Full Circle, by Bob Stein

Story name: Full Circle
Author: Bob Stein

Date: Mid-June, 706 CR1
Location: Metamor Keep, Metamor Valley

Overview

Posti feels his body dying, and so he leaves the Keep to perform one last spell on himself.

Summary

In the middle of the night, Posti is about to leave when Kindle catches him. Posti sends him back to bed, saying that the Duke has an important mission for him alone, although this is a lie. In the courtyard, a guard offers to give him an escort, but Posti shows her a letter stamped with the Duke's seal, which he says is a paper permitting his exit and complete discretion from the Captain of the Guards. The guard is unable to read it, and discern that it is actually an old dinner invitation. As she leaves to fetch his horse, Posti sees Kindle sneaking in the shadows, and turns him into a full mouse morph, a spell which will wear off later.

Several hours later, Duke Thomas is outraged that Posti has left, and the Captain of the Guard apologizes and accepts the blame. Thomas calms down, and acknowledges that Posti is free to go if he pleases. The Captain informs him that the search party is following his tracks, and will silently follow him until he returns. As the Duke dismisses the Captain, he wonders what Posti has planned.

Posti arrives at the Red Dragon Inn and reflects on the moments of his past that brought him here. He ties the mare to a post and removes her tack; then he disrobes and folds his clothes, and watches the sun rise. Finally, he works up the nerve to lay a hand upon her sides, and begin chanting a spell. Tendrils of light grow from his fingertips, wrapping around him, gathering all of his life force. As he wheezes out the last of the spell, he has just enough time to realize the pain is gone.

Hours later, Thomas reads the letter that Posti left behind with his robes. The guards are bringing back Posti's body to the Keep. Thomas asks the Captain to stop them and bury the body where they found it, as Posti's requested. He asks for a celebration tonight, to remember Posti as he wished to be remembered, as a crotchety old man. He also asks that Kindle take possession of Posti's belongings, including his horse. As the captain leaves, Thomas thinks about the mare, and wonders about the foal that now grows inside of her.

Characters

Main characters:

  • Posti: A draft horse morph, a powerful wizard and the Prime Minister of the Keep. He has not lived at Metamor Keep for very long, but he considers it his home. His body is falling apart from old age; he has arthritis, his hair is falling out, his body is emaciated, and his joints are swollen. He has been planning this last spell for months, to give his Shire mare a new foal out of his life force.
    • When he was 9 years old, he'd been working as a stable boy at the Red Dragon Inn when Dreval the Wizard had visited and amazed him with magic tricks. He immediately joined him as an apprentice, and studied under him for 10 years until Dreval's death. Posti established himself as a wandering magician for peasants, gradually earning noble patronage. He became immediate friends with Thomas upon their first meeting; after Thomas's father died, Thomas requested Posti to join his court.

Supporting characters:

  • The Shire mare. She is young and well-bred, and Posti spent a great deal of money on her. He has a close relationship with her, which has caused some unfortunate rumors and jokes to be made at his expense. She and her unborn foal are given to Kindle at the end.
  • Duke Thomas: Duke of Metamor Keep, and a good friend to Posti.

Minor characters:

  • Kindle: A mouse morph, and Posti's apprentice. He is fiercely loyal to Posti. He is shrunk into a full mouse for the rest of the day. He is given Posti's estate, as well as Posti's Shire mare, and is to be raised to Keep wizard.
  • The Captain of the Guard.
  • A female deer morph, who acts as a night guard. She, like many of the guards, does not know how to read.

Important mention:

  • Dreval the Wizard: Posti's teacher. He died fifty or so years ago.

Referenced:

Locations

  • The ruins of the Red Dragon Inn. It sits less than half a day's ride from the Keep. Sixty or so years ago, Posti had been a stable boy here. A few decades ago, it closed down and has slowly decayed into a pile of overgrown rubble.

Points of interest

  • The foal will be just an ordinary horse, according to Posti's letter.
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