Kristopher was tired of walking the strips. Nearing the Mage strip, he noticed the stripe itself was barren, other than the graveyard, alchemist garden and the gazebo that housed the entrance to the ruins that the Mages of Puzzle-Tyric inhabited.  Walking the strip, the only sign of life, was an apprentice, watering the garden, the stream from the watering can, frozen mid-departure. Walking towards the graveyard, he pushed open the gate, feeling unease.

Withdrawing the orb from his satchel, its radiating shine was still as bright as he remembered. Extending it within his hand, it’s light shone over the graves, revealing nothing, until he saw what he thought was his own shadow.. A mass of shade. Illuminating the shade with the gaze of the orb’s light, he heard a voice acknowledge his presence “Hello.”

Kristopher was surprised, but also determined, replying “Hello, do you have a name, spirit?” Immediately, Kristopher was flashed with images of family after family, grieving.. He felt anger and sadness in equal measure, sure he was being showed this. “What is this?”

The shade replied in simplicity “I was once a spirit, but now.. am a Scar.. This is what I have saw. This place is horrible.”

Kristopher inquired “Are you trapped?”

Giggling, it said “No more than you.”

Starring at the shade, he began to hear a low hum from it, which grew in intensity, until the sound began to become a growl, as the shade now adopted an angry tone “Why do you pester me!”

Kristopher responded “I…”

The shade now exclaimed “LEAVE!!!”

Kristopher was startled by the sudden change, turning to the gate, but as he approached it, the gate slammed shut.

Now weeping, the shade exclaimed “Why are you leaving me!?”

Kristopher didn’t understand, saying “What?” He now flashed the orb’s light around the graveyard, first to where the shade was, then all around him, finding nothing. “Hey!” he called out. No response. Trying for several minutes, he had to admit that opening the gate was just not going to happen.. Turning around, he decided to wander the graveyard, unsure of his next move.

Reading various unfamiliar names of people who founded the settlement of Puzzle-Tyric, he felt a pulling of anger, not from the shade, but himself.. This graveyard was home only to mages and outstanding contributors to the cities development.. If he was dead, he was the only dead hunter in this place, the rest, either turned to ceremonial ash or buried on the outskirts of town. Body burnings required payment to a mage and most unsanctioned body burnings were illegal. Even great hunters, did not rest anywhere in Puzzle-Tyric. Leonard.. His partner. Ironic, how he would consider his partner in a place where he would not be buried, potentially dead, in irony, by the hand he trusted most, his own.. He remembered the greed, that fueled the blade he dragged against Leonard’s throat, feeling no remorse, but also seeing no reaction. So easy, to take a life this way.. Power. “Power.. The spell!” He thought, remembering what the mage’s spirit had taught him.

“Spell?” He heard from behind him, turning to see the shade once more.

“Yes, I can help you.. Wait. Spell.. Are you in my head!?”

“I am a Scar.. I see and hear your thoughts, when I wish.. You are no mage, have no knowledge of magic, yet, you know spells? You are a hunter. Hunters do not dabble in magic, yes.. Your kind do not rest here.. Yet, you know spells?”

Kristopher felt strange, like he was in over his head, in this conversation, but, since his arrival in this state of.. Things, he had become accustomed to this feeling. “I only know one.. I don’t know what it will do.”

An alien voice emanated from the shade, “Magic is not for fools” another still, said “He is not even trained” the shade’s familiar voice returned “The orb..”

Kristopher explained “Yes, maybe you can help me. I am no mage, yet, I came across this artifact and..”

Interrupting him, the shade commanded “You killed for it! You did not wield the power to take it without death!”

“Yes, but..” Kristopher began.

The alien voice returned “You are a fool!!, You have no idea of the power you dabble with!” The shade rushed him. Kristopher was taken off guard by it’s speed, as he felt a cold blast of air, finding himself in the air, landing on his back. Orb out of hand, he looked to the shade, to see a hundred faces littering the shades black figure, illuminated by the orb’s radiance.

“What the fuck are you!” Kristopher raged, rising to his feet, “That is mine!!”

“No!, this is ours now!” The shade declared, blasting him back again, as he flipped into the air,  before being slammed back down onto his stomach.

Kristopher heard the gates swing open, as he rose to his feet a second time “I only know one spell, but I will cast it, unless you give me my orb! I command you!”

“You will leave now, without your precious artifact.. You have no business with such power..” The figure stood it’s ground, domineering, unremorseful, its face’s sunken eye sockets across it’s frame, all eyeless, except for the two on it’s face, expressing a show of powerful anger with the two obscured eyes, tinged red, as if something inhuman lurked behind them.

Kristopher looked at the open gates, knowing that leaving without the orb, meant certain doom. Extending his hand towards the shade, he yelled “Fine, have it your way!”

Grimacing, the shade lifted it’s arms, clearly bracing for impact. Kristopher saw the fear, just for a second, cross the shade’s red eyes, before that fear turned back into a remorseless anger.. He knew the shade wanted the orb, just as bad as he did and decided to see his threat through, yelling “Lighost Lagaran!”

The orb reacted in the shade’s hand, releasing a sonic boom of power, as the light expelled itself all around the orb, blowing the shade away from it, as well as Kristopher. He watched the blast even tear the land around them apart, replacing it with a shadowy veil. Green energy shot from the orb now, as he felt the power surge through him.

On his back once more, he sat up to hear a familiar voice “You fool, Hahaha!” Announced the shade “The one who taught you the spell, they tried to trick you!, that is a spirit switch spell.. Now, your vessel will become ours.. You will be a Scar now!!”

Kristopher watched black clouds blow all around him, continually terraforming the environment into some sort of twisted.. Arena, its black gaping surroundings sucking all the surrounding matter into a multitude of shades, until they were all blown to the outside, leaving him and one shade, in the center, left separated from the other shades by a green barrier of energy. A single green flame lit itself, in the center of the circle, as the two were left to stare off at each other. Greeting him, the shade announced “Are you prepared to battle for your vessel?”

“Vessel? Battle?” Kristopher declared, watching the green flame increase in intensity, now illuminating the arena, seeing the orb itself in the middle, clearly the source of the mysterious magic.

 

 

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