A woman's face appears, smiling, sunlight behind her....
The face is now bleeding, eyes now sunken, head resting on my lap.....
I chucked the crystal I was holding across the room, and it bounced to the floor. Then I went downstairs to the bar.
After coming through the portal and leaving McKragg's in April, life hasn't gotten any easier. I wondered from town to town, working odd jobs and tasks just to make enough money for a room and meal daily. With the extra money I bought a small fist-sized crystal, hoping I could use it as a focus for a simple light spell. I've learned of ley lines in this realm from Xoticus the Kind, an arcane tutor and follower of an entity of Tharros, an ancient god-eating being. I hoped that his teaching would be enough to get my magic back, so I've been practicing ever since.
Every night for over a month. Every. Single. Night.
He said I should focus, reach out with my mind and feelings, and I should be able to reach out and borrow power from it. I always feel it, but when I reach out I always lose focus, and I can't pull any power to use.
I always think of Clara. My childhood friend that I let die in my arms. After much of the fogginess and memory loss following my travel through the portal, I still remember everything about her. The way we joked, the games we played as children, the silly competitions and bets we've made, the odds we always seemed to beat. The way she never gave up in the face of peril. The way she never shed a tear no matter how much pain she was in. The way she tried to comfort me after I let her die...
"I could've brought her back, you know," said my strange travelling companion, Geth Kelemvor. "'Course, she'd be a bit...different," he finished while squinting, and making a shaking gesture with his hand, as if saying "eh." We finished our drink at the same time, and continued playing cards.
I first met him wandering through the woods, soon after coming through the portal. It seems he was also from a portal, and was looking for someone. A few days following we came upon Commander Chronos McKragg's party and traveled with them for a while, until our paths led in opposite directions. We both decided on the same way, and we've been together since. To be honest, I haven't the slightest idea why we've stayed together so long. I don't know much about him, and every time we converse he's dodging answers and turning questions back onto me. But, sometimes you need someone to drink with. The only thing I truly know about him is that he was something like a necromancer, a powerful magic wielder who can raise and control the dead. He used to brag about it a lot more than he does now.
Back in my realm (which for some reason I can't remember the name of currently) Necromancy was the Fifth University, and was seen as an opposite to mine. It was founded by Gomzhad, known in his time as "The Netherheart" for his sometimes cold demeanor and ferocity in battle. Back in those ancient times necromancy was seen as a valid practice of magic, assisting in the study of creature/racial anatomy and after-death soul research. It wasn't until a few hundred years ago that the teachings were abused by its practitioners, and in turn vilified and abolished. The old tower that housed the students in the capital city, nicknamed the "Hall of Sorrows," now lays charred and abandoned as a reminder of punishment for those who still want to practice.
Geth didn't seem like the scholarly type, however. He made jokes, cackled when he laughed, dressed in all black, and carried a sword made from steel and bone. He was also very social with the others we've encountered, which came natural to him. We wouldn't spend every day together, as he would often disappear for days at a time and return smelling of fresh dirt and avoiding my questions. I eventually stopped asking.
Leaving Geth at the bar after many hours of games and drinking, I returned to my bed. In a few days we'll begin traveling to the Rites of Spring, a tournament of arms and skill hosted by McKragg himself. It'll be nice to talk to people like me again, sane and having at least some knowledge of the portals. I'm still hesitant about letting them know about the artifact that brought me here, however. After coming through and losing my magic, the orb that I was sent to recover on my last mission lays dormant in the bottom of my travel bag, no longer having the illumination or hunger it once had.