March 7th, im back Despite Jazer’s multiple requests, he wasn’t supplied with more than a couple of old research journals. Jazer wanted to study up a bit more, possibly learn a thing or two about Octavius. The Homunculus had become something of a mystery. Jazer couldn’t quite figure out what was going on, but he was sure the spell that had brought the creature to life had somehow changed and now was something very much different. If Jazer could get a few texts on the matter, he was sure he could find the reasoning behind it. Unfortunately, Malius was not as kind as Derek had been. Jazer wasn’t supplied with anything besides food and a shelter. Gifford had told him that eventually once, Jazer’s debt had been paid that the young elf would start to make money, with that gold he could pay one of the others to go out to the libraries to recover the books Jazer needed. Jazer knew however, that texts weren’t cheap and to pay one of the others to find it was like asking a tracking dog to read a book, it wasn’t going to work and somebody would likely get bitten. So Jazer sat all day, trying to crack the secrets of the magic with no literary aide. He even tried to write down the process the science of it but the equations wouldn’t come. Despite everything he had managed to accomplish he could not visualize the spell. He still had no idea what he had done. He had used a simple spell to animate the thing, but somehow it had gained intelligence and a personality. It is like it gained a soul through magic, and if Jazer could accomplish that, then he could do it again, and again. If he could recreate the process a thousand times, he could use them to right all the wrongs in the world. Through an army of clay creatures, there would be no more theft, murder, extortion. Groups like Malius’s wouldn’t stand a chance… Jazer awoke with a jolt. Cold beads of sweat began to drip from his forehead and he dispassionately wiped them away. He rubbed his eyes, setting his spectacles on his forehead. The dream he had just had was still fresh in his mind, an army of clay creatures. That would be insanity at its finest. To create something with a soul and then replicate the idea over and over again, something was bound to go wrong. As he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, he plucked away the piece of paper that had stuck to his face. He examined the parchment, trying to track where he had gotten in his work before sleep had ambushed him. He read the equations and sorted through the diagrams. He had gotten farther that he thought, this was calculations for a collar for Octavius. Jazer got up and brought a luke warm iron kettle from the counter. He poured the warm tea into his cup and began to sip at the drink while he read over his work. The collar was designed to gain access to the creature’s subconscious. Jazer was unable to teach it to speak thus far, but if it could gain insight into his mind, the Jazer could understand the homunculus’s thought patterns. Perhaps the information he gleamed there would prove useful to him. He shook his head and listened to the thunder rip through the night sky. The storm had yet to reach them, but the sky had already begun warning them of the impending rains. Jazer hung his head as he thought of Octavius cold and alone. Jazer created him and therefore was responsible for him. It was his job to keep the slug creature safe, and here he was, a prisoner in a house. What could Octavius do? The only people he had ever known were Jazer and Derek. The elf groaned loudly at the thought. Derek was a bastard and traded his friends away to make his own life easier. Jazer ought to slap one of these collars on him and hit him with magic every time he thought of betraying one of his friends. Jazer let his imagination run and decided to play with the idea of having the collar be a magical conduit. Jazer would be able to cast any spell and have the collared person be a direct recipient of the effects. Jazer began to scribble some notes down on the last unused corners of the parchment. He could use a portal-like approach, ripping a small hole through the fabric of reality to send the spell… No, no that was overly difficult. Have to think simple….Possibly long distance spell work? Even the greatest mages in the world had trouble sending their work farther than originally intended. He scratched through lines of numbers and variables, rewrote them and scratched through them again. He was not becoming angry at his failure as he usually did, but rather enjoying the chance to work through an equation, to find the answer. One of the few things in life he found invigorating, he could hardly believe that he used to get angry or frustrated during this stage of the process. It was a privilege just to be able to work through it. Though e was concerned at the lack of free space left on the paper, he continued anyway, trying to find the answer. How to cast a spell as if they were right next to the person? There were numerous ways to do so, but most of them were far too difficult and complications would be more likely than success. Simplest was always best, yes that was true. What could he do to simplify things besides just standing next to them? Could have the collar spelled with a charm type spell and just control them. Then he could have them perform the magic, using his own supply of arcane power…if he had any. Then again, if he charmed them why would he need to gain access to their subconscious, it’s not like they could do anything to harm anyone if they are under Jazer’s control. That’s it, the subconscious, Jazer thought. He had access to the subconscious, which would act like another plane of existence. Jazer recalled reading about oniemeracy, or the spell casting in a dreamlike state. The world of dreams acted like a completely different plane of existence and therefore spells worked slightly different. There was no arcane power needed, common-folk and wizards alike could cast powerful spells. If he tapped into Derek’s subconscious and used that as the plane where he cast his spells, Jazer would be able to cast any spell without so much as a single equation. Jazer sat back, satisfied with his work. He had found the answer, the solution to the problem there were few feelings that could compare with success derived from working hard and working alone. Without aid he had mastered a problem on his own. Jazer was happy for the first time in a long time. Then he quickly looked around and found he was still stuck in the same house and no closer to freedom then before. The real problem was he was trapped and here he was wasting time on stupid pranks. He felt like kicking himself and the pride he felt quickly dwindled to nothing. It is easy to feel happy with success, he thought, when you choose which battles to fight. You avoid the hard ones and go for easy victories, that is a coward’s way. After reprimanding himself he laid his head down, waiting for sleep to overtake him once more. He didn’t care that he was still in the kitchen, the others had gotten use to seeing the elf passed out on the counter. Jazer refused to sleep in the room, due to all the spelled furniture and walls. The kitchen felt like the only safe place in the house. Before Jazer fell asleep, he let his eyes can the work he had just done. It would have been funny to see Derek being tortured every time he thought of betraying Jazer. And at least, through Derek’s subconscious, he would be able to view the outside world once more. He had almost forgotten what it looked like. For two years he hid in that stone tower, scribbling away. He spends three days outside and now that he is back inside he feels nostalgic? It didn’t make sense, outside scared him. It was big and open and full of danger, yet now that he no longer had a choice, he would rather live outside. Jazer wandered through the forests, feeling the leaves crunching beneath his feet. That is right, it was autumn… Jazer walked over fallen branches to a clearing where he saw the slug like creature Octavius flying in circles. Jazer realized he must have fallen asleep, but didn’t care. Here he was free to do as he wished. He watched the homunculus fly around the clearing, like a vulture circling prey. The thing had grown to an enormous size, seemingly gargantuan. The wings spread out over the sky, blocking out the sun with ever beat of the clay. The body was now elongated to the point where Octavius’s hind end now circled beneath his front. The creature sounded as if it was humming but the humming was very soft, almost majestic. Jazer walked closer and quickly found what the humming sound was. There in the clearing was a young elven woman, with auburn hair draped loosely over her shoulder. She wore a beautiful sparkling white gown. Her skin looked soft even from Jazer’s distance and was darkened by the sun’s rays. She was absolutely the embodiment of beautiful. She was singing as she braided her own hair. Jazer longed to go to her and touch the auburn strands, to run them through his fingers. He began to walk forward, but as he did, the flapping grew louder. He looked up to see Octavius beginning to fly lower and lower. The prey he was circling was the young woman, who wasn’t aware of the giant above her. Jazer began to yell for her to move, but no sound came from his throat. He yelled at Octavius to back away, but again no voice came. He watched as the Octavius quickly flew skyward, gaining altitude. For a minute Jazer thought his yelling had worked, but once Octavius had flown into the sun, he flipped around and began falling toward the earth, straight toward her. Jazer’s eyes went wide and he raced toward the clearing, but wasn’t going to make it in time. His mind raced, trying to find the answer, he had to do something. He looked at his hands and quickly tried to cast a spell, yet nothing came, not even a spark. He tried to summon the arcane power within, to tap into the dormant magic, but he didn’t feel it surge or even tingle. He pumped his legs, yet came no closer to the clearing. He helplessly watched as Octavius swooped down, and in an instant, the elf with the auburn hair was gone. She was gone, Mary Ann was gone. He knew her, from his younger years, and all chances of seeing her were destroyed. He felt himself wanting to cry and wail, but as he prepared to sob, his creation inched toward him. It had grown so large now it could easily swallow Jazer whole, as he looked at the creature’s face, he saw, it had eyes now. They captivated him for a moment, seeming hauntingly familiar, were they hers? Did he just absorb her and take from her what he wanted? No, Jazer stared more carefully, no those were not her eyes, and they were his. Octavius had eyes identical to Jazer’s own. The beast was him, his creation, his responsibility. When Jazer awoke, he did not do so in a cold sweat or in surprise. He knew it was a dream from the moment it started. It didn’t stop it from feeling so real. He knew what he had to do, and it took his childhood friend to show him. He had to get out of this house. Jazer looked back down at the papers before him, at the collar he had designed for Derek. If he could change the mechanics a bit, and let Malius use it on him, he might be able to convince the man to let him go outside. If he could get out, he could find Octavius and retrieve him. The homunculus was his only friend in the world, yet Jazer began to fear him. He looked down at the mangled hand, with only stubs left in place of the fingers. The wound was beginning to heal and when it did, getting the fingers back would become an even greater task for Gifford, and more expensive for Jazer. If Octavius is willing to bite his own creator, what else could the poor creature be up to. The thought scared Jazer enough to convince the elf that sleep would no longer be possible that night. Jazer scavenged up some more used parchment and began scribbling notes in the limited free space left.