The shock was bad enough. The feel of it -- the sensation of a thousand bugs burrowing up through his flesh -- was worse. But worst of all was the loss of memory. There was a period, every time he died, where he knew neither who he was nor what had killed him.
As such, each time was as bad as the first. He woke up gasping, clasping and clawing at his skin in a vain effort to dig out the worms and biters he could almost see writhing beneath the surface. The horrible impression passed momentarily. As the crawling things faded, he lay still a moment, trying to understand what had occurred. He wept dry, dead tears for the loss of his life.
Eventually he remembered his name: he was Sacrum. He stopped his weeping and gnashing and stood up into one of the most ferocious winds he could have ever imagined. Steadying himself as best he could, he looked around at the bleak, grey world of death. He remembered being dead before, and knew that it was always worst upon the waking, not knowing anything but the black truth of fulfilled mortality.
With the memory of his name came the memory of his geis.
He stood before the great and crackled black house, built tall and lonesome nearly fifteen leagues from the nearest village. When the door opened he fell to his knees and knelt, in the way of an apprentice, and offered to serve. The wizened, gnarled man at the door regarded him as if he were a cow.
After a several minutes, the man spoke. "You will find saecra for me. Your name is Sacrum, now." The gaunt man let out a short, harsh, bark of a laugh.
Before he could answer, the wizard spoke again, a word Sacrum could neither pronounce nor imagine, and all the memories of his old name were b...
... middle of paper ...
..., and secrets were the most important tools a wizard had. The veil of death was indeed a mighty firmament, but even it could not long keep secrets from a wizard. Limner was an apprentice and had no totem of his own, and thus he collected secrets for his master.
Secrets had power. Theonidus, his master, reiterated the axiom until Limner thought it lost all meaning. Of course secrets had power; that was so platitudinous that even peasants would spew it at one another, acting all the time as if they were imparting some sort of great wisdom.
Limner's master was no peasant. The petty secrets that ecrets
To those in Limner's trade, Dying was something to be avoided when possible, even for a wizard. That didn't mean, however, that ho
It was far vaster than the living world, but all that had ever passed into dust resided within its boundaries.
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