A Heritage of Power 4: Jerik's Story 9.99:
Academy Death Mage
by Fur and Fantasy
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file
"It will be nice to have a soft bed again." Connor commented with a stretch upwards as the threesome approached Academy City.
"Oh, yes." Scyress purred with shiver of delight at the idea. "It's been months for me."
"You're in for a treat then," Melinda grinned at the Cat. "From what I've heard, they use a lot more magic to make things comfortable here than they did where you come from. And you'll probably be able to just relax for a few days, once the formalities are taken care of," she chuckled.
"That I am going to look forward to. I can't stand being sedentary for a long time, but right now the break is going to be most welcome." She grinned back.
"I'll bet," Melinda smiled. "You're going to be able to make a fortune in obscure spells, even from what I've seen so far, and that's about the lightest a workload you can get around here. You have your pass token?"
"Yes," Scyress nodded and slipped the small card from her pocket. Her attention was mostly on the small city they were entering and the abundance of magic used for the smallest details. It really was breathtaking.
Small shops here and there, the occasional display of magical skill as one apprentice or another showed off their skills. Artisans along the streets, displaying their skills and wares.
It was a small city, but in a lot of ways it looked like a comfortable blend of upper and middle class neighborhoods from back home. And then, at the center of the city, was a structure so filled with magic that she could almost feel the centuries of magical labor that had gone into it.
Now this was impressive.
"You've been here for a long time." Scyress murmured with a deep breath of the magic rich air.
"That we have," Melinda agreed. "We've had five Elders in my school alone who lived to die of old age, and more who had lengthy careers before something happened to them. The Academy itself is pretty much constantly being expanded and improved upon."
"It shows," she nodded as they approached the main gate to the Academy itself.
They passed through the gate, the blue field admitting each of them without trouble as they passed through one by one. The guards on duty didn't seem particularly interested in the newcomer, letting them through with the assumption she was with Melinda and Connor.
"We'll probably want to try and introduce you to Elder Thanik," Melinda said as they entered. "Elder of the Necromantic school, if he's in town."
"He likes to travel?"
"Research trips," the Collie explained. "At least that's how he explains it. There's a lot of necromantic lore that was lost over the centuries, and it's not always easy to find research subjects locally."
"Your Necromancers, do they animate the dead very often?" Scyress asked warily.
"No," Melinda said firmly, shaking her head. "Not that we know of, at least. But as I understand it, some types of undead undergo changes when they're created that they try to understand."
"Ah," she nodded thoughtfully, her attention mostly on the creation of stone and magic they had entered and just how many of talent were around.
To judge by the number of people in robes and carrying staves - seemingly the common 'uniform' here - it was dozens at least, possibly a couple hundred. That wasn't so different from back home at least. Not many wore armor when they weren't in the field. They approached a tower in the corner nearest the Necropolis, the familiar sense of death-magic in the air.
"Here we are," Melinda said, stepping into the tower. "Connor, are you coming with us?"
"I think I'll meet you back at our rooms, hon," he said, shaking his head.
"All right," Melinda nodded easily, casting a levitation spell. "Scyress, you have a spell that'll let you come up on your own?"
"Yes," she nodded and quickly prepped her own wingless flight spell, casting it without a sound and followed Melinda up.
They flew up the eight flights of stairs, quickly reaching the top level, passing a few other people on the stairs or flying up or down from one level to the next. Melinda touched down, stepping to the side to make room for Scyress before pressing her hand against the door to Elder Thanik's quarters, waiting to see if he was there.
"I'll probably leave you with him, if he's here," she explained to Scyress quietly.
"Not a problem," the Cat nodded in easy acceptance of the Collie's uneasiness about a potent Necromancer.
The door opened a moment later to a tall but lean Wolf on the other side, working over some sort of creature on a long metal slab, looking back over his shoulder at the newcomers, his eyes shining with a light green cast.
"Elder Thanik, this is Scyress, a necromancer from another world who is interested in joining the Academy."
"I can see that," he nodded. "Thank you, Mage. I will handle it from here."
"Yes Sir," Melinda said, bowing politely before turning to leave.
"Come in," Thanik told Scyress easily, turning away from his work and pulling a sheet over the body of whatever the creature was.
She nodded, curious about the experiment going on even as she took his measure of how deeply into reanimating the dead he was.
Not very, she was glad to find. He wasn't completely pure; the taint of the grave was on him, but not beyond what you would expect of any necromancer of his clear power. After all, even she had some taint, even if it was two decades old and very light.
"You have quite the vibrant spirit," Thanik observed. "So tell me; do I meet with your approval?"
"Yes, Elder Thanik." She inclined her head slightly. "What is that?" She motioned to his current project.
"Ah; a little nuisance that was claiming souls outside of Asepholis, to the east," he chuckled, turning back and removing the sheet, revealing a very large, gaunt Wolf, bald and covered in leathery skin. Its ribcage was empty, skin formerly coating the inside, now peeled back by the necromancer's necropsy. "Have you heard of devourers where you come from?"
"Several kinds. What does this one devour?" She opened her magical senses to the creature, pleased to find it permanently dead.
"Souls," he explained. "It drains a victim, and then keeps the soul trapped here," he said, indicating its ribcage. "It then feeds off of them until their soul is destroyed, eradicated entirely as best I can tell. At least one great paladin was denied her reward by this beast, among others," he added softly, the green cast of his eyes fading as his spell wore off. "I've been trying to figure out what it is about the creature that allows it to annihilate a spirit ... and if there's any way to reverse it. Getting much further regarding the former than the latter, sad to say."
"That is something my Order has researched a great deal, and with some success." Scyress said as she regarded the body. "I don't have access to most of that research, but I may be able to help. The first thing we are taught is that all things are energy, and energy can not be destroyed, merely converted and moved."
"I'm familiar with the concept," he nodded. "What is stumping me at this point is figuring out what it converts souls into, and how to retrieve them, if it is possible. However, if you are willing, I would appreciate some assistance on this particular project over the next few weeks. If there's a way to retrieve souls who've been victimized by this beast, it would undo a great deal of pain."
"I will do my best." She nodded easily. "If it is using it to fuel itself, then it is likely returning it to the Source ... where free energy is stored. The real question is what happens to the energy it can't consume. The true soul. It can't be destroyed by something this minor. There might not be much to that part of the soul, but it must be here, somewhere."
"And that is where I sometimes wish I had gone into the priesthood, rather than wizardry," Thanik mused. "Far too skeptical for that to have been practical though. I'm just glad I killed this thing before it had the chance to add Jen to its menu."
"Someone close to you?" She asked almost absently as she stepped up to the body and tapped her crystal staff on the floor. The resulting energy flow shimmered around her as she submerged herself into the world of spirits, and the smallest segment of it.
Thanik watched in keen interest and no small amount of fascination at this foreign magic and it's caster at work. It wasn't long before he could see small moats of simmering energy in the lining of the beast's chest. Each one a miniature jewel glowing with an inner light.
"Most impressive," he murmured. "I will definitely want to inform the Prelate of this; if we can find the remains of the spirits, he may at least know how to send them on to their fates. Thank you. And yes; Jennifer is my Defender and mate. She's off spoiling our grandchildren right now," he smiled softly.
"What is a Prelate?" Scyress asked softly as the energy faded. "Some of those souls are strong enough even now to be revived, but it will take me some time. As a hunter, reviving the soul is not my specialty."
"He is our local priest ... you are a woman of many talents, aren't you?" Thanik asked, realizing that she was likely a priestess of sorts as well. "I suspect that the Prelate will have contacts with people in his order who would be better able to recover the souls you speak of, but they probably won't turn down any help you can give them."
"It is how all of my Order are trained. I am much more skilled at sending souls beyond the gate of death than reviving them." Scyress explained. "It would take me several years to be ready to try on a person like this."
"Well, we're very careful about reviving the dead here," Thanik explained. "Sadly, that's one of the reasons a number of necromancers take the Left Hand path. But we have found that, even when the priests can recover the proper soul, it isn't always the only thing to return. They will try though; it isn't unheard of, just rare."
"I might be able to help there, eventually. Resurrection is a potent spell, and not one I am ready to cast myself, but it has no such problems. Reincarnation is not so potent, and is also safe, but what body the soul will be in isn't nearly as certain. It will be a couple decades before I am ready for such effects, though I know how to perform them."
"We will see what can be done," he nodded. "I'm afraid that divine magic is well beyond my capabilities. I could, in theory, restore those souls to a semblance of life ... but I doubt they would thank me for the effort, to say the least. Nor, I'd wager, would anybody else."
"Likely not." Scyress agreed softly. "They are in stasis now, they will not notice the time it takes them to be sent on or revived most likely."
"Very good," he nodded. "I'll discuss this with Prelate Raphael later then. In the meantime, I believe we have business matters to discuss," he said easily, changing the topic as he covered the body up again, and the sparkling motes of light left within its ribcage. "I understand that you were purchased from a slaver in the Blight, after being hurled into this world by a lich you were fighting?" He asked her, wanting to be sure that the second-hand report he had gotten had been accurate.
"Yes," Scyress nodded. "It was not one of my better months."
"To put it mildly," he chuckled slightly. "Well, technically the Academy owns you. However, we've never been fond of the idea of having our own enslaved. Are you willing to share your magical knowledge and skills with us?"
"Yes." She nodded easily. "Particularly if you are in return. I understand that my penchant for hunting and exterminating undead would also be useful here."
"Quite possibly," Elder Thanik nodded. "I understand we actually had a little ... incident ... while I was away, a lone mage experimenting with animating the dead. It was dealt with, but things like that happen often enough that somebody with skills particularly suited to the work would be quite welcome. And we would certainly be willing to assist you; I imagine you'll need a few basic classes on the local magical languages, if nothing else. Too many tomes and items that use them and have useful information."
"No doubt. Do you have a group that typically does that kind of work for the Academy?"
"Not officially, at least not as an organized group." He said easily. "I do, however, have a network of contacts of my own, and they owe me for helping them with this little problem," he said, nodding back towards the devourer. "The taltos should be willing to consider bringing you into their network in exchange, especially if you can demonstrate your skills for them."
"I do not see a problem with that." Scyress smiled faintly. "After all, it's just asking me to do what I would do anyway."
"Good," he smiled slightly in return. "So, do you have any questions for us?"
"Mostly daily life things right now." She admitted. "What I am expected to pay for, how I earn money, how much independence do I have. Things like that."
"Well, since you're not an apprentice, you have more independence than many," he explained easily. "Please, take a seat," he said, indicating a chair as two of them slid out and he sat down. "To be fair, most of our fully trained mages have virtually no duties here unless they choose to stay on, teaching or providing services.
"You would be expected to pay for any supplies you might use, but we have excellent discounts for our members. Paper, ink, quills, bookbinding ... we actually sell magical items at the cost of creation, unless it's a special order. Room and board is free, as a benefit of membership, unless you establish a home outside Academy grounds. If you did, of course, you'd have to cover the costs yourself.
"As for how you earn money around here, the first is a small weekly stipend. However, unless you are one of our apprentices, it's not likely to keep you in particularly comfortable style. Fortunately, you can create and sell magical items, or provide spellcrafting services, and keep most of the funds yourself. If you sell them through the Academy, we do request a portion of the proceeds, for upkeep and our trouble. Finally, up front, you'll be able to earn a fair amount simply teaching your spells to various interested mages. It's easier for them than studying it themselves, and much faster."
"Are there bounties for hunting undead," she nodded towards the devourer, "or similar work?"
"On a case by case basis," he nodded. "The local villages will often put a bounty up. Sometimes we'll put in special requests for specimens, or bounties on a particularly vicious monster of some sort. Best of all, whoever defeats the beast typically has claim to its hoard, if any. That's standard for undead, dragons ... basically any sort of monster or outlaw. Most mages I know make a good living hunting down fairly powerful creatures and keeping its possessions."
"I can definitely believe that." Scyress nodded, her mind going back over just how much she'd turned over to the Order over the years she'd been hunting. Sure, she'd kept the most personally useful items, but 98% of it went back to the Order. Of course, they also supplied her with everything she asked for and more, and kept her in a good life when there. "Do you keep a list of known locations where undead are common?"
"And the known abilities and last known whereabouts of our rogues," Thanik nodded. "About once a year I try to track down and eliminate at least one blemish on my school's record," he said darkly, looking over at a thick book on a shelf with a number of items on it that Scyress recognized as the disenchanted phylacteries of liches. "That's one list I'm more than willing to share out with people I can be sure won't misuse it."
"There are that many?" She said sympathetically. "That is the kind of hunt I relish. Taking out a bad necromancer is an effective end to a lot of undead."
"Not all active these days," he said with some satisfaction. "But over time, many entries have had to be made ... some more than once. Unfortunately, ours seems to be a discipline that calls to the darker souls, as I'm sure you know. Information on their locations is available in the library though, and if it isn't usually in one of our private collections. How accurate it is is less certain, but it's usually a good place to start."
"That is all such records are for," she nodded seriously. "If they were completely accurate to the moment, these problems would be wiped out quickly. Not even a mage of your power could survive a concerted effort by a prepared group ready for you. What would you suggest as a good hunt to get used to things here? Something fairly easy, just as a nice workout."
"Interested in taking on one of the things I hope is rather unique to our world?" Thanik asked, raising an aged eyebrow slightly and standing to go over to the bookshelf, taking down a smaller book. "There is a small cabal of Blight mages I have recently become aware of. They have some unique abilities related to manipulating the energy that created the wasteland you arrived in."
"Not what I would usually consider an easy assignment, but I'm game." Scyress grinned, her sharp fangs glittering in the light. "What do you have on them?"
"It's a small cabal, according to our intelligence, and they haven't even truly mastered animating the dead yet," Thanik chuckled. "I have currently known location, number of members, and information regarding several traps they've set. It's ... very accurate information, let's just leave it at that. If you would like some assistance, I'm sure we could find some volunteers."
"I wouldn't object to it," she smiled grimly. "And it sounds like a good warm-up."
"I hope it will be," he smiled back, handing her the book he had chosen. "I will be eager to hear that they are disposed of. They won't all be necromancers, but people tend not to separate us from Blight mages. Be careful when you go after them; do you have any healing skills?"
"Some, yes." She nodded. "I have been the ranking hunter on most assignments for several years now. Mortal wounds I can't help with, injuries I can."
"You'll probably be required to use those skills here, and I would recommend taking another healer with you just in case. Blight magic causes wounds that won't heal naturally and resists magical healing. I find it doubtful that you'll be able to escape without any injuries to any member of your party, so it would be best to be prepared."
"Agreed. Who would you recommend for the party?"
"Let me check my notes," Thanik chuckled, standing and moving over to pull down a list of his contacts to discuss them with Scyress.
Jerik was curious about the cryptic message from Melinda that called him to the forges. It wasn't his first trip down there by any means, but it was the first time he'd been called down, and he knew he hadn't made a mess the previous night when he was working with Tomar on his basic skills.
Besides, she wouldn't call him if he was in trouble.
"Hello?" He called out as he entered the sweltering hot building, filled as it usually was with the ringing of hammer on steel and iron, students working on various tools of their trades.
"I wouldn't use that for a plowshare," the Forgemaster, Rurik, shouted at one of the students who had clearly just made a significant mistake. "No, don't just keep hammering at it - get a new ingot and start over, you've practically beaten it to a flat-iron already!"
The Badger grumbled too himself as he walked up towards Jerik, his expression brightening noticeably when he saw the young tom.
Now, he looked like he'd only gnaw on anybody who looked at him the wrong way, instead of biting their head off.
"Come on back, Jerik," he said easily. "Melinda just got back along with that contraption of yours that crashed in the Blight. I have to say it's quite interesting."
"I bet," he chuckled lightly, then sobered quickly. "No one's been hurt by it, have they?"
"No, I thought we should save pressing buttons until somebody who knew what buttons did what was there to help us," the Badger said easily. "If any of the Scavengers who found it were, they didn't say anything about it."
"Good. Several are attached to weapons or effects that can hurt the unwary." Jerik nodded and followed him into a separate room where Melinda and the chair were.
"If anybody had run into those, we would have heard about it, I'm sure," the Collie said easily. "Good to see you again, Jerik; how've you been since getting here?"
"Very well, Melinda." He smiled brightly at her. "I've gotten a few spells down, and Tomar is a great partner."
"Good to hear," she smiled. "I hear you're going to be enchanting your staff soon?"
"In a week or two," he nodded and began a quick inspection of the ejection chair. "The carving and rest is basically done. It's mostly down to preparing for the trip and timing with all our classes."
"Well good luck," she smiled. "Is it in reasonably good shape yet?"
"Quite good shape," he nodded. "The scavengers did some repair work, from the look of it, it's out of fuel and almost out of power. I knew that when I left it. The batteries shouldn't be hard to repair and recharge, but fuel is going to be very tricky."
"So is it going to be particularly useful, or should we start looking at alternate uses for it?" Rurik asked.
"That depends on what you want it to be useful for." Jerik looked at him seriously. "Without a craft to put it in, which would take decades to build from the look of things right now, it won't be useful as a pilot's seat. Most of the gadgets are still intact, so it will go a long ways to developing those technologies."
"What sort of gadgets?" Rurik asked him, considering the options.
Jerik stepped back and considered the ejection chair for a fair length of time. "Propulsion, energy beams, sensors, parachutes, explosives ... if I can power it and get the computer back on line, there are schematics and data for everything needed to build the jet again, starting even below this tech level, without magic." He kind of glared at what was left of his ship. "I wouldn't count on getting all that, but it's possible with time."
"So it's mostly a matter of letting you work on it during your free time, rather than tinkering with it myself," Rurik decided. "Well, if you can't get it working, let me know. I might have some use for the materials."
"Mostly, though if you have questions, I can probably answer them." Jerik nodded. "I do know how it all works."
"Probably not until you've got it a little more functional," Rurik said easily. "I've got enough work here with the armor for the Mayor of Kanyi," the Badger chuckled. "I would like to know when you do have it close to working though."
"No problem." He agreed. "I'll see what I can do with it."
"I'll have Tomar take it back up to your room after his next lessons then," Rurik said easily. "Thanks to both of you."
A Heritage of Power 4: Jerik's Story 9.99: Academy Death Mage
23 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written January 19, 2006 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann
Setting: Herath, Star Wars (Furry)
Primary Races: Canine, Feline, Kat, Wolf
Contents: Furry. Gen.
Blurb: Melinda, Connor and Scyress arrive at the Academy with Jerik's chair.
Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.
Page Hit Count from July 8, 2007