MAXWELL STANNARD - A LETTER FROM JUDAS THE HIRED ROGUE WRITTEN BY HYPPO HNGYHNGY
A letter from Judas the hired rogue written by Hyppo HngyHngy
Dear Arthur, the winds have not been kind taking my body far from yours,
I hope this letter finds you in good times of splendor. I have much to tell you that cannot be divulged in ink.
’Til we raise glasses once again, you’ll find this bit nice to chew on, and perhaps you’d be able to shed some light on my experience.
I’ve picked up a few more tricks in the field of magic since we last spoke. Nothing as bright as mage fire or as blessed as cleric sutures, but I have touched a line. The currents of magic that flow just outside this dimension occasionally poking through spawning new growths. What the mage’s academy hasn’t sealed in wards, the Fae have cursed, the Necros have rotted, and the dragons have sentineled.
South of Wayfair, north of Dirgebottom, I was on my typical contract work paired with an ex-communed mage at the holders’ request. Ex-mages are barred from using any magic powerful enough to draw the Academy’s attention, and this fellow was having a hard time adjusting to drawing power from inside himself and the wind alone. He asked to bond and draw from my force as well as his own to speed the powering of his various trinkets. Gold up front and four days rest seemed like a better trade than two weeks down.
The bond lasted longer than he let on about, or he was deliberately keeping me tethered. Either being the case had no effect on the outcome. With our hands on the target we became trapped: a hulking beast in the doorframe and a cluster flood of spiders pouring in from behind the beast, blocking out the light from the lamps. I was a trifle worried; my blades are sharp, but two points verse twelve hundred fangs was not ideal. Had there been a window, I’d have taken flight and landed courtesy of your feathers. Had my temporary partner disclosed his arachnophobia, I’d have splurged on using my last drops of misting draught.
Instead, I called for the man to use his flames and char the beast, hoping for light blind so I could strike him in a vital. The Fire sputtered from the ex-mages fingertips . . . little and poorly timed flashes gave the cluster of hairy creeps scaling the walls and carpeting the floor an appearance of inanimance. Yet with each flash they filled the exposed stone between the gaps of light. Reaching into my soul, he pulled enough strength to stretch his flame to the beast. I was light-footing across the backs of his tiny minions when the ex-mage tapped a line.
Waterfall training allowed me to strike the beast’s throat and hold his body up to shield myself from the magic that ex-mage was pulling to fuel his fire. Because of the tap on my soul from the ex-mage, I could feel and sense how destructive his cast was going to be. The spell crispified my shield and charred the carved stone blacker than coal. The cluster of spiders left only a smell of burnt hair.
What I must tell you though is how it felt to have touched a line. It is unlike anything I thought it could be. I heard a drunken master-rank mage say that it was akin to holding lightning in your hand while standing strong against a crashing wave. Even filtered through the distance of the ex-mage’s tether, this description is only fit for half the sensation that the inside of a ley line gives.
Every piece of me felt something different. My nerves felt electricity; my muscles felt the force of the waves; my brain flooded and lost in darkness; my soul almost swept from inside its cage by the wind; my skin burned with the warmth of three suns. And my stomach tightened into a ball wrapped in steel chain trying to keep it all together.
Stranger still, after the spell was cast and the ex-mage dropped the power of the line, was the feeling I kept after we became untethered. When you step from the bathing pond and dry yourself, but a little moisture remains on your skin before your skin and clothes adjust and dry. It felt like that but from inside my soul.
The fellow told me that merely by being exposed to an opened ley line I may have increased my own facilities for magic. Now I have that itch in the back of my mind and a slightly damp feeling inside my soul. Hopefully I’m overthinking this whole experience, but if it’s something I should worry on, I’ve no doubt that you’ll find the solution for me before I have a chance to find myself another problem.
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