Eye of the Storm, by Terry Spafford

Story name: Eye of the Storm
Author: Terry Spafford

Date: 1-2 days after Increasing Winds
Location: Metamor Keep

Overview

Saroth has two destructive confrontations with Scratch; Sean's interventions result in him being cursed.

Summary

The day after Increasing Winds, Saroth wakes up to find another of Scratch's daggers sitting in his bed. Unable to take it any more, he furiously searches for Scratch and is shocked to see him at the gates, talking with Sean. Sean tries to warn him that something is wrong with Scratch, but Saroth holds him back with his tail while Scratch taunts him for not noticing his daggers earlier. Saroth summons a wall of wind around them, while Scratch hits him with two daggers. Finally, Saroth pins him to the ground with his claws, intending to squash him.

Before he can, Saroth's wind spell suddenly surges in a blinding flash; his claws and his tail, where he was holding Scratch and Sean, are completely charred. Saroth turns to find Sean unconscious and newly changed into a golden eagle morph. Saroth forgets about Scratch and takes Sean to the inner gates, where a mob pours out to surround both him and Scratch. Brian is shocked that Sean has changed so quickly, but after examining him, concludes that he is merely suffering from shock will recover soon. Turning to Saroth, he diagnoses his burns as the result of exposure to violent magic, and disallows him from shifting. Someone calls for Brian to look at Scratch, much to Saroth's disapproval, but with Electra sternly watching, he heads to Brian's office.

Claudia and Pat set Sean down on a bed and begin healing Saroth's burns and tears. Sean awakes and warns Saroth that Scratch is being possessed and needs their help. While Claudia and Pat guide him back to bed, Saroth escapes and heads back to the gate to confront Scratch. He finds the courtyard in a panic, with a large gray dragon causing havoc. Somehow, Saroth knows that this is Scratch, and prepares to fight.

Sean slowly revives, remembering seeing a strange spell on Scratch and trying to warn Saroth about it. Though he can barely see and he is unused to his new body, he forces himself up and heads to the courtyard. Claudia protests at first, but turns her attention towards the injured people. Electra calls out to Sean as she and the other mages are preparing a large spell to stop the Sivikian-possessed Scratch. The spell isn't strong enough to stop him, and as Scratch prepares a counter-curse, Sean mentally overpowers the Keepers' spell. The spells react and dissolve the possession over Scratch. Saroth prepares to kill Scratch, but Electra knocks him out with a magical punch.

The next day, Saroth wakes up in the winter stables in his full dragon morph, almost completely covered in bandages. Scratch is also there, still a dragon and recovering from light wounds. Saroth orders that Scratch be removed. Scratch finally gets up and confronts Saroth, that he felt like he had escaped his past, until Saroth brought it back. He leaves, but Saroth is not moved. He asks for a prognosis, and as the nurses flock over him, he catches their surface thoughts: fear of what will happen when he next meets Scratch.

Characters

Main characters:

  • Saroth: The Keep weather mage. He has already threatened to kill Scratch multiple times before; now, he fully intends to make good on that promise. Only Scratch's attacks and the injuries he sustains prevent him from doing so.
  • Sean: A young mage from Magdalain Island. He can see, identify, manipulate and strengthen magic spells cast by other mages. He has only been at the Keep for 4 days, yet his exposure to powerful magic has triggered the Curse early, causing him to change into a golden eagle morph.
  • Scratch: A former member of the Thief's Guild. He had an ancient spell cast on him, possessing him with a Sivikian, a servant of darkness and shadows. Sean unintentionally triggered the Curse in the Sivikian, changing Scratch's form into a dragon, which he remains by the end of the story.

Supporting:

  • Electra: One of the mages at the Keep, Saroth's guardian and Sean's tutor. She made Saroth promise not to get in Scratch's way, and made Sean promise not to manipulate any spells. She helps a group of mages perform a spell to take down Scratch.

Minor characters:

Cameo:

  • Pat: A female gendermorph and assistant to Claudia.
  • A horse morph who assists Claudia, particularly in carrying patients.

Referenced:

  • Magus: A strong wizard at the Keep.
  • Cerulean: A natural-born dragon at the Keep.

Story Connections

  • In later stories, Scratch's form is not mentioned again as being a dragon. It would seem that his transformation either wore off or was removed off-stage.
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