Unspoken Words of Magic Chapter 12

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Things could have been going worse for Lucy, but she wouldn’t say they were going well. Seeing her father have his tongue cut out and her brother beaten were bad enough if she wasn’t being taken away by the same soldiers. The only good thing about the situation was her treatment, given the circumstances. She was constantly gagged, except during meals where she was watched by several armed guards. At night she slept with her hands shackled behind her, leaving her to sleep on her front… but the wagons actually had an almost comfortable cot for her to sleep on. She ate the same food as the soldiers and didn’t go hungry, and they didn’t hurt her beyond the discomfort of captivity. She even got to ride in the wagon instead of having to march with them. The same was true of the other captive with her- another young woman who she couldn’t communicate with.

It seemed that only the commander of the guard spoke Bryrian, with an accent. The others presumably spoke the language of Scoubar. Lucy didn’t know what the other woman spoke- she could have been from Bryria as well or from Dalgare, in which case they would half-share a language. Their respective groups had met up inside Dalgare, but that didn’t say much. The people of Dalgare didn’t look that different from those in Bryria- or from Scoubar, for that matter.

It was reassuring that she was treated decently and hadn’t had her tongue cut out, but that didn’t give her any delusions. At best, she was being treated well because she was worth more as a slave in good condition. At worst, they just needed a healthy sacrifice for some sort of horrible ritual in Scoubar. That was what some of the rumors said about Scoubar anyway, but her actual schooling about their history and her training in magic said otherwise. There just wasn’t any point in sacrificing people- even mages would only release as much magic as they could hold at once, maybe a few days worth in total. Besides, if that was the purpose then her father would have done just as well- or even better.

If Lucy was to be a slave, then it would surprise her that there were just two being brought back with a dozen soldiers escorting each. There wasn’t anything particularly special about them- except Lucy’s ability to do magic… and presumably the other young woman was the same. Lucy’s studies on Scoubar hadn’t been extensive, but she knew a few things. First, there was a Mage-King ruling over them. That was the sort of thing anyone could know. Secondly, magic was tightly controlled and regulated. Not that there weren’t mages there, but rather they had to fulfill certain conditions. That had always been the case in Scoubar, with a ruling elite who could perform magic… but Lucy’s studies mentioned there had been a change with the most recent Mage-King. She couldn’t be sure it was accurate, but the information she had said that he only allowed those of his own bloodline to practice magic… which didn’t bode well for her future.

Not trying to escape would be crazy- none of the possible options were much better than death, and some of them might lead to death anyway. However, Lucy had no illusions that she could overpower a dozen or two soldiers, especially while in chains. She also couldn’t do magic with her mouth gagged… at least, not much magic. She did know Douglas’ light spell. As for that being of use to her current situation… well, she had sufficient light. At best, she could blind one person… and then they would know she could still use magic. That would come with even more restrictions… or perhaps they would decide she wasn’t worth it and just kill her. She couldn’t afford to fail to escape. However, if she couldn’t move there wasn’t much she could do… except try to come up with a new spell in her head.

This was a job for Douglas. He was great at picturing things in his head. He built entire towers of precariously balanced objects, and as far as she was aware he had the entire plan before he placed the first block- or other less stable object. He’d been the one to come up with silent casting, though mostly out of stubbornness. Even so, he’d still written things down. Now Lucy had to try to do it without the luxury of writing anything down… or even really having time to practice.

It took some digging around in her head to remember a spell that she had used a few times for practice. It was a moderately complex spell, though it seemed simple. It merely moved things from place to place… but creating pure force in the air wasn’t easy at all. To combat this, other measures had been taken to make the spell functional at a lower level of proficiency. Instead of creating force in any way the wizard wanted, they used their own hand as the form it took. It opened and closed with the movements of one of their actual hands- usually the dominant hand of the caster. Unfortunately, it was of limited use beyond learning to project such force. While it was nice to think that you never had to get up from your chair again to go get a book, some were too heavy for the spell to carry and it was always harder to do magic than go get the book yourself. Magic wasn’t easy, and every time it burned a hole in a wizard’s mind it reminded them not to use it for frivolous things.

Now Lucy had a few days to figure out how to make this work, before they were all the way through Dalgare and into Scoubar. Once there, she had little hope of surviving even if she escaped. She wouldn’t be able to speak the language- at least in Dalgare she would be able to communicate, if with a little more trouble. Of course, she couldn’t stay in Dalgare anyway. It was under control of Scoubar, and she would just get caught again… and she couldn’t go back to Bryria, because it would probably be taken over soon enough. She’d passed enough soldiers going the other way to have some certainty of that.

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