He Who Shall Not Be Named

He listened to both with full attention, his leg over his left and his right hand in a ponder over his mouth. But needless to say, no Ceriden Maalkan had ever crossed into his lessons, especially the grueling and literal boring time in lessons of history. Severos sipped his tea, it now gone lukewarm over the time of the first part of his story. And he almost spit it out.

"But before the authorities could close in on Ceriden the war with the Timber Crag broke out. The leader of Orla's faith had a grand scheme to end the war and rid the world of the Timber Crag. Ceriden was one of these pieces on the game board and he ultimately played his part only too well."

Did he just hear correctly? Young Aven blinked in astonishment even as the clueless but attentive look of Rose continued to stare at Horo in his story. If what he said was correct, that would put him well over a hundred years old!

History of that war was well known, for it had left the entirety of Western Aeran in chaos. And, in much horror today as to those who lived it, the loss of the Dalen magocracy when the kingdom's last was slain. The turmoil had been one that only Master Soran and Master Enanth had lived in, seemingly now immortal by their magic. The tales they told in the history lessons were most amazing if you paid attention, and Severos eventually learned what they were saying.

Horo had to be some sort of user, or had some rather powerful abnormality at his disposal. Perhaps he is a sorcerer?, he thought.

Horo paused for breath, the briefest of pauses but a pause yes, Severos glanced about, seeing a few heads poking out. He didn't blame them for their intrigue. Some of the older ones were rather beautiful, a pureness only they enjoyed.

"Her own people also could not sense her, and they wielded mighty magic. Their leader told me Orla must be victim of a necromantic spell; a very powerful one that had captured and hid Orla's essence from all detection and that there was nothing to be done about it. And that was that. But for me, Orla was not just a tool or so replaceable, she was my best friend and I was not ready to give up, I have never given up seeking her.

"It took me a very long time but I eventually found Ceriden's... let’s call it a hideout... which was too magically protected for me to penetrate, even with all my tricks, but eventually I determined a way to smoke him out, forcing him to relocate. A bunch of those things came out, a least two hundred of them. All running around with boxes of things and objects. I had years ago constructed a tracker that would home in on Orla's… let's say essence. And I homed in on the ghoul carrying that box, which is how I was able to follow it to where we met. I was tracking that ghoul you killed, for nearly two months.

"They don’t sleep, I have to rest. But though I have means of killing such creatures I couldn’t risk hurting her, or her prison.” Horo looked deeply saddened. “She didn’t do anything to anyone. She was the only constant in my ever dangerous world.” The sorrowful look in his eyes grew even deeper as he dragged up theses memories, and his guilt. “But for this happening to her, I am to blame as far as I see it. I am surely not the one who did the deed but, I would have stopped it."

Severos joined in the deep silence that followed, for he was sure Horo needed it. He saw Rose run her eyes. He did indeed feel for him, but he saw the flaw to which his sorrow was a cause. He never took the initiative to kill the ghoul early when he had the chance to. He could of...

He stopped. What's wrong with me?, he thought. Have I really changed that much?

"As for the spells Ceriden used, I am not a mage. All I can say for sure is they were necromantic, and unique spells that had been devised by the famous Kelmoran, who Ceriden was a devotee of and often compared to, especially during the war-"

Severos froze. He ceased to hear anything else but that name, echoing over and over again with a bell sounding into his very soul the power of what monstrosity it was. He could feel that very coldness wrap around him again, a ghost of that very moment when all was stolen away.

He blinked heavily, his nose flaring for air as his fingers gripped the table tightly in a fearful death grip to life. Severos knew he was pale, he could feel the heat returning but the moment had passed. He looked now to Horo, trying to find his voice.

"Kel-Kelmoran?" he asked, voice catching. "Kelmoran devised the... His spell?"

The nod came and Severos felt his head swim. He had to get some air. The mage slammed upwards and rushed for the door, heedless of the stares and reactions. Into the pouring rain once more, he made it no further than ten paces before collapsing in the mud with a choking sob. Confusion, fear, anger, he was unsure what happened to him. And yet he sat here knee deep, a pathetic cry quietly filtering to rain and thunder.

It is him, he thought after a moment. His anger at his pathetic sobs he had no control over cut through his mind. It is the lich. He has returned, against the ages.

He wiped his drenched face as he looked up into the rain. A fork of lightning pierced the sky overhead in a blinding flash, illuminating everything in an instant light. He sighed. And I am a mage of Miekrannis, he thought. And I owe everything to them now. I will never let a monster like that ever return to power. That was the last mission, and so shall it be mine.

He sighed, drained and drenched.

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