- #1 Co-Writing with AI Dungeon: Lore and the Bound Fey
- #2 Co-Writing With AI Dungeon: Lore and the Trip to Market
- #3 Co-Writing With AI Dungeon: Lore and the Great Palace
- #4 Co-Writing with AI Dungeon: Lore and the Lady with White Eyes
- #5 Co-Writing with AI Dungeon: Lore and the Wizard’s Familiar
- #6 Co-Writing with AI Dungeon: Lore and the Palace Crypt
- #7 Co-Writing with AI Dungeon: Lore and the Restrained Demon
You bite your tongue. You don’t get the sense that arguing with Kae is going to land you anywhere good. Maybe, if you see where this is going, you’ll be able to find a way out of it. You decide to play along for now. “So what exactly is the problem?” You study the tattoos as best as you can without touching Kae. “I can’t read that script, if that’s what you’re looking for.”
“Ah, you see, that’s the problem,” Kae says. His mouth shifts to one side. “I can’t read it either. It’s in some sort of human language, I suppose.”
“Not one I know,” you say. “I’m not sure what help you want from me, since I can’t read it.”
Kae rolls his eyes like you’re being dull. “I want you to go to the wizard that cursed me in the first place and find out. Without letting on that it’s me who sent you, of course.”
“Wait, why would I–” you begin, but Kae holds up a hand to interrupt you.
“Let me finish,” he says in a low voice. “The wizard’s name is Tyric Westen. She’s court wizard to Regent Allaruna, and an absolute bore, but a clever one. You’ll have to get permission to see her, or whatever it is humans do to visit their betters.”
“I’m a witch,” you say, your frustration leaking into your voice. “I find it difficult enough just to get permission to sell my wares in town!” You gesture around you at the now closing market, illustrating your point.
Kae sighs. “Yes, isn’t your life awful,” he says, voice dripping with sarcasm. “Oh woe is you, who has never been cursed by the most powerful wizard in the land. Truly, you are suffering. Look,” he turns serious “all you have to do is get into the palace and … I don’t know, read her diary. Check her notes. Something like that.”
“And what would I get in return?” you ask. “I don’t want more gold. Not for risking my life.”
“Oh, gold.” He waves a dismissive hand. “I’ll grant you a boon.”
This gives you pause.”Anything I ask?” you say.
This changes things. You have already gotten a gauge of Kae’s immense powers. There’s a lot you could do with a favour from someone like that. “I’ll do it,” you say. You have the horrible feeling you’re going to regret this, but you didn’t become a witch without taking risks.
“Good,” Kae says, his face twisting with a mixture of distaste and delight. “Oh, and be quick about it. I want to be free of this curse by nightfall tomorrow.”
“Nightfall!” You repeat in shock, but Kae only raises his eyebrows. You decide to let it go. You didn’t technically agree to that, and you’d rather not argue yourself into making it official.
Kae picks up one of the potions of Sweetbreath he was so derisive of, pockets it, and vanishes into the evening crowds.
“Needs a potion of Sweettemper, more like,” you mutter, but you let it pass. You pack up your stall and finish your business in the city as quickly as you can. You order new boots and arrange for a thatcher to visit your cottage in the week. Then you and Soot return home as quickly as you can, your mind racing. Getting to the palace within a day will be impossible on foot, or even by horseback. You’ll need something special.
The next morning you walk a little ways out into the swamp. There you find a clearing, just the right size for horse and carriage. Soot takes off from your shoulder and circles it, cawing. You smile a little to see his excitement. He must suspect what’s coming.
You take out a pouch of chicken feed and scatter it in a vague circle around the clearing. Then you stand at the edge and begin the spell of summoning. Soot pecks idly at the feed while you begin the incantation. In a few moments, you feel the aura of the great palace over the swamp. The weeds around you begin to bend and break, pulling towards the palace and the spell you’re casting. Your gaze moves upward. You briefly see a shining image of the palace, distant and shining with its white stone and silver spires, pennants rippling in the breeze.
Then the image shifts and blurs. The stone curls, becoming long and elegant. The pennants become shining silver claws, and proud horns. The stone brick becomes scales. And the windows become dark, void-like eyes. You realise you are looking at the spirit of the palace itself, a far grander spirit than any you’ve called on before, and for a moment, you’re terrified.
“Great Palace,” you say, clenching your fists at your sides. They fizz with energy as you hold onto the spell. “I humbly request passage to your doors.”
The spirit’s energy begins to swirl around you. Your body tingles as wave after wave of it passes over you, warm and strange, like charged breath.
Then, a voice. “What business do you have there, little one?” the voice says, though its not like the voice of a human. It’s deeper, harsher, more like that of a beast.
In spite of the fear of facing so great a spirit, you are relieved by its politeness. If it was an angry spirit, you might have put yourself in danger. You decide that the best course of action is honesty, as spirits can sometimes sense lies, but you want to appeal to the spirit’s natural approval of wisdom and its pursuit. “I need to see the court wizard,” you say. “I’m trying to translate a mysterious script, and do not have the means myself.”
The spirit pauses, taking this in. “That is a noble cause. But would not a horse carry you here more easily? I am not a beast of burden. There is more to this.”
“I am … somewhat on a time limit,” you say hesitantly.
You sense the spirit’s regard sharpening, an uncomfortable prickling. The spell in your hands continues to fizz, and you are beginning to feel the strain of it.
You drop to your knees. “Please,” you say.
You hear a low growl, like that of a bear. You hope it signals thoughtfulness, and not anger. The voids of the spirits eyes seem to grow larger, and the uncomfortable prickling grows sharper.
Your crow companion, Soot, cackles and swoops up to the spirit. The force of the spell pulls at his feathers, but he has no trouble holding himself aloft.
“What is this?” the spirit says, the growling stopping. The prickling eases as it moves its attention to your pet.