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 [ENG] Book of Enchantments of Milinark

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Erandir

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Number of posts : 25
Age : 30
Ort : San Francisco
Registration date : 2008-04-06

PostSubject: [ENG] Book of Enchantments of Milinark   Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:58 pm

Title: The Book of Enchantments of Milinark
Author: Erandir
Rating: PG13
Warnings: Death, mild violence
A/N: I wrote this for a class back in high school. We had a limit of 15 pages, and mine barely fit. I would have loved to make it longer and actually had to cut out a lot of what I wanted to put in to fit the limit. Now I can't remember what it was that I had to cut out. If I ever do remember, I will be sure to add it again.

---------------------------------

Nothing exciting ever happened to Kyle Thomson. He lived a completely normal life in a completely normal town, and had a completely normal job. All in all, it was rather boring.

Every day was the same. He would wake up, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and walk downtown to the restaurant where he waited tables until 10:00, and then he went home, took another shower, and went to bed. It was repetitive as Hell.

But one day all that changed.

-----

Kyle was just off lunch break, standing at the back of the restaurant in his white shirt, black slacks, and not-quite-white apron. It was nearly 1:00; the lunch rush would start any minute, but right now there was only one person in the restaurant.

It was an elderly man. His hair was white, and he had a beard that nearly reached his waist. The man must have been at least eighty, if not ninety. He ate his food slowly, and read while he ate; a book even older than himself. From what Kyle could tell it was an antique; leather bound with yellowing pages. He wondered what was in it that had the man so entranced within its pages.

Then, just as the first few lunch regulars walked in, the man stopped. He put down his book, tossed a few bills on the table, stood, and left.

His book still sat discarded on the table.

Kyle noticed this immediately, and while one of the other waiters began to clear the plates he headed over to the table and picked up the book. It was even older than he had assumed; the leather was faded and cracked in places, the pages stiff and yellow. It must have been worth a fortune. Catching the other waiter’s arm he quickly explained that he was going to return the book. The other man nodded, and Kyle headed out. Once on the street he looked both ways, but there was no sign of the old man.

Odd. He didn’t seem able to move that fast, and there weren’t that many people on the street. He couldn’t have just disappeared, could he?

Odd. In confusion, Kyle looked up and down the street once more, but there was still no sign of the old man. Oh well, if the book was that important to him he would return to pick it up.

Still, Kyle was curious. Why was someone carrying around a book like this? What was in it that was so intriguing? And why would someone just forget something so valuable? Unable to contain his curiosity, Kyle opened the book.

It was blank.

Kyle flipped through the yellowing pages, but there was nothing on any of them. That didn’t make any sense, the old man had been so immersed in it only minutes before, how could it be blank?

The young waiter stared at the yellowing pages as though he could bring words to them by sheer force of will. He stood stock-still; eyes fixed solidly on the ancient pages. People walked past him without casting him a second glance. Then fewer people passed by, then fewer, and then none at all. But Kyle did not notice any of this, not even the shouts of his coworkers calling him back inside.

He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the pages; they were somehow drawn into them. Further and further, until he thought he could almost make out lines on the pages. Then there were lines on the pages, not words, but symbols. Symbols he couldn’t understand; a foreign alphabet.

As he stared harder Kyle found himself able to see meaning in the symbols. He could make out words; understand sentences.

Abruptly, he slapped the books shut. His breathing was ragged, though he hadn’t done anything to make it so. His eyes remained fixed on the cracked leather cover, but now he could make out the title. It was written in the same alphabet as the rest of the book.

The Book of Enchantments of Milinark

Milinark? What on earth was that? This book, no matter how old it looked, was probably a fake. Annoyed that he had spent so much time preoccupied on this book Kyle turned around to head back into the restaurant. But it wasn’t there.

In the place where it should have stood there were only trees. Surprised, Kyle looked around, but he only saw more trees. Below his feet was not the cement sidewalk, but a soft dirt path that lead off to his left and right.

This did not make any sense, he thought worriedly as he looked about him. Everywhere he looked there were only more trees. How had he gone from a busy city street to the middle of a forest? For a minute he squeezed his eyes shut, but when he opened them he was greeted by the same sight, a forest.

Frightened now, Kyle sat down heavily on the side of the path. So, he was in the middle of the forest. That in itself was not frightening, but what was he doing there? What was he supposed to do? When you get lost in the forest you’re supposed to stay in one place, he suddenly remembered. So, he supposed that if he waited long enough someone would wander by and tell him where he was.

So Kyle waited. Hours passed, and it began to grow darker as night started to fall. The sun started to sink below the treetops, casting its rays through the dusty branches. It was quiet, not even the sounds of birds in the trees. In a way it was unnerving.

A complete stillness fell about the forest. Nothing moved, not even the air. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, there came a voice; it was soft, melodious, and seemed to float through the air. Kyle could not make out the words, however, for they did not sound like English.

Then, another voice joined the first one; it was coming from Kyle’s left. He looked, but there was nothing there. In his confusion he rose to his feet again and rook two steps in that direction. Then the first voice sounded again, from behind him this time, and the young man turned around.

There, holding the leather bound book he had left on the path, stood a strange creature no taller than two feet. It appeared to be human, though. It dressed in leaves and what looked like rabbit skins. Its hair was a dirty blond that appeared to have streaks of pale green in it; its skin and eyes were the same color as the tree bark.The creature stared up at Kyle in wonder, holding the book that was almost as large as itself. Then, slowly, it held the book out toward him and said something in its own language. Too dumbfounded to do anything, Kyle merely stared at the creature. This confused it, and it spoke again; but this time Kyle could understand the words. “Wizard forgets his book.”

It spoke English, but Kyle was still too amazed to register the words. A silence fell over the forest again. “Wizard forgets his book,” the creature repeated, walking over to Kyle and holding it up to him. “Not good leave book where nasties can find it. You lucky Nibz find it for you.”

Dumbly the man bent down and took the heavy volume from the creature. It smiled up at him. “Uh…” Kyle stuttered, “Where am I?”

The creature cocked its head to the side in confusion. “Wizard is lost?” it asked, “Nibz never seen lost Wizard before.” It stared up at Kyle for another moment, “But this Wizard is still in training,” it realized, “in training Wizard does not know forest paths yet. Nibz will show Wizard out of forest.”

With that, the creature grinned as though proud of itself, spun on its heel, and started off down the path. “Wait,” Kyle called after it, still confused beyond belief. The creature stopped and looked over its shoulder at him. “Why do you call me a wizard?”

“Because… is Wizard,” the creature answered uncertainly, “Look like Wizard, have book of Wizard.”

“But I’m not a wizard.”

“Of course Wizard. Nibz saw appear in forest.”

Kyle realized then that this… whatever it was must have seen whatever brought him here. So maybe it knew how to get him back. “Listen… Nibz. I don’t know how I got here, and I’m definitely not a wizard.”

Nibz frowned at that, “But if not Wizard, then how get into Spirit Forest?”

“Spirit forest?” Kyle exclaimed.

“Wizard does not know Spirit Forest? Wizard is very much still in training,” Nibz looked very concerned now. “Nibz probably not to help in training Wizard… But Wizard is lost…”

The tiny creature now seemed horribly confused. It looked both confused and frightened, and it was all Kyle’s fault. “Uh… Well, if you can’t lead me out, could you at least point me in the right direction?”

Nibz looked up at him again, “Suppose that alright,” it answered. Then it looked up and down the dirt path, “Wizard should go that way,” it pointed down the path into the trees, “To get out of Spirit Forest. Remember always stay on path. Not leave path, or have to deal with nasties.”

“Nasties?” This was the second time Nibz had mentioned them, “What d’you mean?”

“Nasties live in forest, do not like Wizard kind,” Nibz warned him, and glanced nervously into the trees on either side of the path, “Be warry, Wizard, nasties come out at night. Must get out of Spirit Forest before dark.”

Before dark? It was nearly dark now; how was he supposed to get out before the sun fell below the horizon? “But it’s nearly dark already!”

This seemed the first time Nibz had noticed the day was growing short. But the little creature made no attempt to further help Kyle. It merely shrugged its shoulders, “Will have to go fast,” it decided, “Hope nasties do not come.” And with that the creature disappeared with a small flash of light and a tiny puff of smoke.

Kyle stared at the now-empty space where Nibz had stood only seconds before. Then he looked around, but there was no sign of the tiny creature. Great, now he was left alone to escape whatever strange creatures came out at night in this foreign land.

The sun fell even lower in the sky, shining nearly horizontal now. If he wanted to be out of the forest before it was completely dark Kyle would have to run. And how big was this forest anyway? Even if he ran the whole way he might not make it out in time. He probably wouldn’t, but he had to try. Holding the ancient book under one arm the young man began to run down the path. He ran, and he ran, and he ran, and the light grew dimmer, yet the forest showed no signs of ending. So he kept running.

By the time true darkness fell Kyle could run no longer. It felt as though he had gone for hours. Panting and gasping the man stopped. He leaned on his knees as he caught his breath. It was horribly dark, the only light provided by the sliver of moonlight that made its way through the thick canopy of leaves. The forest was silent. Not the peaceful silence of the previous afternoon, but a cold, deathly silence that sent shivers down Kyle’s spine.

The nasties come out at night, Nibz had said. And if they weren’t out already, Kyle could see where they got their name. As the young man’s breathing began to normalize, a fog started to descend on the forest. It was thick as soup, and low to the ground; it almost seemed to pool around Kyle’s knees.

Within this unnatural silence Kyle began to think he could hear whispers. They were not the same as Nibz’s flowing, lyrical language, these were mysterious and threatening. Kyle knew now why Nibz had told him to get out of the forest before nightfall. A stick cracked to his left and Kyle nearly leapt out of his skin. The whispers were all around, surrounding him.

Panicked, the man took off running through the trees. He had no idea if he was going in the right direction, of even if he was still on the path; but it felt as though something were following him. The fog grew thicker, so Kyle could barely see where he was going.

Then, almost as suddenly as it had appeared, the fog dissipated.

Kyle slowed to a walk; his breathing was starting to grow ragged again. Weird. Maybe he’d just been imagining it. He looked around, but the forest was completely dark. In front of him he thought he saw a sliver of light at the end of the path. Slowly he started toward it, almost too scared to hope for the edge of the trees.

Then he heard the whispers again, though they seemed louder this time. They were closer. A stick cracked behind him, and Kyle spun around. There, looming behind him as though held back by an invisible wall, was the fog. And within that fog, looking out at him, was a pair of glowing red eyes.

Without a second thought, Kyle spun around and ran toward the light at the edge of the trees. Not once did he pause or glance back, for he knew he would see those eyes again.

-----

Moments later, Kyle was free of the forest. The trees ended and now he stared out at a vast plain. He skidded to a stop, and stumbled forward slightly. The forest ended so abruptly that it almost seemed it was planted with that intent. He took a few more steps out onto the plain to be sure he was safe from whatever lurked in the forest, and then looked over his shoulder. The fog that had followed him now engulfed the trees so that he could only make out their tops, but there was no sign of the creatures hidden within it.

He’d made it out of the forest alive and safe, but now what was he supposed to do? He could see for miles across the plains, but there didn’t appear to be anything in any direction. The young man had no idea where he was supposed to go, all he knew was that he wanted to get as far away from this forest as possible, and in order to do that he would have to go straight forward. So that’s the way he went.

Kyle walked for what seemed hours. The quarter moon was high in the sky before he felt far enough away from the forest to be safe. When he looked over his shoulder the trees were nearly out of sight, and he felt he would have enough warning if those things decided to chase him onto the plain. The man slumped down beside a rock and leaned back against it. It must have been nearly midnight, if not later. He yawned loudly, and set the book down on the grass beside him. It was probably safe enough to spend the night here.


Last edited by Erandir on Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:25 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Erandir

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Number of posts : 25
Age : 30
Ort : San Francisco
Registration date : 2008-04-06

PostSubject: Re: [ENG] Book of Enchantments of Milinark   Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:59 pm

-----

Kyle woke the next morning to the sound, or rather the feeling, of hoof beats thundering across the plain. The ground fairly shook with the force at which the horses’ hooves hit the ground. He sat up quickly and looked around, and there, heading straight toward him, was a group of soldiers on horseback. They did not seem to notice Kyle where he sat in the shade of a boulder, so he scrambled to his feet, grabbed the book off the ground, and hurried up onto the rock, where they would either notice him, or ride right past.

The former seemed more to their liking.

He heard the shouts of whom Kyle assumed to be the leader of these soldiers, but from the distance, and over the pounding of the hooves, he couldn’t make out the words. They continued to head straight toward him, and the closer they rode the slower their pace. They were going to stop and talk to him.

Unconsciously holding the ancient book closer to his chest, Kyle sat down on the rock and waited for the cavalry to arrive. They came soon enough, and the rock on which he sat was completely surrounded by soldiers. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.

“State your name, position, and business in Milinark,” the leader ordered without preamble, and pointed a rather threatening spear in Kyle’s direction.

Kyle eyed the spear cautiously, but it appeared quite sharp, so he decided not to test the other man’s limits. But he didn’t quite know how to answer that order. What position was he supposed to give? And what was his business in… Wait. Milinark. The book had the same name on it. That meant he was in the country where this book had originated.

“Speak, stranger!” the leader ordered, when Kyle didn’t answer after a long period of silence.

The waiter jumped in surprise, and looked back up at the other man again. He was dressed in armor, which served to make him look stronger than he probably was, and his face covered by the helmet he wore. “I… uh…” Kyle stuttered. “I’m Kyle – Thomson, Kyle Thomson.” He finally managed to get out. “I didn’t mean to trespass, I was just passing through. See, I just came out of that forest and--.”

“You survived in the forest at night?” one of the soldiers interrupted, earning himself a stern glare from his commander.

“I sort of did…” Kyle answered; looking from the commander who held a spear pointed toward his chest, to the soldier who had questioned him, “I just… ran like Hell.”

Many of the soldiers turned to each other and began speaking in soft, amazed tones. It was as though they had never heard of someone surviving the night in a forest before. But then again, considering what lurked in that forest, Kyle wasn’t all that surprised.

“Did you truly survive the night in that cursed forest?” the commander asked, sounding skeptical, but also faintly awed.

Kyle looked back over at him, and tried to read some emotion off of his face, but the helmet he wore covered too much of it. “Well, part of the night.”

“It takes great courage to even think of venturing beneath those branches after the sun sets,” he replied, “For one to survive even a part of the night within those trees, it may well be a miracle.” Kyle’s eyes grew wide in surprise. All he had done was turn tail and run, and that somehow made him a hero? “What did you say your name was?”

“Uh… Kyle Thomson,” the man answered quickly.

“You are a brave man, Kyle, son of Thom,” the commanding soldier told him, taking his spear back and removing his helmet. “I am Seladin, son of Telmir, captain of the guards.” Well, he certainly looked like a captain of the guards. But where were they from? Kyle felt foolish asking, they thought he was of this world as well; though he was not.

Seladin then swung down from his horse, and his soldiers seemed to take this as a sign that they could do so as well. “Tell me, Kyle,” he said, walking over to the rock where the waiter still sat, holding the book in his lap now, “What was your business in the forest, that made you stay through the night?”

Kyle frowned. He didn’t have any business in the forest, hadn’t he just told that? “I didn’t have any, I was in there by accident.”

“One does not set foot in the cursed forest by accident,”

“I didn’t know it was cursed,” Kyle answered, “I don’t even know how I got there in the first place.”

This caused Seladin even more confusion than everything Kyle had previously said. He didn’t seem to understand that the young man had no idea what was going on. And then he noticed the book. “You are a wizard,” he breathed, “Forgive me, I did not know.”

“I’m not a wizard,” Kyle insisted, though by now he was beginning to doubt his own beliefs.

“But…” Seladin’s brows furrowed in confusion, “You carry the Book of Enchantments.”

Kyle looked down at the ancient tome in his hands, “I found it,” he answered lamely, “And when I read it I was transported here.”

“If you can read it, then that proves you are a wizard,” Seladin argued. “The runes within that tome are only taught to those with training in sorcery.”

“But I never had any training in sorcery.”

Seladin grew even more confused upon hearing this. How could someone read the wizarding runes without training? He had never heard of it before. “That makes you a marvel among men, Kyle, son of Thom,” he answered, slightly in awe of Kyle’s achievements, “To read the runes without training.” He was silent for a moment, and then suddenly seemed to brighten, “But never mind that now,” the captain said, swiftly changing the subject, “I have never known anyone brave enough to venture into that forest. Tell me, what did you see?”

The young man hesitated. How did he know that these soldiers were who they claimed to be? And how did he know that he could trust them? Wait… Why did he care? This wasn’t his world; nothing here would affect him after he found a way to get back home. “I met someone – something. I’m still not sure what it is. He called himself Nibz, and was only about this tall,” he held his hand up at about the height of the tiny creature’s head.

“You met one of the forest spirits, and spoke with it?” Seladin exclaimed in shock. “You truly are a wizard then, Kyle, for those creatures only speak to wizarding folk. But what did you see after nightfall?”

“I saw nothing after nightfall,” Kyle answered, with a shake of his head, “At least nothing solid. I heard whispers in the trees, and a fog surrounded me, so I couldn’t see anything. At the edge of the forest, when I looked back, I could see eyes watching me.”

Seladin gasped, and Kyle noticed for the first time that all the other soldiers had fallen silent. “You have seen the demons of the forest,” the captain answered in a low voice, “That is the most that anyone has seen of them, though most do not live to tell. They hide themselves in an unnatural fog, so it is easier to apprehend their prey.” Kyle gulped, now very glad he had gotten out of that forest in time. “Kyle,” the captain started again, grasping the young man’s shoulder, “You are the only one living who has seen the demons and lived to speak about it, and you are a powerful wizard. It now falls upon you to head back into the trees, and do battle with the demons.”

What? Go back to the forest? Kyle blanched at the idea. Why did he have to go back in and battle those things? There was no way he could survive this time. He may have been a powerful wizard, but he did not know how to use his powers. All he had was this stupid old book, and how was that supposed to help him?

“Kyle,” Seladin continued, noticing the waiter’s fear. “Humans have been doing battle with those demons for as long as I can remember. We-” he gestured to the soldiers around them, “-were sent to fight the demons, and likely to meet our dooms; but with your help, we may be victorious.”

“But I…” Kyle stuttered, “I won’t be able to help you.”

“Of course you will,” Seladin replied flippantly, “You are a wizard.”

“But I don’t know any magic,” Kyle insisted. The soldiers all fell silent again, and stared at Kyle as though he had just told a rather bad joke. “Honestly, I just found this book on the ground. I am not a wizard.”

“Whether you believe it or not, you have the ability to read that tome, and that makes you a wizard,” Seladin told him, “You will be able to perform the spells in that book; and if you cannot, then we shall all die.”

No pressure, Kyle thought, and took a deep breath. Seladin ordered his men back onto their horses, and they headed off to the edge of the forest.
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Erandir

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PostSubject: Re: [ENG] Book of Enchantments of Milinark   Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:00 pm

-----

When night began to fall the soldiers, accompanied by Kyle, slowly entered the forest. The waiter had spent the entire day reading through the Book of Enchantments and hearing tales about the demons that lived in the forest. The tales said a great many things, but Kyle was unsure of what to believe. He would just have to go in there and wing it, with the few pages he had marked in the book. There was no time to memorize spells, or to even see if they worked.

They traveled a good distance below the trees, following the same path Kyle had taken the night before, before the fog began to move in. Unconsciously the soldiers gripped their swords tighter, and Kyle held the book tightly to his chest. That is, until Seladin prodded him and ordered him to find a spell that would dispel the fog.

Kyle had not found a spell like that during the day, but he had only gotten halfway through the thick volume. So, he quickly opened the book to the last page and started flipping through. Fire, lightning, sunlight, water; nothing that would do him any good, at least not now. Then, wind! Wind would get rid of this fog, right? It was worth a try.

Holding the book out so he could read it, Kyle studied the symbols on the pages until he could make out the meaning of the spell. Then he spoke; but the words that came out of his mouth were not in any language that he understood. At first nothing happened, and Kyle felt foolish; then, even before he had finished the last line, a strong gust of wing blew in from the plain behind them, tossing the fog back where it came from. Kyle was amazed; had he just done magic? Or was that just a coincidence?

While the fog still lingered around the edges of their group, it was easy enough to see a good few paces into the trees. Hopefully that would give them enough warning, should the demons try to attack.

The soldiers stood on edge, anticipating an attack, since they assumed the fog to mean that the demons were around. But for the longest time nothing happened, it was completely silent. Slowly, but surely the fog began to creep back in; one gust of wind could only hold it off for so long. Then the whispers came. Kyle could feel the soldiers behind him begin to tense, begin to panic as they new the creatures were coming closer. Seladin ordered him to push the fog back once more, but Kyle refused. Last time he had pushed it away before the creatures had gotten within sight, and it had been pointless. This time he would not make that same mistake.

Suddenly, the soldier directly behind him jumped about two feet in the air, and let out a terrified yell. Kyle looked, and there, no more than three paces away, was a pair of glowing red eyes. “Will you cast that spell now?” Seladin hissed into his ear.

Kyle gulped, but held his ground. It was still likely that the creature would run away before he was able to finish the spell. Then there was another shriek from the back of the line, and the man knew that those things were surrounding them now. He began to mutter the spell under his breath, though he had no idea if mispronunciation would affect it at all, or even if it would work again. To his surprise, it did.

A gust of wind swept through the forest again, blowing away the fog and leaving Kyle standing face to face with one of the most terrifying creatures he had ever laid eyes on. It was almost human, but its eyes were sunken in and glowed a deep blood red. Its skin was deathly pale, almost translucent, its arms were long, with claws instead of fingers, and its legs were built like a bird’s, with knees bent backwards. It was dressed in rags that may at one point have been clothing, and now barely managed to cover its body.

Kyle found himself momentarily panicked. But so did the others, it seemed.

He felt terror creep up his spine with icy fingers, and nearly dropped the Book of Enchantments when the creature opened its jaws to reveal pointed, fang-like teeth and look at him curiously.

“Wizard do something,” one of the soldiers hissed, but Kyle was completely frozen with fear. This was not his strong suit, and in his mind he had done his job. It was the soldiers’ job to fight these things, and his job to make them visible.

Then the creature, deciding that the humans were not going to attack it, lunged forward. Kyle held his hands up in front of his face as though they could offer him protection from the claws and fangs of this demon. He could feel it coming closer, almost upon him and then – “No hurt Wizard!” – It stopped.

Opening his eyes slightly, he saw that the demon was now only inches away from him, but it was looking the other direction. It was staring at a tiny creature dressed in leaves and rabbit skins. “A forest spirit,” Seladin breathed.

“Nibz…”

The demon hissed at it, angry for having been distracted. Vaguely Kyle thought he could hear fighting behind him, the soldiers attacking the other demons, but he was not paying any attention. Nibz stood strong, facing the red-eyed demon head on, and the demon was not happy. It took a step toward the tiny spirit, but Nibz held his ground. The demon advanced further, still Nibz did not budge. Then it lunged, Nibz dodged, but not enough; the demon’s claws raked down his back and the little spirit cried out in pain.

“Nibz!” Kyle cried out, and without thinking ran toward both demon and spirit. He left the book on the ground behind him.

The demon looked up, and hissed at Kyle as the man approached. It bared its fangs and held out its claws, but Kyle didn’t stop. Words flew from his lips before they could even register in his mind, and a mix of fire and ice swirled at the demon, hitting it head on and sending it toppling head over heels into the trees, where it gasped for a moment, and then fell still.

Kyle stood for a moment in shock, surprised by what he had done. Then he remembered Nibz. The tiny creature was lying face down in the dirt, blood seeping through the back of his garments. The man knelt down by his tiny, motionless form, forgetting that there were other demons that needed to be dealt with, and gently picked him up. His breathing was shallow, and he opened his eyes only a crack to look at Kyle. Then he smiled, “Wizard do good. Beat nasties.”

“Yeah,” Kyle answered softly, “You too, you helped.”

Nibz smiled at that, then his eyes fell shut, and he breathed no more.

Kyle could feel tears at the back of his eyes. He could not help but blame himself for the spirit’s death; Nibz was trying to protect him. If Kyle had acted like the wizard he was, then none of this would have happened.

“He was brave.”

Kyle looked over his shoulder, and there stood Seladin, he was wounded, but not terribly. He looked sad too, to see the spirit dead. “He was trying to protect me,” Kyle murmured.

“I know,” the captain replied sadly, “But in the end you saved all his people. They don’t have to worry about the demons anymore.”

“But I only killed one.”

“There only was one,” Seladin replied. “The others were illusions, when you killed it, they vanished, and so did the fog.”

So it had been that simple all along. Had it been a fluke that the real one was the one to attack him? Would Nibz have survived if they had been attacked by an illusion? Or would he have still died? Kyle hung his head, squeezing his eyes shut to force back the tears, and when he looked up again, it was to meet the eyes of another forest spirit. He was dressed the same as Nibz, and stared at Kyle with sadness in his wide green eyes. Slowly, the wizard stood and crossed over to him, then knelt down in front of the tiny creature. “He was protecting me,” he murmured sorrowfully as he handed Nibz over to the other spirit.

The little creature took him, and cradled him in his arms, “Nibz protect all of us,” It replied, and then disappeared into the trees. Kyle stared after him for a long time, before Seladin came over and placed a hand on his shoulder. “I know how you feel,” he said soothingly, “But you cannot help what has happened here this day.”

“I want to go home,” Kyle said, and sat down heavily on the dusty path.

“And where is your home, good wizard? For we will take you there.”

“You cannot take me to my home,” he answered solemnly, “It is not in this world.”

The captain was silent for a moment, “Then you must take yourself home.”

“But how?” Kyle bemoaned, “I doubt there is a spell in that book that will take me back.”

“But you are a Wizard,” Seladin supplied, “Just say the name of where you wish to be, and you will be there.”

Kyle looked up at him skeptically. It couldn’t be that easy, could it? There was nothing but honesty in Seladin’s eyes though. The wizard looked back at the trees, concentrated hard, and spoke the name of his home.

-----

When he looked up again, he was sitting on the sidewalk outside of the restaurant. It was exactly the same as when he had left. Though two days had passed in Milinark, it was still the same moment here. He stared out at the cars that passed, the people, the smog, the litter.

One of the other waiters ran outside and grabbed him by the arm. “Kyle, what are you doing, we have work to do?”The wizard looked over at him, and studied his face for a moment. Suddenly he realized that he didn’t have to live this repetitive and boring lifestyle anymore. He realized that he could do anything he wanted, he just needed to go do it.

“I quit.”


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