A note from TK523

Surprise weekend chapter! I got a little confused and released an extra chapter to the Patreon this week. Rather than skip their chapter on Monday I decided to instead release a new chapter to RR to resolve the issue.

Entry 18: Riloth 19th the 15th

Dear Spellbook,

It worked! I tried a lot of different techniques throughout the day, but I’ll save you the details.

When I woke today, my headache was still worse than normal, but felt a little lessened from yesterday.

Is this because I’m recovering or because I improved my vision?

Not having an answer, I went back to sleep to recover the only way I knew how. At that point, my vision had improved to the point where I could have navigated my way to Levar’s and bought potions, but common sense dictated that more potions were not likely to aid in my recovery.

When I woke, I ordered room service, and recorded the same sandwich as before.

This is going to get old really fast.

With coffee and a full—if uneasy—stomach I laid down in my bed, pulled my covers over my head, and then covered my head with pillows.

My mother tried to teach me meditation techniques that involved sitting out in nature and letting the sounds of the winds speak to you. To take insight from the rhymes of the wild and the chirping of the birds.

That wasn’t for me. I tried, but completely gave up when she had me sit atop a rock under a waterfall. I preferred to meditate sitting in a dark and quiet place, preferably a comfortable bed, and this bed was nothing if not comfortable. It wasn’t until I showed her results with my own techniques that she relented and left me to my own methods. Unfortunately, she never bought my claims that I was meditating in the mornings when she tried to get me out of bed.

Today, in my downy cocoon, I started by venturing into my mental vault. Shelves of books covered the walls of the small townhouse that existed only in my mind. Some books contained precious memories, and to some extent anyone with a mental vault can maintain and experience memories through diligent minding of their vault. But as a wizard without spellforms, I never had the time for such things. All my meditative time was best served maintaining my spells, something I had neglected of late. After my parents passed, I tried to refresh some of my memories of them, but the pain clouded my work too much and began to taint the memories, so I had to stop.

When I entered the vault, I looked around to spot if anything was amiss. The place looked as I had left it weeks past, except for one major difference. A shelf had been cleared on my previously unbroken wall of books. On that shelf, sat one book, a book I’d grown quite familiar with over the past weeks. You.

Cautiously, I approached the book. The spell constructs stored in my mind sit amongst the shelves, their position determined largely by when I began to learn them. Finding them was never a problem because when I needed them, they appeared in my hand. I hesitated to call this representation of you in such a manner, and cautiously picked you up.

As much as the sensations of sight and touch existed in this world, you felt much the same as you do now. I flipped open your pages, and found them filled with everything I’d ever written in them. Unlike now, the knowledge existed in more than just your pages, but in my mind. When I hold the book representation of a spell construct in my hand, the construct is clear in my mind, in all its glorious complexity. When I held you, your contents were laid bare in my mind. Every moment I’d spent writing in your pages, stood just a thought away. The memories, the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes, all felt as real as they had when I first lived them, and later wrote them down.

I tried reaching for the information in your pages that I hadn’t written, the spellforms, the reports, the bookish pages, but found them inaccessible to my mind. Flipping through the pages, I saw the texts and diagrams drawn out, but I couldn’t know it like I could my own entries.

As amazing as this is, I have more pressing matters at hand. In mind?

Gently, I returned you to your shelf, and called for the spell construct for Lightning Bolt. Reviewing it in my mind, I found only minor decay, and it took only a brief moment to repair it.

Odd, that should have been in much worse condition than that.

I counted the days out and had to pick you up off the shelf to get an accurate count. The day had reset fourteen times now. The longest I’d ever gone without maintaining a spell had been two weeks, and it had taken me hours to repair it. I’d let all my spells decay these past sixteen days, not having maintained them the night of the first reset, or the night of drinking with Trish that preceded it. Instead of weeks of decay, I saw the decay of days.

I checked my other spells and found them to be in much the same state, then glanced over to you, where you once more sat on my mental shelf.

Is this your doing, a function of the resets, or something else entirely? Yet another mystery for another day. I should start writing these down.

With you back on your new shelf, and all my spell constructs maintained, I moved to my bridge, a door set in the wall of bookshelves. Well, doorframe. After building a mental vault, the next step in a wizard’s training required them to build a bridge to the Arcane Realm. The process involves a lot of meditation while you construct the bridge into the structure of your vault. The method of construction is much like the method of building a spell template, only simpler. Simple, but not easy. The structure of the bridge is easy to master, but the Will required to construct it is astronomical. I spent a year exhausting my Will every morning, and again each night, building that stupid bridge. As a sorcerer, I had more Will to spend than a regular wizard apprentice my same age, and it still took a year. For me, it manifested as an empty doorframe through which the endless city of the Arcane Realm could be seen.

Of course, once the bridge was the size of my head, it was large enough for me to cast spells, but as always, my mother didn't settle for good enough. She wouldn’t begin teaching me wizard spells until I could fully step through the door.

At my complaints, she told me, “I don’t know that you will need this skill, but I know that one day you might, and on that day it could save your life. I won’t send you out into the world ill prepared.”

I suppose she was right.

This doorway had stood in my vault, a constant looming presence and reminder of the fruitless toils my parents put me through. How many nights had I spent reviewing my spell constructs, glancing to that door, frustrated that my mother hadn't begun my wizard spells sooner? Angry that I wasn’t further along, and blaming my mother and that stupid useless door for the delay. And it wasn’t just her. My father, how often did I whine to him about, well, everything? I spent ages trying to get out of learning Torcish, arguing that we never found enough texts to justify the effort. It was a good argument, I wrote an essay on what else I could spend the time on, but he only made me press on.

But here I was, trapped in this situation and using skills my parents instilled in me despite my own best efforts. And now, the door; the embodiment of my frustration stood before me, and I sensed that it was the key to fixing my vision.

Where would I be without them? Would I have made it to Edgewater? Would I have made it through the fortress? Would I still have my sanity after all these endless days?

No. I would have failed a dozen times over. They prepared me for life without them, and now they are gone, and I'm alone, left only with the lessons they imparted.

I stood before the door, and began to weep. Both in my cocoon, and in my mental vault, tears both real and imagined rolled down my cheeks as I sat there, wishing for my parents presence and grateful for their lessons.

I'd been so ungrateful.

Eventually, I pulled myself together, wiped away my snot and tears, and walked out the door.

The Arcane Realm looked exactly as it always had. The door opened to the gate I used to cast Lightning Bolt, the last wizard spell I'd cast. I knew the way to the Font of Lightning from here, but that was not why I'd come.

I examined the towering Fonts around me, in the shape of windowless buildings, impossibly tall, stretching endlessly towards the dark and starry sky.

It was all the same.

This can't be right. The door, the Arcane Realm. I can just sense it's related. I don't know how, but I know that it is.

I went back through the door, returned to my vault, and broke off my meditation.

This time I sent my awareness into the Arcane Realm, using my sorcerous ability to appear before a Font. Normally, I have a more ethereal awareness of the Arcane Realm when accessed as a sorcerer. The Fonts still appear as towering buildings, but faint. Only the one I'm casting from ever has any real substance.

But not this time. The Fonts around me appeared as clear and solid as they did when accessed through my door. Each building glowed with an inner light that didn't project from it's surface or illuminate its surroundings, just like the colors in my sight.

Looking around the Realm, taking it all in, a pressure built slowly in my mind. In my body, it manifested as a headache, but in the Arcane Realm, it felt like a giant hand held me and was slowly closing it's fist around me. I fought the urge to flee, and instead closed my mental eye, still present, but unaware.

The weight disappeared.

Well, this is different. Let's see what happens if I do this.

Eyes still shut, both physical and metaphysical, I attempted to enter my vault while still aware of the Arcane Realm.

It didn't work.

As soon as I stepped into my vault, my concentration on the Arcane Realm collapsed, but for a moment, I sensed a connection. For a brief moment, I knew the direction of my bridge from the Font of Fire, and that bridge was the source of the pressure. From that door flowed an awareness that my sorcerous mind was not equipped to process without the protection of my mind's constructs.

I need to do something about that door.

I approached it, feeling the frame. It didn't seem like any real material, with a perfectly smooth surface and a uniform wood color, but without any grains. I'd constructed it with my mind, could I alter it? I sensed that I could.

Grabbing each end of the frame, I pulled it into itself. Nothing happened at first, but I felt like something could happen if I just tried a little harder. With all the focus I could muster, I tried once more, picturing the door as a small window instead of the massive door. As I did, I felt my Will leave me in an instant, faster than ever before, as if I'd cast it all on a single massive Fireball, or a Blink of hundreds of yards. The frame gave way, and the door's width halved, but as it did so, the frame grew thicker, narrowing the opening further.

But I didn't realize any of this at the time because the pain that struck was so intense I passed out.

The Will drain was so fast, I didn't have time to consider what I'd done. I could fill a page describing the pain, but I'm not going to allow you to make me relive it anymore than I already have.

I came too hours later, wishing I had rung for the clock. Still buried in my cocoon after however long I'd been unconscious, I dug myself out to see that the world was more visible. The grey fog had disappeared but now everything in the room had a grey tint to it. Everything save the magical items, which had a slightly dimmed glow in the same colors as before.

That's one problem slightly reduced, but I'd forgotten about not being able to cast spells. It appears that the problem was more general than I thought. Any and all expenditures of Will are painful. I need to speak to Levar. Add it to the list, one mystery at a time. I need to check on the door.

Back in my mental vault, the door that'd once stood taller and wider than me had shrunk considerably. Now less than two feet wide, and three feet tall, the frame around it had grown thick. Where once the door frame had been a few inches thick, there was now as much frame as opening, making it the oddest looking doorway I'd ever seen.

I touched the frame, and sensed that I could widen it just as I'd shrunk it—if I had the Will. It also gave off the impression that there was still room to compress it further.

I stuck my head out, the Arcane Realm appeared unaffected outside. I could still squeeze out if I tried, but there was no need for that.

Next, I sent my mind into the Arcane Realm once more. I still felt the pressure building, but it'd slowed greatly.

This is better. If the need struck, I could cast a spell before the pressure forced me out of here. Well, if something wasn't stabbing me on the brain every time I tried. The problems seem unrelated at least judging by the different pains they cause.

Cautiously, I gathered my Will to pierce the Font of Fire to produce a simple flame, but felt the sharp pain building as I started and aborted the attempt.

Definitely different.

After that, I returned my awareness fully to my surroundings, and took a seat to begin writing.

With sleeping in, and the unscheduled stint of unconsciousness, the reset is imminent. Tomorrow I need to speak to Levar. I think there are two things wrong with me, and I can’t tell if they are permanent. If I still can’t cast spells, I’ll set up my minions, excluding Triggy’s gang, and return to my room.

A note from TK523

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Bio: Aim for perfection, but don't try too hard.

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