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Series are multiple stories that go together; the order they are listed in on the tables of contents and directory pages are their chronological orders within the universe, not the order they were written or posted in. A tilde (~) denotes an original fiction series, while an abbreviation such as HP denotes a fanfiction series.


This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series ~ Lashacrimos

TITLE: Deader
CHAPTER: 1 – Oneshot
AUTHOR: Lythande ( setosgirl0 / neferseti0 / Ankh Ascendant )
DATE: 3-12-11
COPYRIGHT: I do own Lashacrimos Aeonarada Detrititus, Eltanin, the Magi, and this world. Not to be used without my written consent.
TYPE: drama
OC WORLD: Lashacrimos
BETA: none
WORDS: 3515
SUMMARY: The magus Lashacrimos wakes to find his magic gone, and a talking cat on his chest…
NOTES: Enter Eltanin.

* * *


I am… am…




Black eyes open only slowly. The voice in his mind seems to be coming from a great distance, or through a thick barrier, but it is enough to finally rouse him.


He is confused. The sky is the clear light blue of early afternoon, though the sun is hidden in the boughs of the tree he slept beneath. He lay down to sleep not long after nightfall; how could he, who naturally wakes at dawn, have slept until afternoon?


A heavy, solid weight lands on his chest, and he coughs in pained surprise. It is an animal – he has the impression of a brindled auburn cat, but the face that looks at him with large golden eyes is longer and pointed, and its front paws are like hands that grip his shirt.




He stares blankly at the animal, but the title rouses his mind like his name roused him from sleep. He slowly becomes aware that is mind is sluggish and dull, the thoughts themselves struggling through the same thick resistance that the voice calling him has to fight through.


I am… Lashacrimos. Awake.


The cat’s eyes watch him unblinking as he tries to order his thoughts. They are intelligent, those eyes. Intelligent and waiting… for a response? Is the animal the one calling him? Its hands reach out to touch his collar as though to confirm it, clawed fingers tracing the blue-white sapphire shaped like the many-pointed star of his Order. Aeonarada, that gemstone declares him. Magus. The most magically powerful breed of human, far beyond mere mortal.


And the touch reminds him of his other title, and drives the cobwebs further back in his mind.


I am Lashacrimos Aeonarada Detrititus.


He tries to sit up, holding the animal to his chest so that it won’t claw him. His supporting arm gives out with unexpected weakness and spills him onto his side, and he lies there a moment, panting.


I am in trouble.


The cat butts his chin with a bony forehead, then slides out of his grasp and sits in front of him, a pair of tails lashing arrhythmically in the air behind it and large ears directed at him.


~Magic,~ it tells him in that faint voice, staring into his eyes to make sure he is listening. ~Drained.~


His eyes go automatically to the sky, though he was just looking at it. The sun is still past its zenith; this late in the day, having been bathed in its light since dawn, his magic should be almost at its peak.


Perhaps it is. That thought is frightening; he is too weak to stand and the cat has to fight to make itself heard in his mind, and perhaps that is as strong as he is going to get today. Perhaps the only reason he was able to wake at all was because his magic has peaked.


His sluggish mind casts around him for a source of the terrible effect, but he can feel nothing. That’s only to be expected – those senses are magical in nature, and it is only a reflex that he searches that way. He can barely feel the presence of the intelligence within the cat directly before him, and if there is another living creature within his range he is mentally blind to it.


He grips the tree at his side and uses it to pull himself to his feet. His head spins for a moment, but it settles and he eventually feels steady. When the cat leaps onto his shoulder, though, his knees buckle under the weight.


“Too heavy.” He shoves it in the rump until it jumps back down to the ground and gives him an affronted look. He is able to stand again, though, and that is worth the animal’s disdain.


Standing is a minor victory, but it only throws into sharp relief just how much trouble he’s in. The magic that enhances every part of his being, from his strength, speed, and reflexes to his mental acuity and every form of perception, has been siphoned off, even if it has not yet entirely deserted him. It will, he is sure; it is only a matter of time. And then what? He can already feel his heart straining under weakness he has not experienced in almost a hundred years, and his breaths feel thick and useless. When his magic deserts him, he has a feeling he is going to die.


Instinctively, he reaches into his coat for the food and drink he keeps in a pocket, to fuel his magic when light is lacking, and is thwarted. The pockets in his coat are operated only by magic, and they don’t recognize his signature so weakened – they don’t open to him. In disgust he shrugs the silky material off, and it pools under the tree with a solid thud. Losing the weight makes standing easier, though he will have to come back for it once he regains his magic… assuming he does.


~Finished…?~ the cat demands, pacing silently around him.


“Patience.” There is a knife that is luckily not stored in any of the coat’s myriad pockets, and he pulls it from its sheath in the small of his back. Its silver blade slides across the palm of one unscarred hand without any sign of pain on his face; it’s familiar and almost comforting sensation.


He can feel the cat’s eyes on him in close interest, but he replaces the knife without explanation. More of the blood runs down his arm and spatters his coat and the grass than he would like to lose before he gets control of it, but his remaining magic does eventually respond to his will and form the blade he wants. It slices easily through a stout tree limb. He can’t pull the blood back to him, so he lets its fall to the ground and stain the base of the tree, willing the cut closed behind it. That, too, takes longer than he appreciates.


~Nossfer magic.~


“Vampire magic,” he agrees, turning toward the road. The branch is slightly longer than he is tall, and makes a good stout walking staff that supports a lot of his weight for him; he peels the smaller twigs and leaves off of it as he walks. “It isn’t important.”


Either the cat agrees or it doesn’t wish to waste whatever magic it has left to answer him, because it follows in silence.


“The town I passed through yesterday,” he says as he finds the road again. “That was where it happened, wasn’t it?”


Without a word, the cat trots up ahead of him and looks back over its shoulder, giving a very human nod. He wonders for the first time if it is a natural cat. Maybe he has run across a skin-shifter who was trapped in the strange cat form when his magic was drained.


“Are you human?” he asks, as his eyes scan the road ahead and the trees to either side for lurking dangers. He barely catches the disdainful look the animal gives him.


~Hardly.~ Its gaze dismisses him and turns back to the road. ~Demicat.~


Demicat. He has heard of them in passing, but never seen one: sentient cats with some magic of their own. They were supposed to have a village of their own somewhere far to the north, past even his own northern homeland, and they rarely left, as far as he has ever heard. What a demicat is doing wandering so far south he has no idea, and he regrets that they can’t waste the ‘cat’s remaining magic on trivialities. His interest is definitely piqued.


“My apologies.”


A flirt of its tails forgives him for the insult, and they resume walking in silence. The warm sun behind him feels good on the dark cloth of his shirt and the bare skin of his arms, but he can’t feel it recharging his magic as he is accustomed to. The sensation is unnatural; it adds to his heightened nerves, just as his dulled senses set him on edge.


The small town is not a very long walk away, though it would have been a much shorter walk if he had the speed he is accustomed to. The ‘cat takes a guard position, circling around them and back to him constantly, emphasizing how slow he has become, but he doesn’t let that bother him; instead he asks a question every time his companion circles back to him again, figuring that one question every ten minutes or so won’t be too much of a strain.


“What is your name?” he asks at the first pass as they settle into walking.




And on the second: “Did they drain your magic as well?”




On the next: “How long ago was it?”


~Nearly a month.~


That is reassuring, if not encouraging. Obviously the ‘cat would have tried moving on to get past the effect, if it were possible; he has to assume it isn’t. At least now he knows that his magic isn’t likely to desert him entirely and leave him for dead, however.


On the next pass, the ‘cat speaks to him instead. ~You’re shit at mental magic, aren’t you?~


He can’t help a small smile with an edge of chagrin. “That is true. Normally better than this, though.”


~It’s hard to get through to you. You need to practice your receptivity more.~


“I’ll keep that in mind.”


He breaks the silence on the next pass again. “What are you doing traveling here?”


~Keep your mind on important matters. Like drained magic.~


Evidently he shouldn’t pry; he leaves the matter alone, sufficiently rebuked, and they walk in silence instead.


The blue sky above has rouged with dusk before they come upon the town again, and as they approach he finds that the worst has happened. Apart from the ‘cat touching his mind with its own magic, he can see the people staring openly at him but can feel none of them with that extra sense.


I am a deader.


It is not the tragedy or shock to the mind that it would be to most; it is not the first time he has experienced the mental deaf-and-blindness. More than a century before he had been born this way, with the invisible disability that separated him from his peers, and had lived the first twenty years of his life that way – it was only thanks to the magic of the Order that he gained the sense at all.


After so long, however, it is an unpleasant surprise. He knows that the people are watching him because they, in return, can’t feel him. A deader, so named because they presented a dead spot to the mental perceptions of normal people, or because they were as detectable as a dead person, depending on who was asked, is always an unsettling and uncommon visitor. Yet here he is, despite the symbol on his neck that declares him to be so powerful. Maybe they even remember him from yesterday, though he made no effort to draw attention to himself. He looks resolutely ahead and affects not to notice the attention he is drawing now.


“Did you visit the tavern?” he asks the ‘cat in an undertone. That was the only place he stopped for long, and moved on when he found no work or welcome there. It would be a good place to ambush traveling magicians, he admits to himself, and easy enough not to be noticed.


~Yes.~ Eltanin glances back at him. ~You?~


He nods. “We’re going back.”


People in the streets step aside for him. That is a treatment he is used to, though he prefers it to be for the sake of his striking looks or his obvious power, and not because he has none. He accepts it, however; he believes he can feel his remaining magic waning in the dimness, and though it might be his imagination he doesn’t wish to take that chance.


It is even dimmer inside the tavern, lit only by a the fireplace and a few candles. His eyes take longer than he his is accustomed to for them to adjust, and the first thing he sees clearly is movement as Eltanin jumps onto the bar.


“Back again, cat?” The bearded man wiping the bar shoves Eltanin out of his way. “Haven’t you given up yet?”


The ‘cat digs claws into the polished wood and bristles with an audible hiss – the first sound he has heard it make, he notices. ~Kill him, Lashacrimos.~


“I don’t think that will do much good.” He steps up to the bar, realizing he has been unnoticed until that point. The barman looks up at him quickly and either his words or the thump of his staff on the wooden floor draws the attention of the few patrons scattered around the dark room. The startled expressions are gratifying; he hasn’t lost his touch, even if he’s lost his magic.


“Ah.” The barman regains his composure quickly, and offers a condescending smirk; the firelight glints in his eyes and makes him look less human. “Magus. Didn’t expect to see you back here.”


“I bet you didn’t.” He holds himself up with his staff and faces him. “I take it you are the one who has taken our power.”


“I told you we don’t like magic ’round here.” He belligerently wipes a glass, refusing to pause for the conversation. “You shoulda moved on.” Eltanin hisses at him, ears laid back, and he barely glances at it. “You and the cat witch both.”


A murmur of agreement comes from their audience. Lashacrimos let his eyes take them in, counting their number and gauging their threat. Less than ten, all with the meaty builds of farmers, all at least thirty. He could take them.


“So this was not your doing alone then. Better for me. What do you want for the antidote?” It became evident that they had been poisoned, now. If it would wear off with neither time nor distance, and the town would not tolerate another magician among them to cast the spell, it leaves only so many options.


“You won’t be getting it.” That tells him that there is an antidote to be had much better than asking the question would have, though he hadn’t expected a different answer. Their poisoner dismisses them and turns his attention back to his unnecessary washing up. “Get on, git out. Don’t serve deaders here.” He grins maliciously, watching from the corner of his eye.


Lashacrimos’s staff fluidly swings over the top of the bar and smashes into the joint of his shoulder and neck. The man staggers back with a bellow of pain, the glass crashing from his nerveless fingers. Eltanin takes the opportunity to leap onto his back with a hissing yowl that needs no explanation, and in the moment it takes him to get around to the back of the bar the ‘cat has drawn its own cries of pain from him.


He puts the staff between the fumbling feet and trips him easily, letting him fall back onto the broken glass. Eltanin takes a spot on the bar again, looking down at him with a predator’s gaze.


The flat bottom of the staff rests in the center of the man’s chest, and he leans on it, letting his weight do the work to hold him down.


“I said it was better for me,” he explains, looking down at him, “because if you do not tell me where it is I will kill you and move on to the next person involved in your scheme. If, in the end, I have killed you all and learned nothing, I will come back here and turn your bar inside out searching, but I don’t want to go to that much effort if I don’t have to. I suggest you tell the ‘cat where to look.”


The man sputters, red-faced from pain and need for air, and he eases the pressure to let him breathe out his answer. For his generosity he receives a string of swear words that only cuts off as he leans on the staff again.


“That isn’t what I asked for.”




He glances back and swings the staff in an easy arc that intercepts both of the patrons who thought they would interfere in the process. When he was a deader the first time, he was also a warrior, and although he has turned to the path of magic some skills are forever ingrained into his muscles’ memory. The men go down without a second blow; one crawls backward, and the other lies unmoving.


He glances over the other men watching, but they either freeze to their seats or bolt from the room, and he lets them go.


“Try again,” he invites, looking back down at the barman now beneath his foot, and sets the staff lightly at the base of his throat. “Last chance.”


The man looks up defiantly and struggles to move his leg off of his chest. When he begins to put pressure on the staff, though, he chokes and gives in, holding up the one hand he can move and pointing frantically toward the back room.


~Checking,~ Eltanin’s muffled mental voice tells him, and it bolts back that way. ~Keep him, in case.~


“Be quick.” He plants the staff in the floor and leans heavily on it, watching his prisoner’s face regain a normal color. “If he doesn’t find it, I’ll make it quick for you,” he promises. “I don’t have time to draw it out.”


“It’s there.” He coughs the words out and glares up darkly; the firelight can no longer reach his eyes, and the effect is somehow more human, but worse. “Dirty magicians…”


“There are reasons for the tales that tell you to be wary of a mage’s bad side,” he says calmly, and selects a bottle of whiskey from behind a bar, sniffing it before he takes a drink. It isn’t very good, which is what he remembers most about this place from last night, and he dumps it over the top of the bar.


~I have it!~


“Good.” He takes his foot from the man’s chest and lets his staff slide through the remaining bottles as he heads into the next room, saving only one from the destruction for himself.


Eltanin is drinking from the tap on a small cask eagerly. ~He must accidentally poison people often to have so much antidote… Maybe it’s in all the drink.~


“Maybe it is. Learn to share.” He nudges the ‘cat out of the way and places a cup beneath the flowing tap. As it’s filled he lifts it to his lips and drinks deeply. There is an immediate change in the quality of his thoughts and he no longer feels his weight so acutely. ~This is much better.~


~So is your receptivity.~ The ‘cat’s voice is much clearer. ~Fill that flask, let’s take it.~


That is a good idea, and he doesn’t argue, though he finishes his cup first. “Ready to go?”


With a last gulp, the ‘cat closes the tap with nimble fingers and nods, sitting back. Its form grows as he stands and watches; in a moment he is not facing a demicat but an apparent human with long blonde hair and a pointed face; the brindled tails and ears stayed the same. A long dress of a similar pattern hugs her gently curving form softly.


“You’re a female?” He knows it’s foolish as he says it, but he’s been taken by surprise, and he feels rather foolish. That isn’t easy to do.


She gives him a cool glare with her golden eyes and lithely gains her feet. “Let’s kill him now.”


“It isn’t worth it.” He regards her again as he hooks the flask to his belt, and noticed the blue-white sapphire resting on her breast, attached to a fine chain. The pendant strikes him dumb for a moment. Is it more a surprise to see a female Magus, or one who is not even human?


“Eltanin Aeonarada,” she says, passing him with a flick of her tails.


He follows her from the room and sees her crouching over the still winded barman. “Leave him, Eltanin,” he repeats, heading for the door.


She gives the man a long, cold look, but finally stands and leaves him lying there.


Lashacrimos lets the drink run from the bottle he took, along the floor, and finally throws it into the fireplace as he passes. There is a cry of surprise from the few remaining patrons as the bottle disintegrates in a small explosion and the flames leap out, hungry to consume the alcohol spilled for it, but he doesn’t look back.


The heavy ‘cat jumps lightly onto his shoulder as he passes through the outer door, letting in air to feed the fire already licking at the walls, and he offers her another drink from the flask as he faces the road again to retrieve his coat.



Series NavigationAeonarada

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