Friday, February 13, 2015

Awakening the Shade

The intended innkeeper wasn't exactly thrilled at the idea of rooming three highly destructive sorcerers. But he also wasn't thrilled at the idea of turning us away. In the end, he reached an internal compromise. He would give us a room for the night, but the extremely unfriendly and hostile so as to discourage further patronage from such dangerous customers.
Then, he woke me up in the middle of the night. "Why is there a gigantic boulder in front of my in?"
"That's a difficult question. My guess is that Dragoneyes has finally gotten bored of forging broadswords."
I went outside. "Oh," Dragoneyes said. "You fetched Amniel for me." He offered a tip. The innkeeper reluctantly accepted.
"There's a shade in that boulder," he said. "Sent by Koteph. Any way you could un-evil him?"
"Well, there are techniques to 'un-evil' people, as you put it. But it isn't like I know them off the top of my head-"
"Well that's inconvenient-"
"Which is why I always carry around a few hundred books."
"Well, that's convenient. Also, I saw that coming. I see everything."

I went into my room. Cassinder was still asleep. She was smiling. Good. She deserved some pleasant dreams.
I picked up one of my packs. I opened it, and reached in. I requested a copy of Durun's compendium on the subject.
I marveled a bit as I pulled out the book. How wonderful it was to be a sorcerer. I had made that pack as a project even before being admitted to the Green Tower. Years later, it could still hold the equivalent of several complete shelves.
I spent much of the day reading. Different incantations, and their effects on shades. It seemed that for most of them, the primary effect was 'make the shade angry.'
In the end, I designed an amulet that could weaken the spirit's power.
Dragoneyes looked over my shoulder. "Wow," he said. "That is one clever bit of sorcery."
"You see what I'm doing? Oh, right. You see everything."
"I do. And while that mechanism could work in theory..."
"You question whether it would be strong enough."
"Well, that's because you don't see everything. The weakest part of the spell is the binding. And what you don't seem to realize that we can put in multiple bindings in tandem."
"Oh. It wouldn't be a linear effect-"
"Because of interference. Nice. But still, Koteph is powerful. I worry about going head-to-head with his handiwork."
"Well, if it doesn't work-"
"I'll tear him in half."
"I was thinking something a little less gruesome, but yes."

Dragoneyes and I were casting spells, trying to create an amulet powerful enough to save Dranarius Shade. Cassinder wandered in. "You need more spells," she said. She snatched the amulet from my hand, held it for a moment, then returned it. "It will work."
I waited for my sister to wander off. "Did she do anything?"
"She added a spell. As far as I can tell, it's to help people wake up in the morning."
"Oh. Well, that seems relevant."
"It was put there by someone who can see the future."
"True. We'll know what she saw soon enough."

Dranarius woke up. He felt different. Refreshed.
He opened his eyes. There were three other people in the room. One was short and bookish, with light hair and a white tunic. Standing behind the bookish one was his polar opposite. Tall and dark, with a brightly colored tunic. He had a ridiculous number of swords strapped around his waist. In the back of the room, not really paying attention, was a woman. She had dark hair, and another white tunic. She seemed to be entertaining herself by playing with a burning stick.
Dran cleared his throat. "You wouldn't happen to be sorcerers, would you?"
The colorful one spoke first. "My name is Bashra Dragoneyes. My friends who have never heard of dyes are Amniel and Cassinder of the White Tower. I am fairly certain I know the answer, but I'd like to ask just to check: are you currently an evil shade bent on my destruction?"
And that's when the past all came crashing back. His parents' deaths. Dran's slow enslavement, as a suitable spirit was brought into the world and given dominion over Dranarius of the Black Tower.
"What have I done?" Dranarius sat up, in horror. "I've killed people. I killed four people getting here. That's like a tenth of all the people I've had a conversation with!"
"How do you know that," the blond asked.
"I've met my parents, four of the Red Mages-"
"No. How do you remember killing people while under the spirit's influence. That shouldn't be possible. Unless the spirit still retains-"
"It was a dream," the girl said. "If you wake up fast enough, you can remember."
"I hope that's it," said the mage of the White Tower. "I really hope that's it."

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