After a few short weeks of vacation Fawn calls Lauriella back to her office. When she gets there, she finds Fawn pacing the room. Fawn looks at her and says, “Sit down Lauriella.”
Fawn doesn’t sit down behind her desk. Instead she pulls a chair up and sits opposed to her. Lauriella notices that even though its been near half a year, Fawn is still not showing her pregnancy, even when she knows Fawn has been pregnant nearly six months.
Fawn cuts off her musings with her voice, “This year I am supposed to teach you advanced techniques of necromancy. I will but there will be conditions. You understand?”
Lauriella nods to her, “I understand. What are the conditions?”
First there are facets to every school of magic. The house of life considers necromancy a good and noble pursuit as long as certain rules are kept.”
“Yes, Fawn I’m ready to listen.”
First there are considered spells which although can be very harmful don’t tap into the souls of others, Things like Cause Fear, and Horrid wilting, Necromantic healing These kinds of spells you can use.
“Mistress……. Fawn. I’ve never heard of necromantic healing?”
“It’s a rare spell few have, even in Mulhorand. I will show you.”
Fawn takes a knife and cuts a deep wound into Lauriella’s hand. She then casts a spell using a powder as a component. When she is finished casting, she grabs her head and puts her mouth to hers saying open your mouth. Lauriella does. Black vapors come out of her mouth and go into Fawns.
Fawn says, “Now look at your hand.” She does finding no wound or pain. Fawn then shows lauriella her own hand. It has the wound upon it.”
Fawn continues, “Its not really a healing spell. It is a spell of transference. As you see I’m wearing my archmage robe which will regenerate the wound.”
Lauriella surprised says, “That’s amazing.”
“And dangerous. If you ever find the spell on your own use it wisely. It can kill you; for you’re taking the wounds of another that may be stronger than you.
Now there are spells to turn living beings into undead. There are many cultures that do this. The elves have the baelnorns. Mulhorand has mummy guards for their temples. All these people are volunteers. To have the procedure preformed on them. You must promise me that if you do this you will always make sure they know what they are getting into before you preform this. And never do it to an unwilling subject.”
“I promise, Fawn.”
“On possession: The only reason for you to use Magic Jar is on someone already possessed or someone you know for sure has evil in their heart. Never ever try to magic jar a good person. It is forbidden.”
“There are also ways to control undead, bring them back to speak with you. These spells effect the already dead. You may use these spells with limitation. All spirits deserve their afterlife. When you use these spells, it upsets the natural balance between the heavens and mortal life. You can use them for very short periods or in the case when I bring a friend back once a year, I make it for him a happy affair. We dance the night in the graveyard, and I tell him of the mortal lands. He appreciates it going back to his afterlife at dawn, happy for a night of seeing me.”
“How do I tell if I’m using it in a good way or an evil way?”
“You will know it in your heart, Lauriella, and you do not actually think I’m going to send you off without monitoring you do you for these are the secrets of the House of Life.”
“How would you do this, Mistress?”
Fawn holds out some small earrings with jade stones at their center, "Wear these. Once you put them on you can not take them off. They are unobtrusive and signify to anyone of the house of life that you have apprenticed under them and are a member which we will correct soon being that I am the Hemt Netjer of the house of life in a certain city. In other words, you just got a promotion. If you ever use black necromancy I will know, and I will be able to summon you by spell and question you about it. Understand.” She holds the earrings out to Lauriella. Lauriella hesitates. If she takes them, she will be forever connected to Fawn. What would happen if they come to a disagreement? The lure of necromancy and exorcism then takes hold she takes them and puts them on.
“One more thing Lauriella. For the next few months you will have to learn the Mulhorand language.”
“Ok, Fawn that will be my next task.”
Several months later Fawn receives a letter and calls Lauriella into her office. As she enters Fawn tells her, “Come on we’re leaving.”
“Where are we going Fawn?”
“To a city deep in the Sands of Itzcala. They have need of our services. Here. Wear this. When we get there, you will need to use honorifics. Always call me Hemt Netjer.”
“Yes, Hemt Netjer.”
Lauriella puts the tight-fitting thing that looks almost like a lingerie on. Its tight in the hips and leaves little to the imagination. There’s a broad collar that goes around her neck. The top is so skimpy she feels embarrassed. Yet she still puts it on and the sandals that strap up half-way up her shin.
Fawn leads her out into the field. The Damsel Fly is there. They get in. The main room is tight. No more than three could occupy it comfortably. Fawn sits in a chair between the two portals armored both outside and inside by a mesh like metal. All the sudden they fly straight up in the air making Lauriella’s stomach feel funny. Then Fawn moves south at a blistering pace that makes her head feel dizzy.
Just within six hours a city against a mountain range springs out of the desert. They land near a great pyramid. There is a figure waiting for them. A middle-aged man of olive skin and black hair. Fawn ushers her out of the vehicle and they stand before him.
Fawn speaks to him in Mulhorandi while bowing, “Greetings, Pharaoh. I and my apprentice Hemt Sithmore have come at your request.” Lauriella quickly bows to match what Fawn is doing.
“Hemt Netjer Tarset. It is always a pleasure.” He walks up and locks forearms with her. Then he comes over to her holding out his arm, “Hemt Sithmore, Greetings young lady.”
“A pleasure to meet, Pharaoh. How do the people fare?” She takes his arm grasping her hand on his forearm.
“Ah, A diplomat. Hemt Netjer seems has chosen well.” He then puts his lips to her ear, “Perhaps you should speak for her, Hemt Sithmore. You must know her ways with others are not so good.”
Lauriella laughs bringing Pharaoh also to laugh with her.”
He then gets serious, “A boy has been possessed, Tarset. Our priest cannot persuade the thing to leave. That is why a letter was sent.”
“The trail to you is long. It has been four moons.”
“Is everything set up?”
“Then I will see him straight way.”
The Pharaoh takes them to a large building near the pyramid. Lauriella sees the sign that it is the House of life. He leaves them there. As Fawn and she walk in, the guard bow to Fawn. Several hems and hemts show them to a large room. There chained to a chair is a small boy. There is a protective circle around him keeping him in and protecting those on the outside of the circle. The boy doesn’t display any sign of possession.She walks up to him taking out a bone needle. She throws a strange spell, pokes his arm and tastes the blood. The boy says, “Some one new to play with. You will beg me to enter once I am done with you.”
Fawn ignores him and walks back. “Everyone come with me.” Several men and women walk out of the room into the hallway with her, including Lauriella.
Fawn looks around, “Has anyone been casting planar magic in the last year?”
There is a man there wearing the same color dress as her, “No, Tarset. Why would you ask such a question? This type of magic is rare here.”
“I know but this demon is a Pride demon from the realm of Fade. I am wondering just how it got here. It’s not suppose to be able to, unless someone brought it.”
The other of her rank ask, “Can you send it back?”
“Yes, but it will take some time.” Fawn suddenly stops and bends over holding her stomach. Two of the hemts move over to her supporting her. One touches her stomach. She looks over to the leader, “Hemt Tarset is pregnant with twins.”
The other frowns, “Call Pharaoh we must discuss this. Hemt Netjer Tarset. We will not allow you to perform this exorcism.”
“Hem Netjer Aiemapt, I am the only one that can do this exorcism. First of all, your circle is wrong. I will redraw it.”
“No! Tarset. We do know the potency of this demon. You will not enter with the unborn inside of you.”
Lauriella steps up, “I will do it Hem Netjer, I am Hemt Netjer Tarset’s apprentice. Hemt Sithmore.”
The archmage looks at Fawn. She nods going into her scroll case she takes out a scroll and hands it to Lauriella. Opening it she sees a very complex circle. She sighs. Retrieving the necessary supplies from the ship and returning she goes into the room with the boy. The demon taunts her while she’s erasing the first circle. She ignores it completely as Fawn had taught her. When she starts to redraw the new circle the boy rages and spits at her trying to disrupt her concentration. It kicks at her tries to erase lines. Anything to disrupt her or mar what she is creating. As she is finishing the circle it screams out, “This is impossible! You could not know! How could you know!”
She sets her chin and completes the circle walking out sad in the fact that she doesn’t have the knowledge to do it herself.
On the voyage home both women are listless. Each knowing that the boy will eventually waste away and die. The demon will be trapped in the circle until someone most likely Fawn after she gives birth can dispel the creature.
Lauriella rushes to Shaia’s office. Shaia stands up, “What’s wrong?”
“Something with Randyl and Fawn. Randyl tackled her. She tired fighting him off but he forced her eyes to stare into his then they disappeared.
Shaia slams her hand into the desk, “I hoped this wouldn’t happen, but figure Fawn would be the one in a hundred it happens to twice. We have 15 minutes or so to get Miwa here and go after them. You’re coming with us.”
Shaia casts a spell. Lauriella exclaims, “Me! I’m not ready for anything like this, whatever it is!”
“Ludwig! Teleport Miwa over to the gate right now. Fawn’s curse is back.”
She looks at Lauriella, “She trusts you now. You have to come with us. Between you and Miwa the two of you will be able to bring her back.”
“Bring her back! From what? I don’t even…………” Lauriella stops in her speech as the smell of hot ash and melted rock assault her nose. She turns around. Walking up to them is a being she only knows from Lapis Port legends. She has never seen one before.
The woman has a slight elven figure. The white scales that are showing on her arms and legs show old cuts and wounds making her looks slightly disfigured. The scales themselves are twice the size of a dragon disciples. Her eyes are a deep watery blue. Her white hair has red coloring mixed into it and her face is painted with body paints in an elven pattern. There are large black claw marks tattooed across the left side of her face. She has great white wings like a dragon disciple. Her eye teeth are extended into fangs, meant for taking down game. The woman is wearing a robe of some foreign design. Still there is a katana belted to it while another belt wrapped round her waist holds a mithral fighting fan.
For the first time in her life Lauriella knows she is standing in front of an Elder Fey’ri. The creature stops and ignores her, “Where is she Shaia?”
“Randyl took her to the island, Honorable.”
“Are you stupid. How in Avernus did this happen? She’ll kill him. And who is this student?”
“She’s not a student. She’s Fawns apprentice. We may need her too.”
“Miwa turns her eyes to her, “What’s your name?”
“Lauriella Sithmore, Ma’am.”
“It is not Ma’am. Shaia do you not teach your apprentices honorifics? By the way how did a Sithmore become an apprentice here?” She turns her eyes back to Lauriella, “I am Honorable Miwa Duskmere of house Yuki. If you want to address me properly it is Honorable.”
Shaia responds, “Miwa we don’t have time for this. Seconds count and you know why. Do you have Fawn’s hair?”
“I do. Randyl gave it to Seryne some years ago.”
“Ok, I can track her. Both you touch me. We’re going for a ride.”
Suddenly Lauriella finds herself on a prairie. With in seconds giant cave lions surround them. Miwa goes into action. She steps out from the group making strange body movements, chirps, clicks and growls. The lions back off and disappear into the bush.
Lauriella looks to Shaia, “She learned the animal language here on this island while taking care of Fawn when she was sick. Those scars on her face tell the lions that she is part of their clan.”
Miwa comes back, “I assume that neither of you have been here before. The house is trapped. Your not allowed into the Vails home until you do a blood sacrifice. There’s a guest house in the woods ringing the island. I’ll take you there.”
They follow the elder fey’ri to a mansion in the woods with room for at least a dozen people to live in comfortably. As they walk in Miwa starts speaking a different language. Again, Lauriella looks to Shaia.
“It’s infernal, Miwa’s milk language. She was born in Avernus. We all know it except for you because of our dealings with Kenshinville or with Ammothrawen the founder of the Golden Katana.”
A woman’s voice answers her. As they walk into a grand study, they see a human woman in blue and white robes. A pendant of stars with an eye in the middle is hanging round her neck. She is a priestess of Selune. On the couch covered in a blanket is Randyl. His hair as turn prematurely grey.
Shaia spurts out, “Could we all speak the common language please. Lauriella doesn’t speak infernal.”
The priestess asks, “Who is the young lady, and does she know the extent of the knowledge of being here?”
Shaia comments, “This is Lauriella Sithmore. Fawn’s apprentice. Fawn has some trust in her and Lauriella knows she is an astral. She does not know everything else so let us not loose our tongues.”
The woman smiles, “I see you worship lady Moonbow. Tell me how did a Sithmore gain Fawn’s trust?”
“She tested me, priestess. Afterward she went from hateful to pleasant toward me. I don’t know why but I am grateful for it.”
“How did she test you, Lauriella?”
“She made me fight her in a battle of possession.”
The priestess smiles, “And you lost. There is your answer.”
“I don’t understand. It’s not like she could read my mind.”
“No, she couldn’t but if she did possess you; she was able to read both the memories that you cherish and the memories of your worst dishevelment’s. Do you know why a demon who possesses someone takes some time to take full possession?”
“No Fawn hasn’t taught me necromancy yet.”
“You see when someone possesses another, they cannot help but see the very worse and/or best experiences of the one that is possessed. A demon will possess a soul and sit there for weeks, months, even years until they can interpret all the memories they see. Then they will fully take over the body until it burns itself out. They need time to figure out how to either subvert the individual or mentally destroy them.”
Shaia goes up to Randyl, pulls up a chair and holds his hand, “Randyl are you awake?”
He opens his eyes, “I’m awake.”
“how do you feel.”
“Like I was tortured for a week and a half, how do you think I feel, Shaia.”
“Your alive and well. She didn’t kill you and she didn’t enslave you. How badly did she hurt you?”
“I’m not talking about this. Leave me alone.”
Shaia purses her lips, “Is Fawn alright?”
“Far as I know she’s in one of her commas. It will take a few thousand years to bring her out of it.”
“Can you let Lauriella in to tend to her with Miwa?”
“Fuck them both Shaia. Fawn can stay there for all I care.”
“Shaia rubs her head then looks at them, “Come with me, you two.”
She takes them outside on the porch. Helena the priestess Lauriella learned from the conversation and her take chairs. Shaia sits down on a high stool, “I didn’t figure the curse would effect Randyl. He was sane. The question is how do we get them back together? Is their love broken forever over this? And where is Brath?”
Helena speaks, “I sent Brath to our main chapter in Sigil. He can play with all his aunts and uncles there.”
Helena’s words stir something in Lauriella, “Sigil?”
Helena squints while weighing her words, “It’s an island much like this except its vast, miles and miles of city stretch out from its center. You need a key to get there. It’s a type of passport if you will.
Now as far as getting these two love birds back together. Non-of us knows or will probably never know what exactly takes place during the curse. The people the curse comes under are really, secretive as we know. The thing is we do have time. What is the most time we can stay here Shaia before the everyone needs to return?”
“A week at most. I must return tomorrow morning so I can compensate for the loss of two teachers.”
“Ok well; Fawn may wake up in a few centuries though I doubt it. I doubt it will be more than 5 days or I think that’s how long she took last time.
Shaia you and I will work on Randyl for the next few centuries, He’s human like me. In time we can turn him around. Lauriella and Miwa will have to work on Fawn. She’ll feel such strong morose and guilt over Randyl but she will know Randyl himself most likely did not hurt her back so she should be easier to bring along.”
Lauriella asks, “What am I to do for thousands of years until Mistress Fawn wakes up?”
Helena laughs, “Have you seen the gasthaus library?”
Shaia perks up, “Helena. I think for security purposes Lauriella should only read Torilian manuscripts.”
Helena nods, “That would be proper.”
For several centuries Lauriella studies Torilian lore, geography, customs of nations and all sorts of subjects. She tries to keep it all in but somehow keeping everything in her head is hard to do. Just when she really gets bored Shaia and Helena bring Randyl out of his stupor. He preforms a blood ceremony on her in front of the house and she is allowed in so long is someone is right next to her. The funny thing is the same rules apply to Shaia as she is considered also a guest that should be watched carefully.
One day Randyl comes out while Lauriella is picking fruits out of the backyard garden/orchard. She asks, “Have you seen her yet?”
“No. She won’t be around me when she wakes for a while……. maybe never.”
Lauriella shrugs because she knows going any further would create a sharp rebuke, I’ve been tending to her. I don’t understand the comma she’s in?”
Randyl looks out at the two alien craft behind the yard by a waterfall, “When she comes under too much stress or uses too much magic she goes into a comma for a few days, week. I think it’s a healing processes. She knows how to slowly heal her own mind being her high skill in enchantments. It’s normal Lauriella.”
She points to the machines, “What are those?”
Randyl smiles, “Those are our spelljammers. The big one is called a wasp. That was her parents craft before they died. The little one is a damselfly. It’s new a wedding gift to us. She used to have another one that she crashed, before we got married. The new one has more armor than the first it’s harder to maneuver but virtually impregnable now. Custom made for us purchased by friends we saved.”
Miwa comes out with two cups of coffee. She has a plate of raw organs and some wine too. Lauriella winces as she sits down with them at the table on the porch. Sliding the coffee to them she pours a glass of wind and starts gorging herself on the liver and gall bladder of whatever she killed. Lauriella has to turn away watching the antelope on the prairie.
She hears the other sigh, “Grow some scales, Lauriella. We cant eat cooked meat, or grass like you elves and humans can.”
Randyl chides her, “You know sis. You could have eaten somewhere else?”
“I wanted some company. The cats’ language is too basic.”
“Wait! She’s your sister?”
Randyl laughs, “No her name is Miwa not Seryne. She’s my sister-in-law.”
Lauriella tries but fails to figure it out. Randyl watching her laughs again, “Elder fey’ri men are polygamous. My sister is married to Most honorable Kioshi Fellmirr. So is Miwa.”
Lauriella gets a look of total disgust which makes Randyl laugh even harder.
Miwa points her chopsticks, That’s the look my sister gave me when I said we had to join after Kioshi joins with her. Said it would never happen in her lifetime. The bitch kept her promise too. She may be sixty now, but she can still beat the shit out of him and wear him out under the sheets too……………. I’m jealous.”
Randyl laughs so hard he falls backwards off his chair, exclaiming, “I think I’m finally back.”
Miwa shows her fangs smiling, “I knew that would do it.”
When Fawn wakes up it takes centuries to calm her from her guilt and grief; Another few centuries until she’s ready to meet her husband again. In the end Helena and Lauriella watch them holding hands in a small glade with a statue in the middle of it at the west end of the island.
Helena turns to her, “The curse is broken forever now. It’s time for us to go. Thank you Lauriella. If you continue perhaps one day all will be revealed to you. Keep this place a secret. Keep it close to your heart.”
The rest of the year goes rather well until the end. Fawn gets bitchy. For some reason she can no longer eat any meat. She throws it up as soon as it goes down which in turn makes her more unreasonable than she usually is. Lauriella does the best she can to help her mistress. The year ends with Lauriella hoping that Fawn will have her back for the final year.
Near the beginning of her third apprenticeship year Fawn takes her down into the practice field early in the morning. There are several drawn out summoning circles there, both generic and complex.
“How do you like a real sting lizard instead of the spirit you molded before?”
“Well I have to feed it more and it seems to get into more trouble.”
“Remember to let her go every other year or to mate and take care of her babies. I don’t know much about sting lizards. I have silk and he has a misses somewhere.”
“You knew there would be sting lizards in that grove, didn’t you?”
Fawn waggles her finger at her, “Too much curiosity, Lauriella. Stick to what I’m willing to teach you.”
“That’s better. We’ll be covering conjurations spells this year. As you know there are many conjurations that deal with calling forth energies and not creatures. We will not be focusing on those so much. What we will be focusing is calling forth creatures and getting them to work for you.”
“You mean subduing them, Fawn?”
“That’s exactly what I don’t mean. Lauriella, why did I ask you to get rid of your familiar and lead you to find a real animal?”
Lauriella winces in thought, “Because you think it wrong to trap a spirit in an earthly form?”
“Yes, good observation. Spirits deserve their afterlife whether very small or very big. Just like you deserve to live you’re life the way you want, so long you stir no trouble for others.”
“Yet you are a necromancer of renown too. You have controlled spirits.”
“For a short time, yes. Then I leave them to their eternal rest. I borrow some of their time but do not subject them for years on end. You see the difference?”
“I think I see. I’ve never really considered that before.”
“The same thing with conjurations. Now for small conjurations you don’t even need circles like what you see on the ground here. Hedge magic to call animals. Their understanding is small and for a piece of bacon a dire wolf or badger will do what you want for a short time.
You still need the spell to guide it. But you have no long-term relationship with it and can readily conjure these creatures from the local area.”
“Yes, mistress. I already know this.”
“Good I’m just reminding you of the training. Now greater conjurations including dire bears, Elementals, archaeons, devils, valkyries, demons and greater undead. For these you always must make a circle for yourself and a circle for the creature itself. There are two ways you need to decide upon to get it to do as you wish. The first that everyone knows is subjugation. If you use this method, you will constantly be fighting its will every time you summon it. There is a better way. You negotiate its service to you. These creatures all of them. They like things as much as you and I do. Some of those things are very different. If you can acquire them on a regular basis you will have a lifetime servant as long as you are respectful of their time. In other words, don’t make a habit of calling them all the time.
The bad thing is the further away a creature’s world view is the more likely you will have to subjugate it. I had to break all my elemental servants, but my higher planes servants I negotiate a contract with each and everyone one of them.”
Lauriella purses her lips, “But how do you do that?”
Fawn smiles, “I’m glad you asked. She takes a clear glass vial with some hair in it and shakes it. A light comes down from the heavens blinding the two women for a moment. When they can see again there is a hound archaeon in front of them. Lauriella feels funny for a second. The hairs on her arms stand up for a moment then the feeling dissipates. The heavenly warrior walks over and sits down beside them, “I see that you are keeping good company for once in your life, mistress. I am called Skylark young lady.”
Wide eyed and gawking Lauriella stammers, “Your Mistress Fawn’s servant?”
“No, I am Mistress Fawn’s partner. We have made a contract. She may call upon me in certain times of need. For this service I receive a small vial filled with the tears of a nymph every fifth summoning.”
Fawn smiles, “He accepted my service even though my willed failed the first time I summoned him. Skylark, this is my apprentice. Lauriella.”
“A pleasure to meet you.”
Lauriella thinks, “You two never have a difference of opinion? You always do as she wishes.”
Skylark laughs, “We always have differences in opinions, But, while I am here unless her wishes are egregious in my eyes or beyond my abilities, I will obey her. She’s my employer so to speak. I do give her much council about what is right and wrong and try to tamp down her insane individuality.” The hound shrugs, “But you can only do so much.”
Fawn laughs, “I’m afraid that point will probably never be settled. Ok, you probably would like to get back to your duties. I release you.”
Skylark disappears. Fawn sets her to task making circles similar to the ones she drew out earlier. She explains what each one does: if protective, how it protects the mage. If summoning what creatures and what safety precautions must be used.
As they work Randyl walks across the field in leather armor, heater shield, and long sword. He looks sweaty from a hard work out. Lauriella thinks that he will pass by them without a word, but he stops and turns to them, “Fawn do I smell wildflowers?”
“I’m hot and sweaty too, Randyl. I’ve been working with Lauriella and we have been making many trips to the forest lately.”
“I’m smelling wildflowers from 20 feet away. Turn around and look at me.”
“Randyl! I am teaching my apprentice. Go home and change.”
“You’ve been away quite a bit lately. Turn around and look at me. I just want to make sure everything is fine.”
“Everything IS fine Randyl. Now go home before your spoil our conjurations.”
“As soon as you look straight into my eyes.”
Fawn looks at her. Lauriella sees her eyes move as if she is calculating something. Before Lauriella can figure out what she is doing Fawn takes off on a run, away from Randyl passing her. She starts to pull components out of her robes. Randyl even in armor quickly outpaces and tackles her. Knocking the components out of her hands.
Fawns on her belly screaming, “I’m not going to do this with you Randyl! I love you too much!”
“My choice honey. This is my duty. Lauriella pick up those components and give them to me!”
“NO Lauriella! He doesn’t know what I will do with him! I’ll kill or enslave him, even if he survives, I’ll leave him. Don’t do it!”
“No, you won’t! I’ve trained twenty years for this just in case. Turn around and look into my eyes, Damn it!”
Lauriella picks them up but doesn’t know what to do. She waivers between the two of them. Randyl yells at her, “Lauriella if you don’t give me those components you will never see her again!”
She exclaims, “I don’t even know what the two of you are struggling about!”
“Don’t do This! I will find another!”
“Not good enough honey! Our love will survive this and this time only one of us will be caught up in the insanity. I’m and archmage gods damn it! I am a hell of a lot stronger than he was!”
Lauriella makes her decision and gives the components to Randyl. He roughly flips Fawn over on her back. She kicks and scratches him turning her head to the side. Randyl grabs the sides of her head and forces them face to face and forces her lids open with his thumbs. Randyl quickly throws the astral spell as Fawn is punching him in the face. Just before they leave, he turns to her, “Get Shaia quickly! When we are gone!”As they disappear Lauriella notices that Fawn seems to strain in pain. She seems to get taller or longer. The silver strip of hair starts to widen taking over her red hair. They disappear before she can see anything else.
As Lauriella enters her second year of apprenticeship under fawn, the archmage once again goes back to Torilian magic. Fawn has her focus on each and every one of the minor enchantment spells. Learning their every nuance. Lauriella starts to become quiet adept as influencing others. When she teaches, she starts to pick out troublemakers and preforms minor enchantments on them to get them settled down. Not quite after the halfway point in the year Fawn starts her on greater enchantments, Feeblemind, confusion, even symbol of insanity. Each time Lauriella has to use scrolls to perform the magic and she must do it over and over again to Fawn’s satisfaction.
Near the short cold days of the new year. Fawn and Randyl come back from a short three-day vacation. Lauriella braces herself because she knows what it means. At the beginning of her apprenticeship Shaia decided that she should room right next to the Vails. The night frights and screams ever so often wake her from her trance. Those nights she must needs pace until it stops. This will be one of those nights.
Sure enough, well past Selune’s Zenith the shouts and sounds of struggle begin. Lauriella has had enough. She goes down to the teachers’ lounge (which she is privy to now) and drags Fawn’s dirt like grains she calls coffee down. She brews a whole pot then sits at the table hoping that a few cups will be enough time for Randyl to bring Fawn out of her nightmare. Presently Randyl enters. He has a raised bloom over his left eye and his arms are all scratched to hell and back.
“Is there another cup, Lauriella?”
“I made a pot, Archmage.”
He winces and pours himself a cup sitting down opposite of her, “And you want to follow her to hell. A pox on the both of you.”
“You’re just tired, Archmage. She will settle down in a few nights.”
“If you intent to follow her and become an exorcist, find a good man. You’ll go insane without one. You may go insane even with one.”
“It’s important work.”
“I don’t think is matters Lauriella. Do you know how many of the thousand or so students from this school have gotten closed to being able to preform an exorcism?” Randyl counts on his fingers, “Five that we know of. Five of them. Five have the ability to cast magic jar, the spell you initially need just to get started with pulling a demon out of someone’s body to your own and destroying it within your mind. Of those only one has become an archmage like us. Most die in some cave, underdark, accident, shipwreck or doing some other adventuring activity before they gain the knowledge and technique to be anything other than a hedge wizard.”
“It’s not because of deficient schooling.”
“No that’s the average for every school. Hell, dumb luck could get you killed just as sure as an excursion into a dragon’s lair.”
“Why do you not let the students and apprentices actually learn their spells?”
“Safety precautions. We teach you the techniques, the finesse the components we don’t let you learn them so that everything is done in classroom conditions. If you truly want to be a wizard when you’re done, you’ll find a way to get the spells.”
Lauriella nods then points to the cuts on his arm, “Does she hurt you badly?”
“Rarely, you also have to remember that I’m also a commander in the local mercenary guild. I’ve got a strong stomach so to speak. Rare for a mage but I guess I’m more of what you elves call a spellsword. Heavy on the spell, light on the sword but I know both trades. You have to be rather hardy to be in the Katana.”
Lauriella looks at her empty cup then smiles at Randyl, “I should go Archmage. If you’re down here that means my mistress has settled down.”
“One thing Lauriella.”
“Fawn told me she taught you the techniques of magic from other worlds. You should keep that part of your training to yourself. There’s a lot of mages out there. Strong mages that covet that kind of thing. Most are much stronger than you. Understand where I’m going?”
She nods to him with a little fright in her eyes, “I will keep it to myself unless I absolutely need it. But then again most take much more learning and I’ve only scratched the surface. I doubt that I will even be able to cast it in a year or two.”
“You still know those techniques. I’m just saying when you leave here. Be careful.”
“I will, Randyl. I will.”
“Where are we going, mistress. These forests look deep.”
“Don’t be sorry all the time. It irritates me more than calling me mistress.”
“That’s more like it. Here. Stay by these big trees. I don’t want what’s in there to charm and kill you.”
“What’s in there!”
“You’ll die if you go in there!”
“No, I’m naturally immune.”
“None of your business, Miss Sithmore.”
Lauriella waits by the trees as Fawn disappears walking up a stream in a hidden box canyon. She sits down to enjoy the fresh air of the forest. After a few minutes a face shows itself from behind a tree. The woman looks much like an elf with dark brown skin and pretty emerald green eyes.
The creature giggles as her head disappears behind the tree again.
A few minutes later several women put their heads round different trees. Lauriella snaps her fingers, “You are all dryads aren’t you.”
They all disappear again. Lauriella sees Fawn walking up to her, “Ok I asked her to take a swim. Come into the grove very quietly and speak softly. Also, this is a goddess’s holy ground so be respectful.”
“I will archmage.”
They move to an enchanting canyon. The steam at the edge comes from a grand waterfall at the back that empties into a pool of unfathomable depth. From there the water ventures past the canyon in a wide shallow path out the other side where Lauriella sat. Great sequoias rim the inter canyon making shade. Beams of sunlight hit the ground between the canopy. There are wildflowers everywhere.
“Why are we here, Fawn?”
“We are going to find you a friend.”
“You mean a familiar? Like Silk? Just give me the spell scroll and I’ll mold the spirit into the creature I would like.”
“No. I want you to do it like an enchantress. Find a real animal in this grove. One that is interested in you. Then charm it. Make a pact with it. This is the proper way to do these things if you want to focus on my type of magic. This is your task. When it tells you its name in your mind you will know that it accepts your companionship. Do not subjugate it.”
Lauriella wanders the canyon and stream staying well away from the pool and its dangerous occupant as she can. She studies frogs, geckos, all kinds of birds. There’s a fox. She coaxes it to her, but it runs away looking back every few steps until disappearing in the brush.
Walking around one of the giant pines she catches movement. Stopping, she studies the movement. She places a finger near the spot. A small piece of the bark that looks like a small dragon head suddenly moves toward her finger and hisses.
Softly she starts to speak to it, “Hello there. Who are you? What are you?”
The head hisses again and strikes near her finger. She slowly slides her finger away, putting her face near the little head. She stares directly into its eyes, “You’re a cute little fellow.”
She sees another part of the bark move. It looks like a long tail with a wicked little barb at the end. Lauriella smiles. She knows what it is now.
Lauriella walks back to Fawn with what looks like a little brown dragon a slight smaller then a cat upon her head raking her hair in pleasure. Fawn sees her eyes wince every now and then when a claw digs in a little too deeply.
Lauriella smiles, “Her name is Simsee, Fawn. Her name is Simsee.”
Fawn smiles, “Now you have a real familiar and a lifelong friend.”
The two women stand across from each other at an alter in the woods. One a strange looking half-elven She is tall and stocky. She has bright red hair with a silver stripe going down the middle. Her clothing is Mulhorandian (Egyptian) in nature. She has olive skin and of her two eyes one is emerald green. The other is wolf like and yellow. The other is a gold elven with tannish gold skin. Her hair is black with new grey strands muddling the color a reaction from the horrible testing the other put her through to become her apprentice. She stands nearly as tall as a typical human at 5ft 8inches and her eyes are a cast of soft copper hue.
It is the half-elf Fawn the archmage that speaks first, “First things first. As my apprentice you will be required to teach my beginners classes when I am needed elsewhere. I don’t care how you dress just that you can teach them. If you travel with me I will tell you exactly how to dress as with the customs of the realms we visit. I’ll even provide clothing if necessary. You have that so far?”
“That’s another thing. Unless we are around others. No titles. They just bore me. If you’re interested in titles go, see my in-laws in Kenshinville. They’re all about their titles.”
“Then what shall I call you?”
“Come on Luciellia. You’re not in Evermeet anymore. Just call me Fawn.”
The gold elf nods to her, “What will you teach me the first year? Enchantment?
“No I am going to teach you other techniques to use magic. There are hundreds of worlds out there. I will be teaching you these techniques starting today.”
“I don’t understand. Why would you teach me something like that?”
“Because, Luciellia they may keep you alive someday. When your spells are used up how will you be able to tap once again with the weave to use magic?”
“your only half-right. Yes, you can’t unless you have another means to tap into it. A means not of Toril. This saved my life once for I had no spells yet was able to tap into the weave using the techniques of Athas and combine it with the Thu’um of a world called Nirn using the words of dragon power from what I learned on the Pillar of Tauros.”
Luciellia just nods stupefied, “ok.”
Fawn lifts up two potted plants, “Come with me. First I want to teach you the magic techniques not to use on Toril. The gods of this world frown upon the magic of Athas. That is because it is destructive magic. I will teach you this technique but only use it in life and death circumstances as I once did. This magic poisons the very ground it is performed on.” They go to the middle of the field.
Fawn sets the plants down, “Now get in front of one of the plants, Good. Now do watch.”
She leans down and touches the plant in front of her. She then casts a shield spell. As Luciellia watches the magic build around Fawn she sees the plant shrivel and die away to ash. Fawn then casts using no components.
The components of Athasian magic surround you. It is the very plants of the world. That is why it is so dangerous. Athas has become a desert waste because of the mages and sorcerers using this technique. Now It is your turn.”
It takes Luciellia most of the day to accomplish the task but she does. She uses the techniques of another world to cast her magic. Somehow she is saddened by the whole ordeal, “Fawn this magic. It seems unnatural?”
“To you it does and I must agree, but put that same question to an Athasian and you may get a different answer. You are killing living creatures to use magic. It not good magic but it can be useful if your life is in danger otherwise stay away from it.
“I will teach you no more of this magic. You have the basic idea of it and the technique.
“For the next few months I will teach you the next most dangerous type of magic. It is called Thedasarian blood magic.
Two weeks later Luciellia and Fawn meet again at the altar. Fawn speaks, “You’ve done well in class remember that these are new students they are rowdy and uncaring for the most part. You need to find a way to keep control. Randyl entertains them. I as you know will pick the worst student and enchant them. That usually calms things down.”
Luciellia nods, “I’ve had some trouble.”
“You’ll get used to it. Now magic we can actually practice together for several months. The Magic of Thedas. There are several problems with both kinds of Thedasarian magic. First all Thedas techniques attract demons. Blood magic in particular. Another and more important thing. If you somehow ever find yourself on this world. Do not let anyone know you’re a mage. Find some common dresses where them and find a way off the damned world.”
“Why mistress……. I mean Fawn?”
Fawn laughs at her apparent misstep, “It’s ok Luciellia. You’re testing is over. You are a graduate. You need to lighten up.
Ok you see on Thedas the authorities do not like mages. If they catch you they will most likely drill a hole in your forehead and turn you into an imbecile. That is why you should get off the world as quickly as possible.”
Luciellia looks to Fawn in horror, “Why would they do that!”
Because demons there constantly harass mages trying to possess them. You think Toril has a problem with possession. It is nothing compared to the problem in Thedas.
Now in Thedasarian blood magic you do not use the weave at all. You use the magic in your own blood to draw energy for the magic.”
Fawn takes out a knife and cuts a deep cut in her hand. Dropping the knife, she molds the blood with her other. It doesn’t drip on the ground. Instead it turns itself into a fine mist surrounding her body. She molds the blood until it’s a perfect sphere when it does the blood disappears into a shield.
Fawn looks at her and says, “I must warn you never to practice this magic unless I am here. You will attract demons to you. If one possesses you I will have to dispel it. Understand?”
Luciellia wide eyed confirms, “I never want to go through what you put me through again unless I have too dispel one, myself. Yes, stop me before it happens.”
That day Luciellia cannot make it work and leaves the field with nothing except cuts all over her hands. It takes three days just to perform a cantrip, and another month to use her own blood to throw up a shield but when she accomplishes it she is elated.
The next week Fawn brings with her two staves, “These are Thedasarian staves. They are different and the main weapon of a mage from Thedas.”
Luciellia looks at them, “What do they do?”
Fawn gives one to her then walks over to the targets she has set up, “These staves use the latent magical energy within your own body to make powerful bolts like magic missile. As the magic builds within the stave you can use a second attack. I will show you.”
Fawn sets her feet. Within five seconds she hits three targets with a single bolt of energy from the staff. She then spins the staff and drives the back end into the ground there is a sonic boom. Luciellia goes flying back landing on her butt a few feet away.
Fawn laughs, “Now it’s your turn.”
For the next few months Luciellia learns the techniques of tradition Thedasarian magic until Fawn thinks she fully understands. When that part of her training is complete Fawn ceases teaching her for a month so that she may absorb it. When they come back Fawn has something completely different for her in mind.
Luciellia walks out on the field after a long rest. Fawn is there. Luciellia smiles and comically asks, “What will you teach me this time my mistress.”
Fawn shows a rare smile, “My favorite form of magic. It is called Nirnian magic. On Nirn some of the best of spells are created and they have dragon words of power called the Thu’um. Basically when dragons fight on this world they try to out lecture one another. But do not doubt these words of power have real effect. But first traditional Nirnian magic. For the Thu’um will take you the rest of the year to learn and even then a pitiful number of words. Now make a protective circle.”
Luciellia draws out a protective circle while Fawn gets ready to cast her spell. When Luciellia does it to her satisfaction Fawn summons what Luciellia thinks is a fire elemental in the shape of a beautiful woman, “The elemental is beautiful, Fawn.”
Fawn smiles wryly, “This isn’t an elemental. This is a demon from the abysmal plane of oblivion. It acts for all intents and purposes like an elemental but it is still a demon. Remember that.
For the next few months I will teach you conjuration and illusion spells of Nirn. For some unknown reason the Nirnians call enchantments, illusions. Then for the last of your schooling this year we will study the Thu’um hopefully you will be able to call a few of the words of power.”
For the rest of the year Luciellia toils with the alien magic. She fails often. Fawn gets somewhat disillusioned by her progress yet slowly she advances. On the last day of schooling Fawn finds her practicing at one end of the field.
“Still have not gotten it?”
Luciellia shrugs, “If I could actually speak dragon it would go easier.”
“Yes but only certain words have power and I have only taught you three to be able to flee things that are too strong for you to defeat. Now what are the words?”
Luciellia answers her, “Wuld, Whirlwind. Nah, Fury. Kest, Tempest.”
“And I thought you didn’t speak dragon.”
“You have to feel it deep within your soul. Bring the magic out from within you.”
Luciellia plants her feet, “Wuld Nah Kest!”
Nothing happens. Fawn sighs and repeats it, “WULD NAH KEST!”
Her body flies like a sling bullet completely across the field. She turns around and waves Luciellia to her. Luciellia starts to walk. Fawn waves her hands at her. Points to her than to a spot beside her. She sets her feet again, “WULD NAH KEST!”
Nothing happens again. Fawn motions her to continue. Luciellia tries and tries. Late in the evening she gets frustrated. In anger she tries it again the magic welling up in her unnoticed she screams out, “WULD NAH KEST!”
Her body is thrown by the magical energy of the Thu’um she hits a tree face first knocking herself out.
When she wakes up Fawn helps her up. The starts are out. Selune shows a quarter of her face. They move to the alter. Fawn brings out two glasses and a bottle. She sets them on the Altar and pours whiskey into both. She then pours another round upon the altar, “One for your goddess. Congratulations on making it the first year of your apprentice.”
“Isn’t that irreverent?”
Fawn frowns, “I think I’ve given enough to this altar already.”
“What really happened?”
Fawn winces, “That is between me and Selune, miss Sithmore. Please do not pry. I like you. I would hate it if you were expelled.”
Luciellia casts her eyes down, “My apologies, mistress.”
“It is of no consequence to you. Drink up and enjoy your victory with me; Not as teacher and student. But as friends.”
They drink the night away and come back sloshed. Shaia isn’t happy.
Lauriella is woken up the very next day by Randyl. He rousts her out of bed and takes up her scrolls. He leads her to the practice grounds. There is a single circle, twenty feet in Diameter there. There are two lines a foot wide in the center dividing the two sections. There are lanterns on the 8 major directions all aligned with the magnetic compass. Lauriella in all her research has never seen anything like it.
Fawn and Shaia are both there. Shaia steps up to her, “Fawn is going to possess you like a demon would. She is going to show you the horrors of what fighting a demon is like within your mind. You must try to expel her.
You will most likely fail in this. Do not worry that is not what the test is about. The test in how long can you hold her off from taking full possession of your body. You have your scrolls. You will bring them into the circle and put them next to your skin. I suggest underneath your shirt. If you do this, you will have them and be able to use them in this fight. Understand?
Randyl hands them to her. She does as Shaia instructs. Shaia continues, “Step into this side of the circle where it is open.”
She steps in. Shaia steps in with her. There are electrum chains on the ground. Shaia takes them up and cuffs them to her wrists, “Make sure you have enough freedom to cast.”
She makes some hand movements while asking, “why the chains?”
“In these types of battles creatures waiting for a soulless shell often attack a body. Seekers from the astral plane, demons, daemons, and devils often wait on the ethereal always ready to jump into a body and take it over. These chains will hold you in the circle.”
“And the circle itself?”
“Made by Archmage Fawn. Your side keeps any creature within the circle perfectly aligned with Bytopia. Her side of the circle keeps any creature in perfectly aligned with Ysgard.”
Shaia steps out of the circle closing it. Fawn steps in to hers. Shaia does the same thing the only difference other than the design of her side of the circle is that her chains are a Damascus like blend of silver and gold. There are also glowing magic runes along the cuffs.”
Lauriella asks, “Her chains are different?”
Randyl is the one who answers, “Fawn aligns differently than you. The chains are thicker for she is an Archmage. A very powerful one. I have seen her break her chains in the circle before. The runes are to prevent her from using a natural ability she has to bypass the circle’s magic.”
Lauriella nods to him becoming frightened.
The last thing that happens is that Randyl Takes a fist size flawless diamond and places it upon the pedestal that sits in the very center of the circle. Lauriella knows its Fawns diamond that she usually has around her neck. The one she uses when she casts Magic Jar.
Shaia and Randyl step out of Fawns part of the circle and close her side. They stand facing one another chained to the center of their prospective sides.
Fawn looks directly into her eyes. Her very glare seems to pressure her forehead as if saying. ‘let me inside.’ She speaks, “This is your last chance Lauriella. I really don’t want to do this to you because I know deep down you will never forgive me for this. Ask to be released. There is no shame in quitting. In fact, all now know just how brave you are from getting this far. I don’t want to hurt you girl.”
Lauriella shakes her head, “I am clear in my goal Archmage. Do your worst.”
Fawn frowns, “If I did my worst you would become but a shell. Your mind will be completely destroyed and your body would do whatever I command for the rest of your life. No Lauriella. I will give you a taste of what it is to wield this magic.” She begins her spell.
The two in the circle strain against one another in an unseen battle of the mind. The Diamond in the center glows occasionally meaning that a soul has drifted within in it. Then the light dies as the soul leaves back to one body or another. Lauriella withstands five and then ten minutes still standing.
Randyl comments, “She’s doing well.”
Shaia shakes her head, “Remember just how long Sierra can do this. I have seen her stand within the circle of battle for more than a day and a morn.”
The two of them get concerned when Lauriella’s skin starts to blister, Shaia fearful for the young woman takes a step to the circle. Randyl stops her, “Remember if we disrupt this battle we could lose them both.”
Shaia clasps her hands behind her back, “I know. Was just trying to decide how long we will need to comfort her.”
“Knowing Fawn, A week maybe two. She won’t go too far with her. The young woman’s will seems to be quite strong though. It will take some time.”
After thirty-minutes blood starts to run from Lauriella’s eyes and ears. The two mages watching know that she is at her limits. Fawn will break her will soon and she will be subject to whatever the archmage has in store for her.
The young apprentice starts to cry as boils break out along her face. After forty-five minutes she collapses on her hands and knees, spouting off unintelligible gibberish. The blisters and boils fade upon her body. Backing away from Fawns form still standing she hits the edge of the circle. Sparks fly. She screams and moves back to center holding her head.
Shaia and Randyl rush into it. While Fawn comes to herself. They wrap her in a blanket both holding her for comfort.
After a time, Fawn speaks, “Is she still sane?”
Randyl looks up, “We don’t know yet, honey. Quiet now while we examine her.
Lauriella crawls out from under them. She points her finger at Fawn accusingly, “You raped and tortured me for hours upon end! You’re a monster!”
Fawn in a quiet, steady voice retorts, “Now you know what I go through each and every time I expel a demon from another. Now you know the path you are about to choose. Do you still want to become my apprentice?”
"I will do anything."
“Then it is done. Randyl release me.”
After I and another graduate from general studies Shaia calls me to her office. Both of the archmage Vail are there. Randyl is with Shaia sitting beside her. Fawn is in the corner watching the two of them.
Shaia gets up from her seat and stands behind the desk, “Come in Lauriella. All of us would wish to speak with you so come up here and stand in front of the desk.”
She walks up to Randyl and Shaia and stands quietly waiting for what is to come. Shaia picks up where she left off, “Lauriella. You show great promise as a mage. You are in fact the first Gold elf to receive her training here. Most stay on Evermeet for their training in elven magic. We know due to your heritage why you chose us.
For many years we thought you a spy for the family. We have come to find out that this is not true. You truly have disavowed your ancestry and we have come to find out you are a good an honest woman, even with your Sithmore traits. Your curiosity may well damn you and you have still had some troubles with it. Still both I or Randyl are willing to take you on as an apprentice if you choose to continue your education. Neither of us currently have one.”
Being that neither Shaia or Randyl are upset with her she looks over to Fawn realizing that her words at the shrine are still a secret between the two of them. She wonders why this would be? She turns back to Shaia, “Archmages I am humbled by the thought that both the two of you would accept me as an apprentice; However, I humbly must deny both. There is only one I wish to study under. Archmage Fawn. This is where my path has led me. Fawn has no apprentice and as far as I know has never had one. I wish to study under her.”
Shaia purses her lips, “You must understand Lauriella. There is a reason Fawn does not take apprentices. The price of the magic she wields is grave. It can easily destroy the caster at any time, and is much more dangerous that the magics that I or Randyl teach and specialize in. Because of her nature she is uniquely qualified to survive the magic she uses. I’m sorry if you wish to continue it must be either Randyl or I to whom you accept.”
Before Lauriella can say anything, Fawn stands, “Lauriella turn around and face me.”
She turns around calming herself for whatever comes. Fawn inspects her carefully, “What Shaia says is true. I am uniquely qualified by both my heritage and my experiences. This magic. It’s dangerous. It will sap your soul, cause you great pain, tear apart your mind. You have no idea the price of wielding the dark schools even if for the good of your friends. If you wish to be tested I will test you. I will show you the pain and destitution of what I do and if you survive. If your mind survives the testing I will accept you. First I must know why it is so important that you would come here to Anchorome to learn with us instead of going to your gold elven masters?”
Shaia exclaims, “You cannot do this, Fawn! You will rend her mind! What if……..”
Fawn raises her voice, “You mean like you tested me, Shaia. When you put my mind against one of the high lords of hell to subdue him in your possessed friend! I was a teenager then yet you set me against it. It took me twenty-five years to completely rid its essence from my mind.”
Shaia gets angry, “It is because I knew………”
“knew what Shaia!”
Randyl quickly gets between the two women, “Because Fawn, Shaia already knew your name. Your real name or suspected it. She has kept it from you all this time so she could be close to you. Not for your power or who you are because she is infatuated with you.”
Shaia turns her face away, “I don’t have to listen to this anymore. I’m……….”
Randyl stands between her and the door, “No, Shaia. We’re finally going to end this here and now. I’m tired of all the secrets. For decade upon decade this has been going on and I’m tired of it. Fawn, Shaia knew you were the only one on this continent that could free the devil from Arrilan. She pretends she doesn’t know much about other worlds but then again ask yourself why would one of Toril’s greatest diviners be ignorant of other worlds. She isn’t. She did everything she could to make your stronger to guide you to fight higher and higher lower planes creatures. She wanted a perfect weapon. A perfect companion. She got it. The only problem is we fell in love leaving her alone.”
Fawn looks to Randyl and then to Shaia, “I’m not sitting here to go over the past. Eventually I must teach someone my magic. I will discuss this with the two of you later. What concerns me now is Lauriella.” She turns back to her, “Now, why did you come here. Why do you want me to teach you?” Fawn casts a spell where nothing seems to happen. Lauriella has never seen it so has no Idea what it is.
She tells her, “In all my studies it is you archmage that is considered one of the greatest of enchantresses. This is why.”
Fawn steps closer to her, “You lie even to yourself. That is a half-truth. Why do you want to study under me?”
“Because I idolize your magic and the legends of Anchorome.”
“Another half-truth. Another lie. Are you a Baatezu in disguise?”
She raises her head thrusting out her chin, “Either accept me or not Archmage!”
Fawn throws a spell. Lauriella starts to feel a pressure both upon and within her head. Her nerves feel like they are starting to catch on fire. The pain starts softly moment by moment intensifying into a crescendo of seething pain she can no longer tolerate. She slides slowly to the ground her hands upon her head going into a fetal position.
She screams, “IT WAS MY BROTHER! MY BROTHER WAS POSSESSED BY A DEMON! EVERYONE TRIED TO REMOVE IT, PRIESTS, MAGES, DRUIDS! I KNEW OF YOUR LEGEND AND ASKED THEM TO SEND FOR YOU BUT THEY WOULD NOT HAVE A HALF-BREED ATTEMPT SUCH A THING. THE THING INSIDE HIM KNOWING THAT WE WOULD NOT LET IT HAVE ITS WAY INTENTIONALLY STARVED HIM TO DEATH. I’LL NEVER FORGET THE BOILS ON HIS FACE THE SLOW WASTE HE BECAME. IT TOOK A MONTH FOR HIM TO BE CONSUMED! THAT IS WHY I WANT YOU TO TEACH ME. TO MAKE SURE SOMETHING LIKE THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN!”
Fawn releases her mind from the pain. As the archmage walks out the door she tells the room, “I will test her tomorrow under controlled conditions where her body will not be harmed. If she stays sane I will accept her as my apprentice. I don’t want one word from the two of you.”
After Fawn leaves Shaia slaps Randyl, “I can’t believe you! Both of you leave. I wish to be alone.”
Randyl guides Lauriella out of the room to the dormitory, “Here’s some scrolls. Study them and read them before your test. It will help. You’ll be able to defend yourself somewhat. You will know pain like you have never known. You will know and feel the pain, and guilt she deals with every day.”
Randyl leaves her at the door of her room. Lauriella has both the feeling of elation and terror at the same time. Her head spins with emotion as she goes into her room to study the scrolls.
The last month of the year I was kept well away from archmage Fawn and her classroom. Instead I received instruction and was eventually tested by Randyl and Shaia together. I had to conjure, enchant a minor spirit of the beastlands. I carefully and slowly went through each part step by step making my conjuring circle and protective circle. Conjuring an enchanting it. I passed the test but would I be accepted for the final year of general studies. I did not find out until the day of graduation.
After Shaia presented me with a new charm to continue on to the final year, only one of three; Archmage Fawn walked out of the room with a sour look on her face. I was so sure that my investigations on the astral spell would show her I was serious about moving on after four years. That she would be elated yet the exact opposite has happened. I remember what Shaia had said to me that the archmage's head was practically worth a kingdom on other worlds. What did she do to draw the ire of other worlds if they truly exist?
Year four is a constant battery of learning spell technique, Lore and spellcraft. Fawn still refuses to teach me anything. I am saddened by the mistakes of the past. It seems that no matter what I do tragedy always follows closely on my heels. It plagued my thoughts every night while I slip into trance. On one of these nights early in the year I slip out of what elves call sleep in the small hours of the morning. I go down stairs to find something in the eating hall to lessen my anxiety. As I approach the kitchen I see a door ajar that has always been locked before. There are voices. Quietly I open it just enough to slip through and tip toe down the stairs until I can understand them.
An alien, raspy voice speaks first, ""You mean to tell me, mother that Randyl may or may not know the extent of the curse if Fawn succumbs to it a second time. Why have you not spoken to him. You know she may kill him if it consumes her again. You also know that even if he survives she will never speak to him again. She will leave this place forever and bear her child alone. It is her people's way."
Lauriella hears Shaia speak next, "I don't know Roman. It's just that I have mentored her for so long. I've helped her for so many years. You would think that...….."
"Your selfish self-interest is interfering with your good nature. It is evil to not warn a friend of danger so that you may have something you may never attain. You know this as well as I."
"I know, I know. I just can't bring myself to tell him. You have never seen Fawn like I have."
"This lust for the Idrian will put you to ruin, Fawn is a good woman. They are both your friends. Your eyes need to find something new. Randyl needs to know. Leave them alone. They have both found love after great tragedies. Randyl is human. You will outlive him by centuries. When he dies then...……"
"Randyl has made a free choice, Roman. He has already made the decision. Their love will see them through it if the curse happens a second time. If it doesn't then I will be here to pick up the pieces."
"I disagree but as I can plainly see you have already made yours's. I believe this is the first time I have ever been disappointed. Leave my layer please."
Lauriella flees the stairs and quietly goes up to her room wondering about the part of the conversation she missed.
Months later it just so happens that Selune is in full at the same night of summer solstice. The night is a high holy night of Sehanine Moonbow. Even though she was told by archmage Randyl never to go to the shrine on a full moon, Lauriella feels its pull and needs to pray. She dresses up in her best dress. She then explores the grounds for night lilies. Once she has picked thirty of them, she ties them up with a ribbon making a simple bouquet and walks down to the shrine. not wanting to place the flowers on the bloodstained alter she places them just before it so that they still bask in the moonlight. After doing so she stands before the flowers. folds her hands over her belly and prays to the goddess, "Lady Moonbow. Please bless this shrine. It has been desecrated. I don't know how or why. I hope the poor soul that was sacrificed found peace in the afterlife. I've tried to wash the blood off but it seems of no use. I know that I am a poor one to be asking this of you. I'm not exactly favored or go to every festival in your name. I seem to always be at the wrong place at the wrong time or assume things that are not true. Please help me to make peace with both myself and the mistress who was one of my teachers. I am not sure how I was mistaken but at least I think I will graduate. I thank the gods for that. I thank your loving hand for getting me here."
Ending her prayer she looks up to find a hooded figure standing on the opposite side of the alter. She asks, "Priestess?"
The figure takes down her hood. Lauriella stares face to face once again with Archmage Fawn. She goes pale with fear. She starts to back away, "I know I shouldn't be here. I will leave archmage."
Lauriella stops her knees shaking. Fawn looks to the alter and back to her, "You worship Selune? She is your patron goddess?"
"I worship Sehanine Moonbow, archmage. Some say that she and Selune are one and the same."
"They are one and the same." Fawn looks at the alter again and continues, "The poor soul you mentions still lives. The woman was stricken by Selune herself upon this very alter after she struck a deal with the goddess to save the life of an unborn son. The blood is a reminder to the woman of a promise she made. A bargain she struck."
"You were there archmage?"
"Yes. I was here. It is my blood that stains the alter."
Fawn throws the hood back over her head and starts to walk away. Lauriella asks, "Archmage?"
Fawn stops. The hood once again measures her, "I well I accidently overheard a conversation." Lauriella tells her of what she caught of the conversation between Shaia and the mysterious being underneath the school. As she does she feels a palatable emotion of grief and guilt emanating from the archmage. She replies, "If the curse of my people strikes me a second time I do my best to make sure that Randyl is nowhere near. I love him dearly and wish not to hurt him."
With that Fawn leaves her to her questions and her goddess. Lauriella is more confused than ever before.
I made it to the third year. I am elated for three-year students are taught by Archmage Fawn herself. She teaches the schools of Enchantment, Necromancy and Conjuration. They say that her will is so strong it cannot be breached by another mortal’s mind.
The very first day was somewhat a surprise, for as the fifteen third year students, including myself were setting up their lab tables several new students walked in. All have a brownish olive skin tone. They walk down the aisle and go down on their knees side by side. They also curiously dress in light robes similar in design to the Archmage but different colors and with different trim.
The one in the center speaks. I pay close attention to the young human, “Hem Netjer Vail, priestess of the house of life. We come bearing gifts for the sacred knowledge.”
For the first time that I have ever seen the archmage smiles, “I accept your gifts. Do you have Pharaoh’s approval?”
The center one pulls a letter from his pack, “A personal letter Hem Netjer from Pharaoh himself.”
Fawn bows down and takes the note, “Good. You will rest during the day. We will work at the graveyard at nights. You will learn the sacred knowledge and will return Hems of the house.”
The young men and women stand. Fawn converse with them in a language none of the rest of us know. I throw up my hand.
When she looks up, she frowns, “Yes, Lauriella ? What is it?”
“May I join with them, Archmage? I will cause no trouble.”
“Lauriella , these people and the people they will attend to when they leave hold necromancy in the highest regard. They do not use the art in a destructive way. All mages from Mulhorand and the Sands of Itzcala must be trained in the death arts because to them it is religious in nature. It is not you or your peoples’ way. Besides its double duty for you. You will study both day and night.”
“Still I wish to attempt it. The knowledge of using necromancy for the good of my loved ones and people is the reason I have come here to learn.”
“Do you mean Evermeet? They would never accept necromancy as a valid school. Or do you mean the Sithmores? The Sithmores will never learn the sacred art of the Mulhorand.”
“I have disavowed the Sithmores, Archmage. They will never know what I would learn. On my life.”
“Good, for if I ever see magic from the house of life used by the guild it will be your life. That is the price young lady. Are you prepared to accept that?”
Lauriella takes some time to mull over Fawns words. Would she actually kill me if the Sithmores found out? She throws her chin out, “Yes. I accept the proposal.”
Fawn purses her lips a moment, “Fine, realize that if you fail your regular studies there will be no 4th year.” Lauriella nods keeping her eyes on the Archmage.
Lauriella collapses on the bed of her dorm room for the few hours of rest she is allowed before being carted off to the graveyard for another night of study. As she does, she catches something out of place. The cage beside her bed is open and the door swings slightly in the breeze. Her sting lizard (pseudodragon) is missing.
She sighs heavily and sends her mind out possessing the creature. Looking around there she finds herself in a loose grate There are beetles running about. Obviously, she was eating them for a snack but where is she. Voices quietly talking above her turn her attention away from the beetles. She crawls near the edge of the grate.
Shaia and Randyl are in small kitchen. Each is drinking from a small cup.
“Any prospects from the three years? What do you think Randyl?
“The only one with real talent and drive is Lauriella . That is if she can avoid failing this year. Fawn set her on a near impossible task.”
“She’s still a Sithmore.”
“Come on Shaia. She hasn’t started any trouble since she’s come. A few missteps but no major trouble like every other Sithmore.”
“Well, if she is a spy, she’s good. Randyl how many years since Brath was born?”
“Quite a few now. It’s so surprising to me that he’s still a toddler after all these years.”
“laughter” “I’m concerned for you Randyl. Fawn killed the last one. There is a chance she will be hit with a second Valin.”
“Sigh” “She probably will. You know her heritage as much as I do. I don’t know Shaia?”
“I can try to find someone to take your place.”
“No. I’ve prepared myself for all these years. I must be the one. It’s my job so to speak. I’m stronger now. I’ll be able to take her furry. Besides I wont be effected too. Only she will. If the day comes, I’ll force her to look into my eyes. I'll do as Rory liked to say toss my coin and hope that the outcome comes for the best.”
Lauriella upset, comes out of her familiar’s mind. She writes down a word to study the next day.
Try as she might for the next few months, she cannot find a reference for the word Valin and why it would be such a dire thing for Archmage Randyl concerning his wife. She gives up hoping in the coming year she will learn more.
The very last test for the year is to pick a spell any spell and learn it to its very core. Archmage Fawn doesn’t care if it’s a simple sleep spell or a great spell like Time stop. She wants us to show complete understanding of the spell and every nuance about it.
Lauriella knows its time to enact her plan. She does exhaustive research once again on the astral spell. When the time comes, she makes her presentation in front of the class with Fawn standing in the back listening intently.
Lauriella comes to the end of her presentation and rolls her bones, “Lastly, there is a curious natural adaptation of the astral spell. Few are born to the Astral plane but those that do may without effort or addition incantation not only teleport their minds to the realm but also their entire body with them.
Their ability to do this can be seen…………...”
She looks up from the podium to see the Archmage fuming in the back of the room, “To Shaia’s office, NOW!” Lauriella slowly rolls up her thesis and leaves the room straight to Shaia’s Her skin pale in fear.
When she arrives Shaia is there. She raises and eyebrow, “I’m not used to seeing you here. Sit down. What did you do?”
She slowly stands up and slides her papers to the school mistress. Shaia picks them up and begins to read. When she gets to the end, she stands up looking more and more concerned. She looks at Lauriella , “How in all the hells did you find this information. I thought I had destroyed any reference to Astral children years ago?”
Lauriella looks down, “I found it in Ogham’s”
“Oh, Lauriella . You have no idea what you have done accident or not. Get behind me. This is going to be bad.”
Shaia puts several powerful abjurations upon her and waits. It doesn’t take long for Fawn to stomp in with Randyl right behind, “Where is that Sithmore Bitch. I want to know exactly how she did it and then I’m going to rend her mind apart! There you are!”
Fawn holds up a fist size diamond and starts to cast a spell. Shaia starts to counter spell against her while Randyl exclaims, “NO FAWN! Don’t you dare possess her!” He knocks the diamond out of her hand. Shaia throws up a shimmering wall between herself and Lauriella . While Randyl grabs her preventing her from casting anymore spells.
“I want that bitch out of the school and my class!”
Shaia retorts her, “It was a mistake, Fawn she didn’t know! I will not disavow a promising student just because of your paranoia.”
“As soon as she learned she knew, Shaia! She knew and kept it until she could use it like every other Sithmore! What else does she know about me!”
“Randyl handle your wife! I will deal with miss Sithmore.”
Randyl drags Fawn out of Shaia’s office while Fawn unflustered screams insults at all three of them.
Shaia turns her eyes to her. She is not happy, “If you want to stay in this school you will have to get back into Fawns good graces though I have no idea how you could possibly do that.”
Lauriella looks both downtrodden and mystified, “I don’t understand this or the mistress’s reaction.”
Shaia sighs, “That’s why your still here Lauriella. You don’t understand. On some worlds. Worlds you know nothing about; Fawn’s head is worth ten fortunes. Are you researching her or is she just an idol to you? If you are researching, her: Stop now before you end up a slobbering lunatic in some insane asylum because that is what she can and will do to you if you learn too much about her.
Do we have an understanding?”
“Good go to your room. Meanwhile I’ll try to fix this.”
After exhausting testing I made it to be a year two student. The main teacher this year is Randyl Vail. A tall human from a noble family that is represented in Both Calimshan and Mirabar. He has blonde hair and sky blue eyes. He also has the blue dragon wings much like a half dragon. Upon some investigation I found that it was a gift bestowed upon him by the gods he worships over an incident with a great red worm that terrorized the local community for over a year.
He teaches us the techniques of Evocations, Illusions and Transmutations.
During the second year I find myself going to the field in the back of the complex more and more after classes not only
to practice the art being taught,but to worship at the small Stonehenge shrine dedicated to the moon mistress. I stay away from it during full moons for each and every time Selune
grows full in her beauty the shrine takes on a mysterious glow.
One night during a new moon I am practicing in the field when I see a figure approaching the shrine. I quickly duck to the side and watch. It is Archmage
Fawn. As she approaches within a few steps of the small temple she stops. Her hands and body start to weave a complex spell. I watch the half-elf carefully
on every move she makes and listen to pick up every word she says. I feel the great power of the weave congealing around her. When the spell is done her
entire body fades away...…..No that's not quite right. Her body seems to collapse upon itself until there is nothing. She is simply gone. Getting back to my dorm room I write down all the hand movements and words I remember upon one of my notebooks. What spell did she enact to disappear in such a way. I must find out.
It's been several months while researching within the schools library but I have figured out the spell she used. It is the Astral spell. Many an archmage have
laboratories there where time seems to stand still. Where the mage may take their time with various research projects for centuries while here only a night
has elapsed. The question I have is why did her body disappear. For according to the spell her body should not. Only her mind should go there tethered by a
silver cord. I put my thoughts away for now until the appropriate time where I may gain the knowledge on where. For the school itself has little on both the
rate astral and teleport spells to which mages who know these keep them closed to all others.
Lauriella comes into the small office filled with books when she hears the words come in. Archmage Randyl Vail invites
her to a seat while he sits down from the other side of the desk, "Yes Lauriella? Why are you here girl?"
She sits down a bit nervously asking, "I have been retained at the school for two years now. I'm sure you understand why I must stay upon the grounds.
I wish to do research at Ogham's temple/library on Lapis port but will need someone to......to make sure the Sithmore's do not accost me again."
Randyl gets a serious look about him; Which is uncommon for he is the most beloved of all the teachers with an easy going, disarming manner about him,
"Ogham's has some resources not in our own library of coarse. It's a valid request. I cannot chaperon anyone for I have a date with a weapon's master at the
Katana. I will ask my wife to escort you. Would you like that?"
Lauriella jumps at the idea, "I would like that very much, Master Vail. Perhaps I will be able to learn something new with her help."
Randyl nods and smiles, "tomorrow then. I don't believe Fawn is doing anything tomorrow but you never know. I'll make arrangements but you have to do
something for me."
Lauriella asks, "What is it, then?"
"I've notice that you like to practice at night in the field. Stay away from the grounds at full moon. there may be dangerous things out there at night.
We want to keep you safe and beyond the shrine lurk many a dangerous creature."
Lauriella thinks the request odd for the area of Lapis port and the school have been cleaned out by adventurers for years. still she affirms his request,
"I will take your counsel to heart, Archmage, and stay away from the field and shrine during full moons."
"Good, I will arrange things. Now off with you."
Lauriella goes to her dorm much relieved and anticipating the important research she is about to embark on.
The next day I go to the courtyard of the school. Mistress Archmage Fawn is there. I must say that for all the hype about her affinity for enchantment
Fawn does not look the part. She is a heavy set half-elf. Her skin is olive like many of the desert nomads that inhabit Faerun. She has bright red hair with
a silver stripe going down the center of her head. Her eyes are most disturbing. One is green. The other isn't even human or elven. It looks like a dog's eye,
yellow and lupine. Such a mismatch in appearance makes her slightly ugly looking. In lore an enchantress is suppose to be one of the most beautiful of
mages enchanting not only in their spells but in their looks too. Could the lore be wrong?
Lauriella is taken out of her musings by the archmage. Fawn casts two spells. Bones come up from the ground making two large undead horse like
creatures. Ectoplasm forms upon the skeletal structures making phantom horses. Fawn gets up upon one of them. She looks to Lauriella ,
"Well! if your going to be a mage then you must get use to traveling like one."
She timidly mounts the other and they make their way to Lapis. Lauriella holding on for dear life for the horses seem to be hasted. Fawn
does not speak or make any conversation at all.
Once in the city they go to the library. Fawn dispels the mounts and they enter the library. Fawn is immediately accosted by the librarians of the
temple. They plead to her, "We have lost several books. If you have them could you make copies?"
Fawn nods respectfully, "If I have them I will rewrite them for you."
Lauriella thinks this curious for the archmage is known for not having any books that she uses as research. A librarian comes up to her while others shuffle Fawn to another section of the building, "May I help you, ma'am?"
She smiles, "I'm a student at the school and am investigating the Astral spell and plane. Would you have something like that?"
The librarian purses his lips, "A difficult request but we do have several books."
Lauriella elated says, "Lead the way. I appreciate your help."
He leads her up several stairs to a smaller section of the building where spell research books are locked away. There he takes down several books
and guides her to a table. He then goes to the door where he can still watch her and opens a book himself, occasionally bringing his eyes to her to make
sure she doesn't steal anything. She opens the books and begins to read.
What she finds out disturbs her. First it was the astral spell Fawn used when she disappeared. Now she knows that the archmage has use of the spell for sure. In another book she finds out that there are a few people born and are native to the astral plane. Those that are born there all have a silver stripe displayed upon their crowns. It is a representation of a natural silver cord they carry with them throughout their lives. When they use the astral spell not only do their minds go there; Their entire bodies go with them for they are natives of the plane and need no special incantations to bring their entire bodies there.
It also references the special things that astral children can do. because of time differentials between the astral and all other planes they can memorize
books at a page a second and retain the information word for word for several years. Lauriella looks up from her books exclaiming to herself, "Now I have the first point I need to become her apprentice. The question is how and when do I use this?"
The first year is a tremendous bore. The main teacher is Shaia herself. We learn basic alchemy, the theories of Abjuration and Divination. The school will not let you write spells in your books or learn them out of hand for control purposes. You learn them from a scroll and then cast. What the school does teach you is the techniques for each of the major schools along with defense techniques and different ways to apply the energies of the weave.
"Sithmore! Wake up!" Shaia screams right in my ear. I come out of trance wide awake.
The only reply I can make is "Elves don't sleep."
"As Shaia walks down the row between lab tables she points at me, "That is a Sithmore answer Lauriella . Perhaps your closer to your friends at the docks than what you told me. You will stay after class, and clean this place up."
I sigh knowing I made a mistake and after class I do as Shaia wishes while practicing my divination somatic gestures."
Surrounding the school complex is many a walking path a lake and a large field in the back. In the back of the field I find a small stonehenge shrine with a large seven foot flat stone alter in the center. The shrine is dedicated to Selune the human aspect of the goddess I feel closest too, Sehanine Moonbow. I notice there is blood on the alter and wonder what could be happening here and why has this holy place been desecrated. I pray to the moon hoping that with my prayers this place may be cleansed.
As I walk back under Selune in her full a group of butterflies pass me. I would take them little notice except the one of the emits a soft bluish/silver light. The butterflies go down to the shrine. A soft glow surrounds the holy stones and the butterflies disappear into nothingness. I take note of the strangeness of it and continue on my path to the dorm.
Lauriella comes into the office when invited. She sits down in front of the school mistress, Archmage Shaia Fereldon. The arc mage looks to be a silver dragon disciple. Her eyes are blue with gold specks in them marking her a moon elf. Lauriella remains silent and slides a letter to the mage. Shaia picks it up and reads the letter along with the coin provided. After reading it she looks to the young gold elf noticing the vacant look to her.
"Another Sithmore. I have three in this class already. Still the money is good to make improvements. The question is are you talented enough to attend. The guild has tried to sneak people with no talent before."
Lauriella takes a firefly out of her pocket and throws it up into the air. with a slight move of her hand and a few utterances the room lights up."
Shaia smiles, "Well talent you have. Tell me why the dower look?"
Lauriella has to think somewhat about what she needs to say in the end she blurts it out, "I came here to study with your school. They accosted me at the docks. Brought me to their lair and blackmailed me. Stole my coin only to give it back on conditions."
Shaia folds her hands together elbows on the desk, "Your truthful. That's a start. First tell me who he is to you? and where you are from?"
"I'm from Evermeet and he is my grandfather. I hate him. The name gives me nothing but shame."
"Then why come here?"
"I want to study under Archmage Vail. I want to understand and help others like she does. To wield the powers of darkness not for destruction but for the good of others."
"Then you have two problems Lauriella . First is you are a Sithmore. Every teacher will ignore you and none will have you as an apprentice. Your second problem is Fawn herself does not take apprentices. All magic has its price. And what Fawn does has an extremely high price. That kind of magic can rend your mind asunder with one misstep."
"I understand that I have 4 years to prove my worth. I will take that chance Archmage Fereldon. But what do I do about the guild. I don't want to give them anything."
Shaia frowns looking down a moment then looks up, "Though you have no chance of being an apprentice I will accept you for your 4 year general study. Don't worry about the guild. I will handle this. Because you have put yourself now in harms way by telling me this you will not be allowed to leave the premises.
I still think your trying to con me. You will be watched. Go to the quartermaster he will set you up with a room in the student dormitory."
Lauriella gets up and heads down the stairs to begin her new life.