Introduction – The Ritual And The Mirror
The pain was unexpectedly dull, even as the knife cut through his skin. Gahn could only feel the cold metal as it wound its way across his arm. The priest had stopped right above Gahn’s wrist; there was not even a scar that would indicate where the blade had passed. Seemingly satisfied with his work, Syrong backed away, his priestly robes moving gracefully across the stone floor. Gahn held his arm, resisting the urge to scratch; it was hard work.
Syrong turned around and made markings in the stone; he was forming a spell circle. Gahn watched as the priest engraves symbols into the hard rock, each one glowing faintly before vanishing. It was only when the priest began chanting that Gahn knew he was finished. Syrong spoke softly at first, his words like a gentle whisper. As he was talking the throbbing in Gahn’s arm increased as if fueled by the words. Gahn could recognize parts of his chant; it was old tongue, the language of the Spirits. Gahn turned to face Syrong, the priest’s face had been removed of emotion; his gentle blue eyes were now an unholy white.
Gahn forced his gaze away from the priest and stared at his arm, hoping that the throbbing would anchor his mind. To his surprise, Gahn saw blood sipping through; trails of red where the blade had cut through before. Gahn still felt no pain though the blood had begun pouring faster. Syrong had picked up speed; his voice increasing in tempo and volume, the blood increasing with it. Gahn watched the blood pour onto the floor only to find the markings that Syrong had made earlier glowing in the darkness of the room.
As each drop of red fell, it flew into the spell circle; the markings glowing red briefly before returning to their dull yellow. The blood rushed towards the markings in waves, each one larger than the last. Gahn could finally feel his energy leaving him; his body was feeling weak. Gahn was about to sit down when the chanting stopped. Gahn felt a portion of his energy come back to him, he was still uneasy but was already much better. He was about to leave the circle when Syrong began forming another circle.
Gahn watched the priest again; he watched the graceful movements of Syrongs hands, how the blade cut through stone as if through thin air. The priest walked steadily but quickly; his hands already used the many repetitive movements. The priest stood up once again and chanted a single verse; the markings glowed red in agreement. Inside the new circle was a single leather book; his outsides made from cow hide. Gahn noticed that on the cover was a symbol much reminiscent of the circle that Syrong just drew.
Gahn could only guess that the book was to be his grimoire. He had always wondered how one received grimoire though now his curiosity was satisfied; he sincerely hoped that Syrong had finished. Gahn’s hopes fell as Syrong began chanting once more. The old priest had started speaking old tongue once again; Gahn could feel the prae in his words. It seemed like a rushing river; threatening to engulf him in its rage.
It didn’t take long until Gahn was on his knees, the weight of the magic was affecting him more than it had before. Gahn looked at his grimoire; its pages were being flipped open as if being read by some erratic spirit. The blood that was stored inside Gahn’s circle was being transferred into the book; it was being fueled. With each verse that Syrong uttered Gahn could only feel himself going weaker. Gahn tried to hold on but he no longer had any strength to do so and as Syrong finished, Gahn faded away.
* * *
Gahn could feel his mind drifting way; as if he was in the brief period of time when one had just woken up but was not really awake. His body felt loose as if lost in a vast sea. He was cold, extremely so. Yet at the same time, he felt nothing; as if he was on the edge of something, something powerful. He knew something was happening, but he didn’t know what.
Gahn struggled to pull his thoughts together, he tried to open his eyes, but all he could see was darkness. He could faintly hear words as if echoed from far away but they too disappeared. Gahn was well and truly alone.
Gahn tried to move his body, hoping to at least be able to stand up but he couldn’t. He was trapped. He had finally stopped struggling when he heard a faint rumble, as if from a small spring.
Gahn grew quiet as the noise increased; by now it sounded like a raging river. It was heading for him and there was nothing he could do about it. Gahn calmly accepted his fate as the river drowned him in even deeper darkness.
Chapter One – More Than Meets The Eye