The Traveller

Copyright© 2010 by Wandering Lanes

There is a plain room, the floor is composed of earth and compacted mud, although the room is square there is a large circle in the floor, with a matching dome above the circle. Three people enter the room, a man and two women. The man is Arch-mage Twine'n his daughters Sar'ha (Twenty cycles old) and Sop'ha (Eighteen cycles) follow behind him.

They are here to practise the lore in attack and defence, both women are experts in this but there is always more to learn, this is what Twine'n has been doing.

The women take their positions in the circle, facing each other and preparing themselves. Twine'n stands on one side, also preparing himself to cast protection spells should they be needed.

After a few minutes Twine'n speaks.

"Are you ready Sar'ha?"

"Yes Master Twine'n."

"Ready Sop'ha?"

"Yes daddy ... I mean Master Twine'n." Sop'ha drops her head as she makes the mistake hearing her sister laugh on the other side of the circle.

Arch-mage Twine'n regards his two daughters, both learning the art of the Lore and competent at their levels but this was part of their training. It was more difficult for them being his daughters, they were supposed to excel at this art and for all her learning Sar'ha was still behind her younger sibling Sop'ha, but she still wanted to prove herself to him.

Sop'ha, he also believed, had been sneaking around in his study, as he'd found some of his scrolls misfiled and the aura was that of Sop'ha. He would have to have a few words with her. Some of the scrolls were of ancient lore that nobody really knew their effects. Twine'n brought his mind back to the task in hand. "Begin." He said clapping his hands

Sar'ha uttered a phrase and a sword was in her hand, its blade was dull as she didn't want to hurt her sister.

"That again sister? I grow tired of the same old routine, what about this -" Sop'ha gave a yawn before she also muttered a phrase and waved her hand, Sar'ha felt the blade get heavy before it dropped to the ground.

Sar'ha smiled and gave a gesture which sent a blast of wind to her sister, picking up the grit and sand in the room to batter against her. But Sop'ha made a gesture of her own and the debris cleaved away from her as if it was snow against a snowplough.

Sop'ha waited for a moment and then gave a gesture upwards before bringing her hand down, this was a higher level spell and Twine'n almost stopped the attack but then watched as Sar'ha brought her hands together and then wide apart creating a shield against the spell. Twine'n nodded in satisfaction. Sop'ha stamped her foot as she saw this spell fail.

Sar'ha closed in onto her sister and then swept a foot around to take Sop'ha's feet from under her; another muttered word and Sop'ha found that she was tied to the ground. Sop'ha smiled as she also uttered a command and then she was off the ground and back on her feet.

"Sorry Sar'ha, but I don't stay down for long." Sop'ha said and did a cartwheel while she concentrated on the new scroll she found in her father's study, what were the words? She couldn't remember them properly but thought they were...

"Sop'ha. Stop!" Twine'n said but it was too late the spell that Sop'ha had spoken already took its toll on Sar'ha who stiffened and fell to the ground as if she was dead.

"Sister! Sister, speak to me." Sop'ha was crying out as she ran up and cradled her sister's head

Twine'n ran to the pair sending out a call for a healer as he did so, he took in Sop'ha's face and realised that she hadn't meant to hurt her sister, but the spell wasn't one that he taught her and didn't sound right when she spoke it

The healer came into the room and, taking in the fallen figure on the floor, began muttering words to restore and heal, he repeated the words as nothing happened then looked at Twine'n in shock. "That should have worked, what spell was used here?" He asked.

Twine'n shook his head, "I don't know Sop'ha cast the spell and then Sar'ha just collapsed. Is there anything you can do Cor'n?" he asked but knew from the expression on the healer's face that this was beyond him.

Cor'n placed his hand over the body of Sar'ha and frowned, "This is strange ... the body is healed ... but the substance that is Sar'ha is missing, as if she had been driven from her body." He said

"I didn't mean it, father please believe me. I thought the spell was just to contain the body ... only I didn't say it right." Sop'ha was distraught over the harm she had done her sister and tried to appeal to her father.

Twine'n nodded. "I believe you daughter, but you shouldn't try spells when you're not sure about them, you never know what the effects are. But for now I have to study what you were trying and see where you went wrong. There may be some clue as to how to reverse the effects. Cor'n is there any risk to Sar'ha in this state?"

Cor'n scratched his chin in thought, "It is possible that with such an empty vessel anything could enter and take over. She will need protecting and watching closely."

"I'll do that. I have to do something to help her." Sop'ha said tears in her eyes.

"Well then do so daughter, I'll just..." Twine'n raised his hand and intoned a spell; Sar'ha's body was enclosed in a glowing cocoon. "There, now her body will remain in this state until her soul returns to her when it will pass the protection and enter her, nothing else will be able to enter the body." Twine'n said.

Sop'ha looked up at her father, her view of him blurred by her tears. "But how will she know where she is?" She asked.

Twine'n shook his head, "You will need to act as a beacon for her soul daughter, think about Sar'ha, how she moved and how you feel for her, send it out into the void so that Sar'ha will feel it and respond."

Sop'ha listened to his words and concentrated, her love for her sister was all that mattered now, if only she would hear her and return ... then Sop'ha faltered and she looked at her father. "What happens if she doesn't return?" She asked.

Twine'n face dropped as he was asked the question, if Sar'ha's soul didn't find a home soon it would dissipate and be lost ... forever.

She was somewhere ... but nowhere. She tried to reach out with her hands, but found that she didn't have any, she would have screamed but she had no voice to sound and nothing to sound it in.

There was a feeling that she had to be somewhere, very soon or she knew that she wouldn't survive ... survive that was what she had to do, but it was getting very difficult to think.

How long had she been like this, minutes, hours, cycles? So difficult to think.

A pull ... she felt a pull on her soul ... something was calling to her ... somewhere she had to be ... somewhere that was getting nearer, she concentrated on that source and drove herself towards it ... towards it ... towards it.

Chris Beaker woke up from his dream; he rubbed his eyes and thought 'What the hell was that all about?'

The source of this story is Finestories

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