Choices

'Threads of power are resistant things.' The mage mused as she tried to separate one from the other. The cave she was in was a site of ancient rituals, heavy with power that would accentuate her own. Unfortunately, there was also some spells that would hamper her work, failed magic that the caster never took time to cleanse. She could see the tangles in the otherwise even flow of magic, little whirlpools that occasionally burst and sent the collected power shards flying. She concentrated on the tangle and started to untie it with her power. Her hands mimicked her intentions, working with invisible thread with the ease of a master and the respect of a new mage. 'A weaver mage has to be careful or she'll tear herself apart.' The thought was not a new one; she had been saying it over and over again for the past century, reminding herself that one must be careful when dealing with the fabric of reality. She remembered many friends who have fallen because of overconfidence and had no desire to repeat their mistakes.

After weaving the variety of spells into a cloth-like pattern, she superimposed the magical design on a piece of real cloth and fused them together. The cloth itself had containment enchantments so it would keep the unwanted magic from interfering with her work. She would also be able to use the powers in the future if she treated the cloth properly.

Turning her attention back to the cave, she walked around the small pool of water towards the entrance. The cave was not very large so it did not take her very long. She removed spool of thread from the pouch on her belt and loosed the binding spell on it. Starting from the center of the opening, she walked around the cave, laying down the thread as she did so. Once the barrier circle was complete, she added power to it so it would not break when she got serious and would prevent anyone else from interfering. Smirking, she went back to the pool of water, the spool of unused thread still in her hand. The mage set it down beside her backpack and removed a tube from her pouch. The backpack contained the mundane things she needed in the woods; her pouch contained what she used to strengthen her magic. The clear tube contained a dark blue viscous liquid that smelled sweet. The mage shook it a little before removing the cap to make sure the liquid was properly mixed.

The mage applied some of it to her eyelids and sealed the tube once again. It would take a moment for the oily substance to take effect and she needed to get herself settled beforehand. She could feel the filmy residue on her eyelids and knew that her magical sight would be amplified in moments. She looked around the cave for something inorganic, skipping the corner with a lizard's nest, the pool of water in which she could see forms swimming around, the insects feasting on some type of mold that covered the north-eastern wall. The ceiling only had stalactites so that's where they ended up staying for a moment.

The oil dulled her common vision, details fading until she could only see shapes, but she could now see the life-forms around her in a magical way.The scales of the lizard near her feet shimmered with an unnatural light, silvery strands of life-energy forming the body with minuscule threads reaching out with each breath and every flick of its sensitive tongue. The mage could feel her magic spread through the cave, filling the dank atmosphere with effervescent light that outlined the inorganic matter around her. She paused for a moment to look into the pond, spotting a half dozen fish and a film of a light that she guessed was algae. Smiling to herself, she thought briefly of the last time she had tried this spell.

'I was a fool.' The mage admitted. Choosing a forest as a focus point had been foolish. Trees had become pillars of energy, binding the dark soil to the crowns above her head, their leaves stretching above her head like small veins that branched off into capillaries. Energy diffused across the air, becoming brighter when exposed to pure sunlight. Small rodents such as squirrels had pulsed with each beat of their small hearts, fungi became a collection of creepers, the underbrush a folded cloud of woven thread. At that time, she had been overwhelmed by the living system and had allowed her spells to get away from her.She had almost lost her mind and her soul in the process. The vortex of living energy had almost pulled her in and it was only luck that she was still alive. 'Well, luck and a timely interruption.' She amended.

Pushing her thoughts towards the present, she placed her hands above the pool of water. Three drops fell from a staglacite overhead, making fresh ripples in the water. The mage opened her mind, her hands an inch apart.When she was an apprentice, she scryed with her arms on either side of her body to open the door as wide as she could. Since then, she had honed her skills and trained herself to focus her search so she no longer had thousands of possible futures dancing in front of her eyes.

The visions came quickly, pictures of faces, places and possible interactions that were not necessarily linked together. The oil seemed to make some more real, adding a swirl of life magic. These she threaded with her magic. The bonds of magic quickly became an elaborate spiderweb, trailing from one point to another without the benefit of being linear. She saw her queen's sad face and connected it to the black sword and the smell of blood. She heard screaming in another language, a phrase that repeated itself like a war chant. She felt claws on her should before an owl found an artifact and felt a pang of loss. A goblet melted like a wax candle, a blue liquid melting the emblem engraved upon the pewter. A velvet cloak covered her eyes as the ground swallowed her and the tiger at her side. She also saw a family laughing, each participant clutching their stomachs as tears flooded down their faces.

The images burned themselves in her mind, the magical bonds connecting them as they were meant to be seem now. The mage took a sip of the magicked water and drew strength from it. She would need it.

As she washed her face, she felt weak. 'So the prince's coup will succeed.' She thought, feeling her second sight fade back to normal as the water removed the oil. 'But he will die as well.'

She wished that she could tell her queen that her life was in danger but knew that she would not. The price she paid for her power was her voice, the only price that the witch would accept. She had needed the witch to remove the block in her mind, the one that kept her magic from flowing correctly. She loved the power her choice brought her but not being able to speak her knowledge was weighing her down. However, to speak would be to forfeit all of her power and the mage was not ready to do that. She loved her queen but she would survive the woman's death; she could not imagine life without her magic.