The knife dipped into his flesh, a small pool of blood welling up along the surface of the smooth blade. He flinched. He couldn’t help that. As much as he had been cutting himself the last couple weeks he had not yet gotten used to that initial pinch and burn when the knife did its work. Richard was beginning to think he would never get used to it. And, perhaps that was for the best. Who would he have become if he no longer felt pain when he was cut?
He removed the blade and let two drops of blood fall from his finger to the paper below. The red splotches mostly soaked into the parchment but some excess ran in tiny rivulets along the words he had penned on the page before cutting himself. A tingle ran up his spine before he had even touched the age of the page to the waiting flame. A jittery excitement set his fingers to twitching and he very nearly dropped the sheet. Taking a calming breath, he carefully passed the page into the flame and then closed his eyes as the spell took hold.
He was attempting to restore some health. It was a simple enough spell that he had no doubts would work on someone else. The test here was if it would work on him. That was only part of it, though. He was hoping the spell would restore him to better health than he had been before he’d cut himself.
After months of tests and trials and success after success, Richard had discovered that he did not feel well. The power was great. The triumphs were great. His exhaustion, his weakness, his growing depression when not working spells were not great. He was hoping to use the same magic that was causing the problem to fix the problem.
It was foolish. He knew that. If the spell worked at all it was likely to only reverse the effects of the most recent injury, the one he had caused to cast the spell itself. But he had to know. He had to try.
The feeling of the magic swirled around him, making him feel giddy and light, as if he could jump and the air itself would hold him up. The pain vanished. The sadness in his mind was pushed aside. Everything was right with his world again.
But that feeling did not last. Sooner than he liked, Richard felt grounded again. Darkness crashed across his mind. The pain did not return to his finger. But the slice on his arm from a spell he had cast earlier in the day began throbbing again.
He tried to gauge the level of that pain. Was it less than it had been before he’d cast the most recent spell, the healing spell?
Richard sighed. If it was, it wasn’t discernible. The healing spell may have helped his finger pinprick but it hadn’t done enough to restore him to any sort of fuller, better, level of well-being.
Taking a seat, Richard put his head in his hands for a moment, trying to stave off the tiredness lurking in the darkness in his mind. He had come to a crossroads of sorts and he knew there was only one decision he could make here but making it was going to be extremely tough. He could not continue to live like this as much as it would pain him to give up the power he had found.
Sighing again, Richard looked up and took in the sputtering flame sitting on the table. The ashes of the spellwork scattered across the surface of the table. A drop of blood he hadn’t noticed was drying among the mess. He’d either missed the page with a drop before he’d finished the spell or it had fallen from his fingers while giving the paper to the fire.
When he felt strong enough, Richard stood up and headed outside. The fresh air and sunshine would do him some good, and then he’d need some food, and some rest, and then… Well, then he would have to decide what he was going to do next.