The First Magi ~ The Caliginous Pool

The First Magi ~ The Caliginous Pool

Postby MidniteScy » July 3rd, 2017, 12:05:12 am

The First Magi

In an age long forgotten, amid the misty shadows of the Silva Forest, lies a hidden pool.

Nestled amongst the dancing shadows, and sullen beneath the fog, the Caliginous Pool is known to few, and its tale known to fewer.

The first of the magic wielders came to be amid these midnight shadows, ‘neath the trees that let in only the pinprick light of the stars, and the rippling of the crystal opaque pool.

Under the first sliver of moonlight, a lone man stood gazing up at the stars.
Lost, and unable to find Polaris, his rations of food and supplies were slowly dwindling. He wandered for hours, he couldn’t tell tree from tree, and the blanketing shadows between them looked all the same.
Caladen was beginning to feel hopeless. He considered laying down in the moss, and letting the forest do what it wished.
“I wish I could see the stars,” he said.
And with that wish, a Pegasus stepped through the trees, his coat a moonlit white.
Caladen darted after the winged horse, “O noble Pegasus, would you please take me on your wings? I am lost, and I wish to see the stars.”
The Pegasus bent his graceful head, huffing softly in Caladen’s face.
“And why should I take a scrawny human like you, upon my back?” He asked.
Just then, there was a sharp cry. Caladen darted through the trees, tracking down its source.
A rabbit, its leg snared in a trap, writhed and wriggled on the forest floor.
“You poor thing,” said Caladen, and he moved to free the animal “What a cheap way to catch a rabbit.” With a deft jerk upwards, the clamp lifted free of the rabbit’s leg. But the trap had left deep cuts in the rabbit’s leg, and it could not run away.
Caladen rummaged through his bags.
“Here,” he said, pulling out a thin roll of bandaging. He wrapped the last of the linen around the rabbit’s leg, and as soon as he was done, the animal ran off.

All this, the Pegasus had watched.

“You are noble and kind,” he said, “And I shall take you to see the stars. But to find your way out of the Silva Forest, I imagine you would need to be wiser.” He touched the empty roll of bandaging, then kneeled to allow Caladen on his back.
As they took to the sky, Caladen saw the North Star.
“Thank you, Pegasus, that is all that I need to see.”
The Pegasus brought Caladen down, and he continued on his way.

But a glimpse of the North Star would only last for so long, and Caladen soon lost sense of direction once more. The shadows shifted and danced, tricking his eyes.
“If only I could see through the shadows,” he said.
And with that wish, a tenabre fox melted out of the darkness, its smooth skull gleaming as it peered at him.
“You wish to see through the shadows?” He asked.
“Yes,” answered Caladen earnestly, “I am lost, and the shadows keep tricking my eyes.”
The tenabre fox chuckled, “Little good those human eyes will do you,” he said, eyeing his bag of rations.
And with that, the fox disappeared into the bracken, leaving barely the softest of rustles in its wake.
Caladen chased after the fox, branches scratching at his arms, and roots tripping his feet.
But the fox was long gone, disappeared among the shadows. Caladen let out a groan in frustration. Then Caladen remembered how the fox had gazed at his bag of rations.
“Oh, how awful! I have only one piece of jerky left,” he cried to the shadows, “Thankfully, it is quite big. Perhaps I can split it over the course of a few days.” He raised his voice towards the end, eyeing the shadows attentively.
At last, the fox darted carefully out from the darkness, its soft paws making no sound. Caladen whipped around, and as soon as the fox darted towards his pack, he ran forward, slipping his necklace over its ears. The fox snapped at him, and with a sharp cry he stumbled back. The amulet glinted in the moon, and tinkled lightly whenever the fox moved his head.
“Hm, quite a clever human, aren’t you?” He sat down passively, the necklace clattering against his skull, “Perhaps I shall tell you how to see through the shadows,” he murmured thoughtfully. “But I imagine you would need to be braver to find your way out.” He moved towards Caladen, and sniffed pointedly when the man flinched.
“It is easy to read the shadows,” he said, “Shadows will always evade the light. Whichever direction they shy away from, is whichever the moon is.”
Caladen thanked the tenabre fox, and continued on his way.

As he looked for the shadows, Caladen heard a growl. It was growl unlike any other. A rasp of teeth on bone.
“W-Who’s there?” Caladen called to the bushes.
A massive wolf stepped out from the thorns, a snarl fixed on its face. Caladen cried out, and scrambled backwards. The direwolf took two loping strides, and leaped at his face, toppling him to the ground.
“Cowardly human,” it growled, “Are you not even brave enough to stand your own ground?”
Caladen struggled underneath the wolf, twisting to get out from his feverish breath. If only he could reach into his boot, and grab the dagger that pressed against his shin.
He jerked his knee upwards, and with a grunt, the wolf rolled off him, crouched over its bruised ribcage. Caladen frantically got up to his feet, pulling his dagger out from his boot, and with a cry, prepared to strike at the direwolf.
But something caught his eye.
Alone in the wet grass, a direwolf egg glinted dully in the fog. An egg like that would fetch a high price in the market, and Caladen could do with the extra coin. With a swift glance at the wolf, he feinted a lunge towards it, and as it ducked out of the way, he threw a rock into the brush behind it, causing it to turn towards the bushes.
Caladen ran towards the egg, and as a roar of fury erupted from behind him, he fled through the undergrowth. Branches slapped at his face, and ivy tugged at his boots.
It wasn’t until he was out of breath, that he noticed the pounding paw steps had stopped. And in its place, was a keening, mournful howl.
Pity wove its way through Caladen’s heart, and gazed at the egg in his arms. How cruel of him, to take the direwolf’s only pup. Caladen made his way back through the brush, and returned the egg to its mournful parent, who blinked in grateful surprise when he came to return it.
“I am sorry for taking your egg,” he murmured, “I realized it was most unkind of me.” He bent his head in shame, and the direwolf rumbled softly.

“I would have chased you down myself, but the kirin was watching,” he said.

With that, a graceful deer stepped out from behind the trees. Its dark fur looked to be marred by lightning, but its tawny markings emanated gentleness and grace.

She said nothing, but darted back into the trees, dancing through the shifting shadows and the moon glinted off her antlers.
Caladen gave chase, calling out to the kirin, in hopes she would slow down.

At last, the kirin stopped before a crystal pool, completely still under the starlit sky.
Not a wave rippled over its dark water, creating a perfect reflection of the full moon.
Caladen gasped as he tipped his head back. It had been long since he had seen the moon, and it looked like a great beacon of light above the misty and shadowed forest.

“It has been said,” she whispered softly. Caladen strained to hear her voice.
It was the rustle of spring flowers, stirring beneath the snow; the first drops of a long-awaited summer shower.
“That a human with the honor and kindness of a Pegasus, the wit and wisdom of a tenabre fox, and the brave nobility of a direwolf shall stumble upon this pool.”

“The Caliginous Pool, is known by few, seen by fewer, and found by none.”
The kirin straightened to its full height, antlers cupping the moon, that glowed patiently in the water.

“Until you, that is.”

The kirin stared straight into Caladen’s eyes, as thought she saw straight into the depths of his soul.

“Caladen the Lost, perhaps you lost your way in this forest, but you have found the path for many to come.”
She knelt beside the pool, gracefully lowering to her knees. As she touched the stagnant water with her antlers, the dead still water rippled across. Caladen touched a careful finger to the pool, but found that it did not stir at all.

“Drink.” She said, and rose back to her full height.

Caladen obediently cupped the water in his hands, but as he held it to his lips, he hesitated.

“What will happen if I do?”
The kirin gazed at him, and once again Caladen felt as though she was searching his soul.

“You shall see.”

Hesitant, Caladen raised the dark water to his lips, and as he drank, he felt as though a touch had awakened something deep and old inside of him. It rippled and stirred, swirling from his toes to his head, a current of light and darkness, of silence and song.

A ripple of magic.

When Caladen opened his eyes, he saw the world for the first time.
He felt the gentle presence of the kirin, her wary patience, and her joy and relief when he opened his eyes.
The direwolf paced nearby, and as his presence touched his, a howl sounded through the forest, echoing through the trees with strength and nobility.
Slipping through the shadows, the tenabre fox slinked through the undergrowth, a blossom of amusement tinting his awareness.
And above him, the Pegasus soared amongst the stars, circling Polaris as his mind brushed Caladen’s.
And below him, the Caliginous Pool was no longer an opaque reflection. It was as clear as his mind, and Caladen watched in awe as tiny pinpricks of light darted beneath its surface, scales glinting softly as they curved near the surface. A waterlily, inconspicuous near the reeds, bloomed beneath the full moon.

The Caliginous Pool had shone clear. The first magi had awakened.
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