It was done.
He vanquished the monster, saved the day, and thus the once greatest of sorcerers turned into a simple novice again.
Lightshadow turned into Darkshadow again and quickly disappeared into the dark chambers that led further into the dungeon, Roderick lamented that the giant foe died too early and without any heroic killing blow, and Clary was trying to sway her god to her favour.
But Magizor paid attention to none of this, as the victory he secured only magnified his humiliating defeat. But he expected that he wouldn’t have to carry such burden for long, for he said to his former compatriots:
“Get on with it you insignificant worms, your deepest desires have been fulfilled, here I stand now utterly powerless and without magic, strike me down where I stand and reap the glory my death shall bring to you.”
Magizor was used to having his magic as his only and last line of defence, the only thing he could trust, and the only thing that kept others from killing him at the first opportunity, that’s why the very obvious answer came as such a shock.
“But why?” asked Clary dumbfounded.
“I am of no use to you, I am just a loose end to cut so that you may have this ruin’s treasure for yourself, I will not revel in self-pity and grovel and beg for my life, let me at least have this last ounce of dignity you insolent curs.”
But Clary was having none of this.
“So you depleted your spells, that isn’t really such an obstacle for a wizard is it? Don’t you just have to spend some time to gain them again?”
“Even though your clarity is overwhelming in comparison to others lady Clary, you are still but the king of the blind; you do not understand. The magic teachings have changed over the years, the system has changed and I am left with nothing: No powers, no old spells to learn, no knowledge, thousands of years of dilligent study all gone to waste. I used to rule the world and now I am no better than the lowest of peasants. The greatest of frauds, a wizard without magic.”
Magizor was defeated, his once fierce and commanding demeanour now riddled with despair and defeatism, it was a sad sight to behold, and one Clary tried to redeem.
“You have merely lost your power, but not your connection to magic, there is a vast difference between the two.”
Clary said and Magizor immediately responded with sharp vitriol.
“How truly exhilarating that I am able to do parlor tricks now, I am not certain how that will help me against my former enemies.”
“If you’ve learnt magic once, you can surely do it again. You would have to throw your pride away and start from the beginning, but the greatest wizard who has ever lived shouldn’t be broken by such a trivial nuisance. And as for the assassins…we shall protect you until you are strong enough to face them yourselves.”
Laden with utmost cynicism, Magizor was doubtful of this entire thing, seeing this as some trick to make him admit his defeat, to humiliate him further, but before he could say something, Roderick, who finished his speech about how disappointing and uneventful the fight was, joined into the conversation.
“Ah my friend Magizor, Thy cunning ruse was truly one to behold. So terrified the spider was of thy voice and of my sword, that it listened to thy suggestion to die. After this quarrel I am convinced that us four make a truly-quest worthy quartet.”
Roderick’s usual deluded rambling was how Magizor wanted to describe this, but while he still couldn’t believe that the help of these worms could be of any help to his troubled state, it was still unusual for him to be the object of unforced trust.
And then came Darkshadow, who suddenly emerged from the shadows.
“You think you have it bad? Try sharing your body with a self-destructive maniac who usurps your mind every time you drop the only things that keep him away. You’re down on your luck, we get it, but so is everyone else here. We’re here to find our quest and we were meant to do it together, I don’t like it, but it’s how it is. So you can stay here and cry about things being hard, or you can get your stuff together and start doing something.”
Unexpected words from Darkshadow, as he was usually the brooding and complaining type, but perhaps his fractured mind had something to do with that. Silence befell the heroes until it was broken by a very angry Roderick who just realized something.
“Wait! You thou control of Lightshadow’s body again thee fiend, let me strike you down with holy vigour so that I may rescue him from your clutches.”
But Darkshadow quickly interfered.
“As scarred and painful as it is, this form is my true one and Lightshadow is the imposter. The daggers are enchanted by dark powers that take a very heavy toll on my broken soul and body, but they allow me to remain myself. That lying maniac is a curse I was bestowed with to take away my composure and senses. A trap that was designed to make me become what I most hate and watch it ruin everything I am.”
Roderick quickly nodded with sudden understanding.
“My friend Darkshadow, I have been tricked by that woeful liar, but now I see how wrong I was, welcome among us.”
As Roderick was making this brilliant deduction, Magizor was pondering over Darkshadow’s words. He was ready to ignore them, as nothing of importance ever came out of his bile-filled mouth, but there was some truth in what he was saying, and Magizor, while sometimes delusional, was not unintelligent.
Trust was a phenomenon he was not accustomed to and nor was friendship. For him, others were always trying to find a way to use him and he returned in kind. But this was not that.
His mind was still too stubborn and egocentric to acknowledge that the world was perhaps not how he had perceived it to be, but the words of his comrades put him on the right path.
“I was blind! No matter how simple-minded all of you are, your advices do contain a larger truth that I was too proud to see. I managed to learn the intricacies of spell-weaving once, how could learning it a second time be an obstacle to the greatest wizard who has ever lived. It will be difficult indeed, and I will require your cooperation for some time if I am to survive, but I consider your skills to be adequate and I promise that I shall return the favour in kind once I gain back my powers.”
Roderick paid no attention to the wizard’s heart-wrenching speech, Clary smiled once it was said, but she had her own problems considering her deity’s silence. Only Darkshadow listened thoroughly without showing any emotion. Once the speech was complete, he simply nodded and said:
“Good.” And with this word he reached for something under his jacket and threw it at Magizor.
It was an ancient grimoire, one that still held powers of the old world.
“I found this a bit ahead, I could have given it to you before and all could have been solved, but you wouldn’t have felt the pain of loss, and you wouldn’t have learnt from that pain. Do with it what you will, but realize what makes you…you; a comfort I do not have.”
Magizor looked at the book and quickly began searching what secrets it held. He was ready to tap into the book’s powers and to regain some of his former glory, but then he instinctively stopped. He heard Darkshadows’s words before he began reading, but only now did he stop to listen, and he understood what the rogue meant.
And suddenly, he felt a great intense hatred toward the book, and with all the fury mustered over the years of his magical degradation he lit it aflame with his basic novice powers.
Clary, who watched this entire ordeal with curious interest, as she assumed the book could have solved her problems as well, suddenly shrieked with horror.
“What are you doing?! This could have returned us all our powers, maybe it could even cure Darkshadow of his split personality.
But Darkshadow for once was smiling, because while this loss of potential brought great pain, all of them would come out of this stronger in the end.
He didn’t speak though, Magizor did:
“This grimoire would only bring despair and ruin. I will not be dependent on some item to regain a semblance of power. Were I to succumb to this, I would be nothing more than an addict who cannot find his own solution to problems. I am the greatest wizard who ever lived, and I will forge my own new destiny myself, and with you by my side minions. We may all start from nothing now, but soon we shall become a force to be reckoned with again. So let’s not waste more of my precious time, and let’s find our quest before you short-lived races die of old age or stupidity.”
“Good” said Darkshadow sombrely again, and the heroes departed into the unknown once again.