Episode 25: The Harmony of Power
[BGM: Memories of Home]
"Wake up..." a female voice assured Ash. He rolled over and noticed Kissa looking back at him. "Today we explore the Frosty Forest..."
"That, or you can train your powers here in town..." Brock agreed as he joined Kissa in the room.
"There's someone that can train magic here?" Ash asked, excited. If the Frosty Forest was anything like what Misty had told him the previous night, he wanted to be prepared. "What sorts of spells does he teach?"
"Any spell you like, provided you're willing to work hard to learn." Brock replied. "The girls have gone on ahead to scout out the forest and gather supplies, so I'm keeping watch until they return."
Kissa dropped a small piece of paper into Ash's hands. "Lady Misty has left a message telling you more about the mage that lives here."
Ash raised an eyebrow, unfolded the paper, and began reading:
The mage that lives here in Chairo, Ardan Fanamar, was a fellow apprentice of your mentor, Milina Tonjine. While she stayed behind at the lodge to teach more apprentices, Ardan set out to make a name for himself. While he spends most of his time training his own skills or teaching others the way of the mage, he has also written several books about the places he visited on his travels--so he may have information about our quest.
I hope you'll tell me what you learn when I return this evening.
A smile began forming on Ash's face as he glanced at the roughly drawn map on the back, folded up the note, and put it away. "I'm going to pay a visit to Sir Fanamar and see what spells I can learn." Brock nodded and waved goodbye as Ash gave Pikachu a hug, then disappeared down the hallway.
Later that morning...
[BGM: Sakura Turns to Ice]
"Hello?" Ash called as he approached a spacious looking cabin on the southern side of town, while it didn't really stand out too much from the other log cabins in Chairo, the only clue that the cabin's owner was someone important were the small banners fluttering in the cold yet calm breeze--the yellow one hanging from the left depicting the sign of Anima, and the purple one on the right the sign of Dorcha. For without light, there is no darkness, and without darkness, no light. Ash mused as he walked up to the cabin's stoop and hestantly knocked at the door.
"Who's there?" a male voice asked.
"A fellow mage seeking knowledge." Ash replied, swallowing the lump in his throat all the while.
The door opened, revealing a man clad in a majestic royal blue robe. Although the man's muscular frame and wry smile seemed to comfort Ash a little, the swaths of gray in the man's otherwise black hair testified to his age. "What brings you all the way to my icy abode, Ash of Asimiro?"
Ash gasped. "How...how do you know my name?"
[BGM: The Mage That Listens For a Dream-Ardan's theme]
"The spirits of light keep me informed of the goings on in the world...even here, in this cold and remote place where few venture--nothing escapes the wary ear of a great mage." the man replied as he motioned for Ash to follow him inside. "You came seeking knowledge from Ardan Fanamar, and knowledge you will receive."
Ash nodded and followed Ardan inside, past intricately carved furniture and a large stone fireplace before entering into what Ash assumed was Ardan's study or library, judging from the many books on the shelves. He wondered what sorts of information were contained in the books as he took a seat at a large table facing Ardan.
Ardan speaking snapped him out of his awed admiration of the books. "Now then...I have heard you wish to cure the mayor's daughter, Lera?"
"Yes--we have been told the final ingredient to the potion that will heal her lies within the Frosty Forest." Ash explained. "The rest of my companions are already there scouting it out."
“It is fortunate they have chosen to enter the forest early in the morning--the stronger creatures do not come out until evening, and snow does not fall untill afternoon.” Ardan replied before spotting the Dreamer’s Flute peeking from Ash’s bag. “That is a gift from a minstrel, I presume?”
“Not just any minstrel, Sir Ardan--one with the rare gift of singing magic.” Ash replied befor taking the Flute from its sleeve. “I have learned to sing magic a little in return for my service.”
He was about to name a spell and perform when he heard Ardan call “Ancient light, rise and revive! Wall!”, enclosing the entire room in a sparkling greenish blue wall, similar to what the clerics at Whitespell had done to hold back the couerl. “There--now we can cast all the spells we want for a while without harming my library or ourselves.”
“Okay...holy fire, rend through the coldness of evil! Crimson Claw!” Ash commanded before launching into “The Silver Sword”, making small arrow-like flames fly in all directions, only to die out with a hiss if they impacted the Wall.
[BGM: The Silver Sword]
Ardan applauded. “Impressive--whoever has taught you how to sing magic has taught you well...but perhaps you would like to strengthen your spells? The Forest has many creatures a Fire spell alone cannot defeat--so the spell Fira is more effective. However, these stronger spells take more strength than the ones you have been casting before--so be careful not to overdo it.”
“Teach me Fira, at least!” Ash begged as he returned his instrument to its sleeve--the prospect of new spells sounded exciting!
“Very well--I will teach you three of them to start.” Ardan replied. “The basic elementals--Fira, Blizzara, and Thundara. You have seen Thundara before--so can you recreate it for me?”
That’s right! Anima casted Thundara back in Sindura! Ash smiled as he began charging a ball of electrical energy. Now what did She say to cast it? He thought for a moment, before gasping in horror as the energy ball went flying, impacting the Wall in an explosion of thunderbolts.
“You waited too long to command the energy, and so it flew elsewhere.” Ardan explained. “Try again, and focus on remembering the spell’s command.”
Ash sighed, closed his eyes, and focused on creating another energy ball. Anima, what did You say to smite a man back in Sindura? he frantically prayed. He knew he had the power to cast the spell, but the incantation escaped him! He stayed the spell in desperation and covered his face to hide the tears streaming down his face. Why now? Why do I not remember the incantation when I want so much to learn a new spell?”
“What’s the matter?” Ardan asked, concerned by Ash’s tears.
“I know the spell, and I have the power to do it, but I don’t remember the command...” Ash explained before wiping away tears.
“Calm yourself.” Ardan assured him before conjuring a hankerchief for Ash to dry his tears. “I see you have the will to cast the spell and the strength to do it, but without our commands to guide the magic, it will not take form. So repeat this: Heavenly bolts, bring divine justice.”
“Heavenly bolts, bring divine justice...” Ash mused before the lightbulb went off in his head. This is it! This is the incantation Anima said! Inspired, he quickly charged a large ball of electrical energy. “Heavenly bolts, bring divine justice! Thundara!”
“Very good!” Ardan smiled at the streaks of lightning impacted and fizzled out on the Wall. “I knew jogging your memory would do the trick...are you ready to learn Fira and Blizzara?”
“You bet!” Ash smiled--he was eager to return to his friends and tell them about Ardan--and show off his new powers as well.
To Be Continued...