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The Absence of Magic
Another story where I named it.
The real name is Vanishing Magic

by:Lady Reena
    
Email: catdog2@pacbell.net

    Alanna brought Darkmoon to a halt. Jumping off, she
quickly untacked and left him with the hostler. She ran to the front of
her home in Pirate's Swoop. Nearly tripping over the stairs, she threw
open the door. Then she bent over to catch her breath. Alanna had been
in Corus, the capital of Tortall, for 2 weeks for a visit to her good friends
Queen Thayet and King Jon. (plus she also got to see her other good friends.)     She looked up to see George coming toward
her. "Hey." he said, not able to take his eyes off her.
    He picked her up and spun her around, hugging her tightly. "I missed you, my lass."
    Alanna smiled. "Stop that, you're making me dizzy." she said sternly, but her eyes were laughing.
    He finally put her down.
    "I'm glad to be home," she said. "Yet I'm afraid that-" she paused.
    "What, Alanna?"
    "My Gift is gone, George."
    "WHAT!"
    "Just as I said," Alanna replied. "My. Gift. Is. Gone!"
    "Oh, no." George was pretty much at loss for words. "How..I mean...when?"
    "Well, I just felt it. Like the time when Thom 'borrowed' it on All Hallows Eve to bring ROGER back to life."
    George noticed the bitter tone in her words, but decided against
saying anything about it. He also noticed that his Gift, the Sight, was
still there."By the Mithros..." he muttered.
    "Wait. I'm not finished. It happened about a week and a half ago, the day I got to Corus. I just felt the prescense of something taking it away. I tried healing a bruise. Nothing. "
     "Alanna-"
    "I'm not the only one affected," Alanna went on, ignoring him. "Daine's Wild Magic is gone. The animals know- they can't communicate with her. And, oh, I don't know. All i know is that everyone who posseses- possessed, " she corrected herself- " is magickless. "
    George was standing there with his jaw dropped. Pulling himself together, he said, "Do you have ANY idea what happened?"
    Alanna shook her head no. "I don't know..." she said slowly, her purple eyes filled with worry. "But I'm going to find out."

Meanwhile, in Corus.....
    Keladry of Mindlean was in her room practicing with her glaive. All of a sudden, Crown and her flock came rushing to her windows, peeping, screeching, and fluttering wings. "What the-" Kel started, dropping her glaive.
    The birds seemed to want her to follow
them. So Kel put down her glaive and went outside. The birds led her to
the door in the palace that read 'Verilidaine Sarrasi and Numair Salmanin.'
     They stopped there and then flew away. Kel
shrugged and knocked on the door. The Wildmage herself answered, looking
harried.
    "Hello Kel, what brings you here?" Daine said.
    "My birds. I don't know why."
     "Oh..." Daine said. "Then you don't know what has befallen Tortall?"
     Kel stared at her blankly, then shook her head.
    "Well. My wild magic, the Lioness's Gift, Numair's great sorcery...all the mages' magic is gone. "
    Kel, unlike George, was able to keep her head. "When did that happen?"
    "A few days ago. "
     "But how did it happen?"
    "I don't know. I don't know if the magic is going to come back, I don't know what will happen in Tortall without magic. My guess is nothing until someone needs to be be healed, or we are attacked. Magic sure would come in handy then."
    "Wow," Kel breathed. "Wow."
Daine smiled at her, yet it looked forced.
    "How is Numair taking it?" Kel asked.
     "He's alright, I guess. I mean, how would you feel if you were out of a job? He is determined to find out what's going on, but without his magic, how can he?"
    The lunch bell rang.
    "I'd best be going," Kel said. "Bye, Daine." I have a lot to
think about, she thought. I don't know what I can do, but I'll figure
out something. She reached her rooms and went in silently. A few
moments later, she heard a knock on her door. Opening it, she saw Nealen
of Queenscove standing there.
    "Did you hear?" he blurted.
    "Yes."
     "Prince Roald thinks it's something supernatural. A group of
immortals, or something, that have greater power than all combined!!"
     Kel recalled that Roald had the Gift. "Really. I suppose it's
possible, but..why?"
    "I don't know! Come on! We're going to be late for lunch!"
    In the mess hall, after they had sat down, King Jonathan went
before the group of pages and squires. "As you know, the magic in all of
Tortall is gone-except for the Sight. Beginning tomarrow morning, you will
all train harder than ever. We do not know if and when we get our magic
back, so people who are in magic classes, you will train for an extra hour
with Lord Wyldon. We need to learn to fight without the aid of magic. That
is all."
    The mess was silent for a good minute. Then, it erupted into
noise.
    "An extra hour!"
    "WHY!!"
    "It's for our own good!"
    "Yeah, but it's an EXTRA HOUR!"
     Kel herself remained silent. The change did not affect her much.
People like Roald were the ones getting the extra training, instead of
going to magic classes. Obviously since they didn't have magic to help
them in battle.
    Kel got up and went to her rooms.
    
That Night..
    Alanna was restless. She wanted to DO something, darnit! But
she couldn't leave! It was too late, and besides, she didn't want to leave
George.
     As Alanna got ready for bed, George was caught up in his own thoughts. Poor lass, he thought. She's so worried.
    Alanna got into bed next to George. She soon fell into a restless
sleep.And she started to dream...
    
Meanwhile...
    Kel was also getting ready for bed. She had Magic on the mind,
but, as always, it was overpowered with thoughts of Neal.    Neal, she
thought.     Why does he always go for the pretty ones? Why doesn't he
like ME? She knew Neal only thought of her as a friend.
    There was a knock at her door. Could it be Neal? But no-it was
Cleon. "Can I get you anything, my Flower, my Sunshine?"
    Kel glared at him. He didn't notice.
    "I'll do anything for you, Sunflower."
    "Quit it Cleon!" Kel growled. "I'm TRYING to get ready for bed!"
Cleon grinned and ambled off.
    Kel shut the door and got into bed. Why was Cleon always doing
this? He knew she hated it. Despite these thoughts, though, Kel smiled
to herself. Cleon was a good friend. With thoughts running through her
head, Kel slowly fell asleep...and she began to dream....

(from Alanna's point of view)
    
A light. As bright and a purple as her Gift. Violet. Right at
the door! Alanna got up and went to the door. The light moved away, to
outside on the main area above the castle. Alanna looked over the side.That
would be some LONG fall if I fell over the side, she thought. Alanna
stopped following the light and put her hands on her hips, glaring at the
air. She was getting fed up. WHY couldn't she get her Gift back?! Alanna
heard a noise to her left-towards the side of The Wall. She went over there,
not getting TOO close to the side-and then, seeing what she saw, she bit
back a scream of sheer terror.

At the same Time...

(from Kel's point of view)
Kel was walking outside. Where am I going?she wondered. Why
can't I control it? She was getting nervous. And then she saw it-Balor's
Needle, the tallest tower in the palace. Last time she had been up there,
she almost fallen and killed herself.   Her feet moving themselves,
she started up the inside stairs, the safer ones. The other stairs were
exposed to the outside air and very, very dangerous. Why was she going
up there? She was afriad of heights! Deathly afraid! When Kel finally got
to the top, she saw the most horrible thing she had ever laid eyes on...

    Alanna let it out. She screamed, long and loud. The...creature,
you could say, had the body of a gigantic dragon, though she couldn't see
the color in the dark night. It had long, pointy horns coming out from
every which way. Some were broken. It's claws were about 3 feet in length.
It had the head of a human though. The face was unmistakable. It was the
face of Roger, the Duke of Conte. She, Alanna, had killed him twice.
    Roger grinned evilly.
    "You're - alive?" Alanna gasped, too shocked to regain her composure.
    "You sound thrilled to see me," Roger smirked. "Yeah,
I'm alive - matter of speaking!" he said as he looked down at her.
    "How did you get like that?" Alanna asked him shakily.
     "Well, Sir Alanna, I visited the Realm of the Dead for awhile
and then the Immortal Realm. Let's just say I visited an old...friend.
    "YOU made the magic disappear?!"
     Roger shrugged. "You can't change old ways," he said. "And I
always was greedy." He rubbed his hands...er..claws together. "And now,
little lady, your time is just about up." He grabbed Alanna and easily
picked her up. Alanna cursed herself for not wearing her sword to bed.
Roger threw her over the wall, cackling, as Alanna fell....

    Kel gasped. Waiting for her up there, at the top of Balor's Needle,
was a creature with the body of a dragon (blackish-grey) with horns and
a human head. It was, to say the least, horrible.
    Hello, Kel," he sneered.
    Kel examined the face..she recognized it from Somewhere... but
no, she couldn't lay her finger on it.
<br>&nbsp; "What? Cat got your tongue?" he laughed.
     Kel clenched her fists, but kept her Yamini-Stone expression.
"What do you want with me?" she said tightly.
    "Why, you wanted to know who stole all the magic, didn't you?
Well here I am." He chuckled. "Now that you know, of course, I'm going
to have to get rid of you."Kel moved away slowly, awe struck. He talked
of murder like the weather!
     "Oh, no you don't." Without even touching her, he used his new
magic to pick her up..and toss her over the railing of the outside stair
of the Needle. She fell, picking up speed as she got closer and closer
to meet her death...

    Alanna woke up. Am I dead? she thought. "Alanna! Alanna!" she
heard. Where was she? Was this the Realm of the Dead? Oh! George. That
was George she was hearing! What was George doing there? It wasn't time
to get up yet! "Alanna! You were sleepwalking! Are you OK?"
    Alanna looked at him groggily. She noticed she was below the
wall where she fell. "You're OK! Oh, Mithros, you're OK! You flew
right over that wall! I caught you, because I heard something moving about
up here.
     Alanna was confused. Why had she even been up there? She remembered that she had seen a creature of some sort that stole all the magic..but no, she couldn't remember anything else. Her mind was blank.
    Alanna stood up. "I've got to get to Corus and talk to the King.
I don't know why, I just do. Now."
     George thought it over. "OK," he said. "But I'm going with you.
I'll get the horses and meet you out here in a bit."

    THUD! Kel woke up as soon as she hit the ground. Wait! the ground?
She'd be dead if she had hit the ground!
    "Kel? Kel! Helo0o0o!!!" Neal! That was Neal! She looked up, only
to be staring into Neal's green eyes.
    "Kel! WHAT IS THE DARK GOD'S NAME WERE YOU DOING UP THERE!!!"
    "I- I don't know."
    Neal looked at her for a second. "Well, you fell," he said, calming
down a bit. "Jump woke me when he saw you get up. Smart dog, that Jump.
Kel, I think you were sleepwalking!"
    Kel stood up. "How strange. I don't remember what I saw up there,
though I remember a face. And that's it..Oh Gods, it was terrifying!! I
fell from Balor's Needle!"
    Neal said, "We'd better get back to our rooms- we don't want
to get caught up here, they'll think-" he blushed. "Well, you know."
    Kel knew. It took all her Yamini strength to keep her face calm.
    As Neal walked her back, Kel's mind dwelled on the face she had
seen. Didn't it have something to do with the stolen magic?Could it have?
Or was she going nuts?
    Kel was so caught up in her thoughts, she didn't even notice Neal's
arm around her.

Hillmen! Oh, what a horrible thing to run into!
Alanna uttered a curse and drew her sword, Lightning. George took out some
daggers.
     Luckily, there weren't that many. Five- or was it six? Alanna
couldn't tell, and she sure didn't stop to count. She sliced one in the
chest as another knocked her off Darkmoon from behind. Darkmoon reared
and the hillman went down. George threw a dagger straight at another, and
he was a bother no more. Alanna finished off the last one and his mount.
She checked herself for broken bones. Only a few bumps and bruises, not
bad. I could have had them all down at once with a little knot magic, she
thought grumpily. George was OK too. They rode the rest of the way to Corus
in silence.

Later that morning..
    "Block! Strike!" Lord Wyldon yelled. "Again!" They were in the
practice courts using their swords, new pages using practice swords. Kel
was up against Owen of Jesslaw, a fourth-year page. Kel herself was a first
year squire, but she did not have a knight-master yet.
    Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw King
Jonathan approach the fence that held them in..with the Lioness! Kel was
so shocked she froze and got a blow to the head.
    "Kel! I'm sorry Kel!" Owen said, throwing his arms
around her and crying.
    "I'm OK, Owen," she said, gently pulling him off.
Oh, how embarrassing! Right in front of her hero!
     "Mindlean!" Wyldon called warningly. Kel muttered
an apology and got to her feet. She sneaked a glance toward where she had
seen the Lioness.
    She was gone.
LATER
Kel was in her room, looking at her history book of Tortall. It had
been updated after the Immortals War. In the back was the Royal Family
Tree, with Jon and Thayet’s kids at the bottom. It went on to show Jon,
his parents, his cousins...cousins! That face! Kel stifled a scream, but
it came out as a gasp. It wasn’t quiet enough for Alanna, who was
passing by, to hear. She peeked in and saw Kel sitting at her desk,
trembling. She hesitated to go in, though. She’d been forbidden to see
and talk with Kel ever since Alanna new she existed. Alanna sighed. Oh,
who cares, she thought. I can handle the King, after all I’m his
Champion. She proceeded in.
Kel heard the footsteps and turned around. When she saw who it was, she
seemed to freeze.
“Hello,” Alanna said to Kel.
Kel, remembering her manners, got up and bowed.
“No need for that,” Alanna said. “Now. What are you so terrified
about?”
Kel was still at loss for words, so Alanna moved to see what she’d been
looking at. “Oh, just the Conte family tree,” she remarked, looking it
over.
Kel, unfrozen, came up to stand next to her. “I was looking at THAT
one,” she said, pointing to Roger’s picture.
“Oh, Roger. Yes, I was the one who slayed him. Twice, actually. Well,
the second time-” she stopped in mid sentence. “Wait a second...” she
said, as her dream (nightmare?) came flooding back to her. It flashed
through her head at the speed of light. The balcony. The creature.
Roger! Falling!!.. It all came so fast, Alanna fainted. When Alanna came
to, she saw Kel standing over her looking worried.
Alanna stood. “Sorry. I just- well, uh. You see, I saw this, uh..
creature dragon thing in a dream and I couldn’t remember the face and-”
“It was HIS face!” Kel finished. “And then he tried to kill you?”
“Why, yes. How did you know?”
“I had the same dream! He took the magic, didn’t he? He threw me off
Balor’s Needle and Neal” -she blushed- “caught me!”
Alanna noticed Kel’s red face with amusement. The girl obviously had a
little crush on Neal! “Well, Kel. I think we should do something, but
what can we do?”
Just then, Alanna sneezed, and sneezed again. She always sneezed when
something powerful was near... A figure appeared in front of them. It
was the Great Mother Goddess!
“My Mother,” Alanna said. “We need help!”
“Ah, so you do, my daughters. I can help you out, but I can’t fix it
all for you.” She smiled at Kel, who looked stunned. “Never seen a
Goddess before, eh?”
Kel shook her head.
“OK, well getting back to the subject. I will see to it that Roger
appears in your dreams. He dare not defy me. You will figure out the
rest.” The Goddess started to fade.
“But, my Mother-” Alanna interjected.
The Great Mother Goddess shook her head and disappeared.
Alanna and Kel stood there in silence for a minute. Then Kel said, “Oh
Gods he’s coming back!”
“He is,” Alanna said. “And here’s what I think we should do.”

THAT NIGHT
Kel and Alanna were both asleep when they got up to meet Roger. Yet
they were alert as watchdogs. This time, Alanna’s dream led her to the
practice courts. She noticed Kel was already there, when the
Roger-creature materialized.
“I see you’re both still alive. Shame, shame.” he grinned. “Well at
least I can kill both of you at the same time.”
“At least,” Kel muttered sarcastically under her breath.
Roger lunged at Alanna. She quickly drew her sword, Lightning, which
she’d worn to bed. She blocked easily and went for Roger. Meanwhile, Kel
had her lance and her sword ready. She also attacked, scared. This was
her first combat and she wasn’t even a knight! Still, she kept her head.

Roger had his own sword and was using illusion magic, was extremely
hard for Alanna and Kel to follow, especially since she didn’t have her
magic to tell which was the real sword and which was the fake. Not to
mention the fact Roger was bigger then both of them.
“WAIT!” Alanna shouted, as a question came to mind.
Roger, to their surprise, stopped attacking. “What?” he said, snarling.

“Why didn’t you take the Sight?”
“I had a little problem in the spell,” he admitted. “Besides. The Sight
has a reverse effect, when you try to take it the people that possess
it, like your dimwitted husband, immediately See who is doing it.”
Alanna felt rage she had not before. How DARE he call George
dim-witted, he was one of the smartest people she knew! She raised her
sword to sink it into him, but Kel was too fast, she got him from
behind. Roger gasped with pain and surprise. Glowing blue blood came
flowing out of his back.
“Your - brother!” he gasped. “He - help me - get - the - magic!” Sweat
joined the blood. “He - always - was - loyal - to me! How - does - THAT
- make you -feel, Lioness?” Roger yelled best he could.
“My brother? Thom? Why?!” Alanna asked the large fallen body.
He would never answer.
Alanna felt a warm sensation in her body. What was that? Her magic? It
was back?
Alanna and Kel woke up.

Kel found herself on the ground in one of the practice arenas, covered
with bruises. Alanna was beside her, glowing purple.
“We did it,” Kel said slowly. “We did it!”
Alanna tried healing one of Kel’s cuts she’d gotten from the fight. It
worked! Her magic was back!
But then, Alanna sniffled. Kel looked at her. Fat tears were poring out
of Alanna’s eyes!!
Kel didn’t have to ask, Alanna was talking out loud. “My brother. Thom.
The greatest Mage there ever was, even better than Numair. How could he?
I thought he loved me,” she sobbed.
Kel pat Alanna’s shoulder, feeling uncomfortable. After awhile of
sniffling and sobbing without talking, Alanna’s tears subsided. Kel
offered her a worn out hankercheif she found in her pocket.
“Thanks,” she said, blowing her nose. “We’ve got a lot of explaining to
do,” she added. “We’d better get back, nurse our wounds, clean our
weapons, and be ready to tell the story many, many times. They’re going
to wonder how their magic came back after all.”
Kel agreed and stood. They started back to the main rooms area, when
Neal, Cleon, and Owen came running out.
“Kel! Oh, boy, you’re gonna be in trouble! You’re late for breakfast!”
Owen yelled. “Oh, yeah, Neal and everyone got their magic back! Guess it
was just a few-day thing!”
Then they seemed to notice she was tired and bloody. “Hey, Kel,” Owen
said. “Did you know you’re bleeding? Did you get in a fight? That musta
been jolly!”
“Yeah, Kel,” Cleon added. “Can I get you anything?” He slung his arm
around her. Owen, not to be beaten, rushed to hold onto Kel’s arm, and
Neal walked beside. “So, Kel...” he said.
Alanna slowed her steps to let Kel chat with her talkative friends. Kel
turned around and gave Alanna an ‘I’ll talk with you later’ look. Alanna
grinned. Kel, the only girl that was training to become a knight, would
be just fine. She would go on to become one of Tortall’s finest knights,
Alanna knew it. And as for me, she thought. I’d better pack to go home.
Home is where the heart is, after all.