The question took me by surprise, but I mastered myself quickly. “Yeah, I would like to see.”

Carves-the-Foundation motioned for me to follow him and walked to the doorway. I got out of the chair and moved quickly. Down a hallway, past a few other Korodan standing watch, and into another chamber. In my sliver of light, I could only see a small way into the chamber. A few statues stood, inert, in the chamber. They lacked the spark of life I had seen in the other Korodan; simply vessels waiting to be filled.

From behind me, I heard a thump and a rumble. I turned my head and saw Carves-the-Foundation with a hand on the wall, making the rumbling noise. Suddenly, the whole chamber became a blinding spectacle, as crystals glowed from the walls and ceiling. When my eyes adjusted, I gasped in surprise.

I still could not see the end of the chamber. Not because it was lost in darkness, rather because it passed beyond the limits of my sight. The statues were lined up 30 abreast, and the rows went back seemingly forever. I noticed one of the statues in the front was missing.

“That is where your new body came from?” I asked, pointing to the empty spot.

“Yes. Sometime later I will build another statue there.”

The sheer number of statues boggled my mind. Why would they need so many? Why would they prepare such a number and store them in such a chamber?

A thought came to my mind and raced to my tongue. “Do you fear an attack?”

The stone figure stood for a moment. “I can see why you would think that. But, the truth is rather more plain: I like creating the statues.”

For some reason, that admission brought a smile to my face. The sheer joy of creation can be an intoxicating thing.

“You created all these?”

“Most of them.”

“Can any Korodan use them?”

“Yes. We can use almost any rock, but having a figure in the shape of a body speeds the process if we are prepared.”

“How does the body change? I noticed your face was the same as before.”

“Hmm. That’s harder to explain. Part of is is what we chose, but another part of it is based on our… our spirit, you could say. Our appearance mirrors some aspect of our spirit, but that appearance can change over time.”

“But, someone can always tell that it is the real ‘you’ in that body?”

“Usually. We have not had anyone get confused.”

We stood in the chamber for a while longer. I gazed at the statues. I tried a few spells, trying to figure out a way to count them all. But, even counting something as specific as mouths was too much for even my spell ability. After a while, I just let the awe of the place smother me.

The silence of the chamber was broken along with my reverie. “Dorua.” Carves-the-Foundation called to me, his voice dropping again to the low rumble that made me worried.

“What is it?”

“We should go back. Shakes-the-Walls says that the other wizard is calling for you.”

“Mhorik!” Worry pressed heavily upon my mind, and I followed Carves-the-Foundation back to the original room. As I got closer, I heard the hoarse whisper of my name, a pleading voice repeating it over and over.

I rushed through the door and over to the pile of furs where my master was laying. “I am here, Mhorik, I am here.”

His hand reached out and grasped mine. “Dorua.”

“Yes, I am here. Everything is fine.”

“No,” his voice cracked. “I can feel it.”

“Feel what?”

“The spell eating at me. I… I do not have long.” Mhorik’s eyes opened and fixed on me. He let go of my hand and groped at the wall until he found his staff.

“Take this,” he said, more dropping the staff than handing it to me.

“You are scaring me.”

“This staff has some of my power. Others will recognize it and will understand.”

Tears welled up in my eyes. “No, no, no….”

His hand, soft and cool, gently wiped away the tear from my cheek.

“You are a full wizard. I have known this, time for you to realize it.”

“No, I am weak, I am foolish, I still need you,” I pleaded, emotion cracking my voice. “Please.”

“…always made me proud,” Mhorik said, his voice trailing off to a whisper, then a rattle, then nothing.

And, then the person that shown me the mystery of magic, the man who had made me who I am today, left this world.


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