(Patreon) Unspoken Words of Magic 47

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Cletus threw his sheets towards the window, and seeing that they caught on a figure there stabbed out with his dagger. His stab bounced off of the target, indicating they had magic shields- there was no sound of metal to indicate real armor. No, there wouldn’t be sound anyway would there? With that in mind, Cletus attempted to slip around to the side of the figure that was covered in the blanket. 

Even as they shook off the blanket, it was so dark Cletus couldn’t tell if they were invisible or not. He could be trying to stab, but instead he was trying to cast a spell. It was hard, with the silence. If he could just get rid of it… but getting rid of any magic would be enough. His dispel wasn’t perfectly crafted to get rid of silence and shields and invisibility, but it had a chance to disrupt any spell enough for it to fail. He flung it out in front of him just as a dagger slammed into his neck.

His shields protected him, but he was knocked back from the force of the blow. He tripped over something and saw a foot go over his head. His arm came up in time to block the next dagger blow. If he just let the attacks keep landing on his neck, the shield could collapse… and that would be the end of him. He slashed back with his own dagger, and caught the edge of some clothing… giving him a chance to stand up, and telling him that he’d dispelled his opponent’s shields. It was still silent though.

He hadn’t thought about it, but the most terrifying thing about silent magic wasn’t that it could be cast in an area of silence- though it was terrifying- but rather that it was difficult to tell it was happening at all. Cletus only had a slight sense of magic before suddenly his chest was struck, and he felt the magic around him unraveling. He tried to hold onto his shields, but they just fell apart. Trying to hold on any more could be a disaster- who knew what his incomplete magic could do in that case. It likely wouldn’t be defending him.

Cletus kept swinging his dagger. He was at least halfway competent with it… in the light, and out in a training field. His opponent didn’t seem that much better than him though. That made sense, for someone used to killing people unaware. Cletus had one more spell he thought might help… he honestly didn’t know many silent spells, and had only really developed one. He stabbed out with the dagger while casting his other silent spell, closing his eyes at the very last second. He felt his dagger impact something not quite solid, but at the same time he felt something scrape across his ribs. He supposed blinding his opponent wasn’t that much good if he could barely see anyway. At least it had surprised him. 

Sensing more magic, Cletus dove behind the bed- as much as he could, anyway. A gout of fire swept over his legs… and onto the remaining bedding. He only got a glance at the man’s face as The Reaper turned to dive out the window… and then Cletus was busy beating out the flames. A minute later, soldiers broke down his door- he hadn’t heard them trying to open it… but after they stepped inside sound suddenly returned. “-Prince Cletus!”

He waved them off, “I’m alright. There was an attack but… I defended myself.” He looked down near the window where there was a slight spatter of blood. If only he knew a tracking spell. Next time he would. Maybe there wouldn’t be a next time… but it felt like there would be. As he composed himself, Cletus realized something. He survived. He survived an attack by The Reaper. More importantly, he’d seen his face. The glance as he was leaving wasn’t enough to really give him a good description… but it let him recognize the face he’d seen earlier. It was the beggar who called himself Mikhail. Except that didn’t make sense. He’d been sure The Reaper was a wizard with their tongue cut out. That was what all the evidence pointed to. But then… magic? Cletus couldn’t say he’d sensed any magic when the man spoke… but he hadn’t really been paying attention for it. He shook his head. Maybe he had been wrong… but he was certain that man was The Reaper. He could at least provide a face now. All it cost was one soldier, too. Next time they’d be guarding in pairs. Hopefully that would help.

—–

Douglas looked over the magical formation- or what remained of it, anyway. It would either try to kill him, or do nothing. There was some chance of it doing something in between, but not a high one. Fortunately, it was pretty easy to figure out. It was just a puzzle, after all. More importantly, it was only two dimensional. That meant it was easier than any of the magic he did… though he did have to admit it was a bit longer. Eventually, he took out a knife and scratched one of the runes, and then another one. Once he broke a third elsewhere, the remaining magic fizzled out of the formation. It was actually rather intimidating how long the magic had lasted. How strong would it have been when it was new? Douglas wasn’t confident he could have so easily destroyed it without the magic having faded. It would have protected itself, for one.

Douglas marked the area just like the others, showing that at least that particular ward had been disarmed and was safe to walk past. Around him he could see the shelves still had books- but many of the books were damaged or destroyed. The magic protecting them from the ravages of time had failed… and the various insects didn’t treat them well either. However, there were occasionally intact books to be found, and Douglas would slip them into his bag. These books would have the wards repaired and would be placed at the beginning of the lower levels, until it could be decided whether they should be brought to the main library. Douglas knew he could probably just leave with them if he wanted to… but out of respect for Librarian Reed he wouldn’t steal anything. So far the handful of good books he’d found weren’t particularly interesting, but there was always some chance of finding something relevant. It hurt to think of how many books were decaying down in the lower levels. He wondered who had built the Endless Library… and why they had apparently abandoned it. He didn’t know all the details, but he did know that Librarian Reed and the others, including the academy, had found the library a few generations back… Librarian Reed indicated it wasn’t that long before he’d joined. That would explain why it was so awkward to reach from the city… Douglas shook his head. Maybe some book down here would tell him. If he had to bet, though, it would be some stupid war that got everyone killed. That was apparently how the world worked.

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