Welcome my fellow wizards & witches! The Smiling Sorcerer here. In November, I released a short narrative titled “Sorcerer & the Healing Tone”, an input/prologue about an ex-mage turned healer and his dealings with the role change. It was done as a test article to see if viewers would enjoy a larger “interactive story” project I had in mind. Well, I’m happy to report that the article got a VERY welcoming amount of positive views, so I will be releasing my larger project in sequential fashion, with this being the first official installment to the story.
Each installment will be slightly longer than the prologue to cover the cause and effect of the viewer’s choice from previous segments.
So sit back, relax and enjoy the first chapter to a years-in-the making story that I like to call:
"No Bones about It"
When I was a sorcerer…
I was an aspiring conqueror, power hungry nearly all the time and did whatever it took to take everything down that got in my way. Each kill that was done by my hands, brought my confidence – and ego – to new levels of evil…so evil, that it would make what you call a ferocious lion seem like a harmless kitten. Though anyone who would want to keep a man-eating cat for a pet, I have no idea. But I digress. Eventually, being “evil” wasn’t at all what it was cracked up to be. Waking to a world where everything and everyone was afraid of you got tiring…not to mention lonely, especially after the first few centuries.
That’s why I decided to try my hand at a career in healing. There were no bones about it…I was tired of being feared and spending my time alone. But if I was going to undo all the chaos I had spread, I was going to need to break my silent nature and learn how to work with others…
And that is eventually how I found myself in this dunge--
“Hey you damn priest, quit day-dreaming and get moving!” a young man scoffed. He was dressed in shiny armor, sporting a big greatsword and large shield about twice his size.
I looked back at him with a half-assed apologetic gaze.
Oh that’s right, I was in a dungeon.
They’re kind of a double-edged sword if you ask me. On one hand, since they offer a challenge that’s difficult to complete alone, it’s easy to find those to group with…but on the other if your group doesn’t work together, victory is near impossible. Though despite that knowledge being common, it was painfully obvious my group knew nothing about teamwork…who am I kidding, considering my past, I probably shouldn’t be talking either.
But this bunch in-particular…the knowledge of their own skills was just laughable, and their attitude was – while not too far from what my own used to be – was just atrocious…especially this knight. Just looking at him was enough to piss me off.
It started deep in a Kobold Mining Cavern. I was with three companions, rushing through narrow mud-filled hallways. The only light breaking through the pitch black to guide our group, was the sun’s light peeking through the cracks in the walls that reflected against the many metallic railways going in all directions. Soon all three of us, the knight, a rogue, a sorcerer and myself, were stopped dead in our tracks.
“I’ve got Kobold Rangers up ahead,” the knight said, raising his hand up to motion for everyone to stop moving. “I count four of them, two with Ratbeasts and two without.”
The rogue – a slender elven female – turned around and withdrew two daggers from sheaths on both sides of a leather belt. “We’ve got four coming from behind too,” she said firmly, looking back to the knight and awaiting orders on when to attack. The sorcerer, another female, readied herself with a staff – sparkling brightly with ice -- in anticipation.
“Great!” the knight said. “Eight is too many for us to take on, especially with a defenseless priest.” The knight glanced back at me adorned in my dark navy blue cloak before giving me a snarl of disgust.
The knight turned back to face the Kobolds. “Just be sure to stay out of my way and keep me healed priest!” his yell echoed as he charged forward, shield clashing against two Kobolds at once, while Ratbeasts gnawed at its rim.
This is what I was talking about, if your group doesn’t have good chemistry, success rarely follows. Still, despite their attitude, I wanted to do my part as a healer…I wanted to change my ways…but before I could raise my hand and ready a spell…
“I’m getting murdered out here! Priest, hurry up with that heal spell!” the knight screamed his words in frustration. “We need healing over here!” the elven rogue – seemingly clueless to the knight’s prior demands – shouted with a hasted tone. “A defensive spell would be appreciated right now too!” the sorcerer said with anxiety as she began to cast a beam of ice one after another, trying to hold them off.
“HEAL US!” all three of them exclaimed loudly. The kobolds were closing in on the group, giving little time for me to think clearly. I yelled out in anger and raised my arms up, my pure white flesh-less hands revealing themselves as they began to glow bright yellow.
I just couldn’t hold it in any longer, that damn knight and the group’s constant nagging sent me over my already teeter-tottering edge.
With pent up anger and a frustrated tone in my voice I chanted an incantation.
“By the power of the divine in my left, I call upon the heavenly skies to rain upon those that do me harm. Pass your Judgement upon them as swift as the falling rain! Divine Meteor Shower!”
Soon the inside of the cavern hallway was consumed in a light as white as snow. Seconds after, yellow beams of energy started to rain down toward the group…all but I– who gave a satisfying smirk under my hood -- looked up in horror.
The group, fearing for their lives closed their eyes and clutched their bodies as the energy beams bombarded around them in a chaotic blaze.
“Right hand, Divine Protection.” Admittedly, it was fun watching them squirm, but a job is a job.
As the flashes dimmed, the group opened their eyes, amazed to see that they were alive. The elven rogue and female sorcerer looked around in shock.
The knight stood up and looked around at the many dead kobold bodies, skewered like shish kebab with spears of energy piercing through them. With a grunt, he kicked the ground and grabbed the collar of my cloak in a heated rage.
“What the HELL was that?!” he shouted angrily. All I could do was give a fake look of confusion.
Though what I really wanted to do was tell him off for being so reckless.
“You don’t see the problem? First you make us think we’re all going to die, then you kill everything for yourself!” he was getting louder with every word. “This means only YOU got the loot. I thought we hired you to be our support not a damage dealer!”
The knight lifted me up to toss me in a fit of rage. I did my best to ensure my face was hidden as I hit the ground floor. “Come on guys, let’s get out of here.” He said. “Hiring this joker was a big mistake.” The knight turned to spit on the ground by my feet.
The elven rogue knelt down, her face inches from mine, sticking her tongue out at me as she touched the side of my hood with the palm of her hand and spoke in a taunting tone.
“I can’t believe it, what a waste of money, his skills as a priest are laughable.”
I felt a sense of fear as she touched my hood… fear that she was going to reveal my face…Which I didn’t want to happen. If it did…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t have been good.
“Quit playing with him, he doesn’t deserve anymore of our time,” the knight said. “Nor does he deserve one coin for his half-assed effort! He’s a loot-stealing jackass.”
She stood up and walked back toward the knight, almost replying in a cutesy tone. “I’m coming, I’m coming”. The sorcerer just stood in the back silently, avoiding eye contact.
All I wanted to do was shock or roast them alive with the plethora of skills I learned when I was a sorcerer…but I couldn’t, even if they were complete jerks for companions. I told myself I was going to change.
I just stayed on the ground watching the three of them leave, only waiting to move when their silhouettes were consumed by the daylight shining through the cavern’s entrance.
But when I tried to move I felt a shock go through my body, making me slam painfully back down to the ground. It was that elf woman…she wasn’t taunting me; she must of placed a something on my hood to make sure I couldn’t leave while the monsters were away…and the shock that went off was blacking me out…
The last thing I remember hearing and seeing before fading unconscious, were soft footsteps inching closer, then two tiny hands grabbing me by both sleeves…
"No Bones about It"
The next time I opened my eyes…
I found myself in a rickety bed that was, surprising comfortable. Though that feeling of comfort could have been chalked up to the terrible shock I sustained back in the Kobold mining Cavern. As soon as I had a bit of my wits about me – I’ll be it somewhat blurry – I started to look around the room.
What I found was a young woman dressed in lavender colored robes. She sat silently in a corner by the door. As my eyes began to focus, I realized that, compared to the color of her robes, her complexion was quite pale.
“She must be feeling ill…” I thought to myself, gathering my strength to sit up from the bed. The thought was perhaps if I could heal her, it might make her feel better…after all, it was the least I could do for her gesture in saving me from being eaten “alive” by monsters.
But as I raised my hand to start casting a spell, the woman’s eyes widened and her body began to quiver. Then I noticed something that shocked me to my non-existent core.
I looked at my hand in front of me as the woman cowered in her corner. “My hand!” I exclaimed. Nothing was covering it…it was bare. I then realized I was no longer wearing my cloak.
“It’s gone! Where did it –.”
I looked back at the woman across the room, her body twitching and fear in her eyes.
I was exposed. She must have taken off my cloak to see if I was seriously injured. But instead of finding any injuries, all she found was a rotting undead corpse…
I got up slowly, hoping not to alarm her any further. “Please…” I said calmly. “Where’s my cloak? I can’t let anyone else see me like this.”
But all I got was one fear-filled word. “Away!” She screamed. “Stay away from me, monster!” She backed away defensively, tripping over her feet and falling toward a nearby dresser that knocked over something familiar.
My eyes widened as it hit the floor and she went to grab it hastily. The minute she touched it, a cold wind began to emit from the top.
“That staff!” I said. There was no mistake…she was the sorcerer from the dungeon. Anger was all I felt at that moment.
I lunged, knocking the staff out of her hands and back onto the floor before grabbing her neck and thrusting her tiny frail body up against the wall, her hood falling off, exposing short light blue hair.
“You, you’re one of them! You left me to die!” I yelled…my voice started to echo with a demonic tone. “Why? Why save me then? TELL ME!” my voice boomed loudly, lips not moving an inch.
No answer. Just that stare…the stare that I’ve seen countless times, and have been trying to eradicate and forget…a stare that showed pure fear and detachment.
My grip loosened and she fell to the floor looking up at me in both confusion and shock. I could only muster a single phrase. “I’m sorry…” I whispered softly. “I’m sorry…if I scared you. I didn’t mean to.”
She just stared down at the floor, keeping her eyes away from mine.
“It wasn’t my idea,” she said. “What?” I replied. She actually has a nice voice when she’s not angry.
“The other two…it was their idea to leave you in the cavern,” she explained. “Like you, I only recently joined up with them myself. They said they needed a ranged damage dealer, so I decided to join them.”
Her words were laced with sadness. “Being a new adventurer, I thought finding a group to travel with would be a good idea…” She paused to look up at me with dark red eyes, laced with tears.
“It’s unforgivable for what they did,” she said. “And for what they weren’t going to do…” her tone turned a bit bitter.
“What do you mean?” I replied in curiosity.
“They never intended to pay you at all for your services,” she said sadly, as my eyes widened with surprise.
Of course Adventurers with skills that rough aren’t seasoned and they’re more often new to the career…they most likely didn’t pay me because they DIDN’T have any gold to pay with…So they decided to pay with insults instead.
“It’s alright,” I said raising my hand in protest. “To be honest, I’m not that great of a healer anyway…I likely wouldn’t have deserved their money even if they did let me do my job.”
Though to be honest, money would have been a better reward than a shock to the head.
“Don’t say that,” she replied. “Your amount of skill is amazing!” the encouragement in her voice...
She looked down again, this time fiddling with her fingers in embarrassment. “Me though, I’m not much of a fighter…
I raised my hand in an attempt to comfort her but then stopped short.
I could have comforted her yes, but what could I say? If I revealed that I too was once a sorcerer, she would likely find out the other half of my secret…
I just looked at her with my permanent smile. “You’ll get there someday,” I said. “I on the other hand could really use some practice. Or maybe even a mentor…” I laughed.
“A mentor?” she replied, a finger resting upon her chin. “Oh! I know!” she exclaimed. “You can ask another Priest to teach you!” her excitement was cute…even if that was essentially the same idea.
I just rubbed the back of my head in embarrassment.
“I’m new to adventuring…” she said sadly. “So I likely wouldn’t be much help. But my companions are more experienced then I am. I’m sure they’ll know someone.”
She paused, remembering how unruly they were. “Oh right…” she sighed. Exactly…
But she did have a point…If I was going to try and get better at becoming a priest, there was no bones about it, while it would be tough, I would need to seek the help of a more experienced healer.
Just then a heavy knock was heard at the door. A young male voice spoke abruptly behind it.
“Icelina! I was outside getting some water and saw a strange figure in your room, are you alright?!”
“That’s him!” she said. “Maybe if you talk things out, he’d be willing to help you!” She looked back at me awaiting my answer. “Besides, he should apologize for how he treated you” she said.
Yeah right. A bastard with a superiority complex like him, help the person he left for dead? There was a fat chance of that happening.
I needed to make a decision and fast. I could stay and confront the knight and hope that this young woman’s kind-hearted gestures don’t make her a permanent enemy to her companions, or I could save her from further drama and slip quietly out a window before they found out what she was up to…