Chapter 12: POWER OF SONG

"No offense, people" - Arvid looks at the two magicians - "but now that we've clucked like chicks all night, how about showing me some cool magic? I'm more likely to remember things when it's not all theory, you know." "But Genius, you needs must understand the Lore. It is the foundation on which all Craft rests." "Oh yes, I know that. I'm not asking to borrow your staff and try it myself. I just wondered if one of you could show me something cool."

"Something cool?" Avdyra looks at him, frowning. "You really want to see cool magic?" "Oh yes! Bring it on, lady!" "It seems an unusual request, given the circumstances. But if that's what you want..." "Sure thing!" "Well, then..."

Her eyes seem to glitter, once again, but different now, almost dangerous. He has never seen her do magic close up, only from a distance, closing down the lightstones. And at the time he did not look so much at what she was doing. Hmm.

Reaching down into an unassuming grey pouch, she hauls up a blood red stone the size of his palm. It is opaque but shiny and very even in its color, no bands or shades that he can see. She places it on the stone cube in the center of the circle, replacing the clearstone. "Please stand back, Arovid" she says softly. He steps away from the stone, uncertain all of a sudden. He never got to ask her what kind of magic, but since it's a red stone, it must be something with heat. Perhaps she is going to make a flame on the altar, or whatever that thing is?

And then she sings. The melody is more harmonic than the doggerel her father used for the translation spell - which still makes him cringe at the thought - and more like the one sung by her aunt at the feast. It seems to be in the same language, though the actual words differ. And her voice, albeit young, is stronger, filled with unvoiced hidden emotion.

Entranced by the song, Arvid feels the hairs rise on his body. He shivers involuntarily. Then he takes a doubletake. The young girl raises both arms, her voice rising with them. And his breath freezes in the air before him, cold like the depth of winter sinks its claws into all unprotected skin. As her voice trails off, patterns of white spread like cold wildfire across the somber gray stones, growing, growing. The circle is covered with thin drifting fog, and he has to breathe carefully through his nose to breathe at all. The very air seems brittle with cold.

"Is this cool enough for you, Arovid?"

There is no spite in her voice, no vengeance, no triumph except the obvious delight in the craft itself. He would have laughed, if he could, but the cold makes it painful. She took him literally. He wanted "cool", he got cool. Minus one point for the translation magic of the bloodwood. Worth noticing - if he survives long enough. Magicians may be immune to their own magic, or something, but he is not clothed for this. Quickly he moves towards the opening between the stones, to get out of the circle of cold. He hears her call something behind him, but does not register what, before he slips between the standing stones.

He falls. Obviously they don't sing the anchor spell unless they plan to leave the circle. And he never asked. Duh, genius. There is only darkness all around him, and he falls and falls, until the darkness fades into grey and the world spins around him, then stops. He is shivering on his bed, sheets thrown aside, and the window is thrown wide open, cold autumn wind flowing over his defenseless body.


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