12 – 4

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Tellwyrn came in through the door. She had been spoken to about teleporting in and out of the infirmary, and while she adamantly maintained her authority over the campus in general, her policy was to accept Miss Sunrunner’s dictates with regard to the management of her little domain. That practice had served them both well, as it had the student body (and their various frequently injured student bodies), so it stood unchallenged. Thus, despite the urgency with which she had been summoned, she now came striding through the infirmary’s entrance.

“All right, what have we got?” she barked.

Miss Sunrunner gave her a flat look. “Lower your voice, Arachne. I have told you not to shout in here; recuperating patients require a calm atmosphere.”

“Taowi, there is no one else here, except the patient who won’t wake up.”

“It’s the principle of—”

“We can rehash this argument yet again at a less urgent time,” Tellwyrn snapped. “Now what is going on?”

She turned an expressive look on Professor Yornhaldt, who stood to one side of Chase’s bed, watching. He nodded to her in greeting, then pointedly directed his attention to the campus healer, yielding the floor.

“You already know the salient points,” Miss Sunrunner said, folding her hands and gliding back over to join Yornhaldt at the bedside. Chase was stretched out, uncovered, and looking actually rather peaceful. “We cannot awaken him. He is uninjured, and there is no trace of either alchemical or mundane poison in his system. Undetectable agents can’t be ruled out, obviously, but as you know we’re equipped to detect things most hospitals are not. Altogether, Chase is in the same generally good health as always. He simply will not wake up. The sleep itself appears quite natural, aside from the fact that we cannot bring him out of it.”

“Mm,” Tellwyrn said noncommittally, studying Chase through her spectacles. “I gather you’re here to expand the battery of tests being run, Alaric.”

“Indeed, I can check for a few things Taowi can’t,” Yornhaldt replied, nodding apologetically at Miss Sunrunner. “And based on the examinations I have done, I’m reasonably sure he has been cursed.”

Tellwyrn shot the healer a look. “That’s what you call generally good health?”

“In point of fact,” Sunrunner said with muted asperity, “that is exactly the issue. What we have detected is that Chase’s body is in a state of suspension. It is far too early to have observed the effects naturally, which is why I asked Alaric to come and examine him magically, but we have determined that he has the standard protections. He will not require food or water while in this state, nor experience any muscular or skeletal atrophy from lack of exercise. He is in generally good health, in short, and will remain that way until we work out how to awaken him.”

“This is where it begins to worry me,” Yornhaldt said seriously. “You know very well that suspended animation is a standard feature of sleeping curses and has been…well, longer than you’ve been alive, even. The troubling thing is that this is the only indication we have of what has befallen him. I can detect no curse at all. No trace of one. Arachne, the state of his body shows that magic has to be acting upon it in a powerful way, but I cannot find any magic.”

“We had hoped,” Miss Sunrunner said in a softer tone, “that you would be able to discern something we have missed. Failing that, I can also have Admestus do some tests, but…alchemical procedures are necessarily more invasive than scrying, and in any case, Arachne, I trust your judgment substantially more.”

Tellwyrn looked at her, then at Yornhaldt, then sighed softly and turned her gaze back to the patient, peering through the lenses of her glasses. After a moment, she reached up to hold one side of the golden frame between her thumb and forefinger, narrowing her eyes.

“…you’re right,” she murmured at last. “Nothing. Not a thing. He could just be asleep. There’s no magic there.”

Miss Sunrunner tilted her head to one side. “Can those detect the suspended animation?”

“No, they see magic. I assume you were scrying for specific cellular activities, Alaric?”

“Exactly,” he said, nodding. “But I see no harm in you double-checking…”

Tellwyrn waved a hand impatiently, shaking her head. “In all the years I’ve known you, I’ve observed two things: you don’t make pronouncements unless you’re sure, and you’re never sure unless you’re right. I’m quite comfortable taking your word for it, Alaric. So that leaves…this exciting dilemma.”

Yornhaldt drew in a deep breath, his blocky frame swelling till it seemed to strain his tweed jacket. “Well, I shall point out the oliphaunt in the room if no one else will. We all know that magic concealed from detection is Black Wreath craft.”

Still frowning down at Chase, Tellwyrn shook her head slowly. “The Wreath didn’t do this.”

“How can you be sure?”

“For one thing,” she said, “I know how their evasion tricks work. I’m sure they have some I don’t know, but I’m familiar enough with the others to spot the patterns. Not that I can reliably catch them in the wild if I’m not paying attention, but with a comatose subject and the luxury of time to study him? No, if the Wreath had cursed him with Elilial’s gift, I’d be able to see that. And magic aside, Embras Mogul is too intelligent and self-interested to make himself my personal chew toy by attacking one of my students. Moreover, Elilial specifically promised me, in person, that she would not harm the kids.”

“You trust a promise from the demon-wrangling goddess of cunning?” Sunrunner said skeptically.

“I do,” Tellwyrn said softly, nodding. “Elilial is sneaky; she isn’t a liar. The really, really good deceivers often aren’t. And she doesn’t want me for a devoted enemy, either. Even if I were wrong about that, this is not her pattern. She’s more careful about bystanders than some of the Pantheon gods; I’ve never actually known her to target innocents in order to provoke someone.”

“Magic aside, then,” Yornhaldt said gravely. “The reason my mind sprang directly to the Wreath, aside from the obvious, was that there is one person on this campus whom they wish to annoy possibly even less than yourself, Arachne. Or there was, until yesterday. Literally as soon as Kaisa departed, this happened. It’s a coincidence I cannot make myself credit.”

Tellwyrn heaved a slow sigh, finally lifting her eyes to his. “Yes, I thought of that, too. But my points stand; Elilial has no reason to provoke me this way, and her cult has far too much to lose and nothing at all to gain by it. Plus, as I said, I think I could detect it if this were their handiwork—but that is due to my specific familiarity with their handiwork. It’s easier for me to believe that someone else out there found a way to conceal magic from me than that it’s them.”

“The prospects become more horrifying the longer I dwell on them,” Yornhaldt muttered. “Who in the world can work spellcraft that sophisticated? The Empire, the Church, the College of Salyrene, the Wizard’s Guild? No one I can imagine would wish to antagonize you this way…”

“Unless I misremember,” Sunrunner said archly, “one entity on that short list has already deliberately antagonized her, for no discernible reason beyond curiosity as to what would happen.”

“This is pointless,” Tellwyrn said curtly. “We do not have enough data to begin pointing fingers; we will collect evidence before forming theories, not the other way round. Taowi, is it possible he did this to himself?”

“I did think of that,” the healer said. “It’s Chase, after all. Maureen said they found him sitting against a wall, in a stable position; while it’s not impossible to fall into that pose, it more suggests someone put him there. If he did it to himself, I would assume it to have been an accident, as not even Chase Masterson would have any reason to do something as utterly daft as deliberately curse himself to sleep. He can’t enjoy any of the things he lives for in this condition. Anyhow, if he were to do such a thing, why on a random path in the middle of campus? Anything might have happened to him. Many of his classmates owe him a few pranks.”

“Not to mention,” Yornhaldt said with a sigh, “the boy barely has the magical aptitude to get through my classes. He’s not one I’d expect to pull out a brand-new sleeping curse from beyond the cutting edge.”

“So,” Tellwyrn mused, “the only one who knows what happened to Chase is Chase. We shall simply have to ask him.”

“Arachne, I have no idea how long it will take to fix this,” Yornhaldt said seriously. “For all our investigations thus far, I cannot even claim to have truly begun. We can’t even detect the curse; removing it could potentially be a major undertaking.”

“If you go about it the scientific way, yes,” she said flatly, folding her arms and giving him a challenging look. “Alaric, what do I usually do when something intractably complex stands in my way?”


The tiny, jewel-like bottle looked out of place affixed to the rest of the contraption; little larger than a bean, it was cut in facets like a diamond, seemingly empty. Professor Rafe screwed its stoppered end into the apparatus attached to Chase’s face with the utmost care. Aside from the nozzle holding the bottle in place, and the gadgetry contained within that which would remove the stopper without breaking the airtight seal, it was just a contoured suction cup that fit over the patient’s mouth, leaving his nose free.

“I’m impressed, Admestus,” Yornhaldt commented. “I’ve never actually seen a bottle of anything that size, and yet you had a device right on hand which fit its mouth perfectly.”

“Oh, this actually wasn’t designed for this bottle,” Rafe said cheerily. “I just slapped this thing together out of bits and bobs I had lying about. Really, though, it’s a simple enough gadget; every bit of what it does is all part and parcel of working with gaseous reagents. The nozzle there was meant to be attached to rubber tubing—actually, I’ve wedged a ring of the stuff in the opening to tighten its grip on the bottle. Be a pal and check my seals? I’ve already done it myself, but I don’t want to pop the cork until you’ve triple-verified we don’t have any leaks. There is a very tiny amount of hellhound breath in that bottle and pretty much no earthly way of getting more.”

“Agreed,” Yornhaldt rumbled, gesticulating with one of his thick fingers. A cerulean spell circle flared into being directly below Chase’s head, then slowly drifted up through it, flickering out once it passed above the little bottle of hellhound breath. “Clear. No air or other gases escaping from the device.”

“You had a spell on hand to do that?” Sunrunner asked, impressed. “I expected a more elaborate casting, like you had to do previously.”

“It isn’t every day I have to scry for activity on the cellular level,” Yornhaldt explained. “Checking anomalous air currents is a common enough need in several forms of spellcasting. The wrong breath of wind can mess up…well, that’s not important right now,” he added, glancing at Tellwyrn’s expression.

“Are we ready, then?” she demanded, frowning at Rafe.

“Yeah,” he said, straightening up and turning to her with an uncharacteristically even look. “Good to go on your command. Before we do that, though, let me just point out that if what happened to Chase is as mysterious as you all say, there’s nothing to suggest it won’t happen again. This could be a one-off event, or we may soon have other students coming in under undetectable sleeping curses. Are you sure you want to do this now? Or maybe reserve this, the only sample of foolproof anti-sleep gas which is worth more than the land this campus is built on and can’t be replaced, for a future victim who’s generally less of a butthole?”

“Admestus,” Tellwyrn stated, staring at him over the rims of her glasses, “you are already on my short list right now.”

Rafe shrugged, turning back to the patient. “Yes, fine. I’m not saying anything everyone in the room wasn’t thinking. I just wanted it out in the air so you all know you’re not the only ones thinking it, and the idea isn’t without merit. But, you’re the boss.”

So saying, he took a careful grip on the apparatus sealed to Chase’s mouth and twisted the screw attached to its nozzle.

There was no hissing or any other sound; there just wasn’t enough gas involved to make one. Rafe removed his hands, and they all stared down at the still-sleeping patient.

“Oh, dear,” Yornhaldt murmured, squeezing his hands together. “It’s possible there just wasn’t enough—”

Chase shot upright with a protracted gasp, his eyes snapping open. He quickly began coughing and retching, the sound muffled until he succeeded in wrenching the suction cup off his face with a wet pop.

“Oh—ack. Ew. What the fuck? Why do I taste like I’ve been snogging Scorn?”

“How do you feel?” Miss Sunrunner asked gently, leaning forward to place a hand on his shoulder.

Chase blinked twice, turning to her. “Uh… Well, what most springs to mind is the snogging Scorn thing. Seriously, it’s like a mouthful of sulfur.”

“You were under some kind of sleeping spell, boyo,” Rafe said brightly. “We had to pump you full of hellhound breath.”

Chase blinked again, then his eyes widened. “Whoah, what—wait a second, now. I did not authorize that! I refuse to be held financially liable for— I mean, holy shit, man, why would you waste that stuff on me? Really, this ever happens again you’ve got my permission to just chuck my ass in a ditch, much more cost effective. Need me to sign something?”

“Chase.” Tellwyrn’s voice was not raised, but her tone was firm enough to immediately command his attention. “What happened?”

He licked his lips, staring at her, then grimaced. “Okay, uh…look, it was just a figure of speech. I assume Scorn would taste like brimstone. I’ve never actually snogged her. Not that I wouldn’t give my left nut to try that at least once, but I’m pretty sure she’d literally eat my face. I have it on good authority that most other women do not go for a half-eaten face.”

Tellwyrn blew out her breath in a sigh that was half-growl. “Young man, my patience today is even less generous than usual. We need to know what you remember most recently. You were found propped against a wall below the quad. How did you get cursed? Did someone attack you?”

Chase blinked twice more, then suddenly leaned forward with an animated expression. “Oh—oh, yeah! Man, there were dozens of them, I think they were demons. I gave ’em hell, you better believe that, but one of the cowardly bastards snuck behind me—”

“Chase.” Tellwyrn leaned forward, staring balefully at him from barely a foot away. “This. Is not. The time.”

He met her gaze for a long moment, looking suddenly a little alarmed, then dropped his eyes. “I…sorry, Professor. I don’t know. I, uh, actually was sitting down by the wall, I remember going there myself. I like to be alone with my thoughts—” He glanced up at her and broke off, managing a weak half-grin. “Okay, fine, it’s a great spot to hide and jump out at people. I was that bored, yes. Anyway, I remember sitting there…” He stared at the far wall, frowning in concentration. “…I don’t remember falling asleep. I think someone…walked up to me? Yeah, someone did. A shadow fell across me from behind, and I was annoyed cos they came from the wrong angle for me to surprise ’em. That’s…” He shook his head. “Man, I’ve got nothing past that. I wouldn’t swear it’s the last thing that happened. It’s kinda like falling asleep naturally, y’know? I don’t remember it specifically happening. That’s just the last distinct impression I had of anything.”

Tellwyrn straightened up, letting out a much softer sigh, and exchanged a worried glance with Yornhaldt and Sunrunner.

“So,” said Rafe, “correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this pretty much the worst case scenario? He knows nothing, we’ve blown our only stock of the one damn thing that can cure this, and with it cured now we don’t even have anything to examine.”

“Uh, what’s the big deal?” Chase asked, looking around at them. “So some joker zapped me with a sleeping charm. We learned to do those in your class, Professor Yornhaldt.”

“Alaric, you didn’t,” Tellwyrn said in exasperation.

Yornhaldt gave her a long-suffering look. “You know I like to show them a few fun spells every semester. It’s the lion’s share of what keeps the non-magic majors interested, Arachne. Those of us who don’t terrify our students have to think of these things. Anyway, no, I just show them the standard, extremely basic sleep charm. As you well know, it’s easily detectable, blockable, breakable, and even if one hasn’t the opportunity to do any of that doesn’t last but ten minutes.”

“Uhhh.” Again, Chase panned an inquisitive stare around at them. “What’s going on? Is there something I should be worried about?”

“Are we keeping it from him?” Rafe asked, scratching his head. “Cos, y’know, the boy pretty much knows something’s up. I mean, I can bash him over the noggin with a bedpan, see if that erases his memories—”

“Admestus,” Sunrunner said very evenly, “what have I told you concerning what is and is not appropriate joking matter in my infirmary?”

“I really couldn’t say, Taowi my dear,” Rafe simpered. “I just get so distracted gazing into your pretty eyes—”

“Shut up, Admestus,” Tellwyrn snapped. “No, I don’t see any benefit in keeping secrets. We don’t know what happened to you, Chase; it was some kind of sleeping curse, and it baffled even the collected expertise you see standing before you. So yes, this is potentially serious.”

Chase stared at her uncomprehendingly for a moment, then frowned. “Huh. That’s interesting. Who the hell would wanna do something like that? I mean, I don’t think I’ve pissed off anyone important…”

“He’s got a point,” Rafe agreed. “Trissiny’s off-campus this semester, and anyway, I’m like eighty percent sure she was just letting off steam. I can’t see her actually beheading him.”

“Just for the record, she did try to do that to someone her first week,” Chase said helpfully, “but anyhow I should clarify: I don’t think I’ve pissed off anyone important who could do that kind of advanced magic. Also, holy shit, anybody doing that on this campus is pretty much asking to get transmogrified into a grease stain, right?”

Tellwyrn sighed. “Sounds like you’re up to speed. For now, Chase—”

She broke off abruptly, turning to face the door. Sunrunner did the same; both elves frowned in apparent consternation.

“Yeeesss?” Chase prompted after a moment. “For now, Chase, what? You can forget about homework for the week? We’re taking you out back and putting you down? I’m on tenterhooks, here.”

The infirmary door burst open, and a senior arcane studies major named Laria backed inside. Once into the room, she stepped aside and turned, revealing both her worried expression and the prone body of the classmate she was levitating along behind her.

Natchua lay face-up in midair, her arms hanging limply, as were her legs below the knee. Her green-dyed mohawk sagged in that position like the fronds of a thirsty plant. As soon as she cleared the doorway, Hildred squeezed in behind her, looking nearly distraught.

“Miss Sunrunner!” the dwarf cried. “Please—we can’t figure out what’s wrong. She won’t wake up!”


Calming and getting rid of Laria, Hildred, and Chase had taken a few minutes, during which Miss Sunrunner swiftly examined Natchua. By the time they had again cleared the infirmary of students, she was able to report, grim-faced, that the drow’s case appeared identical to Chase’s.

“I realize you’re gonna hex me for saying I told you so,” Rafe informed Tellwyrn, “so let me just take a moment to emphasize that I don’t care, because I damn well did and now look.”

“This is extremely rapid,” Yornhaldt rumbled. “Two in the space of one afternoon. If it continues at this pace, we’ll be out of students in a matter of weeks.”

“I do not want to hear that kind of talk again,” Tellwyrn said firmly. “No accusations, no doomsaying, no whining. What we’re going to have is action. Taowi, Alaric, and I will examine Natchua as intensively as we can while we’re waiting for the more reliable cure to be replenished. In fact, I’m going to bring this to the attention of the rest of the faculty; I want anyone who has even a glimmer of an idea to have a go at this. They can’t possibly make it worse, and anyone might find something we missed.”

“Um.” Rafe held up a hand. “Waiting for the reliable cure to be replenished? Arachne, the reliable cure is hellhound breath. You cannot get that stuff on this plane of existence.”

“You can, it’s just prohibitively hard,” she said patiently, “and less hard for those of us standing here than probably anyone else on the planet. Un-panic yourself and think, Admestus, you know the answer, here. There are two hellhounds on Level 2 in the Crawl. I want you to gather up whatever equipment you need, then haul ass down there and harvest as much of the stuff as you can get.”

Yornhaldt cleared his throat. “You have specifically forbidden that as a condition of allowing Melaxyna to keep them, Arachne…”

“Because,” Tellwyrn snapped, “hellhound breath is illegal and dangerous, and sufficiently rare that if it gets out we have any, even my reputation won’t stop necromancers and other undesirables from coming here after it. For that reason, this needs to be done as discreetly as possible. Admestus, take Emilio down there with you for backup, and as much as possible, prevent it getting out what’s going on.”

“You know that won’t work for long, Arachne,” Rafe said seriously. “Not with the student body we have.”

“Yes, I know it all too well,” she said with a sigh, glancing over at Natchua. “But the need is too great right now to pass up the opportunity.”

“Arachne.” At Yornhaldt’s tone, they all turned to look at him. “On the subject of secrets… You have to know what’s going on here. You said we have students to whom Elilial gave untold demonic knowledge. We have never figured out who opened the hellgate. This started virtually the instant our predatory arch-fairy departed the campus. It’s too perfect.”

“It could be any of the students,” Sunrunner whispered.

Tellwyrn shook her head. “The current freshmen weren’t here then. The current sophomores are not suspects. That group is too close-knit, half of them are light-wielders, none of them are the particular kind of daft that would be trying to summon demons in the Crawl, and they stayed to throw themselves at the hellgate in defiance of all orders. No…it could be any of the upper half of the student body.”

“Gotta say, that is less of a comfort than it probably sounded like in your head,” Rafe informed her. “That’s a good fifty young’uns with generally more personality than sense.”

“I did not intend it to be comforting,” Tellwyrn shot back. “We cannot afford to be comfortable or complacent right now. It’s not going to be long before it becomes known what’s happening, and it won’t be long after that before suspicion starts making people crazy. We are under an unforgiving timetable, here, people. I will not have a witchhunt on my campus.”

“A witchhunt is not something you can end by declaring it so,” Yornhaldt said.

“Precisely,” she agreed, “which is exactly why we need to get in front of this and head it off now.” Tellwyrn paused, chewing her lower lip for a moment. “And this time, I’m afraid we’re going to need help.”

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50 thoughts on “12 – 4

  1. Well, if it is a student… they probably had.good reason to start with Chase. And, could outright bask in the rosy glow of knowing that this small revenge couldn’t possibly be narrowed down to a specific individual.😛

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    1. I continue to suspect Chase of being one of the two master warlocks. Not only would he be the exact type of fool to botch summoning a greater Djinn by, as I remember it, trying to bullshit his way through demonic, what greater way to deflect suspicion than by having his accomplice start off by cursing him first?
      He might not even be in on it, the female warlock seemed pretty pissed at the male one in that scene…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, at least two people on campus were… and at least in contrast to Chase (if it wasn’t him) they would appear to be smarter…

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      1. I doubt that they are that vulnerable.
        The description of a ‘Z’ entity reads like an ‘outside context event’ (AKA black swan, AKA asteroid from space), but they are know, present, relatively numerous, and (generally) self aware.

        Meaning that if the Empire was particularly vulnerable (as a whole, not a part) you could be pretty confident that the Empire would already have ceased to exist.

        The most likely counter is that the Empire has some means of applying “countervailing” Z level forces in such a way as to mitigate the more extreme effects.

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      2. I agree. Of course they can and do counteract; but as a whole the leadership seems to follow a pragmatic approach. Which includes not poking sleeping / mostly peaceful bears if you can avoid it. Especially if said bears can occasionly be turned on your enemies.

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      3. Arachne on her own has removed a previous emperor from the throne, she has completely dismantled an entire government agency and she has played pranks in the palace itself (vodka elemental?).
        While I assume that the current rulers have beefed up their security since then (as evident by the strong field of fae magic surrounding the palace, most likely powered by the 3 dryads below), I do not believe for a moment that Arachne couldn’t overcome it. We know she’s aware of it and them, too.
        Even if they have countermeasures specifically tuned to the cranky archmage, she can always call in her faculty, alumni and various other friends to help out in a tight spot.

        The people in charge know all that and from the few times we’ve seen them discuss the matter, it looked like that they were aware that they couldn’t prevent Arachne from exacting retribution if she was provoked.

        So while it is very suspicious that a Hand of the Emperor is in Last Rock, I see no reason why he’d attack the students. He’d also have to be able to hide himself and his magic from Arachne, which might be possible as a result of cutting edge magic research but it’s still highly unlikely. I also don’t think they’d throw away such an advantage just to play pranks.

        Even more concerning is that there are still two paladins, a dryad and an archdemon on campus, which means that gods are paying attention to what happens there. Even setting aside all the other influential people in attendance, who would deliberately piss off the Trinity, Naiya and Elilial at the same time? On top of Arachne. That’s the most suicidal thing I’ve seen in this story so far.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s certainly the parsimonious explanation, given that he was just introduced before all Morpheus broke loose… but it’s also possible that the Imperial Agent arrived to try and quietly catch the actual villain before Arachne found out who it was.

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  2. I always cringe when a person states they know what someone would and would not do in the same sentence that they acknowledge the other to be a master manipulator.

    It tastes like fooling themselves, both halves of that statement can’t be true at the same time.

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  3. I am rather not sure what’s the hurry oh why anybody would panic in this situation.
    The target is alive and feeling well. Tellwyrn has the trust of her students. Given time the curse can probably be lifted without such drastic measures. And if the warlocks go cursing people left and right they will be caught sooner rather then later. Actually instead of going to the dungeon for the cure just maybe try to find where everybody was during the incident. Zero on the culprit and find out about the spell from them. Start to worry if a month passes and you can’t solve the problem.

    Inb4 this was all done to steal the breath.

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    1. They’re showing a magical capability the likes of which Tellwyrn has never or at least very rarely seen. I think that’s very significant in itself, beyond the serious security concerns.

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      1. Yes, but what is the rush to wake them up? Sending an expedition to get more hellhound breath would seem to make the situation worse while not solving anything. And while I get that this is a security concern I am not sure why anybody would panic in this situation. Since nobody is dead or even seriously hurt.

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      2. The rush to wake them up is because Tellwyrn, as she herself hangs a lampshade on, thinks in straight lines.

        When faced with an obstacle, Tellwyrn bulldozes her way through it by employing the maximum firepower available. That’s just how her mind works.

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    2. I’m not really sure I get what inb4 means, even after reading know your meme and several others.

      “Inb4 this was all done to steal the breath”

      Is this saying he’s predicting someone else will posit that theory here in this thread, or webb will in future chapters? No matter how I parse it, it’s half sensible at best. Most of the possibile meanings seem so dumb I don’t know why anyone would even bother saying it, so I think I’m still missing something essential here

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      1. “inb4” is a BBS/forum shorthand for “I think this is obvious but I’m saying it anyway, so when it happens I’ll be able to say I predicted it”.

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  4. I’ve been thinking about the curse. There’s no magic to be found on the target, which means it wasn’t cast at them directly. What if someone cursed them from another plane of existence? World of Dreams or something like that?
    What if the curse affects the mind/soul/spirit of the target, leaving no trace on the body itself?
    The victim is sleeping naturally and simply won’t wake up because their mind is trapped in dreams.

    Considering that we’ve seen spider webs in dream worlds before… and considering that Big K is an expert in those matters… and considering that the Archpope still has his thumb over the dragon… and considering that the Archpoop has tried to get at Arachne before… and considering that no one is actually being hurt… this seems like plausible explanation to me.

    Also, the number of people capable of using such advanced magic is probably quite limited and most of those are elves and dragons.

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    1. Yeah maybe, but I think there would ordinarily be traces and crossover from something like that, and that at the very least this displays an extreme mastery of such a technique.

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    2. I’m not sure Webb is really being consistent here. They know he’s in a state of suspended animation, so they can see the processes that will keep him from decay and provide energy to his cells. Aren’t those processes inherently magical, like the ones that enhance elvish metabolism?

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      1. magical events are happening, but the actual magical energies aren’t there. Like if you see a bar of steel melting, but point a temperature gun at it and it’s at room temperature.

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    1. Because of her wards to detect magic? The feat of putting them in stasis without any trace of magic is more exceptional than that of beating the wards, I think, so unless it’s accomplished by some esoteric means then it’s likely they can just do both.
      I don’t think she can scry the past.

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      1. From 1-11

        “Ah, yes, the battlecry of mature adults everywhere,” Tellwyrn said drily. “Here’s a bit of useful knowledge for you kids: the ley lines on this campus are carefully adjusted to suit my needs, which include scrying. This morning’s events having been recent enough, I was able to get Professor Yornhaldt to show me a full replay on his crystal ball.”

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      2. Yeah that’s consistent with what I’m thinking; you have to have had a scrying spell up and recording the results in some way and check those rather than actually looking in the past, and going by that it’s probably been too long for how deep of records are kept.

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      3. “you have to have had a scrying spell up and recording the results… it’s probably been too long for how deep of records are kept“

        What? Probably? Dude where are you getting this from? Are you just making up ideas out of your head, like guessing? Because unless you have the most detailed memory of anyone here (or you’ve been taking notes), I’m calling bullshit.

        Don’t get me wrong, for all I know you might even be right\\\\\\\;“you have to have had a scrying spell up and recording the results… it’s probably been too long for how deep of records are kept“

        What? Probably? Dude where are you getting this from? Are you just making up ideas out of your head, like guessing? Because unless you have the most detailed memory of anyone here (or you’ve been taking notes), I’m calling bullshit.

        For all I know you might even be right! I’m not saying you aren’t, because I don’t know. I’m calling BS on your pro“you have to have had a scrying spell up and recording the results… it’s probably been too long for how deep of records are kept“

        What? Probably? Dude where are you getting this from? Are you just making up ideas out of your head, like guessing? Because unless you have the most detailed memory of anyone here (or you’ve been taking notes), I’m calling bullshit.

        For all I know you might even be right! I’m not saying you aren’t, because I don’t know. I’m calling BS on your process, because I don’t think“you have to have had a scrying spell up and recording the results… it’s probably been too long for how deep of records are kept“

        What? Probably? Dude where are you getting this from? Are you just making up ideas out of your head, like guessing? Because unless you have the most detailed memory of anyone here (or you’ve been taking notes), I’m calling bullshit.

        For all I know you might even be right! I’m not saying you aren’t, because I don’t know. I’m calling BS on your “you have to have had a scrying spell up and recording the results… it’s probably been too long for how deep of records are kept“

        What? Probably? Dude where are you getting this from? Are you just making up ideas out of your head, like guessing? Because unless you have the most detailed memory of anyone here (or you’ve been taking notes), I’m calling bullshit.

        For all I know you might even be right in this case! It’s not your answer that bothers me, it’s how your post(s) seem(s) to hinge on all your guesses turning out right

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  5. Curse of Wednesday.

    I’m having a mild resurgence of the bug I thought I just got over, very likely due to a weakened immune system from said bug, my current state of sleep deprivation, and cold weather. I’m gonna get in front of this and rest up tonight.

    I have the next few days off; will hammer out the remainder of the partially-done chapter tomorrow.

    Apologies.

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  6. The timing is suspicious… what if one and only one student will be asleep at once, and waking one makes the curse move to the next one? That would be interesting. What if it is not a curse, but a possession that forces sleep? Waking the victim forces the sleeper to move on. In any case, too little information for hard speculation.

    On a different note, there are four known magics. A fifth magic would probably be initially undetectable to the others, except by its effects on the physical world. Is there a greater god waking up and making their power known?

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    1. It was stated before that there are multiple kinds of magic. The four big ones and many little ones. The little ones are arbitrarily grouped as shadow magic. The shadow jumping the wreath uses is from one of those magics if I recall correctly. I think Gabe mentioned shadow jumpinh specifically when Scorn was jumped out of her cage.

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      1. Another way of saying that is that there are 4 active transcension fields and a lot of ones in various degrees of inactivity; personally I don’t think another was activated, but the 5th type of magic theory is equivalent to that I think.

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