“What is this?” Sabine held a half unrolled spell scroll in her hand. From across the fire, Elise couldn’t read the words on it but she knew what it was. She gave the stew a final stir and moved it off the fire.
“How did you find that?” Elise asked.
“I was getting the bowls out of your pack and it fell out. This is an amnesia spell with my name on it. Why does it have my name on it? Did you cast this on me?” Sabine paced her words coming faster and louder.
“I can explain.” Elise held her hands up in a calming motion. “Remember that town that was enslaved by that sorcerer?”
“Yes.” Sabine stopped pacing.
“I needed your help to free those people. I knew you wouldn’t help me so I cast the amnesia spell on you.”
“Why wouldn’t I help you? You’re my best friend.” She paused. “What did you make me forgot?”
“What do remember of the last three years?”
“I’ve been a Mage Guard and have been sent to hunt down rogue magic users,” she replied quickly.
“And where have I been?”
“You … went on a … trip?” Sabine’s forehead knotted as she tried to remember. “What happened three years ago?”
Elise sighed. “We were fighting a sorcerer who was using his magic to extort money from towns. He fired a lightning bolt straight through your heart. You died. I … I brought you back to life.”
Sabine’s head snapped up, “That is forbidden magic.”
“You should be imprisoned or worse.”
“The sentence was death. So, I escaped and have been running ever since.”
“Am I an aberration?” Sabine asked.
“No! Absolutely not. You have a soul and free will. You are Sabine Delrios, not a pale copy.”
“Why did you do this?”
“I love you and couldn’t just let you die. I had to do something,” Elise said.
“The Mage Guards wouldn’t have sent an aberration out to hunt you down.”
“You’re not an aberration.”
“In their eyes, I would be. They would have killed me and sent hunters out after you. Why am I here?”
“They were going to kill you but they couldn’t. The spell I used to bring you back bound your soul to mine. You can only die if I die. When you found this out, you begged them to let you be the one to end my life. You hated me so much that for the last three years all you have done is chase after and try to kill me.”
“I don’t remember. How do you end the amnesia spell?”
“It has to be recast every few days. That’s why the scroll as out of it’s hiding place. I was going to recast it tonight while you slept.”
Sabine crumpled the scroll and tossed it into the fire. The two of them watched it blacken. Elise took a stick and poked at it breaking up the ashes. She stood up and briskly walked around the fire to her pack. Sabine grabbed the hilt of her sword.
“I still have the original spell in my book. I know it won’t make up for what I’ve done but let me at least make it so I can’t do it again to you.” Sabine nodded. Elise pulled out her spell book. From inside, she tore out two pages and tossed them into the fire.
“How long until the spell ends?”
“Sunrise. You should know that from reading the scroll.”
“I wanted to hear you say it.”
“I don’t know if I can trust you. I needed to see if you would answer truthfully.”
“Except for using that spell on you, I have never lied to you. Now what?”
“I am going to stand guard through the night and in the morning when I can remember everything I will decide what to do.”
Elise pulled out the two wooden bowls Sabine had been looking for. She filled them with stew and offered one to Sabine. “Eat before it gets cold.” Sabine took the bowl and sat beside the fire. They ate in silence.
Afterwards, Elise tried to restart the conversation but Sabine remained silent. Elise eventually laid out her bedroll and fell asleep.
In the morning, as the sun rose over the horizon, Sabine began to remember. She remembered the searing pain of the lightning bolt in her chest. She remembered the darkness that closed in on her vision until there was nothing but darkness around her. Then the bright light and sudden breath as the world returned around her. Elise crying and smiling. The Mage Guard taking both of them away. The questions and revelations of her new “life”. Weeks of imprisonment pondering her fate while her anger grew. Pleading with the council for the chance to bring an end to her own life by taking Elise’s.
Sabine drew her sword and walked to Elise’s sleeping form. She could end it all right now. She held her sword over Elise’s heart ready to plunge it downward. But she couldn’t. The past month of their happy reunion burned in her heart. After years of hating Elise and forcing herself to forget their friendship, now she couldn’t. She lowered her sword and kicked Elise’s side. She startled awake but didn’t get up.
“So, you wanted me awake for my death?”
“Get up. Run. Never let me see you again.” Sabine sheathed her sword and walked to her own pack.
Elise stood up. “I’m tired of running. I didn’t do anything wrong. I just wanted my friend back.”
“I died! I shouldn’t be here! This is a perversion of nature!” Sabine shouted back.
“Then kill me and you can die too.”
Sabine placed a hand on her sword but let it drop after a second.
“Now what?” Elise asked.
“I don’t know. Go, I won’t follow you.”
“I don’t know. Maybe I … I could … ” Sabine trailed off staring into the forest.
“Are you still a Mage Guard?”
“I don’t know,” Sabine said.
“There is something strange about the magic around here.” Elise gestured at the sky. “I’ve been watching it swirl in toward a town.”
“Why didn’t you say something?”
“I wasn’t sure until recently. It might be a rogue mage.” She turned to face Sabine, “So, are you still a Mage Guard?
She looked at her sword and touches the symbol on the pommel. “Yes.”
“Do you want to help me check out the town?”
“As a Mage Guard, I am bound to protect the common man from magic users.” She picked up her pack and said to herself as much as to Elise, “We are not friends. This is just a partnership to deal with this mage.”
“Ok.” Elise shouldered her own pack. The two walked toward the town.