Alteris Forrester

Mage Caught in a Bad Deal


I never knew my father. All inquiries made about him were ignored. My mother was a merchant who specialized in bulk trade between caravans. She was single, and had two children to take care of. She was also an incredibly compulsive gambler. She would often leave me alone to take care of Ailie, my younger sister, while she’d be out every day and most nights working and playing. I didn’t really mind this, though. Ailie was well-behaved and the only cleaning up we’d ever needed to do was when mother came home angry.

Then came the largest wager my mother had ever lost. Her house and everything in it were taken. That included her two children. She agreed to it without hesitation, without even a hint of regret. Ailie and I were auctioned off separately, and ended up with different masters. I was knocked out when I tried to protest being separated. That was when the dreams first started. I would be flying through a starry night sky, the ground far off below me. Nothing else happened in these dreams, but it felt like I was higher up each time.

My new master was the leader of a decent-sized trade caravan. It would be years before I’d realize just how lucky I was to have such a kind, lenient master. Rather than backbreaking labor, I was assigned to one of the caravan’s peddlers, and was to apprentice under him. It bothered me that it was so similar to my mother’s profession, but I couldn’t really object to it. I was taught the fundamentals of haggling and such, with focus on the more underhanded business tactics.

I would often ask the caravan leader for permission to seek out my sister. The person who bought her wasn’t part of any caravan, and didn’t appear to be traveling with anyone else. The master’s response would always be that I’d need to become an adventurer, or hire some. But I couldn’t hold my own in a fight, and the only help I could hire would be the caravan guards. Decent combatants, but not very suitable for adventuring.

Things went on like this for a few years. I was even able to buy my freedom, though I chose to stay with the caravan. As I became more skilled, I would be sent out to do more delicate operations. The dreams continued, and by this point the ground was a distant memory as I floated silently through the stars. One night after returning to the caravan, however, the dream would take a very horrible turn.

My thoughts were scattered that night. I found myself thinking about what had brought me to this point in my life. As I drifted into the same dream I’ve had every night for years, a feeling of dread washed over me, as I noticed that the stars winking all around me were eyes. Unable to move, to scream, to even wake up, I waited for whatever else was going to happen in this nightmare.

One of the stars approached me, and its form was much more grotesque than the rest of its neighbors. It began to emit some strange noises. They seemed to have a pattern to them, and I somehow was able to understand that its name was Caiphon and that it wanted to make a deal with me. The star created a small orb of light between it and myself. As the light pulsed, I saw an image of a young woman who looked similar to my mother. I knew that it had to be Ailie.

My next move betrayed everything I’ve learned about trade negotiations, not the least of which was to know the deal inside and out. I touched the orb of light, and it disappeared into me. For a brief moment, I could see from the view of several of the stars around me at once. I was instilled with the knowledge of the language this star spoke to me, and then I understood the terms of the pact.

I wished to seek out my sister, but had no means to properly do so. Caiphon’s power gave me the means. This star wishes to see that certain events unfold in a certain way. It appears that both my goal and the star’s goals will take some investment on both our parts if they are to occur. Communication is always vague, and most of the time I have to figure out what is needed from me. But since I haven’t lost the power yet, I suppose I’m doing my job.

Alteris Forrester

Points of Light kasm0t