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Enlightenment - Chapter VII

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Nothing happens.

Extend my arms upward, then make an outward, circular sweeping motion.

"Anh mi sah ko," she chants.

Nothing. Again.

Stupid spirit speaking, she thinks as she tries again.

Her distaste for the subject had dissipated. It wasn't as if it was necromancy after all. When she opened up the spirit speaking book, there wasn't much information within. Even less so than in the disorganized mess in the book of necromancy. It appeared she couldn't write about it without trying it.

Since spirit speaking and necromancy were linked, understanding it would give her a better understanding of necromancy. Added to the similarities that necromancy has to magery, she should be able to write her book while still keeping her hands clean.

"Anh mi sah ko."

Still nothing.

She continues repeating the motions and saying the words as she walks down the road. Walking was supposed to help. The road started at Luna, and if she continued on long enough, it would reach the bridge to Umbra. Grass intruded through the cracks along the edges, but at least it was still nice and smooth.

She would have preferred to have remained close to home, but she no longer had as much privacy as she used to. Better security would be better for business, but there were too many eyes watching and she didn't want to be seen. She didn't know how Stark would react.

It was fun though, watching him ambush the recruits. He told her the first day was to test their awareness of other people, so he threw eggs at them to see if he could catch them off guard. They did much better the second day, but they didn’t know the eggs were just a distraction for a different test. He would assemble or break down a pile of rocks, or move some fallen branches, or change other aspects of their surroundings. If they didn't notice the changes on their return, they failed.

And many failed.

He was supposed to recruit nine, but only kept five. Cadence was asked to look for more, so he could fill out the rest. It was nice seeing how thorough he was, but she needed a secluded place to practice.

So she walked. She spoke the words. She made the motions.

And nothing.

It has to be wrong. What kind of spell doesn't need a mana focus or reagents? She didn't sense any resonance in the book, even though the vendor assured her that was all she needed. The spell used mana at least, but it consumed the residual mana that clung to newly dead bodies. Only if there was no residual mana at hand, would the spell consume mana produced by the caster.

But it did use mana. So it was a spell. A spell like she'd never heard of. It also had multiple effects produced from the one set of words and motions. And for that reason an entire dicipline was based off of this one spell. It would heal the body and summon the spirts of the dead. It would allow communication with that dead soul.

Melfina shudders at the thought, but keeps on chanting. It was just research.

How is this any better than necromancy? Why is it more accepted? It's still summoning the dead. Summoning someone’s soul! Isn't that worse than animating a body? A body is just a body. But the soul... maybe there's a way to apply the healing aspects without the soul summoning.

"Anh mi sah ko," she chants again. This time there was much more than nothing.

The translucent shape of a man appears before her, fully formed, lacking any color but a sickly white.

"OooOOo…llllp me! Help me!" it said as it frantically flails its arms. Her slight jump encourages him to go on. "You can see me! You can see me! You have to help! There isn't much time!"

"Wha... what do you want?" she says as her heart pounds in her chest.

"I was robbed and murdered. You have to hurry! I can't last much longer!"

"Show me the way, I'll gate you to a healer," Melfina says, as the ghost reaches for her wrist in an attempt to guide her, forgetting its hand would pass right through.

"Back this way," he says, as he leads her off the road, toward the woods in the distance. "I don't have much time... my spirit is already losing cohesion. There's no time. You need to deliver something for me."

She runs after the ghost until they reach his body. It lies limp on top of a bush, eyes wide with fright, knife in its back. Something had gotten to the body afterwards as it was obviously partially eaten, but the noise she had made must have scared it away.

"In my pocket. There's a key with a red ribbon. They took my gold, but they left everything else. I didn't have much with me."

"There's no time to lead you to my house, so deposit the key into my account. We share it. I'm Forrester. My wife's Sabrina. Leave a note telling her what happened. Let her know that I love her, and that I'm sorry, and tell her that the key is for a chest in The Great Storehouse by Cove. She doesn't know about my full inheritance. Leave your name on the note. I'm sure she'll thank you."

"I will, Forrester. But I can still try taking you back to the healers. Someone can save you."

He shakes his head. "No... I'm losing myself already. It's too late to put me back. And look at my body. There's no way it could still contain me even if my spirit was still whole." He tries holding her hands in his own, and they both watch them pass through her own. "Sorry… it's hard to remember. But thank you. I'm glaad you walked by. You'll... saaave... my... fammm..."

His voice fades away and he vanishes.

Melfina pauses a moment as she stares at his body, then reaches into his pockets and finds the key. She sits and leans on the nearest tree and writes everything down. No point in hurrying now, she couldn't do anything else for him but deliver the key.

He thanked me. Maybe talking to the dead isn't so bad.

Melfina sits in silence after she finishes as she tries to pretend she's conflicted with what she's about to do next.

She takes out the book of necromancy and opens it up.

Just to look.

"Animate Dead" was written across the top of the page.

Ewww! she thinks as she quickly turns to another.

Pain Spike? Strangle? There has to be something in here that doesn't sound evil! Maybe this wasn't a good idea. But... performing spirit speak is so different than reading about it. I've learned more in these few moments than I have in these past days by simply reading the book.

There was a slight change in the way the mana was used when Forrester first appeared. It felt softer.

How can I present myself as an authority, knowing that I've never performed a single necro spell? If some of my conclusions, or even worse, my descriptions, are proven wrong... with something as easy to confirm as this... I'll lose all credibility.

She flips through the book again. What could one spell hurt?

"Horrific Beast" it reads. Her resolve weakens. She reads the description and it weakens more. The names and descriptions of the spells had never really registered in her head. She had only been interested in the mechanics.

It's not just an illusion! Why would I want to tranform my body into that!

She drops the book, disappointment on her face. When she looks down, ready to pick it up and wipe off any dirt and grime that might have gotten onto it, she sees the pages have settled down onto a different spell.

Hmmm... this doesn't sound so bad. And it looks pretty easy. She mutters the words and does the hand motions without thinking.

Then an odd feeling runs through her. Melfina sits up and listens. She only hears the blood pounding in her ear drums. Her eyes widen as she takes another look at the partially eaten body. She looks at the missing chunks of flesh and broken bones.

You're being stuipd, she tries to convince herself.

She hears a grunt.

Something's there.

* * *

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