Lost Arcana, Chapter 1.2
Updated: Aug 27
Nearly 300 years ago, High Mage Tolef researched the effect of Magic on memory. His intricate experiments were the foundation of our knowledge of Magic, and his discoveries led to the eventual revelation of using staves as channeling support. Due to this long and often grueling experimentation, it's not unexpected for High Mages to eventually seclude themselves in towers or the sides of mountains to live out their last few years in isolation. The Tower even has a select group of Magi assigned to "oversee" these retired practitioners of Magic. At least one of those in the group is an assassin, for relatively obvious reasons. The common folk called these groups Packers, and the Mages adopted the term as well.
Retired Magi usually live in seclusion during their elder years. Tolef moved to this mountain home when he was about 30 years old, shocking the community of Mages. For someone whose life's work culminated so quickly, only to burn out equally fast, was a devastating loss. He left so suddenly that a Packer group wasn't able to regroup and depart until nearly a year later. Tolef wasn't found for nearly 50 years, and unexpectedly wounded and incapacitated several Packer groups who tried to keep a close watch. He also moved around several times, and according to my accomplice, even the best Packer groups were not able to find his last location. Somehow, the Runes knew.
Moving the aging parchment and dusty tomes on the molding desk in this damp dungeon, my heart skips a beat as I recognize something familiar. An open tome with strange yet uncanny symbols adorning the cover. At nearly the same time I spot this, a hallow, agonized wail pierces my ears. I grab the open tome, thanking my luck and cursing it at the same time.
As the sounds draw closer, I hastily clap my hands together, sending a shower of black dust in the air. Muttering an incantation and drawing in the black snow simultaneously, I grab my dark quarterstaff as the air electrifies. As the portal opens and I step through, a bloody hand reaches out and swipes my arm, tearing my flesh from my arm and the tome from my grasp. I yell in pain as I appear in the Aarir's study, startling her from the scrolls she was writing.
"Hells Blood, Dev, really now..." She stops as she notices the blood from my arm and my pained expression, "any success from the journey?" She asks more softy while conjuring a healing spell.
"Only partially." I say through gritted teeth while grabbing a piece of white chalk from my pouch. I draw on the floorboards as the healing magic flows through me, feeling the pain, sorrow, elation, and relief as the wound mends. Aarir studies my drawing with one eye focused on the spell. "Oh," she said unbelieving, "It's a..."
"Rune," I finish her sentence and the drawing at the same time.