Cave-light
rating: +2+x

In a dark cave in a remote forest, a young, thin magician was quickly making his way to the mouth of the cave. Unfortunately, he was not alone. Elk was an apprentice to a forest watcher, and he was being chased down by a wraith that had consumed and possessed his older master.

The sound of Elk's footsteps rebounded throughout the cave, matched by only his laborious breathing. His gaze remained fixed on the ground underneath him, willing himself to move further and faster with each step. He looked up; he could see a faint, distant light at the end of the eroding tunnel he was in. He looked behind him; he saw the familiar pale-green form of a wraith, which had taken on the demented form of his mentor. It was approaching faster than Elk could run—fully trained forest watchers always needed to be able to run to the next town in a day's worth of time—and Elk knew that he needed to act now or never.

He pulled out a rugged slate from his bag. The copper tablet contained the inscriptions of several basic spells learned through and cast by touch. It wasn't much and Elk hadn't really trained with it—he had only brought it along to study during dead-time—but he had dropped his other bag as he tripped and scrambled to get back up earlier.

He viewed the tablet with pure admiration, which melted into regretful sadness as he realized that this was his only magical item in his arsenal. He was confident that there was a fire or light spell in the bumps and lines that were inscribed throughout the rectangle, but there was really only one way to find out. He ran his hand over the spell block, and traced one of the many patterns. His hands developed a faint glow as he channeled the magic in his palms. All at once, the knowledge of a tracing spell—nothing more than a sensation, really—flooded into Elk's mind.

The ghost came into view. Elk had stopped for too long, and the ghost had finally caught up with him. He took a sip of water from his water-skin to dampen his fear—unnecessary, of course, since he only needed to trace a pattern on his palm with his fingertips. The ghost approached closer and closer…Until it was standing only a meter away. It was Elk's chance: He traced his right-hand palm with his left-hand fingers, tapping and scratching and poking to complete the spell. After seven seconds of casting, a bright, glowing sphere of light hovered a foot away from his hand. Elated at his success, he scratched his left hand across the back of his right and launched the orb towards the ever-approaching spirit. The ghost released a shriek of agony, signaling its defeat; Elk wasted no time. He turned around and sprinted like he never had before. He would never enter a cave without a proper ghost lantern ever again.

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