As always, this is only lightly edited and comments are more than welcome.
Once, Tobias looked askance when the younger man paused.
“Could the devices’ve been sabotaged?”
Tobias shrugged, “I suppose it’s possible, of course. They were experimental and probably fiddly at best. But, who would?”
“That Rover’s still out here somewhere.”
“Why would he want to sabotage? The Rovers were part of the pair who asked us here.”
“Clearly not a unanimous decision,” Gavin said, with his own shrug.
Tobias chuckled, “Good luck with that. There’s never full consensus. Come to a faculty meeting sometime. I swear, if you put three faculty on a committee, they’ll come up with five options and spend months fighting over them.”
“That’s why I don’t go,” Gavin smirked, before continuing on their way.
Tobias smiled, at least he seemed a little more relaxed, or less jumpy. the same thing, really.
As they covered the last hundred yards or so, Tobias accepted enough to start running possible replacements through his head. Containment was key, he thought, because they needed to stabilize the effect before they could thoroughly study it. Considering the energies involved, he fervently hoped Oifa was right about it being natural. That was potentially scary enough, like a volcano or tornado, but the thought of someone controlling or unleashing those forces on purpose . . . did not bear thinking about.
He felt a shudder ripple through his body as they drew up to the second site.
Or, rather, several yards from where it had been.
At least three absorbed, then.
Probably all five. If three were gone, the chances of the other two holding were astronomically slim.
Determined to get some data, at least, Tobias extended his staff. He pressed the end into the ground a mere finger’s width from the anomaly’s edge. Both hands gripping the worn, smooth wood, Tobias concentrated on linking a few spells while Gavin scanned the woods around them.
As relatively minor sorcery, he drew and molded the power from himself, forming it like putty in his head. Once the shapes felt right, Tobias sent the magic through his hands into the old wood, past the glyphs he had painstakingly carved by hand over many years. It balked at the end, perhaps sensing the strange, foreign magic nearby. Some theorized that magic was inherently a living, even possibly sapient, thing.
The mental equivalent of a nudge sent the form into the ground.
There, Tobias felt it spread—freely beneath his feet and around, but quickly impeded toward the anomaly. He smiled faintly as the spells flowed toward the edge, then bounced back.
One of his colleagues, Master Coffman, described the technique as being like radar or sonar. She’d been born mundane and grew up among them, a rarity.
But, it was often effective.
Even if the spells didn’t provide the information they were intended to, their reactions and those of their target created something interesting.
He just wasn’t sure how useful, yet.
He would have to compare notes with Oifa later.
Once he was certain he could describe the response to Oifa, Tobias released the spells and turned his attention to Gavin.
The younger man seemed troubled, his brow furrowed and eyes narrowed to mere slits. His hands, Tobias noticed, had also wrapped around the hilts of sword and wand.