Stars and Stitches

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I opened my eyes slowly, and attempted to sit up. This proved to be one of my worst ideas, as my stitches ripped and I hissed in pain, falling off the bed, which opened more stitches, on my back. I yelled in pain, and more stitches in my throat opened.

Sandi rushed in, and hissed in annoyance. She picked up an odd looking syringe, and stabbed my thigh, then started muttering. I thought she was cussing, at first, but then I realized she was speaking in words I didn't understand, and energy was coiling around her like a snake.

Soon my stitches fixed themselves, and I passed out.

--- ten days later ---

I opened my eyes slowly, and grunted in pain. My arms were tied to the bed, as were my ankles and waist.

Sandi walked over, and undid them. "Don't do anything stupid this time, okay?" She said sternly.

I nodded slowly, and she helped me sit up. "How long was I asleep?" I asked, pulling a tiny amount of crust away from my eyelid.

"10 days. I kept you asleep with herbs, so you could heal." She said.

"Medically induced coma... Okay... And how close am I to walking or running?" I asked.

"Another week or so." She said. "Even with my help, your body was severely damaged, turning in the Old Way." She shook her head.

"Old Way? Turning? Did I miss something?" I asked.

She nodded, helping me stand and sit in a large chair. She sat across from me, and handed me a small clay cup filled with water. "Slowly." She warned.

"Okay... But please explain that." I said, and sipped the water. My throat felt like ice was shredding it, but I powered through it.

When I set the cup down, she nodded. "You turned yourself into a ShapeShifter. A type of Mage that mostly deals with Nature Magic, though it's not uncommon for them to branch out and try other magics. The only difference between you and them, is that you were made this way. They were born. That symbol on your shoulder wasn't there, before, right?" She pointed to something.

I raised an eyebrow, and she knew I couldn't turn my head to look. She held up a sketch of it. "This is what's there. That's the Magical Glyph for 'Into', as in 'Turn Into'."

"Okay... So you're saying killing the Leopard turned me into a Nature Mage?" I asked dubiously.

"No. It's when you killed each other. That's why the Old Way isn't done any longer. It's so risky. You have to die, in sync, with an animal that's trying to kill you. The chances of success... 1 in 3,000 managed it, and their children were Shifters, and theirs, on and on into the centuries since then." She leaned back.

"So... I died?" I asked.

She nodded. "I was there as the breath came back into your body, and your heart began beating. The leopard dissolved, and its essence soaked into your soul. The skin and teeth will make your familiar, if you want. Any questions?"

"Uhm... Okay... Familiars are magical creatures that mages use for guards, right?" I asked.

She blinked. "So you do know about magic."

"No, it's all legend where I'm from. Completely false. But the legends may help me understand some things... Okay... What else? What changed about me? The legends say when you become a Mage or a Wizard, some part of you becomes different."

"We're your eyes always Silver and Gold?" She asked blandly.

"My eyes are Silver." I said.

"Then that's what changed. Your left eye is golden, and your right is pure silver." She said.

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