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*Clears throat*

Hi, hello! Final segment of Part 1!


Originally posted by stimmy-goblin

Avnet quickly dropped herself down next to the dead bird, crouching quickly she reached for her bag and secured it over her shoulder. She expertly took out a salve and smeared it heavily over the wound on her ankle, the pain subsided and the greenish hue of her skin seemed to be.. less…green…for now. She hadn’t been able to prepare the herbs for the salve correctly and so it wasn’t working at full potency.

A quick scan of her immediate surroundings showed her there was nothing but sticks and small rocks for protection. Avnet pushed her back against the massive tree trunk, scooping up the bird as she did and gently wrapping it with a cloth she kept for securing fresh herbs. Avnet tucked the still creature into her satchel, then gave a final scan; if she had learned anything since her encounters with these new creatures began, it was if you got trapped to find an exit route and arm yourself on your way there. She readied herself to run out of the hills. 

As Avnet pushed off of the tree she dug into the ground and took off. There was immediately movement of two distinct entity’s in the tall grass that drew up along either side of her and were keeping along with her sprinting pace effortlessly. The feet pursuing her were padded with the chilling dragging of claws, their feet pummeling the earth with their weight. The creatures began growling and snapping at her feet, only ever letting her glimpse whisps of their manes. Avnet suddenly realized they were herding her back towards the forest. 

“Shit, shit, shit.” She cried.

 Avnet screamed terribly as a teeth laden mouth nearly caught her elbow, taking part of her blouses’ sleeve. She carried her scream with her as she clung desperately to her sweater. 

Avnet slowed herself as she realized she was stepping out of the tall grass and turned around, walking backwards as two skulking creatures snarled their way past the grass. Their lion-esque heads emerged, knotted horns crowned their cranium. Crested on their faces was a plated bone material, guarding its snout, bridge and extending further off the brow, meeting with two dark knotted horns atop its head. Their close mane of deep reds, entangled with blues and greens covered its neck all except for where it’s plated throat was.  

“What are you?” Avnet whispered, lowering her shoulders, attempting to remove and threatening body language, hoping that perhaps they would respond. 

The creatures fully emerged, massive and stalking Avnet with hungry eyes. It was here that she realized their bodies were reptilian; deep blue and black scales glistened, running along the top of its body down to their hips, where there was another set of dark, thick horns that cradled among thir meeting tips an ethreal blue orb. It’s spherical form ever changing but stationary in its location. She became suddenly aware of their tails, long and whipping around with such speed they were hard to make out at times.

It’s mouth carried layers of teeth that looked to be for shredding, a deep and bellowing growl came from the larger of the two as it lengthened its strides towards her. Avnet yanked a branch from the ground and held it out in front of her, but to her dismay the branch was, for all intensive purposes, a stick. She had grabbed a stick and was pointing it at the most frightening creature she had ever seen. 

As one of the predators gave a curdled howl and a lunge forward a speeding red light came flying from the tall grass to Avnets left.  The crimson energy collided with her fanged foe, but the impact had backlash and sent her crashing to the ground. She cried out in pain as something sharp tore into her back along her spine, only stopping just above her hips.


Originally posted by sweetmoonlightangel

Avnets ears were ringing and her vision was spotting, the pain in her back tore through her senses. She blinked hard and started to make out a figure nearing her. 

“Whoa, whoa, don’t try to move." 

A firm hand pushed down on Avnets shoulder, barring her from any further movement. It took her a moment to realize it was a human hand and a man’s voice that was speaking to her. She stilled and calmed herself, focusing on the man’s voice and touch. 

"I have to move you to get help. You need medical attention immediately, I don’t have any potions on me and I’m shite at healing work. Will you let me take you to my home? It’s just there. ” His voice was clear and almost calm but was betrayed by a quiet tremor.

Avnet whimpered her consent, and grasped at her sweater.

“Okay, this…well, this is going to hurt.” He slid one arm under her neck and the other supported her lower torso. His chest resting on hers as he embraced her instead of lifting her as she had anticipated. 

“My name is Charlie.” He whispered to Avnet. “I promise you will be okay.” And with that, he closed his eyes and the distance between them, and they vanished completely.  A blue feather falling softly to the ground. 

End Part 1!!!!!

This is the the creature, and we will learn the name of it in the next Chapter. I have spent the past three days editing this but it was so worth it and I am obsessed and and proud. One more magical creature for the Potterverse!

I am going to do a post of all the images I used for this separate from the one.


Hope you are enjoying the story :)

4 notes

Иллюстрация оформлена и обрела свое место на стене. Подарок для племянницы Янички на День Рождения.
Добрые вести.
Шотландский волшебник Шон МакШейн за волшебным чаем, с земляничным вареньем и пряниками, слушает добрые вести и песенки от совы и кошечки.

17 notes

Bair and George snuggled up together on a stormy day at Storm’s End, the ancestral home of Bair’s family. She’s showing him something history related in a ‘new’ old book she got and…to be perfectly honest, he’s bored as heck but he loves how excited and passionate Bair gets with her love for history. So he’s doing his best to stay awake and pay attention. And yes, that’s Bair’s very own Weasley jumper~

7 notes

Read the First Chapter Here

           “…iiiiiit.” Just as quickly as it had stopped, Peter’s time resumed. For all he knew he’d been trapped in that moment for 1,000 years, but it shouldn’t matter as long as everything was how he remembered it and no excess mana was consumed by the effect.

           Peter looked around carefully and was relieved to see the adjustment he made to the boundary seemed to be working aside from that minor hiccup. Draevin was still frozen in the air a dozen or so paces away and the Guild guards were still locked in place trying to respond to the threat. He shook his head clear and focused on the task at hand.

           The circle of runes he’d drawn to contain the time trap into a smaller area were working as intended. With his glasses, Peter could see they were glowing with a faint glimmer power as they redirected the waves of chronomancy mana that came pulsing out of the central crystal. By contrast, the runes still etched on the outside circle were now dark and inert. The new set-up was fragile and prone to break down if he so much as scuffed the dirt, but it was working!

           Peter realized right away that the timer he’d put on his wrist needed to change. It had been counting down the remaining time before the circle’s spell expired, but now that he’d presumably extended that time it was no longer relevant. With a wave of his hand he reshaped the timer to start counting up from zero instead of down. Now he would at least know how long he’d been in the smaller circle. He scribbled the last readout of the old clock in the dirt. 3:13.

           With his new circle in place, Peter decided the next priority had to be to figure out at least a workable estimate for how much time he’d bought himself. He reasoned the duration of the spell had to be either directly proportional to the size of the area it was covering or logarithmically proportional. That meant that a circle of half the area would either maintain the spell for twice as long or many times longer than originally designed. He hoped the relationship was logarithmic as that would give him days to think of a new strategy, but he was forced to assume simple proportional scaling as he didn’t know enough about chronomancy to say differently.

           The first and easiest step would be to measure out the area of the circle he was standing in now. Thankfully the rune pattern had led him into building a perfect circle, so all he needed was the radius to find the area. He held his hand stretched out from thumb to index finger to create a single span and paced out one span at a time from the edge of his new boundary to the chronocrystal in the center. He found it measured four span and most of a fifth, so he rounded it up to five.

           That made the new area… radius squared times pi was area, and 5 squared was 25, so 25 times pi… let’s see, pi was basically 3.14 and 25 times 3.14 was the same as 25 times 3 plus 25 times 0.14. And 25 times 3 was 75, so add that to 25 times .14 which was the same as 14 percent of 25 which was the same as 25 percent of 14… half of 14 was 7 and half of that was 3.5… add that to the 75 and he had 78.5 square spans. His calculations weren’t going to be any more accurate than his measurements, but he at least didn’t have to be lazy with the math. Especially when it came so easily to him. He scribbled the number 78.5 down in the dirt next to his record of the last recorded time on his countdown timer.

           Finding the area of the outside circle was going to be trickier though now that he couldn’t actually walk it. It seemed like a decently large space—enough for eight men to fight comfortably—but aside from a few dead bodies, the space within the outside boundary was completely lacking in distinguishing features. It wasn’t until he was studying Rashad’s body and trying to guess at the more familiar man’s height to use as a scale that he realized the much easier solution: just use his illusions!

           The lithomancy cantrip had burned through Peter’s meager supply of mana, so he squatted next to the powerful chronocrystal and let his hungry human body soak in a few drops of mana. It didn’t take long. When he had enough mana, he stood and spent it on an illusion of his own out-stretched hand and multiplied it many times in a line until he had a sort of ruler capable of measuring spans. He projected his new ruler on the ground from the chronocrystal to the outside edge of the original boundary for the time trap and found that the radius of that circle measured in at thirty six spans. With his ruler no longer needed, he recycled the mana into strengthening the illusory timer on his wrist.

           Using the 36 spans as the radius for the outside circle he calculated the area to be 4,069.44 square spans. He compared that to the area of the smaller circle and multiplied it by the three minutes and change he’d had left on his countdown timer when he formed the smaller circle and he calculated that at his best guess he’d bought himself two hours and forty six minutes. He checked his wrist and found he’d already wasted two of those minutes running calculations.

           Draevin had leapt out of the time trap thinking Peter had less than ten minutes to come up with a solution to his greyskin poisoning. He still didn’t have a solution, but having almost three hours to come up with something instead of eight minutes felt a lot more possible.

           “Hold on, Draevin,” Peter said as much to himself as to his friend’s frozen body, “I’m going to save you.”

           In the first handful of seconds in the time trap, Peter had quickly given up on the idea of actually tackling the problem of saving Draevin in favor of buying more time to figure the problem out later. Having then arrived at “later” he was disappointed to find he still didn’t know what to do. Draevin had said the only known treatment for greyskin was to sit on a mana well and let the poison run its course until it burned out. It was a shame he couldn’t just use the mana in the chronocrystal to cure Draevin since it was shaped for chronomancy. Even absorbing the mana from the crystal was a risk, but suffering a bit of feedback wasn’t really a huge concern at the moment. He had to focus, come up with a plan to somehow get Draevin to The Pot in the few seconds that would remain to him once time resumed.

           The only school of magic Peter had mastered was illusions—sensomancy—but that just wasn’t going to cut it here. The best thing he could do with his illusions would be to give Draevin something nice to look at in his final moments as the poison took him. He had a few other options besides illusion magic, though. He sat and clutched the chronocrystal while he ran through them in his mind.

           When his master’s son had lost a spellbook one day, Peter had opted not to report finding it and instead allowed it to stay lost while he hid it and studied it himself. That book had been his constant companion for years—a beginner’s book of ten basic cantrips—and he’d never found another book with real spells in it once he gained access to the main library. He’d memorized every spell in that book despite only the illusion one coming to him intuitively. Those cantrips, as well as an explanation for beginners’ artificing, still represented all the magic he knew that wasn’t illusions. One of them had to be the key to saving Draevin. If not he was out of ideas.

           He ran through his options:

           Swift Breeze. No. He didn’t have enough mana to push an entire body with a gust of wind, let alone cover such a great distance in the time required.

           Move Earth. No. He could probably displace enough earth to bury Draevin, but about the only useful thing he might accomplish would be to erode the walls to make the straightest possible path to The Pot but he knew ten steps in the right direction before Draevin collapsed wouldn’t be nearly enough.

           The rest were easy to dismiss: Grow Mushrooms, Draw Image, Recall Memory, Clean Object, Gather Water, Static Shock… No, no, no! They were all worthless! What he needed was teleportation magic, vocomancy.

           Grimly, Peter pulled his knife from the sheath at his hip and examined it. The span-and-a-half long blade curved back to a reinforced point and the well-worn wooden handle seemed to have grown around it. If he didn’t come up with something better, he’d have to cut his losses and use it to try to cut Draevin’s arm off at the shoulder. With how fast the poison had spread it was a plan that would almost certainly fail, but at the moment “almost certainly” was at least not “certainly.”

           The dagger used to be Sylnya’s but when he’d tried to return it she’d told him she had plenty more and insisted that he’d be glad he had it if he ever needed to use it to protect himself. The edge was still slick with human blood. Yeah… Sylnya had been right about that.

           It was really looking like the “saw off Draevin’s arm as fast as you can” plan was the only thing he could come up with. Peter used the hem of his robe to rub off the blood still on the blade while he studied his surroundings for anything he might have missed before. Nothing jumped out. It was just dirt, two sets of scrawled runes, and half a dozen bloody bodies.

           His clock dutifully ticked away the time. Time. Time. Time slipping away. Time to make a move. He stood up from where he’d crouched next to the crystal, knife in hand. Draevin would probably think he was trying to kill him when time resumed and Peter started furiously attacking him with a knife, but it was the only way…

           It all clicked into place: Caelnaste’s schemes, why she hired human assassins, the creeping poison, the knife. He couldn’t help himself from laughing. “You knew it would come to this, didn’t you?” It was Caelnaste. Of course it was Caelnaste. She must’ve known Peter would leap from the circle and try his best to saw his friend’s arm off. She’d left him no other options, and to the guards just a few paces down the hallway it would look like he was just another assassin. And why not? Everyone knew humans worked together. Both of Caelnaste’s most hated contestants would be removed from the tournament in a single stroke. He almost had to admire the efficiency of it. Even if Peter saved Draevin, the elf would be crippled and the human in jail. Draevin would be useless as a master if he lost all his muscle memory getting his arm replaced. And that was the best case scenario. Peter didn’t even want to think about what would happen if he didn’t manage to remove the arm in time.

           He wondered what Sylnya would think of all the use he’d put her blade to. He’d never expected to actually kill with it, let alone use it on Draevin. He’d only asked to borrow it so the rumor would get back to Faernyl that he was serious about studying blood magic but now—

           Peter almost dropped the knife as a wonderful realization struck him like a lightning bolt. The answer was staring right in front of him! Blood magic! What had Draevin and Sylnya told him about it before warning against attempting it? It wouldn’t be safe for a human to try! And why? Because his lack of mana would necessitate a blood cost too steep to pay without killing himself! Just about the only thing he had in abundance here was bodies: bodies full of blood. It was worth a shot. Peter had two and a half hours to try to come up with a way to properly wield blood magic. He could always fall back on the stabby-cutty plan if it didn’t work. Normally wizards used vocomancy for teleportation, but sanguimancy could work in a roundabout manner too. The sanguimancer Trundle used Hell rifts for transportation. It could work.

           Trundle had used blood magic twice now in Peter’s presence and in each instance he’d summoned a portal to Hell. No. It was actually three times. In addition to his two matches, Peter had also seen Trundle appear from a portal on his first day arriving at the arena. So all he had to do was open a portal to Hell, then open a second portal from Hell to The Pot and push Draevin through it.

           There was just one problem: Peter had only ever pretended to study blood magic. When he’d used his distraction to try to save Grrbraa from Caelnaste’s men he hadn’t even known the proper demonic vernacular, so he’d just started chanting evil-sounding nonsense in common and thrown in some showmanship.

           Two and a half hours wasn’t nearly enough time to learn an entire school of magic, but he hadn’t known chronomancy either and that hadn’t stopped him from just copying what someone else had done. Could he just copy what Trundle had done? The red-haired gnome had summoned two different demons during his matches, but before that he’d first opened a portal. Maybe it was possible to just copy Trundle. If Peter could isolate the differences between the two instances it might work. Either way, the first thing he’d need to do was gather his ingredients. And by ingredients he meant blood. Lots and lots of blood.

           Unfortunately, none of the assassins had been kind enough to die right next to the chronocrystal, so he’d have to temporarily disable his dirt-scrawled runes to run out and gather as much blood as he could as fast as he could. He checked the note he’d left scratched into the dirt when he’d finished his rune-circle. 3:13. Every second that passed within the bounds of the larger rune circle would waste as much of the chronocrystal’s mana as if nearly a minute passed within the smaller circle, so if he wanted to have time to figure out how to summon those Hell portals he’d need to be organized and efficient.

           Trying to drag the bodies into a pile would take a long time. Aside from requiring a larger circle to accommodate them it would also leave all the blood they’d already leaked onto the ground unharvested. He shivered. How quickly he’d gone to thinking in terms of “harvesting” in relation to his fellow humans…

           But his plans. His wish. It would be worth any cost if he succeeded. No humans would have to live under the yoke of slavery again. Peter let go of his fear and disgust. He could process those feelings later, when the cost of an emotional breakdown wasn’t as high. He could do this. He would do this.

           He could use his hydromancy cantrip to gather the blood. It was intended to be used on water, but blood was mostly water anyway. That just meant he’d need a place to put all the blood once he had it. He used Move Earth to form a compressed earthen basin as big as a large cauldron and tried to pretend he was just getting ready to make a pot of soup.

           The next move he needed to make would be to take in all the mana he could hold, so after forming the basin, he crouched next to the chronocrystal and sponged up more mana off it. He knew he was probably shortening the duration of the time trap by leeching from it, but considering the density of the mana fields he saw emanating off the crystal when he’d examined it with his glasses he knew his own consumption would only be a rounding error. He’d already accounted for rounding errors by overestimating the size of the smaller circle.

           Expanding and re-shrinking the circle meant that weird time glitch would happen again. At the moment though, Peter was more concerned with figuring out what to actually do with all the blood once he had it. He would just have to figure that out after he harvested it. Hopefully he could. It wasn’t just the best plan he had to work with, it was the only plan.

           Failure would mean the difference between life and death for both him and Draevin.

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Read the First Chapter Here

           Peter watched Draevin’s pale and sweaty form float in the air in front of him. The glowing orange chronomancy runes on the floor created a threshold that extended in a wide circle around him. As soon as Draevin’s body crossed that threshold he froze in midair. The cocksure elf Peter had gotten to know over the last few days didn’t even look like himself: his clothes were drab cloth rather than the shimmery blue ice he always armored himself in and his normally spiky hair had fallen flat to his forehead.

           Peter’s friend was dying. Flat grey skin covered Draevin’s right hand and a line of grey had crept up his arm towards his heart. His torn sleeve revealed the poison had nearly reached Draevin’s shoulder, but it seemed leaving the circle had worked to halt the spread for at least as long as time was frozen.

           There had already been enough dying today, in Peter’s opinion. He had to do what he could to save this one last life. Peter didn’t want to think about what he’d just done. He’d sworn to himself that he wouldn’t raise a hand against another human, but Rashad had forced him! Now there was blood on his… there was so much it wasn’t even confined to his hands. It was all over him. If he didn’t save Draevin it would all be for nothing. The next few minutes would decide if Peter was the gallant savior of a powerful and important wizard or a vicious murderer of his own people.

           It didn’t feel real. None of it felt real. Peter looked around to find the floor strewn haphazardly with the freshly-slain bodies of the six assassins that had been sent to kill Draevin. Shadowmen. When he’d been a slave, Peter’s master had never allowed him to travel, so he’d never seen anyone like these shadowmen before. They had dense black hair and dark skin. Despite the name they’d chosen for themselves their tribes normally lived in the oppressive sun of the southern deserts of Kreet. They had a reputation, but they were really just regular humans. They only happened to have darker skin. Peter hated to kill his fellow humans, but he knew the goal he was working towards was more important than six lives. Draevin had to live. Nobody else left in the tournament could replace him.

           Draevin had told Peter before leaping out of the ring of runes that he would probably only have a few seconds to get to a mana well. Judging by the rate the poison had been spreading it probably wasn’t much more than ten seconds. The Pot was still too far! He would need some means of instantaneous transport. Even at a dead sprint on the back of a werebeast it would take longer than that to get Draevin to The Pot, and all Peter had were his own two feet. And they were both out of mana. Peter briefly considered unraveling his contingency, even if it might mean crippling himself for the rest of the tournament, but thankfully he spotted an alternative.

           In the center of the circle he was trapped in sat a glowing orange crystal structure of some kind. Peter knew a source of mana when he saw one and quickly walked over to it and wrapped his hands around it. He may not be knowledgeable about the specific rune pattern that was keeping the time dilation field active, but he knew if it was using as much power as he thought it must, merely touching it would be enough for him to start passively absorbing some of the mana.

           Time was slipping away while he sat and worried about the things he couldn’t change. He had to focus. He forced himself to take a calming breath and think. Draevin seemed to believe in his ability to think his way out of this, so that’s what he’d do. He just didn’t have enough time to consider all available options. He needed more time to think, but the pressure of the seconds ticking away was forcing his thoughts to continually return to that singular diminishing resource. Time. How ironic was it that he was in a time dilation field and it was still the one thing he needed more of…

           His answer came to him… sort of. He didn’t exactly know how to teleport Draevin to The Pot yet, but if he gained more time his options would increase. If the field he was in was already dilating the passage of time, there had to be some way of extending its effect.

           Rashad had thrown out a taunt at Draevin before activating his trap. What had he said? “Can I get ten minutes of your time?” Peter didn’t have any further basis to estimate the limitations of the field he was standing in, so he decided to consider this “ten minute” taunt as a limiting factor. It made a certain amount of sense that whoever Caelnaste had hired to design this trap would have needed to provide the assassins with a basic description of its function, and the duration of the trap would have likely been one of these crucial pieces of information. Besides, ten minutes seemed like just enough time to commit a murder and clean up all the evidence. It fit.

           So if the time field stretched a moment into ten minutes… how much was left? The fight had been short and immediate. Afterwards he and Draevin had only spoken for a few seconds before Draevin left the circle. Peter reasoned that the total elapsed time couldn’t have been more than a minute, possibly a minute and a half. He’d probably stood around thinking for at least another half minute already.

           That would have to do as far as an estimate went, so Peter put some of the mana that had started to leak into him to work. The first thing he did was put an illusory time display on his wrist. The simple spell would keep track of the passage of time for him based on his heartbeat, so he wouldn’t have to keep guessing. He set it as a countdown timer, counting down from eight minutes.

           Next he had to figure out how to extend the duration of the spell that had trapped him. He knew he had a modest understanding of chronomancy at best, but he hoped his general magical theory could make up the difference. He’d need to study things closer, and if he was going to do that he’d need his glasses. He clicked the tiny button on the left side of his frame to turn them on. The first thing that lit up was the glass’ power level; the display lit up with the number “73%” in the top left corner of his field of view—long enough that he could leave them on continuously and Draevin would die long before it needed to be recharged. He rotated the dial below the power button one click down to activate the first filer: raw mana.

           It didn’t turn out to be as helpful as he’d hoped. While studying the raw mana in the world around him he could see a muffled glow coming from inside the crystal he was still gripping. That only confirmed that there was a power source feeding the enchantment, but that was like confirming his own heart was still beating; of course it was, he was still alive, wasn’t he? He scanned the perimeter of the circle with the raw mana filter and it was mostly what he was expecting to find: nothing from the dead bodies, a fading aura from Draevin’s floating form, and a much stronger one from the Guild guards still charging towards them from further down the corridor.

           He checked the floor. That actually was surprising.

           There was enough mana pushing through the runes detailing the edge of the spell boundary that he could see the glow coming off them with his naked eye, but they were totally dark when examined with his raw mana filter. He’d expected some kind of internal power source, like the crystalized runes his spell scroll used, but there was barely a glimmer. They had to just be redirecting the power emanating from the circle’s center. That was Peter’s first good news.

           Now as to the specific harmonic they were resonating with… normally he’d try to guess based on the color, but this time he could clearly see the spell was affecting the passage of time, so it had to be chronomancy. He counted off the filters in his head and rotated the dial on his glasses four clicks down. He passed through a few colors; starting on the red of his own sensomancy and passing through a few lighter shades of red until it settled on the light orange of chronomancy. It was immediately obvious he was looking at the right spectrum.

           He almost pulled his hand away out of reflex when he saw how much raw chronomancy mana was passing through it, but he stopped himself. He wasn’t attuned to chronomancy, so it should just be passing through him harmlessly. With the chronomancy filter on his glasses engaged he almost couldn’t make out the pulsing runes on the surface of the crystal through the thick haze of orange-shaped mana pushing through the air. The haze seemed to clear up the further from the central crystal he got, so he walked over to the edge of the circle to study the runes that made up the outside boundary.

           In his distracted state he almost tripped over one of the bodies on his way over. He jumped back in surprise and instinctively reached for his dagger. He wasn’t used to dealing with dead bodies, and when he nudged one of the assassins with his foot he thought for sure the man would wake up and stab him. Peter knew he was being irrational; he recognized that. He took a deep breath and stepped around the shadowman. This hesitation was costing him precious time. Peter lifted the frame of his glasses and glanced at the display on his wrist. It was almost down to six minutes and still steadily decreasing. No time to waste.

           He dropped to his knees to better study the runes running along the perimeter. Thankfully it only looked like a single rune that repeated again and again as it went around. He watched the shaped chronomancy mana pulse up the lines of the rune in time with the beat of the central crystal. The waves of shaped chronomancy mana would travel up the rune lines, then get trapped in the swirling circular maze of the symbol before ejecting back out the same side they came in. It seemed the rune was merely designed to catch the power leaving the central crystal and hold it within the range of the circle. Peter memorized the shape of the repeating rune and tried drawing it with his finger in the dirt in front of him. As soon as the next pulse came from the central crystal his hand-made rune flared up orange with chronomancy magic.

           It was exciting to get the rune’s shape just right on his first try. Peter stood up and pumped his fist in the air. “It’s not impossible,” he told himself, “not yet anyway.” He scuffed out the rune he’d just created with a sweep of his foot and hopped over a few tangled limbs to get back to the central crystal. He needed to make sure he had enough space to move around, but he reasoned if he created a smaller circle of runes in the center it would trap the energy from the central crystal into a smaller space and the lower energy requirement would hopefully allow the spell to last longer… Or else it would concentrate the spell further using the same amount of power, but that seemed unlikely as there was no way to slow down time any more than completely stopped.

           He could use the bit of mana he’d absorbed from the crystal to cast the only lithomancy spell he knew: a basic writing cantrip, Draw Image. With no medium to write with, his spell would just scrawl the runes in the dirt, but it would at least be faster and more precise than doing it by hand and time was of the essence. He glanced at his wrist before starting and immediately regretted the extra stress it caused.

           4:51… 4:50…

           He knelt next to the chronocrystal—a name he’d decided to assign to the time trap’s central power supply—and started his incantation. Lithomancy used a lot of wrist-swooping in its spells, which didn’t come naturally, but Peter had long found being able to magically reproduce text and images from his mind was invaluable. It wouldn’t have made sense for him to store the fourteenth book in his mind if he couldn’t use Draw Image to retrieve it. His imperfect wrist work required him to speak the incantation for Draw Image to further stabilize the spell, so he did so now. “Ping et mens fingo.”

           Both of Peter’s hands lit with the faint red glow of lithomancy, but he quickly transferred all the energy to his right hand so he could safely crawl around in the dirt to direct the spell’s release. He leaned down and set his palm flat against the dirt and focused on the image in his mind of the rune he’d memorized. He pictured the position relative to the chronocrystal as well as how the circular shape of each rune flowed into the next to create an unbroken chain. He knew he didn’t have much mana to work with so he very slowly released his spell and moved his hand along to continue the rune pattern as he crawled around in a slow and careful circle. As his hand passed over the dirt a perfect recreation of the rune pattern tracing the outside threshold of the time trap was etched with thin delicate lines. He got to the end and hesitated before finishing his circle.

           He had no idea if what he was about to do would work. He just didn’t know enough about chronomancy. Best case scenario he would gain several hours to work with instead of minutes. Worst case, the whole spell could collapse and time resume with Peter feeling very foolish as he watched Draevin die.

           There weren’t exactly other options. “Nope,” Peter admitted to himself, “this is really the best I can come up with.” Too late to back out now.

           Peter slowly floated his hand over the last of the dirt and completed the rune circle. He watched the magical reaction take place with his glasses, which were still attuned to the chronomancy harmonic. The original circle on the outside was still glowing with power, but as Peter closed his smaller circle it lit up as well. The next pulse came from the chronocrystal and the runes on the outside circle flared one last time and died. Peter watched as a wave of chronomancy mana snapped backwards from the runes on the outside circle and headed straight for him. The shaped mana crashed against the inside circle and his runes flashed bright enough to nearly blind him.

           It was too late to start realizing he may have over-loaded the runes. Peter was forced to watch as the magical reaction happened and hoped it wouldn’t result in something terrible. The runes crackled loudly as they absorbed the mana from the larger circle. “Shiiiiiiiiiiiii…,” Peter started to curse to himself. His voice deepened and stretched, echoing strangely in the small space. He could feel the moment stretching thinner and thinner.

           Peter’s mind spiraled as time screeched to a halt. How could he be so reckless? Messing with a magic he didn’t understand! The moment stretched into infinity.

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New Stimulus Check will %100 go to buying a suit of armor to protect me from the impending New Dark Ages.

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to that most functional hunk of cosmos
   on fire before the dawn of thought.
torch enough to invent Day
servant enough to allow night.

too fat and too party for the poet…
  how mistaken is that?
there’s rays, there’s a tender look
  you just have to have faith in

oh & the moon, doing her part as well.
   Atlas-like with her waves
     her timeful smile.

there’s a hideaway book on 
  a wizard’s shelf, grotto-deep
     in the world

it tells all about the portal beneath 
   the very first grey.
How there’s someone still to talk to down

holdyourbreath “hello”

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