(Patreon) Unspoken Words of Magic 186

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Chasing off the librarian would give some time for the Students to work in peace. How long was another question entirely, but the situation couldn’t remain as it was indefinitely. If nothing else, despite Harry Ellis obtaining them some food, such food wouldn’t last more than a day. Not if they wanted to continue doing magic. And… the library would finish whatever was happening to it before too long.

Though Errold would have liked to spend all his time working on stabilizing the library, he spent a good half of his time moving through the library reconnecting people. He couldn’t always predict what movements would happen, but as long as he wasn’t more than a few shifts behind he could find where people would have ended up… as long as they didn’t move too much. 

Everyone would like to get more sleep, but there was no time for that. The best they could do was gather people in a central location when they needed a nap, then get back to work. 

Nobody was really ready to reshape the library. Errold had managed to add another entrance to one area, but to change it on a larger scale… most of them were too new to magic. Even if their studies had been very focused, even those who had been studying magic longer had limited access for most of the duration of their study. Errold was lucky to have met Douglas, and he’d learned so much in a short time. It took longer to teach others, and not everyone was equally suited for spatial magic. Though everyone had a part to play.

Simon’s job was to use one simple spell to help stabilize the library… over and over in different places. The effects wouldn’t last forever, but he was able to rememorize the spell quickly- either from his head or a spellbook. Kevin was good with working magic materials and thus setting up formations that would last longer. He couldn’t come up with the designs himself, but replicating them wasn’t a problem. Julie was good at repairing any remaining magic formations in the library. The Librarians certainly hadn’t been good for the area with their policy of simply removing any old magic. It was fortunate that the most durable part was the spatial magic, and it had mostly been going wrong because of drift. Perhaps the original builders hadn’t considered ley-line drift, or maybe they thought future generations would be able to handle it. Clearly that had eventually become incorrect.

Harry Ellis had gotten food, but he was also good with small extradimensional spaces. He’d made his own magic bag, after all. He helped transport materials where they needed to go and touch up the magic formations. Maynard was probably the weakest wizard among the group, but he was one of the most recent to start learning magic and not exactly young either. He supported the work with the materials… and had the good sense to bring along tools. It would have been a shame to have a magic bag full of magic materials they had little way to work with. 

Priscia’s job was also quite important. Her ability to make variable improvised spells was quite useful, especially since they didn’t exactly have a proper forge available. Even if they used magic, metals needed to be softened to be manipulated into precise shapes- and inlaying small bits of metal was especially true. 

The entire job wasn’t as precise as would have been preferred. It was possible half of their formations didn’t even work properly. But they weren’t the only ones working with the library… and while the other group was changing things, it should eventually become stable. But the Students took care of local problems… and hoped that things would calm down enough for them to reconfigure and leave through their exit.

—–

Errold stared at the wall. There were problems to be had with leaving through their exit, even if he could reopen it. Which he could. Probably. The Librarians were aware that they existed. If they later looked for them and didn’t find them they could either assume they wandered off into some far section of the Library and died- which wasn’t actually that unlikely in the current state of things- or keep searching enough to find their exit. Even with all of the shifts, it remained relatively local. 

They couldn’t stay, and they couldn’t get out any other way. There was absolutely no chance that the entrance to the lower part of the library wasn’t constantly under surveillance now. It was possible to leave and never return, but nobody wanted to just give up magic. So Errold was trying to figure out how to hide the door.

A constant illusion… would visually fool people. However, hiding the magic of the illusion and the magic of the door itself wasn’t an easy feat. The easiest way was for the door to just not be there, but adding another layer of spatial manipulation on top was just asking for trouble. Plus, it sort of defeated the whole point of being able to access the area if he cut it off. 

It needed to be nothing, some of the time. But while Errold was confident in his ability to recreate the doorway, not everyone could. It might be safest to have people only travel in groups, but that would mean one of maybe three people would be required anytime someone wanted to enter the library. Though in the short term that wasn’t a problem. 

It would be better to have the door turn on and off on its own. Not based on time or something people could randomly stumble upon, but something else. Like a key, maybe. Not that it had to have an actual lock. In fact, it was better if it was just a plain wall or formless edge most of the time. Then they would just have to hide the formation. It wasn’t possible to attach a formation to nothing… but maybe the ceiling and floor would work. Covering them up shouldn’t be a problem… probably. If they were inactive, they would be difficult to notice.

But first they had to be able to leave… and that meant some surety that the portal would remain stable. But everyone had the feeling that was coming soon. The party manipulating the attachments of the library seemed to be taking more precise movements, single ‘rows’ and ‘columns’. Once they had what they wanted, as long as the Vospian area was relatively stable… things should be fine for months or years, at least. 

—–

Having accomplished their main goals, the Bryrian army prepared to retreat. However, though they’d managed to stay out of large engagements, the Vospians had gathered an army to oppose them. It was difficult to smoothly and calmly move away when being pursued by another army. In addition to that, fortifying the border needed as much time as it could get. That meant delaying those who followed behind.

Lucy looked at the road that stretched in front of her. She wanted to put a warning to civilians so that none of them tried to travel along it… but that would also warn the Vospian wizards. The last thing they wanted to do was involve civilians in their traps, but hopefully they would have the presence of mind to not move around in a war zone. The only issue became if the Vospians would trigger or disarm all of the traps they were leaving behind. Lucy shook her head. It hurt to have the thought that civilians getting killed would make them less trusting of the Vospian wizards, but it indeed passed through her head.

But the traps shouldn’t last long anyway. They only had a limited amount of mana to draw from, and they also didn’t want to spend half of the materials they had seized on their retreat. Not when things were otherwise going well.

Hopefully the road would be unusable. Forever. The Vospians deserved at least that much. And some dead wizards, besides. That was the same at some of their manors. Anyone working there had been warned not to return, but it wasn’t impossible people would try to loot some of those that were trapped.

As far as military victories went, few would consider Bryria’s invasion much. They avoided major cities and thus a source of loot and income. While they sacked manors of prominent wizards, that wasn’t enough to make things directly profitable. They also hadn’t caused many casualties to Vospia. And yet… they were making their point. Bryria wasn’t going to take Vospia’s assault lying down, and more importantly to Lucy… the Bryrian mages had significant say in what their targets would be. Now it was simply a matter of a successful retreat and keeping the border secure… for how long? Forever? Maybe. War seemed to be a pretty constant possibility- even when there were bigger threats that should be worked against in tandem. Scoubar hadn’t exactly gone away.

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