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A New Life in Death - by Martok

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2004-01-12 14:39:12

The cold of the night began creeping its way through my bones and joints as I continued to climb the mountainside. I stopped my ascend for a brief moment to catch my breath. I had begun the long climb up the mountain in the early morning hours, and now, it was well into the night. It took nearly every ounce of magic within myself to sustain my agility for the treacherous climb. Yet, even my magic did not seem to keep the need for sleep from my body.

As I reached the summit, I collapsed in exhaustion. I remained on my back for several minutes, staring into the moon and questioning my journey. I had nearly attained the status of master of my art of magery. Master Kelegan had informed me that he could no longer teach me in the arcane arts, that I had already learned the depth of his magic. He told me that I would need to consult another master if I was to further my studies. I was nearly heartbroken, for I had spent most of my life with my master, and I considered him part of my family.

It had been nearly a year since I had left my master in pursuit of a greater magic. I had had no luck so far. I had roamed the countryside as a vagabond for most of that time, going from city to city in search of one who would be able to instruct me further. I had nearly given up my quest for knowledge, when, in a dream, I had a vision of an enormous castle that sat upon a mountain in the middle of the ocean.

Some strange power seemed to guide me to this mountain island as if a compass was embedded in my mind. The journey to the island was long and toilsome. I was forced to journey the rest of my travel alone in a small fishing boat, since none of the ship captains would venture further into the black sea.

Regaining my breath, I stood up to gaze upon the tall marble structure that stood only a few hundred yards ahead of me. In all my travels, I have never seen such a magnificent castle. I gazed upon the castle in awe, wondering how many craftsmen it would take to create such a marvelous home.

I began to walk towards the great marble doors of the castle. Stepping slowly, I reached the doors. As I reached my hand up to the door they swung open. It appeared someone was waiting for me. I stepped into the large foyer, and began to look around. Large black stone columns reached from the floor to the ceiling. The ceiling of the foyer was domed-shaped with a mural of dragons in flight painted on it.

I walked past the foyer as the doors slammed shut behind me. As the doors closed, torches along the walls began to ignite, as if wishing to lead me down one of the castle's hallways. I began to follow the light of the igniting torches down the hallway. The torches continued to ignite leading me down different hallways and rooms within the castle.

It seemed as if I had been walking for hours, walking down the winding corridors following the torches. Then, the torches stopped at a set of doors that must have been thirty feet tall. Once again, the doors swung open to allow my entrance. As I gazed inside the enormous room, I suddenly felt fear. Sitting atop a large pile of furs was an enormous black dragon!

A few spells of protection began to stream into my mind as the deep blue eyes of the black beast looked upon me. The dragon lifted its mighty head and spoke. "I bid thee greetings Sir Mage, for I have been expecting thee. I have no doubt thy journey was a long and tiresome adventure. Please, come forward and rest thyself." The voice of the beast was warm and inviting, but I had never encountered a dragon before. I only knew of them from stories and fairy tales. Yet, from the stories I heard of the magnificent creatures, I knew they were devious and incarnatly evil. I continued to prepare a spell of protection from flame in my mind.

"Thy magic would do little to protect thee Sir Mage, for if I hath wanted you dead, you would surely be in the abyss already. Now, come forward and sit." The dragon's calm and soothing voice soon quenched my fear, and I walked forward to sit in a large throne beside where the dragon perched. I felt extremely awkward in the black beast's presence, yet, in the back of my mind, I somehow knew this was right, as if I had always known this creature, and of my future. As I looked into the great black dragon's eyes, I couldn't help but think to myself that I was looking into a mirror.

I sat in conversation with the dragon for some time, learning of its rich life and history. As the night turned into day and back into night, the dragon ceased its story telling and began to question me. "What do ye seek from me Sir Mage? I am no more than a frail dragon whose life is on its last stretch."

I answered the question quickly, " I merely seek a teacher to further my studies in magic. I know not why I ended up here with you great dragon, but the stories I have heard of your kind leads me to think that there is no one with more knowledge in the arts as a dragon. I was led here by some force of which I do not know, but I am sure our meeting is nay a coincidence."

The eyes of the dragon suddenly lit up at my comment. Its lips curled into a smile as it spoke. " Ye are correct Sir Mage, my kind is the greatest of the spell casters within the realm, and I better than most. Though I have not taken an apprentice in some time, I have never instructed a human before. Yet, such things are not unheard of. I will teach ye what I know Sir Mage, but for a price. I have all the worldly possessions one could hope for. I only ask of ye one favor, which I will ask of ye further in time. If you would agree to honor my future request, I will instruct thee."

I pondered over the dragon's offer. What could the dragon want from me? My life? With its power, the dragon could easily do away with me. No, there is something else it wants. I stood up straight and looked upon the dragon. "On my honor dragon,it be a deal."

And so began my studies with the great black dragon that's name I came to learn was Verrchang. For years, I studied with the dragon. Each day I was taught the ancient powers of his kind. I was also taught the magic of other races. The elves, gargoyles, orcs, druids, and many other races, some of which no longer walked the land.

The dragon instructed me the use of storing a magical spell on an object, where its power could be called upon at a later time. The most frequently used objects were dead rats and lizards, even bats.

During my eleventh year of living with the dragon, Verrchang came to me with a very solemn look one eve. In the form of a human, Verrchang entered my chambers within the castle. "Martok, my time on this realm is ending. I regret there is not more time. Please, come with me."

I followed Verrchang through the corridors to the castle. We stopped at the courtyard in the center of the great castle. Verrchang looked up at the night stars as he returned to his normal form. " The gods gave my kind great power when we were created. Perhaps the greatest gift to us was the gift of knowing of when our time ends. I can feel eternal darkness creeping through my body. This is my last night in this realm. Our eleven years together is but only a few days in my lifespan, but it has been some of my most joyous years my friend. Now, I must ask of ye the request we had agreed to."

I looked upon my master and friend with teary eyes. I had great respect and admiration for Verrchang. It pained me greatly to know he was dying. I wiped the tears from my eyes and nodded. " What is it you would ask of me friend?"

"My kind is happy to return to the vast skies of the heavens when they die. I cannot help but think there is so much more for me here. I do not wish to die. I wish to live on, for many more years, and there is so much more for you to learn. Perhaps we can achieve both our ambitions?" Verrchang had a look of hope in his eyes as he spoke. As the seconds passed by, I could actually see my friend age in front of me.

"How can this be done? Is it possible for you to cheat death?" I became curious at his words. Is such a notion possible?

" Indeed it is. There is one spell I know of, the binding ritual. The binding merges two entities into one. Both entities cease to be as they were, but form something new. Both their power, their thoughts, and their very being merges into one. This is what I ask of ye my friend, to bind with me into one." Verrchang's skin began to lose its black shine. His eyes seemed to grow tired. I had to make a decision fast.

I never would have imagined such a request when I made my deal with the dragon. Yet, I gave my word of honor. How could I refuse him? Yet, I did not want to lose myself. I did not want to become something else. Yet, the power would be immense. I reached a decision; I would merge with the dragon.

Verrchang seemed to understand my thoughts. He lifted himself high and placed his enormous paw upon my shoulder. He began to speak the incantation to a spell. His words were in the tongue of his kind. Our bodies began to emanate a blue light. The light grew brighter until nothing else could be seen but light. I felt my body begin to unravel; yet there was no pain. As my thoughts began to grow to a halt, I heard Verrchang's voice, " Thank you."

A swirling ball of blue light floated in the middle of the courtyard. Within the light swirled the image of a dragon, and the image of a man. Then the light exploded. A man was lying on the ground.

I sat up, and looked down into a puddle of water. It was me, but yet it was not. It was the same human form, yet with different features. My skin turned a tad bit darker, almost as if it was the shadow of Verrchang‘s shimmering black scales. My eyes appeared to be a deep ocean blue color. And then came the voice in my head. The voice of Verrchang! "The binding is not yet complete, for our minds have not yet become one. My body was too frail and old to be reborn, but yours is yet young and full of life. Let us go to slumber. Whence we wake, we will truly be one."

I walked back to my chambers to lie down for sleep. As I shut my eyes I began to regret my decision. The voice spoke, " Worry not my friend, for when we wake, your doubts will be gone. Now let us sleep." Within a few seconds, I was asleep.

The dawns light crept its way upon the face of a man in his bed, waking him. The man stood up and walked to the window and peered out. A smile crossed the man's face. As he stretched his dark tinted muscled arms, he spoke in a deep, powerful voice. " And so begins my new life!"

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