Telani is hired to investigate strange magical weather patterns. A strange job for a combat mage. And the truth behind the storms is even stranger.
Some days, it felt like the universe was just out to get you.
Telani was out investigating reports of weird magical storms. The black and white wolf, with her glowing cyan markings was dressed in her usual mage robe attire when she arrived at the field the storms were supposed to be happening. She was already feeling a little impatient. Why hire a combat mage to investigate strange weather? This wasn’t exactly her area of expertise. The only reason she could think of was if they had some reason to believe some kind of hostile creature or caster was responsible for the storms. Still, it would have been nice to at least have a specialist with her that could do more with the weather. The client was probably just too cheap to pay for more than one mage.
Telani had reached the location the storms were said to occur. The place was rocky, and most of the grass in the area looked like it was dying. A side effect from the storms, or just the local ecosystem? Who could say from just a cursory glance of the land? The only thing she could do for now is just look for anything strange. See if anything was marked with runes or other symbols used in rituals, check for signs of any damage from the storm, or sings of other people visiting. But unless one of the storms showed up while she was here, she wasn’t sure what was expected of her. And even if it did, then what? She might be able to use wind magic to try to disperse the storm, blow the clouds away. But that wouldn’t answer the question on who or what was causing it… Unless the cause had to be close by during the storm. Then they might reveal themselves if suddenly the storm they conjured up was interrupted.
Still, none of it made any sense. This was just an empty field. No roads traveled through here. There were no homes. Thanks to the soil being so rocky it was no good for agriculture. There was nothing to be gained by stirring up trouble here. There was a village about a mile away. Someone from there had been the one who paid to hire her. Apparently, they could see weird colors in the distance, and some curious soul came to investigate and saw what they described as a strange and terrifying storm. Apparently, they could see the lights almost every night from the village, so it was happening pretty often. Still, why here? It was out of the way of being able to harm anyone. Was that the intent? Was this just some person practicing their own magic, and doing so in a secluded safe to keep others safe? If so then Telani’s presence was completely unwarranted.
At least if that was the case, they had already paid, and she could just go home and report her findings.
But right now, she didn’t see anything unusual. That meant her only option was pretty much to just wait here and do nothing. Just waiting around doing nothing. Telani was already hating this assignment. A large part of her wanted to walk to the village and ask questions there, but it was a good hour-long walk. If one of these storms started up again it was doubtful she’d make it back before it ended.
And so, Telani waited, and waited, and waited. This had to be the worst job she had taken in awhile. Right now she’d rather be staring danger in the face than just waiting around hoping something would happen.
After a few hours that felt like days, the strange storm finally materialized itself. And one thing became immediately clear. It wasn’t a storm, at least not in the traditional sense. There were no clouds in the sky, no rain, no lightning. Instead, bright flashes of light just started striking down all around the field. A casual observer might have mistaken them for lightning. But lightning didn’t usually come in seven different colors. But any mage worth their salt could recognize raw arcane energy when they saw it. There was some kind of powerful magic going on here. But what? Either way, with it not being an actual storm any chance of blowing it away with wind magic was out of the question. Telani tried to think what elements might be useful, to either try to absorb or neutralize the energy. The problem was that it was just raw magical power, it wasn’t aligned with any specific element. Telani wasn’t even sure what she was looking at or what purpose it served.
Right now, the best course of action was to get outside the storm and observe it from further way rather than risk being struck by one of those arcane beams. Telani quickly moved, heading for the edge of the storm but came to a stop as a wall of light flashed up directly in front of her preventing her from progressing. She took a few steps back and another wall of light appeared behind her. She reached out her hands, and lights jumped up al around. She was stuck inside a circle. She looked down. The same colorful lights she had seen dancing around the field were now on the ground forming a circle around here. There were numerous shapes and strange runes, none of which Telani recognized. It didn’t match up with any magic she had ever seen in this world. Then, suddenly the circle, and ground disappeared beneath her. And Telani fell down into darkness.
As she fell, she felt a strange sensation run down her entire body. Her robes loosened on her, and soon came off completely as she continued to fall. As she saw them flutter away above her, she couldn’t help but notice they were a lot bigger. She gave an annoyed shout, or at least tried to.
“ARF!” But that was the only noise that came out. Without her robes or her staff, Telani fell downward. And then suddenly, she was in a brightly lit area.
The same magic circle that had made the ground disappear was on the floor around her. She was a bit dazed as she tried to stand up and take in her surroundings. She was inside? A brightly lit room, full of desks and bookshelves. Some kind of classroom?
“I did it!” An excited voice shouted. “I finally got one.”
Telani was still recovering her senses, but as she looked around for the source of the voice, she found several figures in the room. The closest one was a twelve-year-old boy. He was dressed in the simple robes of a student. There were many other kids in the room of a similar age, though all of them except the boy had some small animal hanging around them, rather it be riding on their shoulders or sitting at their feet. Then there was a single adult, an elderly woman. All of them towered above Telani like giants.
“Well done, I told you if you kept it up you’d manage to summon one.” The elderly woman spoke. “Now quickly, make the pact like I showed, otherwise it will be pulled back into the celestial realm.
“Arf?” Telani asked. Celestial realm? What was she talking about? Telani lived on the mortal plane just like everyone else. She watched as the boy approached. He held out a circle, and suddenly Telani felt a strange sensation around her neck. She looked down, having a hard time seeing what was happening, and wound up falling onto her back. And it was here she became aware of many things.
To start with, she now knew why she couldn’t talk. She was just a normal wolf. No walking on two legs, no thumbs, no talking. As for why everyone was towering over her, judging by her proportions she was a wolf pup. Then finally, she was able to see what was going on with her neck. A collar made out of a silver-colored thread-like material formed around it, with a crystal hanging on the end of it. As Telani climbed back onto all four feet and looked around she saw all the other animals were wearing the same thing. And then suddenly, the circle beneath her broke.
“I did it!” The boy ran up, and scooped Telani up off the ground embracing her for a hug she was not ready for. She pushed against him, and he seemed to get the idea and set her on the ground. “I finally got a familiar.”
“Indeed, you have. And wolves are pretty rare too.” The elderly woman, that Telani now assumed was some kind of teacher smiled. “Looks like you have no problem connecting to the Celestial Realm after all. It just took you a few weeks.”
“Yeah…” The boy rubbed the back of his head. “Just… It never felt like what you described. It felt like I was reaching into some place different…”
And with that all the pieces fell into place.
The boy had been trying to cast a summoning spell for weeks, and was trying to bring in something from the Celestial Realm. But apparently, he felt his connection was wrong. He hadn’t opened a gateway to the Celestial Realm, but to Telani’s world. All of the strange ‘storms’ were previous failed summoning attempts. That was why they kept happening, because he kept trying in school every day. The boy had somehow tapped into the wrong plane of existence when casting his spell. Other people had seen the storms from a distance, but Telani was the first one to actually be caught in it… And that meant she had been summoned. And the collar around her neck. She was supposed to be that kid’s familiar? She was an accomplished mage of her own right! Not some kid’s pet and personal magical battery.
And why was she a wolf pup!? Well, that was actually obvious. The spell was looking for a celestial animal. When all it found was Telani, the spell worked with what it had and made her fit the bill. She could only assume the pup part came because students were probably partnered with young familiars.
“Arfffffff awrooo.” Telani complained. Not being able to talk was a problem. Without thumbs writing was going to be difficult. How was she supposed to tell them about their mistake and to send her back? This job got more frustrating by the second.
“Excitable little thing.” The boy who summoned her knelt down to be eye level with her. “I’m Alevl. We’re going to be partners going forward. What should I call you?” He thought for a moment. “You have those weird glowing marks… So… how about Cyan?”
“Arf.” Telani gave him a deadpan look as if to ask if he was serious. Naming her after a color? And she already had a name! She’d have to somehow find a way to get that across to the kid as well as letting him know his mistake.
She wouldn’t lie. A good part of her was tempted to bite him. Not hard. Just to let him know he had screwed up and wasted a lot of her time. But…
He was just a kid. There was no malice behind his actions. This was a simple spell misfire, just that he didn’t know it yet. As annoyed as she was, she couldn’t be angry at him given the circumstance. She closed her eyes and tried to think of what to do next.
And as she did, she suddenly could see herself, through someone else’s eyes. And hear through someone else’s ears. T was the kid. Alevl. She could hear and see what he did. Not surprising. If she was his familiar now they were psychically linked. He could probably do the same with her. She couldn’t detect any of his thoughts though. And try as she might to think loudly in his general direction hoping he’d pick it up through their link, he didn’t react. So, they shared senses, but didn’t share thoughts or have any way to communicate telepathically.
This was going to complicate matters.
“Come on Cyan!” Alevl picked her up again. “My parents are going to be proud when I bring you home and show I finally pulled off a summoning spell.”
“Awoo.” Telani gave a heavy sigh. At this point, she didn’t really have many options on how to handle the situation. She’d just have to live with it for awhile until an opportunity to communicate properly, or find a way to cast a spell to send her back herself arose. Until then… Perhaps being a familiar wouldn’t be too terrible an existence. At least she didn’t have to worry about food and rent.
Still, as the boy cradled her in his arms, making her feel small as he headed out the classroom doors and into the halls, she realized this wasn’t something she was going to get used to overnight. Hopefully, she wouldn’t get too used to it. Would be awkward to get back home and then still run around on all fours or do other normal animal stuff. Still, for now she’d be Cyan. She’d be the boy’s familiar, and make an honest attempt to be good at it. At least until an opportunity presented itself to allow her to communicate, or to find her way back home.