Night had fallen, the Tower was silent, and, so far as Jezran knew, only he remained awake.
Seated at his dining room table, drinking alone.
It had been several hours since supper was served.
Even though Jezran was short handed, thanks to the noble sacrifice of his kitchen assistants, he had done everything he could to make this meal special. He even opened up a bottle of the late Governor’s favourite wine he had planned to give him for his birthday.
The food was not great, since Jezran was not exactly a quality chef, but it was enough for his companions to have a good time.
Due to their injuries, however, the festivities were cut short to give them more time to rest this evening. They all said their goodbyes for the evening, with the promise to eat breakfast in much the same manner.
After all, they were having whatever was leftover from the festivities anyway.
Once everyone left, the injured went to their beds, Jezran crept down to the table with the bottle in hand. Now, he continued to drink what was left of it.
It was a pretty exotic blend, with several spices that Jezran could not determine. He assumed it was likely a taste of home for the Governor, a small connection to where he was raised.
Lifting up a cup, Jezran whispered, “Here’s to you, Merus. I hope whatever comes after this has treated you well.”
He then downed the cup in a single gulp. The wizard had never gained a taste for the stuff, but alcohol warmed his belly and managed to ease his mood somewhat.
Staring blankly at a wall while I drink my departed friend’s birthday gift. Not exactly what I had in mind.
Nothing had really gone how he expected it, if he was honest. The world had changed in an instant, and he was still reeling from the revelations.
The secrets of Lendrigol, an ancient order of powerful wizards, and the existence of the Realms, all revealed and confirmed within a matter of days.
I’ve learned more in this past week than I did in the seven years I lived here, Jezran thought ruefully as he poured himself another glass.
Even after finding all those answers, so much still eluded him, and there was never a chance to dig deeper.
Many of the questions were merely academic, and he could live without knowing all the details, such as the relationship between the Sep’tha and Lendrig.
Part of him hoped they all died with their master, but only time would tell.
At the very least, the absence of Lendrig’s influence appeared to make the city far safer, as Jezran did not see any activity at night since the Magus was defeated.
Jezran hoped the pattern would continue, as the Hollow would take months to fully rebuild, and the scars would likely be felt for generations.
After another gulp of wine, Jezran turned his attention to what was really bothering him.
His left hand, wrapped tightly in gauze, throbbed rhythmically.
The throb was not painful, but it left him worried.
Was something wrong under there? What if the cuts are infected?
Those questions ate at him, but he knew the one that worried him the most was simply, What if it’s not natural? What if this is the spell’s doing?
The ritual he performed to save everyone had been successful, in spite of the broken focus or his improvisation. Of course, just because the spell succeeded, did not mean there were no consequences due to his failure to capture the original intent.
He knew something had occurred during that ritual, and now, he was afraid of what he might find underneath those bandages.
So many questions, but only one way to find the answer.
Taking a final swig of his drink, he pulled at the gauze. It slowly gave way to his frenzied pawing. His fumbling attempts were working, but they were not gentle. The flesh was still raw from the damage it suffered, and he clenched his teeth as a spasm of pain shot up his hand. Unfazed, he continued until the cloth finally loosened and unravelled.
He gasped as his hand came into view. Scars had formed where the focus had broken in his hand, they pulsed with an arcane energy that seemed to travel through his hand like a heartbeat.
The more concerning development, however, were the mists swirling about beneath his skin. Shocked, he used his healthy hand to feel the deformity, but his skin felt the same as the rest of his body.
He clenched his fist, confirming the hand still functioned, grimacing pain shot out from his cuts once more.
Jezran continued to experiment with it, but he could only conclude that, once the cuts healed, his hand would be perfectly normal except for the abnormality of the mists and arcane energy.
One thing, however, did worry him. The pulses of arcane energy seemed to be travelling up his hand to the wrist, soon followed by the mists themselves.
Whatever this was, it was spreading. He could not confirm it at this moment, as the change appeared to be very small, but slowly, imperceptibly, he guessed it would continue unabated until it covered his whole body.
Only time would tell how long that took, or what would happen when it was completed.
The words of his Master echoed in his mind as he stared at his hand.
One must always be careful with their spells, young Jez. A spell ill-performed will always have consequences. And, if you’re not careful, those consequences might be the death of you.
You are now all caught up on the story so far! This is the epilogue of the first arc in Tales of Tabletop, Ocean’s Heart. If you liked this Session please consider leaving a like, comment and share this story with your friends.
If you are enjoying the story so far and would like your name to be included in the published novel, please consider becoming a Patron! For only $3 a month, you receive access to chapters in PDF format before the site release date alongside daily updates regarding story progress and future projects!
Huge shout out to current patrons: Bonnie Bayard, Morgan Bayard, Eddie, and Robert Smith!