Compulsion

Compulsion

A Chapter by Eddie Davis
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Matron Zeatt tries to overcome a mental block to her spellcasting, in order to help the people of Westmark.

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39.

Compulsion

 

Matron Zeatt had not been having an easy night before the attack of the snow golems began.   She laid awake in the room Aurei had given to her in the Ducal Keep, tossing and turning as she fought off the strongest reaction to withdrawal from the Dart’loxinchu that she had yet experienced.   She had managed, with the help of spells, to keep the effects from being noticeable that day, but she was growing weaker and her mind more crazed for the drug.   She laid there in bed, bathed in sweat but shivering from cold, her hand clutching one of the three duplicating cases containing the tubes of Dart’loxinchu, praying desperately to Yesh to help her fight the desire.  

 

In the middle of this horrible night, she had been summoned by excited guards pounding on her door telling her that the city was being attacked by golems.   She’d rushed over, her mind still dazed from her reaction.   As she’d come through the trap door to the roof, a crazy bat swooped at her face, which she’d swatted away, only for the nasty thing to come at her again and again.   Bats didn’t scare her, due to over 70 years she’d spent in the bat-infested caverns of the Underdark.   She’d reacted by casting a light spell on it as it circled around; a technique she’d learnt years ago while still training as a young priestess.   It was used to clear stubborn bats from church steeples when she was one of the clerical students who had their turn at cleaning the brass bells and replacing the ropes.   Thankfully the pest had been warded off by the simple spell, because she doubted she could have cast anything more powerful in her state.   

 

Now, standing on the roof of the Ducal tower in her night clothes with only a fur cloak for warmth, she saw below her absolute chaos.   Several dozen golems made of snow had climbed over the wall of the city and were being battled by the townspeople.   On the wall parapets, guards were desperately trying to keep more golems from climbing up the ramp of snow to the top of the wall and then merely dropping down on the other side into the city.

But most disconcerting to Zeatt was the endless sea of snowy forms trudging through the fields to the south to join their fellows in the assault.   They were going to be overwhelmed.

But she had the means to stop it.   It was a firestorm spell; it created a horizontal wall of fire that would burn any non-vegetable living thing within the area of effect.   She felt confident it would destroy, or at least seriously weaken, the sea of snow golems still marching to attack the town. 

But there was just one problem; though she knew the spell well, in her terrible withdrawal reaction tonight; she could not remember the first part of the chant of the spell.   Her fevered mind went completely blank and she stood there wide-eyed in panic, rocking back and forth against the side of the parapet, desperately trying to remember.   But all her mind and body could do is scream for Dart’loxinchu.   Her hands shook so violently she thought they would fall off, but thankfully none of the others on the roof were close to her.  Instead, they were on the far side of the roof staring over at the battle below.

What was she going to do?   All she could focus on was the insane need to inhale the smoke of the highly addictive drug.   She was nearly insane with a hunger for it, so crazed that she couldn’t even remember the chant for the spells that she used to keep the reaction at bay each day.  

“What am I going to do?”  Zeatt said out loud, panting as she tried to clear her mind, to force herself to calm down.   Was she so weak that she could not fight this addiction?  Was she not stronger than a drug? 

“Yesh, master, please, please help me!  I can’t remember the spell, help me!”

She closed her eyes, praying for a supernatural surge of spiritual strength.   Moments passed, nothing changed, and all that filled her mind was the memory of smoking the Dart’loxinchu.   She consciously didn’t realize she had opened the duplicating case or had pulled one of the tubes of the Dart’loxinchu from it and brought it to her lips.   But the words to the lighting cantrip came clear to her mind and she lit the end of the cigarette.  

 

Immediately she found herself pulling the rich smoke deeply into her lungs, like someone taking a breath after being underwater for too long.   For nearly a minute, all she could do was absorb the drug’s smoke.   Almost at once, the enchanted effects of the Faesidhe tree bark began clearing her mind and calming her nerves.   The smoke swirled around her as she quickly smoked the Dart’loxinchu down to a stub.  

 

She was ashamed to find such great pleasure as her body absorbed the drug, but she could not stop herself.   As soon as she discarded the stub, the memory of the firestorm chant came to her completely.  

Though she now felt restored and confident, Zeatt found herself crying at her failure, but she hurried over to the edge of the parapet and chanted the firestorm spell after she verified that none of the townspeople were engaging the snow golems in the area of effect.

There was a roar and suddenly the wall of fire raced across the field below like a wave in the ocean.   The snow golems were engulfed in the fire and within seconds of contact they collapsed to the ground as a melting pile of slush.  

 

The spell even affected the golems within the town, for apparently their handlers were among the golems outside the wall.   As soon as the spell went off, the snow golems in Westmark suddenly grew slower and less focused on their attacks, giving those battling them the edge they needed.

 

The tide had turned, but Matron Zeatt, in spite of the pleasant euphoria that the Dart’loxinchu gave, just sat with her feet hanging over the side of the parapet.  As politely as she could, she ordered the others on the battlements, who had turned in utter amazement upon witnessing the spell, to leave her alone on the roof.   They complied quickly, closing the trap door into the Keep behind them.   Zeatt took a deep breath, and in utter defeat, lit another Dart’loxinchu wand and smoked as she watched the golems melt away.

 

***

 

Less than an hour later the people of Westmark had destroyed the last of the Snow Golems in the city.   But there were plenty of injured to tend to and residents ran all around helping those hurt and bleeding.   Alis and Aeric joined up with the other defenders and began a street by street search for any remaining Golems or any injured person.

As Alis glanced down the slight alley between The Muddy Boot and the Inn’s stables, she saw a tiny form lying in the snow.   She did a double take, for it appeared that it was a baby.   Hurrying down the alleyway, her fears were confirmed; a tiny baby lay on a dirty grey blanket in the snow.  It gave a weak and pitiful cry and was extremely pale and probably near death.   The Half-Elf girl scooped the baby up, alarmed to find his skin ice cold.

“What happened to you?”   She exclaimed, wrapping the infant in her arms and holding him close to her as she leaned in to examine him.   Taking off her gauntlet quickly, she felt his toes and fingers, and they were indeed cold and somewhat blue in appearance.   She sensed a presence of evil nearby and wondered if the child had been placed there as a trap.   Quickly she backed out of the alley and yelled to Aeric and Lute, who were searching around the front of the Inn.  

As she waited for them to come, her eyes peeled for any movement from the alley, she gently placed her hand on the baby’s head to lay hands on him.   But just as she opened her mouth to speak, to her great surprise, the baby leaned up and bit her finger as it rested near his mouth.   She pulled her hand away with a shout, finding her finger bleeding.  He had teeth!  

Before she could look at him again, the infant suddenly went wild, like a bear in a trap, he squirmed and twisted with such speed and force that he ripped himself from her hands and fell to the ground.   Screaming, Alis stepped back, only to find a large hairless rat lying in the snow on top of the dropped blanket.   The creature took off running as soon as it landed in the snow.

 

“What was that?”   Aeric asked as he and Lute came racing around the corner upon hearing her scream.

She held her bleeding finger, “I-I don’t know.   I heard a sound behind the Inn, I went to investigate and I saw… at least I think I saw, a little baby, lying in a blanket, all cold and pitiful.  I picked him up to get him warm and looked at him.   I KNOW he was human.   But when I laid my hand on his forehead to heal him, he bit me on the finger!”  She held up her bleeding finger for the men to see.

“He began squirming and I dropped him, but when I looked down, instead of a baby, there was this big hairless rat that took off running.   I don’t know what happened!”

Lute and Aeric looked at each other in alarm.

“I was bitten earlier by a large rat.”  Aeric told the half-Ogre. “Now Alis sees a baby that turns into a rat and is bitten as well.”

“Were-rat” Lute said flatly, “The baby may have been the child of a were-rat mother.   They are common in the larger cities, usually living in the sewers and living in the streets as thieves, pickpockets and beggars when in human form.  I have always heard that only humans can turn into were-creatures.  You two being Half-Elves, you are probably immune, but I’d see if Reverend Mother Zeatt has any spells to detect to see if you have been infected, or can cure it.”

“It may have just been a coincidence, or a case of misidentification.   Alis, are you sure it was a baby?”

Alis sighed deeply and shook her head, “I don’t know what I saw now.   But we’ve got to find out what is going on.   If there are were-rats running around here then we may be in trouble.”

Aeric just smiled, “Not really.   Give me your hand.”

Alis held out her hand to him and he touched it, “In the name of Yesh, I ask that this curse of lycanthropy be removed.”

He waited a moment, then released her hand, “There, I cast a remove curse spell on you.”

She smiled at Aeric, “Thanks, but will that stop lycanthropy?”

“Yes, when done on the night of the full moon.”

“I didn’t know that.   Isn’t lycanthropy a disease?”

“Yes, but only the Remove Curse spell works.  It is one of the few that I know.”

“Well, what about you? You need the spell too.”

“I’ll find Matron Zeatt, I’m quite sure she will know that spell; most Clerics do.”

 

 



© 2014 Eddie Davis


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Added on December 5, 2013
Last Updated on May 28, 2014
Tags: Elf, Drow, Fantasy, Adventure, Undead, Vampire, Golem, Romance, magic, Swords and Sorcery

The Chronicles of Aurei Book 2: The Knights of Northmarch


Author

Eddie Davis
Eddie Davis

Springfield, MO



About
I'm a fantasy and science-fiction writer that enjoys sharing my tales with everyone. Three trilogies are offered here, all taking place in the same fantasy world of Synomenia. Other books and stor.. more..

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A Chapter by Eddie Davis


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A Chapter by Eddie Davis