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The Lost Mage

The Lost Mage: Getting Lost – Act Two

The sand that the novice was asleep on covered his entire body.

{Each tiny grain not only managed to get under his clothing, but also clung to areas that are best left unmentioned.}

Whilst the substance coated his red hair with thousands of grains that made him appear blonde. The tide continued to rise as he slept. As the waves crashed against the beach, the water continued to lash the lad’s bare feet. There were piles of driftwood deposited around him. Whereas the waves that still climbed the sands continued to deposit large trunks that were battered by the ocean. Along with smooth straight worn planks from somewhere, the gods only knew.

Pip opened his eyes still dazed, weak and drowsy. As the young mage attempted to regain his sanity, he tried to take in his surroundings. Uninterested in where his boots were, the novice noted the thick jungle behind him. Whilst he watched the calm blue waves roll over the golden beach, he saw the world of wonder that existed around him. Sights that he could only guess no other mage was going to see. And none of it seemed familiar to him.

In the young mage’s head, he was now torn between the beauty of the scenery and a deep desire to be back home. To stroll up the garden path at the start of the weekend, have his mother bake her village famous pie and talk about his studies with his father over the local moonshine.

The young adult wondered if he was in Nivrean, the home of the dead. After all, Pip lived his whole life in the same location. This was the first time observing the ocean. He’d never even left the uplands to go to college. And most people where he came from only talked about the mountains or the enchanted forest.

{People of the Royal Kingdom don’t talk about the ocean. It is simply not the sort of thing to do; it might give others the idea that the ocean is a safe location.}

[Never having left the nine valleys of the Sauw uplands, which sat near the base of the white dwarven owned mountains of Mist. The lad’s simple childhood had seen him raised by his mother and father on their huge potato farm. When he had turned thirteen, his magic had come into being as they called it. So, as was customary, Pip travelled down to the largest valley near the Royal Lowlands to attend the mage’s college in the town of Grafft. The last town on the king’s highway before one entered the mountain passes.]

{Shhh. It’s my time.}

‘Has anyone ever seen this?’ He asked himself as sand began to get into his eyes. Whilst the grains built up, he caused only further irritation as he attempted to wipe them away. Tears swelled up before they began coursing down his face. As the tears cleaned out the sand, Pip struggled with the urge to wipe. He swore from the frustration, but didn’t give in to the desire.

He put his hand over his heart to see if it was still beating. Only to become confused when it did so. His sight became clearer, whilst the novice tried to brush the sand off his arms. As he rubbed though, the movement caused a red friction burn to grow. Pip looked around struggling with his new location as more sand stuck to him. Questions kept forcing themselves to the surface of his mind.

‘Where am I?’ Pip asked the island, but the island didn’t reply to him. As he realised the ocean was almost like a giant bath, he glanced around once more.

The water washed the sand off with relative ease, which caused Pip to dive under the water to make sure he got rid of every grain. He laughed as he did so whilst he began removing his shirt. Which floated away from him along the top of the waves. The temperature felt so pleasant on his skin that he didn’t even notice. And the water was so warm and relaxing that he found it almost calming in a certain respect. But as he bathed in the waters, the warmth eased his muscles. The water reminded him of the underground heated baths in the collage, which made him think of the home once more. Although as Pip paddled around enjoying the water, he noticed there were creatures swimming about near brightly coloured floating plant life,

‘What are these strange creatures?’ He asked the wind whilst the water finished stealing his shirt.

As the sun began to set, Pip decided he needed warmth. Or he would freeze to death. Although that was based on his knowledge of home. Where the nights in the valleys were always bitter and almost relentless, no matter the season.

There was a lot of driftwood littering the beach though, and some of it, Pip found out quickly was days old. So delicate and dry that it began to crumble in his hands as the novice struggled to pick up the pieces. Whilst some of the larger pieces were still fresh and wet.

‘I wonder if Marx managed to get to safety?’ He asked himself as he mused about his friend’s whereabouts. Whilst he wondered what happened to Marx, the young mage dug a hole in the sand near the treeline. After that, he collected stones and arranged them around the hole. Pip gathered himself a collection of dry timber and began to arrange the wood in the crude fire-pit. The young mage’s mind turned to the search for him. How the college professors were most likely still trudging through the valley and digging into the ground,

‘Or they think I’m dead,’ he said to the fire-pit as he stacked a dried log.

Pip saw no way for him to start the fire, as there was no flint laying on the sand. He thought about trying to summon lightening, but he was still too exhausted, and that would have taken more focus than he could muster. Using an old trick his father used to light old hay on fire, he began to gather dried grass. Rubbing a dry stick in the grove of a larger log, Pip began to rub until the wood gave him a slight puff of smoke. With one brief lungful of air, he blew at the dried grass.

It caught alight instantly,

‘Who needs magic?’ He asked the wind, which helped his fire to grow with two abrupt gusts.

Within a second, the fire in the tiny pit was ample enough to provide him warmth as it began to dance in the air. His stomach rumbled as he watched the flames. And his mind wondered about food. Mainly where he could find some. But Pip also knew it was too dangerous to search for food at night. So with only a fire, the lad watched the two moons beginning to travel through the sky as he listened to his stomach. Whilst a tiredness crept over him once more. Although this time it wasn’t from using magic. Or from a magical storm. But was his own body, telling him that he needed more sleep to heal.

When Pip woke it was to the sound of birds squawking. The sun was barely over the horizon, and the rays were warming the sand. The beach had also grown in the night. Whilst the water which receded left a damp area littered with shells, seaweed and driftwood that was crawling with sand worms. Pip looked up at the bulky white birds that were making all the noise. Each bird with their bright yellow beaks flew about showing the underside of their bodies. As he watched them, he noticed the blackish grey under feathers and wondered where the birds slept. Pip laughed as he watched them,

‘I suppose that’s breakfast if I can catch one.’ No one answered him. And as he stood up, all the guls close to him flew off in a flurry.

Pip began striding along the sand whilst he ignored the yellow fruit hanging off the trees. With no idea what they were, his eyes completely missed them. The seaweed was starting to dry out in the sun, and happened to be leaving a smell in the air which told his brain it shouldn’t be eaten. Which again was a mistake.

As sweat began pouring off him, Pip realised he needed hydration. With only one option in sight, the novice scooped up a handful of water from the ocean. He put the liquid close to his lips and began to drink. The taste of salt made him spit it out almost immediately,

‘Goddess, what is that?’ As the lad glanced at the ocean, he wondered once more if he was in Nivrean. Trapped in the afterlife with his body still intact. And he felt glad that when he’d been splashing about that none of the water had gotten into his mouth.

With each step taken, the heat that beat down upon him caused the lad to become slower. Almost sluggish, as he began to drag his feet through the sand. A rumble from his stomach told him that he needed food. But he carried on moving forwards as he hoped to find someone else. Or somewhere he could stay until he found out how to get home. As he strolled along though, sand continued to gather in his leg hairs.

Pip then noticed a small river emerging from the jungle. The clear liquid flowed directly into the ocean after it travelled across the sand. And the water appeared to be inviting him as he stared. Without thought, Pip almost glided across the beach towards the open invitation.

The stream glistened in the afternoon sunlight as the young mage knelt next to the water. Pip tasted it with one finger. Although that was before he then began drinking the liquid by the handful. As he did so, the novice got bits of sand in his mouth. He choked himself, then spluttered, but nothing was going to stop him from the cool relief that the water was providing.

His stomach soon felt full, but the water wasn’t enough to stop the hunger pains. Which his body reminded him about almost immediately as he stood upright. But the pain brought more questions to the forefront of his mind about where he could find food. Whilst questions he didn’t want to answer floated to the surface as well.

The novice decided he needed to follow the river in land in search of people and hopefully food. The trees blocked his sightline as he moved through the cool water though. But since before entering the jungle, they’d towered high above his head anyway. And at that moment, he didn’t care, that he couldn’t determine anything else, as the thick canopy covered the sky. The thick vines which hung almost everywhere told him that this new forest wasn’t like the Enchanted Forest, that he’d heard about while growing up. But since everything seemed new, Pip didn’t know what to do with the information that he was obtaining. Or the lack of.

Whilst Pip continued searching for food, something began to appear between the trees just up ahead. As he scanned them, the novice thought it possible that these grey magical trees were fashioned using stone. Almost excited from a discovery he might be able to work out, Pip began to hurry through the stream. The trees turned out to be a structure of some sort, which caused the young mage to feel surprised as he approached it. The derelict building was sitting in the centre of a clearing that seemed to be losing the battle against the overgrowth. Whilst the building itself looked as if it had already lost most of its battles with the elements.

With a stomach that began to ache once more, Pip’s mind turned back to the search for food. Out of desperation, the young mage pushed the rotten door out of the way. Noticing a floor littered with broken roofing tiles. On his left Pip saw a corridor with two rotten beams, which had fallen in long ago. Both beams in the process had also destroyed the rooms that once existed on either side of the strip. And anything within was now claimed by nature.

Searching around the rear of the building, Pip noticed two half rotted posts sticking up from the soil. In an area which must have once been cared for at some point, the plants within seemed to the lad to be laid out in rows, but were overgrown with tall grass and weeds.

He began to kick away the tall weeds; foraging for vegetables that might have been growing within the ground. With some heavy kicks, time and patience, the novice soon found some sort of brownish orange potato, a few purple carrots and a teeny hidden bush that contained what he hoped at the time were edible berries.

‘At least I have food,’ he said as he glanced around the clearing. As he looked about, he wondered,

‘What happened to the people who obviously once lived here.’

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