The previous Sassy Saturday post can be read here:The Girlfriend of an Exiled Mage
The context for this post is that Eric has returned to Tariatla and Emily has unwittingly come with him. He's reunited with Kallen Selios and they approach an area seared by a mana storm.
The trio entered a glen transformed into a crater ten feet deep and five feet wide. Trees for another three yards had been ripped apart or transformed into something else. The surrounding snow was, as oxymoron as it sounded, a fertile wasteland. Plants were growing here when there were none elsewhere, but at the same time, they appeared toxic.
Kallen approached the edge and looked over. At the bottom was a creature sparking with mana; half human and half something else. It was he who had screamed.
“Hello, down there! Are you still sapient?”
The man raised his head and showed her his face; it too was only half-human and becoming less so by the second.
“– Lumberson, please help me. I’m Patrick Lumberson, please help me. I’m Patrick Lumberson…” A large mana arch sparked over his head and he screamed again. “Please help me!”
Eric pointed his staff at Patrick and chanted, “Just like a wooden boat –”
“Stop!” Kallen said. “It’s too late! Save your mana for offensive spells!”
The transformation completed a second later. The creature lying in the pit now was a hairless mole-like creature with thick muscle and hide like leather. It was about six feet tall with its weight evenly distributed along its body. Ice crystals grew in various parts of its body, from its head to its arms and back and belly. It was equipped with grinding teeth and four sets of serrated claws. Patrick Lumberson was now a Fizger; a monster known to trawl cold regions.
It sniffed the air and detected warm bodies. Rising to its feet, it jumped clear out of the hole and charged the trio without preamble. Emily ducked behind Eric and Kallen moved in front of him.
Kallen deflected the blows from its fore claws with her mage spear while dodging the strikes from its hind claws and jaws and, all the while, she chanted, “Invisible assassin, come to my aid! Be my hope and be my blade! Ice Daggers!”
Five clumps of snow arose around the vicious monster. Instantly, they melted and refroze into blades. By her will, they hovered into position over the monster’s vulnerable spots.
They flew into her target. Propelled by her magical power, they punctured its hide and through its muscle to pierce internal organs. It died on its feet and then slumped at Kallen’s, but none of its blood blemished her appearance. Her personal barrier repelled it. She stabbed it a few more times to make sure it was dead, then took out a small dagger and began cutting it up.
The sight made Emily throw up. Eric knelt to support her and rub her back. She smiled appreciatively at him, but the sounds of Kallen cutting bone made her shudder.
“What…what was that? What happened!?”
Kallen finished sawing off an arm and put it off to the side. “Eric, explain.”
“What you just witnessed is known as ‘mana mutation.’ It’s the process where high concentrations of mana transform the local matter at the molecular level. If it happens to sapient creatures, their minds are scrambled, and they turn into monsters.”
“Is that going to happen to me!? This is too high and what about contagion? Will –”
Kallen separated another limb from the main body and put it aside.
“It won’t happen to you as long as you stay away from mana storms. This guy was unlucky enough to be caught in one.”
“…Is that it? The end? Boom-monster?”
“Yes,” Kallen said while cutting through the monster’s neck. “As of today, there is no method known to humans that can restore a victim’s sanity, but I’m working on that.”
“You are? You’re a doctor?”
Kallen paused. “What’s a doctor? Eric, is that the Threan word for ‘researcher’?”
Eric cast a waterball for Emily wash to the vomit taste from her mouth. She was too surprised that he could generate clean water to register that she was drinking out of his hands.
“Technically, it’s the name of the highest academic degree that someone can be awarded, but the most commonly known is the ‘Doctorate of Medicine.’”
“Oh, so it’s kind of like ‘Sage of Healing’?”
Eric nodded and Kallen resumed cutting.
“In any case, I’m not a doctor. I’m a field agent for the International Community Dedicated to Mana Mutation. I do the dangerous grunt work that makes their boring grunt work possible.”_____________________________________
Looming Shadow, and the rest of the Journey to Chaos series, is available for purchase at: http://smile.amazon.com/A-Mages-Power-Journey-Chaos-ebook/dp/B00AVMAISG
Journey To Chaos book 3: Mana Mutation Menace is on sale for 99 cents on Amazon until May 20
To learn more about the heroines of Journey to Chaos, visit Tvtropes at: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/AMagesPower.