The Spells of Slumber: Part One
Although standing on its own, this story is related to The Defender, which featured in NT issues 490-991.
The small Blue Aisha looked at the Pink Bori mage.
Rasala the Bright, the newly elected leader of the Order of the Red Erisim, nodded.
She tried not to look too uncomfortable, but this was a visit she had been dreading. Ever since she had been elected as the new leader, she had been visiting some of the more important members of the Order to tell them about the new direction she wanted to give to it. Most of them were easy to convince of her ideas, whether or not with a bit of help from the fireballs she could conjure so easily. But Rasala knew she was now facing someone who would not be that easily convinced. For the small blue Aisha that was now pouring her tea was not just another member; she was the greatest legend that had ever been a member of the Order. If that wasn't enough, she was also known to be one of the most critical voices of the Order.
And so, with fear in her heart, Rasala had set out to Altador to discuss things with Jerdana, the Protector. They both knew that there was a lot more to this visit then just sitting together drinking tea in Jerdana's rooms.
"So, you've been elected the leader of the Order now," the Aisha said.
Rasala nodded. "Yes, it seemed the Order has been pretty much divided about it, but in the end they decided to put their trust in me. You weren't at the meeting, though."
Jerdana shook her head.
"I never attend any meetings of the Order anymore these days; I have my reasons for it. So what are your plans with the Order? I doubt your greatest announcement will be the date of the next Cauldron Throwdown."
Rasala took a deep breath. She was pretty sure Jerdana didn't think too high of some of the members of the Order, but she wasn't sure either whether the Aisha would agree with her own views.
"I want to make more of the Order. When I look at a large group of its current members, not you of course," she hastened to say that, "I wonder why they call themselves mages at all. Some of them at least take an effort in studying magic, but some of them are only interested in nothing more but household spells and cauldron throwing contests."
"Household spells can be handy. If it wasn't for them, I would never been able to get things cleared up here."
Rasala tried not to roll with her eyes at this comment. She swallowed her pride and continued.
"That's not what I mean, Jerdana. Where was the Order when Xandra arose? What were we doing at that time if it wasn't for cauldron throwing or mopping up the floor magically?
"Protecting the city because Altador was investigating on what happened to the Faeries. He's the hero, after all. Protecting the city is my task."
"I didn't mean to..."
Jerdana held up her hand and Rasala was silent at once.
"You asked a question, I answered. That doesn't mean I don't see your point, though. Nor does it mean I do not share it."
"So you do? It is well known in the Order you have your doubts about me."
It had been said at last and Rasala wasn't sure she had done the right thing in saying so.
"I have my doubts, yes." Jerdana looked at the Bori clearly. "For you are young and filled with ambition, and I am fairly sure you will make a mistake or two, or ten or twenty, for that matter, before you have gained something that could be called wisdom. I can only hope..."
"Hope for what, that I'll learn from my mistakes quickly? Don't worry, I will."
Jerdana shook her head.
"You call yourself Rasala the Bright. I hope your name will not be turned into Rasala the Dark. For you are young and powerful and with the future you have, your ambitions will be your only limits. And we both know you have enough ambitions to last a lifetime."
Jerdana's remark had hit the right note. Rasala bowed her head.
"That's what I'm afraid of too. I want to improve the order, I want to improve Neopia, I see so many things that could be different, but what if I do wrong? What if I become just like Xandra. There's no guarantee I will not, right?"
Jerdana shook her head.
"No there is not. Even Draconis Darigan, who was once a member of the Servants of the Light, as that powerful magical order has been called, has shown he could be corrupted when the circumstances were grim enough. Even one of the Twelve, the sworn friends, could betray the others and Altador, the city of the sun and the light could have fallen with her, if things had not been different."
Jerdana paused for a moment, hesitating if she should tell more.
"Rasala, you remind me of myself when I was still young. This is why I am warning you."
"Oh, come on," the Pink Bori lashed out at Jerdana.
Her temper had finally snapped, and the magical fireball was a result of it.
Never before had Rasala seen Jerdana in action, but the small Aisha drew up a magic shield that absorbed the power of the fireball with more ease than she had just been pouring tea. Rasala gasped at it, but Jerdana didn't seem to notice or pretended not to.
"I know what you want, you want to use Neopia's magic to make it a better place. However, I doubt you will stop at the easy things, like making crops grow. Even chasing away the many wraiths that still haunt Neopia will not satisfy you for long. Your eye has fallen on a kind of magic that is older, a lot older, and runs deeper: the kind of magic that was already called ancient Faerie magic in my time. Am I right that you have been searching for a while in the libraries of both Shenkuu and Qasala for an ancient spellbook?"
Rasala looked at the Aisha in shock.
"How did you find out? Surely this tale among the Order you can read the minds of others is only nonsense, right?"
Jerdana started to laugh and her clear laugh broke the tension between the two of them.
"Oh, I can understand why you want to shake things up at the Order once in a while!"
"They need it badly, I doubt some of them even know the end of their own broomsticks."
"There are easier ways to find our what you are doing, though. I have a few good friends in Shenkuu and as for Qasala; there is a lot of writing going on between King Jazan and me at the moment. He wasn't to happy with you, I believe?"
"He knows something about my research and he didn't want to tell me."
"No, and he has good reasons for it. This spellbook you are after, Rasala, forget about it. It is lost."
Rasala looked at Jerdana with clear interest now. Forgotten was the anger she felt with the Aisha sorceress just moments ago. She had been looking for this spellbook in all corners of Neopia, from Darigan Citadel to Shenkuu, and from Shenkuu to Qasala where she lost the trail of it, but now she was finally getting somewhere.
"So it did exist? The Spellbook of Averna isn't just a myth, like Averna is?"
"Averna... I'm surprised how many times I still hear that name these days. Averna is as much a myth as Altador once was, and once it was as much real as the city is now again."
Jerdana had walked up to the window and looked out of it. Her eyes were fixed somewhere in the distance, far away on the sea.
"I spend most of my childhood on Averna. It is there I learned how to use my magic."
She sat down again.
"It was on Averna, long ago, that I was faced with the same questions you are facing now, whether the magic we care about should only be preserved for the next generation of mages to carry on, or whether we should really try to use this magic to improve Neopia. This is the tale of the Spellbook of Averna, and even more of the Spells of Slumber. It was the spellbook of Averna that decided my fate, and with it the fate of the City of Altador, and Neopia for that matter. But this tale started long ago, when I was still a young girl at Averna, not even an apprentice yet."
"The island of Averna was founded more then a thousand years ago by a most powerful Light Faerie. She had gathered some of the most powerful sorceresses at that time at her side and she taught them all the spells she knew. They, on their turns, took in apprentices so the spells they had learned would not be lost, but carried on to the next generations, and so the tradition was carried on, as it is today."
The Striped Aisha looked at her audience of students, most of them highborn girls with a good sense for magic, who had come here to be educated. A noble born sorceress, who had been taught magic at the island of Averna could expect a brilliant future, for kings and emperors would call upon their services. Mirinam was aware of this, for she had been the leader of this island community and it's most skilled sorceress for years now. Today, she was teaching her young students about the secrets spells that were thought on Averna.
"There are five Spells of Slumber. The first one is used to make someone doze off a bit; the second one induces a sleep that would last for several hours. While the spell is active, it's impossible to wake up the Pet the spell was cast upon. These are the easiest spells and we sometimes use them here often for treating the ill. However these, and the following Spells of Slumber should not be used light-hearted. One cannot practice these spells, they must be preformed to abide their cause."
Mirinam paused for a bit, making sure the message would sink in with her students.
"The third Spell of Slumber can put a small place in a time bubble for several hours. Time will pass by without anything happening until the spell has worked out. This spell is rarely used. The fourth Spell of Slumber is used to put someone asleep for a long period. There's a faerie tale about how once a Zafara princess was hit by this spell by a dark faerie and no one could wake her for a hundred years. This one is rarely used too. Are there any questions about these spells?"
"So far, you've mentioned four of the stages from the Spells of Slumber. What does the fifth one do?"
It was a young blue Aisha who asked this question.
Mirinam gave her student a concerning look.
"Believe me, Jerdana, let's hope you'll never find out. "
To be continued...