Entry 19: Riloth 19th the 16th
Today I woke up to find my vision in the same state as last night. My worse than normal headache was still present, and I was beginning to suspect it was related to my sight, and not my inability to use Will. If I could close my bridge a little more, hopefully it would go away.
Gingerly, I prodded the Font of Fire and found the pain waiting for me.
Looks like Twiggy and his friends get the day off.
I dressed quickly, and went about securing my funds. Today, I only took enough money to buy a few potions. The plan was to only drink them if Levar shed enough light on my situation to assure their safety. Even then, I’d not drink more than one. Besides, if I took any more than forty gold, the Parlor security would harass that sleeping dwarf, and I had a lot of sympathy for the man, doomed to spend eternity sleeping off the same rough night. At least I woke up in a cozy bed.
I examined the gray halls on my way to the Parlor’s first floor with—literal—new eyes. They were cast in the same gray light as my room, with some exceptions. The halls were lined with magical glow orbs, an expensive but common light source. The light they emitted overwhelmed whatever glow my new vision would have seen. The key hole on each room’s door also had the same white gold glow the bell gave off when viewed up close. I thought on it as I walked.
Magic, I’m seeing magic obviously, but what is “magic?” There's the power of the Fonts, but their power is the foundation of the world, why would some things glow grey and magic items glow with colors? Also, why are the bell and locks yellow while my spellbook is the same color as me? Why do people have colors for that matter? Are people “magic?” I’m missing something.
It was with these thoughts in mind that I stepped on the ground floor and saw the brilliant display of people before me. They crowded the floor, their drab gray clothes obscuring the color of their bodies, giving the impression of a sea of colorful floating heads. A vibrant rainbow of every color I’d ever seen, and some I doubted existed in nature. Looking across the expanse of the room, I found that I hadn't fully cleared the fog from the air, only lessened it. The farther I looked, the more the gray in the air obscured this sea of faces, giving the impression that it had no end.
As soon as I stepped onto the gaming floor, where the strange feeling normally took over, my vision returned to normal, and my headache lessened. So sudden and abrupt was the change that I stumbled and fell to my knees. I sat there on the ground, staring at my hands, seeing that the flesh color had returned.
Maybe if I—no, no time. Place your bet, then experiment.
Getting to my feet, I made my way to the roulette table and placed my bet, silently hoping my fall hadn’t disrupted the spin. It didn’t, and a few minutes later, money in hand I sat at the bar on the edge of the gaming floor for a quick experiment.
I attempted to reach into the Arcane Realm with my sorcerous senses and found that I had no such senses. Whatever allowed me to send my awareness into that Realm where the foundations of reality sat was denied to me. The discovery was shocking, like placing your foot where you expect to find another step, only to find open air. As much as one can stagger in one’s own mind, I did, and it took me a moment to recover.
An anti magic field? This doesn’t match with the descriptions I’d read of such things. Those disrupt spells cast in their region, causing them to malfunction. Those are themselves high powered spells, but this is preventing me from even casting.
Next I closed my eyes and tried to block out the sound. It took me much longer than normal to enter my mental vault, with the headache and the noise, but when I did, I had another surprise.
The doorway in my mind no longer opened to the Arcane Realm, but to a deep black void that radiated the feeling of emptiness. I elected not to approach it, some mysteries can stay mysteries.
So the Arcane Realm is blocked here? How is that possible? I hope Levar has some answers because these questions keep piling on.
The whole process took about fifteen minutes, and I had to run to Levar’s to get my day back on track. Outside his door, I stopped to examine my emotions. The fury was gone and curiosity had taken the driver’s seat, a familiar state of mind. When I entered, Levar was already heading to the alchemy lab in the back with his cart loaded with ingredients. The colors of the shop were once more a vibrant kaleidoscope. The ingredients now glowed faintly with their own inner colors, not as bright as the potions or magical items, but far from the drab gray of the rest of the world. The box he’d placed the copy of the Bookish sheet glowed pink, as well as the stone he’d used to copy it.
He paused at the bell and turned to greet me. “Good Morning Mage Theral! How can I help you today?”
He looked me over and began to comment on my appearance when I cut him off. “Good morning. Good to see you again. I have some alchemy questions—and maybe some gold—for you today.”
Levar perked up at that; the man loved to talk shop—or history, or magic, really he just loved to talk to anyone who shared an interest in his passion for adventure.
“Of course, have you changed your mind about those clarity potions? You look like you could use one.”
“Actually, I have,” I answered. “But I was wondering about the side effects overuse of clarity potions might have. Aside from the vomiting, seizure and organ failures, if someone somehow survived all that, would there be any long term harm dealt?”
His smile grew once I revealed myself to be—apparently—knowledgeable on the subject. “That is a good question. A great one actually. I’m sure that—in the heat of battle—some noble adventurer pushed their body and Will past reasonable limits.”
When Levar got on a topic that excited him, his speech pattern grew a bit manic, and his gaze vacant as if he were talking to himself and not you. He abandoned his cart of ingredients and moved over to the counter where he pulled out the largest book I’d ever seen. It was bound in red leather and stood nearly a foot in all dimensions. Engraved on the spine in gold lettering it read “Pains and Deaths Recorded, an Alchemist’s Reference, 48th Ed.”
I’ve never seen a cubic book before. That thing is massive.
Intrigued, I approached the desk as Levar resumed speaking, “This is a handy little guide the Alchemists’ Guild puts out to look up adverse reactions from mixing potions and overdoses. The books are available to anyone, there are no secrets to alchemy in it, and it's in our best interest to serve an informed customer base. If anyone discovers a reaction, we offer them a reward in an amount equal to double the costs of the potions involved in the reaction. It encourages self reporting and acts as a refund policy.”
His speech became an unintelligible muttering as he looked through the pages until he got to the right one. When he stopped flipping he read aloud clearly for me to understand, “Clarity, potion of. Overdose can cause vomiting, seizures, yada yada. See the table for recommended doses. Will poisoning Advisory. Here we go. Overuse of this potion can allow the user to overextend their Will. For wizards, it has been recorded that using more than double their Will capacity leads to the condition known as Will Poisoning. See Will Poisoning for more information.”
He flipped to the back and then read, “Will Poisoning is a condition suffered by wizards where they expend more than double their Will capacity in a short period of time. An individual's capacity for over expenditure varies, some can regularly expend as much as three times their daily capacity without issue, but those individuals are rare. Will Poisoning generally lasts from three to ten days, and results in spikes of pain when Will is consciously manipulated. Conscious manipulation of Will while suffering this condition will exacerbate it. There are no recorded instances of permanent damage.”
When he finished reading he looked up at me, “Will poisoning doesn’t seem that terrible, but if you took a potion of clarity to use that much Will, you wouldn't live long enough to worry about it. There are some higher quality Will regenerative potions with milder side effects, but I’ve never even seen some of the ingredients for them.”
Well, that's one mystery solved, and a huge load off my mind.
I dropped twenty five gold on the counter, “I’ll take a potion of clarity and a potion of forgone sleep.”
He gathered them quickly, and I drank them in front of him. Immediately the worst of my symptoms were relieved, but I was still left with the faint headache I’d begun to associate with my sight. Mind clearer, I remembered that I wasn’t going to do that until after I’d gained answers about my sight.
Oops. Oh well, it was worth it.
“Thanks, I needed that,” I told him, passing back the empty vials. “Does that book have any recorded instances of someone surviving an overdose of potions of clarity?”
“That's a good question, let's check,” Levar said, excitedly flipping back to the page. “Let’s see. Notable Instances of Folly, see case number 273.”
He flipped rapidly to the back of the book and eventually found the passage and read aloud. “Erstwhile Haven, a halfling wizard of little renown, overdosed on potions of clarity while defending a village against an attack of undead in the Dalian region circa 133 BF. Mage Haven was sold potions of clarity dosed to a human, and not a halfling. The guild notes that the culpability for this misdose was assigned to an unregistered alchemist that had years prior been expunged from the guild. Mage Haven did not notice the overabundance of Will in the heat of the battle, and saved the village while using more than four times his daily Will capacity. At the end of the battle, Mage Haven lapsed into a state of unconsciousness and was saved from the lethal effects of overdose by his companion, a druid of Assuine’s Conclave. When he regained consciousness, he reported seeing only a gray fog, and that people and animals brought close to his eyes could be faintly seen as colorful outlines. No further update was provided on his condition.”
Gently, Levar closed the book and looked up at me. “Fascinating. He saw colors! I wonder what they could have meant. Was he seeing a property of the air? Or did he lose his vision and gain a new sense for the living that manifested as sight? Fascinating.”
So I’m not the first. Should I tell him I have this same condition? He could probably help me figure it out, I have a suspicion but no way to test it.
“Thanks, Levar. I may be back later, I need to go run a few errands.”
I ran to get back on schedule and was late in tracking down Rail and Gil, but regained the time by skipping Twiggy and his gang, which left me reasonably confident that the rest of my minions would have accurate reports.
In the end, I decided not to return to Levar’s. It would be easier to secure his aid if I approached with the knowledge of Mage Haven, going back today would have only triggered suspicion on my earlier deception and leading questions. Hopefully in the morning my Will poisoning would be gone, and I could finish compressing my door into the sort of window my ten year old self had tried to convince my mother was good enough.
I returned to the Parlor, stopped in for a quick—alright, two hour—bath and then returned to my room to write this up. I need to rest, and stay out of sight while my magic is blocked to me.
I think I’ll give that novel from the front desk another try. I’ll admit it's what my father would have charitably called a “trash romance waste of good paper,” but I was reading it for research. Sorcerers are the go-to villain in these bit novels. I read them to see what the modern perception of sorcerers are—as incorrect as they may be—so I can avoid emulating them. It's purely research, I don’t like these books.