by Xander Scott
Mistakes can be deadly.
|Holding his breath, Ancil Branford steeled himself. He floated above the floor, his levitation spell in place in case, he found a shear drop, on the other side of the gate He was proud and relieved to discover, on his third trip through the strange gate, that the conjured ball of light had held. A bright white pinpoint appeared directly across from him, the gate permitting only the orb’s light to part the heavy darkness. The surrounding shapes slowly came into view as the white luminous point diffused and expanded throughout the spherical room. The luminous source came to heel next to Ancil, causing the last remnants of the darkness to move in silhouette to his likeness.|
It took only an instant to realize how wrong he felt as he attempted to breathe, and his body refused to respond. The surrounding vacuum pulled hard against him from every direction. His ears rang, breaking the unnatural silence as his body reacted to the absence of an atmosphere. In a panic, he gestured, attempting to cast with no semantics. He wanted to avoid using his recall stone, but he had an idea.
Completing his last gesture, the vacuum transformed into a turbulent scream of wind, thrashing, clawing, and pulling, as air appeared all around. The glowing orb flared in the presence of the stoking gusts of wind. An airy face struggled to form, their tormented eyes pleading for mercy before being ripped apart. He momentarily felt the bond as the Elemental Spirit had willingly responded to the magical request before they recoiled in horror, realizing too late the sacrifice being forced upon them.
The bond died, and so too did the spirit that had answered his call. Ancil buckled and spewed. Staring downward, between heaves, he saw a well-preserved body of an older man, dressed in classic, if somewhat out-of-style Mage garb. A few well-positioned items avoided the mess.
The smell spread fast. He badly wanted to leave to avoid dry heaving. Ancil grabbed the clean items before activating his recall stone.