As the party decides to take a rest, Morgana continues to hound the newly acquainted friends Scin and Lance. “If you do not see the benefits of education, then I’m sorry that you will suffer and so will the future generations.” She finishes with a sigh thinking that they are a lost cause.
Scin looks befuddled at the blunt response. “Why are you so quick to judge?” Lance asks with a sharp edge to his voice.
“Why are you? I said one simple thing and you have bit my head off from the beginning. Do I intimidate you? Make you feel lesser than you are?” She lowers her voice, “because I am not afraid of you and your little threats.”
“You know education is something learned and even people with simple minds can comprehend the basics of reading and writing.” Ormir interjects. Morgana gives a quick chuckle sure that Lance is not going to take that, when into the black there was a small sound, the snapping of a twig.
“Everyone stay calm, the fire is almost ready.” Annuice says.
Someone’s breathe hitches as the darkness ways heavy on the group. Morgana looks up to the stars and watches them fade into the sky. Another twig snaps, “for the night is dark and full of terrors and we can only pray that the fire will burn them all away,” Morgana whispers. The fire comes to life grabbing the attention of everyone, especially Scin, who looks around making sure the fire scared the darkness away. Around them light shines brightly but beyond the reach of the light, darkness stirred.
Annuice says calmly. “Come let me tell you a story everyone.” The group gathers around the campfire to sit on fallen logs and listen to the tale. “These woods use to be home to a simple folk long ago. They were primitive by some standards; however they lived very rich lives. The daily activities involved farming, hunting, and playing with toys crafted by fathers who the women would say had far too much time on their hands. The village was scrutinized for their beliefs, mainly by my kind. Magientist had no place in their world and they fought this with a voracity that matched the feondas.”
“What did they believe? Magientist bring so much to this world.” Ormir interjects as the fire pops and cracks while it grows with heat. The group begins to cook up rations and a sweet smell of meat fills the air.
“Yes but at great cost to the environment. The flux we use comes from organic material that is part of the planet. They believe that the world will fall ill and become decrepit and begin to turn against us. This theory leads them to believe that Magientist are the reason for the feondas.”
“But you have all made amazing changes to this world. How can they be so blind?” Morgana asks.
“Maybe they are not the ones who are blind my dear. Maybe we Magientist are the ones blinded by all of our gains in furthering mankind. We have not taken time to realize how much we hurt the one thing that remains constant in the necessity of our life.”
“What happened to the village?” Scin asks in a soft voice, her chipper nature quelled by the battle of fire and darkness.
“For years nothing but then a Magientist from Baald-rouch came across the village and used a special tool near the woods. What he found would change the entire history of those people and in fact it would be the end of their futures.” Annuice answers.
“I think I heard of him before,” Ormir says. “Didn’t he discover a new flux?”
“Very good Ormir, yes he did. In fact to even mention the name of it is highly frowned upon in the great city, however out here we should be safe. The flux he discovered was called Hemo flux. His name was Manx Ryder.”
“Blood flux?” Morgana asks.
“Exactly, Morgana. This of course wasn’t his intentions, well at least that is what they say. Manx was a very strange Magientist always curious about new and improved flux designs and extraction methods.”
“His curiosity might have been dangerous for him, but the possibilities of this, we could do so much.” Morgana looks up quickly, her voice is fast and her heart was racing. “I don’t know much though. What happened to him?”
Annuice lets Morgana’s words hang on the air for a moment. “This is true the possibilities would be endless with such a flux, however at what cost? Needless to say, Manx was consumed by this possibility, he stayed at the village far longer than intended but he did not care. Consumed by a new found fervor for power he continued his studies, until one day there was nothing left not a single person only the shriveled disfigured bodies of the village. Women and children alike, men found the same fate.”
“What a horrible fate,” Scin whispers. The party sat there in silence for a moment as Lance put his arm around a visibly shaken Scin. Morgana and Ormir’s expressions remain blank.
“That is only the beginning. After all of that Manx started to experiment with the corpses and performing certain…procedures on them.” Annuice pauses for a long period. “Well, enough of that horrible affair. I mean it is just a story after all.”
“But no one continued his research on. It is a dead art, dying with him and all those people.” Ormir replies.
“Like I said, it’s just a story. No one is even sure it’s true or false, I mean there has been talk of the creation of the Feondas. However, that has yet to be proven and most likely never will as the research is strictly forbidden.”
“Forbidden?” questions Scin.
“Yes, my dear. Let me clarify, the Capitol of Magientist, the church of the one God, and even the Demorthen. All agree that killing people in the dubious ways that are required to carry on this research is unethical and goes against the laws of both nature and the general human existence. Therefore anyone found practicing or researching such things will be executed on the spot and all evidence turned over to the head diocese of the Church to be burned.”
“As someone who travels a lot this is a scary thought. Yes it is forbidden but how do they catch someone doing this? How can I feel safe in the woods?” Scin says.
“Well my dear there are things far worse than the possibility of running into a practitioners of ‘Scarlet magic.’ As a traveler you would know this very well.”
“But I can defend against most things, and I know the evils, but how do I even trust others now. These people, they are dangerous. “
“Well, I guess during your travels you must have not found the perils that I have. People are always hard to trust, they are the root of all things bad. According to the story Manx could possibly be the creator of the current feondas that we know of and fear. If you feel able of defending against the feondas then you should have no worries about a simple Magientist.”
“How do you know about this? I mean I have heard rumors, just as I am sure Ormir has, but you seem to know details,” Morgana questions.
“My specialty is extraction of flux. I learned how to build the simplest of tools to the most complex refineries in all the realm. During my research in the great library I came across a book called ‘Sanguine’ which translates to ‘Blood’ I was young and naive. As I read through this book I found very interesting concepts some mundane and some very complex well beyond a first year such as myself. I had the book for a week, when a message came out, the library was looking for a rare book that they though came to public circulation and that whoever has it should return it at once. So I took it to the Head Magientist of the university and asked him ‘What is this book.’ He simply said ‘Nothing that concerns a first year student.’ As I turned to walk away he stated ‘It would be best that you forget anything you read as it could lead to further action by the university.’ As I returned to my dorm room I found it turned over and all my research removed.
“What did you do?” asks Morgana.
“Exactly what they said,” Annuice states plainly. A sullen groan comes from the woods. The party looks intently into the darkness. “I think that is enough for tonight. We need sleep for our travels.”
“Yes let’s, the darkness is forceful and loud tonight.” Ormir mumbles.
As the party falls asleep and Annuice keeps watch, she whispers to herself “I hope I haven’t said too much.” With that she throws another log in the fire, to fight the darkness and whatever else lies beyond sight.