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Mylox and Millen

Friendly Familiars

Ever since their introduction to the world at the hands of a dying wizard, Mylox and Millens have been a favored familiar of young apprentices studying the ways of magic. Their reputation as familiars is bolstered by their unique abilities and highly social behaviors. Many first year wizards studying at large colleges are often gifted these cute pets as familiars and go one to keep them for many decades, decades during which the Mylox or Millen never seems to age, always a puppy and always as joyous as one.

When these beasts are not used as familiars, they can be animal companions that are more like family than servants. When this is the case, they have a tendency to yap and bark at anything that moves and have access to: Bark, Bark, Bark: The Mylox or Millen, as a bonus action, releases an onslaught of aggressive growls and barks. Any hostile creature within 90 ft. makes a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or is deafened for one minute. Creatures deafened in this way also lose their bonus action, using it to try and block their ears from the constant barking. 

Mighty Mylox

Mylox are the stronger of the two, sporting two large horns and two sharp tusks. Mylox use these jagged weapons to defend their friends and families by any means necessary, often risking their own health and safety in the process. Mylox are known to hardly sleep, spending their days under the feet of their humanoid masters as steadfast guards and then keeping a watchful eye around the perimeter of their homes all night. Mylox that do sleep, often do so quickly alongside a Millen benefiting from its Cuddle Buddy ability.

Merry Millen

To hold and hug a Millen is the greatest joy of a young wizard’s life. They live to sleep and receive hugs and will do anything to be the center of their master’s attention. This is often done by standing atop its master and wrapping them in the many folds of fur that drape off its body like large blankets. When a humanoid has earned the affection of a Millen, they may be privy to rub the belly of the sleepy beast with the folds of fur under a Millen’s belly feeling like expensive velvet fit for royalty. One warning often shared during the gifting of a Millen is to not allow it to sleep in your bed for three days in a row. Once it has slept in a humanoid’s bed on the third day, it will regard the bed as its own and take great efforts to let nothing else on the bed, including its master to whom the bed truly belongs.

The First Mylox and Millen

Kel swallowed a cough. His throat burned with the effort, but he knew, if he hadn’t held it, he’d have drawn too much suspicion. His coughs sounded harsh, like obsidian shards chipping in his chest. It was too crowded here, Jinral Square, and people were on high alert for infected. 

Perhaps in another few days, Kel thought, it won’t matter when they trace the local outbreak back to him for having been here today. He had too much work yet to be carted away to triage now. When the heat in his throat subsided and it didn’t feel like his words would scrape against his larynx if he spoke, Kel continued through Jinral Square.

After Kel pushed his way past the tails of a loud pair of Whelek – large whale-folk that ambulate on arcano-technical legs – discussing the merits of an experiment they’d conducted on a new healing spell’s reaction to infected patients, he slid into an unassuming shop, Partry’s Pouch. 

The shop was in every way a studying wizard’s godsend. It was crowded with vials and boxes and crates with all manner of spell components and specimens. Spicy aromas cut through the room, smells like hot pepper and fresh citrus. As rich as the shop was in exotic smells, so too was it in strange sounds. Every third crate seemed to burp or grunt like whatever produced the sound wished more than anything to be free, returned to their home from which they were procured.

“Hello, my friend,” said a voice that passed almost exclusively through the nasals. “I don’t see you for a year, then all at once I see you every week the day my merchandise is delivered! If you’ve come into a fortune or inheritance, just tell me now – I’ll let you buy the store!” This voice belonged to Petar Partry, an elf of ambiguous origin who, by Kel’s account, set up shop at the same instance he arrived in Proper Jinral. As Kel entered his shop, Petar stood and turned from a work desk on which many little vials were connected to specimens of animal flesh by strange, glowing wires.

“I don’t have much need for a shop these days.” Kel trusted Petar. The two had been good friends for the last few years since Kel aided the studious shop owner to network with Kel’s colleagues at Academy of Higg’s Spellwork where the latter served as an intro to bioalchemy professor. 

That said, Kel hadn’t – and wouldn’t – disclose to Petar his infected status. With how frequently Kel had visited the shop, he figured, with pangs of guilt, Petar would realize soon enough. It couldn’t be helped. Despite this, Kel took all the proper precautions to stem the spread of sickness, all the proper protective equipment including a solvent of health device of his own design. It took the magical properties of a Ward of Health spell and prolonged and extended the effect via an arcano-technical repellent that hissed behind him like a small steam engine in his pack.

Kel moved like water in the quickest, least restrictive path to Petar’s back room where he had free reign to pick up orders he’d made for delivery. 

“Is it here?” Kel tightened his mask, a simple, leather covering above his nose that made him look more like a rogue than a dying man, as he passed close by Petar.

“What kind of businessman would I be if my guarantees meant nothing? ‘You want it, I got it’, you know my motto! It’s here.” Petar shuffled around a mess of crate’s he’d cracked open earlier that day to join Kel in the back room. He pointed to an ornate box on the top shelf. On it its surface was a relief carved into the wood, artfully abstract decals that depicted a hound.

“Blood of a Bestomorph that died in the form of a hound. A very specific, very interesting request. I was surprised my contact had it. Even a woman whose profession it is to hunt bestomorphs doesn’t always find what she’s after. They prefer to take large forms, dinosaurs and the like, when being hunted. You’re lucky.”

“It feels it.” His cynic irony was shrouded that Petar wouldn’t recognize the joke. He shoved the box into his pack and turned back from whence he’d come. On the way out, he released a pile of gold coins onto Petar’s work bench that jingled like metal rain.

“What is this?” Petar calibrated the bag’s weight in his hand. “This would be too much even if you hadn’t already paid for the blood.”

Kel pulled back the drapes at the front of the shop. He peaked out, making sure there were no state clerics nearby – municipal healers charged by Proper Jinral to remove and ‘treat’ infected citizens.

“Just, think of it as a thank you.”

“Or a goodbye?”

Kel didn’t share a glance with Petar. He was too sentimental, especially for an academic. Then, he skulked away.

Kel produced a slip as he walked. It was a to-do list with things like ‘set up tesla coil’ and ‘assign assets to Lila’s trust’ crossed out. He took a quill and crossed out ‘procure bestohound blood’.

Then, like smoke from a volcano, pressure built in his lungs. 

It ached and scratched his throat. Kel stopped. He forced a breath through his nose – an attempt to quell the cough – but he failed. He dropped a heavy, heaving croak.

“Come here a minute, you.” A state cleric wearing ornate robes with Jinral’s state mascot, a six legged rhino with moose antlers, stitched into its designs rushed to Kel. His eyes began to glow a divine shade of yellow – almost gold.

Kel ignored the summons and picked up the pace.

“Halt,” demanded another cleric. The two closed in on Kel from opposite directions.

Kel kept a polite but rushed pace through the crowd until a third cleric revealed himself. He was being surrounded.

Kel dashed for a large, arched window in the square. The Square was on ground level, but the windows still represented a drop of eight feet. 

“You’re not going anywhere.” One of the clerics, the first one, held up a quarterstaff with a yellow liquid suspended by magic between the fibers of the wooden handle. It resembled a syringe, and he pointed the ‘needle’ end at Kel.

“If that were the case,” Kel said, half hoping his repentant tone might acquit him; maybe, in the eyes of this one cleric. “I wouldn’t have to do this.”

Kel scrambled to the sill of the large window. He looked back.

The cleric spoke something in a dialect of a language Kel though he recognized. Then, his eyes flashed like lightning. From the syringe, a pin needle of gold light arced toward Kel.

Kel swung his hand into his pack and, at once, produced a cloud of dust, bone dust. 

He twisted his fingers artfully, a practiced choreography, and ended it with a finger pointed at the cleric’s spell. 

The dust, like dust from an old, dirt road, mixed with the spell and fell as a flickering mess of inert mud, a counterspell.

“Crono H’latus.” Kel hacked the last syllables of this spell, but it still worked. 

His eyes flashed and a ripple like heat waves off a tin roof spread in a circle centered on him. Immediately, people who were snapping their heads to see what the commotion was did so slowly. The cleric’s sprint became a jog, then a walk, then a full stop.

Time paused for all but Kel, but just long enough for him to dash away and be too far gone for the clerics to track.

Back home, time had returned to its normal pace. Kel limped through his front door and threw off his bag and mask. He crumbled to the floor and swung the door closed with his foot. 

He pulled up his shirt to expose a tattoo on his side above his ribs. It was the shape of a solar timekeeper and fizzed and smoked like bread fresh out the oven. It had to be placed above his ribs so the tattoo, in addition to having enough skin for such a powerful spell, would hurt like hell to have done. The pain, in a magical sense, was the down payment for the great effect the spell was designed to invoke. 

Damn, Kel thought to himself. He had planned to use the Halt Time spell now, at home, to have the extra half hour to set up his next and final act of magic. He would have to rush now.

He pushed through the pain into the next room. He flipped some switches as he entered and some luminescent stones came to life like small suns. With them, a large tesla coil began to hum gently in the center of the room. 

He zipped some organic materials he’d kept cold-stored in a chilled, ivory box carved from a Ice Elefont’s tusk to his bench and set out to prepare a ritual spell he’d been working on. 

He coughed again, this time the response was from his only child, Lila.

“Dad, is that you? Is today the day?” a young girl’s voice broke the chaos of magical work being done.

“It is!” He coughed again. “Give me a moment, then I’ll come right out!”

“Okay!” In the other room, Lila was hard at work ding as her father had instructed before he left for the market earlier, drawing a picture of the two of them depicting a giant present between them. This present represented the ‘surprise’ Lila was told she was going to receive today.

After a few minutes, rushed and characterized by Kel’s many curses that if he had not used the halt time spell this work would have been easier, Kel joined his daughter in the next room.

His eyes were deep, and his skin was pale – nearly translucent – like a jellyfish growing cloudy for having been removed from the sea. His lips were scabbed at the corners and his breath shook as he walked.

“Are you…okay?” Lila had just seen her dad this morning. He was healthy then, healthy looking. She knew sometimes he’d come back tired after just a moment in his lab, but this was a shambling echo of her father that stood here now.

“Lila…I- I’m not okay.” He was honest now. He’d decided there was not use being anything but honest in the end. “Dad is very sick.” 

Tears formed in his eyes.

“I’m not going to make it very long.” He paused. 

Lila shuddered like a child who’d just been shown the world with no means with which to process it. 

“You’ll be okay though. I’ve set things up for you. When I’m gone, you’ll go live with your Aunt Kili. She’ll take care of you.”

“I don’t want you to go!” Lila demanded, as if demanding such things was a commandment by which the world must submit. 

“I’m not going anywhere. Especially before giving you my surprise!”

Lila’s face, as innocent and naive as it was, couldn’t help but brighten slightly. Even in the wake of what she’d learned, her mind wanted to convince her things were actually alright. Dad wouldn’t be giving me a gift if it was that bad she convinced herself.

“W-what is it?”

“Do you remember when you asked me for a pet last year? You wanted anything!” He coughed. “I didn’t think much about it then, but I wish I’d gotten something for you.”

Lila looked past her father – at the drapes that separated this room from Kel’s study.

“No peaking!” Kell said. “I didn’t get you a pet because I was worried an animal in the house wouldn’t be very safe. I’m still worried about that, but I’m going to give you something special, something I made myself!” “What is it?” Lila’s smile lit up her face and dried the beads of tears forming in her eyes. 

“It’s something, two somethings actually, that will protect you! 

“One is handsome with great tusks and mighty horns! It will protect you from anybody and anything that would harm you, and guard your bedroom while you sleep and the house while you play!

“The other is adorable with gentle, soft fur that wraps around it like a giant blanket. It will cuddle with you when you ar sick and keep you warm when you are cold.

“I know you are supposed to name your own pets, and you can, but I’ve been calling them Mylox and Millen.” “Wonderful names,” Lila said. She repeated their names, pretending to say ‘I love you Mylox’ and ‘Hello Millen’ so as to test them out on her tongue. 

“Would you like to see them?”

“Yes, please!”

Then, Kel kneeled down next to Lila and gave her a long hug. He held her so tight he thought, for a moment, he’d squeezed the sickness from him – but he hadn’t. When their embrace was over, Kel stepped back into his study. An electrical fizz rang through their home followed by a gentle, pink light. 

Kel did not walk back out from the study. His body was limp and dead in a chair next to the tesla coil. It would have been that way later tonight anyway, he was too sick. His soul; though, was transformed.

Out from behind the drapes, two young creatures stumbled out. They were just learning to walk. 

First, a puppy with black fur. Two little ‘tusks’ that needed to grow more to truly earn the name poked out from the jowls. On his head were two nubs above the ears, not yet horns. As he trembled on his little legs, he playfully charged at Lila when first the two met eyes. 

Second was a round, portly puppy who dragged her folds of skin behind her. She tripped on her long skin and, without missing the opportunity, rolled right onto her back, then over back onto her legs. As soon as she reached Lila, she curled into a warm ball of fur that felt like it was melting into Lila’s lap.

Soon after, Lila’s aunt would pick her up, and Lila would leave to her new home. 

Lila never had to see her father lifeless in the chair in his study. That was his wish. Why make her feel like he was gone when, in all the ways that mattered, he wasn’t.

Every time Lila felt the urge to cry, to miss her father, she was immediately overwhelmed with kisses and hugs from two magical dogs who carried in them one half of a man’s soul, Mylox and Millen.

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