Meanwhile, Back in Renvin…

“Ouch! Can’t this go any faster?” Elycia winced as her skin was pierced by a small needle over and over in quick, sharp jabs.

“Hold still!” The Alchemist scolded her. “Faster? Certainly. If you don’t want it done right. I suppose quality in this regard isn’t important to you?” The Alchemist never looked away from his task as he responded to her. He maneuvered the demon bone needle deftly to stitch the ward pattern into the skin of her head, behind her left ear. “Not many people ask for something like this nowadays,” he said casually to her. “Even fewer people have this request granted. Hold still! If this is too painful to you I can stop at any time and you can be on your way.” He kept slowly working as he talked, occasionally reminding her to stop moving. In and out, back and forth. The ward pattern was slowly coming together.

“No, it’s fine. It’s fine. Fine.” Elycia grumbled back at him. The only response the Alchemist gave this time was a quick tug to pull some of the stitches together as he continued his work. He was right that she was lucky he agreed to do this. The fact that he was her great-uncle probably helped. “Why couldn’t ‘Ria have been the one to have to sit through this?” She muttered to herself. She knew the answer to that of course – this was Elycia’s magic which was being made permanent, not Saria’s. Plus, Saria wasn’t sure yet if she even wanted them to do this. Technically they were still ‘discussing’ this. Back and forth in their journals, day after day. In her almost century of life she hadn’t done as much writing as she’s done in the last year with her needlessly wordy sister! A quiet sound snapped her out of her thoughts.

Athmas had finished his work and was now reciting the power words to activate the ward. “Xy-Lictalon yin Ariel-Rapere-kyn yin Agu yin Netosa.” As he finished the phrases she felt the magic surge through the stiched pattern and wrest control of her active fire element spell from her. It was an odd feeling – the spell was still there but no longer tied to her will. The ward briefly glowed in magical power as it accepted this magic then faded. Elycia could feel a dull, silent thrum of power coming from it. “Well, that’s that,” her great-uncle declared. “You can get up and get on your way now.”

Elycia hopped down from the table. She reached up to feel the ward behind her ear. The stitches were raised and felt foreign. The whole area was tender. “Careful,” Athmas said to her. “That’s still fresh. It’ll take some time to set into your body and become truly permanent. If you tear it or pull it out the magic will end and I won’t fix it.” His wry smile at the end cut through the stubborn act and he quickly turned away from her. He loved his grand-nieces and secretly wished there was more he could do for them. They had gone through a lot in this past year, and life wasn’t getting any easier for either of them.

“I’ll be careful. You don’t have to worry about me,” Elycia announced in response. She stopped touching it and let her hair fall back down over it. “We really appreciate this Uncle Athmas. Thank-you.” She walked over and hugged him from behind.

“Stop that,” he grumbled at her. After one last quick squeeze she let go. “Now get out of here. And don’t go telling anyone I did that for you. The last thing I want is two-bit adventurers hearing about this and crowding my shop, begging for one or more of their own. Or worse…” he paused for dramatic effect. “Indestructible paper armor.” He shuddered visibly at the thought. “Have I ever told you about…” Elycia quickly decided it was time to go – she didn’t need to hear that story again.

“AllrightwellthankyouagainUncleAthmasbye!” She said quickly as she ducked out of the back room and practically ran out of the shop itself. Athams chuckled. He figured that would finally get her to leave. “Good luck you two,” he whispered after her.

Note: This event happened an unspecified amount of time ago in Renvin, during the second year of the Kingdom of Koris Gwaisol.

Image Credits:
Palladium Books


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