I MIGHT CONSIDER STARTING A HOSPITAL
I asked uncle Sneg if I could take a visit back home and take the old spell book there.
He agreed since we still have a day before the battle for Velarone and it is better to be more prepared.
I used a teleportation spell to save time and it is more efficient—unlike teleportation scrolls that needs you to link it to a location first, teleportation spell can be used as long as the place you are teleporting doesn’t have anti-teleportation wards and you can envision the place clearly, which makes it easier if you already been to that place.
I appeared inside my bedroom. I opened the door and remembered that I have been gone for days, I should prepare a memory manipulation spell.
I went down the stairs to find my family. I met all of them in the dining room and they all looked shocked, without a moment’s hesitation I cast the spell on them.
“Oh, Alvin dinner is ready. Make sure to wash your hands before you eat.” Mom reminded me.
The spell seems to be working, though I also need to cast the spell on those they have reported my disappearance. I nodded and washed my hands.
I decided to at least spend some time with my family, since it might be the last time I could spend time with them. The thought of being away from them makes me sad, but I have to do something about the Archdruid, I can’t just let him bring the monsters of Svartalfheim here.
I sat down and started to dig in. The smell of roast beef calmed my nerves. It has been a long time since I ate food cooked by mom—the food in the rebel headquarters taste like a wet sock compared to this kind of delicacy.
I headed down the basement to get my spell book. I also saw the Velaronian language book that I used to translate the old tome—the fun thing is, the deadline in returning the books is the same date as the battle, exactly a day from now.
I decided to take it, I might have the chance to return it if we succeeded in saving Velarone and its citizens.
I teleported back to the rebel base and headed to my room. Aeronwen is sleeping with her family tonight which means I have the whole room to myself.
I started scanning the whole book trying to find a cure for the poison first, since we’re going to need the soldiers in the upcoming battle. I found some records about some poisons using ancient dark magic. This kind of magic is forbidden among the two races of the original elves—the Ljosalfar or light elves, and the Dokkalfar or dark elves.
There are only few chapters talking about ancient dark magic, which is both good and bad—good because less lessons means less reading and bad because less lessons means less information. I decided to think positive.
I browsed the book for hours until I found an interesting passage in the book. It was written by the same one who wrote how to cast a simplified and weaker version of the Catharsis spell—though that simplified version is still too much for me to understand, that’s why I skipped reading it back then—the author of the chapter was an expert in creating spells inspired by the Catharsis and usually used those spells as cure to filthy curses and other impurities. It looks like I have to learn this spell after all.
I decided to start practicing the simplified Catharsis spell—which was called “purify” by the author—but I couldn’t practice it without something to cast the spell on.
I asked uncle Sneg if he has some impure things that I could practice with and explained why, he understood what I meant.
“We have to gather as much soldiers as we can, even with the reinforcements.” I tried to convince him.
“But that would consume most of your energy which you are supposed to use during the battle.”
“I don’t actually think that I can be useful in the battlefield, or even participate in it because I am planning to face Archdruid Triandal myself,” I explained, “that’s why I need to learn Catharsis—or just its simplified form.”
“So you have already decided to learn your true weapon.” He nods in approval, “very well, follow me.”
He pressed runic buttons on the wall and as usual, the wall starts to move, revealing a hidden staircase. We climbed down the stairs and surprisingly, it wasn’t as long as the others.
We walked inside a room filled with skulls and dead animals. So this is what uncle Sneg really is, Snegbried Vludthorne, master of the dark arts and soul magic, high priest of the Grimthorne tribe. I thought, with fear and a bit of amazement.
A large circle of runes and sigils made of blood and decorated with skulls lies on the ground in front of us—possibly a magic circle for summoning creatures and protection wards from those he has summoned. But what exactly is he summoning?. A large table with bones of different creatures and vials of strange liquids stood in front of the ritual site.
“This is where I practice my talents.” He grinned, “The others might start feeling a bit of fear and distrust if I reveal this to them, so I just selected people whom I can trust to show this to, which I can tell you is very few, and you are one of those few people.”
He took a large vase decorated with strange and weirdly terrifying images, “So I'm counting on you to keep this a secret between us.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.” I assured him.
Uncle Sneg took the lid off the vase. The images started to move as if the people and things in it are alive. He took some small skulls from it. The skulls are the size of rat skulls, some are as big as the head of a dog, and they are pale yellow in color. I felt some kind of filthy magic inside the skulls.
“I thought that it would be better if you start practicing on inanimate objects than on living beings,” he gave me a skull, “these are skulls are of imps. Small and mischievous demons, they are mostly turned into familiars by witches and warlocks.”
He gestured for me to start casting, “If you can successfully purify that thing, we can move to a living imp.”
“Wait, you have a living imp inside?” I asked him, becoming more nervous and terrified.
“I do, but I mostly used them for dissection,” he pointed to the giant magic circle, “summoning a fresh one is better though, it still has the energy of the abyss.”
“But didn’t the poison come from Svartalfheim? Why are we testing it on an abyssal spawn?”
“The Svartalfar are products of the Abyss. I do not know the whole story, but I do know that the Abyss is involved in their creation according to the books in Svartalfheim itself. In fact, Svartalfheim is considered the secondary Abyss.”
“That makes sense.” I started to cast the spell on the skull, nothing happened. I took the spell book out and read the instructions. I studied the correct way of performing the spell. I focused harder and the skull exploded, turning into dust.
“I never thought that the simplified version of this spell is that powerful.” I joked.
“Indeed, and the original one must be far more dangerous,” he stroked his beard, “I never thought that you will use them to heal somebody, by the looks of it, it might actually do the opposite.”
“But it’s our only choice right?”
“Indeed,” he took a book from the nearby shelf, “your youthful energy inspired me to practice as well. I might need to review some spells that I might have forgotten.”
He sat down near the table and drew some runes on it. He started casting spells that are too amazing to not look upon, but he scolded me and told me to start practicing again.
I finally succeeded in purifying an imp skull—after destroying a whole bunch of them. I tried again just to be sure then it exploded. It took me a lot of tries before I finally mastered it.
“That’s nice lad,” uncle Sneg stood up from his seat, “now you need to purify a living demon.”
The word demon sent shivers up my spine. Can’t he at least make things a lot less terrifying? I thought.
“Wait, I read something about the ascension, the process in which they use Catharsis to turn themselves into pure light elves,” I explained to him, “can’t I just use this simplified spell to turn myself into one? That might help me to learn and master spells a lot faster.”
“Yes, I heard about that particular process. I remember Thomas—your grandfather told me that once.”
“So is it possible?” I asked him, uncertain about his reply.
“I believe it is not that simple,” he shook his head, “purifying yourself using the simplified version might just burn your soul—even if you succeed it won’t make any difference to your body.”
“Besides you need to absorb the souls of the ones who didn’t survive the process, and I don’t think that you could just go running around casting Catharsis on every creature you met.” He stroked his beard, “That won’t work because the creatures you’re going to absorb should have the blood of the light elves, and as I see it, you are the last of them.”
“So there is no chance that I could become a pure light elf.” I sighed with disappointment.
“Don’t worry,” uncle Sneg starts preparing the summoning ritual, “your grandfather can turn into his light elf form, not the pure form but it is still very powerful. I remember him asking some people—including me—about particular ingredients used to turn a person into his or her true form. I forgot about the ingredients he told me, for that was a very long time ago, but I remember seeing him reading something near the last part of the book. Maybe you can find something there.”
I nodded with a bit of hope. Talking about my grandfather, and since he already trusted me with his secret I thought it is fair that I tell him mine, I told him about my dreams including the betrayal of Archdruid Triandal and Glinda’s death at the dryad’s grove inside the light elven ruins. I also asked him why was my grandfather called ‘Tom'.
“Well, I haven’t really seen him after he escaped to the human world—I heard that his brother died. I guess he changed his name to hide from his persecutors but didn’t bother to change his surname since many people—especially the high elves—used the family name ‘Morgensen’ as their own. They believed that they would become more popular and gain more influence over the people if they used the House name of an ancient superior race of elves.
He finally finished the preparations and started chanting the incantations. The room was filled by the same mysterious and terrifying energy that I felt inside the room of cryogenic pods just hours ago, but this one is more nerve-wracking.
Black fog filled the magic circle, though it does not pass beyond that magic circle like some sort of invisible barrier is preventing it from going outside. When the fog finally dissipated, a small humanoid creature—smaller than a gnome—is standing inside the circle. It made an attempt to attack us, I flinched but it bumped into the invisible barrier instead.
The abomination has two small horns protruding from its forehead, with two asymmetrical eyes—the left one is larger than the other and a bit more yellowish—it is very scrawny and has small sharp claws instead of fingernails. It growled at us, showing its set of sharp and decaying teeth.
Uncle Sneg pat me on the shoulder, “Try not to explode too many of them, the summoning takes a lot more energy than it usually does when I was much younger.”
I tried to, but it is easier said than done. It looked like I was not the only one practicing, uncle Sneg had to summon a bunch of imps before I could master the spell—which took a lot of energy from his body and I can tell that just by looking at him even without my magical sense power.
“You’re ready,” he says, exhausted.
“I hope it works.”
“Of course it will,” he assured me, “it should because it exhausted me, if it doesn’t then I’m going to turn you into a meal for the imps.”
I know that he is just trying to make a joke, but his battle scars and the place surrounding us says the exact opposite. Wait, he didn’t have scars before. Maybe it’s the effect of summoning using soul magic? I felt really bad that I have to make the old troll use a summoning spell that much.
The old troll accompanied me to the room where the cryogenic pods are stored. There is a guard sleeping beside the door he is supposed to be guarding—probably because of the incident with Rupnert. We didn’t. bother to wake him up, at least not yet, uncle Sneg will teach him a lesson later.
I hope uncle Sneg is as merciful as he is powerful—I haven’t really saw him scold his subordinates yet—but by the way Ronald is using his name to stop fights, I can tell that he is a very strict commander.
I already mastered casting the simplified Catharsis spell or as they call it—purify—but only on lesser demonic spawns. I have to be really careful or the soldiers might die of my stupidity instead of the poison.
I opened one of the pods. Luckily, it’s not the dead body of Fiddula, that incident was a very traumatic experience. It is a very unlucky dwarf rebel I don’t recognize, and which life depends on my hands. My heart is pounding really fast with nervousness.
“You need to focus,” uncle Sneg saw me shaking, “or he will die.”
That wasn’t reassuring at all. It made me more nervous. Uncle Sneg touched my shoulder and all my nervousness was gone.
“You made me cast a spell again.” He scowled at me.
“Sorry,” I smiled, which is supposed to be a nervous smile but his spell prevented me from being nervous.
I started speaking the incantations and cast the spell on the sleeping dwarf. The dwarf glowed with pure white energy. After a few moments he started to shake violently and scream in agony.
“Focus child!” Uncle Sneg shouted.
The guard was waken up from his sleep and fell on the ground. He tried to sound the alarm but he noticed uncle Sneg reassuring him that he shouldn’t worry about what’s happening. The guard just stared at me and the dwarf I am purifying
I finally regained my composure and took control of the spell. The poison inside his veins is starting to dissipate from his body. I stopped the spell, the poison already vanished. The dwarf started to breath normally. The guard helped me take the dwarf out of the cryogenic pod.
“Call the medics, and make sure they prepare enough space in the clinic.” Uncle Sneg commanded the guard.
The guard nodded and rushed out of the room. Uncle Sneg turned to me, “Don’t celebrate yet, you still have hundreds more to go.”
That wasn’t very motivating at all, at least not all of the soldiers were poisoned or I might spend the rest of the week healing soldiers. But I need to quicken the pace or these soldiers will be unable to participate in the upcoming battle.
The medical personnel finally arrived after I finished curing forty poisoned people. I used different ways to cast the spells faster—like multiplying myself and using spells that enhances speed and concentration—but those take too much energy so I have to take a break once in a while.
The medics are casting healing spells on their other injuries and started carrying them to the clinic. But the medics aren’t enough and someone informed us that the clinic is already full. Uncle Sneg decided to transfer the patients with less injuries to the lobby and just place some sleeping bags there, it was not a good idea but we have no choice.
Ronald and the other rebels heard of this and also started helping us tend to the patients. Aeronwen walked over to one of my clones with a confused expression on her face.
“What is happening? How did you find a cure?” She asked my clone while looking at the other clones around the very crowded room.
“It’s just some spell I learned while reading,” I talked through my clone, “though I don’t think I can hold this much longer, I might pass out anytime soon.”
“Okay, I’ll go help the others.” She rushed to one of the patients.
I lost track of time but I think I have been curing poison for almost six hours straight. I cured the poison of the last patient. The hours I’ve spent practicing the purify spell and the hours I have spent casting them on people combined took an enormous amount of energy from me, I feel like my soul is leaving my body. Then I realized that the battle is tomorrow and worried that I might not make it into the fight, but at least I cured the soldiers.
My vision got blurry, then I passed out.