana. And you haven't formally been sorted yet, so…"

"I should keep doing Trials and maybe they will appear?" you offer. It seems like a bit of a long shot. The one time you spotted a Council member, it almost immediately disappeared, like a mirage. You don't know how you would be able to get close enough to a member to talk to them.

"Maybe if you do enough Trials, the Council will appear to give you a certificate or medal or something" Robert says excitedly.

Alice frowns. "I guess that's the best we've got."

"What about you two?"

"We probably shouldn't be seen near you if we want to attract the Council, so we will just need to come to you after you find them and talk to them."

"I thought tracking spells weren't a thing?"

Alice nods and then motions at her sleeves. "Nothing up my sleeve." After a series of hand maneuvers, she pulls a coin from behind your ear and offers it to you. You hear clapping; it's a very amused Robert. Confused, you accept the ear-coin from Alice.

"I don't get it," you say, observing the coin.

"It's a tracking device. It shouldn't set off any magical alarms and it will help us get to you once you speak to the Council."

"Gotcha," you say as you pocket the coin. "So how do I let you know when I've met with them?"

"Just flip the coin and an alarm will be triggered on my end. And I guess I'll just hang with Mr. Rock-Paper-Scissors here until that alarm happens." Alice looks amused at Robert. "You can teleport, can't you?" Robert nods eagerly and they both turn to you.

"I guess we will see you later?" Robert offers, hopefully.

"Yeah." You smile, hoping to assure Robert.

"Good luck," Alice says as you head off.