My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult: I See Good Spirits & I See Bad Spirits

Theme: Doomite backstories of youth

Genre: Action/Comedy

Date of Completion: 7/14/06

Scene One, Seen 'Em All

"Good luck."

"You, too." She did not genuinely mean it, but it sounded like she did. She had studied in the most grueling manner for quite some time in this hellishly bright place. This was the moment where she would prove to herself and to everyone else her skills were honed and ready for a junior apprenticeship.

Her fellow classmate and soon-to-be opponent gave her a grin that was far too overdone. The mutual interests they had was their insincerity and their desire to best one another, but this was where the similarities ended. Hagar sniffed at Colya's strong flowery scent. "Is perfume part of your Familiar Invocation Spell?" she inquired, the sweet tone quickly turning sour in her mouth. She was through being nice when moments away she would summon all she could to grind the red-headed girl's face into the stone exam floor. Colya's eyes narrowed as her lips formed a tight line with a retort of, "No, but I was figuring you wouldn't bother masking that musty odor of yours." After a sniff of her own for effect, she confirmed, "And I figured right."

Hagar muttered some indiscriminate obscenities, her yellow eyes glared. The comment was an old one, she had heard it a million times by now, but it still irritated her. She had a personal opinion of flowers and bright, lovely countrysides; she could not stand them. Anything with petals and pollen sent her into a sneezing fit, and the only time she enjoyed the countryside was when there was some predator tearing up the place, or a wildfire from an angry Nature sprite or a crashed spaceship. She preferred the indoors, with lower light, working in her own personal space, creating her own potions and sundry spells. She had flaxen hair paler than her pupils that framed her short olive fur, making her appearance seem softer and gentler than she deemed she should. When she wore white, she looked "positively wiccan" as some of her human peers joked. Even her mentors and professors were surprised when her strongest affinity was from negative sources, usually angry spirits with a grudge. Unfortunately, they also found her projects of incorporating technology and mystical components together appalling. Upon first being lectured about the incompatibility, she was taken aback. She had always lived in Sapientydan-occupied territory, and the method there was so commonplace she had never given it a second thought. According to her foster-parents, her skills required a different type of development away from that place, on account of her heritage. Thus, here she was for far too long in her opinion, hearing the same insipid observations from those not worth her time.

Hagar smirked, "I'm surprised you haven't killed your olfactory nerves by now, the way you love drenching yourself in essential oils." She had discovered when she had first arrived here that she had a strong sense of smell, and around a bunch of sweaty, heavily robed beings, that was not the most advantageous thing. Her first-year final project was a magically-enhanced industrial-strength deodorant, and suffice it to say, she had aced that one. She was hoping once she got back home she could work on a patent for it.

Colya was about to spit out a diatribe when the proctor walked into the foyer and motioned them into the exam hall. He was obliged silently. The hall was large and roofless, exposing the stony floor to the elements. The sunlight cast interesting shadows that Hagar nodded at as she approached the left pentacle. She found sketching stars on the ground affected her abilities not a whit, but saw that this was not the case with her classmates, and was looking forward to the days ahead where she would never have to draw stupid pictures on the ground ever again. Colya assumed her stance in the right pentacle as the proctor and several faculty took their predetermined positions around them.

The proctor explained succinctly, "There is one position open for a junior apprenticeship, and will be given to the victor. After the previous tests of skill, you are the final two students. The conditions for the apprenticeship require a strong bio-affinity; the summoning of a familiar is a prerequisite. Therefore, the only spell you may use is the Familiar Invocation Spell."

Hagar cocked a blonde eyebrow at her distant rival. The proctor said nothing she did not already know. At the proctor's signal, both magicians took aggressive stances and began their incantations.

Her spell summoned quickest, and her familiar spirit arrived in the mortal plane a spontaneous ball of fire that expanded into the form of a bird. Granted, she was no sorceress, so it was less a phoenix and more a parrot. Their thoughts merged, the inflamed avian flew towards Colya. She chuckled after she cast her spell, invoking a basilisk. Slithering into existence with a green cloud of smoke, a cock's head emerged, its sanguine comb large and imposing. The rest of the familiar was a coiling serpent no larger than a cobra, but a powerful gaze capable of petrifying all who met it made limbs vestigial. The basilisk crowed, writhing its body into coils to follow its prey around.

"Damn it, don't look in its eyes," Hagar warned her familiar, but she saw that it was too late: the feathers were starting to fuse into gray stone. Before the effect reached any vital organs, she hastily chanted the spell again, with morphological constraints this time: a blind mongoose sprang out from the air the bird once claimed and pounced onto the basilisk, guided by nose and ears alone. The spectators uttered no sound as they watched the exchange. Colya in turn altered her familiar's shape to that of a pony-sized unicorn. Its spiraling horn was being grasped by the mongoose, now several feet up, its hind legs dangling. The unicorn whinnied, shaking its mane, twisting its neck to shake it off and then impale it. The smaller animal could not hold on, and received a laceration on its side as it was flung away. The unicorn pounded its hooves, ready to charge. Halfway across the floor, the mongoose shuddered before swelling into a manticore, its barbed tail swinging in anticipation. They collided, the manticore's rows of teeth biting into the flank, a horn severing the sinews of a forearm. Both maidens were perspiring as fingers, lips, and minds raced with energy. Colya's familiar was beginning to falter, its stance weakening, its limbs shaking from the barbs' poison.

With an accompanying "Humph," Colya cast the spell with the greatest measure of her power, the mighty yet unassuming peryton. A winged deer kicked the manticore at Hagar, who ducked. She gulped at her predicament: much like she had changed her familiar's shape to avoid the petrification, Colya did the same to neutralize the poison. The peryton was a strong creature that cast a peculiar humanoid shadow. It had a carnivorous appetite, and it was cutting through the air to deal the final blow. Its sharp incisors bit into the tough flesh of a pachyderm. Hagar chuckled, "My familiar's teeth are bigger than yours!" she taunted Colya. The familiars continued to struggle, Hagar closer to the action than was safe, but she knew Colya's ability was nearly spent.

"I will not lose!" Colya shouted, doubting the words she spoke so vehemently. She searched her memories, trying to find a weakness Hagar had. She snickered as she recalled what she needed. She looked at her peryton engaged in battle with the pachyderm, and saw that though it was unbeatable with melee weapons, the graviportal behemoth it was fighting had weight and size on its side. Her final spell, she bluffed the potency as the air sparkled with light and the stench of a million roses.

A dazzled Hagar started coughing, choking and sneezing. She felt something tall and furry crawl up her white sleeve and onto her bare shoulder. She gasped while her familiar stomped around in terror, rattling the establishment. Her regained her sight enough to see her worst fear nibbling at her face: a scented gray mouse.

She froze; she could not move, not to sneeze, not to hack, not to even smack it off her. Tears were streaming down her face: she was in absolute panic. "Get this thing off of me!" she managed to howl as she cast the spell again amidst her quivering tears and allergic rasps. She was no longer thinking about the exam or the apprenticeship: the rodent incapacitated her.

Colya laughed, guffawing as she slapped her knee, enjoying the farce. She was certain she had won. All that was left was for Hagar to run out the room, wailing like a babe. A hiss and a smothered squeak promptly indicated her attitude was unwarranted. The atmosphere cleared, and she saw a blue cat happily munching on her familiar.

The proctor held up a glowing red hand, announcing the test complete and Hagar the junior apprentice. Both young girls were silent as they left their positions towards the faculty who congratulated them on excellent use of their abilities. They nodded and gave small smiles to show their gratitude, but both were exhausted beyond words.

The left the room and entered the foyer. After a few steps, Hagar broke the silence with "Thanks for the cheap shot." Colya did not respond and turned her nose to the air as she left with a dignified semblance. Hagar giggled, "I know what to call you now, boy," she addressed her feline companion nestling in her arms, "the male form of Colya's name: Coba. This would be an egregious misuse of the summon spell to leave it open-ended, but if you're game..."

Coba blinked his eyes drowsily, considering the potential. Things would certainly be interesting, not to mention lucrative if her murophobia was compounded on a world infested with mice. He mewed his decision: "Fine fine, just lay off the large forms for a while, okay? My teeth are still smarting after being tusks."

Song:

SCENE ONE, SEEN 'EM ALL

Written by Groovie Mann

Published by SleazeBox Music / BMI

Keys & Programming – Groovie Mann