The Civic Festhall

Official Art
The Galleries
The Plays

The Pit

The Perfect Ritual
The first chapter of a story by Lizzie Harader

Chapter 1

I fought desperately to control my quivering hand as I studied the yellowed scroll. I blinked in disbelief. There in my sweaty palm was the key to immortality. No, not the cursed rituals that gave birth to the nameless one of legend, but a pure unflawed ritual -perfection in itself. See the barmy old hag Ravel knew the ritual wasn't complete, but she continued, then some one corrected her errors. I read and reread the discolored old paper, however, I could find no mistakes. Anticipation gripped me and I thirsted to try the spell.
          Before I could attempt the incantations, footsteps echoed behind me. I rapidly stuffed the scroll into my robes and whirled around to find Eleanor's disapproving face glaring my way. She never failed to remind me that I was only a sorceress initiate and she was nearly a journeyman. Lamentably I had to take her abuse that day because an fray would take hours and I was going to wet myself if I didn't try out that spell soon.
          "Vivian," she whined in her condescending weasel-like voice, "you might find yourself wearing the purple robes of a full sorceress sooner if stopped loitering about in the archives and practiced magic."
          She stalked off, purple robes swaying to and fro. So the fat cow had finally achieved the rank of full sorceress, oh well, no matter. Soon I was going to perform the greatest magic of all and ole chubby butt would see who the real sorceress was. Yeah, come on porky who's you daddy, yeah, Vivian. You can cast fire n' ice, but lets see you score some play with a guy. Yeah you know you suck ass -so just keep walking.
          I wanted throttle that belittling bitch, but I quelled my anger. The deep green robes that hung over my body reminded me that Eleanor was indeed my superior and no matter how much virulence I had for her, I was still unable to best her in battle. Soon, thou, soon I would dominate.
          My rage quickly dissipated when I recalled what I had hidden in my initiate green robes. After extracting the frail piece of parchment. I began to root about in the musty library for reagents. Under a titanic pile of moldy books and rotting cranium rats I found a rusted dagger with the hilt nearly disintegrated and terra cotta bowl full of healing herbs that had long since expired. It would have to do, I supposed and began to ready myself.
          In order for the spell to work I was required to wound myself fatally and quickly recite the incantations before I passed on. The omission of this crucial step was the fatal flaw within Ravel's ritual. Without the aid of death, the body refuses to forsake its mortality and the mortality must be stripped of it so violently that the being is broken by the ritual. However when nearly dead the body is on the verge of relinquishing its mortality anyway, so it can be slipped off without ruining its owner, but the spell still demands a prodigious amount of power and if it is botched the target will experience the same cursed existence as the nameless one.
          Fear gripped me, but curiosity overpowered it and I knew I couldn't walk away from this opportunity. I stared down the dagger and grasped it. Hoping the old thing wouldn't break while I was trying to stab myself, I drove it into my abdomen. The pain gripped me and for a moment I could only think of the exquisite and complete agony which encompassed my body like a earthquake centered at my gushing stomach. Soon I remembered the reason for all this wretchedness and found that awful scroll. Then I uttered in my moribund state those words which would shake the very pillars of heaven and scorch the blackened ears of the darkest demon in all the planes. My eyes clouded and it felt as it the abyss itself was within me reeking what havoc I dare not speak of for men's lips cannot utter the words. Mercifully obscurity took me.
          I awoke as if from a pleasant dream; no nightmares of immortality still haunted my mind. I arose from the cold filthy stones that adorn the library's floor and stretched. A general feeling of euphoria spread through me like the perfect drug. The discovery of blood on my robes while no wound was there to make it revived my memory. I had done it. I had achieved what was said no mortal could hope to acquire without monstrous repercussions.
          That joyous girl would soon be proven wrong, for my cockiness would be short lived. It is appealing to think of an action for which there is no reaction, but none exists. Unfortunately I had performed the apex of actions a human could do and the reactions looming in the distance were far more virulent that I ever could have imagined.

Hall of Speakers | Armory | Civic Festhall | The Dark of... | About... | Resources | Home