A variety of Ensorcellment Notes from Carant T’Souvier’s Demiurgist’s Notebook
Years ago, I attended a symposium on Wayfarer principles and how the Dream can be used to overcome many of the defenses with which an Enchanter protects themselves. It turns out that while the Dream is commonly accepted to be the domain of Shamans and their ilk, others without the Wayfarer talent can have a limited effect on single individuals. For example, an Enchanter with perhaps ill intent can cast off into the Ether small spell fragments intended for the Spirit. These fragments can infiltrate and flow into the dreams of another spellcaster. While these are harmless, they can reassemble in the dream into a spell that can later be triggered much like a contingency spell. It can be triggered to effect some sort of enchantment without the knowledge of the spellcaster. In a truly fascinating exploitation of how dreams work. It is as if the affected spellcaster themselves casts the spell, not the other party with ill intent. Now, a Shaman or similarly talented Wayfarer would clear these fragments without issue. However, what does one do when they don’t have a Wayfarer nearby?
While barricading a dream is possible and certainly an option in the short term, it prevents dreams. The long term effects of frequent barricading are dangerous particularly for spellcasters. There are myriad solutions that rely on other individuals not of the Wizard persuasion. However, there is one that an Enchanter is capable of that I found quite useful. I devised this ensorcellment after discovering one very interesting property. When a spell or spell fragment is cast off into the Ether, it maintains its connection with the original caster. With the proper magical artifice, they appear as little threads connecting to people together. Attempting to barricade once this sort of connection is made doesn’t quite work as it is a bit like trying to cut through something with a bat. However, a focused barricade against one of the threads cuts it and the spell feedback greatly harms the ill intending party. If one cleaves all the threads in proper order, the feedback is greater and the spell is instead triggered on the unsavory party.
I gave it the name Dreamblade for one reason and that was because after I had devised the spell, in my dreams I found myself armed with a prismatic blade that I would use to cut through tiny tendrils of black that I had dreamt about for years.
This ensorcellment is not completely my own. Years ago, a student of mine and I devised an ensorcellment that served as the basis for this one. He would go on to alter it further with input from another instructor. Its claim to fame is its ability to make a copy of an individual’s memories onto a medium. Though this initially sounds very much like a mindstone, the result is different. A mindstone often records a snippet of one’s life that others can then experience first hand by interacting with it. A Tabula Recordatus crystal records a perfect image of the spirit’s memories as they were at the casting of the spell. With a spell reversal, the memories can be reimplanted back in the individual’s own brain or inside a synthetic duplicate of the brain. This spell relies specifically upon the use of an Ethersmithed metal known as Voidithium and coaxing it to grow into a specialized crystal. This component is quite cost prohibitive which makes it the rate limiting component of the spell.
When I first started refining this ensorcellment, I worked out many of its early shortcomings. Namely, it had the tendency to erase some of the memories of the individual having their memories copied. A strange side effect was that it would spare some memories and then hide them using a complex set of Spell Integrants from the School of Illusion. Truly a strange result that was surely happenstance. Nextly, for all but a select few talented mages, particularly those who suffer from a Schismed Psyche, the original spell would be next to impossible to cast by one individual. I remedied this by simplifying the spell so that it only employed Spell Integrants from the Enchanter Paradigm, rather than both the Enchanter and Elementalist Paradigmata. With all those kinks ironed out, the spell is truly the pinnacle application of Protean Mnemonics.
As a challenge to myself, I managed to realize a secondary spell to complement Tabula Recordatus. This ensorcellment allowed one to skim divination energies through the Voidithium Crystal etched by Tabula Recordatus. At the same time, resonating evocation energies would synthesize a brain with a copy of all the memories in the crystal. That brain could in turn be installed in a construct lacking a Spirit Facsimile.
My biggest hurdle after the Discovery Phase was the materials required to make a complex Spirit Facsimile. Most Enchanter spells create a very simple Spirit Facsimile that can be infused to most materials. A Spirit Facsimile as complex as a real person; that required specialized materials. I committed years of research to this one aspect of the ensorcellment, often convinced the materials were at best theoretical. It wasn’t until I had encountered some extraplanar materials, that I began to broaden my search beyond Myr’Nora. A friend of mine, a planewalking Conjurer and I, visited many planes in search of the exact materials I needed. It was no easy task but we managed to procure the materials I needed.
I achieved my first success with a replica of my own memories. The result was sobering and astounding. Though the construct version of myself had limited capacity to create new memories—a limitation I had trouble overcoming—he took the situation as well as I had resolved myself to. To this day, he is an invaluable research companion. This certainly has greater applications than the self-serving ones I have put it to.
When people are asked whom they perceive to be the most powerful Wizards, they often reply with Elementalists or Conjurers. They then cite stories of the strongest Wizard spells. They think of the spine-rattling thunderous roar of an exploding fireball and its ensuing burst of desiccating heat. Or, the sensation of reality ripping apart as a light devouring Archon breaches through, inhaling hope and exhaling fear. Few people ever think of an Enchanter.
However, when an Enchanter asks people whom they perceive to be the most powerful Wizards, people often reply with Enchanters, of course, and that there are no other Wizards. They then cite stories of the strongest Enchanter spells. They rant about the planar cleaving Blade of the Twin Voids; it slices through the fabric of the realm, creating microcosmic afterimages that fray and tear an enemy’s being across multiple planes of existence. Or, the oft feared power simply known as Twin Anathema, where the Enchanter splits an entity into two complete opposites of one another; their palpable hatred compels them into vicious conflict where both annihilate each other from existence. And the most fearsome of them all, the dreaded Cat’s Meow and how it is quite literally the best spell ever created. Yes, Enchanters are a force to be reckoned with.
For an Enchanter, their power resides in manipulating the minds of others. Perception is king and they have the wherewithal to modify it. The finer details of Enchantment make it in some ways a counterpart to a Paradigm of magic with a much more insidious past: Necromancy. Whereas Necromancy cultivates and manipulates Animus, Enchantism observes and interacts with Spirit. The Spirit is the seed of all thought. Enchanters can synthesize facsimiles of Spirit and then merge them with an individual’s Spirit for a variety of effects. Many of their spells need only be perceived in order to alter the spirit, which, unlike other Arcane Paradigms, means that many of its spells need not be cast directly on their intended targets
Of all the current prevailing Arcane Paradigmata, Enchantment, or Mentalism as it was once called, commands a great deal of respect. This is due in part to its reputation at the Mage’s Arch. It is believed by other Paradigmata that the Hemiark of Enchantment has been an invisible guiding hand throughout the ages, imposing policies that promote unity amongst Wizards. None of this has ever been proven and has simply been dismissed as paranoia by most Enchanters. It perhaps stems from their internal reputation in which they have been known to furtively drive nations towards ends that benefit the Mage’s Ark. In exclusive circles high in the Hemiark of Enchantment’s social structure, it has been an ongoing fear that the suborganization’s leadership fall into the wrong hands. It is rumored that a secret society comprised of Witch Hunters and Enchanter’s sworn to the White Lotus’ cause keep the Hemiark in check.
Individual Enchanters often venture out into the world to suss out incipient threats to people, nations and the Mage’s Arch itself. They are capable of hiding in plain sight and can infiltrate organizations with relative ease. They can resolve many situations without conflict and mend the broken psyches of those pushed to the brink. Most will never know they have come in contact with an Enchanter, because an Enchanter’s power is diminished if they are known for what they are. The largest impediment to an Enchanter is another Enchanter or a Witch Hunter, who is often resistant to their magic.
Enchanters are a cloth-wearing pure caster who channels their spells through circlets or crystals of resonance. Their collection of spells modify the minds of their enemies and their allies. An Enchanter has the ability to improve an ally’s capabilities or to impede those of an enemy. They are capable of shaping the emotional state of enemies imposing feelings of fear, awe, ecstasy or compliance. They can enthrall foes to do their bidding, erase an enemy’s memory of them or momentarily transfer an enemy’s ability to an ally. An Enchanter can change how people perceive them, turning themselves into someone else entirely. They can even inflict harm by weaving the image of a devastating spell into the minds of enemies. Conversely, they can provide a limited form of healing by weaving the image of a restorative spell into the minds of allies.
Enchanters have a class mechanic known as Overt Psyche, with which the Enchanter can better tailor the spells they use to alter the minds of their targets. It presents a snapshot of the enemy’s Psyche and how it responds to attacks and actions taken against it by the Enchanter’s allies. When it reaches certain thresholds, it becomes weak to certain effects and strong against others. For example, if an enemy’s morale has been broken, they become vulnerable to Fear spells but would come resistant to Emboldening spells. Moreover, some spells gain secondary effects they would not otherwise have. When an enemy is weak to Mesmerizing spells, such a spell might gain the secondary effect where the target is initially stunned for a few seconds, preventing an errant strike from awakening them. Repeated barrages by a variety of poorly chosen spells could make a target resistant to all Enchanter spells, but a well chosen sequence could break their psyche and make them vulnerable to many spells in spite of resistances.
A Selection from Carant t’Souvier’s Memoirs recovered after his disappearance
Years ago, when I was teaching a Protean Mnemonics course at the Enchanter Conservatory of Vasilie upon Lumburcher in Dasil, one of my students exacted a terrible toll upon his memory with an ill-conceived ensorcellment. For the purposes of preserving anonymity, I will refer to the student as Vardric. As is usual for Enchanter Conservatories, each academic year for a student ends in a capstone project overseen by one of the student’s past or present Preceptors. The capstone project is to be chosen by the student, applying one or more concepts learned that year. Vardric, a first year novice, approached me hoping that I would sponsor his capstone project. I had already taken notice of his talents. His aptitudes in all schools of magic were well above normal, with a notable gift for Transmutation. I accepted sponsorship of his project, eager to foster his growth.
Vardric proposed a project in which he would design an ensorcellment that would reinforce memory—a direct application of the principles established in Protean Mnemonics. Throughout the Discovery Phase of the project, I provided valuable input and insight into the mechanics behind the spell’s schematic and Vardric was extremely diligent in integrating my recommendations into its design. We had conceived of a spell that would employ a specially synthesized Voididium crystal as a focus to seek out newly created memories. Once the appropriate memories were found, the spell would erect an energetic scaffolding around them. Quite simply, this would stimulate stronger memory formation with small bursts of conjurative energy imparting nootropic inertia. When the time came to move on to the Realization Phase of the project, Vardric produced a deluge of promising data. His ensorcellment quickly achieved Status Non Nocere, meaning the spell would not inflict harm. After this momentous achievement, Vardric mysteriously grew distant and undependable, sporadically missing meetings. I had experienced this before with other less driven students, but was rather dismayed by the sudden change in motivation. It eventually dawned on me that he might be suffering from Repetitious Spell Fatigue, a condition one can experience from invoking the same spell over and over again with slight modifications. By the time I had gone to visit Vardric at his residence, the accident had already befallen him earlier that evening.
Cohorts of Vardric had found him comatose in his room hours before my arrival. A prominent Conservatory Rectifier was already present, attempting to mend what appeared to be a Spell Shear. Spell Shears often occur when a spell’s Split Space grows so large that it can no longer be controlled by the invoking mage. The effect is analogical to stripping a tree of all its branches and then those very branches grow fulgurously and uncontrollably for a brief but calamitous moment. The invoking caster usually suffers great harm when a Spell Shear takes place; all that rampant unbridled energy has to go somewhere. In this case, even though both the Conservatory Rectifier and myself were able to restore consciousness to Vardric, he suffered a rare arcanically-mediated condition known as Tabula Rasa. All his memories had been erased, a fact to which I can attest. Cases of Tabula Rasa are rare in Wizards, and they are even rarer in an Academic setting as students are often given Arcanically Blunted wands, staves and spell ancillary. This serves to reduce the power and complexity of spells, greatly reducing the chances of inflicting harm upon oneself. Of course, this doesn’t quite apply to Conjurers as they always manage to make the most mundane breaching spell harmful. Now as for the prognosis of Vardric, while he maintained his unconscious memory, he was in all likelihood going to have to relearn everything from who he was, to mundane knowledge, to the magic he had studied at the conservatory. It was certainly the end of his current prospects at Magehood, which saddened me greatly.
In any event, the next day, the Conservatory’s Administration naturally wanted answers and considering my potential involvement, they wanted them from me. I requested time to perform an investigation and was granted a measly two days. This was an indication as to how serious they thought the incident was given that it could harm the Conservatory’s reputation. I arranged for substitute Preceptors for all my classes and set about my investigation. Not surprisingly, when I began to examine Vardric’s research papers and interview his cohorts, the incident began to take on a strange intrigue; one to which I had been completely blind.
As an aside for Mages outside the Enchanter Paradigm, it might seem like this was a simple instance of caster error, especially considering the nature of the spell Vardric was working on. Nevertheless, the Spell Integrants were keenly focused on Protean Mnemonics, particularly those concerning memories. These Spell Integrants were of the Divination, Transmutation and Conjuration schools of magic. Within the spell’s context, if the spell flaw took place in the Divination school, it would have likely provided the incorrect memories to reinforce. Divination is after all the magic of observation and will never alter an entity. If the spell flaw took place during Transmutation, at worst, memories would have been altered, but never removed. Lastly, if the spell flaw took place during Conjuration, new memories would have been created and cannot supplant existing ones, let alone completely remove them. This is one of the first rudimentary laws we all learn as mages, even sorcerers learn this after a fashion: spell schools cannot alter a system outside of their domain.
That being said, I had begun to suspect something was amiss when I scoured Vardric’s Research notes for indications on how he might have effaced his memory. He was exceedingly meticulous with his notes. I could see the evolution of the project from its inception to the most recent spell trials, including trials of which I was not aware. Everything seemed perfect. One might say, too perfect. Not a single clue as to what would have given rise to Vardric’s failed spell, not to mention why he would have attempted it on himself. I placed an Ausculus in his room to ensure that it was not tampered with between my visits and decided to drop by to see Vardric at the Conservatory Infirmary. I performed another Arcane Phasmography on him—one had also been performed the night before—to see if I could learn anything more by looking at the after image of the spell and to attempt to glean something I may have missed. Between my analysis of Vardric on the night he was found comatose and a secondary analysis the next day, I could only conclude that the memories had been either obliterated or forcefully moved. The only other thing of interest was a faint image flicker, but this isn’t uncommon in an environment where spells are constantly being cast. With consent, I performed Mnemonic Lattice Analysis to see how precisely his remaining memories were structured. I found what I expected to find: that he had perhaps one quarter the memories a person his age would normally have, which is consistent with cases of Tabula Rasa. Had the memories been destroyed, the School of Nullification would have been present in the spell’s integrants and if they had been moved, integrants from the School of Translocation would have been present. While he could have integrated these on the fly without it being reflected in his notes or the Phasmograph, in all likelihood, his spell would have simply fizzled. Even the greatest Wizards are barely capable of modifying spells in such a way. Not to mention the Schools of Nullification and Translocation are not taught till a prospective Enchanter has transcended from Novice Practitioner to Adept Practitioner.
I decided to dive into Vardric’s academic past to get a clearer picture of who he was. At first, my research turned up little. He was originally from the neighboring kingdom of Selemon. He was the son of a hedgemage, his mother, and an apothecary, his father. He had attended a military academy in Selemon and it was during his training to become a Knight that his aptitude for magic was discovered. With a middling physical aptitude and scant martial prowess, the academy director felt his talents were wasted on knighthood. The director applied on behalf of Vardric to two Wizard Conservatories, one in Al’Nora and ours, in Dasil. The Arcane Proficiency scores submitted with his application were in the 95th percentile, a bit higher than I had anticipated. The only other thing of note was that he waited a year and a half after being admitted to attend the Conservatory. On a whim via Far Echogram, I contacted a friend and colleague, Janshya Orlain, who was head of the Elementalist department at the Al’Nora Conservatory. I asked that she delve into what became of his application to her school to satisfy a simple curiosity. I also sent a missive to the director at the military academy to ascertain where Vardric had been in the year prior to his attendance at the Conservatory. It would be a virtual impossibility for the director’s response to arrive before my investigation’s resolution, but I made the gesture for the sake of completeness.
To understand his social ties, I interviewed a handful of Vardric friends and dormitory suitemates. The picture of his personality that they collectively painted was rather unremarkable. They all said he was a kind and caring individual who would become aloof as his studies would take over. He would always tutor those who asked for help or join friends when invited to socialize, but otherwise was not proactive in seeking out the company of others. It was around this time that I sensed someone had entered Vardric’s room. When I attuned my senses to the Ausculus that I had left behind, I could see that a female student had entered his room. She began immediately examining his work at his desk. It was then that I noticed a strange peculiarity. When she opened up his research journal, I perceived what I believed to be two different handwritings, one literally between the lines of the other.
I made haste and intercepted the student while she was in his room. I will refer to her as Saharla, once again preserving anonymity. When confronted, Saharla seemed disoriented and uncertain how she had gotten there. I could sense that some sort of enchantment had recently worn off on her. Upon further investigation, she admitted to being thoroughly smitten by him for many years. She had been standing there divulging her deep seated affection for him when she referred to Vardric by a different name altogether. I asked Saharla why she referred to him by a different moniker and she vehemently denied she had, claiming with obstinance that she did not know what I was talking about. I did not press the trifling issue further as not a single other student had referred to him by that name: it certainly was not on his official record. When I noticed her hands were in her pockets fidgeting with something, I asked if she would kindly produce what it was she was concealing. She revealed what appeared at first glance to be a Voididium crystal. I confiscated it, assuaging her fears of it falling into the “wrong hands”. I asked if she wouldn’t mind being subject to a brief Mind Skim to which she reluctantly assented. With the Mind Skim, I sensed that she had recently partially resisted the effects of an enchantment and my intuition told me it was thanks to something external to herself. When asked if she was wearing any magical prophylaxis, she revealed a warding necklace she had made. Furthermore, the Mind Skim imparted upon me a clean image of scattered memories that had been barricaded from being accessed.In short order, I broke down the barricades and received a more complete memory out of her. Saharla claimed that she had made it because she had some sort of intuition that some unseen agent was altering her mind. Every time she would attempt to tell someone of the paranoia she had begun to develop, she would instantly forget about it. She simply had an overwhelming sense of being watched. Making the warding necklace was the one thing she could do in the secrecy of her room outside of prying eyes. With all her memories restored, it spurred a cathartic release and she broke down crying and fearing for Vardric’s life. I escorted her to her quarters and made a formal request that she, Vardric and any students involved with him be under surveillance for the foreseeable future.
At once, I returned to Vardric’s room analyzing the Voididium crystal I had procured from Saharla. Upon his desk, sat another one; the one he and I had created. The one in my hand had likely been hidden in his room and Saharla had been sent to recover it. I instantly regretted not having a better grasp of the situation as I could have reinforced the enchantment on her to follow her and find out what she was to do with the new crystal. I knew the new crystal to be a powerful metal much like Voididium but its fundamental structure significantly differed. It whirred with energy that felt strangely familiar—like recognizing someone after not seeing them for a long time. I turned my attention to Vardric’s notes and took my Ausculus in hand. Reading the notes with the Ausculus I could see a second handwriting. This writing at first it appeared to be someone else’s, but then I could see it was still Vardric’s but more angular and with flourishes, whereas, what I perceived to be his normal writing, was a hybridized cursive and printing style. At first I mistook the notes between the lines as a second spell, but it was actually an interstitial spell interwoven with the one we had designed. The way it was written, it could either be co-cast with another individual or cast by one tremendously talented individual. The newly revealed elements included Spell Integrants from the school of Translocation, confirming my hunch that it could be involved. It was all overwhelmingly fascinating, but I did not have the luxury of completely analyzing it. From what I could tell, Elementalist Spell Integrants with Enchanter Spell Integrants had been merged to produce a Chimeric Spell that would transfer memories to another medium. That medium would be a Voidithium crystal, an Ethersmithed variety of Voididium—one that is extremely rare and well outside the monetary grasp of all but the most affluent individuals in the world. It dawned on me that the familiarity I sensed from the second crystal had the resonance of Vardric’s consciousness.
Astounded by the influx of new information, I couldn’t quite fathom why Vardric would have transferred his memories to an external medium. Even with all of Vardric’s natural talent, I could see strange design decisions in the secondary spell. For one, why not record one’s memories and simply cordon off the transferred memories? The end result is the same. The mind is vast, it does not need to have memories removed to integrate new ones. Secondly, the method of memory transcription would only ever allow the memories to be re-transcribed to the memories’ original host. This was a bit like reinventing an inferior wheel as memory crystals already existed. Though, unlike Vardric’s spell, they provide an experience that is relived by the individual interacting with the crystal. Finally, unconscious memories are universally spared with most Mnemonic Spell Integrants. This led me to believe that the shielding of memories was intended to spare some conscious memories, but, from what I could tell, all of Vardric’s conscious memories had been transferred. I was at a loss for what Vardric’s motives were, presuming they were uniquely his.
Between the clever spell twist used to hide writing on the very same paper Vardric had written his project notes on and the acquisition of Voidithium, I began to suspect a third party. I couldn’t reconcile Vardric’s abilities, laudable as they were, with all the information that was coming to light. When I began to entertain the prospects of a third party, the motives of such an individual worried me greatly. I reasoned someone could be working behind the scenes while I was trying to make heads and tails of the whole case. Then something suddenly occurred to me. I recalled Saharla mentioning she had pined after him for many years, but he was a first year student. Either she made a mistake or perhaps their relationship predated their attendance at the Conservatory. Paired with the other name by which Saharla referred to him, I wondered if he was leading some sort of double life.
Despite still only being in the first day of my investigation, I immediately reported my findings and a few working hypotheses to the Conservatory Administration. It was concluded that even more security measures should be enacted to protect all the students involved with Vardric. Conservatory Rectifiers were alerted to the finer details of the case and strategically placed to hinder any further meddling from an unknown third party. Vardric was moved to a secure ward at the infirmary and a small team of Rectifiers were assigned to him. Though it was a prudent action on behalf of the Conservatory Administration, in their hubris they failed to consider that the third party could be one of our own staff. I was kindly reminded to recall my place when I deigned to imply we should be wary of our own.
I was going to press the issue further when I received a response from Janshya at the Al’Nora Conservatory via Far Echogram. She was in the Admission Bureau. The first bit of confusing information came from the fact his application had been rejected. When I asked the reasoning, she said that the Arcane Proficiency scores he had submitted were well under par. I asked that she read me off the scores. I immediately knew they weren’t the same scores our conservatory had received. I began to venture down a line of reasoning that had started with my curiosity about the name Saharla had mistakenly used. I asked Janshya if she wouldn’t mind looking into applications from students with the other name that Saharla had let slip. I confined the search to within the last two years. A few minutes later, she came back with two people bearing the name in question. Both applied and were accepted. Neither of their last names sounded remotely familiar. When she started to relay information about their applications, one thing saliently stuck out. One of them was from Selemon and his Arcane Proficiency scores were identical to Vardric’s. Janshya then conveyed that the student in question had attended the College of Elementalism at their conservatory. He had received high marks during his first academic year before mysteriously dropping out. She even vaguely remembered him. Someone of his talents doesn’t often give up on academia. It was apparent that Vardric, presuming that was even his name, had attended their conservatory assuming an alias. It would require a small degree of document forgery to falsify the name, but whatever the motive, Vardric and his likely shadow benefactor were counting on his alias never being known outside of the Al’Nora Conservatory. I then asked if Saharla had attended their conservatory and Janshya quickly confirmed my assumption. I had difficulty reasoning why Saharla would be allowed to follow him as she could be a liability. Was Saharla integral to whatever plans were in motion? Or, did Vardric truly have mutual affection for her and was he somehow protecting her?
I could now at least account for something I had previously wrongly begun to assume was a third party’s doing. When I considered that schools of Translocation and Nullification are not within the ken of a Novice Enchanter, I had foolishly not considered prior training in another school. Translocation and Nullification are taught to first year Elementalists, however it is exceedingly rare for an Elementalist to transfer to the college of Enchantment. The system itself hinders such things. The exception is transfer from the college of Conjuration to any other Paradigm. It is also rare, but not unheard of for disillusioned Wizards to train protégés outside the confines of the Mage’s Ark. Even with Vardric having a strong grasp of the schools of magic required to cast the Chimeric Spell, it would be next to impossible to control. This might explain the Spell Shear that had taken place. Only had a Spell Sheer taken place with this spell, there would have been damage to the Voidithium crystal and some potential collateral damage to the area where the spell had been cast. Something didn’t quite add up. I decided to seek out the Conservatory Rectifier who had first attended to Vardric’s condition after the accident.
I made my way to the Department of Rectification. Upon entering, I realized I didn’t know the Rectifier’s name nor did I know much about him: simply that he was well known. I described him to a passing Adjudicator who claimed to know most of the Rectifiers well. She hadn’t a clue as to whom I was talking about. After a quick canvassing of other Rectification staff, with not a single person knowing whom I was talking about, I was quickly overtaken by anxiety. I realized that there was a good chance I had already come in contact with the third party about which I had been theorizing. Whoever the Rectifier was tending to Vardric the night of the incident, something told me he might very well be the mysterious third party. He was after all the first person at the scene. What flummoxed me was that even if I let my guard down, I would have sensed an ensorcellment penetrating my spell barrier. This had me worried as I realized I may be dealing with a true Virtuoso. I barely had time to reflect on what had potentially transpired when commotion erupted from the entrance to the Department of Rectification. I scrambled to the entrance to see what the racket was about when I witnessed the Conservatory Infirmary, a building completely made of stone, enveloped in ice-blue flames.
In the chaos that ensued, fewer than twenty of the combined ninety staff and rehabilitants were saved from the frost fire inferno. Vardric was not amongst them. In the days that followed, we learned the true extent of the damages. The Conservatory Vault had been raided by a frost-clad figure who dispatched Vault Keepers with martial ease. Many priceless artifacts had been stolen. Saharla disappeared without a trace, despite her building and her quarters being under guard of Rectifiers. For some reason, Vardric’s quarters had been left untouched. I secretly commandeered his research materials without notifying anyone. After the Conservatory carried out a thorough investigation of its own, taking into consideration my own personal investigation, it was decided that I had not performed my vigilant duty in protecting the Conservatory and its students from harm. I was summarily let go and my reputation with the Mage’s Ark was permanently blemished. They needed someone to blame in order to exculpate themselves. My reputation implied that I should have been capable enough to thwart such a tragedy. No one wanted to admit that something fearsome stalked in the shadows. After my dismissal from the conservatory, I became a reclusive, unsure whether I was to be targeted by those involved with Vardric.
I decided that my answers lay within the Voidithium crystal. I reasoned that being responsible for half of the spell, I certainly had the knowhow to transcribe Vardric’s memories onto something that could act as a surrogate mind—even if I originally conceded that it was near impossible. I was of two minds on the matter though, much like Vardric was.