The Heart and The Obsidian Orb Part Eighteen

Chapter Seventeen: The Fall of the Crab

“What am I?” Claroosa began her chant.

“Huldre, Aehi” she growled.

With these words her muscles rippled in an unnerving fashion, and a dark green, almost black runic pattern drifted over her skin, a grand knot on her back, with grasping limbs, like the roots of a tree crawling up her arms, almost reaching her hands.

The kyrou-Sphinx reacted immediately, focusing its attention on Claroosa. Fatho almost didn’t manage to keep the spirit off her. But he was not giving up, and while Claroosa was beginning her chant she wasn’t completely static, slipping past the kyrou-sphinx through the openings Fatho gave her.

“What is my root?”

The kyrou-sphinx crashed beside her. Ivak, though unsteady on his legs drew forth the power of his crest once more, causing the spirit even more problems.

“Of Trolls, the Blood”

Claroosa was clearly beginning a kind of atavistic ritual chant. Such things were frequently used by those with no talent in magic. It simply stirred the memory of older patterns in one’s one patterns, drawing forth the patterns of one’s ancestors. There was a number of other things that were involved, different traditions pull the pattern together in different ways. The flow responds well to what has been formed before, so tradition often is a large part. Some traditions required you to have done certain things, to be certain things. Some traditions were safer than others, usually those that kept the involvement of the flow of magic to a minimum.

“Where is my strength?”

“Heart, Arms, Hands!” She roared, steam beginning to rise from her arms and hands. The spirit drew back for a moment, but resumed its assault, even as Ivak and his painting pulled at it.

There was consequences to pulling a pattern out of one’s form, drawing power into and putting it back in. It could become harder to put it back in, or to pull it out, or any number of other dangers.

It was a level of straining far greater than just pulling a muscle, more like pulling the concept of your muscles.

“Strength of Root, my hands possess”

Claroosa actually stopped dodging, she smote the spirit. It of course came back, but she smote it again, sending it further with each strike.

“Hands before me, fill my hands before me!” She cried.

The pattern cloaking her stabbed into her hands, the knot pulsing, her hands shining a brilliant emerald.

The kyrou flew back from her. Some deep instinct warning it of danger. In its state, it had not a mind to make sense of what was happening, and so bit through space again with an unseen mouth.

Claroosa rushed forwards.

“Hands in hands, Dead to make dead, Broken to break”

Her body bulged with power, muscles writhing like snakes, ominous cracking noises emitted from her hands. Her breath came out in hot steam.

The spirit plunged through to her just as she finished the chant with a blood curdling roar.

She caught it by its unseen mouth. She crushed the mouth. She pounded the spirit into the ground. It could not move, it could not escape. Yet still, it was silent. She still held it by that invisible maw, that maw she should not have been able to grasp. It was an odd sight, her lifting the thing up and down, tenderizing it with the ground.

“Claroosa! Let it go I can’t get it in the painting while you grip it!” Ivak yelled.

She let go of the mouth, and weakened, beaten, it could no longer resist the pull of Ivak’s crest and all at once slipped into the painting, like a stream of oil .

Ivak thought at that moment he heard a voice.

-Finally, some rest, thank you, perhaps the end of my service comes-

Then Ivak’s eye burst into turquoise flame, he collapsed, light fading from his eyes, his eyelids slamming down.

Claroosa caught him again, though she did not touch him with her hands.

“I am but Aehi, Huldre” she muttered, and the pattern vanished from sight. Her body’s return to normal was not peaceful. Old wounds opened. Her hands were made a ruined mess in moments.

“FATHO, HEALING SALVE, IN THE PACK” She screamed through gritted teeth.

Fatho was a bit shocked by what he had witnessed, but he had seen things before, and with his thievish intuition pulled the healing salve out from its place.

Or rather, he had rifled through all of Ivak and Claroosa’s belongings the first night they had spent together, so he knew where everything was. He acted quickly, popping open the red spheric tin that the blue salve was in, he promptly smeared her shattered hands with it, before moving onto her back, and then the numerous minor scars that had torn open. The salve seeped in, and she was made whole once more. Fatho moved to apply it to Ivak, but Claroosa took the duty of applying it to his eyes herself, though her healing hands shook, still not yet fully healed.

Healing magic can work wonders, but the prime issue is of time. Healing something right after it has been wounded is usually easiest. But if someone has been missing a limb for months? It can be nearly impossible to even give them a prosthetic, nevermind regenerate or grow them a new limb. The form and patterns become far too set. Being of a noble aehi House, their healing salve was of high quality.

It was made from a kind of magical tree that grew within ice, called Rimebrel. Water generally has good healing properties, or at least it is good at absorbing magic. Normally it would heal wounds in seconds, but for Claroosa, it took minutes to fully heal her hands, but they did heal. She flexed her hands this way and that, running through exercises that brought out old memories, ones she had done many times before.

“Ahhh, good, still got full use” She whispered.

One of the other issues of healing magic was in resistance. The more times a limb broke, the more the flow would remember that state. Break it enough times, and the pattern and form would refuse to be anything other than broken. Healing salves, tinctures, potions and so on were good in that regard. The effectiveness of a healing spell was spent far quicker. Only the extremely powerful or the desperate relied on healing spells, though there was a few exceptions, and some of what was considered healing magic had far more in common with destruction than regeneration.

Fatho let out a long breath.

“I am NEVER, coming to Awarth again” he said.

Fatho stared at Claroosa.

“The Crusher of Treahmahne eh? Well deserved. I couldn’t place your fighting style before, but that chant made it pretty clear, Path of the Falling Crab, isn’t it?”

Claroosa nodded, flicking a bit of hair behind Ivak’s ear.

“My master did not want to teach me it, She was in a way right, but I was young, passionate, more powerful and eager for more power then, I challenged her to a fight where she was to use the Fall of the Crab. If I could defeat her, she would teach it to me. We were both surprised when I won. From that day I was able to use the chant, but the path was closed to me.”

Fatho whistled. “You must have been terrifying back then, still, I’ve not known you long, but from what Sleeping told me of you, doesn’t seem you were ever a good fit for that path, if you don’t mind me saying”

Claroosa looked up to the painting of the kyrou-sphinx. The painting had not the black goat’s head, instead there was a handsome, bearded man’s head with wavy green locks of hair. She smiled.

“No, I suppose I wasn’t”

Fatho began packing the painting and easel away.

“Well I think I believe most of the stories Sleeping told me about you now, except for the one involving the pudding cult, I refuse to believe that one”

Claroosa gasped.

“Oh but that was one of our most heroic moments, we saved a whole castle from being drowned in pudding from the food dimension!”

“I refuse to believe the food dimension is a real thing” Fatho said.

“I didn’t believe it was real either, until roasted birds attacked, I had nightmares for weeks after that happened, they spat streams of boiling oils and herbs! They didn’t even have heads!” Claroosa explained.

“I am going to pretend I didn’t hear that”

Claroosa laughed for a time, and in short order Fatho even chuckled a bit.

Fatho glanced at Ivak.

“Is he going to be all right?” he asked.

“He should be, well, more than all right. His crest should get more powerful from all this”

“Oh, I suppose that’d be part of why House Vulk sends em out eh?”

“Yes, that would be right” Claroosa said.

Ivak began to stir. He jolted upright in shock, then fell again, his legs refusing to support him.

“Ah, Claroosa!” He stated as she caught him.

“Yes milord?”

“You’re ok, back to normal?” He said, uncertainly.

“I am milord, shall we continue on? The castle has opened”

She helped him to his feet.

Ivak soon had his strength and legs back, and they went inside the castle.

Their passage and the defeat of the castle guardian did not go unnoticed.

Author: SnowyMystic

5 thoughts on “The Heart and The Obsidian Orb Part Eighteen

  1. Fatho said, “I couldn’t place your fighting style before, but that chant made it pretty clear, Path of the Falling Crab, isn’t it?”
    Sorry if it didn’t seem clear.

  2. I was confused by the bit about her teacher agreeing to teach it to her if she won the fight, but “from that day on that path was closed to me”. What does she mean it was closed to her – apparently she did learn it?

  3. Her teacher agreed to teach her The Fall of the Crab, the core technique of The Path of the Falling Crab.
    Thus, she learnt the Fall of the Crab but was basically blackballed by the adherents of the path after that, because that wasn’t how she was supposed to learn it, according to the path.

    I am really sorry about the confusion I’ve caused you. I see the issue now. The problem is that I should have had Fatho say something about the chant after talking about recognising the path, because Claroosa begins talking about the chant. Instead Fatho talks about the chant, then the Path, and it could be misunderstood to be that he is calling the chant the Path of the Falling Crab. The chant helps him place her whole style of fighting as Path of the Falling Crab.

    Claroosa’s master did not want to teach her the Fall of the Crab. Evidently I messed up.

Comments are closed.