|Tales from Mortia: Rilly
Author: Some Purple Ink PM
Mortia is a magical land where anything is possible. Why is it up to a group of incompetent misfits to save reality? And why do things seem to burst into flames for no reason?Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Fantasy - Chapters: 15 - Words: 33,039 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 05-23-12 - Published: 04-08-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3011861
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 12: Not the End
Rew glanced at Rilly. She looked pale, weak, and seemed out of breath. Rew noticed her hair was turning brown again. He sighed.
"Are you okay?" asked Rew.
Rilly nodded and patted her stomach. "Fine."
"Are you sure? You just slept for an hour even though it's only morning. And you look sick."
"I said I'm fine," said Rilly with a frown. "I'm just worried about Tag."
Rew sighed again, doubting her words. He doubted her worry was the only cause of her sickness. However, Rilly was proving to be the most unusual person Rew ever met.
They walked slowly, Rilly seeming to lose all her motivation. Rew kept warily eyeing the strange trio standing and waiting for them. He could tell one of the women was a wizard because of her clothes and staff. The other woman appeared to be a thief of some sort. It was strange to see them together. The third person, the only man of the group, was the strangest of all. Rew furrowed his brow, noting the man's strange clothes; there were several burn marks on them. He stood with a strange smile as he watched Rew and Rilly. The two women stood with confused, apprehensive expressions. The nearby trees watched with no expression but Rew knew they watched. After some time, Rew and Rilly finally stopped a few metres in front of the strange trio.
"Hello," said the man with a nod towards Rilly.
Rew and Rilly shared a glance. Rew noticed Rilly's eyes for the first time. There was a deeper blueness to them than he remembered.
"Are you ready?" asked the man, still looking towards Rilly.
Rilly glanced at Rew. "Um."
"What's this about?" asked the thief.
"That's what I'd like to know," said Rew as he cautiously regarded the strange trio.
The man peered at Rilly as if he recognised her. Some moments of silence passed.
"Um," said Rilly. "Who are you?"
Toya glanced at Dave and Zel before answering. "My name is Toya. I'm a cleric."
When Zel did not respond, Toya elbowed her. Zel rolled her eyes. "I'm Zel."
"Oh, my name is Rew," said Rew. "And this is Rilly."
"Nice to meet you," said Toya with a warm smile.
"What about him?" asked Rilly as Dave continued to peer at her.
"Yes," said Dave.
Rew and Rilly exchanged another glance.
"Um, don't mind him," said Toya with a nervous glance to Zel.
"Hey, we should get going. You don't look so well," said Dave as he pointed at Rilly.
Rilly looked shocked as Rew nodded.
"You do look kind of sick," said Zel as she tilted her head to one side.
Dave nodded and motioned for everyone to follow him. He started back towards Turtle Back, heading for the cairn. Toya glanced at Rew and Rilly before following. Zel sighed and followed. Rew and Rilly remained in the place and shared another glance. After Dave walked a dozen steps he stopped and turned to them.
"Are you coming?" he asked.
"Um, you still haven't told us who you are or what this is about," said Rew as he took a protective step in front of Rilly.
"I'm Dave," said Dave.
Rew glanced at Rilly. She furrowed her brow slightly. It appeared as if she recognised the name. She pursed her lips and looked Dave up and down.
"Who are you?" asked Rilly.
Dave looked around with a bemused expression. "Dave."
Rilly furrowed her brow again.
"He's the sorcerer," said Toya.
Rilly hesitated but then started towards them. Rew shrugged slightly and followed close behind. Dave nodded and continued to lead the way. Toya and Zel walked beside him with Rilly and Rew following a few paces behind them. The walked in as much silence as was possible given the noise of the nearby town. Waves continued to crash and the breeze continued to blow. Occasionally, Rew would glance at Rilly. She seemed to be getting paler by the minute and she nearly stumbled on several occasions. It was not until Zel stumbled that anyone said anything.
"Damn it," said Zel as she tripped on a protruding rock and nearly fell.
She managed to catch herself. Rew noticed her embarrassed glance at Dave. Toya smiled but Dave seemed oblivious. Rew risked another glance to Rilly. She walked slowly without paying attention to anything. Rew could tell something was wrong but he did not know what it was. He suspected it had to do with more than just Tag's disappearance.
The man had not said two words since he kidnapped Tag in Old Stump. One second, the man approached him and the next Tag found himself in Turtle Back. Even though it felt like an instant, Tag could tell some time had passed since the man grabbed him in Old Stump. After the initial disorientation wore off, Tag realised the man was a wizard. He had the floppy, pointy hat and a black staff. Instead of speaking, the man simply pointed to the top of the nearby cliff.
Tag simply followed orders, not wanting to find out what kind of wizard the man was. The man also carried a large tome of some kind. Most wizards carried large tomes around. They were usually grimoires full of arcane things because wizards had to rely on reading or memorising spells. The tome underneath the man's arm was old and worn. Tag guessed it was ancient because he could not read the strange lettering along the spine of the tome. The man held it tightly, suggesting it was valuable. Of course, every tome of magic was valuable, even the one containing the spell to change one's shoes into custard. No one ever used it. Not even the wizard who wrote it. Only old wizards bothered to learn it because there were simply no other spells left. The only use it could have was if one was trapped in a desert with no food. Of course, using the spell would mean the caster would be barefoot and have to walk in the desert with no shoes. Nobody wanted that so they usually avoided getting lost in deserts.
Tag walked a few paces in front of the strange wizard and considered his options. He could try to run but the wizard might know some spells to stop him. Or worse, injure him. Or worse, kill him. Or worse still, turn his shoes into custard. Tag glanced back at the man, wondering what Rew and Rilly were up to; he was mostly worried about Rilly. He continued to walk, unsure of where the man was taking him. Finally the man caught up and walked beside him, directing him towards the cairn on the cliff. The cairn itself was huge.
Five large oblongs of stone stood straight up from the ground in a circle, placed there by some unknown force. The unknown force, of course, being the ancient people who built the cairn. A large, stone altar sat in the exact centre of the circle. Smaller stones were arranged around in a complex design. Tag took it all in with an awed expression. The five pillars stood at least ten metres tall and were at least five wide. They created a circle large enough to build a house in and the altar in the centre had four sets of stairs, aligned perfectly with each compass direction. The man nodded to himself. Tag noticed small black totems sticking out of the ground around the perimeter of the entire cairn, some ten metres away from the altar.
"Okay, monk, you're exactly what I've needed," said the man with a grim expression.
Tag nodded absently, still amazed by the impressive cairn. Strange, ancient runes covered the surfaces of the large pillars and altar. Their meanings were steeped in myth and lore and probably lost to time. One set of writing on the northernmost pillar was a recipe for delicious beef stew.
"I need you to recite the Rite of Gul," said the wizard, pointing towards the nearest black totem.
The wizard was clearly unaware Tag was the only monk incapable of speaking the mysterious language used by monks for prayers, incantations, and other religious events like bake-sales. For this reason, Tag was considered a misfit amongst all other monks. His only duty at the Temple was to clean the statues until he learn the language. Despite his years trying, he never learned how to properly utter even one word. It amused and confounded his tutors and most of them gave up after a month or two of trying. Tag practised hard and knew all the prayers and rites but could not actually say them. He knew the Rite of Gul was used primarily in conjunction with dangerous and, usually, forbidden spells. It created a barrier so the caster would be undisturbed and would remain contained should something go wrong. Or go right, in some cases.
"Um," said Tag.
The wizard waved his hand. "Come on now."
"Um," said Tag again. "You don't understand."
"No, you don't understand. We haven't got all day. I don't think the binding will last much longer," said the wizard with a furious expression.
"What binding?" asked Tag.
The wizard laughed. "I am the one who will destroy reality. There's nothing you can do about it so you may as well help."
The wizard sighed. "I've bound one of the Elements in their mortal form. This spell I have under my arm will complete the imprisonment, rendering the Element dead."
Tag blinked again.
"This will throw the world out of balance and reality will collapse," said the wizard with the standard evil laugh.
Tag stared at the man in shock. "You can't do that!"
"Yes I can. It is my destiny! I already checked with a fortune-teller and everything," said the man with a nod.
Tag stood aghast as the wizard leered at him.
"If you don't then I'll have to force you," said the wizard as he raised his staff. The ailite tip flashed several colours.
"Okay, wait," said Tag as he held his hands up. "Look, I can't help you destroy the world."
Tag sighed. "I'm a monk after all."
"By the gods, I swear I can make you. I've prepared a spell just in case," said wizard as the tip of his staff flashed again.
Tag took a step back and held his hands up again. "There's no need for that."
The wizard smiled at him. "Good. Now, the Rite of Gul."
"Um, okay," said Tag. His mind scrambled to come up with something to say that would sound convincing.
"Hurry," said the wizard with a concerned glance around them. He seemed uneasy for some reason. The previously unmentioned breeze was steadily increasing.
"Um ... je ne sais pas ce que je dis," said Tag as the nonsense words formed in his mind.
The wizard looked around. "Is that it?" he asked.
"Yes?" said Tag.
The wizard looked around again and nodded. "Good."
Unbeknownst to Tag and the wizard, a small group was slowly making their way up the hill leading to the cairn. The man in the lead stopped some distance away from the cairn and stared with wide eyes. The other four stopped beside him and glanced from the scene to the man in the lead.
"Who are they?" asked Zel as she craned her neck to look at the two mysterious figures near the altar.
Toya looked around nervously. "I don't like this."
Dave nodded and shifted the pack slung from his shoulder. "Right."
Rew looked at Rilly. She stared hard at one of the figures.
"Hey, what's that one doing?" asked Zel as she pointed.
One of the figures ascended the altar and started waving his hands around in the air. He held a long staff in his hand.
Toya narrowed her eyes at the scene. "That's a wizard," she said.
"What's he doing?" asked Zel again, squinting to try to see.
Rew felt nervous. He was a simple druid and it was clear there was a lot of high magic in the area. It felt completely unnatural. He sighed and turned to Rilly. She looked on the verge of fainting.
"Hey, are you okay?" asked Rew as Rilly swayed.
She nodded and continued to stare at the figure not at the altar.
"Hm, I see," said Dave.
The breeze around them was increasing to a steady wind. It whipped at their hair and threatened to pull Toya's hat off. She held it down with her free hand and looked around. She could sense a heavy magic field. Much heavier than the one created by the cairn alone. It felt totally different than when she visited the cairn before being translocated to the Tunnel.
"Something is wrong," said Toya.
Zel nodded as strange colours began to flicker from the man standing at the altar.
"Are you okay, Rilly?" asked Dave as he turned to look at her.
Her eyes were glazed and her skin was a sickly pale, even her hair seemed dull. She nodded slowly as she swayed with the stiff breeze. Rew put a hand on her shoulder to steady her. He immediately looked at her in shock as he felt her temperature. Dave stared at Rilly for some time before looking back to the cairn.
"I understand now," he said after a moment.
"What's going on?" asked Toya, still clutching her hat. The hat was, after all, an important part of being a magician.
"Well, that man is about to destroy reality," said Dave with a casual shrug.
Toya and Zel exchanged a glance.
Rew, on the other hand, stared at Dave in shock. "What?"
"Yes," said Dave with another casual shrug.
"You're joking right?" asked Zel with a nervous glance to the cairn.
Dave shook his head and pulled a leather-bound book from his bag. Rilly's eyes lit up when she saw it. Rew felt her lurch forward and looked at her in shock. The book in Dave's hand pulsed. He smiled as Toya and Zel exchanged a glance.
"Come on, we have to do something!" said Zel.
The wind whipped violent towards the cairn. The group of five turned their attention towards the two figures. They still remained unnoticed.
A man's voice drifted to their ears. "You're too late! The spell is nearly complete!"
Dave nodded to Rilly and they ran towards the cairn. Zel and Toya exchanged a glance and ran after them. Rew prepared to follow but stopped when he noticed a small girl calmly approaching him. Dave and Rilly and Toya and Zel reached the perimeter of the cairn just as the man threw his hands in the air. An angry swirl of colour spun around the pillars and shot into the sky. Dave reached his hand out in a desperate attempt to stop it but he was too late.
The man completed his spell and reality collapsed in on itself and tore into thin shreds like so much old paper.