Better than Expected


Colfax, Possession

This one probably won’t go how anyone would have anticipated with a prompt like that, but I enjoy turning things around on ya. ;D

AU: A Little Bit of Magic, set well before Colfax met Prince Adrian

The magic pulsed, so much more than Colfax had expected it to. He grimaced and bruises formed across his chest and arms from the shockwave, and his hands shook. He put more effort into his summoning circle, one he’d copied symbol for symbol.

He’d done this right. He had the magic and enough rudimentary talent with the Arts. It should be working.

Magical feedback hissed through his brain and redefined his concept of a splitting headache. Colfax’s summoning circle broke with his concentration and the energies roiling within leaked out. Then, they snapped towards him. He had time to hold up his rudimentary staff to try and block their advance, heart pounding and eyes wide.

He’d only just begun his attempt to self-teach wizardry, and he’d already failed by becoming too arrogant too soon.

The staff creaked and then shattered in his hand, and he flinched back. Splinters flew everywhere and he froze in place. Colfax’s body went completely rigid as a sickening feeling coiled around him like an ice crawler.

The demon that answered his summons had a way in, and it gleefully passed through the doorway he’d left with his inability to control it.

Swirling patterns darkened to black on his skin all over his body and spreading from his eyes. Colfax could see but couldn’t stop it as his body began to change, his spine tensing and his hands lengthening-

Then, his appearance snapped abruptly back into place.

Save for his eyes. They remained like blackish marbles that sparked electric blue like a storm.

”What the hell?! You’re small!” he blurted in a voice he didn’t quite recognize.

Colfax would have frowned if he was in control of his own body. Instead he looked around at the area he’d chosen to attempt the summoning.

Out behind a shed, the stones of the worn path were broken in places by weeds that stood taller than him with tufts of yellow petals bigger than his head. The shed stretched far overhead, and on the flattest stone Colfax had drawn his circle with a chunk of chalk the size of his hand. The page he’d copied from was longer and wider than he was tall, and was pinned to the shed with an arm-length needle to keep it from blowing away.

“Um,” Colfax said in his own voice. “What happened?”

”Wizard!” he snipped in that other voice. ”Did you think this was gonna be a laugh? Why are you so small?!”

Colfax, again, found himself wanting to frown in disapproval, but he was already frowning in confusion. Someone else’s confusion, it seemed. “I’m not that small,” he protested.

He sighed in the most put-upon way that he’d ever sighed before, and the action felt so foreign on him. ”Listen. Buddy. This isn’t my first possession, okay? I know how it goes. Normally, if a wizard goofs their demon summoning, the lucky demon that answered gets to wear them around for a while, play with their magic and make a mess of things as a shade until some happy adventurer or other wizard goes on a quest, yadda yadda, kill the monster and send the demon home. Life goes on. Well, for most involved anyway, usually the wizard dies horribly-”

“Is there a point to all of this?” Colfax interrupted, exasperation in his tone now.

”Wow. First of all, it’s so rude but also really impressive of you to interrupt me like that, I mean you lost the battle of wills so I’ve kinda got the floor here. Except I … kinda don’t want it. You’re pixie sized, and honestly it’d be such a godsdamned waste to keep you while you’re just getting started.”

Colfax blinked slowly. “You’re going to let me go out of pity?” he asked, an edge to his voice despite the hopeful words.

”Mmmmmm no. More out of I really wanna see how this goes. So how about we make a deal?” the demon asked, using Colfax’s voice but its own inflections.

“What kind of deal?”

”I can’t just give you freebies, you understand, but I’m gonna offer you … how’s ‘uncanny luck’ sound? And in return, you give me … oh, how about all of the memories of where you came from and what you actually are? They’re pretty choice, you can take your time to think-”

“Done,” Colfax said, his voice shifting back to his own. “Do it and leave.”

”Again with the interrupting,” the demon grumbled, and then Colfax smiled wide. ”We have a deal, buddy. Didn’t that go better than you expected, or what?”

Then, like a string being released, Colfax dropped to his knees on the stones. He caught himself on his hands and took deep breaths, slowly realizing that he was in control of himself again. He glanced up at his failed summoning circle, and found that it was smudged from the demon returning home through it.

He mulled his surroundings over for a length of time, his mind mostly blank.

When he finally spoke it was with unwavering confidence. “I need to make a better staff.”

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