“I’m pretty sure I’m not the messiah,” Peter said, mixing up the pasta on his plate. The thing he liked about pasta was the sauce the High Presbyter’s chef put on it, and he never put enough on. So to make up for it, he conjured the olives from the other side of the table, put a dozen of them on his plate, then transmuted them into more sauce. It wasn’t as good as the sauce the chef made, but it was close.
“And why is that?” asked Jerome, watching with amusement. Peter admitted that that had been a little extravagant, but why make someone pass him something when he could get it himself? “Most Catechism scholars aren’t quite so certain.”
Peter shrugged. “There’s no mention in any scripture that the messiah uses magic. They mention a flaming sword and the power of God.”
“Those don’t sound like magic to you?” Jerome asked. He was a fat old man who was much nicer than people thought he was. As long as Peter didn’t touch on the topics that set him ranting, it was fine, usually.
“They can be,” Peter admitted, waving his fork and letting it catch fire with a little bit of wizardry. He put the fire out and ate some more pasta. “But that’s a party trick, anyone with magic can do it if they want to. The power of God is different from the magic I have.”
“One could argue, and indeed many have,” said the High Presbyter, transitioning into his homily voice, “that the power you wield was granted to you by God, Peter.”
“Sure. One could also argue, and indeed some have, that the power I wield was granted to me by the devil.”
“How is your mother doing?”
“She’s still crazy as a coat full of bats.” Peter would have to write her another letter tonight to let her know he’d mastered teleportation magic. Maybe he’d threaten to visit home unannounced. “She doesn’t respond to me very often but when she does, it’s usually to tell me I’m the Leader.”
“I sure hope not, I’d hate for her to be right about something.” Peter drank some wine. “The thing is, your Holiness. I’ve met a few angels now and their power isn’t anything like mine. I don’t mean that my magic comes from the devil, but the power God gave to mages and other human magic-users isn’t like what He gives to angels. Based on the prophecies I’ve read, the tren’keit is a once-in-a-lifetime magic user. The rh’eyltn is an instrument of God in a much more direct way than that.”
“That’s an interesting interpretation,” Jerome said, swirling his drink. He nodded after a second. “I’d like to invite you to a colloquium we’re having next month. We’ll be talking about the messiah’s relationship with magic.”
“I have finals next month, but I’ll see if I can make it,” Peter said. It sounded like it would be fun. “My parents aren’t going to be there, are they?”
“Your father will be. I’m afraid I’ve had to give your mother’s seat away to a promising young mage with important things to say about theology.”
Peter couldn’t help but laugh at that. “But your Holiness, the tren’keit isn’t a mage.”
“Let’s not worry about semantics, shall we? Now, tell me about these angels you met.”
Peter did while he finished his supper, still wishing there was more sauce. But magic couldn’t solve everything.
Just most things.