As I sat on the 5, I nervously fingered the binding on the heavy tome. I hadn’t yet tried to control one of the living spells inside the book, and I wasn’t entirely sure what would happen. Plus, taking the tome out of the wards around my apartment made me a vulnerable target. I wasn’t sure what I would do if Celene or her like appeared (unfortunately, I was about to find out).
I pulled the cord to stop the bus when it was near the 22nd avenue stop. Then, gripping the tome fiercely with both hands, I thanked the driver and hastily made my way into the park and Lloyd Lake. I hesitated as I stood on the edge of the cement lining and stared into the scummy pond. The rain had let up, but it was still a crummy day so luckily there weren’t any people in sight. I don’t have the magic power for an illusion shield, and it tends to turn heads when someone jumps into a public duck pond. I also don’t have the power for any sort of weather shielding, so I was about to get very wet. There was nothing I could do about it though. I couldn’t just abandon George and the other gnomes.
A flow of energy was slipping downwards towards the bottom of the pond like a spiritual whirlpool (right into the portal), so it wasn’t difficult to locate the exact location. I tucked the tome into my jacket, steeled myself, and leapt into the water. Swimming quickly downwards, I followed the trail of energy. It didn’t take very long until the my senses completely reversed and I was suddenly swimming upwards. Portals are super disorienting – especially when you’re wearing sopping wet clothes and converse.
Soon, I was pulling myself out of a babbling brook next to a beautiful expanse of wildflowers – the gnome meadow. I rolled over and panted, grateful for the bright sunshine present in this pocket world. Well, I guess it wasn’t technically ‘sunshine,’ as it didn’t come from the star Sol (obviously), but you get my point I’m sure.
It didn’t take me long to find the gnomes. There were about two dozen in all, and just like George had said – they were encased in blocks of ice. It didn’t look as if they had been aware the spell was coming when they were trapped – they were all in various poses of play or frolicking, with giant grins on their faces.
George hadn’t arrived yet (which I thought was odd), but I figured I would go ahead and start the reversal spell. I opened the tome and held it in my left hand open to the page I had deciphered a few days prior, and held my right hand out above the red runes that shifted and flowed across it. I concentrated, and beads of sweat appeared on my forehead as I guided the eager runes from the page and directed them towards the gnomes. I wasn’t really casting the spell myself, but I was fairly sure that I could control the self-contained magic well enough to get the job done.
It was then that George appeared. I saw him frolic towards me excitedly out of the corner of my eye – he seemed overjoyed at the sight of his herd slowly being released as the ice began to dissipate. It was only when he was right next to me and the spell was finishing that his image began to shimmer.
I nearly fainted when a moment later, a tall woman in with steely gray eyes and a faux-fur cape stood in his place. I didn’t even have time to react as the tome was snatched out of my hands with a triumphant cackle.
Until next time,
Mage of SF – Rank 2