The Spells of Slumber: Part Five
Several weeks had passed. The ship that would carry Mirinam and the sorceresses from Averna willing to follow her to Shenkuu was ready for departure. Jerdana had followed the King and Queen to the docks to say goodbye.
"So you're sailing to Shenkuu today?"
"The emperor of Shenkuu has been happy to give us refugee. Shenkuu has an ancient tradition of magic and wise men. I'm sure we'll feel at home there."
"I wish you the best, wherever you go, Mirinam," Jerdana said.
It wasn't a formal phrase. Despite their differences, Jerdana still held high respect for Mirinam, even now when their ways were parting.
"I wish the same to you Jerdana," Mirinam replied. "May your dreams and ambitions never betray you."
She said goodbye to King Altador and Monya and thanked them for giving them a place to stay after the destruction of Averna. Then she walked aboard the ship, still with the grace the leader of Averna used to have. She did not look back. Jerdana knew she would never see Mirinam again.
For the blue Aisha knew, there was no place for the two of them in Altador together. Mirinam had to go her own way, and try to preserve what was left of the ancient magic of Averna in the same way she, Jerdana, would try to give this magic to the world. This had been their conflict from the moment Jerdana left Averna and now they really had to go their own way.
And yet, Jerdana couldn't help herself but wondering. What would have happened to Averna if Mirinam and the other sorceresses had actually been willing to use their ancient magic? What if she had not been willing to use this magic herself? If she had not been able to stop the Darkest Faerie, what would have happened to Averna and it's inhabitants in that case? And to the city of Altador, or Neopia for that matter?
Jerdana shivered. Her bounds with the city were strong. The idea that the Sleeper would actually have been able to touch the city was chilling her, yet she knew she had to prepare herself for this. This time, she had won, but Jerdana knew how it would only be a matter of time before the Darkest Faerie would return. She had given the city ten years at most.
She noticed how Herme was standing by her side.
"Jerdana," he asked, "you said the spell you used was the Fourth Spell of Slumber. You told me there are five of them. What does the Fifth do?"
Jerdana looked at the city of Altador. From the docks, the city was showing itself in all its glory. She has given it a few years to recover, but Jerdana was fully aware that it was nothing more than that. This time, she had gone so far that she had used a spell no one had even been powerful or courageous enough to use it in hundreds of years. Would there be a chance she had to go even farther one day?
The Spell of Slumber were cast in chains: one starts with the first and will continue casting the second, and the third and forth until the sorceress reaches the limits of her strength. When she cast the Forth spell, Jerdana had proven she was the strongest, stronger even than Mirinam. Yet, with casting the fourth spell, she didn't feel like she had reached the limit of her strength...
"The Fifth spell? Believe me, Herme, let's hope you'll never find out."
There was a silence when Jerdana had finished her story. Then Rasala suddenly spoke:
"I hope you didn't make this all up, to teach me that lesson I need so badly according to some members of the Order of the Red Erisim."
The fireball she had send at Jerdana earlier on, had not hurt her, but Rasala saw how these words did. She regretted them at once.
Jerdana spoke with a calm, almost icy voice:
"If that is what you think, then we have nothing to say to each other again. Nor does it seem you or the Order need my membership anymore. You can go now."
Then Rasala didn't doubt the story any longer and bowed her head.
"I am truly sorry, lady Jerdana, for I would have loved to believe what you told me, but I had to be sure it was real. Now I see it is, and like I said, I am truly sorry for doubting it."
Rasala swallowed her pride took a deep breath.
"You should realise how the story about the magical island, whether it is called Averna or different, is a common one in Neopia and a story I always loved when I was still a young Bori. It's strange to hear how a legend suddenly becomes real. As for the Spells of Slumber, you know how some of the members of the Order use them as a joke when one of them dozes off during meetings. I never realised they could actually be any more than just a joke."
Jerdana's eyes flashed blue with magic.
"I told you I had my reasons for not attending any meetings of the Order anymore. I hope this explains my reasons. More than any other spell I even conjured, the Spells of Slumber are my spells. There are not be used lightly, nor as a joke."
"I will," the Aisha said, "for it is clear to me you have a sharp mind and are not planning on getting yourself fooled easily. Those are virtues I can appreciate."
"And I, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you told me about this. For now I see how once you were faced with the same questions I am facing now, to simply preserve magic and let thing be the way they were, or to change things around and actually try to use this powerful magic for the benefit of others, not to let it go to waste. I can only imagine the choices you made were not easy ones, Jerdana."
The Aisha sorceress shook her head.
"No, they were not, and right now, I have only told you a part of it. With the Spells of Slumber however, in the end, it was a matter of either using them, or leave Neopia at the mercy of the Darkest Faerie. I still cannot believe Mirinam never understood that. That she let Averna fall without putting up a fight. I knew she could have hold her own in that, even against the Darkest Faerie. For do not let this tale get you the wrong impression of Mirinam, she was once the most powerful sorceress of her time."
"I was searching for the Spellbook of Averna," Rasala said. "It was the book you saved from falling into the hands of the Darkest Faerie, right?"
"It was, yes. Mirinam took the book with her when she left for Shenkuu. From what I understood, a remaining group of the sorceresses of Averna excited there for hundreds of years. I don't know what happened with the spellbook during these years, but somehow it got lost. If it was somewhere in Neopia these days, I would have know it."
"That is a pity." Rasala looked disappointed.
"I would say so too," Jerdana nodded, "but in this way, the book will never fall into the wrong hands again."
The sun was setting when Rasala decided to leave Altador again. She had learned more from this visit than from all the other visits she had paid to members of the Order in the last few weeks together. There was only one question that was still on her mind. For Rasala was still curious about the ancient spells Jerdana had told her about.
"Did you end up using the Fifth Spell of Slumber?
Jerdana had gone up to the window again. The high tower was still her personal room. She looked out over Altador like she had done so many times before, in times of hope, or of utter despair. Like she had done on a night long ago, when the night seemed as dark as the darkness that was ahead of her, yet filled with stars of hope.
"What do you think?"
Rasala walked up to the window too, and saw the same thing Jerdana was seeing: the city of Altador, golden in the light of the setting sun, showing itself in all its glory.
She could imagine how Jerdana had been standing there, castings the spells that sealed the fate of Altador.
"Now I understand."
Jerdana beamed. "That is a good thing Rasala, for the history of Altador would have been all different it I had not cast the Spells of Slumber when need called for it. I am the Protector of the city and I will always be. Although we must always realise the more powerful the spells we use, the more they will affect ourselves too.
She walked to the door to let Rasala out.
"It was good talking to you, Jerdana," the later said. "You have given me much to think about."
"I hope so," Jerdana said, "and I hope that whenever you have to make the choice to use powerful magic for the good of all, your heart will be true. For now, I wish you the best, wherever you go. May your dreams and ambitions never betray you."
It was the same greeting Mirinam had once wished to her, so very long ago.
Jerdana watched how Rasala walked up to the gates of Altador, until she was sure the Bori would not look back. Then she went into her rooms again. There she used her magic to open a secret drawer. She took out the book that was hidden in it.
The book was old, but not as old as it could have been. For this was only a copy of the Spellbook of Averna, which survived and found its way throughout Neopia, through time and space, until it fell into the hands of Jerdana again. The books had its own kind of magic and it should be no surprise its tale was a magical one.
Carefully Jerdana held the book in her hands and opened it. Because of the magic hidden in it, it opened on the page where it had always opened for her, and where the original spellbook had opened for her as well. For this was Jerdana's destiny and how could she deny it?
She read the last part of the page, but she knew what it said without reading it:
The Fifth Spell of Slumber. This spell will place an area, land, city or island alike, into a slumber for over a thousand years.