Of Daggers and Dreams - Season One: Sharn
A tiny pixie, her looks a complete color-inversion of her master
Galair’s Muse Sprite familiar.
The wizard flicked the hem of his purple-and-gold robes back as he knelt at the edge of the glowing circle of runes. He frowned and held a slim white hand over the circle, without touching the flagstone floor. Tabitha wandered over, finally having phased back into her natural, humanoid form. She tucked an errant, bloody strand of red hair behind her ear and sat on her heels next to the wizard. She put her hand over the circle, miming Galair. He glanced at her sideways.
“Don’t touch it.” He said.
“Why?” the half-elf woman asked, frowning at the circle.
“Because I don’t know how it works yet.” Tabitha looked at him.
“You said that it was powering the warforged over there.” Galair glanced across the room, at the bloody piles of machinery. He nodded. Absently he could feel Circe, his newfound homunculus’s steel body shifting around his body as the warforged cobra coiled more securely around his shoulders.
“Odds are, it was. But I don’t know how it was doing that. We don’t know how the changeling died, whether there’s a ritual that activates the circle, whether there’s an activation word, whether the circle simply kills whomever touches it,” Tabitha drew back her hand several inches, “whether the subject had to be prepared somehow, whether the fact that the body is a changeling is significant…” he trailed off. “Just don’t touch it.” Tabitha nodded.
“Fair enough. What are you doing then?” She asked. Galair thought for a moment. He switched to draconic.
”It’s easier to speak of the arcane in the language I learned it.” He explained. Tabitha nodded. Galair gestured around the circle. “These words that make up the circle aren’t in Draconic, they’re in Old Common, which is interesting. It informs the magic. Different languages are better for different types of rituals. Supernal or Abyssal works best for contacting divine planes, and I’m guessing that Oryx uses Supernal for his rituals. Primordial works best for elemental planes. The dragons were the earliest pioneers of internal magic so when you’re powering a ritual with your own personal magic, it’s standard to use Draconic. You probably use Druidic. But then again, I hear that’s a secret.” As far as Galair knew, Druids were notoriously secretive about their magic. Tabitha’s face stayed studiously blank.
“And Old Common?” Tabitha asked.
”That’s the thing. I’m not sure, I’ve never heard of it being used in the arcane.”
”So you don’t know how it works.” Galair shook his head.
”Not completely. But I can guess.” He nodded towards the hand Tabitha was holding over the circle. ”Do you feel anything?” Tabitha looked at the circle intently.
”A tingling. It feels like the power is… flowing?” Galair’s eyebrows shot up. He looked at the half-elf.
”That’s… That’s very good. In fact, almost exactly what I’m feeling. The word for it is a “power displacer”. It’s moving energy from one place to another.”
”Probably. Also, probably the Eidolon upstairs. Oryx said the circles are on top of each other.” Galair shuddered, exchanging a glance with Tabitha. They both knew they’d need to get past the divine avatar again if they wanted to leave.
”So the changeling was… a power source?” she asked.
”That’s I’m thinking. My guess is via sacrifice to whatever divinity empowered the Eidolon. Probably the Traveler, considering the…”
”Gears.” Tabitha finished grimly. Galair nodded. Circe sensed the wizard’s unease and reared her head lazily. Galair stroked her steel hood reassuringly, and the homunculus settled back onto his shoulders.
”What interests me in that I think I can replicate a similar effect.” Tabitha looked at Galair. ”Not the sacrifice part.” He added quickly. ”The energy part. I could try to…” Galair stepped away from the blue circle and pulled a piece of chalk from his pack. He started to draw a circle of his own, but smaller, and in Draconic.
“What are you doing?” Tabitha asked, switching back to Common. Galair was muttering to himself in Draconic.
”I need to… but instead of sourcing it from… use my own…” He finished a final rune with a flourish. The interior of the circle had two spaces devoid of runes. Galair rummaged through his spell component pouch. Finally he pulled out the dried husk of a dragonfly. He set it gently into one empty space. He paused and then looked at Tabitha.
”Can I borrow a knife?” Tabitha’s question in Common had drawn the attention of the others.
“What did he say?” Manekatari asked. Tabitha handed Galair a knife from her belt, watching him curiously. Galair drew the knife across his palm and let the blood drip into the other empty space. The chalk circle began to glow white. Galair watched intently, ignoring Manekatari as she reiterated her question. A bright flash illuminated the circle and then died away. Galair smirked. The dragonfly husk was gone, and in its place, a tiny pixie was curled. The pixie was no more than three or four inches tall. Its skin was pure black, with white tattoos and hair that mirrored Galair’s, in a perfect inversion, down to the topknot. It wore a tiny diaphanous white toga-like garment. It stood, and looked around at the figures now crowded around the chalk circle.
“What did you do?” Tabitha demanded. Galair was wrapping the gash on his hand with a piece of cloth from his old robe.
“I, ah, tried to funnel a shard of myself into an external focus.” Blank stares met him. He looked around.
“I tried to make myself a familiar.” He explained. The pixie stretched its insect-like wings and took flight, coming to hover in front of Galair’s face. “It seems to have worked.”
“Ah thought tha’ th’ snake was yer familiar.” Oryx said. The snake in question was staring intently at the pixie. Circe hissed, a sound like a rusted hinge being forced open. Galair slapped the snake on the nose, still watching the pixie. Circe stopped hissing, but remained trained on the sprite.
“Circe is a homunculus,” Galair replied absently. “Not to mention an acquired one. Magically created, yes. Magically bound, yes. But not a literal piece of my essence.” The pixie spoke, a high-pitched and feminine yammering sound. Galair glanced around.
“Did anyone else understand that?” Tabitha shook her head impatiently.
“What did it say?”
“It- She, says that her name is Nyx.” Nyx fluttered up and landed in Galair’s topknot, still babbling away.
“What’s she saying now.” Galair didn’t respond, still listening. Finally, the pixie paused in its babble. Galair glanced around.
“Ah… Nyx is explaining to me at length why I should have called her out long ago.” Galair refused to give more detailed. He wandered off without further comment, talking to Nyx, who had arranged herself a comfortable seat in her master’s hair.