Never A Rest

((Lakeside, Warfall))

The sunlight was slowly drawn away into shady cloud, the bugs still zipping across the shallows. Severos rested upon a dead log not a step from the water, watching the critters go. He twiddled his fingers at the water every now and then, chuckling as bugs suddenly scatter from the sight of frogs appearing from thin air. In truth of his mind, they were simple cantrips he figured out quite some time ago.

His gimmick was toy one day, as he remembered, when he was studying in his dorm at the College. A master just happened to be finishing a scolding of another student and the adding of chores when he noticed him. The next afternoon, he was pulled from his Transmutation class early to be presented to Illusion thereafter, turning his toy into a honed flick of the mind.

Aven shook his head, sighing at the thought of the classes so long ago. Though, he had begun to notice the townsfolk glance strangely at him, some with the looks of outright wariness. He knew he was Aelmerian by birth, though many questioned Amanap's legitimacy as owned by the kingdom. The city was a border city straddling the line between Aelmere and Zatar along the Orodrim Wastes, split at the middle with a wide bridge over a deeply dug trench filled with many traps and defenses. And each side, beautiful and sturdy built buildings, paid in wealth of the many trader guilds that, thanks to his father, he knew actually ran the streets.

He sighed again. Oh, how he missed it! It seemed so long ago now, after all he had been through.

The illusions dispelled, concentration lost on them as he once again contemplated the sphinx and his possession of the Mortith. A dark shiver sprung up, despite the humidity. He knew that when the sphinx insisted upon his dominance of the land and brought his anti-magic field up, those wards and dweomers had no power to draw upon. He knew of the dark figure in there, something beyond undeath that had clawed at him when it finally was snatched back to its prison.

It had to be some sort of spirit, for possession was what had happened. But that... He shivered again, now thoroughly anxious at the thought.

Severos glanced about and noted his bag, barely a quarter full. He sighed a third time, this time annoyed at his prospect today. He supposed he should return to town before the rain came, a distant thunder rumbling in the mountains. Gathering his things, he thought of what he should try to teach Lyra. He had many spells to try, most required at least months of practice to cast. Severos wiped his brow as he stepped carefully, thinking. Then he smiled.

It's perfect! And it is simple enough, he thought.

A snap of sticks in the woods brought him out of his reverie. He glanced about and saw nothing. And so he casted a spell, searching for life signs amongst his area with a gentle pulse of the Weave. What he found was no major life existed, apart from the expected deer running away from-

More deer bounded away in his magical sense, disturbed by something. Then he noticed the birds flying, wings beating fast in quick ascent. Disturbed, the young mage did himself of the spell and readied a new one. He couldn't sense anything from where they were running from. And there were very few reasons for that.

"Inuisibilitas, he spoke with power.

With a blink, he faded from view. Shrouded in a cloak of Weave, invisible to most observations, he made his way carefully forward. He prayed for goblins, those he knew how to handle. That reminded him to cast his armor spell, well aware that he could have died yesterday. He was not going to today.

After many yards, he heard the tromp of footsteps carrying something jinking together. Severos slowed himself, wand at the ready.

What came out of the woods into view made him less worried and more terrified at the moment. Lumbering through the sounds with a loping gait, a ghoul of unmistaken identity. His long arms held up a black chest that was the source of the second noise, long tongue lolling out of his long, sharp teeth. Sunlight seemed almost too bright on its desecrate skin, a pale white corpse color that was a blight to the eyes.

Severos took a breath.

The ghoul stopped suddenly, staring into the air. Severos held his breath, watching intently the undead creature. It had the ability to suck actual life from people, a fate that has befallen many adventurers in the past and one Severos wanted to avoid. Young Aven was unsure what it was doing.

It turned straight towards him. "Ksssssss Hshk kossssssK," it went, moving towards him. The mage was at loss for words. He was invisible, even to the ghoul. He knew he was down wind so it wouldn't smell him. Well aware that it was approaching, Severos acted and chose his spell.

He pointed his wand to the ground, knitting the Weave into what he wanted. He planned to swallow it, and see what precious cargo it was carrying. The fact it was carrying anything other than flesh to eat was a disturbing notion of control to him.

"Aperi terrae ," he intoned.

The ghoul suddenly began to sink into the ground, the earth splitting and rumbling as magic disturbed the solidity of the ground. It dropped the chest as Severos ditched his invisibility, now preparing another spell. With an inhuman cry, it charged at Severos with a speed that caught him off-guard. It slammed him with with it razor sharp class to find magic surrounding him. It still knocked his breath and flung him backwards. But he had his spell now.

"Fulmen!"

The lightning bolt erupted from the top of the wand and caught it right in the chest, scorching it with a ferocious energy. It stumbled with a deathly, piercing scream at the wound as the earth began to swallow it. It sank to its chest as the mage lowered his wand to the sinking ghoul, now summoning the power of fire. The bolt of concentrated heat struck its head, sending the undead creature into a fearful frenzy as it tried, to no avail, to smother the flames.

It died to the flame, the fire sputtering out as the ghoul finally submerged into the ground with a silence resounding around the site.

Severos rubbed his chest where it struck him, thankful his mage armor held. He could feel a bruise under his clothes just starting to appear. With a grunt, he stepped to the discarded chest. Again, he summoned his magic sight into power, noting that he could not see through the wood. He guessed it was lead lined.

He bent down to open the chest and saw there was only a pendant when opened. But the power within blinded poor Aven as he looked with mage sight, making him cry out and hold his head upon the sight of it. With an elongated grunt of recovery, he stood and carefully picked it up. Whatever it was, the undead seemed intent on taking it somewhere. Severos wrapped it in a bit of cloth before sequestering it away, determined to find out what exactly that pendant was.

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