It was getting quite chilly in Ascalon, it was normal since winter was getting closer, however I never did get used to the cold. I enjoyed the heat far too much. Despite the unpleasant weather, I took time out of my schedule to find an isolated place where I could practice a few spells from my new spell book. I had already read the book several times at this point, however putting all the spells into practice was a completely different thing. And there was one particular spell that I wanted to learn.
“Deathshroud!” I roared into the sky, yet nothing happened. I glanced back at the book sitting by my side as if I blamed it for my failure.
“Okay,” I thought out loud. “Review the steps. Focus on the permanence of death,” I outstretched both of my arms in front of me and began to focus my energies. Holding my palms open I began to feel a surge of magic travel through them. “Visualize the boundary between life and oblivion, visualize the bonds that keep me from the void and… travel half way. DEATHSHROUD!”
The book described that the deathshroud was supposed to look like a cloak of pure darkness, enveloping me and making me seem like an entity of shadow. Instead what came out was a minuscule column of smoke that escaped the very tip of my middle finger, as if someone had extinguished a candlelight. I sighed in frustration as I closed the book. I focused my efforts on calming down as I ran my hands through my hair.
“Is that death cloak thingy supposed to look like a tiny smoke signal?” The sudden voice made me jump and I immediately turned around and drew out my dagger.
“G-Garfas?!” I saw the white charr standing not too far by the side of the lake I had wandered off to. Most people didn’t travel out here because of the drakes, but I knew that they did not attack unless provoked. “How did you find me?”
“Followed you,” shrugged the charr.
“You should really stop shouting, cub.” Garfas pointed to the lake with his thumb. “You’ll rile up the drakes.”
I gave Garfas a look of displeasure as I felt my face flush. The embarrassment of being followed around and not knowing it was unsettling. That and Garfas was stalking me, I did not know if I should feel ashamed at myself for not noticing right away, or concerned because who knows how many times Garfas had followed me in the past.
“Again with the cub nonsense” I mused as my mood did not improve. “Why did you follow me? Is there something you need?” Garfas replied with a blank stare, then he began to gawk at the sky wistfully.
“I guess I was just bored,” he said sheepishly. “So I wanted to see what you were up to.”
“Wha-? That’s it?” I asked. Garfas nodded in response. “Well if you wanted to accompany me, all you had to do was ask. Seriously, leave stalking to the Ash Legion.”
“I’ll keep that in mind next time,” smiled the charr. “Is this where you go to practice your spells?”
I sighed as walked over to my spell book. Propping it back open, I returned to the section I previously was studying from.
“Pretty much,” I said as I scrolled through the material. “Though lately I’ve been better at making botched attempts rather than actual spells.” Garfas tilted his head as he looked at me curiously.
“But I’ve seen you use magic tons of times!” He said. “I like that one where you make pictures on the floor and they explode when someone steps on them.”
“Those are marks,” I corrected as I walked over to his side. “And I have no problems with spells I’ve already mastered; it’s these new ones in the book you got me. They’re just… a completely different way of thinking.”
Garfas seemed perplexed, of course that was expected from him. As clever as he is, some topic just completely went over his head, mostly things that relate to magic.
“But you’re Anavari,” He said. “All you do is think, if you had your own warband it would probably be called the Think Warband.” I couldn’t help but release a chuckle from his joke.
“It isn’t always so simple,” I said. “I need to come up with a new perspective for this. And for someone like me, it is not so easy.”
“Well you are very stubborn,” mused Garfas, which earned him a playful jab on the shoulder. “So, what do you think about when you normally cast spells? Since it’s not working and all.”
I shrugged as I began to scan through the pages of the book.
“Mostly the basic theory of the spell, how it works and such. Even though it is an intellectual endeavor, it still requires a bit of emotion, at least for me.”
“What do you think about?” asked the white charr.
“…I focus on the enemy,” I said. “I mostly just look for an emotion that’s strong enough, like a memory. Like the anger I would feel when I was being bullied.” I froze once I remembered that the one who bullied me was standing by my side. “O-of course I rarely ever resort to that!” I stammered.
“It’s fine,” dismissed Garfas with a chuckle. “It’s normal for that to make you angry. Besides, you said that you sometimes need a strong emotion. If that’s the only one then it can’t be helped.” I could tell his enthusiasm was forced, it was not like we could both do anything at this point about it. I was certain that I had gotten over our past differences, but whenever they would come up in conversation things always became awkward.
“Cub, you do know I’m sorry about all that right?” asked Garfas.
“You keep reminding me every time I let it slip,” I smiled at the white charr. “Well, like I said. I just need a new perspective on things that’s all. Maybe then I’ll be able to cast more than two spells in this book.”
Garfas placed a claw on his chin, then he snapped his fingers as I could practically hear the inspiration light up in his head.
“Cub, what motivates you?” The question caught me off guard, I truly did not know how to respond, mainly because I had not considered such a thing until now. All my life I had simply continued on the path that was before me. Never stopping to question it, simply complying and occasionally straying a bit to follow a few of my minor interests. Magic was what always made me stand out a bit, which normally went against my habit of blending in. It was what interested me however, but I never had the ambition to do anything with it. It was simple… curiosity, I suppose. That and the talent came naturally, but magic aside, there was nothing more that pushed me towards anywhere or anything. Just the average individual, flowing with the crowd.
“I don’t know,” I said after a giving my answer some thought.
“You gotta have something,” said Garfas. “Something worth fighting for. Something to give you purpose and all that!”
“I…” My eyes widened in realization. “I don’t.” Garfas and I were staring at each other for a long while, neither of us saying a word. It appeared that he was not sure how to respond, I did not blame him, neither did I.
“Anavari!” I heard a voice echo through the road, both Garfas and I rounded towards the source and found Thoc perched over a hill looking down at us. “There you two are, I’ve been looking all over for you!” Garfas and I were both snapped out of our moment, thankful for the interruption, I focused my attention on Thoc.
“What is the matter, Thoc?” I asked crossing my arms. The brown charr looked fatigued, apparently he had been searching for us in a hurry.
“We have a mission,” he said holding out a sheet of paper. “Legionnaire Itan wanted to give the orders to Garfas, but since neither of you weres around, he gave them to me. There are several areas we need to scout, supposed Flame Legion sightings. I arranged things so that the three of us would search the same area together.”
Garfas walked up to Thoc and held out his hand, Thoc instinctively knew that he wanted to see the orders so he quickly hand the sheet of paper over. The white charr’s eyes began to dart around the paper as he read the instructions from Itan.
“So he’s splitting the warband up to cover the areas faster?” asked Garfas. Thoc nodded in response. “Alright, then let’s get to it!” Garfas puffed out his chest as the excitement for a possible battle swelled inside him. With that the three of us went further off into the plains, searching for our mission objective.
An hour later, the three of us had arrived to Temperus Point, a small outpost just off the road by the Old Duke’s Estate. I found the location odd, this area belonged to the Blood Legion as far as I was concerned. they were more than qualified to investigate the sightings on their own.In fact, I figured they would be more than willing to fight flame legion.
“Any of you see anything?” I asked as I looked over to the plains from the top of the lookout post from where we stood.
“Nothing at the moment,” said Thoc as he looked through his binoculars. ”I’m starting to wonder if people actually did see the flame legion.”
“The information couldn’t have been wrong.” Said Garfas. “Maybe they’re keeping to the shadows… damn Gold Legion scum.”
I disliked missions like this, most of the time we would be led into a dead end only to find that the Flame Legion was somewhere completely different. Blasted legions couldn’t fix their own issues, or spare the reinforcements to help a group of three possibly battling a whole squad of Flame Legion. Not that there was going to be a squad, I already knew how this was going to end. Nothing will happen, the group will stand around all day and stay bored, and then Itan will bite our heads off once we get back. I released a disgruntled sigh.
“I think I will go examine the perimeter,” I said as I started towards the stairs down.
“I’ll join you,” said Garfas. I stopped and turned at the charr.
“Um…” I said with uncertainty. “I mean no offense, Garfas. But, I would rather do this one alone, at least right now.” I didn’t like the reaction that was on his face, surprised but I could see that it stabbed into him. Not wanting to see his face I turned around and continued my path.
Of course I had no intention of actually searching around; I just needed a moment to myself. Mulling over everything that happened today, I simply found a spot to sit down by the walls of the outpost and relaxed. I did not even travel very far, I was right below where I previously was standing. Neither Thoc nor Garfas knew of course.
“Garfas,” I heard Thoc’s voice from above, my ears perked up as I focused on what he was saying. “Anavari seems out of it today, did you say something to him?” There was a brief pause before I heard an answer.
“I think I did…” said Garfas solemnly. “One minute he was talking about magic and the next we were talking about reasons for fighting and all that nonsense.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know!” Urged Garfas. “A goal or something that motivates you and that stuff. I asked him if he had anything like that.” I seemed that I was not the only one that was thinking about my purpose.
After another pause I heard a drawn out “Ohhhhhh,” of understanding. “That makes sense.”
“It does?” Asked Garfas bewildered.
“Well you probably know Anavari as well as I do by now,” replied Thoc. “The guy doesn’t really stray away from the group. He may not like what people are telling him to do but he does it anyway. That’s how he’s been his whole life, he doesn’t go off the norm so much because he doesn’t like attracting attention to himself. He says being too different causes problems.”
“I guess him thinking that is my fault,” sighed Garfas.
“Yeah, probably.” I heard a loud “thunk!” sound followed by, “OW! I was joking!” I restrained a laugh as I continued listening.
“But anyway,” continued Thoc. “Anavari has his magic, but he doesn’t want to become one of those all-powerful necromancers or something like that. I bet he’s never thought about his purpose until you brought it up. Looks like there’s nothing we can do about it though, he needs to think of these kinds of things for himself.”
“…Doesn’t mean we can’t help him though.” Said Garfas.
“You sound a little bit more than eager to help him,” chuckled the brown charr.
“So what if I am?” Said Garfas defensively.
“You don’t have to get defensive—”
“Which I’m not!”
“…I was just stating an observation.” I simply heard Garfas grumble something in response. Admittedly listening to them did provide some comfort, at the very least a bit of insight. I stood back up and started making my way back to the group, it was about time I met up with them again.
When I was approaching the entrance back into the outpost I suddenly heard something in the distance. Expecting to find an animal or something similar, I turned around and gazed onto the distance. There was nothing, suddenly I heard another sound, it was footsteps… then felt something prod at my back.
“Don’t move,” I heard a voice snarl at me.
Edited by Jalinar