What does it mean to be filled with hope? I’ve always been an atheist, ask me about miracles a week ago and I’d likely invalidate your argument in the worst way possible.
I don’t know if its the start of a paradigm shift, but from the ‘miracle’ crystal sample, to my daughter showing up as her assignment, to being able to enjoy Anayan chicken stew again, my mind might just start to change. Honestly, I’m undecided. As cynical as I am, I’m still careful while I conduct my research, and I question the motives of the powers that assigned Ana here. I initially thought that Garrick arranged for a Spellblade to accompany me to help with my research. How did he know about the significance of my research in the first place when I’ve only discussed the sample with him once? Was Ana here of a Spellblades’ assignment, or was it an order from the Grand Council of Mages? Does Ana even know the significance of my research?
I don’t really know what to do about all these questions, and so I think I’ll stick to my current option: travel to Vanar, play dumb, see what I learn, maybe I can even turn things to my advantage. Uncertainty fills my path ahead, but while I catch up with my daughter, I can perhaps learn something about my current circumstance. What is certain however, is my shot at being able to make a difference in the scientific and magical communities, and my second chance at being a father to my not-so-young-anymore Ana. To those glimmers of hope, I say: we take those.
Speaking of my experiments last night, I conducted the first human experimentation. If my hypothesis from the mice experiment was right, it should not go wrong if I concentrate properly.
Human experimentation notes #1 16/9/1694
Subject: Pirean Heimler (me)
- Heat crystal sample up in warm water.
- Expose left arm to warm crystal for 30 seconds, concentrate on improving grip strength. Handle with right hand, use glove.
- Wait and see how it turns out. Get a towel to bite on in case it hurts. Painkillers on standby as a last resort.
- Clean up thoroughly afterwards.
Observations (luckily I’m right-handed):
Feeling a strange, tingling sensation in my left arm. It is not uncomfortable, but it seems to get more itchy. About 10 seconds pass, and now my aRm hUrts LiKE HeLl, LiKe smTH iS crUsHinG Tt. N0anMnWghjkTmsdg
Writing this after the pain subsides, which was about three minutes after exposure to the sample. The pain feels like something in my arm is being crushed at first, then as time passes it feels as if a thousand white hot needles are being jabbed into my arm. As quickly as the second sensation appears, it subsides, replaced by fatigue and soreness, like when I exert myself through overexercising. Apart from the skin on my arm rippling slightly throughout the process, there are small visible changes after that.
Writing this the next day (17/9/1694). My arm feels weird. I am definitely not used to this degree of vitality or strength in my movement, evidenced by a broken cup when I gripped it a little harder than usual. From my guess, it seems that my left forearm strength has been improved by about threefold. My left arm also appears more muscular, with several veins popping out (reminds me of when I was Ana’s age). This will take some time getting used to.
If what this test shows is true, then it seems that the crystal sample allows me to reverse the effects of aging, and I cannot stress how much that it feels like playing God to a certain degree. Whether the crystal can prolong life by exposure through the constant reversal of aging requires further testing.
Turns out, it worked, although it will take some time getting used to. Since I dislike imbalance, I repeated the same on my right arm, so that it does not look out of place. I can attribute my strength to carrying alot of stuff in my time in Anaya as an excuse. Maybe I should repeat the same on my infrequent headaches which were the last of the annoying symptoms from a few days ago, while the rest seem to have disappeared. Maybe I can be a magical healer of some sort, too? That wouldn’t be too bad either. Fingers crossed, hopefully Ana doesn’t notice anything.
Speaking of Ana, she seems ever-so-slightly excited to teach me the basics of magic, using Garrick’s scryfer as a textbook. I’m really looking forward to that, father-daughter quality time. I’m wonder, does she not have any resentment towards me, leaving her and Dina all those years ago?
“You had your work ahead of you, and while I hated you then, I learnt to forgive you for it. I’m giving you a second chance, but if things were the same as 8 years ago, we’ll part ways for good once this is over.”
Going back to being all cool and calm, a croquette vendor caught her attention and she started being curious again, just like when she was younger. I’m going to hold myself to this promise: to be the father she needs, because we are the only family that the other have. I smile at the thought of our family, and with a literal elixir of youth contained in my bag, I sip my cup of tea and savor a moment on the front deck. We leave for Vanar tomorrow.
Maybe that’s what hope is, a guiding beacon of light in a sea of uncertainty. Faith that all things will turn out alright.