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Enlightenment - Chapter XIV

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It couldn't be morning already. She had only just laid her head down.

It didn't make sense.

Wasn't I supposed to do something? she thinks, staring blankly at the ceiling.

She tries to remember, but can't seem to hold onto her thoughts.

I should get up.

The confusion clings to her as she reaches for her hairbrush, only to find herself greeted with air.

She looks over to her nightstand and her eyes confirm the brush is gone.

I always put it there.

She takes her time and does a thorough search, but frustration is all she finds.

Whatever! I don't need a stupid brush!

After she gets dressed, she heads downstairs and sets up her workspace, ready to get things going for another day.

Water, water, water.

Crystals tumble into the pitcher, clinking around almost musically. They liquifiy instantly at the touch of the humming tuning fork. She pours herself a glass and the coolness creeps down her throat as she swallows.

Why don't I feel hungry? she thinks as the coolness hits her stomach.

There's no way I'd let anyone else eat in the library, but what do I do? I keep my food down here of course! How does that make any sense! But where else do I keep it? Maybe expand the top floor?

She opens the cabinet, and finds it empty. Empty of bread. Nuts. Dried fruit. Everything.


The shatter of glass startles her. Oh no! she thinks. Concern for possible water damage takes priority over all other thoughts.

She turns. There was no spill. No broken pitcher or glass. In fact, nothing was there. Everything she had just laid out was all gone.

She scans the room.

Someone's here. Someone has to be.

A dark form streaks across the room.

The chairs have disappeared.

It happens again.

Her bookshelves are suddenly bare.


Now even the bookshelves themselves have disappeared.

What's happening!

Her head sweeps right, and everythnig it touches dissolves. Tabletops, legs, and even walls and the floor itself. What's left is a whiteness too bright to look upon.

She shuts her eys, but it's too late. She had already looked over the entire room, and now it was all gone. Even with her eyes shut, the whiteness forced its way in. A crouch and check with her hands shows her the smooth, wooden planks beneath her feet, and the edge where it abruptly stops. She was on the last existing bit of floor left, floating in a sea of white.

My store!

She screams...

* * *

...and wakes up.

The nightmare fades, but the fear holds a tight grip on her heart. She forces herself deeper into her bed, looking for the comfort of her blanket's embrace. She lets her mind drift and lets the panic wash away in the calm.

Sunlight creeps past her eyelids, letting her know the hour. Why am I so tired?

Then she remembers. Not the nightmare, but the night before.

Someone broke into her house. Found their way to her collection.

The blankets fly, and she's up and about before they can hit the ground.

She slides out the chest from beneath her bed, and opens it up for reassurance. Still safe. Even with her important books moved into her bedroom, panic woke her up every time she nodded off, and she'd have to check and recheck that all were still there.

It didn't make sense.

Why weren't they taken? It's what they were after. Why weren't they taken!

The lid closes, and she once again considers trapping the chest, and once again discards the thought. Occassionally magic trap made an explosion big enough to damage the contents inside whatever locked container it was set to protect. She couldn't risk that.

They made it. They were inside. No one was here to stop them. They broke open the cabinet... and they took nothing!

She checked anything and everything she could possibly think of. Nothing was taken. Not even a single reagent. The only evidence of intrusion was the broken cabinet.

It didn't make sense.

Any one of those books was worth a fortune to the right buyer. They had to have known. Why else break in?

She checked again, and again, to make sure her books were still safe, and yet each time, seeing them all there fueled her anger more and more.

It has to make sense!

She thumbs through the book of necromancy. Pain spike, strangle, and poison strike have become a lot more attractive. Something needed to be punished.

She packs some supplies and heads out with Reagent at her side. It was time to vent.

"In vas nox!"

The noxious cloud leaves a fly no chance of escape, and it drops to the ground.

The harshmovements of the necro spells were satisfying. No fireballs today.

Flies, grasshoppers, and snails all succumb to her fury.

Where's another!

Birds chirp away as a rabbit dashes across her path.


A fly caught up in the rabbit's wake becomes her next target.

The bushes rustle behind her.

She turns, hoping for something real to attack. Instead she finds Stark.

"Mel?" he asks. "What are you here? I've been following a trail of dead insects."

"Oooh... yeah... that was me," she says, attempting to hide the book behind her back. Instead, the movement catches the paladin's eye.

Face still, voice quiet, he asks, "What are you doing with that?"

Before she can answer, Reagent walks into view, and Melfina's heart leaps.

Stark pushes Melfina behind him, unsheathes his sword, and he leaps as well.

"No! Wait!" she screams, knowing it would do no good.

"In sar!"

Stark arches backward and releases a cry of pain.

"Reagent! To me!"

Stark slowly turns as the horde minion runs past him to its master. "You said you were just going to read it. Just study it."

She had been afraid to see his anger, but seeinghis pain was worse.

"I... I did. I tried. But... it wasn't enough. It... There's going to be... The Reunification... It's not illegal anymore..."

"Illegal! I don't know what the archduke is doing, but you're headed down an evil path. Don't do this, Mel. Don't. No wonder you feel different! You're being corrupted already! No wonder you've been targeted! You have to stop! Evil attracts evil!"

"You- I'm sorry, Stark. But the way you're always so- That's just stupid! Necromancy isn't evil. It can be used for evil, but so can a sword! That doesn't mean it can't be used for good!"

"Of course necromancy attracts evil! It makes sense! Why else would thieves be attracted to your place!"

"That is the worst logic I've ever heard! My books of course!"

"That doesn't make any sense! If they were after your books, then they would have taken them! There's only one book I can see that could have lured them, and you're holding it!"

"You- Stop-" She screamed. "This is hardly worth anything!" she says while shaking the book of necromancy in his face. "Do you have any idea how much more the Tome of Lost Knowledge is worth! I can't even come up with a number right now!"

And that was it. There was no number. No amount would ever get her to part with it. It was the only copy known to exist. But she had seen another. In her childhood. And in her childhood, it was another who was its caretaker.

He couldn't just have it stolen. With all his power, there were still some bounds as to what he could do. He was the High Father. But he didn't have to have it stolen. With all his influence, he just needed to know that it existed. He was the High Father. He would force her to give it up somehow. And she didn't know how he could be stopped this time.

"Stark. I know who was responsible. It was Wayland."

* * *

Looks like you stepped out. Don't mind me using your paper to write this. I heard about yesterday. Just wanted to check in on you. Take care.


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