Jakkor Highfield ran his fingers through his wavy, brown hair. He had to get it cut again, he thought grimly; he liked his hair this length, but his parents didn't, and it kept on getting in his eyes.
Last week, he had turned sixteen years of age; that meant he had completed his training as a Air Mage and was now considered officially an adult. He had mastered all Air spells, from the simplest Wind spell to the most powerful Airkinesis spell (where he manipulated the air around an object to make it move, from a distance).
Jakkor had always been able to lift much heavier objects, and have more control over them, than his friends or anyone else he knew. They all admired him for his skill in Air magic.
He stood in a queue in a baker's shop, waiting, bored, for his fresh bread, like he did every day. He found it pointless that the Magi continued with the Test of Five Elements; most people took on a job when they became an adult, like this baker. The minority went into the Air Army, to become soldiers for the Magus Air.
Jakkor hadn't really thought about any career. His cousin was an Air Warrior. He told Jakkor it was boring, and all the action they'd ever seen was when they fought a group of rogue Orcs in Tak'Kar, where he was based. Jakkor hadn't heard from his cousin in months. He usually wrote to him once a month, but there hadn't been a sign from him in a while. Jakkor worried.
There was only one person in front of him now – an elderly man; he couldn't have been less than seventy, Jakkor thought. Even the way he stood, leaning heavily on his stick, portrayed his age. He wheezed at just the effort of standing up. The baker, Yarun, looked at him pitifully.
"One loaf of bread, please," he said, the very act of speaking wearing him out. Jakkor wondered how he could walk home. The baker pulled out a fresh loaf, and the gentleman paid.
"Ah, Jakkor," said Yarun, smiling pleasantly. "The usual?"
"Yes, please, Yarun." The baker smiled again, accepting Jakkor's payment, and gave him a long, thin, crusty loaf of fresh bread.
"I'll see you tomorrow," he winked. Jakkor smiled and returned outside, onto the wide street of Aeronaea.
The buildings were tall, built touching eachother. They were all white or grey, the Air colour, and had many windows. He turned left, and left again, onto a slightly narrower street, on his way home.
Then it happened.
One moment, there was a street full of normal citizens of Aeronaea, going about their business. The next moment, there were literally hundreds of people crowding the road, all dressed in black – and murdering Aeronaeans.
Jakkor saw one out of the corner of his eye, armed with a knife. He turned right to face him. He'd been taught about these situations by his trainer – what was around him that he could use to his advantage?
Jakkor spotted a barrel on the side of the road, about twenty metres away. The man dressed in black started towards him, walking fast. Jakkor reached out, used Airkinesis on the barrel, and found that the barrel was full – and heavy.