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The Shield Book

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Chapter Three

The many-faceted cobalt blue lenses of the goggles lent Ambrose a decidedly insectoid appearance that turned more than a couple of heads as travelers made their way between Stormwind and Goldshire. He pulled the humming contraption off his face with two small *pops!* and rested them against his forehead. Nozz had assured him that the goggles were simple enough for even a human to use and should be able to detect most traces of arcane energy. In fact, the mage had practically blinded himself when checking them out by conjuring a simple loaf of mana bread. All he needed now was a proper test subject.

Colquitt spotted his target wandering aimlessly in a small pasture just off the main road. She stood, contentedly chewing on her lunch and gazing into the woods beyond. “Yes, yes, perfect!” said the mage as he flipped through the pages of the Shield Book looking for the right– ah! There it was: To All the Squirrels I’ve Loved Before. Ambrose laid the book open atop a fencepost and placed a small rock in the crease to keep the correct page open. He lowered the goggles over his eyes and took a couple of steps backward before focusing again on the target of his little experiment.

“I… *ahem*… I lv ymm,” he mumbled under his breath. There was no indication of anything from the book. Perhaps he’d done it wrong.

“I… I love you,” Ambrose whispered. Still there was no reaction from the book, though the test subject lazily turned her head toward the young man with the odd glasses.

Colquitt sighed, resigned to his fate. “I love you!” he cried, voice echoing through the treetops. The ewe cocked her head before bolting away from her blushing suitor.

“Creep,” said a voice from behind Ambrose as an elderly gentleman passed by on his way to Stormwind. The mage started to object but his attention was grabbed by a plume of energy that erupted from the Shield Book. Through the enchanted goggles the arcane essence curled up from the page like the slender ribbon of smoke from a burning stick of incense. This smoke, however, began to gather into a hazy sphere about two feet above the open book. The ball grew steadily, reaching the size of a grapefruit before shooting off to the north.

The ball traveled quickly, though Ambrose was able to barely keep up with the benefit of a couple of well-timed blink spells. There could be no doubt: the magic was heading for Stormwind, and Colquitt wasn’t shocked. “I’ll of course lose sight of the ball once it gets out over the open sea,” thought the mage, “but there should be no reason I can’t perform the experiment again on Northrend itself.” The globe of energy passed through the granite outer wall of the city and emerged on the other side a second later. “I’ll just need to find a suitable area with a relatively low background–”

The ball drifted into the inner wall of the keep, just below the gryphon roost.

Ambrose stood on the high bridge, staring through the blue prisms in disbelief. Certain he must have seen something wrong the young man walked back to the outer gate and carefully picked his way down the hill to the moat, all the while never taking his eyes off the spot where the energy had vanished.

“Hey, pal, something wrong?” A fisherman looked back at the gape-mouthed mage, but Colquitt waved a perturbed and dismissive hand. Minutes passed while he watched through the cobalt lenses, not daring to blink his eyes. Then, just barely visible, another wisp of energy zoomed across the lake and into the wall.

Ambrose pulled the goggles off his eyes and let them fall around his neck. “Yes, something is very wrong,” he sighed.

Continue to chapter four

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writing/the shield book ch 3.txt · Last modified: September 8, 2011 by Dave Leach

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