Sorcerers: A Day in the Life
This is a "telling" by the high elf sorcerer Dektor, a Valkyon arcanist, recounted word for word to Kimar, a Baraka sage who studies elven customs. "Telling" fixes important events of the day in one's mind, much as a race that favors writing would use a journal.
Dektor, son of Ridic, a child of Karas, recounts this day all he has seen and known and done, lest some wisdom go unrecognized and be forgotten. As every night, we remember so that nothing is lost and we may remain as one.
Morning followed the usual custom: oatmeal, honey, and tea to break the fast, then a meditative bath. After, exercise in the yard near the gates of town. This day wild boars vexed the gate guards and injured a traveling peddler. It seemed wise to cut exercise short and turn my disc upon them. Disc and master rejoiced in the new tricks we both have learned since our last real battle, and the pigs left with shrieks and blisters, those who left at all. Though it is a shame that children of Arun and Shara must disagree so violently, there is still pleasure in such contests!
It was Dektor's honor to join the supply party for scouts in the Temple of Dagon. In a place of power a wise man can learn much. We traveled safely until we found a fallen column, the first sign of the temple. There, one of the recruits caught the eye of a kamara that seized his leg with mighty jaws. Jorid drew the beast's attention-and that of its three friends-while Eruka hacked them with his axe and I flanked with Qijann.
"C'mon, hit 'em!" Qijann shouted. "Nothing they can bite off you that I can't stick back on!"
I encircled the creatures with flame while Jorid kept them pinned in place. Then I shot an arcane pulse through three of them in a line, dropping them like stones. Eruka split the shell of the last and it died as well. Qijann healed the boy, though his leg will be scarred forever.
"Don't worry, kid," I heard Qijann tell him, "Nothing ladies like better'n a big, nasty scar where something tried to eat'cha!" Qijann's success at his career is both indisputable and puzzling.
Except for a small facade, the temple lies beneath a hill. Tree roots have opened it to rain and leaf-green shafts of sunlight. Enormous columns that have stood since the time before stories are entwined with corded vines almost as thick as the bulwarks themselves. We ate with the scouts near the main entrance.
Perkai, a lancer and a good shield-mate, invited me down to the second scouting post, several layers below. "There's a mystery to the architecture I think you'd enjoy," he said.
We could have waited for the others, but Perkai was sure of the way. Or thought he was. When I noted his hesitation he laughed. "Place is a serpent warren and it wriggles like Ishara's tongue in Lok's accursed ear. Just let me figure out which coil we-" We turned a corner and blundered into a gula merchant and his sniveling laborers. They swarmed between us. Though Perkai held the fat merchant at bay with his shield, the minions overran him, hacking at his sides. I fell back to blast them with fire, then riddled them with blades of ice. Minions fell, but the brutish gula turned and leapt on me.
He hacked so hard with his great cleaver that I fell to the ground, stunned. I had a spell that would have got me to my feet, but I was too dizzy to cast it. This is how it ends, I thought. Cut off and in close quarters, sorcerer, only one mistake is needed. He raised the massive blade again. Another such blow would have finished me, but Perkai saw my desperation and charged, bowling over the last laborers on his way.
"Fall down, you carnivorous cow!" he shouted as he spitted the gula on his lance. We leaned against the wall and took stock.
"Still standing, eh?" Perkai asked.
"Living, but not lively," I replied. "It would be well to have a healing potion before we travel further."
"Blast and damnation," he snapped. "Who packs costly potions on a jaunt down a few flights of stairs?"
I sighed. "Not a castanic, it seems. Nor a forgetful elf. Here is a lesson. Let it not be forgotten!"
I used the flow of air to guess the central chamber's direction and crept carefully toward it. At last we found another flight of stairs, but down below we heard sibilant naga voices. We saw shadows, several small, one large. "I will kill the small foes if you can deal with the large one," I whispered.
Perkai smiled. "No way 'round but through! Stay behind me this time!"
And so it was. I cast a poisonous circle around the snakes. The little ones sickened, then burned in a burst of magma, clearing the way for Perkai to charge the larger one. Perkai hammered him, and his shield turned the monster's questing spear from us. The fanged warrior began a spell, but I struck faster than the snake and drove an icy needle into its heart. From the bottom of the stairs it was not hard to follow faint voices to the scouting post, where a mystic kindly tended our wounds. I never saw Perkai's architectural "mystery."
Let it never be said that Dektor, son of Ridic, cannot laugh at his own mistakes. Though I fought well under poor circumstances, yet I also recall the words of my teacher Kekos, son of Yerash. "A sorcerer's enemies should die at arms' length, not in an embrace." To this, I add my corollary: the lone sorcerer must strike swiftly and kill with one blow lest the foe strike back, for we have no shield.
I once relished delving alone into dark caves or trackless forests, but I reflect now on how lonely it was to fight without the aid of shields and healing. Some adventures are better shared.
This is all Dektor has seen and known and done. No wisdom must go unrecognized. Nothing shall be lost. In the name of Karas, I remember.