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A note from Dragonkinn02

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Please note that the use of magic here is not using the "System" that was shown in the prologue. There will be reasons for that which will be explored over time.

Jeremiah and I made our way down towards the healer’s hall and managed to intercept William the blacksmith. After confronting him and determining that he had no knowledge of what had gone on, I tried to correct the story that he had heard from the rumors.

It was difficult to persuade him that Jeremiah, myself, and well over a hundred mages witnessed his daughter’s actions and that she had, from our point of view, while radical, seemed to have managed to summon a familiar. It took a fair bit of repeating that Jeremiah and I knew what we saw, even though we were somewhat at a loss on how to explain what exactly had transpired.

William was panicked once notified that we as of yet were not informed as to what exactly had gone wrong or why she was in a coma. The news that we had no clue why or how she did anything earlier this evening was not painting us in a competent light.

As we finally reached and entered through the tall double doors of the healer’s hall, we were assaulted by the brightness of the room. The fire from the multiple chandeliers bounced off the white ceiling, the white walls, and the white cloth partitions to the dozen closures for potential patients. It was quite a stark difference from the dark grey stonework of the corridors and the rest of the guild.

Giving myself a moment to try and focus my eyes to this white room. I finally resort to a harsh squint as I approach Melanie Larse in the back left corner of the room.

Passing by the few stalls, I can see that the boy, Pit, who had come close to dying earlier today was in one of them recovering a distance away from the girl. He was with his father or uncle in his cloth enclosure. In passing, I can see that the boils from the burns he sustained were covered in poultices on the left side of his face and neck.

I’m glad that we only had one incident of his nature, though I felt sympathy for his unfortunate circumstances.

Continuing on to the back of the room where Melanie was, William shoves past me and Jeremiah as he rushes to the bedside of his daughter, oblivious to possibly angering a gold and silver mage with his contact.

“Cara! Cara! Curse the devourer, what happened to you!? Healer? Is she in pain? Will she wake up?” The giant man turned and pleaded towards Melanie, tears streaming down his face.

Glancing away from the scene, I am mentally trying to give him a little privacy to come to grips with what is going and a chance to compose himself.

“Jeremiah. Help me look for some runework that can possibly assist Larse and help diagnose the child.” Best I distract him before he says something insensitive as he often does. However, I catch him frozen stiff giving his best glare past William and his daughter. Following his gaze, I realized that leaning in the corner was the familiar, who was watching Jeremiah and me intently, not moving a muscle but possibly ready to react as he had done to Zeratud.

Jeremiah interrupts William’s questions to Melanie, who’s stammering, unable to answer the grieving giant, who easily has five times her weight on his intimidating frame. She’s unable to form coherent sentences as she stammers in regards to his questions about his daughter.

“Melanie... What is ‘it’ doing in your hall!? I thought we had ‘it’ escorted to the cellars until we knew what to make of it...” I can see Jeremiah from the corner of my eye clenching and releasing his right fist. A slight red aura forming around his ring on that hand.

Melanie quickly realizes who Jeremiah is focusing on and can sense his discontent, quickly jumps between the two raising her hands to plead with Jeremiah.

“Stop, stop, stop! I will not have any fighting in my hall! Guild master, it was an experiment as Cara was deteriorating so quickly, I just thought that...”

William, finally noticing the boy against the wall, jumps up from his daughter’s bedside and rushes past Melanie towards the familiar. He reaches out with his two giant mitts, ready to strangle the life out of the familiar while yelling at the boy.

“YOU DID THIS! THIS IS YOUR DOING!”

He reaches the boy in just three strides after rounding the bed. I see William shift to reach out with his left hand to start strangling the boy, while his right arm pulls back, coming back for what will be a crushing blow to the boy’s face.

The boy is calm despite the giant barreling down on him, threatening violence. In a calm manner, he just takes a step forward to the left of William, bending backwards and under the hand that William was planning to strangle the boy with. Grabbing William’s pinky and thumb in both hands, twisting as he turns backwards and under William to his back.

William’s arm twists with the movement of the boy, as he maneuvers behind William.

Jeremiah starts to move around the bed so that he could get Melanie out of the way and the boy in direct line of sight.

With a quick kick from the boy to the back of both knees of William and a continued pull and twist, I wince as William goes face-first into the white stone floor right behind the bed with the boy’s knee applying a great deal of pressure to William’s shoulder.

Melanie is screaming at the violence that is ensuing and Jeremiah now has Cara in the bed in his way as the boy had gone to a knee on top of William.

With what had seemed like too much ease for someone a quarter the size of William, he is now in full control of a cursing blacksmith.

[Wind’s grace]

I quickly use a trickle of mana to put together a small wind spell to speed me up and Jeremiah off from moving around the bed. Jeremiah’s surprise almost makes me the target of whatever inferno he’s planning to case, but his eyes go from surprised to annoyed with my intervention.

I want to de-escalate things and the boy, last I saw was still unarmed. Plus I don’t think deducting half a year’s wages from Jeremiah will cover the amount of damage he might do with whatever fire magic he’s readied, especially if it is one of his signature spells that do not differentiate friend from foe from furniture kindling.

On the other side of the bed, I can hear what I presume is the boy speaking.

“Tek’h veet lay-rashii!”

That followed by a groan from William as he attempted to struggle from the floor.

I reach out with the residual effects of my wind spell’s speed and grab Jeremiah’s wrist that now has unstable specs of embers flickering into existence. He’s on the verge of losing control and releasing whatever he’s cooked up.

Melanie is making her way around the bed towards the other two, perhaps to try and pry them apart, not realizing she’s in Jeremiah’s line of fire.

“Jeremiah, do not start! No lethal force!” I growl at him. After a small pause and slowly increasing my strength on Jerimiah’s wrist, I finally can feel him reeling his magic back under control and slowly dissipating it.

“Honestly, the boy is unarmed, no reason for you to try and incinerate him inside the guild...” I say to him with a deep frown on my face.

“You saw what he just did! He could bring out a sword at any moment! He’s brought a young mage to the brink of death and is dangerous! Did you not see what just happened to the blacksmith that is ten times his size!?” His face is going a deep shade of red as he sputters in my face trying to convince me of the danger this child poses.

“Tek’h veet. Tek’h veet.”

More unknown words are being spouted by the boy. Repeating himself again as he keeps pressure on William’s shoulder to keep him down, despite Melanie’s attempts at sign language to convey to the boy to ease up.

After getting Jeremiah to stand down, I turned my attention back to the trio, past the girl in the bed who was breathing heavily and sweating a great deal while she lay there oblivious to the conflict that is breaking out around her.

“William, we need you to remain calm and stay by your daughter’s side. At this time, we know nothing about her condition, except for that it is grave and we need that boy.” I say as I start to make my own way to the crowded far side of the bed. Melanie moves out of my way, as I knelt down beside the boy who’s watching my every movement intently.

“William.” I point down at the man underneath him. Who releases another groan.

“Is going to calm down.” I slowly put both hands up, palms open and facing him, and slowly motioned away. William has finally stopped roaring at the boy and seems to either be concussed or finally calming down and going more slack.

I place a hand on William’s back and slowly reach out to his other arm that the boy was in full control of.

With a slight smirk the boy hands over control of an arm that might be thicker than my own waist, to me, and steps back over to the wall.

“William, get up slowly and pull up a seat on the other side of your daughter’s bed as we try to figure this out.” I slowly let his arm fall back to the ground while keeping my eyes on the boy.

William lets out a sigh and says nothing as he stands up and complies with what I had just asked. Rotating his left shoulder testing it out, he’s sporting a terrible grimace at the pain as he also flexes his fingers that were used in the tussle. He quietly goes over to the other side of the bed, pulls up a stool, and sits down, hanging his head as he picks up the small hand of his daughter in his own.

Turning to Melanie, I motion for her to join me as I have quite a few questions and would like to get this over with before it becomes too late.

“Melanie, you mentioned an experiment, did you find a clue as to what is wrong with Cara?” Melanie follows me to the foot of the bed while Jeremiah is still staring down the boy who’s just leaning against the wall watching us all curiously.

“Um... well no... I mean that I noticed Cara deteriorating faster and faster as she was being moved away from her familiar. You had those two silvers escorting him to the cellars. We were transporting her here when she started to convulse again. The boy stopped and as we started to rush towards the hall, we were getting closer to him and Cara just stopped convulsing. In a bid of desperation, I had them come over to us and as Cara and the familiar approached each other she started to become more at ease. Her breathing was less ragged and I made the decision that they should not be separated.” She explained hastily, as Jeremiah turned to eye her for having challenged my orders under his advice for placing the familiar in the cellars.

William was now alternating his gaze between his daughter and the boy on the wall with a look of confusion and grief on his face.

“Um… Do you have any inclination as to what is wrong with her?” I ask

“No, all I know is that her condition is exhibiting some similarities to a poison, though the proximity of the familiar makes no sense on how it would affect a poison.” She bites her lower lip in contemplation as I start rubbing the bridge of my nose again.

“Okay, do we know what language he’s speaking?”

I want today to be over, this is getting to the point where it’s been too stressful and ridiculous. We have nothing that makes any sense and it would be much easier if we could question the girl or the boy as to what happened. Was it the alterations to the ritual that she performed that went wrong. Also, where did she learn of those alterations?

“I’ve asked a few others and while he says very little, we know that it is none of the common languages or variations of any dialect in any of the eastern provinces.” She turns to look at what Jeremiah is doing.

Following her gaze, I see him reaching down to pick up the two tomes that we had dropped onto the floor in the confusion just a moment ago.

Joining Jeremiah and taking a tome, we start to leaf through them. Jeremiah is muttering the names and effects of various forms of poisons under his breath. Melanie came to join and look sideways at the tome I was leafing through. Pausing after a dozen pages I direct a question to her.

“If it were a poison, does it exhibit anything peculiar that might help us find what it is? Did you check the wounds on her arms for any salve or trace of a poison or venom?” I ask, though my question was half answered by William as he quickly starts to examine her arms.

“What wounds? there’s nothing on her hands or arms.”

Jeremiah is the first to chime in on that note.

“That’s impossible, she has to have a severe wound of some form with all the blood she used to form those runes from earlier!”

Now looking down at the right hand of the girl that William was holding. There are no marks on her hands, wrists, or arms, though I distinctly remember blood coming from her right hand at the start of the ritual. All the mages and adventurers had all seen the blood runes. Looking over to Melanie for an answer, she put her hands up in the air waving off any accusations of her miraculously fixing any such wounds.

“I know, but there was nothing, there was a little bit of dried blood around her wrists, but no source for it. So there was nothing for me to bandage or suture, as there was no wound present.” She said defensively. We still do not have very much to go on.

“Her temperature, dilated pupils, sweating, comatose state, and her convulsions all point to possible poisoning. Though, there are no traces of any poison that I can think of. I don’t think it’s a fever, as her friend that we sent home after questioning said that she had been perfectly fine before coming in. It could be an unknown poison, but then I cannot cure it without knowing what it is.” Again we are back to nowhere.

“Mage Larse,” Jeremia begins to ask, not looking up as he continues to leaf through the tome.

“Could it be due to losing so much blood or feedback from misusing some of the altered runes?”

“That is outside of my realm of plant magic for healing and I have no idea about feedback that could result from the use of runes.” However, a possible idea occurs to me.

“Melanie? Would it be possible that she’s actually poisoned by magic and not by any substance?” Melanie starts to wring her hands as she is clearly uncomfortable about any topics outside of her domain of expertise. After a moment, she shakes her head.

“Well... I’ve never heard or seen anything of the sort, though that might possibly fit and describe the situation... except even if that is the case, I have no idea how to cure such a thing...”

William looks up at us with worry on his face, as tears begin to run down his face. It cannot be easy for a father to listen to us going over what could possibly be wrong with his daughter and have nothing conclusive.

“Okay. Guild master, what if we were to try using these runes? It uses a bit of wind magic and I’m not proficient with the wind affinities. It would allow us to see her magic auras and maybe see if it is something magical that is affecting her.”

Jeremiah had stopped and was tapping a page in his tome before passing it to me and taking the tome I was holding in kind.

Looking at the provided page, it shows a brief description of coupling a Sol and a Sensi rune to a pigment and making it extremely sensitive to wind magic. Reading through it quickly, it appears that the runes and spells were usually meant for attempting to determine the affinity a mage would be by adding pigment to be carried by their magic auras. It was unsuccessful for its purpose as the pigment that was picked up was more indicative of the target’s health.

Looking at Jeremiah I was confused as to how a failed spell would be of any help. Picking up on my probable line of questioning, Jeremiah interjects.

“The pigment should ride on her aura, so if she is being affected by the feedback from the runes we might see something, or might see a localization of her aura somewhere to indicate that it might be an ingested poison? It may tell us how her aura is at least reacting to her condition.” He said hopefully, though I can tell that he is grasping at straws in front of a distraught father. Resigned to trying something so that we did not end up with a dead mage on our hands I ask Melanie to procure me a colored paste of any sort for the runes.

After Melanie returns from a cabinet to the side of the bed and hands me a green salve, I give her my best ‘trust me’ smile.

“Allow me to use you as a test subject? So we have something to compare it to?” Melanie shoots me an aggrieved glance before nodding and giving me permission to go ahead.

Dipping my finger into the paste, I noted that it smelled very woodsy as if a forest had been refined into the little cup. My eyes start watering immediately as I carefully draw a pair of runes on the back of each of her hands, being careful of the stroke order in their construction.

“If anything goes wrong, you’d better be sure to stay clear of my hall for a very long time if you know what’s good for your health.” She says with the most innocent of smiles.

With a soft chuckle, I begin to conjure the softest breeze I can muster, focusing it to hit both runes on her hands equally. Jeremiah joins up next to me to observe Melanie.

The familiar in the corner cocks his head to the side, curious as to what we were doing.

William is trying to lean back a bit to see around Jeremiah as to what was happening. Melanie starts to blush as we continue to wait and watch as nothing happens.

I’m about to try again when I notice that the runes on her hands were dissolving into the air. This is when it becomes apparent that around her hands and wrists is a slight white fog, similar to one’s breath when outside during the cold winter. It’s small, but slowly becomes more visible and soon enough, Melanie has a thin white fog swirling around her, almost like a second skin just a single inch or two in some places above her skin. Once the runes have fully dissolved, so does the aura around her quickly dissipate to nothing.

Turning to Jeremiah and then back to Melanie, I state the obvious.

“That was much more subdued than I thought it would be, though do you believe it could help in your diagnosis Melanie?” She thinks about it for a moment before answering.

“I won’t know until we try, though if this is successful at helping us to diagnose her situation, we may need to implement and utilize it a bit more frequently. Mr. Foregess, would you allow us to attempt the non-invasive magic you just saw? It cannot even be felt, so there will be no harm to your daughter.”

Melanie, having decided on the course of action, had William step aside as I redid the runes on the backs of Cara’s hands the same as I had tested out on Melanie. The familiar’s watching very intently as to what we are doing. He’s made no motion to impede us in our attempts with the runes.

I begin to cast the subdued wind magic again, exactly as I had done with Melanie and we start to see an almost instant reaction.

I’m not prepared for what I am witnessing. As soon as I have begun to channel the wind magic, a very dark purple and black fog forms around the girl’s hands. Unlike Melanie, this is not subdued or a small mist, we are shocked as the black and purple fog starts to obscure the girl’s body. Forming eddies, swirls, and moreover resembling the waves of the ocean during dire weather half a foot out in all directions from her body.

William rushes back to Cara’s side, trying to scoop and wave off the ominous black miasma that has now completely obscured her. It’s forming a thick layer, almost as though she’s now wearing a coat of living armor from head to toe.

William grabs the top sheet that was covering his daughter and tries to wave it out to disperse the miasma. However, it simply passes right through the sheet as if it had not even been there. I watch perplexed and amazed at the stark difference from the previous test. The fog was now falling to the ground, over and through the bed, and creeping towards the familiar. Who is still calm and composed as he watches what is currently unfolding. Jeremiah has now stepped in to help.

“Blacksmith, find her hands and rub the runes off.”

They both scrambled to try and find Cara's hands. It is futile though. What we were seeing is currently what is happening to her, they are only wishing to hide the ugly truth from being visible. Unsettled by the lack of response by the familiar I turn my attention back to him and then I realize that the fog is not flowing off the girl and down, but in the reverse.

It’s flowing up to her! I realize as I watch the fog moving. The eye-catchy waves are traveling outwards, but looking closely at the miasma, the surface is actually moving in the opposite direction all across the floor between the familiar and the girl.

The fog pools around his feet and slowly becomes visible as it creeps down his shins, and yet he still did not move or react, as though he expected it. The source of the fog’s effect is knee-deep in it when I hear William and Jeremiah shout in unison.

“Got it!” “There! found it!”

The dark fog quickly fades in my peripheral vision, as I keep my eyes locked on the familiar while he stares directly back at me, waiting…

I’m the first to look away as I turn back to Melanie and grab her by the elbow and guide her back away from the bed and out of earshot of the other three.

Watching William try to fix the bed and check on his daughter’s state. Whispering in a hushed tone so that only Melanie would hear my question and not William or Jeremiah.

“You mentioned that she got better from the proximity of her familiar and not the other way around?” I ask as she, Jeremiah, nor William had noted that the actual source of the fog seemed to be originating from her familiar.

“Yes, I’m positive. I do not want to endanger her health by repeatedly putting it to the test. I’m certain that his presence is helping and I can hazard a guess after that scene, that she is probably still in pain and that it could very well be a magic poisoning and not an issue of any feedback, as there is a scary abundance of magic and aura around the girl compared to me and I’ve got a couple of decades on her in experience and magic.” She whispers back to me.

“All I can really think of doing is trying to make her feel more comfortable and give her something to ease the pain. That is all I think there is to be done besides wait and observe if anything new comes up.”

I’m hesitant about the theory about his proximity, though if Melanie thought that was the case that had forced her convulsing to cease, I’m not going to object. Resigning that this was indeed too much trouble, I approach the bed where Jeremiah stood behind William.

“I’m sorry to do this... William... We need you to head home for the night. The healer, Melanie, will be here all night with your daughter and we’ll send someone to get you if her condition changes.” I turn my attention to Jeremiah before William can interrupt me.

“Jeremiah, I would appreciate it if you could arrange for two silvers, no bronzes, to stand guard over the familiar for the night. It’s Melanie’s professional opinion that the familiar must stay close to the girl.”

Jeremiah hesitantly accepts the request with a nod before he just leaves the hall with the two tomes to find the babysitters without a word.

Now’s time for the difficult endeavor. I head over to William and place my hand on his shoulder.

“Come, William, let me have you escorted home, your daughter needs rest and for you to be well-rested for when she wakes up. She’ll be well cared for here, you may come by in the morning.” William got up slowly, not letting go of his daughter’s hand.

“Why can I not stay by my daughter’s side? While that thing has to!?” His voice is starting to rise at the indignation of it all. I wince at the thought of what I am going to do, but the rules are the rules. I was bending the rules by even allowing him inside the guild at present. However, I was not going to outright break them.

“William, I’m sorry to say this, but you are in the mage’s guild. We are bending the rules now as by law only mages are allowed inside. Your daughter is a mage, and by that right and only that right is she allowed to receive care by the guild, however you are not…” I wince again as I see that I’ve cut him deep with these remarks.

“These rules cannot be broken without dire consequences, for the entire guild, which now includes your daughter.”

He’s in his own kind of pain. His own personal kind of devourer’s abyss. It was as though I just knocked the wind out of him and he almost looked to age 10 winters right there. He became a bit more lifeless and accepting of me helping and guiding him away from his daughter.

I want nothing more than to let him stay with his daughter. However, there have been too many witnesses today and I cannot afford to break the rules for any one man.

We bid Melanie a good night and he said some words of affection and encouragement to his daughter before following me out of the healer’s hall.

After seeing to William being escorted back to his home by a random dead weight, I make my way back up to my office to go grab some things before I myself retire. I muse on thoughts of everything that transpired today and find Jeremiah waiting outside my office for me.

I beckon him to follow me in, while I proceed to fall back into my chair and rub the bridge of my nose.

“Jeremiah? Tell me honestly what you think.”

“About what part?” He retorted.

Yes, indeed there were far too many things that have gone wrong in a single devourer be damned day. Looking up at him, I feel such a terrible burden from the fatigue and my advancing years.

“Everything and anything, your honest opinions.”

“Well, the girl tampered with things that she did not know of and if she dies because of it, that is her own fault. As for the familiar, it creeps me out and I find it very unsettling how we cannot communicate or find any historical record of something similar happening. It could be a spy, you know the royals will not accept this cleanly. Especially if a single word of a storage artifact leaks.”

“True, though we cannot communicate with any normal familiar, so that much has not changed.”

“It still bothers me. As does the backlash we suffered at the ritual itself from the girl. I’ve never seen anything of that magnitude from a wind master, nor the suspension and forming of the runes, the blood or the symbolism, the chains, storage or him kicking the ass of the bronzer or fucking any of it! Not to mention the dark aura we just witnessed. Need I fucking go on!?”

I waited until Jeremiah had finished his miniature tirade and for him to take a deep calming breath. Waiting to make sure he was done, I acknowledge his justified distrust and unease for it all.

“Very true on all accounts. While there have been a great deal of unknowns today, I believe we are lucky that nobody died and I think that it is more similar to perhaps a millennia of cycles in the past when they did not have any precedence for most new magical constructs.”

That was truly what it was. There was no precedence for any of this and that was what was so unsettling. We had grown so accustomed to things and how they should adhere to our beliefs that we were unwilling to accept small discrepancies, and even less willing for the larger ones.

After agreeing to set things aside and see how they panned out tomorrow. Jeremiah and I had come to the conclusion that we’d need to do some damage control and issue a formal statement to the public on the current events. What we really needed was for that girl, Cara, to get better so that she might answer many of the outstanding questions that we had. Bidding each other a good night, we went our separate ways to retire for the night so that we’d be ready for the eventual pandemonium in the morning and just hopefully not the royals.

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