Winds of fortune: tree of ice (conjunction)

Jacova stood beneath spreading boughs of translucent ice, and turned her face toward the east.

As dawn broke across the trees below her, she began to move in a slow circle around the prone Pietro. As she moved, she touched him on the forehead; on his lips; on each shoulder; on either side of his chest; on his navel; on each shin. As the sun peeked above the horizon for the first time, she began to sing a quiet bubbling song weaving nine words of power over and over in time with her flowing gestures.

Iosca leaned close to Yani, and whispered reassuringly:

“Jacova is evoking the power of the Tree of Ice,” she told the boy’s father. “It will purge the last of the sickness from your son. You must not become afraid at what you see - the venom must flow out of his body. It may look as if she is hurting him, but she is not.”

Yani nodded jerkily, his face pale, his eyes red from crying.

“Is she powerful enough to do this by herself?” he asked, haltingly, not wanting to appear ungrateful, but concerned nonetheless.

“Yes, you need not worry. She is a master of this magic, she has performed it many times. The Tree of Ice will melt and flow through little Pietro, and where it has passed there will be no more poison. Trust us. In this place, at this time, before the Tree, there is nothing so corrupt that Jacova cannot purify it.”

The magician’s song had become louder as the onlookers whispered among themselves, her gestures wider, swifter, and more joyous. The sun was nearly above the horizon when her bubbling, liquid song was rudely interrupted.

A shudder ran through the Tree of Ice, and then cracks began to appear revealing the mithril framework beneath. Before either magician or father could move, great chunks of ice began to slough off the Tree, like calving glaciers. Jacova desperately tried to maintain focus on her ritual, but was knocked to the ground when one of the boughs snapped off completely, striking her face. She disappeared from sight behind the bier.

Iosca ran to her aid, arm raised to protect her own face from flying shards of ice. She stifled a whimper when she saw that Jacova was not moving, blood pumping from a ruined face and madly twisted shoulder.

Whispering a line from the Rhyme of the Bear to steady her nerves, she swiftly began a healing invocation. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Yani covering his son’s prone body with his own, shielding him.

Immediately she knew something was wrong. Her stomach twisted in her belly, and a freezing chill ran through her. There was an unspeakable taste in her mouth something … impossible to put into words how … like bile and salt and rotten milk. She clamped her teeth tight and rasped the last few words of the spell, sending healing energies through Jacova. She was able to prevent her gorge rising for long enough to see the bleeding slow and the torn skin and flesh begin to knit before she was forced to turn aside and vomit her early breakfast onto the flagstones of the Izlechivaya Dvor.

Pausing only to wipe her mouth, she called for Yani to come help her move the heavy length of ice and metal that pinned Jacova to the stone. She spared a glance for the broken tree, and for a moment in the early morning light it appeared to run with thick, rotten blood. She swore under her breath, but this was a problem for another time. For now, she had lives to save.

A major conjunction of the stars! Reflecting (or causing) a shift in the tides of magic! It’s been a while since we’ve had one of those. You can learn about the conjunction here → … onjunction

Unlike most previous conjunctions, this one has implications for spellcasters as well as ritual magicians - especially spellcasters who use heal, swift heal, purify, purge, and restore limb.

But it has significant implications for Spring ritualists, and for a few Day ritualists as well. The opportunity to work certain rituals more easily … for a price. I’ll be interested to see who chooses to embrace the taint and who avoids it like the plague.

Either way … all you magicians get practicing your “I don’t feel well” expressions, and all you apothecaries lay in some Epsom Salt and Tums
wink emoticon

The picture is By Dajohnson6000 “David Johnson” (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons and was taken during a 2007 December Ice Storm: that inch of ice covering the tree is apparently quite real.

#embracethetaint, #nicksaysitsoundsrude, #letshopeitstemporaryey?