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peino

egratia magic school

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Yay, I finally read this... and its GREAT peinio :wub: Can't wait to see what happens next, you're so wonderful with making rich characters ;) about ten times as good as me :(

 

There were a couple little things that caught my eye if I may critique?

 

Chapter 3;

Late at night, silence and shadow haunted the corridors of Tarsengaard Magic School. The classrooms stood empty, and only the sounds of sleeping could be heard in the dormitories, where the students lay in their beds, exhausted. Perhaps a few isolated candles still burned in a few professors’ chambers, but they were few and seemed leagues apart from each other in the vast darkness of the school.

Those two fews sounded really repetitive to me when I read it... but it could just be me :icon13:

You missed a "few". :D I am/have been painfully aware of that redundancy, and it's not the only one. I've been forcing myself not to rewrite until the whole first draft is finished.

 

Chapter 4;
Chairs!”, said Urdo, pointing at the other mages with a piece of bread. “He steals chairs.”

You have no " before chairs. (Great line there by the way :D )

 

Can't wait to read the rest of it Peino \o/

Fixed that one. :)

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Great read again! :icon13: You really have a way with words peino, interweaving poetry into a story..or something like that. Makes it sound really nice!

I'm glad you like it, Roja. It gives me a lot of confidence. A thousand thanks. ;)

 

I just hope you don't mind that we're not in Egratia yet. Since this story has decided to be about the person who creates the school, we have to follow the life path that brings him there. I do finally have it mostly outlined, sort of. If you remember, you gave me leave to start the draft without the outline because I was having so much trouble with it. If you'd like to see the outline of the whole story, please let me know, and I'll post it here or pm it to you, whatever you prefer.

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If I minded I'd have told you. What matters most is that the story's good-and so far it's very good! :icon13:

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Cool, thanks. Here's the next chapter:

 

THE EGRATIA SCHOOL (working title)

 

PART I: THE IRON CHAIR OF FLIGHT (continued)

 

CHAPTER 7:

 

Galian went hunting again that day in the Valley’s fertile woods, this time with an order from the keeper of the Moonshadow Tavern. In the morning, she bagged two deer and sent them back via the tavernkeeper’s laborers and then carried on to kill several rabbits with blunt-tipped arrows which elves used especially for such light game. Afternoon found her sitting by the woodmen’s campfire, eating a lunch of fruit and bread while gutting and cleaning her small catches.

 

It was then that Fyod Merevig came along, marching through the woods with the blackest scowl Galian had ever seen.

 

“Good day, Fyod,” she called merrily, as he came near, and she was gratified to see his angry expression immediately lighten.

 

“Good day, Galian,” he replied. “Been hunting?”

 

“No, I’ve been hunting.” Galian winked up at him. He laughed. She noticed the papers under his arm. “Going to the smithy again?” she asked.

 

“Yes.” He bit his lip a little uncertainly, as if he wasn’t entirely confident in his errand. “Listen, Galian, do you know much about metalworking?”

 

“Not really,” the elf replied. “I’ve been specializing in healing and protective magic.”

 

“I see.” Fyod chewed his lip some more.

 

“Is there something I can do for you, Fyod?” Galian asked.

 

“Well, I’m wondering if you wouldn’t come with me to the forge. That is, if you wouldn’t mind. I’m at a point in my work where I feel I need a fresh perspective.”

 

“I’ll be happy to help, but I’m not sure what I could offer.”

 

“I’d just like to have you along, if you’ve nothing else to do at the moment, and if anything sparks a thought or question in your mind, I’d like to hear it.”

 

“Very well. I have nothing else to do today. Let me just tie up these rabbits.”

 

Quickly, Galian strung the animals on a leather cord to hang from her shoulder, took up her bow and quiver, and followed Fyod to Gerund’s Smithy.

 

They were there for over an hour as Fyod reviewed his plans with the smiths. As Galian had feared, she understood barely a word they said. It was all highly technical metallurgical talk about refining and temperatures and spectrums and so forth. The old, experienced blacksmiths seemed uncertain of the young dwarf’s instructions and argued every point, with demonstration on the bellows and anvils to support their views. Fyod was their equal at least on these points, it seemed, though, and in the end, they agreed to do as he asked. Then they haggled over price for a while.

 

At last when the deal had been struck, and Galian followed Fyod out of the smithy, she broke her silence.

 

“You are trying to get iron refined to a particular purity, is that correct?” she said.

 

“Yes, partially,” said Fyod.

 

“For what purpose?”

 

Fyod stopped and looked up at the tall, fair elf, as if trying to reach a decision. He did.

 

“I am trying to manufacture modable iron.”

 

The plain, blunt words surprised Galian. For a moment, she merely looked at the black-haired dwarf gazing up at her steadily with his black eyes as the wind sighed and creaked in the trees above them and a host of questions, objections and other thoughts ran through her head.

 

“Modability is a magical quality that is either in an object or not,” she said at last. “It cannot be forced, but emerges naturally during the making of an item. That is why it is so rare.”

 

“I need it to be less rare,” said Fyod.

 

“Why?”

 

“Come with me, Galian. I want to show you something.”

 

Galian followed Fyod back to the Moonshadow. He let her take a moment to deliver the rabbits to the tavernkeeper, then led her on to the upstairs room he and his friends rented.

 

There, in the corner where Boralas had left it, she saw the iron chair.

 

A ragtag thing it was, nothing more nor less than a plain wooden chair -- perhaps the one he had carried from Tarsengaard -- with bits of metal stuck on. But when Galian touched it, a shiver of magic chilled her fingertips. She bent to take a closer look. A binding stone and a serpent stone were set onto the back of the chair, and iron had been hammered into plates to fit the contours of the chair, nailed into the wood. On each plate was engraved a compound sigil. It was a pattern Galian had never seen before. She ran her hand over them and felt a small swell of power, but a weak and fading one.

 

“What does this mean?” she said to Fyod.

 

In answer, he held out a book to her. She opened it and read on its first page, in Fyod’s hand, “Iron Chair of Flight.” Quickly, she leafed through several pages. It was full of notes, diagrams, calculations, and incantations.

 

“I’d like an ale,” said Fyod. “You?”

 

Galian simply nodded, her eyes still full of the book.

 

Several hours later, in the taproom of the Moonshadow, Galian was still absorbed in Fyod’s book. The elf and the dwarf both had gone through several tankards of ale, and now bowls of stew and a broken loaf of bread adorned the table. Fyod ate, while Galian continued to read, a spoonful of stew hovering between her bowl and her mouth. Finally, she put the spoon down.

 

“This is remarkable, Fyod,” she said, the first words she had spoken in more than an hour. “Do you realize what you are doing with these experiments?”

 

“I do,” replied the dwarf. “And I was certain you would, too.”

 

“If you are successful, you will have found a way to enchant almost any kind of object, not just swords.”

 

“Indeed.”

 

“However, if I understand this correctly, you have succeeded several times in causing a chair to fly around small areas, but the enchantment quickly fades, unlike the permanent enchantment of a magic sword.”

 

“Exactly,” said Fyod. “That is why I need a steady supply of modable iron. I wasted years trying to enchant the wood itself, but I discovered in the writings of the experimenter Tulerian that iron possesses a unique quality that allows it, above all other materials, to attain modability. Unlike the magical energies of stones, which are what they are and can never be anything else, modability allows a mage to channel any energy into the iron itself, rendering an ordinary substance magical -- in combination, of course, with binding and serpent stones.”

 

“Those are also rare,” observed Galian.

 

“Not half as rare as modable iron,” said Fyod.

 

“It seems, though, that rarity of materials is not your only problem.” Galian ate a few spoonfuls of stew. “Strange,” she said. “I have never heard anyone talk of modable iron before, only of modable swords. Are you certain it is not something in the process of swordmaking that causes the enchantment to...stick, as it were?”

 

“That is exactly what I have come to think,” said Fyod. “The fact that the enchantments do not last has led me to believe that there is something lacking in the processing of the iron for the chair models to date. It just is not pure enough.” With those words, Fyod seemed to be taken far away, into his own thoughts.

 

“Maybe the wood interferes. Why not make a chair completely out of iron?”

 

“We can’t afford it,” replied Fyod absently. “As it is, we have to cannibalize the chairs for each round of experiments. We’ve been using the same stones for over a year now. Who knows how much power they have left?”

 

“Oh. Are you sure it is not the nature of swords themselves that matters?” asked Galian, thinking of what she had learned in the few classes on enchanted weapons she had taken. “Something about their shape that lets them hold and channel energies?”

 

Fyod returned to the present. “There is that school of thought,” he said, swishing a piece of bread through his stew, “but Tulerian rejects it.”

 

“Tulerian has been discredited,” said Galian.

 

Fyod’s eyes flashed with a sudden anger, like brief lightning in a clear night sky. “Tulerian has not been discredited,” he declared. “He has been ignored. It is far from the same thing.”

 

“Of course,” said Galian gently, and Fyod’s expression became shy and embarrassed. He looked down at his food, poking it around with the bread.

 

After a few moments of awkward silence, Galian asked, “Will your friends be here again this evening?”

 

Fyod shrugged. “We only have my breaks from the Magic School to meet. I go back in the morning, so I suppose most of them have gone their ways as well.”

 

“I see.” Galian paused. “May I ask, why a flying chair?”

 

“I wanted to make something useful.”

 

Galian could not help but smile. “Useful? How?”

 

“Well, think about it. All our lives, we have had to walk everywhere, carry all our loads on our backs or in barrows by our own strength. Imagine if we or our goods could be carried by something else instead. Imagine what that would do for laborers, for merchants, for the aged or infirm.” A fresh new light of excitement shone in Fyod’s eyes now.

 

“But surely that is on the horizon anyway,” said Galian. “We already have flying ships thanks to the inventions of gnomish engineers.”

 

“Gnomes, bah!” spat Fyod. “Those little skunks think themselves high and mighty with their grand plans, but do they ever consider the real needs of the people? What have they brought to the races of Draia but a way for them to make money off us, charging fees to journey among the lands?” The fire burned even brighter in Fyod’s eyes. “They and their human partners both, they keep a tight hold on their formulas, don’t they, to control others’ access to wisdom that should belong to all.”

 

This was an opinion Galian had heard before, among her own people. Although she discounted the hint of conspiracy it implied, she found it hard to dismiss out of hand the complaint against the habit of humans and gnomes to use secrecy to keep others dependent on them, in order to maximize profit from their works. It was part of the tension that had existed for many years between the elves of Tirnwood and the relatively new human ruler of Whitestone, Lord Luxin. Personally, Galian cared little for politics, but if she was to become a mage for her people then she would be expected to advise the Tirnwood council, so she had to keep up with affairs of government at least a little.

 

“But now imagine,” continued Fyod, “if everyone could command such powers for themselves.” He grinned fiercely. “That would put the wind up them, wouldn’t it, if every person in Draia could transport twice or more their own weight in ores or other goods and carry them across the seas without having to pay a middleman each way? Imagine what that would do for industry. Imagine the benefits to the lives of common folk.”

 

“I can imagine that the one who could give them such abilities would become quite wealthy and powerful as a result.”

 

“That’s hardly the point,” said Fyod impatiently. He took a moment to drink his ale. “All my life, Galian,” he said, “I have watched my people labor in the mines of the dwarven lands. It is a proud heritage, but our life is hard and dirty and painful. I have seen our elders become stooped and bent, their joints gnarled by the ravages of the work, their backs twisted and turned to stone by the loads they must bear. And even when they can no longer move freely enough to work, still they must walk and walk, everywhere. Why, I ask you? Do we not deserve better? Do not all people deserve a little comfort, a little dignity? You said you are studying healing. How many patients have you seen who will never walk ably again, having been crippled by war in service to the gods? Do even the gods’ champions not deserve some support after they have sacrificed so much?”

 

Fyod leaned across the table, fully alight with his ideas. “We are mages, Galian. Our will shapes the forces of the universe. What use are we if we do not use those powers to serve our fellow beings? We can shape the world. We have a moral imperative to shape it for the good of all.”

 

Galian felt the force of his words working within her. It was an intriguing idea, new and unprecedented. Galian was no radical herself, but it was hard to ignore the pull of Fyod’s utopian declarations. Indeed, what use were mages if they could not help people? That much alone could not be denied.

 

“I return to Tarsengaard tomorrow,” said Fyod, “and so do you, I believe. In the morning, I will collect my materials from the smithery. They will have used the last of our stockpile of iron, and if the new formula for the plating is successful, then it will be all I’ll have to work with until the group meets again.” He fixed the elf’s gaze with his black eyes. “Will you help me when we get back to the school? You have a an excellent mind, Galian, and great inner power. I need you.”

 

Galian let her eyes wander over to the fire leaping in the tavern’s hearth. The first thought Fyod’s proposition brought her was that Master Urdo Viy would not be pleased. But that was only her first thought on the matter.

 

“I would like to understand more...,” she said, nodding slowly.

Edited by peino

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Peino, you have provided us with another great chapter. What a shining talent. Thanks.

 

A couple things caught my eyes as I was reading it.

 

...the writings of the experimenter Tulerian...

"experimenter" just did not seem to flow well. I wonder if you might like "experimental researcher" better?

 

A couple other small corrections: Whitestone should be White Stone and where you said

You have a an excellent mind...

you have an extra article there.

 

Keep up the great writing. I love it!

 

Phil...

Edited by PhilDaBurn

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Ok got to read it today, here are some comments, otherwise it's good!

 

“Good day, Galian,” he replied. “Been hunting?”

 

“No, I’ve been hunting.”

 

Ok I don't get it at all :D

 

“Well, I’m wondering if you wouldn’t come with me to the forge.

 

shouldn't it be would?

The elf and the dwarf both had gone through several tankards of ale

I would not expect an elf, especially one like Galian, to go through tankards of ale :)

 

 

gnomes to use secrecy to keep others dependent on them, in order to maximize profit from their works

 

Gnomes would not do this at all. They are very open, excited, and happy to show others their work, how it works, plans, etc..

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Ok got to read it today, here are some comments, otherwise it's good!

 

“Good day, Galian,” he replied. “Been hunting?”

 

“No, I’ve been hunting.”

 

Ok I don't get it at all :laugh:

Feh, lame. I'll delete it later.

 

“Well, I’m wondering if you wouldn’t come with me to the forge.

 

shouldn't it be would?

Either way. I'll change it in rewrite.

 

The elf and the dwarf both had gone through several tankards of ale

I would not expect an elf, especially one like Galian, to go through tankards of ale :D

Oh, really? Peino is a pretty heavy drinker, though he's more of a mead man himself. :o I'll fix that in rewrite as well, to give the sense that Fyod is doing most of the drinking.

 

gnomes to use secrecy to keep others dependent on them, in order to maximize profit from their works

 

Gnomes would not do this at all. They are very open, excited, and happy to show others their work, how it works, plans, etc..

I'll clarify this in rewrite as well, to make it clear that this is an opinion Galian has heard but knows to be false. It's supposed to be just an opinion that floats around, not a statement of fact. It's a prejudiced opinion, obviously, and not an accurate description of how gnomes and humans really act. It's the kind of thing said by people who are dissatisfied with their lot in life and are looking for a scapegoat to blame for it -- someone to blame for "keeping them down" in some way. This prejudice is just a small part of Fyod's mindset. It feeds his mad-scientist kind of paranoia and resentment about people not appreciating him, which Galian will come to see more and more clearly. But it's not really part of the plot, except where Fyod might occasionally make nasty comments in his escalating conflict with the human mage Urdo Viy and other authority figures he will run afoul of. Actually, Fyod is the kind of person who will say things like that about anyone who doesn't give him what he wants, which Galian will also come to learn, unfortunately. Any time anything makes him wait for his desired outcome, he gets angry and accuses someone of trying to hold him back.

 

 

 

[edited because I decided not to include spoilers just yet]

Edited by peino

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JUST AN UPDATE:

 

Hi, all. I just wanted to let you all know this project is not dead for me. And I'm not dead, either. RL kidnapped me but good, with both annoying things and good things, so I'm not complaining. :)

 

At the moment, I'm in the weeds on earning RL $$ (coins are so much easier!) and progressing on writing projects, including this story (which is not being cooperative). However, I'm hoping to be back in both the forums and the game itself soon. :)

 

So...anyway...just wanted to let you know I am working on this..

 

P

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get your ass back online pei :)

 

And work on writing! I can't wait to see more of this story! It was coming along so great :)

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Okay, this thing started out really well, but as I worked on it at home, it ran into serious structural problems. After a long time working on it, I am going to make the following changes:

 

1) The PoV will be changed to 1st person, in the secondary character of Galian. It will be a memoire of events she witnessed. She is writing after the Great War, about events that happened before the Great War. I am doing this to keep the story on track by imposing a limitation. It kept jumping the tracks and losing direction before.

 

2) This means I am rewriting the chapters that have already been posted, but I am keeping the basic plot.

 

3) Because I've been having so much trouble with this, I'm posting spoilers here to invite as much review and comment at all points as possible.

 

DETAILED PLOT SUMMARY:

 

PART 1: THE IRON CHAIR OF FLIGHT

 

(1) Galian Starhawk first sees Fyod Merevig in the Great Hall at Tarsengaard, during a demonstration by sigils master Urdo Viy. Interested in the flamboyant young dwarf, Galian asks Urdo about him and learns that he is a scholarship student, supported by a rich patron, and that Urdo does not like him. (2) However, grading papers for Urdo, Galian reads the paper Fyod wrote for the class and is struck by his apparent intelligence. (3) Later, Galian witnesses Fyod stealing books from the library, but she chooses to say nothing. (4) Another night, after working late for Urdo, Galian is walking through the school after lights-out, and discovers Fyod studying by himself, taking notes from an ancient and disused text on enchanting. She chooses not to turn him in again. (5) She is glad of her silence when she is serving at the weekly faculty breakfast and hears Urdo Viy denouncing Fyod in very strong terms, including accusing him of stealing from the school. He keeps up his attacks even though Jerun advises him to be more patient with the headstrong student. Privately, Urdo complains yet more to Galian about Fyod and warns her to stay away from him. Galian thinks he is driven by a personal prejudice.

 

(6) Some time later, during a break from classes, she meets Fyod on the road to Mynadar, and they travel together to the dwarven city, chatting and getting to know each other a little. (7) In Mynadar, Fyod introduces Galian to his friends, who jokingly call themselves the Merevigian Society, because their main interest as a club is exploring Fyod Merevig’s theories of magic. Among those friends are twin dark elf brothers, Bordagul and Bordalas, who strike Galian as rough characters. (8) Galian joins the group in playing dice games with magic, during which Fyod melds his magical power with hers in a way she has never experienced before. It is shocking, unexpected, but at the same time exhilarating and deeply interesting. Galian realizes Fyod is practicing magic far above their proper level as students. (9) The next day, Fyod invites Galian to participate in the group’s experiment. This is how Galian learns what Fyod is doing -- trying to enchant objects other than just swords and armor for the purpose of creating labor saving and fast transportation devices that common people can use. He outlines a vision of a world utterly different from the Draia Galian knows, one that is the servant of the people living in it. With Galian and Fyod working together, the experiment is a rousing success, but the twin brothers are not pleased to have her brought into the group. (10) Galian overhears Fyod arguing with them about her while she reads his notes. Her interest in his work outweighs any concerns about conflicts floating around it, though.

 

Returning to Tarsengaard, Galian agrees to keep helping Fyod with his experiments, but she soon has cause to worry. Fyod works too hard and begins driving her just as hard. (11) The pace is exhausting, and the careful Galian is worried about making a potentially dangerous mistake due to fatigue. She also realizes that Urdo Viy was right when he accused Fyod of stealing. He doesn’t just take books from the library but also raids the supply rooms for materials for their work. (12) Galian learns this when he involves her in one of his raids. (13) Galian urges him to stop and to present his work to Grandmaster Jerun, who she is sure would approve and support it, but he angrily refuses and speaks denigratingly of the whole Tarsengaard establishment. (14) Meanwhile, the more excited Fyod gets about the experiment, the more he goads and taunts Urdo Viy, whom he despises. Urdo suspects that Galian is involved with Fyod and warns her again, predicting that Fyod’s days at the Magic School are numbered. (15) Fyod ignores Galian’s warnings, and on another supply raid, Fyod falls into a trap laid by the vindictive Urdo and is caught in the act. (16) At his hearing before Master Jerun, Fyod is called up on both his thievery and his secret work, which is the more serious issue. Jerun might be inclined to punish Fyod for stealing and keep him as a student, but the nature of his work proves indeed to be too dangerous for one as inexperienced as him. It puts the whole school at risk and is clearly forbidden to two inexperienced students. Because of that, Jerun has no choice but to expel Fyod from the Tarsengaard School, while Galian is put on probation.

 

PART 2: THE SIGN OF THE HALF-RAVEN

 

MORE TO COME

 

The above shows how the chapters I've already drafted and posted here are changing.

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THE LEGEND OF FYOD MEREVIG, VERSION 2

EDITED 1.23.09 PER ROJA'S COMMENTS AND OTHER CHANGES (marked to show what was changed]

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Time heals all wounds, it is said, but there are some marks that never truly fade. The years layer scars over scars, burying what we once thought the most important event in our lives under other, intervening, overwhelming experiences. The questions left unanswered, the conflicts never resolved, haunt us throughout our days like ghosts, waiting patiently for something to recall them to our minds, sometimes long after we have lost the power to do anything about them.

 

One such ghost was recently conjured up for me by the sad news of the death of an old teacher of mine. He was Urdo Viy of Whitestone, Master of Sigils and Lidaien at the Magic School of Tarsengaard, where I first studied the magic arts. He was advanced in years even then, when I first knew him. He lived a long life through many hardships, and just this past month, I learned that he had passed away at last, quietly in his bed at the school he had served and loved most of his life.

 

Hearing of his passing brought it all back to me in stark and vivid detail, the adventure we had shared in a way, in what I now think of as the innocent days before the terrible war that tore our old lives apart, as it did to so many.

 

I realized with no little shock that I am the only one left who was directly involved in that incident. Fyod has been gone these many years. The war took away most of the others who were there to see what happened. Now Urdo is dead, and there is no longer any reason to keep silent.

 

No one is left from the past to be hurt, but the questions that still linger in a distant land may yet bring harm to others who might stumble unawares upon a certain ruined place. And so I, Galian Starhawk of Tirnwood Vale, am resolved to recount the events that I personally witnessed in the hope that this tale will stand as a warning, or perhaps as a guide. To be honest, I am not sure which I should hope for.

 

 

PART 1: THE IRON CHAIR OF FLIGHT

CHAPTER 1

 

I first saw Fyod Merevig in the Great Hall of the Tarsengaard Magic School, during a lecture in Advanced Spell Conjugation by the sigils master, Urdo Viy.

 

I had always found Master Urdo’s lectures quite useful, if not for their content, then at least for the chance to practice the mental discipline needed to stay awake through them. There was no denying that Urdo Viy was a brilliant mage of classical training, but there was also no denying that he was a poor public speaker whose lectures sorely tested the ability of his students to maintain the mental control necessary for advanced wizardry.

 

He had been talking for more than an hour, his small voice made yet smaller by the vast, empty space of the hall, as he explained the principles by which minute variations in the combination of sigils and words could produce differing spell effects both great and small. His audience filled barely two thirds of the first six rows of seats. All around me, students fidgeted, cleared their throats, and otherwise strained to stay focussed on his minute explanations of highly technical principles. I had a slightly easier time of it, I must admit, for I had already read everything Master Urdo had written on this subject. Knowing what he was going to say, I could allow his slow, flat drone to fade as it was naturally inclined to do and concentrate instead on the delicate and beautiful illusions the hands of the master conjured to illustrate his points.

 

In the air above his head, Urdo called forth a ball of fire and, with just a slight modulation of the ancient, mystical words sigil invocation and the casting of a different essence, caused the same sigils to transform transformed glowing flame into a glittering cloud of snow.

 

Smiles broke across the fatigued faces of the students, and quills scribbled over notebooks, when the pretty effect was suddenly shattered by the loud, echoing bang of both of the entrance doors of the Great Hall being thrown open.

 

“What? What?” demanded Master Urdo, as we students turned in a body to find the source of the noise.

 

Like a compact, deep black storm cloud, he swept towards us, down the auditorium tiers. He was a young dwarf dressed in fine black garments from head to foot, the only color the bright peacock plume that adorned his hat, his cloak flung rakishly over one shoulder. With neither word nor hesitation, nor any acknowledgement that he had interrupted something, he marched down to the empty seat next to me, cast his cloak over the chair, hung his hat on the chair-back, and sat himself down. One leg he crossed over the other, and in the hand that rested on his knee, he held a scroll tied with string.

 

He cast me a quick up and down glance, impersonally appraising, but his bold dark eyes were drawn away by the voice of Urdo Viy.

 

“Master Merevig!” the master barked like a fox in the woods. “What do you mean by walking in here in this fashion?”

 

The dwarf looked at him as if he had not realized before that he was in the room.

 

“I thought we had a paper due,” he said in a melodious voice that filled the hall easily. He held up the scroll. “This is the third Worun of Zartia, is it not? Please,” he added with a bit of drama, “don’t tell me I’m early.”

 

Urdo Viy flushed red from his neck all the way up and over his bald pate. “No, indeed,” he retorted, “you are far from early.”

 

Furious, the elderly mage tugged at his purple robes, brushed imaginary dust from his sleeves, and returned to his diagrams with a little cough and a muttered, “Where was I?”

 

A student on the other side of the hall raised her hand to remind him of where he had been, but it hardly mattered to me at that point. The lecture was near its end, and in any event, my concentration had been completely broken.

 

 

 

At which point, the phone started ringing, and my concentration was completely broken. More to come. --P

Edited by peino

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Ok sounds good so far :) Just a few things to critique:

Master of Sigils and Lidaien

 

What is Lidaien?

 

 

He had been talking for more than an hour, his small voice made yet smaller by the vast, empty space of the hall, as he explained the principles by which minute variations in the combination of sigils and words could produce differing spell effects both great and small.

Try to avoid long sentences with multiple subjects like this. It gets very hard to stay focused on and, for me at least, I end up having to read the sentence more than once.

 

 

“I thought we had a paper due,” he said in a melodious voice

 

Would a dwarf have a melodious voice?

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Ok sounds good so far :) Just a few things to critique:

Master of Sigils and Lidaien

 

What is Lidaien?

It was a magical language that had been in an older version of the explanation of Draian magic, but I see now that it has been deleted. I'll take it out.

 

 

He had been talking for more than an hour, his small voice made yet smaller by the vast, empty space of the hall, as he explained the principles by which minute variations in the combination of sigils and words could produce differing spell effects both great and small.

Try to avoid long sentences with multiple subjects like this. It gets very hard to stay focused on and, for me at least, I end up having to read the sentence more than once.

I'll try.

 

“I thought we had a paper due,” he said in a melodious voice

 

Would a dwarf have a melodious voice?

Sure, why not? Nice, deep, melodious speaking voice. This is how I like to build characters, with individual traits, not just in keeping with expected types. Fyod has several traits that speak of a level of elegance that doesn't jibe with his economic circumstances. Whether it's natural or a pretention, it's part of his personality that he speaks, dresses and acts a certain way.

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CHAPTER 1 CONTINUED

 

A student raised her hand to remind him where he had been, but it hardly mattered at that point. The lecture was near its conclusion anyway, and the air of concentration had been utterly broken. Irked, I laid my pen into my book and glanced over at the well-dressed young dwarf.

 

He was looking at me, leaning back in his chair and staring at me in a most forward manner. Apparently, his impertinence was not reserved for his teachers only. His gaze aroused my defiance. I stared right back at him, to see if he would blush and look away. He did not. Rather, a quick half-smile flashed across his face with a humorous kind of arrogance that seemed almost to assume we were sharing a joke.

 

I remember being struck even then by how out of place he seemed. It was rare in those days for dwarves to take formal magic training, so that alone caused him to stand out among the mostly human and elf students at Tarsengaard then. His fine clothes and impeccable grooming contrasted with the simple garb of his fellow students as well. The perfect cleanliness of his large hands made me self-conscious about the brown nut ink smudges that stained my own hands and the cuffs of my white dress sleeves. His thick, raven black hair cut short and his black beard trimmed to a neat point gave an elegance to his strong features. I had forgotten to comb my own hair that morning, and pale blond strands had been floating around my face all day. I suppose I must have looked like I had been caught in a wind.

 

Still a little irked, I pointedly held out my book to him, silently offering to let him use my notes to catch up with the class. He merely grinned and declined with a wave of his hand. He may as well have laughed aloud, but I got the feeling he was not laughing at me.

 

At that moment, Urdo Viy concluded the lecture. Students rose quickly to their feet, chairs shuffled and scraped over the stone floor. I gathered my materials together and prepared to collect papers for Master Urdo, for whom I was serving as clerk that semester. When I looked around, the young dwarf was gone. The string-tied scroll lay on the chair in his place. Indeed, he had come by only to deliver the paper that was due.

 

“Hmph,” Urdo Viy sneered later, when he saw the scroll amongst the others in his office. “Another lackluster attempt by Fyod Merevig.”

 

He cast the scroll aside with such obvious contempt that I decided impulsively to feed my curiosity a little.

 

“Who is he?” I asked casually, as if I did not in any way care.

 

“A scholarship student,” Urdo Viy shrugged. His tone indicated his opinion of the poor students who gained entry to Tarsengaard by the generosity of wealthy patrons who paid their tuitions for them. “Too big for his britches by half. Thinks very well of himself, does Master Merevig, very certain that we have nothing to teach him. I assure you, Galian, there is no mage potential there.”

 

“I wonder that I have never seen him before,” said I.

 

“My dear girl,” replied Urdo Viy, “you have never seen him because you spend your time studying properly, not carousing in taverns. Do not trouble yourself over him. With luck, you will never see him again.”

 

Master Urdo bent to fuss over his diagrams and potions, and I found myself looking down at the pink, bald head of this elderly human. He seemed so small and weak in his ornate robes. On the surface, there was little of the mage about him, either, but when he cast the small spells he used in class, any person of sense could see the ease with which he shaped the magic to his words and his will. He was one of Draia’s foremost experts in the language of sigils and the art of spell crafting, a mage of great power and learning. Yet to look at him, one could easily take him for a tailor dressed up for a costume ball. Surely, it did not do to judge a book by its cover.

 

“If you can mark those papers tonight so I can evaluate them in the morning, it will be appreciated, but do not work too late,” said Urdo as he locked away his materials and prepared to take his leave.

 

“Yes, Master Urdo.”

 

Naturally, as soon as I was alone in the office, the first student paper I turned to was Fyod Merevig’s scroll.

 

It was much shorter than the other students’ papers, and before I had read far, I guessed it would be much less dull as well. The assigned topic had been a review of a certain theory from a certain book. Fyod’s treatment of it amounted to a monograph on the underlying theory, largely bypassing the specific subject. It was clear, concise, as well as correct, as far as I could see. I was certain Master Urdo would not be impressed with it, because he preferred papers filled with footnotes and citations, but I had clerked for other masters who I thought would have approved of Fyod Merevig’s work on this. An overdressed, arrogant mountebank he might be, but a sharp, swift intelligence seemed evident in this example of his work.

 

Indeed, to judge a book by its cover is to judge too soon.

Edited by peino

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CHAPTER 2

 

Although I had never noticed Fyod Merevig around Tarsengaard before that day, now that I was aware of him, I began to see him everywhere – though truth be told, never in a classroom.

 

Like all of us students, he appeared promptly and regularly in the dining hall, where he usually ate while reading a book on his lap. Like many of us, he held a job in the school for a small stipend to supplement whatever allowance he had to live on. Fyod worked for the Keeper of Supplies, and I frequently saw him toting equipment, chairs and whatnot around the complex. However, no matter what he was doing, he was always so lost in intense thought that it was impossible to approach him casually.

 

Beside the store rooms and dining hall, he also appeared frequently in the library, and that was where I first realized that Fyod Merevig was engaged in unusual study.

 

In my own job as a student clerk, I spent a lot of time in the quiet retreat of the library, doing research for the masters and professors I served as well as my own class work. One day, as I as haunting the aisles, I heard what had become the familiar swish of Fyod Merevig’s cloak rushing by. Curious, I stuck my head around a bookcase and saw him at the far end of the aisle, running his fingers along the spines of large and dusty tomes.

 

What is he doing there?, I wondered. There was nothing in that aisle but ancient books about enchanting, books no one had touched in a long time. Fyod was clearly looking for something particular. I could not imagine what he expected to find in those obsolete works, which were of use to no one but those studying the history of magic. As far as I knew, Fyod was no historian.

 

I saw him finally pull out a big, leather-bound volume. He ran his hand over the worn cover. Then t§ucking the book under his cloak, he hurried out of the aisles, past the librarian’s desk, and out of the library.

 

I should have informed the librarian that he had taken a book without signing for it, but there was something about his intense concentration, that dark face always lowered in thought though I knew for a fact it was capable of smiling, that made me hold my tongue. I told myself it was not my business, but really, I just wanted to see what he might be up to.

 

 

That same spring month I attended Master Urdo Viy at the monthly breakfast of the senior faculty in the private apartment of Grandmaster Jerun, the Mage of Air. Seated around his spacious table laden with fresh fruit and bread and tea spiced with spirit enhancing potions, the heads of the various departments took the opportunity to discuss affairs of magic, the business of the school, and other matters of academic interest. As usual, some portion of the collegial morning was taken up by the complaints of Urdo Viy.

 

“...And, he steals,” the Sigils Master exclaimed on this particular morning, concluding a catalogue of recent offenses he had been laying at the feet of Fyod Merevig, who I realized was his most common annoyance.

 

Several of the other mages laughed. Some shook their heads. “What does he steal?” the Summoning Master asked with a broad smile.

 

Urdo Viy waved a dismissive hand. “All sorts of things,” he said impatiently. “Tankards from the kitchen, tools and scrap from the workshops.”

 

“Scrap is waste,” said the Weapons Master. “Free for the taking.”

 

"Chairs!” said Urdo, pointing at the other mages with a piece of bread. “He steals chairs.”

 

This brought even greater laughter from the assembled company.

 

“Why would anyone steal chairs?” one asked, and another added, “Aye, and where does he hide them?”

 

“I wouldn’t know,” said Urdo stiffly. “Perhaps he sells them for ale money.”

 

“I wasn’t aware there was much of a market for stolen chairs,” remarked the Summoning Master, and Urdo Viy shot him an irritated look.

 

“All I know is that the housekeeping staff have said that these sorts of items have been going missing over the last six months, which just happens to be the time that Fyod Merevig has been working for the Supply Keeper.”

 

“Have they accused Merevig himself?”, asked Grandmaster Jerun quietly.

 

Urdo briefly met the clear, cool, blue-eyed gaze of the Air Mage, arguably the most powerful human mage in all of Draia, renowned for his calm mind and swift intellect.

 

“Not as such,” said the Sigils Master, tearing at his bread, “but the inference is there.”

 

“Well,” said Jerun, “I am sure that, when the housekeeping staff have evidence of the thief, they will bring it to me directly.”

 

I could see by his expression that this gentle reminder of the school’s hierarchy grated on Master Urdo’s nerves.

 

“I tell you,” he insisted, “Fyod Merevig is trouble. I do not understand why none of you will listen to me.”

 

“Because we do not see why he bothers you so much,” said the Summoning Master.

 

Urdo turned his attention directly to the other mage and said, with some heat building in his thin voice, “I have dedicated my life to following the path of wisdom and the teachings of Unolas.”

 

“As have we all,” remarked another of the mages.

 

“But Fyod Merevig has no respect for the ways of Magic or the will of our god. He disdains the honored traditions, ignores all protocols of decorum and safety alike. He makes jokes in class -- when he bothers to show up at all. He insults the staff, pokes fun at everything, runs his own experiments without supervision or authorization. He is a danger, I feel it in my bones.”

 

“Oh, really, Urdo,” laughed the Summoning Master, but the school’s Chief Physician demurred.

 

“Now, now,” she said, “let us all remember the respect we share for each other and not upset ourselves over our meal.” The other mages subsided into calm at her words, and waited for the white-robed healer to continue. “I cannot say what Fyod Merevig has or has not done beyond my own experience of him, but I can understand Master Urdo’s feelings. The lad worked for me briefly last year in the healing chambers, but I had to let him go. He is too intense, too driven, too impatient. He seemed more interested in the processes of the magic than in the well-being of the patients. In fact, a few of the healers complained that he had disobeyed their instructions for treatment of their patients. I got the feeling he just wanted to see what would happen if the potions were mixed or the spells cast a little differently. That is why I dismissed him. Perhaps it was just the over-eagerness of youth, but in the practice of medicine, such an approach is irresponsible, at best.”

 

“See!” cried Urdo Viy. “He is unfit! How did he even gain entry to this school?”

 

“He passed the tests,” said Jerun, “which is the same standard we apply to all students. Young people come to Tarsengaard with nothing but talent and spiritual potential. It is up to us to guide and shape them into mages. If one of them takes the wrong path, the fault is not his, but ours.”

 

This time, Urdo met and held the Grandmaster’s gaze. “With respect, Master Jerun, you have great faith in your students, but mark my words, this one will betray your trust.”

 

“You are right, Urdo,” replied Jerun. “I do have faith in my students, and I also have faith in my teachers. I know that you will find a way to settle your conflict with Merevig, for the good of the school.”

 

Urdo Viy bowed his head and said nothing more, but I, seated nearby like other student clerks attending their masters, felt uneasy at the exchange. I had never before seen anyone defy Grandmaster Jerun in such a manner. The wisdom of the Mage of Air normally could clear away any dispute, but Urdo would not let go of the issue of Fyod Merevig easily. In fact, I would come to learn that he had his own ideas of what best would serve the good of the school, primarily that Fyod not be a student in it.

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Hi. Here are a few little things to fix later.

 

"One day, as I as haunting the aisles..." s/b ...as I was...

 

"Then t§ucking the book under his cloak, ..." there's an extra symbol stuck in the middle there.

 

"“Have they accused Merevig himself?”, asked Grandmaster Jerun quietly." - you don't need the comma.

 

"“Well,” said Jerun, “I am sure that, when the housekeeping staff ..." - s/b ...sure that when the... (without the comma)

 

...following the path of wisdom and the teachings of Unolas.”

 

“As have we all,” remarked another of the mages.

Even the summoning teacher?

 

 

As always, your stories are so good at grabbing and holding my attention. I admire your skill. Keep up the great work. :P

 

Phil...

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Hi. Here are a few little things to fix later.

 

"One day, as I as haunting the aisles..." s/b ...as I was...

 

"Then t§ucking the book under his cloak, ..." there's an extra symbol stuck in the middle there.

 

"“Have they accused Merevig himself?”, asked Grandmaster Jerun quietly." - you don't need the comma.

 

"“Well,” said Jerun, “I am sure that, when the housekeeping staff ..." - s/b ...sure that when the... (without the comma)

Thanks for catching those, Phil. Some of those are old errors from the first draft, and some are because I was working on an unfamiliar keyboard (that pesky section symbol).

 

Even the summoning teacher?

Sure, why not? I'll follow whatever Roja wants to do about that, but the way I see it, Unolas is a god primarily concerned with wisdom and, in his wisdom, he realizes that there is not just one path to wisdom. To him, knowledge, all by itself, is morally neutral, so whether the god is good or evil, or even whether the magic is good or evil, a proper mage would be able to learn from it -- even if it comes from a god who, between gods, would be Unolas's enemy. Otherwise, why would summoning be taught in the same magic school as healing and other kinds of non-evil magic?

 

In my view, regardless of whether their gods get along, mages are all mages, following the ultimate path of Unolas, which is the path of wisdom.

 

Now, I can tweak that, if Roja (teh goddess) says so, but in this story, Fyod's studies go against the rules of magic in Draia, yet Unolas himself does nothing to stop him. Unolas is Sir Not Appearing In This Film in this story. I would rather not address any questions about that until the whole story is laid out for people to see where it's going.

 

Also, consider the scene. It's the faculty breakfast. Urdo is being pest enough with his anti-Fyod rants. Do we want to start an argument with the Summoning Master about which god he follows, too? Poor Jerun, having such rude people over for breakfast. :P

Edited by peino

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Summoning is a dicey idea, I would never say that Summoners should be limited to the followers of Selain. Because then it would become an 'evil' art. Personally, I'd say you can summon without having Selain as your patron god. I'm sure the followers of mortos have people who can make essence (alchemists, and Elandria and Mortos aren't the best of friends I'm sure).

 

This hasn't really been addressed as an official idea... but my opinion would be that a 'good' summoner would not be a follower of Selain, simply a summoner. And doubtless the next god they'd revert to worshiping would probably be Unolas.

 

I would see a follower of Selain as someone tending towards 'evil' things, lies, deceit, self-centered, greed, etc. Which doesn't exactly make the model 'good guy' or a very trustable teacher likely to be hired by a generally 'good' institution. Of course he could lie and all that fun stuff... but anyway...

 

Good Summoner = Not follower of Selain

Follower of Selain = Bad Guy

 

:doze:

 

Anyway, that's my opinion ;)

 

Oh, and welcome back Pei, good to see you writing again! :D

Edited by Enly

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Summoning is a dicey idea, I would never say that Summoners should be limited to the followers of Selain. Because then it would become an 'evil' art. Personally, I'd say you can summon without having Selain as your patron god. I'm sure the followers of mortos have people who can make essence (alchemists, and Elandria and Mortos aren't the best of friends I'm sure).

 

This hasn't really been addressed as an official idea... but my opinion would be that a 'good' summoner would not be a follower of Selain, simply a summoner. And doubtless the next god they'd revert to worshiping would probably be Unolas.

 

I would see a follower of Selain as someone tending towards 'evil' things, lies, deceit, self-centered, greed, etc. Which doesn't exactly make the model 'good guy' or a very trustable teacher likely to be hired by a generally 'good' institution. Of course he could lie and all that fun stuff... but anyway...

 

Good Summoner = Not follower of Selain

Follower of Selain = Bad Guy

 

:doze:

 

Anyway, that's my opinion ;)

 

Oh, and welcome back Pei, good to see you writing again! :D

Good points. So we can assume that the summoning master of Tarsengaard is a "good summoner." :)

 

And thanks, Enly, it's good to be writing again.

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CHAPTER 3

 

Urdo Viy’s disturbing resistance to Jerun was soon pushed to the back of my mind by the demands of my studies. Nevertheless, over the following weeks, the awareness of Fyod Merevig slipping about the school with books and other things hidden under his black cloak, and of Urdo Viy casting him sharp and angry glances and bristling at any mention of him, became a repeated distraction. In my years as a student, I had experienced the magic community only as a supportive and tolerant family, in which the young could express their ideas and follow their curiosity, always with the protective guidance of their mentors. I had never before seen anything like the personal animosity between Urdo and Fyod. Whenever their paths crossed, Urdo would be sure to say something dismissive and Fyod would be sure to say something mocking. Remembering, Grandmaster Jerun’s words at the breakfast, I could not help but blame Urdo a little for it all, for as provoking as Fyod certainly was, surely it was up to the teacher to set the example for the student. Urdo’s constant complaints about Fyod began to get on my nerves, but perhaps that was only because, working for him, I had to listen to them often.

 

Naturally, then, I was especially grateful for the spring break that year, and a whole week without Urdo’s dire mutterings.

 

I had wanted to make the long trip home to Tirnwood to see my family, but from letters I had learned that most of my kin were off traveling and that even my mother and father would not be in our home village when I was off from school. There was little point then, in journeying all that way only to spend one night alone under the great oaks and then trek back across the mountains. Instead, I decided to spend my week hunting in the forests around Mynadar in the Valley of the Dwarves. In fact, having settled on that plan, I embraced it eagerly. Though my mind loved to be absorbed in the theories and arcane texts of magic, the rest of me had been yearning for some fresh air and exercise.

 

With that in mind, I changed my usual long white gown for some hunting leathers and a green cloak, tied up my blonde hair into a long braid, packed up my bow and a quiver of arrows and some books to read over meals, and set off on a misty morning. A drover carrying ale agreed to let me ride his mule cart most of the way, and it was while I sat atop a barrel, bumping over rocks and ruts, that I spied a familiar figure on the road ahead.

 

I immediately recognized Fyod Merevig in his black clothes with the peacock feather nodding on his hat. He was marching along in his usual preoccupied manner and carrying a plain wooden chair on his back. He did not even look up as the drover’s cart overtook him. The sight of him in his fine clothes with that chair hiked over his shoulder and his glowering expression on his face made me smile. On impulse, I jumped down from the cart and stepped into his path.

 

“Good morrow, sir.”

 

He glanced up in irritation, as if I had interrupted a profound chain of thought, but then a bright smile broke across his face.

 

“It’s you!” he exclaimed. “The elf girl.”

 

“Well, yes,” I allowed, “one of many.”

 

“Oh, no, not many like you at all.” Grinning, Fyod swung the chair off his back and set it on the ground between us. “How ridiculous is it that I am carrying this chair?”

 

“That depends on why you are carrying it.”

 

“Why, to change its location, of course.”

 

“Then it is not ridiculous at all.”

 

“Ah, but I can’t help wondering why it can’t carry me,” he said with a wink.

 

“It can,” said I, winking back, “but not far.”

 

Fyod threw back his head and laughed heartily. “Well said and very true.” He held out his hand. “We have never been properly introduced. I am Fyod Merevig of Zirakinbar, son of Uvrim the Hammerer.”

 

I gave him my hand in return. “Galian,” I said, “of the House of Starhawk, born of Tirnwood Vale.”

 

“Where are you going, Galian Starhawk?”

 

“To Mynadar.”

 

“Why?”

 

“To hunt. And you?”

 

“To Mynadar as well.”

 

“Why?”

 

“To drink. Shall we walk together?”

 

“Let’s.”

 

Fyod hoisted the chair again.

 

“Are you anticipating a chair shortage in the taverns of Mynadar?” I asked with a laugh.

 

“You never know when you might need a spare,” he replied.

 

And so we went together, chatting of this and that. By mid-afternoon, we had entered the Valley of the Dwarves and come to the bridge into bustling Mynadar. There we parted, and I went to check in and stow my belongings at the guest house where I would be staying.

 

I hoped to get in a few hours hunting before the sun went down, and indeed that is just what I did. Within the hour I was alone in the forest, surrounded by the sounds of wind and river and birdsong in the trees. The cares of student life fell away, as I threw myself into my favorite pastime from home. I had chosen dedicate my life to the pursuit of magic, but in truth, the marble halls and arcane laboratories of such places as Tarsengaard did not suit me at all. My heart belonged to the greenwood. Ultimately, my goal upon earning the title of mage was to return to Tirnwood and there, among the ancient oaks, serve my people as healer and advisor in their dealings with the world and the gods. But that day was far away. For now, I was content merely to have these few hours to myself, stalking game with bow and arrow, in the kind of place that made my spirit glad.

 

By the time the setting sun had set the river ablaze with orange light, and deep blue shadows had begun to spread across the land, I had bagged a brace of rabbits and two beaver. With these strung on a leather strap over my shoulder, I hiked back into town to see if I could trade them for some supper and a little money at the Moonshadow Tavern.

 

The Moonshadow was, and I believe still is, the most popular place in Mynadar, and on that night it was so crowded and noisy that I could barely hear my own voice as I tried to negotiate with the tavernkeeper. Somehow, though, we seemed to strike a deal, and I was just about to hand over the animals, when a hand fell heavy on my arm.

 

“Forget all that”, cried Fyod Merevig. His black eyes shone like burning embers, and his cheeks were red with the heat of good dwarven ale. “You’ll be my guest for dinner, so this rogue can pay properly for the beasts.”

 

“Hello again, Fyod, but I don’t mind trading. It’s my plan for the week.”

 

“Not tonight, it isn’t. We have a whole roast to share. Tie that money pouch to your belt and come meet my friends. I insist.”

 

As soon as I had the coins put away, Fyod dragged me to a large table at the back of the room where a boisterous party of elves and dwarves was going on.

 

“Everyone!” he shouted. “This is Galian. Galian, this is everyone.”

 

“Hail!” the friends all cried at once, and immediately fell into chaotic laughter.

 

A chair was offered -- I wondered briefly if it was the one Fyod had brought with him -- and someone handed me a tall mug of ale dripping with foam. As I raised my drink to the company, I noticed that a few of them were looking me over with less than encouraging expressions. In fact, I felt a slight but distinct atmosphere of tension, perhaps even suspicion, under the general jollity, and a more than slight vibration of magic as well. A mystical aura definitely hung about this crowd. Were they all mages?, I wondered. They did not dress the part. If not for the force of power I felt around the table, I would have taken them for bandits, pickpockets and street peddlars. Two elves at the far end of the table, in particular, twins who eyed me with narrow smiles on their lips, seemed to emanate a darkness that put me on my guard.

 

But Fyod gave me little time for such musings. Before I was done toasting my hosts, he had cut an enormous slab off the venison roast in the middle of the table, and this he slapped down on a wooden dish in front of me. Reaching as far as he could across the vast table, he speared some carrots out of a bowl and put them on my plate, too. Then he slammed the carving knife’s point into the table and bellowed with laughter like a small, neat god of thunder.

 

“Where were we?” he shouted.

 

“You called three and six for nine,” said a dwarf woman. I saw then that they had been playing dice games among the dishes and tankards.

 

Fyod snatched up the dice and cast them. As they flew, he muttered some words, and other players, focused on the dice like hawks over a rabbit, whispered as well. I felt a sudden rush of energy over the table. The dice hesitated in their bouncing flight, twisting back and forth in the air as if changing their minds. Then the building pressure of opposing energies burst with a flash of greenish light, and the dice fell and bounced and settled.

 

“Four and two for six!”

 

Fyod cursed murderously. “Boralas, you evil cur, you did that!” he growled as one of the elf twins laughed, and a flurry of coins changed hands around the table.

 

“Spellcasting games, eh?” I said with interest. Such amusements were strongly discouraged in Tarsengaard.

 

“Indeed,” said Fyod. “We do this all the time. You try one.”

 

“Yes, let the lady cast,” shouted the gathering as I picked up the dice.

 

“I don’t know the spells,” I said.

 

“Ha!” laughed someone in the group, “The old ‘what’s this game called?’ trick. We’d better watch out for this one.”

 

“I’ll help you,” said Fyod quietly to me.

 

I shook the dice, and as I did, I felt Fyod lay his palm against the small of my back. I felt first a pressure, then a quivering warmth that pushed itself into my spine as he murmured words in the ancient language, but in the general noise, I could not make out the incantation. At the same time, I sensed the rising power of the other mages, waiting to catch the dice with their own spells. I hesitated, unsure what was about to happen, but my curiosity got the better of me. I opened myself to Fyod’s energy. I felt its heat flow through her body, mixing with my own in a rush that brought a blush to my cheeks.

 

“Call it!” his friends yelled.

 

“Five and one for six,” said I, and I threw the dice.

 

The duel of magic lasted only seconds. I felt the powers struggling to control the dice in mid-air, felt them first connected to me and Fyod. Then they were taken by another, and then another, and then grabbed back by Fyod, and so on until finally, I saw my moment and pushed with my own energy. The bubble burst, and the dice fell.

 

“Five and one!”

 

“Yes!” cried Fyod.

 

“No fair!” cried others, “They worked as a team.”

 

“All right, all right,” laughed Fyod, “we’ll call this one a pass, shall we? Leave all bets on the table for the next throw.”

 

I resumed my seat, flushed, winded, feeling exhilarated. Fyod smiled at me. “Not bad,” he murmured.

 

So the evening passed. I withdrew from the game after that one throw and just watched the rowdy action as I feasted upon the good venison and ale. Jokes and fellowship drowned out all other concerns around this band of friends, who seemed to have known each other a very long time. All seemed to look up to Fyod, and soon I felt welcomed too, perhaps because of his approval.

 

The party was still in full swing when I retired for the night. In the nearby guest house, as I lay in the dark under unfamiliar blankets, I thought about what I had seen and felt. Never before had I seen magic used so casually -- and never had I even thought of gambling with the power. Master Urdo would have been scandalized. I could not help smiling as I imagined his reaction. And whatever would he have thought of that trick Fyod played with his hand on my back? Even I did not know what to think of it nor, to be completely honest, of my own willingness to open myself to another’s power that way. Too forward, Galian, I thought, too reckless by half. My cheeks warming with a blush, I pulled the blankets over my head and willed myself towards sleep and away from wondering what Fyod and his friends were doing throughout the night.

 

 

 

Note: These chapter breaks might change. -- P

Edited by peino

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Some things that caught my eye you'll want to address later.

 

"I had chosen dedicate my life to the pursuit of magic, ..." "I had chosen TO dedicate"? or "I had dedicated..."???

 

"...I had bagged a brace of rabbits and two beaver." You need an S added to "beaver".

 

"Were they all mages?, I wondered." Perhaps italics on the thought, but lose the comma after the question mark.

 

"I felt its heat flow through her body, mixing with my own ..." The "her" here, seems to refer to Fyod. Should this be "his" instead?

 

 

 

Keep up the great work, Peino. :confused:

 

Phil...

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Thanks again, Phil. You're good at this proofreading thing. I might have to kidnap you and keep you locked up in my attic, or something, for future use. :confused:

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Hm, I don't see why good people can't worship Selain also. I mean he is the god of corruption and greed, so even the most caring would be tempted to have the blessing of Selain :)

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