Part 4 of Magician Jaymel. The other three chapters can be found right here on the blog. Just look for the armor picture on the main page.
The Magician Jaymel, Part 4
Watching Kriss and Grisa bothered Jaymel worse than he would ever think possible. They waved their goodbyes, starting the trek to the central forest city. Helsa stood beside him, counting out the coin left behind.
“We have a little over forty gold,” Helsa said. “We should resist spending money if possibile.”
Jaymel nodded in a daze. With the city out of the question, their only alternative was travelling merchants. They never had a good reagent selections and what they did have they charged exorbiant amount of money. Being a vagabond was an expensive business. Helsa’s presence helped a little, as swindling someone from the holy order was a fast track to curses.
Helsa tucked away the gold into her purse and took out her book. Jaymel flushed, knowing exactly what it contained, and decided to forage. “I’ll be back. I should be able to find enough to restock the basics.”
She sat, half paying attention to him. “Do what you need to. Try not to get any scratches and bruises. If you’re going to get mauled make it worthwhile.”
“I’ll be sure to throw myself off a short cliff in that case. IS a compound fracture good enough?”
Helsa doesn’t really do sarcasm. Jaymel wandered from the camp and found several decent bushes of herbs. Some could be used for medicine as they were, while others needed to be dried before they could be used as spell reagents. He kept them all just to be safe.
An hour into his search he came across a pixie dwelling, empty of course, but he set a simple trap in case it returned. Pixies could be harvested for raw magical dust. The ethical ramifications were dicey to say the least, but he doubted Helsa cared.
Jaymel brought bundles of kindling as well, a fire would be needed as soon as the sun went down. He looked forward to ‘experimenting’ with Helsa, even if she scared him quite a bit. If anything it was worth seeing if she had a gentle side. Even if she had more diabolical plans, it couldn’t be any worse than she had done in the past.
He returned to camp to find her with her hair splayed over her bare shoulders, reading her book– in the nude.
The gathered pile of kindling fell from his arms and his mouth hung open. “H-helsa? Why are you–”
“Naked?” she said, turning to him. Her hair slid forward, preserving what little modesty it could. “Why, to experiment. What else?”
“Yes well, I assumed we would be taking this a bit slower?” Jaymel glanced away. “What did you have in mind?”
“Do you really need to ask?”
Something was wrong. Jaymel calmed, pulling a dried leaf from his pouch. “Extan.”
Helsa narrowed her eyes at him, setting aside the book. “What are you doing?”
Jaymel didn’t answer. The incantation devoured the leaf and a faint red glow sifted off of Helsa’s naked skin. He glanced about, noting the faint white light emitting from nearby animals and a blue glow some distance away.
Unfortunately, Jaymel had next to no offensive spells prepared, especially not something capable of killing a nymph. He had to play it calm.
“A spell to calm my nerves, dear Helsa. It’s been some time since I’ve made love to a beautiful woman. You don’t mind do you?”
‘Helsa’ shrugged. “Not at all. Come closer and I’ll draw all that pesky stress away from you.”
Problematic. If she gets hold of me it will take days for me to recover. He approached, taking in her visage. From what he knew of Helsa, it was a fairly accurate representation of her body. Yet, knowing she was an impostor made it easy to stay calm. “What have I done to deserve such a feast for the eyes?”
He reached out to her, stroking the side of her face. I should let her think I’m buying into this, she’ll hold off on entrapping me. “I’ve always wanted you Helsa, and now it’s coming true.”
She smiled, confirming more than anything else, this was a filthy impostor. Helsa didn’t have a bone in her body to make such a shy expression.
Jaymel whispered an incantation under his breath, a flitting wave of cool air made it’s way through the camp. The nymph squealed, pressing her body against his. His robes masked the effect of the stoneskin spell. A cold shell of stone expanded across his chest and arms and he held her tight.
He inhaled and shouted to the air. “Helsa! Help! “
The Nymph’s anger flared and the illusion flickered away, revealing blue skin and leaf like hair. His body solidified around her and she was the one trapped. He smiled as the stone spell engulfed him, turning him into a living statue. She struggled and shrieked, to no avail.
Helsa hurried through the trees and realized the predicament. A smile, her smile, crept onto her lips and she paced towards them. “Helpless, huh?”
The nymph snarled at Helsa, squirming against Jaymel’s immovable grasp.
“Such a shame.” Helsa raised a hand to the heavens and chanted. Jaymel recognized the words immediately as her greatest tool. With every phrase, another layered over it and magical runes flitted through the air with each one spoken. In time the air filled with a chorus of spoken words. A pillar of light poured through the clouds above and encircled Jaymel and the nymph.
It shrieked, smoke rolled off of the beasts skin until it burst into white flame. To Jaymel it felt like warm bathwater.
“Purification,” Helsa said. The light faded and a tiny bird fled from the smoking ring. Jaymel’s curse of stone lifted and a sensation of refreshed renewal washed over him, but also a sense of extreme exhaustion.
Helsa caught him at the shoulder, keeping him from toppling and slipped an arm under his. “Are you alright?”
Jaymel nodded. “It appeared before me as you. Naked.”
“Naked, huh?” she glanced down at the ground. A smoldering spot with a tiny sapling. sprouting in its center. “…my book.”
Jaymel flinched. “S-sorry. I didn’t think about the book being real.”
She shook her head and released him to stand on his own. “You can make it up to me. I won’t forget this easily.” Helsa’s expression went blank and she plucked the sapling from the ground, rubbing it between her fingers.”
He swallowed back a lump in his throat. “I could buy you a new one… or wait.” Jaymel hurried next to her and put his hand on the sapling. “Famil.”
The sapling squirmed between her fingers. A little mouth split at the center. “Fagril Baolil.”
Helsa raised a brow.
“The title of the book.” Jaymel said. “Translated to ‘Fateful Meeting’ I’d need some time to have it speak common, but this way your book isn’t lost. Assuming you don’t mind it reading the story to you.”
Helsa nodded, handing over the sapling. “This will do. I won’t need recompense in this case. In fact, I owe you now.”
“Owe… me?” Jaymel said.
She kissed him on the cheek and wandered back into the forest, leaving him dazed and confused.
“Uhm… I’ll get right on this then.” He sat on the spot and began the arduous task of translation.