Cloud Seeding, by Terry Spafford

Story name: Cloud Seeding
Author: Terry Spafford

Date: Spring 706 CR, ~685 CR
Location: Midlands, Metamor Keep

Overview

As Saroth returns from his weathering spells, he remembers the day he lost his family, and discovers a friend from Magdalain traveling to Metamor Keep.

Summary

Deep into the Midlands, on Mount Weagle, Saroth has finished casting another set of weather spells. He stops at the ruins of his childhood home nearby, where his family was killed by six men in black when he was just a boy. Electra had visited the farm a few days before, and thrilled him with tales of Metamor Keep. When she returned from Mount Weagle, she was distraught by what happened. The guards identified the daggers as weapons from the Thief's Guild. The young Saroth kept one of the daggers and stayed by Electra's side.

After burying the bodies and staying for the night, Electra took the boy to the next farmhouse, puzzled by the unceasing downpour that followed them. The old couple living there offered to take him in, but Saroth chose instead to stay with Electra. They arrived at the Keep to find a room for Saroth already waiting in Electra's chambers.

Saroth had never forgotten his vow to hunt down and kill every last member of the Thief's Guild, responsible or not. It was with great reluctance that he stayed at the Keep after completing his combat courses. Back in the present, he speaks to the gravestones of his parents, and asks if they would be proud of him.

Saroth continues flying along the Midlands coast, just opposite of Magdalain Island. He wonders about visiting again, but decides against it. He continues flying northward, and three days from the Keep, he sees a caravan stopping at a clearing he was planning to sleep in. Upon closer inspection, he discovers that the caravan is from Magdalain, and one of the members is Sean, one of the boys he had met on his visit. Sean explains that Gordon is sending him for a visit to Metamor Keep. Gordon can see that he has strong magic potential, but aside from his powerful magic sight, Sean has been unable to learn any spells. Gordon hopes that, if not Electra, then someone at the Keep will have enough experience to tell him what he is missing.

After spending the night, Saroth flies as hard as he can to tell Electra the good news. He arrives a day earlier than schedule, finding her in her lab with Cerulean. She decides to make preparations, while telling Saroth that, since he is back so early with traces of ancient magic still lingering, he is to report immediately to Jack deMule for patrol duty until the caravan arrives. He leaves, with a touch of amusement at having exasperated her.

Characters

Main characters:

  • Saroth: The Keep weather mage and a dragon morph. He has just finished a strengthening of the anchor spells, and his body is still tingling with ancient magic. He takes his time in returning to the Keep, as the magic tends to disrupt other wizards' spells. Unlike most dragons, he has no magic sight.
    • It has been just four months after the last weather spell casting, during the winter. It will be a year and a half until the next anchoring.
    • Twenty-some years ago, his mother, father, 3 sisters, and 3 older brothers were all killed by 6 thieves from the Thief's Guild.
    • Sean detects 4 magical signatures on Saroth, aside from the weathering spell still lingering over him:
      • A chemical spell that covers him completely, though not a medical spell;
      • The professionally-made telepathy spell cast by Magus;
      • The Curse placed by Nasoj;
      • The counter-curse that resists the Curse and allows for morphing.

Supporting:

  • Electra: The former weather mage at the Keep. She took in Saroth when he was a boy, and feels protective of him. She has a mind link with her twin brother at Magdalain, allowing them to communicate from far away.
  • Sean: A young mage from Magdalain Island. He has had difficulties learning magic on Magdalain Island, so he is traveling to the Keep to find an instructor who can teach him. His most powerful ability so far is his magic sight; he can pick out individual enchantments on a person and tell a lot about them.

Minor characters:

  • Blaire: A farmer, whose farmlands adjoined Saroth's as a boy.
  • Sheila: Blaire's wife. She offers Saroth the chance to join their family, but Saroth chooses to travel with Electra.
  • Jack: A guard travelling in the caravan from Magdalain. He is responsible for Sean's well-being, and is uneasy around Saroth.
  • Cerulean: A natural-born dragon at the Keep. Like other dragons, he possesses magic sight.

Mentioned:

  • Gordon: The healer and mage of Magdalain Island. He was Sean's tutor, until he decided to send the boy to Metamor Keep. He has a mind link with his twin sister Electra, allowing them to communicate from afar.
  • Magus: The strongest wizard in Metamor Keep. He was the caster of Saroth's telepath spell. Electra plans to ask him to borrow his equipment for Sean to use.
  • Jack deMule: The armourer of the Keep. Electra will let him know that Saroth is on patrol duty.

Referenced:

  • Alan: One of Sean's friends.

Points of Interest

  • Three people from Metamor Keep have been to Magdalain Island since the events of Sea Breeze: a dolphin morph, a turtle morph, and an age-regress. The dolphin and turtle morph have both decided to stay as fishermen.
  • Saroth has killed eight thieves total: two thieves before his change, and six thieves after. It has been over a year since he found a Thief's Guild member.
  • Geographical mistake: Saroth travels northeast from his childhood home in the Midlands to the coast. The Midland coast, however, is on the west side of Galendor. The direction he probably flew was northwest instead.

Story Connections

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