A Slight Error (short story)
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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.
Title: A Slight Error
My name is Kipara, and I have made a near fatal error. In my hubris I made a hasty delve into research involving blood magic and the ability to manipulate time. Perhaps this will serve as a warning, or maybe an educational seminar in what not to do in your own research. To give some context, I have been studying the nature of time. It started with research into the true nature of the spell "Blink". It's known to most Monks, and its effects can be described as perplexing. Upon being struck by an opponent, the protective ward has a chance to give one "a second chance", but even though I had studied and applied the spell in the past, I was unsure about its true machinations. From an outsider's perspective, the ward seems to use a kind of illusion, or mental trickery to give the user a split second chance to avoid an attack, but the way it felt to me was that I had already been hit, and that I somehow had a second chance. In the case that this powerful ward activates upon being struck, that could only mean that the user is manipulating time on a micro scale. The user is investing energy into the spell to reverse time for mere seconds to give themselves another chance to defend against the attack. I began to apply the study of blood magic, and discovered that one might be able to reserve oneself a place in time to travel back. Armed with this knowledge I sought to use my own blood to leave a "signature", so to speak, and use this technique to travel a relatively short distance back in time, while retaining any personal experiences I might have gained. I did this in the quest for power, but what I ended with was a confusing and dangerous experience. Near the Black Sands of the coastal cliffs, a lone figure mills about anxiously. "My studies are going well enough, but it's too slow. We humans have so little time..." Kipara stops long enough to stare out at the waves lapping against the dark shore. She takes a slow, deep breath before looking more resolved. "Enlightenment comes from knowledge of all things. This will only be a step in my journey." With a sense of resolve, Kipara holds up her right hand. A sharp talon of bone slowly forms over her thumb. She then lifts both hands and drags the talon down a freshly healed cut on her left hand. "This is only a single step on my journey..." As the words leave her mouth, Kipara clenches her left hand into a fist, causing fresh blood to pour into the porous black sand. It absorbs the blood like a parched, ship-wrecked sailor. Kipara sits down and patiently waits for time to pass, and a gull calls as she begins counting. "one, two, three, four, five..." She counts aloud until she reaches ten seconds. Upon hearing her own voice utter "ten", the world around her begins to form a thick haze. The lapping waves sound more and more distant until she suddenly feels as if she had just woken from a deep sleep. As she wakes she finds her self moving into a sitting position, and she hears the call of a seagull. "Did it work? It worked for sure. This isn't some lunatic daydream, right?" Kipara leans forward and places her hands on the sand. Her body trembles for a moment, "yes...YES!" She stands back up and begins the process again. She notices that the cut on her hand is healed as well. "Let's see how far we can go..." After several sheepish attempts, adding only seconds to her time, Kipara has a look of complete confidence. "What is one minute? Less than the blink of an eye for some creatures. If I can't even reclaim one minute of time, then I'll never get anywhere." Kipara slowly goes through the motions once again. she cuts her hand, quenches the thirsty sand, kneels down, and begins to count. "one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve..." After an agonizing sixty second, Kipara begins to feel ill. The world doesn't just gently fade away, it swirls around her in an irate tempest. An intense feeling of vertigo sets in, and when she reaches to clasp the black sand to get her bearing, there is nothing to support her. Kipara fights to stay calm and collected as she loses control of the situation, but the feeling of dread can't be helped. "How long has it been? Moments? decades? Am I going to be lost forever? Will anyone even remember my name?" I was helpless then. It had been a long time since I felt truly helpless. I was less than an infant to the vastness of time, and it did not care. I felt lifetimes go by, I saw my life in an instant, and in countless ways did it pass. I saw the ultimate futility of my own struggle, and I dreaded that I would be eternally cursed to be witness to my own frailty...Then I felt myself being clasped by the embrace of normality. I laid there on the Black Sands for many hours before I could open my eyes to see that the waves still lapped against the shore, and the gulls still called. Even after all of that, I had never even been gone. That's when I realized that my body had aged significantly. My bones ached and my skin had withered, but I suppose I was lucky to be alive at all...