The Comet - The price of magic

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The story is set thousands of years before the rise of the first ancient civilizations. Cegea, a vast and great city built by magic welcomes a foreign child who will ultimately bring its destrution

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On a cold morning in a vast ocean of snow the blizzard raged uncontrollably. The sun rose, but it was only by the absence of darkness that one could distinguish night from day, it’s rays never penetrated the clouds. A land devoid of life, devoid of death, simple nothingness. Except for three lost souls struggling through the unrelenting blizzard. All dressed with many layers of clothes, a heavy coat made of wolf’s hide over the rest, but still the cold chipped away at them. Tough they were kept together by a rope which tied them together by the waist, it not being frozen off a miracle in itself. Two of them were broad in shoulders and the other seemed overweight, however one could hardly tell what manner of creature the clothes sheltered. Even though they were close, they could barely see each other, thanks to the rope, they knew that the others were still there, moving forward.

The three companions, however, were pushed ever forward by a fire in their hearts. A burning desire to reach their destination. For now, however, any destination would be satisfactory. Out of the five hundred that set out on the expedition, half of them survived the first day of snow, by the third day only fifty were left, then elven and now three. All the more reason to push onward.

A faint sound was heard in the distance, one word that gave them even more hope, but who could have their mouth uncovered and not freeze instantly in this foul weather? Must've been the wind. Again the sound was heard, now understandable as a word or shout, a name perhaps, “Ymir!”, in a high pitched tone, then silence for a long time. “Might have been the wind after all or the fatigue... but who can tell, after some time your senses start to betray you, do they not? Especially in this cold.” Thought the first one in line, then he was abruptly pulled backwards from the waist with a cry of pain accompanying the rope’s pull. He fell as well in the knee-high snow. He turned and saw the middle one on its knees crying, the third one came and rested his arms on its shoulder, signaling that they were both there to help. The first approached the second to see if it is time, they were using a series of eye signs to communicate since their mouths were covered. He came close to the face which revealed a female’s features, but the cold had already frozen her tears, sealing her eyes closed. She released again a loud cry, the pain on her expression was evidence enough that she could not continue. He looked up at the other man, his purple eyes beginning to tear, nodding as he wiped the tears in fear of the cold. The third one understood and nodded in agreement.

The two men both took off their packs and arranged them under the woman so she would not touch the snow. Then the purple-eyed man pulled dawn the woman’s layers of clothing covering her legs, some were made up of parts from various other trousers, others were loose, few tight, all to keep the cold away. They rested the stack of clothes on her wide-spread legs then the void was filled by her screams of agonizing pain. After some time the screams stopped, only the cries of a child could be heard. The first man, concerned, looked up. The second, who was holding the woman’s head lowered his head, concern turned to horror as he understood that the woman was dead. The second man lunged forward and grabbed hold of the woman’s legs while the other forcedly pulled the baby from its mother. As soon as it was out he used the clothed that covered the woman’s legs to cover the child with only a small hole through which it could breathe while the second one took out an unusually long dagger and used it to cut the cord. But the garments had been exposed to the cold for too long, the child had begun to freeze, his cries stopped altogether. The two looked at each other, both terrified. In a rush the second man began ripping at his clothes in only one spot, for a brief moment his friend grabbed his hand to stop, he patted him on the shoulder and with tears in his eyes nodded, the other lowered his head and took his hand away. As soon as he was past most of the layers he used the dagger to stab himself and moved the dagger to the right. He lay back on top of the woman’s corpse, then the purple-eyed man threw away the frosted garments and quickly put the child inside where his companion had cut himself, his blood and entrails keeping the child worm and the man’s clothes keeping the corpse from freezing too soon. As he heard the child’s cries again he burst into tears, he held it in for far too long and could no longer do so, he clutched the bodies of his wife and brother close and cried."Dead. All of them dead! Why?"

He looked around him only to see the vast whiteness with their pool of blood the only stain. No one in sight, not hope of salvation. He then looked at the cut in his brother’s body, the child still crying. "What’s the use? An hour? A few more maybe till the cold gets to you too? My nephew… you should have been the greatest scholar from all Kanvart, but now… you won’t even learn to speak."

The man resumed his cries. He heard again the sound from before. “Won’t this cold stop howling me?!”, he shouted. Then again, but louder, as if someone was behind him. "Ym…ir? What’s this?" Then he realized the voice wasn't the wind, but someone was with them in the blizzard. He turned and could barely make out a tall figure making its way towards him without any difficulty, as if it was levitating or stepping on the snow without falling in. Then she spoke again. "What are you doing here you fools? The portal was closed for two weeks with good reason… now look at this mess! Who are you and how did you get here?"

The man then took off the cloth covering his mouth and grabbed her clothes tightly shouting up at her for help. The material was surprisingly light at touch, but it must've been thick enough to keep the wearer worm, tough it seemed that one light, blue robe was the only clothing she wore. She studied the man and the scene behind him, her hood never revealed her face.

"You are not from these parts are you? An Explorer maybe?" Se asked.

The man resumed his pleas, alas, the woman could not understand his language. Frustrated, she turned her eyes back to him "Oh stop doing that! You are already dead, hypothermia has settled in for some time, you’re mere moments till death... the physicians are too far for you. The child on the other hand…" She reached out her hand and the child burst up from his father’s wound and stopped at the same height as the woman’s hand, hanging with its head down, as if held by the leg. Still crying as the man looked terrified at it then at the woman. "A crude method… but effective." The woman commented.

She looked down at the man again and with her other hand pointing at the child asked "His name?" The man looked at the child again, then he looked down, with a final push he raised his head whispering “Cronus” then fell in the snow. She then turned her gaze towards the purple-eyed child. "Chronus, then!"

Back at the man. "Guess I was wrong… you had less than that."

Again to the boy "I’ll see to it that you’ll be taken care of, little creature. But first, let’s find Ymir."

The child and the robed woman disappeared only to reappear an instant later at an unknown location with the three bodies nowhere in sight. Then she repeated the act, only this time there was another robed figure in front of her, a man this time. His robe, tough, was different, as if made of ice. Icicles rose from his shoulders and his breath did not make any steam. "Ymir!" She snapped. As the man turned he found himself hit by a boulder half his size witch sent him flying into the snow. "The council sent me to recover your corpse, but then I found out the blizzard didn’t stop on the surface. What are you doing?" She asked.

Ymir rose and with a smirk and a worm voice deflected her question. "Glad to see you too, my love." H paused, then pointing at the child, which the woman made it rotate, much to its entertainment " That yours?"

"No, I found him in a pool of blood which it seems you created." She replied. Ymir was confused. "Me? How?" He lowered his head looking for answers in his mind. "I’ve seen fields of frozen corpses, those were the last of them…. Died just recently." She replied in a cold, remorseless voice. He began some form of protest to defend himself "The portal closed!", but the woman was unmoved "Explorers!" She replied, which completely shocked him. Ymir was always negligent, but it never was something serious, just some minor mischief here and there. Now there were corpses, hundreds of them.

Then, as if it never happened, she resumed her questioning. "Now answer my question, what where you doing?" With his head lowered and a sore voice he finally replied "Casting the Ice Age Spell." She gave him a menacing look then ordered "To the council! Now!" He began mustering a protest, but her stare stopped him cold "Very well." He replied in resignation.

They both teleported away, now they were in a tall marble hall with colored pillars and high windows. The colors continued from the pillars down to the center of the hall where they were joined by a light-blue circle upon which Ymir and his beloved were standing on. Each color represented the natural phenomena studied under the elements school of magic such as the fire or the frost school to which the two mages adhered to. Along the elements, the three branches of the shadow school: demonology, necromancy and entropy, were also represented. There was also the white of the spirit, or soul school, tough it has all but died out due to the lack of both apprentices and masters in the art for nearly a millennia. All united by the arcane’s light-blue circle in the center. Not long after the two had entered the hall, one person for each color arrived, standing on the line which represented their school. The arcane representative stood in front of them, within the circle and was the first to speak in a playful, yet condemning voice "Late as usual, Ymir! Did you spent the night at the brothel and missed the blizzard? And had to bring it back?"

The hall was filled with giggles as the representatives couldn't contain their amusement, not that they were trying to in the first place. Thus, the somewhat tense mage, now Ice Hyme calmed down. Returning the Arcane Hyme’s gesture he answered. "Yes, I did actually..." He paused, then continued with a smirk "Spend the night at the brothel." Again he paused looking at the other mages, some of whom were about to burst into laughter. The woman beside Ymir however wouldn't let loose, another cold glare and the Ice Hyme was looking at the ground in shame. The representatives took their time calming down, but at last the Arcane Hyme, which turned away from the window, came back and with a serious tone began the trial.

"We are gathered here yada yada yada…. To prosecute in the name of the Emperor of Lies and the council of yada yada yada... The criminal…" the other were giggling again. The smirk from before returned and continued "Ice Hyme Ymir and the council agent and witness the Mage Freya bla bla bla… under the supervision of Arcane Hyme Tiamat taca taca taca..." Furiously closing the scroll she snapped "Who writes these things?" She looked around the hall at her colleagues. An answer came from the earth representative who was sitting on a char that simply rose from the floor. "Well, the politicians love their speeches. And the use of that grandiose language that doesn't say anything." Unsatisfied with the explanation, Tiamat raised her voie " Well let’s do something about then! This is ridiculous, I’m the only one who read this joke and I still don’t know what we’re accusing him of!"

The members were already cheery, but all burst into laughter when the fire representative made a joke on the situation and all sense of order vanished with every joke that was said. Even Freya began laughing uncontrollably.

After they had a good laugh, Tiamat wiped her tears and called for order: "That’s quite enough! If we laugh around waiting for Fire Hyme Bes to run out of jokes, we’ll die in here of old age. So let the trial begin!" Almost instantly Bes raised his hand and Tiamat reluctantly gave him permission to speak. On a serious tone came his question "What is he…" Again he burst into laughter along with the entire hall, he barely managed to finish his sentence "… accused of?"

Tiamat rolled her eyes when she began to laugh as well. The she called again for order. Then she turned to Ymir "So we have to have a trial and since they named you criminal we have to punish you... for something, we don’t know what either so don’t bother asking. Thus I will follow the standard procedure. As you are an Ice hyme, the ice school’s representative will decide your punishment.

The ice representative, who was still giggling, instantly became serious and with a note of outrage replied. "What? Why me? He was your apprentice, you think of something!"

Tiamat’s answer was instant, as if she expected that reply. "You’re not getting away from this one! He is an Ice Hyme, he’s your responsibility."

He lowered his head in surrender: "Fine! Just let me think of something."

He turned form left to right repeatedly, rubbing his chin with one hand while the other was rested on his hip. When no idea came to mind, he turned to Freya for help: "I don’t know…. Freya, can you think of something?"

Freya looked around the room searching for some kind of inspiration for a punishment. Then the child, of which she had almost forgotten began crying. The other mages seemed to have only now notice it and they all smiled. With a grin she replied: "I have an idea! He should raise this child I found on the surface."

They were all surprised."On the surface?" Asked one curious councilor. She explained: "Apparently there was an expedition from another land… explorers, five hundred of them. They all died in the blizzard… or rather from Ymir’s attempt at casting the Ice Age spell. This newborn child was the only survivor…. One man was with him along with two other fresh corpses, but he too died of hypothermia."

Tiamat nodded, then she turned to her former apprentice. His answer was quick, almost outraged. "No!" Reconsidering " I mean…" He paused for a minute, the others were waiting for him to continue. "On one condition!" "Which?" Demanded Tiamat. "When the child reaches five years of age, Freya will take him as an apprentice."

"What?" Freya snapped and marked the return of her cold stare. She was moments away from hitting him when Tiamat intervened, her imposing manure alone demanded her respect and full attention. "Freya? Do you agree?" She tried to muster a protest, but part of her wanted it as she had been thinking of taking in apprentices for quite some time. Ymir knew this so his conditions was nothing but the push she needed to finally make up her mind and begin teaching. "Very well! I will take apprentices in five years and this one will be one of them…" Said the ice mage in a resigning tone.

Then the arcane Hyme conducted the formalities "It is settled then." She turned to Ymir "Ice Hyme Ymir!" He nodded "Your punishment is the raising and caring for the orphaned child the mage Freya found on the surface until it reaches the age of five, when you will send it to study the arcane, element, shadow and spirit arts under the guide of the mage Freya who will take a number of apprentices five years from now, this child being one of them. The number will be in accordance to her abilities as a mentor, but no greater than fifteen. Is this satisfactory for both of you?" They agreed "Yes it is!" Then turning at her colleagues, Tiamat continued with the procedure. "Are there any objections to this sentence from the members of this tribunal?"

Al answered “None” and Tiamat closed the trial and they all teleported away, each with his or her own affairs to deal with. Ymir and Freya stayed behind a little longer. He raised his hand and with a gesture moved the child over on his side, still crying. "Does it have a name?" He asked. "Cronus!" She replied then left as well. Ymir lingered a while longer, staring at the child, analyzing every inch of his body looking for malformations, diseases of any defect that might have occurred. When he found none he breathe deeply and left the hall.

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