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#41 peino

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 01:28 AM

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.

#42 PhilDaBurn

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 01:22 PM

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...

#43 peino

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 02:28 PM

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, 28 January 2009 - 02:30 PM.


#44 Enly

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 04:22 PM

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, 28 January 2009 - 04:27 PM.


#45 peino

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 04:51 PM

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.

#46 peino

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:56 AM

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, 30 January 2009 - 03:01 AM.


#47 PhilDaBurn

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 03:16 PM

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...

#48 peino

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 03:26 PM

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:

#49 PhilDaBurn

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 12:11 AM

Any time. Just let me know. :lurker:

#50 Acelon

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 05:43 AM

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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