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Shades of Truth - Chapter I

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Finally! A new development in magery worth getting excited over! Proof that the ninth circle exists, and it was discovered by a healer. I'll know more when I see Rayne tonight. In the mean time, I have a few more patients scheduled for the day.

Melfina reads the passage again. She has finally gotten to something good.

The Ossian Grimoire was a rare and powerful book. She doubted she had the original, the very first book of necromancy ever created, but all the books labeled as Ossian Grimoires were identical copies. So whether is was the first or the last Grimoire created, it didn't make much difference.

Her excitement was ready to burst when she finally sat down with it for the first time. She had locked it away for so long, and was ready to inhale the knowledge that was inside. What she found was not at all what she expected. Melfina was horror struck when the first page she saw wasn't related to necromancy at all. After a couple more pages she confirmed she was looking at a spellbook.

But it didn't feel like a spellbook. She knew difference between spellbooks and necro books, and despite what she her eyes told her, she trusted her feelings more. It was the same book she had used to summon Darksage to her side, and the same book that she held when Archduke Aedilwulf declared all charges against her would be forgotten. They were false charges, but either way it no longer mattered.

A closer look revealed much more. Spellbooks contained only sixty-four spells, but they were hundreds of pages thick. The thickness was required for durability. Regulating the flow of mana was a taxing process, and if a scribe tried to cut down on the pages when assembling the book, eventually the book would be used up like a scroll. And so with all that extra space in every spellbook, it was often put to use. Ossian had taken that concept to an extreme.

Every page was filled from top to bottom with notes, patient histories, journal entries, purchases, drawings, and even grocery lists. It was so chaotic that Melfina couldn't get herself to read it for any considerable length in one sitting. What did she care if someone named Stoven, who had been dead hundreds of years, kept on coming back to be cured of itchy feet. Or that he hated appointments with Chima because she would tell the most offensive jokes followed by a horrendous cackle. But Melfina refused to skip ahead and risk passing over something that was actually important. At least the entries about his girlfriend were always sweet.

Rayne came home and told me everything. She happened to be in Wind, getting me a gift, when the news was spreading. She won't let me know what it is yet. But as for the proof, a healer named Bashere was performing surgery when the spell was accidentally cast. He didn't have a spellbook in hand of course, so his mana flared. Incredibly though, he didn't pass out. He thinks the spell he cast must have something to do with healing of some kind.

Melfina closes her eyes and tries to imagine what it was like back then. Lord British had united almost all the land. The discovery of the moongates helped in creating a sense of identity, and unity, and if necessary, created a quick method for dispatching the Royal Britannian Guard. He understood the importance of magic. It was the creation of the Council of Mages that laid the groundwork for his control of most the world. And while he wasn't a mage himself, he was the one that created the title of Scholar, to be bestowed upon all mages who helped to significantly advance the discipline of magic.

Like discover the ninth circle of magic she thought. But there is no ninth circle. Melfina opens her eyes and reads on.

So what does that have to do with the ninth circle? I'll tell you what. Bashere's cast a spell without a mana focus before. He knows what it feels like when mana flares, and he's certain that before the rest of his mana burned out, he used up enough mana for a second circle spell. That means there are nine second circle spells. The rule of eight has been broken. But that doesn't mean all magic theory is wrong, so it looks like there may be nine spells per circle, and a ninth circle. There has to be. But it looks like it's time to go out, I'll finish the rest of this after dinner. It looks like we're going to celebrate something.

Melfina checked the time, then double checked the amount of recall scrolls she had already made. I'll read just a little bit more, then finish the rest.

Before I forget, Rayne got a promotion! She'll now be a direct aide to Ushar! With a new research frenzy that is about to explode, it will certainly be great to have Rayne working directly with one of the High Council. Who knows, in a few years, maybe even she'll make it to the High Council herself!

But back to Bashere. There are two key things about this spell. First, it's a good thing that most natives of Wind haven't given up their language, otherwise the spell wouldn't have been stumbled upon. The second thing is even more remarkable. The spell didn't use any of the eight reagents. It's so obvious now that it's been discovered. Mages have been experimenting with all the different combinations of the known reagents, yet they didn't think that for nine circles of nine spells each, there would need to be a ninth reagent. It's ridiculous that it was so obviously overlooked. But it's been found now. The ninth reagent is pig iron.

Then Melfina understood. She wasn't reading about the discovery of the ninth circle of magic. This was the birth of necromancy.

He cast curse weapon. The motion was so simple, and it was the most forgiving of the spells when it came to precision. And it only took one reagent. To this day, healers still used pig iron in some of their medicines. It was almost unbelievable that so perfect a spell existed for necromancy to be discovered. What are the chances? Although she supposed that necromancy wouldn't have been discovered under more unlikely conditions.

This was the birth of necromancy. The birth of necromancy! She grew slightly dizzy as the power of the statement hit her. The history of necromancy as it formed and evolved was in her hands. And Ossian was extremely meticulous. The very first necro books were made by him. He obviously altered his spellbook through a process that he discovered. The formula was in here. It has to be.

Umbra would no longer have the secret to themselves. Melfina's book, Discovering Necromancy was near completion. Umbrans were secretive people, and if they wouldn't publish materials about their system of magic, then she would. But if she discovered this secret, and included in her book, it would become a phenomenon.

There were six months to the Reunification. She could find the secret, and unveil her work to the world at what might be the most significant event of her lifetime. Her first book would be released at last.

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