After days of preparation, the potion was complete; just in time for the coming of age ceremony that was to take place later that afternoon. Asphorela, Daphne, Heleconius, and ten others stood on a golden platform among the trees opposite the elders. The elders held crystal necklaces that were to be awarded to each of the members of the young order after their spells were successfully completed. To her surprise, Asphorela was not the first novice chosen. Surprised again, she was not even the second. The night went on and Asphorela wondered if it would ever be her turn. She was glad she had not drunk her potion before the ceremony started. It may have had time to wear off and lose its effectiveness. Finally, after a couple of hours, it was Asphorela’s turn. She twisted around so that no one could see her take a gulp from the small vial containing the silver liquid. Then she walked into the center of the ceremonial circle. She noticed Neldoroth, Georgina and Ecthlion cast a glance at one another as she began to raise her hands into the air. Asphorela knew the spell she tried to cast would be difficult, but she felt as if she were prepared. She chanted in the high tongue and made a stirring motion in the air. She could feel energy moving inside her body as well as in the space around her. The forces became so strong that winds picked up, causing her hair to slap and sting her face.
“What are you summoning?” the High Priestess called out.
Asphorela ignored the sister, for today she needed all her concentration . . . and more. Asphorela worked hard to calm the winds and rein them into the circle. If she swayed even an inch, she knew the winds would blow her so far away that she would never be seen again, not to mention the damage to the temple her magic would cause. Just when Asphorela was about to lose all hope of pulling off such a powerful spell, a white cloud began to form in the center of the ceremonial circle. On the surface of that white cloud, the three plotters were shown talking to each other. Next, their voices emitted from the cloudlike movie screen. The details of the dastardly plot were soon revealed to all in attendance.
The malevolent voice of Father Neldoroth boomed, “Yes, the spell will be cast during the coming of age ceremony. The young order will not threaten our authority with their emerging powers ever again. They will all be dead!”
Confusion spread throughout the crowd. Whispers turned into mumbles, and mumbles turned into shouts.
“What’s the meaning of this?” Father Neldoroth said as he stomped toward Asphorela.
The High Priestess, Amaryllis, quickly placed herself between Father Neldoroth and Asphorela. “My thoughts exactly.”
Asphorela stepped back, but maintained the spell.
“This is lunacy! She’s cast a spell of illusion.” Father Neldoroth pointed toward the cloud in the center of the circle on which a picture of the three conspirers flickered. Then he looked past Amaryllis and glared at Asphorela, “I command you to stop this immediately.”
Amaryllis held her hand up. “Silence!” She looked at Asphorela and then back to Father Neldoroth, “We will get to the bottom of this. She eyed her fellow elders before continuing. “I shall cast a spell of anti-illusion. Then we will know who is telling the truth.”
Father Neldoroth’s face turned red. “You would take the word of a novice over me? I am a council member! I have proved my loyalty! I swear, if you perform that spell, you will regret it! I will petition the High Council to remove you from your post.”
The High Priestess looked thoughtfully at Father Neldoroth. Then she raised her hand toward the cloudy screen and chanted the anti-illusion spell in the ancient tongue.
Everyone in the crowd gasped when the cloud turned a bright white and twinkled with tiny pinpoints of light.
Sister Georgina screamed and fell to her knees.
Father Ecthlion pulled his hood over his head and tried to sneak to the edge of the circle.
“Seize them!” the High Priestess ordered.
A great fury of panic spread throughout the circle. Elders, novices, and recently graduated sorceresses and sorcerers scrambled around trying to apprehend the wrongdoers. Sister Georgina was the first to be captured. She didn’t even try to put up a fight.
Father Ecthlion cast a spell to make several members of the crowd look exactly like him. By the time the real Father Ecthlion was captured, over half the crowed was kneeling with their hands bound behind their backs.
Father Neldoroth was the most dangerous of the traitors. The High Priestess took it upon herself to seize him. As Asporela expected, he dueled fiercely. At first, Amaryllis only used her hands to cast spells of protection and incarceration. But Father Neldoroth pulled out all the stops until the High Priestess was forced to take the wand from her pocket. Bursts of fire, smoke, blinding lights, lightning bolts, and foul smelling gasses erupted between them. Asphorela thought it was the most terrifying sight she had ever seen. She wished there was something she could do to help her favorite mentor.
Glancing at the other novices, Asphorela realized that Daphne and Heleconius were missing. Her heart skipped and she let go of her spell. The white cloud deteriorated and she could see clearly the chaos around her.
“Heleconius!” Asphorela’s voice was scratchy and painful from the raw power it had taken to cast the spell of revelation. “Daphne!” She searched and searched until she found her friends. To her horror, she saw Daphne sneaking up behind Father Neldoroth, and then gasped when she realized Heleconius was right behind Daphne. “No!”
Just then, Father Neldoroth turned toward the two girls and chanted a spell.
Reacting out of instinct, Asphorela raised her wand and began to recite a forbidden spell known as, ‘the sleep of death.’
Amaryllis, realizing Asphorela’s intentions, cast a spell of dismissal toward the novice and continued her assault on Father Neldoroth.
Asphorela was knocked off her feet, and she tumbled to the ground. Determined, she picked herself up and began reciting the spell again.
Father Neldoroth gave one last roar–then disappeared into thin air.
Asphorela slowly lowered her wand and pressed her eyebrows into a furl. The sleep of death was supposed to make the victim collapse and die, not disappear. Did she do something wrong? Did her spell misfire?
Amaryllis looked over her shoulder and gave Asphorela a look of sorrow mixed with pity.
Asphorela collapsed to the ground from exhaustion. Had she bitten off more than she could chew? The events played in her head over and over. Then she remembered the priceless expression of surprise and horror on Father Neldoroth’s face right before a troubling thought hit her . . . where was the Blade of Dragoonslayer?
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the journey! Please feel free to let me know what you thought by leaving your comments below.
Tales from Faeyelwen as told by Ol’ Grum, a grumpy yet heart-warming gnome.