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Tarin whispered the word “Nom”. The spell came easily to him, the flames jumping into his hands almost before he had spoken the word to conjure them. “No more flame than a match,” he whispered to himself, cradling the tiny fire in the palm of his hand. Kneeling down, Tarin set the light grass and wood alight, and went to extinguish the magic flames, but then Eldrin was there, admiring the tiny glowing flame.
“And it doesn’t burn?” He asked curiously.
“No, it doesn’t burn me, but it might burn you,” Tarin said as Eldrin reached for the fire.
“Oh, no,” Eldrin said, bringing up a small glass device. “It won’t burn me,” He used the device to gather the flames into a small orb at one end. This was attached to a strange, flexible glass tube, which Eldrin put into a bottle. The flames shot through the tube, turning into a strange, glowing blue liquid that dripped slowly into the bottle. Eldrin turned to Tarin, who stood frozen, his hands clutching thin air. He choked for breath, as the magic from his flames drained from him. Slowly, Eldrin moved the small orb from Tarin’s hands, moving it over his chest, like a doctor looking for a heartbeat, and the tube was filled with a stream of blue light. Tarin sank to his knees, unable to breath, unable to move as his magic was ripped from him. The elf was smiling again, and Tarin realized what had been so strange about the expression. Eldrin’s mouth was smiling, but his eyes were as cold and as cruel as ice.
Eldrin watched the bottle fill up impatiently as he tied Tarin’s hands behind him, then bound his feet. “I obtained this little device from a so-called Alchemist, some years ago.” He said, gesturing at the device that was sapping Tarin’s strength. Every so often, Eldrin adjusted the tube and it filled with a new flood of blue light. “Though I was not born with magic myself, I discovered, that with just a sip of the magic energy obtained from a sorcerer, I could do amazing things.”
The bottle began to overflow, and Eldrin quickly replaced it with a second, stoppering the first with a cork. The blue light reflected in his eyes, and gave them a strange, feral look. Tarin recognized it as the same look that Angela had given him on the day he’d gone back to see her. She had reached for his magic then, wanted it so much that she could hardly help herself.
“The pull of such power, it has swayed people much stronger than I am” she had said. Tarin realized he was looking at one of those people now. Eldrin was practically dancing around the fire as his bottles filled, first 2, then 3, and still the energy flowed out of Tarin.
“You are a powerful one, aren’t you, my friend?” Eldrin laughed as he corked another bottle. Tarin was unable to respond.
Finally, the flow of energy stopped. Tarin struggled for air as Eldrin lowered him to the ground, almost kindly, and Tarin knew he was dying. The edges of his vision was going dark, and he watched Eldrin pack up the glowing bottles into his pack. Then, the elf knelt down, putting his fingers to Tarin's throat, feeling for his steadily weakening pulse.
"Your death will not be in vain, young sorcerer. I will use your power to bring the Queen her victory. Then she will finally know my worth to her."
Tarin couldn't respond, he couldn't focus. The world went black.
Angela found him a few minutes later. The boy was unconscious, laying partially in the water of a small stream. With a strength that belied her size, she took Tarin back to her cottage, but as they reached the small wooden house in its clearing, he woke up and began to thrash and shout. His eyes were forced wide open, and the glow from them lit up the dimly lit cottage. Quickly, Angela ran from the house again, to call on a friend of hers who was skilled in healing magical conditions. She wondered though, if the Alchemist had ever seen something like this before.
Tarin lay on a hard surface. Blue light blinded him, but as much as he turned, and covered his eyes, the light wouldn’t dim. He pressed his face to the rough wood of the floor he was lying on, groaning in pain. It was like every nerve in his body were on fire. His own heartbeat was loud in his ears, pulsing in time with the blue light, which was only getting brighter. He dug his palms into his eyes, hoping to somehow block that bright, bright light.
“Tarin,” came a woman’s voice. “Tarin, can you hear me? I need you to open your eyes—”
“I can’t!” Tarin cried, “It hurts, it’s blinding me!”
“Tarin, that light is coming from inside you, you need to open your eyes.” A cool hand took his and lowered them slowly from his face. Tarin cracked his eyes open, and saw a familiar woman with catlike eyes that reflected the light, so it looked like hers were glowing.
“Angela,” Tarin whispered, and the woman nodded, smiling. The light seemed to recede around the edges of Tarin’s vision, and he was able to look around. He was in a small, one-room cottage. A bed lay in the corner, and in the center of the room was a large cauldron on a fire. Smoke from the fire was swept up into a hole in the center of the roof. It was impossible to tell what time it was, thick curtains blocked the narrow, glazed windows. Plants and herbs hung in bundles from the ceiling, and the sight reminded him of home, where Ella would hang herbs and spices to dry. Behind Angela stood an older man, maybe fifty or so, looking at the pair of them intently.