The Rage: A Necromantic Scene

A spark of light and heat.

It took a full 20 seconds for Cyril to process that the light and heat had come from his own fingers. His fingers were in flames.

In a panic Cyril patted them against his clothes. At first, Cyril was afraid they wouldn’t extinguish, but they did, eventually.

The shelf in front of him had a smoldering black mark in the wood. The jar of ginger root had fallen over and the jar beside it was leaking ground cinnamon onto the lower shelves.

The caged and bottled spirits who were coherent enough to think, stared at him.

Cyril turned around to Calvean, who looked equal parts shocked and horrified. Cyril checked to make sure he hadn’t caught fire again. He didn’t know whether to be excited or scared that he had just shot fire from his fingertips. Innu had said that conjuring fire wasn’t a skill necromancers possessed, but he must have been wrong.

Calvean wasn’t in any rush to explain this away. Instead, the elderly necromancer’s lip quivered in an attempt to express what his eyes were screaming. When he did speak, he didn’t say what Cyril thought he would.

In fact, he didn’t mention the fire at all.

“Warlock,” is all he said.

The strangeness of the response caught Cyril off guard.

His head was buzzing with enough thoughts to fill the laboratory, but he couldn’t pin them down. The best Cyril could do to articulate them was a feeble: “What?”

Calvean straightened up from his semi-cowering stance against the table at which he had been grinding herbs moments ago.

“You didn’t tell me you were a warlock,” Calvean clarified.

Cyril’s head was loud and numb.

“But—but I’m not.” It was phrased so uncertainly that it might as well have been a question.

He wanted Calvean to explain this to him, but instead, Calvean was talking accusatory nonsense. How could Cyril be a warlock? He was Moorish. Maggots on a carcass, this was insane!

Calvean stuck his tongue in his cheek and nodded. “That thing you did with the fire? That was a spell—“

“I don’t know any spells!”

“Not all spells require books!” Calvean shouted, crossing the room.

Cyril closed his mouth and wiped his hands on his robe again. He had never heard Calvean raise his voice in anything but joy.

“What you did is something only warlocks can do. In the common tongue, it’s called ‘Rage.’” Calvean approached Cyril’s table and put the powders and candle back on their shelves. “As its name implies, it comes from the emotional wells in the spirit. Only warlocks have the capacity to cast it.”

“But I’m not,” Cyril insisted, anger growing to replace the shock. “I’m a necromancer.”

He didn’t want to be a necromancer, but he had finally been able to accept that he would be one for the rest of his life. And now, Calvean was telling him he was a warlock, the only people group the Montomogen Moors despised more than necromancers, hated across the world?

“I don’t know who diagnosed you, but they did a poor job of it.” Calvean continued to put Cyril’s supplies away. “You are a warlock. No one—no one—but warlocks can cast the Rage.”

He closed his ingredient cupboard, folded down the ornate wood cover, and locked it with the key that hung from his neck, over his bushy white beard.

“Pack your things and go,” he said. “I want you out before sundown.”

Cyril followed Calvean as he locked up his supplies and drew curtains over the cages and jars of watching spirits.

“You can’t be serious—“

Calvean spun to face him.

“May Pleth the Wise and Worthy strike me down if I’m not.” He pointed a finger at Cyril. “I will not have a warlock in my house, or in my city. I know you think we necromancers who have made names for ourselves are corrupt—thanks to Innu’s heretical teachings—but not all of us joined your kind in the war. Some of us stayed loyal to our families and friends, and we paid dearly for that loyalty.”

“But I’m not a—I mean, I don’t… Stones crush me! I have no idea what’s going on!“

“Cyril, I won’t ask kindly again.”

Calvean glanced at the summoning circles in the corner of the room. Cyril followed his gaze. He couldn’t believe Calvean was threatening him with a demon. Considering Cyril and Innu’s demon emergency visit a few weeks ago, it was a low blow.

Cyril didn’t want to leave. He had hoped that being an apprentice to Calvean would be the beginning of a bright future, past being kicked out and ostracized. But Calvean wanted him gone, so there was nothing he could do.

He went to his room without a word and packed what few belongings he still had.


 

A/N: Just watch. Cyril will finally come to terms with being a warlock, and then some wizened old traveller will ruin it by telling him he’s a dragon, and this whole mess of self-questioning will start all over again.

Warlockian and necromantic talents can cross over, but it’s pretty rare. With warlocks, it’s all about ancestry. There are a couple different stories about how the first warlock came to be, but they conflict. Anyone who can cast Rage or other spells, then, are related to the First Warlock. Because the warlocks invaded quite a few foreign lands, new warlocks sometimes pop up outside their people group, much to everyone’s confusion.

Necromancy, on the other hand, has nothing to do with lineage and the origin of necromantic ability is even harder to trace than the First Warlock. The general consensus is that necromancy is a gift from the gods, given individually without regard to ancestry. No one knows why the gift is given or what determines who gets it.

So, Cyril has both, because chance. Congratulations, Cyril.

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