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Drunken Whims of Dawn's Eve (M) 2 Parts

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   This was requested as a... sequel? Continuation? Something, based on a cold sneezefic I wrote called Icy Karma, to specifically focus on a caretaking scenario. Before I knew it, I'd ended up with a whole other fic with the first half being around 2k words thus far. As with a lot of my writing, the characters may be easier to make sense of to a degree with context from the previous stories, because I have an obsession with continuity and chronological order.

   Link to previous story:

   Anyway, sneezy wizard time.

*       *       *

   It was an hour ungodly enough to begin reducing the function of the human brain to a state of inebriation, as though the fatigue striking just before the grey of dawn was a watered-down liquor. Weak, but an effect that could not be denied. My ability to pick through the foreign vocabulary in front of me was a few seconds too slow, interpretation of magic runes even slower. I was reaching an inevitable slog of a pace, and I suspected Eliza was suffering much the same issue. The effect was universal, but the way her head drooped under its own weight, her heartbeat a tiny increment slower than its average relaxed rhythm, made it easy to infer.


   “How far along are you?” She made a croaking ‘mmm’ sound as the part of her brain which handled speech started trying to work through the damper of Quaker hour.


   “A bit over three quarters. You?”


   “Mmgh. Around the same.” I returned her croak. Neither one of us was willing to throw in the towel yet, and until one did, we would endure the task ahead until someone passed out face first into their papers. How it usually went with intensive projects.


   Communication left enough of a gap in my focus that I noticed the tickle forming, a squirming sort of itch. I sniffed once, twice, and found it was not content to go away so easily. Of course. I exhaled softly in a half-hearted expression of exasperation, and rubbed a knuckle against my septum. The feeling relented, for now, but remained as a threatening pinpoint of irritation.


   “You okay?” Came the cautious inquiry from the other end of the couch.


   “Yes.” No sooner than I’d said it, the itch crawled upwards to the back of my nose, an additional signal of inevitability I was not pleased by. “Nose just tickles.” Normally such a phrase would be inconceivable, but the fatigue made any feeling of embarrassment impossible over such a small thing.


“Oh.” It surprised her as well, based on her tone.


   My breath caught for an instant, trembling, and I began to consider a list of suspects. The fire had died a few minutes ago, with only candlelight illuminating the room, and the air had cooled as a result. But this wasn’t the intense, sudden response a change in temperature would have brought. The windows were closed, it couldn’t be something outside either. There was nothing to warrant a sneeze at all. My nose had just decided it had nothing better to do while it was getting over a cold, which it had deemed reason enough far too many times throughout the evening.


   I rubbed again, rougher, which would at best forestall the gradually growing agitation.


   “Hhh-ah… Ungh.” I managed to keep from muttering expletives, though every frustrated breath could have easily translated to a similarly vulgar interjection.


   I pulled my focus away from the teasing itch long enough to remember I was not alone in the room, and extended the reach of my magic to feel what Eliza was doing. The scholar had turned enough that her chest was facing toward me, leaving no questions as to where her attention was. But where else would she look?








   “It’s st-stuck. Hih!” I stuttered, struggling with another taunting hitch. I fought with it for a few moments, tensing occasionally as my breathing hiccupped and the feathery sensation swept against the inside of my nose. It proved fruitless.


   Fine. If it wouldn’t get it over with, it had no reason to be there. I turned my head away and pinched my nose shut, waiting for the itch to recede. Which it did, for the most part, but the slightest remnant settled patiently in the depths of my sinuses. Faex.


   I feigned interest in the documents, trailing my fingers over it without actually reading more of it, thinking. I did not want to deal with a fit right now, especially after the past week. I’d had more than enough of my body’s malady induced antics without the worst of it happening in front of someone.


   “What time is it?” I heard Eliza turn slowly in her seat, the couch shifting underneath me.


   “You don’t want to know.” She told me after a few moments. I made a grudging sound and tried not to seem too hurried as I stood up, leaving the documents on the table. I was fully prepared to retreat to the fireplace as soon as possible, using my magic to feel the room.


   “I should probably head home then.” She nodded, and the papers rustled and scratched against wood as she started gathering them up. I strode quickly across the room, around the table, and touched my fingers to the mantle of the fireplace.


   The logs were still warm enough from earlier it wouldn’t take much to light again. Energy flowed through my hand, the embers barely coughing a tiny, insignificant candle flame to life which started desperately lapping at the logs. My head whirled with a sudden wave of nausea from overtapping my reserves.


   Was I really tired enough I couldn’t even light a fire!?


   “This is going to sound strange,” I felt my nose twitch, “But do you have alcohol lying around?” There was silence for just a few moments longer than she should have needed.


   “What? Why?” Eliza sounded the smallest amount more alert now that she had something to be surprised about. Technically not just any bottle of liquid death would work, but now was not the hour to be throwing around big words or magic terminology. Nor was I keen on explaining Rowst’s theories on pyrokinetics, with his reputation he was likely drunk when he wrote them.


   “It… works well for fire magic, whichhhHhhuh!” I took a frantic moment to rub the bridge of my nose and attempt to waylay whatever hell it had in mind. Deo damnatus rem. 


   “Which I am lacking, and need to get home.” Much to my chagrin, it was proving more and more difficult to prevent any sniffling from disrupting sentences.


   “Oh. I don’t drink.” Stercus, I should’ve guessed as much.


   “You’ve experienced the Fomorian number system and you don’t drink?” I heard her chuckle, just a little, but the tone had made my general frustration more obvious than I meant it to be.


   “Is there something else you can use?”


   “Eating will take too l-long,” there was absolutely no way I was going to make it through three hours of digestion to have enough energy for porting. “Something hot, or… Hh-Hah!” 


   “HMMPFSSH!” All at once it snuck up on me, and I had to pinch my nostrils again to stop it. “HEH’NGGHXT!” Twice now I’d had to resort to that, not good.


   “Euggh, or flammable.” Rationally, I knew it shouldn’t bother me so much. It wasn’t that different from when I sneezed normally, which was frustratingly frequent enough I’d been browbeaten into tolerating the embarrassment of it throughout my day to day life. But a drawn out fit in the first place was another matter, let alone the fact it was brought about by the death throes of a cold that refused to leave me alone. Yet here I was, sniffling like an idiot and blushing so hard my cheeks were hot enough to match the embers of the fi-


   “Stercus sanctus, I’m a moron.” I stooped down to the floor and knelt in front of the doused fireplace, the tiny flame I’d called having died almost as quickly as it had come.


   “What is it?” The scholar asked, shoes gently tapping on the floorboards as she drifted closer.


   “I can just use the embers.” Often mages grow so accustomed to the concept of turning the essence of one thing into another we forget to manipulate the original thing itself.


   I moved my hands towards the firepit until I could feel where the air around it was warmer, and started coaxing what energy I could from the source. The itch fluttering back into prevalence reminded me to work quickly.


   The contents of the firepit slowly began to grey and crumble around the edges as I continued to leech from it, a red line of heat eating away at the surface, disappearing when my concentration momentarily broke to rub my nose against one shoulder. I desperately wanted to sneeze, but if I could just manage for a bit longer I could whisk myself away to more preferable surroundings.


   But again and again it interrupted me, until at one point in the back of my awareness my body’s pressing of demands mounted into an urge.


   “Heh!” For the third time I held my nose and waited for it to pass.


   “Hhh-hh--HIHhh!” Stop. Just stop already, for the love of the Divine.


   “Ehheh!” Go away. Perite!


   “HEH’NGXX-TCHUH!” Stifling a second time had accomplished the opposite of banishment, the tickling raging through my respiratory system with renewed intensity. My sinuses throbbed, and I realized with growing panic it wasn’t going to let me hold it off any longer.




   “Bless you.” I flinched at the reminder of Eliza’s presence, wishing she would look anywhere other than me, yet knew I couldn’t really blame her for doing otherwise.


   “You’re going to - Ihhih! HEEIH’TSCHOO! RRSHHMPF!” I spoke from behind one preemptive elbow, “Going to get tired of say… Sayinggg!” I didn’t try completing the sentence again.




   “Are you okay?” I can barely think, let alone talk. I shook my head and hoped she’d get the message.


   “Will you be okay?” Pro futuo eruit!


   “HEHHSHHMPT! HHSHHMPFT! MMPTSCHHUUHhh!” I wanted to crawl into a hole and die, but had to settle for turning as far away from the direction of her voice as possible, the less visible the better.


   “Damn it, I -- IIEEHH’SSHMPT! HEH’SHHMPFT! MMPFSHHH! I’ll be f-finneeh-HEH’TSSCHOO! Hhh! Huh-uhhh! In a few -- HAH-AKHSHHMPT!” In truth, I wasn’t sure how long ‘a few’ would be, but given the fact I was far away from anything that would normally cause an issue I hoped it would be short. For the sanctity of my dignity if nothing else, or what was left of it.


   I hadn’t heard her approach, but felt a hand on one shoulder, instinctively and just a bit too violently wrenching away from it. She didn’t deserve that, or my cursing, or frankly to have me sneezing my head off on her floor when she just wanted to sleep. But I had no other way to protest her intrusive attempts at concern.


   “I’m trying to help you off the floor.” If you want to help then leave me alone!




   “Logan, I’m at least a foot and a half shorter than you, but one way or another I need to get you onto the couch before you hit your head on the mantle.” For a moment, even amidst the sternutory hell I was enduring, I was taken aback by the change in her character. But regardless, concussing myself when I was already going to end up with a headache by the end of this seemed like something to avoid. With a few chaotic lunges of my free hand I found the nearest wall and pulled myself up.


   “EHHSHMMPT!” Of course, it wasn’t being made particularly easy for me.


   “It’s this way.” I was legally blind, not spatially inept. There was only one direction the couch would have been in from where I was and… And I probably would’ve tripped over the table like a jester on stilts if left to my own devices. Fine. Dampnas, fine!


   I stumbled towards her voice with a drunken sort of awkwardness, scrubbing one wrist under my nose in the hope it might delay it long enough to complete the great exodus to the land of couch cushions. I flinched when I felt her hand on my back, guiding me gently forward, but resisted the inclination to move away. A few more steps and I wouldn’t have to deal with the indignity of being led across the room like an infirm old woman. I probably would never have needed it, but under the… circumstances...


   “HEEGH’IHHTSCHOO!” It bent me forward enough that the hand being held out in front of me next found itself gripping the back of the couch for dear life. Eliza let go.


   “RRSHMPFFT! HEHSHHMPHT! HHNGHMMPFT!” I lowered myself down unto the seat once I gained a pause, immediately turning away to hide the event to the best of my ability. At least, away from where I thought she was.


   “Stay here.” I couldn’t leave no matter how badly I wanted to, all the magic energy in the world wouldn’t be enough for me to focus on making so much as a spark right now, let alone travelling as a flame effigy.


   She turned, the air shifting around her movement, and one footstep after the other made her way out the door. I was alone, to get the rest of this unholy endeavor over with in peace.


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Secret Sneezer

Wow, another great piece of writing! You're really good at this, I loved every second of reading this! 😁

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Mmmm, looking forward to part two

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I love it!!!:clapping: Thank you so much for writing this, and so quickly too!! I'm so happy you liked my comments! I think your writing style is divine. Your characters are so well developed, and the idea of a blind person being able to 'see' spatially with magic is a stroke of creative genius, especially because you give readers insight to how it works by writing from Logan's perspective. The mechanics of magic are really solidly built throughout, actually. I love that you've chosen to make it take up energy like any other difficult physical activity, which I always thought would be the case if it were real.

I'm excited to learn more about Eliza like you mentioned because let's be real, I totally already ship it! I love that through the haze of it all, he still noticed her shift in demeanor. She's normally so unintrusive (which works well, I'd probably traumatize this kind of man myself), but real people can sort of shift between gears like this once you get to know them well. You've done a really nice job throughout these stories establishing what she's usually like, so introducing a duality to that is really going to flush her out. *Kronk voice*  Oh yeah. It's all coming together....I'm super excited to see what comes next!!

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