- #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
Author’s note: this week I was gifted a subscription to the premium Dragon AI, a much more powerful AI. I wonder whether you can tell the difference in quality?
“Odd that you cannot recall what it is you came here for,” Tyric says. “Unless it’s only that you’d rather I didn’t know?” She gestures to a tea service in the corner, which drifts over in front of her. She selects a cup of tea and the pot fills it, the tea still steaming hot. She sips it, watching you for your response.
“That’s not it at all,” you say.
She sighs, leaning forward and placing her tea on a coaster. “Out with it then, I haven’t got time for prevarication.”
“The city!” You blurt out. “I live near Numer, and go there to sell potions and similar. There is no law against witches but I was accosted by a local guard simply for travelling there.” This is not even close to why you’re here, but you hope it sounds plausible. “I thought, as a fellow magical practitioner, you might help me resolve the matter and put something into place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
Tyric smiles. “How sweet. You want me to scare the guards into submission with my magic so they leave you alone.” You open your mouth to object, but she holds up her hand. “I appreciate the flattery, but I don’t get involved in the politics of this city. If you want to make friends with the guards of Numer, then you need to do it yourself.”
You keep your mouth shut.
“So. Is that all?”
Panic bubbles up inside you. If Westen dismisses you, you won’t get a chance to search her quarters for the translation of the script on Kae’s wrists. You need to come up with a new reason to stay, or better yet, for Tyric to leave you here alone.
Tyric frowns. “You’re not a complete idiot, are you? I don’t know why you’d try to lie to a wizard, but it’s making me less inclined to help you.”
“I’m not lying!” You take a deep breath. “Everything about Numer is true. But you’re right that I’m not telling you the whole truth. I’d actually like help translating something. I’m a little embarassed I can’t do it myself.” You hope that the admission of embarassment will be enough to mollify her. You don’t see any good way to bring up Kae.
Tyric’s eyes light up with interest. “A translation. Of what, exactly? Show me the text.”
You hesitate. “I can’t,” you say. “I don’t have it with me. Perhaps you could help me identify the language though? With … uh … examples?” It sounds weak even as you say it.
“I’m not going to play your game,” Tyric says, rising to her feet. “If you want my help, you’ll have to come out with it.”
Kae wanted you to steal the information. He’d made it seem like Tyric would not be happy to hear of his involvement. But now, sitting in the actual tower of the kingdom’s court wizard, surrounded by magical artifacts more powerful than anything you’ve ever encountered, your attempts at subterfuge seem not only foolhardy but dangerous. Your desire to win Kae’s boon shouldn’t blind you to your own safety.
You decide to come clean. “I’m here on behalf of a client,” you say. “His wrists have a strange script on them, the side-effect of some other spell.” You shift uncomfortably where you sit, and stare at the ground. “You might be familiar with him.” Soot, your crow companion, preens your hair. You try to think that he, at least, is happy with your decision.
Tyric sets aside her tea with a clink, laughing. Her voice is high and cruel. “Oh, it wasn’t dear Kae who sent you, was it? I’d wondered how he’d managed to get the binding removed, even partially.” She shakes her head. “I wouldn’t concern yourself with him. He’s my familiar, you see. Better for everyone that he remains bound and in my power.”
You shift nervously. Is she trying to trick you? “I’m not sure I understand,” you say, after a moment. “How can a person be your familiar?” Your own familiar is Soot. And while you and Soot have a special bond, Soot is neither magically bound to you nor humanoid. You didn’t even know such a thing was possible.
“Kae isn’t a person,” Tyric says. There’s a glint in her eyes that scares you. “He’s a fey. Did he not mention that? No, of course not. He would never dare risk my wrath by admitting to it.”
You don’t like anything about what she just said. As uncomfortable a position as Kae has put you in (more than once), he is as clearly a person as you are. An arrogant, annoying person. More, you had worked out for yourself that he was fey, if only from the frightening amount of power he emanated. If Kae was so powerful, and Tyric had bound him against his will … how powerful was Tyric? You were so clearly in over your head here.
“So what does it mean, then?” you ask. “The script around his wrists?” Perhaps you can still get the information and get out of here. Tyric is terrifying, but more forthcoming than you’d originally thought she’d be. And maybe, if you knew more, you might be able to help Kae escape from her.
“Oh, it’s a binding incantation,” Tyric says. “It doesn’t literally bind someone, of course, but it does make it impossible for them to break your commands. And I can ensure that they follow through on their promises.”
Your mind races as you consider what this means. If she can force Kae to do anything she wants, then every power he has, she has. It sounds like a horrible existence to you. For perhaps the first time since you met him, you feel genuine sympathy for Kae. You also feel a mixture of disgust and fear of Tyric, something you work hard to keep hidden.
“And the language it’s written in is …?” you ask. If you can get out of here with enough information, perhaps you can help Kae break his bonds. And it seems there is nothing for it but to lay all your cards on the table in front of Tyric now. She will expect no less.
“Imbriol,” Tyric says. “It’s an old language, and a powerful one. In the right hands it can unlock secrets most people have never dreamed of.” She doesn’t seem upset that you had asked, or that you’re still prodding for more information.
You stand up. Soot grumbles and shuffles on your shoulder at being disturbed. “Well, this has been fascinating but it’s more than I want to be involved with. If you don’t mind, I’ll be on my way.”
Tyric stands up. “Oh,” she says. “But I’m not done with you yet.” She snaps her fingers. The sound seems very loud in the quiet room, and you jump. Then you feel a shock go through your body. Your muscles clench and contract and you fall to the ground into a fetal position as pain shoots through every nerve ending. “Didn’t I say?” Tyric asks, standing over you. “I can’t have you blabbing our secrets to anyone.”
A moment passes, and the pain begins to fade. You try to speak, but can only grope for the words. “Now, now,” Tyric says. “Don’t worry. It’ll wear off by the time you get back home. Probably. Provided you listen to me, of course.” She crouches down next to you and looks into your eyes. “Now, you’re going to forget everything that happened here. When you wake up, you’ll be at your home. You probably won’t remember most of what happened in the last few days, but that’s fine. You’ll get it back with time.”
You try again to speak, to ask what she has done to you. Though the pain is gone, your thoughts are increasingly fuzzy. Your limbs are heavy and you cannot move.
Soot caws loudly in distress and flies at Tyric’s face. She snaps her fingers again and he hit the floor next to you, still and unmoving. Terror and rage both mix inside of you, but you cannot make a sound. “Now,” she says. “Before I send you home: tell me everything about how you and Kae met. Everything he said to you. And please be aware,” she smiles. “You cannot lie to me.”
Suddenly, you are able to speak. Your mind blurs the details even as it happens, but you must tell her everything. The last thing you remember is of her clasping her hand to yours and of a livid red script circling your wrist. Then everything fades to black.
When you wake up, you are in your bed. You have no memory of what happened. You have the vaguest sense that there is something written on your wrist, but when you study it, there is nothing there.
“Soot?” you call. Soot flies to you from his perch and lands on your shoulder. He preens your hair and makes distressed sounds, almost frantic with concern.
“I’m fine,” you say, stroking his feathers in an attempt to soothe him. “I just … had strange dreams, I guess.”
You begin to go about your usual routine. Everything feels normal enough, though you struggle with the simple spells that make daily life easier.
There is a knock at your door. You don’t know why, but it fills you with dread. When you open it, it is to a young man in expensive-looking robes. He looks harried, and pushes in without an invitation.
“So she got you, too?” he says.