THE PARTHIAN ADVERNTURES
The Lost Books
Sparo sat in the one of the many fields on the outskirts of the small village Clora. The sun slyly shone its rays down as he sat cross legged under the shade of a large tree with his back firmly rested upon its enormous trunk. His eyes were shut firmly, concentration marks etched all over him. Sweat trickled down the sides of his young face from his sandy coloured hair into the corners of his mouth and onto his blue weathered tunic. His deep, slow, rhythmic breathing sent him deeper and deeper into a trance like state. He spread his awareness to the area around him, always on guard for any onlookers.
Sparo lifted his hands that were once resting in his lap, placed them in line with his navel and shaped them as if he was holding an invisible ball. The concentration marks deepened in his brow and for a second he become still.
"Flammis" he whispered.
Slowly the air started to shimmer between his hands and a faint spark ignited in the space between them. Sparo flexed his fingers and the spark ignited into a small spherical flame and his hands tingled in appreciation of the heat. A small smile crawled across the young boys face. Sparo, with his heightened sense of awareness at the time sensed a familiar yet increasingly different presence coming towards him, slowly leeching him of his magic. Sparo's blue startled eyes suddenly flew open and he lost concentration on the conjured flame which burnt his hand before evaporating in the morning air.
Annoyed Sparo looked up and saw in the far distance a blacked
robed figure slowly but steadily humbling towards him, staff in
hand, across the dewed grass. Drega he thought to
himself. He could feel her sightless gaze boring into him and the
hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. A motion darting from
the tree branches above him snapped his attention from the
oncoming woman and he caught a glimpse of a furry tail darting
into a hole in the tree.
"Sparo!" hissed a voice from behind
Sparo wheeled on the spot and stood face to face with a scrawny hooded old lady. A toothless grimace greeted him. Her eyes were covered in a black piece of cloth which was etched with golden symbols. She lent forward on her staff, her stale breath filled the lungs of Sparo making him stumble backwards.
"How? . . ." started Sparo
"Do not question the methods of an old lady's travel" Snapped Drega. "You're a fool boy, practising in the open like that, anybody could have spotted you! You didn't even shield yourself."
There were two main forms of Magic in Parthia, Pure and Raw Magic. In certain parts of Parthia, like the small village of Clora it was heavily frowned upon to use Magic and it was considered a crime. Even punishable by death. The people of Clora, along with a vast amount of others scattered across Parthia, were . . . an unfortunate race not to be blessed with any magical abilities. Though these Thinkers, as they were known, more than made up for this with their expertise in the creation of weapons.
Now realising that he indeed forgot to shield himself Sparo hung his head. Embarrassment swept over him .
With that, Drega's body position shifted. As the golden symbols on the cloth that wrapped her eyes flashed momentarily her backed straightened and her shoulders drooped slightly. She brandished the staff more now as a weapon than a walking aid and the heavy wrinkles in her face seemed to smooth out. She removed her hood and long silver hair flowed down to her shoulders. Drega sighed heavily.
"I'm sorry" she said slowly "I'm not quite how i used to be"
There was an silence between the two. Sparo waited, hoping she would continue.
Ever since he developed his magical abilities he noticed subtle differences in how Drega behaved. She seemed to become a different person at times, especially when he practised magic. As he grew older, and his magical power grew Drega became more and more unpredictable in how she acted. He never had the courage to ask why she had these changes in her mood, or even to how she became blind.
"Come boy" she said said softly holding out her hand "let us walk home. I shall treat your burn. Will you guide me?"
Though puzzled by the request Sparo took her hand and rested it upon his shoulder and they both walked back to the village.
The walk back took Sparo longer than usual. He and Drega stopped many times for her to catch her breath. How had she even found him he thought to himself. The midday sun hung highly in the clear blue sky as Sparo and Drega finally made it to the village entrance which was guarded by two male Thinkers, dressed in mild leather armour, holding sharp makeshift spears and who talked amongst themselves. Helmets disguised their faces. As they noticed the strange duo approaching they soon stopped talking and assumed an authoritative posture.
"What be your business outside of the village boy?" said one of the men in a deep voice "These are troubled times with bandits in the area"
"And dare i say Magic!" spat the other
Before Sparo had a chance to think of any kind of answer, Drega
let out a cackle.
"Magic!" She laughed. "You think I'm scared of magic?"
The wrinkles deepened in Drega's face and she bent over slightly to lean on her staff. Again the symbols flashed on the cloth that wrapped her eyes though the guards seemed to not notice.
Sparo stiffened, he could sense the change in Drega's energy.
"You should be" retorted the first guard "you under estimate those bandits and filthy users of Magic."
"She's just an old lady" snorted the second guard whilst nudging his partner "what does she know?"
Drega went still, then gave an unseen flick of her wrist. The one guard dropped to the floor screaming with pain whilst clutching his stomach. His partner, horrified ran to his aid and then he to dropped to the floor but clutching his throat, His screams were inaudible. Only his violently shaking body gave any clue to the pain he was in.
Drega now turned to face Sparo and surprisingly for an old lady made her way forward to him with some speed. Sparo took a few steps back, confused. She's blind he thought but before he knew it she had opened up her black cloak and enclosed Sparo in it. For a few seconds nothing seemed to happen but when Drega removed the cloak again he was not at the entrance of the village but the place he had been calling his home for as long as he could remember.
He was surrounded by arcane books. Old paintings wrapped in ornate bronze frames which depicted battles from long ago hung on the walls. He was in the study of Drega's house. The room was of an adequate size with dark green carpet and rich burgundy walls which in the space of the painting had symbols, words and pictures of foreign origin written all over them. There was a large window encompassing the far wall opposite the entrance to the study which overlooked Clora and in the middle of the room was a long wooden table which had many books scattered across its surface and a single wooden chair. He approached the window and looked out. He could see several figures hurrying about at the entrance of the village. His gut went cold. He could see two motionless bodies being carried away into the village hall. He stumbled backwards. He heard a movement behind him and caught a glimpse of Drega hurrying into her quarters before door slammed shut behind her by an unseen force.
What in the name of The Seven just happened he thought. He couldn't believe that Drega attacked the guards and even more shocked that she just used Magic in broad daylight after snapping at him moments before for using it. Of course he has seen her act strangely before but this is the first time that she had actually attacked. What also nagged at his mind was her supposed blindness. The way she moved towards him made Sparo uneasy I'm sure she could . . .
A dull ache in Sparo's hand returned him to the present. He looked down at his burnt hand and frowned. He noticed that already this was already partially healed. As he concentrated on his hand he could actually see his skin very slowly changing itself back to its once perfect condition.
Sparo looked up, he could feel a strong presence of Magic in the room. He could feel the familiar warmth of the Pure Magic and embraced it, feeling it come through the crown of his head and then joyfully tingle its way down his spine through to his feet. Though he could sense something else. Raw Magic he thought, and lots of it. It hung over the table, like a rain cloud. Its electric like charge reached out to him and he flinched. He couldn't believe he didn't notice it before.
Sparo moved towards the table, focusing on the Raw Magic, looking for its source. When he reached it he held out his healing palm, and placed it inches from
the books that lay open. He moved his hand from left to right until hand came over one book and he felt a jolt of energy shoot up his hand. Sparo recoiled then lent forward to take a closer look at the book. It was a small book, no bigger than the size of Sparo's palm. Again he reached out to touch the book but this time was surprised to find that he felt no shock from the book but the warmth dance of Pure Magic dance under his finger tips. Sparo marvelled at the way the book seemed to change colour in the light, from silver to a sometimes pale blue colour and back again. Sparo picked up the book and felt it vibrate in his hands. Instead of subsiding the vibration grew and grew until Sparo's body was full of this sensation and despite his body shaking he found he could not let go.
The book suddenly began to give off a bright light, getting brighter with each passing second. Absolute panic filled Sparo. He could feel the power of the book enter his skin. Pass through everyone on of his muscles, past the bone and enter deep into his soul. It merged with his mind, opening it for a brief second of illumination . . .
Sparo did not hear Drega's door opening or see her slowly shifting into the study. She knelt on her staff and the symbols on the cloth wrapped around her eyes glowed.
All went quiet. Sparo stood there in an tornado of confusion. His mind in a jumble of thoughts.
"Give me the book" commanded Drega. Her voice had a demonic edge to it, as if two people were talking through her "NOW!"
Drega stood still, Then her mouth opened. A scream left her lungs that the likes of Clora had never heard before, The study shook under sound. Her arms flew to her sides and slowly after black tendrils of smoke started to appear out of her mouth and nostrils.
Sparo's eyes had widened in shock. He could feel the Raw Magic that was coming from Drega and dizziness swept over him. Before Sparo knew it, a vaguely female silhouette, blacker than a thousand midnights stood before him. Red eyes of a raging volcano bored into Sparo, Drega's body had crumpled to the floor behind it. Motionless. Lifeless.
"What! . ."
The eyes of the spectral being grew and even furious red and Sparo flew off his feet and into the wall behind him. Several paintings came crashing down from the onslaught. The wind had be cruelly forced out of Sparo's lungs and he lay there, gasping for breath, praying for the world not to envelope him in blackness. He caught a silver light in the corner of his eye, and with miraculous power made his way for the book that was just out of reach. He clumsy fingers clasped the book before the demonic figure had a chance to advance and Sparo felt a new power course through his veins.
An unseen force had lifted him up and placed him squarely on his feet, making his oncoming foe stop in its tracks. Sparo's hand was already outstretched, palm facing the hideous creature that once resided in Drega.
"No!" it raged "Not already . . ."
The force inside Sparo made its way to his throat. He could feel
himself trying to speak words though he had no idea what he was
going to say
"Flamenta!" he roared
The air rippled and a huge ball of conjured fire rocketed its way across the Study towards the fiend. The ball of fire made contact with the creature and enveloped it in its fiery demise.
There was another scream, worse than the one before hand though this had all the pain and fury of death contained in it. That was the last sound that Sparo heard before the blackness that was creeping in the corners of his eyes finally consumed him and he dropped to the floor exhausted. Magic drained
The silver book that landed next to him lit up in a brilliant light for a few seconds then vanished.