Life was comfortable for the next two centuries. Abou continued to shine in his position as a librarian and his reputation as a mage grew, too. He was consulted by many, including the Pharaoh’s advisors, on subjects ranging from military matters to healing potions. The library held much information and Abou had ample opportunity to read most of it.
My position as Abou’s favorite pet was never questioned. Abou explained my unchanging presence by telling everyone that I was a descendant of “the original he’d rescued so many years ago” and followed in his master’s footsteps of attributing his own longevity to a gift from his gods. I understand the gods work in mysterious ways so although he outlived several Pharaohs, his age was never questioned.
Our life was comfortable, that is, until the Romans came to Alexandria. As I understand it, political and military alliances are common among humans and some Romans had allied themselves with powerful Egyptians. There were Roman ships docked in the harbor and soldiers frequently roamed our streets. I had seen several in the Library consulting the papyri and codices for knowledge.
One night, several of their ships caught fire. The wind was blowing from just the right direction and the fire spread to the part of the Library that Abou oversaw. We slept in rooms adjacent to our hall and the smoke woke us.
Naturally, after something over two hundred years, Abou’s magic came easily to him and he was knowledgeable of all elemental work. He mustered up every ounce of energy we both could draw and called Water in a huge wave from the harbor in an effort to aid those already fighting the fire with buckets. Although magicians were usually circumspect in their workings, Abou failed to look about him and he was observed by a Roman soldier, who promptly hit Abou on the head with the hilt of his sword, knocking him out. Without Abou’s water, the fire leapt back up and continued to burn, although soldiers, librarians and ordinary citizens were making good headway in extinguishing it.
The soldier threw Abou over his shoulder and carried him to a ship that had been untouched by the fire. In the melee, I followed my human, unnoticed.
Abou was carried into a large room below the main deck and deposited unceremoniously on the floor in front of a desk occupied by an older man. “He has magic,” the soldier said, relating Abou’s attempts to put out the fire.
“Excellent!” the man behind the desk said. “I could use a magician. See to it that he is made comfortable and any injuries are tended.”
The soldier saluted, picked Abou up and carried him to another, much smaller room down a corridor where several other people were lying on cots, many with bandages over parts of their body. The soldier put Abou on a cot, told the man in charge that he was to be made comfortable on order of the trierarch, then left. I curled up under his cot, determined to find out what our new life would be like.