Just One Trip

The air rippled in front of her as the portal appeared. It was slightly larger than a window. Lilybeth smiled. Her efforts in adjusting the spell were beginning to work. She picked up the basket on the floor and crawled through the opening. Grateful she had chosen to wear her pants and a small blue vest, she tumbled out the other side onto the cushion covered platform. She turned around, examining the shimmer in the air. Not much was visible for most people. They would need to know precisely where to look or be magically gifted to see it. Turning her hand, she closed the portal with a snap.

Brushing off the dust, she looked around. Tellanon wasn’t at his desk. “Hello?” Her voice echoed through the chambers, but no response was forthcoming. She gathered up her inks and quills. She climbed to the upper rooms. Standing at his desk, she chuckled. The desk was in perfect order, at odds with his behavior with people. She placed her hand above the blank space on the left hand side. Drawing energy from the space, the wood began to glow. A vibrant rune appeared there, turning twice before sinking down into the surface leaving a perfect impression. Her hand fell on top of it and a loud thud rang through the air. Taking a moment, she examined her work and nodded. Pulling a note from her pocket, she placed it next of the mark.

She started wandering through several chambers, she selected a few books to read. Stopping just shy of the damaged book room, she sighed. So many left to work on and she was forced to stop. She looked for a moment longer before heading back up to her workspace. Halfway up the ramp she changed her mind. She went in and retrieved the book she had nearly completed. Wrapping the room in power, she cast the time stasis spell. Two chapters. That’s all she had left. Her pen flowed over the page rapidly. It took her several hours, but it was finally done. She turned to place the original back on the shelf and the world went sideways, then black.

Tellanon strode down through the chambers of the Treasury, glad to be back to familiar surroundings. He’d been out for two days, hunting in the Broken Isles with Lanthirie. Smiling, he thought to himself that with all the changes in his life since the emergence of his family, she was at least one that had no downside. As he passed through the arch into the central gallery, something felt off. He stopped and went still, every sense stretched out. Very low, almost inaudible, a faint hum. The distinctive hum of magic at work. Odd, he thought, he had not expected Lilybeth to be here today. Curious, he made his way to the damaged books room.

When he reached the portico, he stopped cold, his blood freezing in his veins. On the floor of the chamber lay Lilybeth, sprawled on the stone. Covering the doorway was the unmistakeable shimmer of a magical barrier, a time stasis field at work. How long had she lay there? Without thinking, he stepped forward, but before he could even reach the barrier, the enchanted torque around his neck tightened. It was just a little, a small warning to let him know he was at the edge of his allowable distance.

He froze, irresolute, his mind racing. He couldn’t leave her there, long term exposure was bad news. But if he got closer the damn torque would kill him. He could go get one of the druids outside, but he did not know how they would react to this kind of arcane magic being used in the Barrow. And besides, he had no idea how long she had been there. Every second might count.

Tellanon let a long, heavy sigh. He could not leave her there. He’d done her enough harm before.

“Eh, fuck it, I’ve been trying to convince these bastards to go ahead and kill me for 3 months anyway.” Saying so, he dashed forward, into the barrier. He felt the sickening lurch that always accompanied passing through it, barely preceded by the torque convulsing around his throat. It clamped down, hard, cutting off his air and hurting like hell. After he passed through, however, it froze in place. With a flash, he realized the time stasis was preventing it from closing completely and cutting off his head.

He gurgled out an incoherent cry, meant to be “screw you, you old bastard!”, unfortunately lost due to his lack of wind. Lurching forward, he put his hands under Lilybeth’s shoulders, hauling her towards the barrier. Sparks were flashing at the edges of his vision, and his lungs felt like they would burst. With everything he had, he flung himself backward, pulling her limp form behind him. They broke through, and as soon as it happened the torque once again began to constrict. With the last of his strength, he wrenched his body away from her. Blackness took him before he even hit the floor.

Not long after, Kalithil rushed through the halls of the Treasury. The wards on the torque had gone off like a klaxon in his brain, alerting him that Tellanon had gotten too close to Lilybeth. The intensity indicated Tellanon had gotten close enough to harm her. He’d teleported away without a word, leaving a mess of scrolls and old tomes behind him. He descended through the Treasury until he reached the main gallery. Looking around frantically, he finally heard the sound of a choking cough from the direction of the damaged book chamber.

He rushed to it, only to see a sight that drained what little color his skin possessed. Lilybeth lay on the floor, coughing and vomiting. Just over ten feet away, Tellanon lay prone and unconscious. Face filling with rage, Kalithil summoned his power. His hands glowed with a searing light. He intended to wipe this man from existence, no trace would remain. Raising his hands, he prepared to let loose his fury.

“No!” Lilybeth had leapt in front of him, blocking his spell.

“Move, Lily! I don’t care if he is Tindomiel’s father!”

“Kal, stop! You don’t understand! He saved me!”