Final Exam, pt. ii

I get ready to cast the misting spell. The detail I need out of the image of what I want to happen makes it a longer cast than the war magic I’m more intimately familiar with. It’s going to be a close call between us. I can see he’s nervous, stumbling over the words of his spell. I briefly wonder what sort of incantation I’m going to use, then decide to just let the spell happen naturally. I see the mist coming out of the ground, surrounding him, invoking fear, causing him to stumble, buying me time, the mist will rise up, a greenish-gray vapor, with a foul smell, sulfur, or brimstone; somewhere in between. It will rise up, encompassing his body with the speed of smoke, clawing its way up his nostrils, into his opening and closing mouth, working deeper into his lungs, preventing him from taking a breath. It would be a killing spell if I release it now, but he’s getting close to finishing his spell. I refocus, adding a phantom element, enough to scare and incapacitate, but not enough to kill. I’m hardening the image of the spell, working every turn of vapor, every blade of grass and tree-leaf. My mouth is moving as I chant an invocation to a chthonic deity, Greek, magic and the underworld. Removing the death element is getting harder, but that’s what I get for not thinking this through. I can feel the energies creeping up, through my feet, up my legs and groin, into my stomach, not fast enough. I rush it, not certain if the spell will kill, shoving the energy out of me. It hovers in the air, a thick, electric pressure, and then his gone. His hand is about to drop the package into the earth, and I see the mist rise up. He fumbles the incantation, having to repeat the last verse. I can see the sweat on his brow from the window. His formulations are mediocre, strong on the verbiage, most likely effect-focused, but his image and visualization are weak. If I’d taken the time to think it through beforehand I would have realized I could brush off the binding, not threatened his life with a possible killing spell.

I’m preparing a countering spell when I feel the pressure of the vapor-spell return. Like a sudden tropical rain, the room is suddenly dense, the rebuffed energy burning. I focus outside and see that someone else is out there, hand over the student’s mouth, reversing his incantations, taking the package from his hand. The energies from my spell are lighting across my skin, a fire so hot it’s cold. I grit my teeth, open my mouth, and gasp, taking the energy back into my body. The acid in my stomach disagrees violently with this plan, but I close my mouth before it can come out. The burning in my esophagus is mind-numbing. I call a prayer to divinity, forcing the magic back into the earth, neutralizing it. I have enough time to get to the trash can before I retch up the bile.

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