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A note from TK523

Hey everyone! I have an announcement about the Patreon coming out tomorrow on the first of March. I am warning you now so you aren't disappointed that the new "chapter" isn't actually a chapter. 

Yes, this is in fact an announcement for an announcement. 

Entry 24: Riloth the 19th the 22nd

Dear Spellbook,

I’m not sure if you can tell the passage of time, but I didn’t get the opportunity to write an entry yesterday. I think you probably know why.

Yesterday, Riloth the 19th the 20th, I woke with every intention of continuing my survey as planned.

I swear.

I was in the market looking for something new to try for lunch, when I passed by a beekeeper selling honey on the comb, and beeswax.

Beeswax huh?

In the rare occasions my father accompanied my mother and I during our training, he brought beeswax to plug his ears. My grunts of pain, it seemed, distracted him from his work, which was why he always brought some with him.

Maybe it could work. I already know what will happen if it doesn’t, and so long as I don’t write about it, I won’t remember it.

With only a moment’s deliberation, I purchased some wax, threw in some honey combs for lunch, picked up Ian, and set off South once more. On the way, I formulated a plan. Judging by the harpy’s departure to procure the "feast" it appeared that the singing had a lingering effect that took at least an hour to fade. From my reading I knew that killing the Harpy would end the effect immediately. I had to assume the ogres would become hostile upon the effect’s dispelling. Ideally, I would kill the harpy and then take out the ogres with the aid of the knight and Gerald. Alternatively, I could wait until the harpy is gone and attempt to kill the ogres, but that would put me up against Gerald and the knight once the ogres were dealt with. I didn’t expect I’d be able to deal with them non-lethally, or even lethally for that matter in this mad scenario in which I’d already slain two ogres single-handedly.

At the campsite, I stopped for lunch while thinking through my options. Honey on the comb is a bad travel food. I placed the comb between two slices of bread to mitigate the mess, but the damage was done and I was covered in the sticky goo. Lamenting my inability to cast Clean, I spent a good deal of time cleaning my hands off on leaves before heading out towards the fort. Once I reached the area where the knight’s trail became harder to follow, I stopped to put the beeswax in my ears. I had to conjure a flame, but I eventually packed my ears full of the wax, and then wrapped a scrap of linen around my head to hold it in for good measure. I did not want to eat that deer again.

Without the sound to follow it was difficult to find my way to the fort, but eventually I came across the knight’s discarded sword and followed his path.

I should have brought my father’s sword.

This time I made it to the edge of the clearing free of injury and reached the base of the tower unseen.

I had planned to climb the tower, but the hand holds became scarce a few feet off the ground. As I was searching for a new one, I must have made a sound because that vulture-like head stuck itself out over the ledge. It looked at me with the same surprise as before, and just as before it flew down to the ground in a wide lazy arc. She approached me cautiously. Pretending to be enthralled, I stood and watched as if in awe. Still a dozen paces away, she paused, tilting her head slightly. She’d noticed my ear protection, and she recognized it for what it was.

Well, she's not dumb.

At her head tilt, I channeled my Will into the construct for Lightning Bolt and extended my hand towards her. I sent the construct through the slim opening of my bridge and the power flowed through me. The brilliant blue-white light streaked between us and I faintly heard it through the wax. The bolt struck the harpy in the leg, and she fell with a spasm as her leg seized. I'd been aiming for her chest, but she'd been at the limit of the spell's range. She screamed something I couldn’t hear, and I remembered that we were not alone. Turning around, I saw Gerald, the knight, and the ogres climbing over the rubble that had once been a gate, crude clubs in each of their hands.

Relax, you can outpace them. Ogres are slow, the knight’s in armor and Gerald must be malnourished by now.

My mind knew that I could get away, but my heart didn't believe it and it beat rapidly in my chest. I began to quickly rethink the decisions that’d brought me here.

While I’d been distracted by the approaching love-struck goons, the harpy recovered and took off into the air.

I stood next to the tower, so my enemies had to run along the wall to reach me. Mentally reviewing my repertoire, I didn’t have a lot of options for dealing with multiple opponents. Lightningbolt wasn’t going to have a chance of hitting beyond thirty feet, and I didn’t plan to allow them to get that close.

Their approach was as slow as I expected, with Gerald outpacing the ogres and knight, all of whom were jockeying for position in a race to serve their mistress. Summoning a Firebolt into my hand, I threw it towards Gerald, hoping to hit him nonlethally, but not particularly caring in the moment.

My Firebolt covered the twenty paces between us in a straight, arcless flight, and hit Gerald square in the chest, exploding in a plume of fire.

Flood, now of all times I hit my target.

Gerald collapsed, still alive, but frantically rolling in the dirt to put out the flames on his gore soaked tunic.

The ogres and knight quickly caught up to Gerald, and made no effort to help him, in fact, they stepped on him as they ran over him to reach me.

Worst rescue ever.

Looking to keep the distance between us great, I summoned a Gale, centered on the lead ogre, blowing away from me and powered by as much Will as I could muster. I knew I could outrun them on my own, but what was magic for if not to stack the odds in your favor. They slowed fractionally, and the knight began to overtake the ogres, his smaller stature granting him an advantage with the new headwind. I didn’t especially want to see anyone win this particular race, and set off towards the woods at a dead sprint

It's disconcerting fleeing for your life while deaf to your surroundings. I resisted the urge to pull my ear plugs out or look back and ran on, hoping not to feel the impact of a club from behind. I knew I was faster than them, but knowing and believing were two very different things. Halfway to the treeline I gave in to the temptation—unsure if it was fear or prudence that led me to do so—and turned to see what was following. The ogres were still far behind, but the knight was keeping pace, having outrun the effect of my spell, centered as it was on the ogres.

I began to cast a Firebolt at the knight, letting my control of the wind lapse, but before I could throw the conjured ball of flame, a rock struck my head, knocking me over and sending the Firebolt into the grass. The dry grass of the clearing burst into flames that quickly began to spread. Now lying on my back, I scanned the sky for the harpy only to see her diving straight for me, wicked talons outstretched to hook into my flesh.

Without thinking, I reached for the Font of Air, and sculpted it into a Slow Fall, targeted on the hideous creature. The spell took hold, and I felt the wind shift around me as my spell drew it in to slow the harpy’s descent. With her wings spread wide, the spell’s effect was magnified greatly. Her murderous descent turned into an ascent in an instant. With uncertain moments she scrambled to adjust to the new air currents. Higher and higher she rose in a tumbling ascent, until she steadied her wings. One she had, the ascent accelerated more as she treated my spell as a thermal updraft. She rose rapidly, until she appeared little more than a sparrow in the distance and I felt the spell fade as it left my range.

I was only vaguely aware of all that at the time, for shortly after I cast my spell, the knight was upon me, and I had to scramble to my feet to escape him. Doggedly he pursued me as I ran, just barely out of the reach of his club. By the time the Slowfalll faded, I was almost to the forest’s edge. When I felt its presence fade from my mind, I began to cast a Lightning Bolt as I spun around to face my pursuer.

My turn surprised the knight, and I unleashed my spell, square into his armored chest before he could react with an attack of his own. The crack of the spell broke through my hearing protection, and the armor seemed to drink in the lightning. From each edge and crack of the plate the lightning arced as it danced around his body. When the light faded, the knight’s tense body collapsed in a heap, and I resumed running, seeing that the ogres had gained ground and that the harpy had almost returned from her unscheduled flight.

I activated Mage Armor as I lunged for the safety of the trees, just in time as I felt my Will drain, and a rock the size of my fist fly over my shoulder, having been narrowly deflected from my back.

If I can reach the woods, I can lose them.

Only three steps from a mighty oak, I once more felt my Will leave me, but this time, I too felt a glancing impact as the rock struck me in the hip, Mage Armor not fully able to deflect the heavy projectile. The blow knocked me to the ground, and I stumbled at the base of the tree. Above me, another rock struck the trunk and I crawled to get behind the tree, but it was in vain. A club came down on my head, draining the last of my Will before clipping the top of my skull. Whatever Will I'd left had been sufficient to save me from death, but the blow knocked me unconscious.

Honestly, I didn’t remember that last bit until I wrote this down. I feared I had died. I suspect death wouldn't be permanent, I’m less sure I’d remember these last weeks if I did die.

Wait, what if you aren’t the reason I remember these resets as I’ve started to assume, but it is something about me, and when I die you reset as well? Could I be stuck in an endless loop of nested resets?

 

Sorry, I’m back.

I took a break, walked around the town for a while, and thought. If what I just said is true, I can’t do anything about it. Worrying about it will only paralyze further action. If it's true, this isn’t the first time I've had this revelation, and it won't be the last. Honestly, if I really consider it, that fate is less terrible than an eternity trapped here and being aware of it. Each person I see each today doesn't know they’ve repeated these actions dozens of times. Even the ones stuck in a bad day are stuck in just that, a day. They don’t see the unending resets laid out before them. So if I am doomed to be trapped here for hundreds of years, oblivious to the toil, at least it won’t feel like it. I can only hope if that is the case, someone else is out there trying to save the world from whatever caused this.

I hope someone else out there will fix this. It can’t be up to me to end this.

Can it?

Let's get back to yesterday.

I awoke lying in the square of the fort. The sun was setting and there was a thick haze in the air, but there was just enough light for me to see the goddess that stood before me. She walked with a limp, but somehow made even that look divine. Backlit by the blaze that surrounded the fort, she appeared as a being out of legend. When I remembered that I had caused the injury to her perfect form, I screamed in anguish. How could I have been so foolish? What had come over me? Would she ever deem to forgive me? I knelt there, sobbing into my hands and contemplating ending my own life. The pain in my skull was nothing compared to the pain I felt in my heart. How could I damage the beauty

Alright, so I wasn’t dead, that's good to know. I also seem to have started a massive wildfire, which is less good. I don’t think there is anything of value to learn from reliving that day any further. Aside from the entrancement, my skull was fractured. I’m shocked I was able to think at all, let alone move.

I don’t know if going after Gerald was the smart thing to do, but it felt right at the time. Even terrified in that battle, I knew I was doing the right thing—up until I hit him with a Firebolt. I made the choice my parents would have wanted me to choose, even if I failed. So what if Gerald will be in this situation the next today even if I save him once. At least I will have tried. And who knows, maybe this ruin really is the secret to this prison. My plan is just an attempt to feel in control. It may be the most efficient option for getting out of this mess, but what is saving a few days next to a possible eternity? I will return to—or begin I suppose—the survey, but first I must help Gerald. I can’t focus knowing I could have at least tried.

But, I will admit, maybe next time I should prepare a better plan.

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About the author

TK523

  • United States

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

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