- For other articles with related titles, see The Oops Factor.
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The following is the account of Aduin Leyesteiri, a young erudite who was practicing his summoning skills while afflicted with the chills.
In my home there are fifteen: my mother and father and my twelve siblings. It can get crowded sometimes, especially as we are all at various stages of studying the arcane arts. Spells will sometimes overlap with unfortunate results. To prevent disaster, I chose to exile myself to the most unlikely place: the Edgewater Drains.
Other than the Murkwaters, there is very little traffic down here which makes it the very place to practice conjuration and creature subjugation without interference. Unfortunately, it is also very damp due to the proximity of the sea. The tides bring in a fresh flow of sea water, but the water never drains entirely away.
There are few places where one can build a fire and maintain it above the water level; those that are the most convenient to reach have been chosen by the Murkwaters who did not express the desire to share with me. Since it is a long treacherous climb from the Edgewater Drains back to the city, I needed a place to camp that would not be washed out to sea. Again.
I selected a wide landing on a stone stair that led down toward the lowest region of the sewer, carving a small niche in the wall and placing my books therein. I built a small but bright campfire and rolled out my bedding, then fell asleep. A cold sensation crept up through the stone pavers of the stair into my bones and I awoke later shaking with the chills and unable to warm myself.
While I longed to head back home, I was likewise too exhausted to try despite constant napping. After several restless days, I decided I may as well get some studying done. Throwing more wood onto my fire, I took down my books only to find the pages had become tangled by vile black threads. I wiped these off as best as I could with my hand and opened to the first lesson. And then I sneezed.
My mother had long taught us to cover our mouths when we sneeze, whether there is anyone around to be offended or not. So I instinctively clapped a hand over my nose and mouth -- the hand covered in black threads from my book. My hand stuck fast to my face and I could not help but inhale some of the threads. Disgusting!
I wiped my hand on the edge of my cloak and continued studying though I felt rather fevered. Suddenly, another sneeze overwhelmed me. I was unprepared and did not cover my nose and mouth -- which is probably a very good thing. My sneeze led to an uncontrollable coughing fit and I expectorated an globule of a most unusual size and substance.
I stared at the globule in horrified fascination. It shimmered and grew before my very eyes, then split into two equal shimmering, dancing parts. I rubbed my eyes, unfortunately getting some of the black threads that were still on my hand into my eye. I blinked over and again. It seemed to me that each time I blinked, the globules split into equal parts again. My eyes were stinging from the black threads and I felt a hot tear roll down my cheek and drop to the ground.
With a hiss and a loud plopping sound, the black tear that hit the stones let out a little puff of steam, then grew to an enormous size. Like the dancing, shining globules, the tear shimmied and divided into equal parts, and those parts divided, and so on. This continued until the entire stair seemed full of these awful by-products of either my chill or my fevered imagination.
I sat down, mesmerized by the dancing and dividing forms. Suddenly, one of my brothers was shaking me by the arm. Apparently the city was under attack from some fell oozes growing up out of the sewers and my parents feared for my safety. I said nothing to my brother about the black threads. After all, I only imagined the objects that danced before my eyes, right?