It was not so long ago, as some count time. Abez was just an apprentice and quite happy and full of life. Oh, I knew he was happy. Especially when that girl Aria came around the store.
You see, Abez worked for me in my shop here in Jahar; copying manuscripts, selling healing potions and elixirs and cleaning the storefront. In return, I taught him. He was a very bright student and took to the arts naturally. I should have known something was going on when he started asking lots of questions about fate and luck, fortune and tragedy, karma (as a traveling friend from India would say) and chance.
This is what disturbs me now, so I shall try to relate as best I can what I believe to have happened and spurred Abez to do what he did.
As I said before, Abez was happy. He loved Aria and she loved him. But where he was a focused person, she was easily distracted. And it is this that I believe caused Abez his anxiety.
One hot day, as if there were any other kind in Jahar, Aria came into the shop to see Abez. She told him of a party that evening at the Shizar's residence. She was to attend with her parents, who were wealthy enough to be invited. This was nothing new to Abez. Aria went to social functions with her parents often. He knew he would never be invited to go with her. Her parents were not exactly disapproving of him, but they would prefer their daughter to take up with someone a little more to their standards.
The next day Abez came into the shop quite angry. Usually, I discounted his mood swings to the emotions of a young man, but this seemed a bit beyond his normal moods. I asked him what was wrong, but he would not explain. Again, not knowing at the time, I did not press matters. I went back to my work. It was then that he must have slipped into the back where I kept the more powerful of my enchantments and tools for their making. When he approached me a few minutes later and asked if he could be dismissed for the day as he was not feeling well, I noticed his anger had seemingly settled down, so I let him go.
I did not see him the next morning, nor the day after that. It wasn't until the third day that he returned. He apologized for missing work, telling me that he must have been more ill than he thought. Then he asked if Aria had been in to look for him. I told him she had not. That seemed to sadden him then, and he set about catching up on his chores in quiet fashion.
That evening, Abez left the shop at dusk. He stopped on his way out the door and looked at me for a moment, then thanked me for everything I had done for him. Thinking he was just put out by not feeling well, I told him he was welcome and that I would see him in the morning.
I did not see him the next morning. In fact, I never saw him again. This is where I must tell the tale from what I have learned from others and what I have surmised from the items I later found to be missing from my shop.
The next day after Abez thanked me for all I had taught him, his mother came to see me. She asked if I had seen her son that day. She was worried about him as he didn't come home the night before. I told her the last I saw him was when he left the previous evening. She said he had come home and ate dinner quietly then went back out; she thought to go see Aria.
I went to her home then and found in his room the things from my shop. a small crucible which had some cooled metal left in it, several small pieces of metal, one of which was gold. Also, there were a pair of leather gloves I used in smelting metal for jewelry, and several small vials containing various ingredients for enchantments. Last there was a clay mold for a coin. This is what disturbed me most.
The mold had been engraved exquisitely. Work I was not aware Abez was capable of. In fact, I suspected he used magic to aid in the work. The engravings were of a head on one side: a beautiful woman and around her head the words "beauty and fortune" in the old writing. On the other side: a cobra with the words "despair and ill fate" in the same script. Also in the room was a manuscript written in that same old language describing the forces of good and bad fortune.
I recognized the face as fashioned after Aria, so I went next to her home. Her mother came to the door when I arrived and bid me come talk to her daughter.
I found her sitting quietly in her room, saddened by something. She told me she had met a young man, Nafir, at the party two nights before. The next night, Nafir came to her parent's home to have dinner with the family and afterwards she and Nafir took a walk through the town. When they came to the square in the middle of town at the well, another man was there. He walked right up to Nafir and held out a coin to him. He said he was the man for Aria, but he was willing to settle this without a fight if Nafir would flip the coin. Nafir took the coin and flipped it into the air.
The other man spoke a strange word, Aria said, just before the coin hit the ground. When it did hit the ground, it made a most unusual noise. Not like a coin at all. Then suddenly, Nafir was behind her, touching her shoulder. He seemed confused and asked what had happened. The other man stood quietly where he was before just watching Nafir. Again Nafir asked what had happened and then he asked her who the other man was. When she said she did not know, the other man became very angry. Yelling at her that she knew who he was. He was Abez, he said, and they had been in love for a long time. She asked me then if I knew what this was about. I told her I wasn't sure, but I would try to find out.
I heard some years later that Abez had been seen in Agribah where he had opened a shop similar to mine and had an apprentice named Jafar. What became of that coin, I do not know. I hope it fell into that well at the center of town, but I do not believe that is so. No, I think that coin that can change so much in an instant is not lost forever. I also believe that it doesn't work the way it was intended. I had tried to teach Abez that there is no room in casting for anger. It has a way of altering the enchanter as well as the enchantment.
This is, as best as I can tell, what happened to my apprentice Abez and a coin of fate he created.