Strife Beneath Star Lake

Date: 1/8/2012 at 5:57
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: Strife Beneath Star Lake

"...the quantity of heat emitted during previous attempts
has caused the experiments to fail prematurely, with no
way to discern what, if any, effect transpired. Attempt
number nine will replicate the methods of both attempts
six and seven (attempt eight has been concluded an utter
waste of time), but will take place underwater, using the
aqueous environment of Star Lake to safely absorb and
disperse the heat."

Cyndric laid aside his quill with a frown. All of the preparations were in order, the plans fully documented; there was no further reason to delay. Standing, he walked to the window of the somber study room and pulled the heavy velvet curtain aside, peering down upon the southern grounds of the Academy. The sun had just set, and all would soon be cloaked in darkness. Yes, it was time.

Rolling the parchment into a long cylinder, Cyndric secured it with a silk ribbon and straightened his robes. His footsteps echoed loudly upon the marble floors as he strode out of the library and headed toward Pug's study. The magician was absent, as Cyndric expected, but Katala graciously accepted the scroll with a promise to turn it over to her husband as soon as he returned.

The lake was glassy and smooth, reflecting a thousand points of light from the heavens, and Cyndric took a bracing breath of the cool night air. Glancing back toward the Academy, he reflected upon the years of research that had brought him to this point, and he raised a hand in farewell. His thoughts turned to his daughter, her golden hair, and her cherubic smile... but he shook his head and banished the image. If this experiment succeeded, he would not be returning to this plane any time soon. He could not afford to become sentimental now, just when he was about to begin.

Briefly touching his lips, Cyndric incanted a waterbreathing spell and stepped purposefully into the lake. His robes billowed about him as they absorbed the water, and soon he was fully submerged. A few more steps into the water, and all was dark. Satisfied, the magician outstretched his arms, flushing as he began to fill with arcane power. Then, with a sudden clap, he began to warp the timestream around him, and motes of multicolored light streamed through the water, slowing his surroundings. With the aide of time, Cyndric began the complex manipulations of magic he had perfected in previous attempts, noting with pleasure the coolness of the surroundings: a contrast to the rapid heating of former locations.

Gradually, a wavering portal began to open, its edges frothing and bubbling as arcane flames flared and fizzled in the deep waters of Star Lake. Beyond, Cyndric could see only more water, but it was a magnificent aquatic display of color and beauty, with creatures he could not even imagine just beyond reach. In awe he reached out a hand, enraptured by the sight, and began to move forward, prepared to venture to this exotic plane and learn of its magics.

The moment Cyndric's fingers brushed the surface of the portal, however, something went desperately wrong. A great vortex suddenly formed, throwing Cyndric forcefully backwards where his head struck a rock. Helplessly he watched, his mind a blur, as the churning funnel of water began to draw the creatures from the opposite side of the portal into the lake. He could hear screams as the beings were wrenched from their own world and into his... but slowly he began to lose his grip on wakefulness.

As the cool waters of Star Lake lulled him to sleep, a dulcet voice whispered in his ear, "What jester is this, that summons us to his world?" His eyes fluttered open at the wondrous sound, and he glimpsed a pair of sublimely beautiful faces, their eyes burning with confusion, then hatred and cruelty, before fading entirely. Their words lingered in his ears for only a moment before he lapsed into unconsciousness: "He shall pay for what he has done, my sister... yes, this fool shall pay..."

Penned by my hand on the 9th of Natinica, in the year 26.