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#1 peino

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 03:17 AM

Here are the first two chapters. More to come as I write them. Please feel free to ask questions/make comments. The more I talk this one through, the more it will help me write it, I hope. :confused:


THE EGRATIA SCHOOL (working title)

PART I: THE IRON CHAIR OF FLIGHT

CHAPTER 1:

Fyod Merevig swept like the wind of an on-coming storm down the grand corridor of Tarsengaard Magic School. Dressed all in fine black, but for the peacock plume that adorned his hat and the jewels that glittered on the dagger sheath in his belt, with his thick, raven black hair tied behind and black beard trimmed to an elegant point in front, the Dwarf could have been taken for a wealthy and powerful benefactor of the school. The steps of his boots echoed among the lofty marble columns. His black cloak whispered in the cold air as he passed. In his hand he clutched a scroll, and his strong, dark features were set in a scowl.

Reaching the enormous doors of the Meeting Hall, he pushed them both open without hesitation and entered.

That day’s lecture in Advanced Spell Conjugation had been in progress for more than an hour. The Sigils Master of Tarsengaard, Urdo Viy, fell silent as the doors burst open. The vision he had been conjuring to illustrate some point fizzled to nothing in the air above his head. The assembled students, who filled barely half the center rows of the cavernous hall, turned as one to see short, stocky Fyod Merevig sweeping towards them.

Without a word, the young Dwarf marched down the auditorium tiers, right amongst the seated students, to an empty chair in the second row. There he cast off his cloak and dropped it over the chair, hung his beplumed hat on the chair-back, and sat himself down. One leg he crossed over the other and rested the scroll upon his knee.

The student next to him, a tall, pale, Elf maiden who had been taking careful notes in a book on her lap, stared at the latecomer with mildly affronted surprise. Fyod glanced at her sideways, up and down, appraising her with his bright black eyes. She, with her own sunset-colored eyes, looked right back at him. Then the Sigils Master spoke up.

“Master Merevig!”, he intoned in high disapproval, his small voice made smaller in the vast empty space of the hall. “What do you mean by walking in here at this hour?”

Fyod Merevig looked at Urdo Viy as if he had not realized he was in the room. “I thought we had a paper due,” he said in a deep, cultured voice, holding up the scroll. “This is the 3rd Worun of Zartia, is it not? Please,” he added with a bit of drama, “don’t tell me I’m early.”

The Sigils Master flushed a florid red from his neck all the way up and over his bald pate. “No, indeed,” he retorted, “you are far from early.” Furious, he brushed imaginary dust from his purple robes and returned to his nearly finished lecture with a little cough and a muttered, “Where was I?”

A student from the other side of the hall raised her hand and reminded him where he had left off, and the teacher began to speak again, but Fyod Merevig did not listen. Sighing, he settled back on the wooden chair. His mind wandered idle for a moment, but then was caught again by the fair figure of the Elf beside him. She was tall and slender like all Elves, and wore a clean white dress of simple design. Fyod noted her long soft hair, the color of ripe wheat, the long ears poking through it, the delicate beauty of her profile. She seemed to glow like a morning mist pierced by the sun. How do Elves do that?, Fyod wondered.

She noticed him looking at her and turned towards him with a silent challenge in her eyes. He smiled and bowed his head. A moment’s hesitation, then she extended her book a little towards him, as if offering to let him read her notes on the lecture. He gestured a polite no-thank-you.

Thus it happened that Fyod Merevig first set eyes on Galian Starhawk, who would become his closest and most trusted friend.

When at last Urdo Viy stopped talking, the students all gathered up their books and scrolls and left the papers that were due that day on their chairs for the teacher to pick up at his leisure. Just as swiftly as he had entered, Fyod took his leave again. If he heard the Sigils Master calling “Master Merevig, come here, please,” he acted as if he hadn’t.


CHAPTER 2:

Galian Starhawk always found Master Urdo Viy’s lectures useful, if not for their content, then at least for the mental discipline needed to stay awake through them. Such control of the mind was vital to mage craft, so she welcomed every chance to practice it.

She had been deeply focused upon the thin drone of the teacher’s voice, effortlessly scribing notes into her book, when the great doors of the meeting hall burst open with an echoing bang that shattered her concentration. With annoyance, she watched the interrupter stride down the aisles of the auditorium and straight to the empty chair beside her, the one she had hoped would stay empty. An overdressed little mountebank of a Dwarf, he marched in as if he owned the school, talked back to Master Urdo in front of everyone, and then had the effrontery to stare at her in such a forward manner. Really, she thought, such nerve!

Master Urdo resumed the last part of the lecture, but Galian had been completely distracted. Anyway, she already knew what he was going to say. She had already read all his writings on the subject. So she rested her book on her lap and her hand, holding her pen, upon the book and let her golden eyes rest on the purple-robed Sigil’s Master and his last few conjurations. After a little while, though, she found herself distracted again.

The well-dressed Dwarf was looking at her again. Such a frank gaze aroused defiance in Galian, so she looked right back at him just as openly. Actually, truth be told, he was nice enough to look at. She had seldom seen a student so impeccably groomed, so spotless and flawless. Normally, they were liberally spotted with ink, dust, ale and soup stains. Her own hands and the cuffs of her white sleeves were smudged with the brown nut ink into which she dipped her quill from a tiny, portable vial. The Dwarf’s cleanliness made her all the more aware it. His luxurious black hair and beard set off his smooth, pale complexion, which gave a kind of fineness to his strong features, and to the arrogant half-smile on his lips and the gleam in his dark eyes. But somehow, that arrogance did not offend Galian. There was something rather charming about it.

With an ironic little smile of her own, she offered her book to him. Not surprisingly, he declined to look at her notes and get caught up with the class.

At the end of the lecture, in the small rush of students gathering up their papers and leaving, Galian dutifully collected the study papers that were due that day for Master Urdo, for whom she was serving as a clerk. She noticed that the Dwarf was the first out of the hall, leaving a single, thin scroll on the chair. When she handed it over to Master Urdo, he sneered at it.

“Another lackluster attempt by Fyod Merevig,” he remarked.

Galian decided to feed her curiosity. “Who is he?” she asked.

The Sigils Master shrugged dismissively. “A scholarship student.” He said it in a tone that indicated his opinion of the poor students who gained entry to Tarsengaard by the generosity of wealthy patrons. “Too big for his breeches by half. Thinks very well of himself, does Master Merevig, but I assure you, there’s no mage potential there.”

“I wonder why I’ve never seen him before,” said Galian.

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

Urdo Viy fussed over his essences and diagrams as he spoke. Galian found herself looking down at the bent, bald head of the elderly Human who seemed so small and weak in his ornate robes. On the surface, there was nothing of the mage about him, either, but when he cast the spells he used in class, Galian could sense the ease with which he shaped the Magic to his words and his will. He was an acknowledged expert in the language of sigils and the delicate art of spell crafting. A mage of great power and great learning, but easily taken for a tailor dressed up for a costume ball.

If people could be mistaken about Urdo Viy, perhaps, Galian thought, they could be mistaken about that Fyod Merevig person, too. She resolved to keep an eye out, just in case she ever did cross paths with him again.

She had not long to wait. After the Sigils Master left her, she carried a heavy armload of books and papers up to the library to be put away. Among the silent and dusty stacks of the nearly empty library, she was reshelving books of air-based spells when the whisper of a passing cloak caught her attention. Looking about, she spied Fyod Merevig down a long aisle, running his fingers over the spines of books as he scanned their titles. But what was he doing in that section? That was nothing but formulas for enchanted weapons. Why would he be reading that? She saw him pull a large and ancient tome from the shelf, tuck it casually under his arm and walk away. Curious, she ducked down the other end of the aisle she was in to see where he went. She saw him sweep past the librarian’s desk without a word or nod, but with the book now hidden beneath his cloak, and out of the library he went.

Galian found this rather interesting. For a moment, she thought she ought to turn him in to the librarian for not signing out the book, but she quickly decided it was no business of hers, and went back to shelving the books.

Edited by peino, 13 April 2008 - 07:14 PM.


#2 Roja

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 06:04 PM

Very well done so far Peino! Easy to read and quite interesting...keep going :)

"..turned in a body"
I'm not sure this is correct. Maybe turned as a body? (like turned as one)?

#3 peino

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 07:13 PM

Very well done so far Peino! Easy to read and quite interesting...keep going :)

Thanks. :)

"..turned in a body"
I'm not sure this is correct. Maybe turned as a body? (like turned as one)?

I've always heard it as "in a body," but I'm changing it to "as one." For such a minor change, I'm not going to repost or highlight it, though.

#4 Enly

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 08:49 PM

Yay, finally :)

Love it so far Peino! Can't wait to read the rest :)

-edit-
Oh and after some discussion it appears that the race names such as dwarf and elf shouldn't be capitalized, and you have them in caps in your story :) so just letting you know :P

Edited by Enly, 14 April 2008 - 02:38 AM.


#5 PhilDaBurn

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 05:00 PM

Very nice work, Peino. I'm enjoying getting caught up in this one already!

Only one thing worth mentioning caught my eye: "The Dwarf’s cleanliness made her all the more aware it." She would be aware OF it.

Great job.

Thanks...

Phil...

#6 peino

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 06:00 PM

Thanks, Phil.

At some later point, I'm going to go through and do some big proofreading on the chapters. Happy to have such catches listed for me in the meantime. :rolleyes:

#7 peino

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 11:18 PM

Chapters 3 and 4:

THE EGRATIA SCHOOL (working title)

PART I: THE IRON CHAIR OF FLIGHT (continued)

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.

In the whole school complex, only one person was still at work at this hour.

Fyod Merevig sat cross-legged on a stack of crates in a storeroom deep in one of the school’s cellars, with a book open on his lap. He had a key to this room because he worked as an assistant to the head Supply Keeper, and he often came here alone in the night, to study without interruption. A candle with six notches cut into it burned beside him. The massive book was heavy on his knees, and he used it like a desk, scribbling notes in his own journal as he feverishly scanned the thick, old pages.

The book was Tulerian’s Of a Compendium of Enchantments, an ancient volume considered obsolete and no longer used, but Fyod was searching for something he wouldn’t have been taught in a class here anyway.

His fingertips raced over the lines of hand-scribed text, one formula after another for enchanted weapons, noting what they all had in common -- the rare stones of binding and serpent power and the even rarer modable metals. That was what he was really interested in. A stone was a stone, after all, but what qualities were required to make a substance modable? He had been through almost every book on the subject in the library so far -- in secret. He was hoping that Tulerian, being of an earlier, more experimental age, would have some comments the others lacked. And so he read, through the late hours, mining for wisdom with the determination of a man obsessed, the scratching of his pen echoing through the stacks of boxes and pots and tools around him.

When the candle had burned down to the last the notch, and the flame was sputtering in the holder, Fyod closed his journal at last. The notched candle was his way of keeping time down here in this underground chamber that had neither windows nor clock. When the last notch had been burned, he knew he still had enough time to return to the dormitory before the other students started to wake up.

His eyes burned and his head ached from the intensity of his work. Quickly, he packed up his notes and the book, hid the candle in his usual spot, and left the storeroom, locking it after him. He went in darkness, having done this so many times he needed no light to show him the way. Quiet as a thief he went, no longer marching with the arrogance he’d shown in the day because now he was on serious business, not out to tweak that old fool Urdo’s vanity.

Though he was bone-tired, Fyod was pleased with his progress and with the ancient experimenter Tulerian. He had found some intriguing information about the nature of iron as opposed to other materials in regard to modability, and it had sparked in his head the beginning of a solution to a problem, which he would be eager to start testing.

He hurried up the great stairways to the upper floor, to the male students’ dormitory. Carefully, he eased open the door and entered the long chamber of beds, where his fellow students all lay asleep. Only the sounds of their breathing, and the usual snoring of Roger of Whitestone, could be heard. Fyod moved to his own empty bed and slipped the Compendium beneath his mattress. Then he stripped down to his underclothes as quietly as he could and eased himself under the blankets, feeling rather protective of the lump under his back. One last listen to make sure he had awakened no one, and finally, he gave in to his fatique.

He drifted away, thinking of how he would use what he had learned, but as he relaxed, the last image his closed eyes conjured was of a tall blonde elf in a white dress, and the last thought he had before fading into sleep was, “I wonder what her name is?”


CHAPTER 4

Once a week, the Masters of Tarsengaard enjoyed breakfast with the Grandmaster, Jerun, the Mage of Air, in his private apartment. Seated around his spacious table laden with fresh fruit and bread and thin wine 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 -- though many times, some portion of the conversation would be 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, the student from Zirakinbar, his most common annoyance.

Several of the other mages laughed, and 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.”

Jerun’s gentle reminder of the hierarchy of the school grated on 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 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 Mr. Merevig, for the good of the school.”

Urdo Viy bowed his head to the Grandmaster and said nothing more, but in his heart, he felt that the good of the school would depend on Fyod Merevig not being a student in it.

Edited by peino, 02 June 2008 - 03:14 PM.


#8 Roja

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 11:59 PM

Great writing again! I really do hope you write more often, I can't wait to read the rest of the story :)

#9 peino

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 12:09 AM

Thanks, Roja! :) As I've mentioned before, this one has been a little less than cooperative with me, but I'm starting to get the feel of it. Unfortunately, life is piling chores and distractions on my plate right now, as well. Hopefully, I'll find my rhythm soon.

#10 PhilDaBurn

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 01:40 PM

Peino,

Your writing is as captivating as ever. I hope your life chores and distractions can be sorted enough to allow you the time to gain and maintain your rhythm. I am looking forward to your next installment in this story line.

Phil...

#11 bruno ramos

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 07:15 PM

This is really nice.
Keep up the good work. :P

#12 Acelon

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 02:58 AM

As usual, writing is great. I'm glad you're beginning to get a feel for this story. I can't wait to read the next section! :confused:

#13 peino

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 12:38 PM

Yay, finally :P

Love it so far Peino! Can't wait to read the rest :)

-edit-
Oh and after some discussion it appears that the race names such as dwarf and elf shouldn't be capitalized, and you have them in caps in your story :D so just letting you know :)

Roja, for my reference when I do the final draft edit, could you please confirm whether race names should be capitalized or not? When we refer to the French, English, Italian people or languages, we capitalize them, so I was thinking we should do the same with the Draia races, but I'll do whatever you want the EL form to be.

#14 Roja

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 01:10 PM

Race names should not be capitalized, since irl we don't capitalize human, (or caucasian, hispanic, etc..). Languages are different than races, and yes languages are capitalized, along with nationalities-such as Seridian, Idalorian, etc.

#15 peino

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 04:49 AM

KK, thanks, Roja. Just one chapter tonight. Man, I'm going to have to do a lot of editing once the first draft is finished. I need to stop finishing these things at 1AM. :)

THE EGRATIA SCHOOL (working title)

PART I: THE IRON CHAIR OF FLIGHT (continued)

CHAPTER 5:

It was several weeks before Galian Starhawk saw Fyod Merevig again.

She had just left the city of Tarsengaard on a break granted her by Grandmaster Jerun in recognition of the months of work she had put in to achieve secondary master levels in three magical disciplines. Actually, Master Jerun had insisted she take a few days away from the Mage School to “rest the mind and spirit,” as he had put it.

“But I am fine,” Galian had argued. “I’m not tired at all.”

“Three days,” Master Jerun had said. “Get plenty of fresh air and exercise, then come back refreshed.”

So it was that Galian found herself walking along the road to Mynadar on a misty morning in the spring. She had considered returning home to Tirnwood to visit her family, but three days was too short for such a long journey, so instead, she decided to visit the Valley of the Dwarves and enjoy a little hunting.

Tall and slender, she strode easily along, mindful yet not afraid of the dangers she might meet. She was dressed in simple, comfortable hunting leathers, with a light, green cloak over her shoulders, and her long, golden hair flowing down her back. She carried a wooden staff in her hand, a bow and a quiver of arrows on her back, and some spare clothes and a few coins in a shoulder bag. She hummed a tune to herself as she walked.

Some distance from the city, she saw a person marching down the road ahead of her. She immediately recognized the short, strong figure of Fyod Merevig in his black clothes with the peacock feather nodding on his hat. He was walking in the same direction as she and carrying a plain wooden chair on his back. She hurried to catch up with him.

“Good morrow, sir,” she said as she came up beside him.

He glanced up briefly with an irritated expression, as if she had interrupted a profound chain of thought, but when he saw who it was, he stopped and smiled.

“It’s you!”, he exclaimed. “The girl from the lecture.”

“I suppose it is,” said Galian, leaning on her staff, “though I don’t think I was the only girl there that day.”

“You may as well have been.” Fyod Merevig swung the chair off his back and set it on the ground. “How ridiculous is it that I am carrying this chair?”

“That depends,” said Galian, “on why you are carrying it.”

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

“Then it is not ridiculous at all.”

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

“It can, but not far,” answered the elf, smiling warmly.

He held out his hand to her. “I am Fyod Merevig of Zirakinbar, son of Uvrim the Hammerer.”

Galian placed her slender, pale hand in his strong, powerful one. “Galian,” she said, “of the House of Starhawk, born of Tirnwood Vale.”

Fyod raised her hand to his lips and lightly kissed it, glancing up at her with a rakish light in his eye. “Where are you going, Galian Starhawk?”

“To Mynadar.”

“Why?”

“To hunt. Where are you going, Fyod Merevig?”

“To Mynadar.”

“Why?”

“To drink. Shall we walk together?”

“Let’s.”

Fyod hoisted the chair again.

“Are there no taverns with chairs in them in Tarsengaard?”, Galian asked with a hint of laughter in her voice.

“None to my liking,” said Fyod Merevig.

And so they went. Fyod, fully two heads shorter than Galian, carried the chair with ease, and Galian, for her part, carried herself just as easily as they chatted of this and that. By midday, they had entered the Valley of the Dwarves. A little further down the road, past the farms, lay bustling Mynadar.

“This is where we part, Fyod,” said Galian. “I am going to the western woods.”

“So am I.”

“The tavern is in the town.”

“I have business at the forge.”

Thus, they traveled together a little farther, as far as the gate of Gerund’s Smithery where Fyod hailed the smiths and was hailed in return as a friend. Galian left him and his chair to whatever business he had with the hammers and bellows, and went off by herself into the quiet woods to see what she could find.

Alone in the forest, surrounded by the sounds of wind and river and birdsong in the trees, this was where Galian was happiest. It reminded her of home, of Tirnwood. Galian Starhawk had dedicated her life to the pursuit of magic, and she knew she had many years of study and practice ahead of her, but in truth, the marble halls and arcane laboratories of such places as Tarsengaard did not suit her at all. Ultimately, her goal upon earning the title of Mage was to return to Tirnwood and, among the great oaks, serve her people in their dealings with the world, the gods, and the ruler of Whitestone. But that day was far away, and for now, she was content merely to have these few hours to herself in the kind of place that felt natural to her.

With bow and arrow, with patience and skill, she spent the rest of the day stalking game, practicing the ancient arts of the woodland elves. The setting sun had set the river ablaze with orange light, and deep blue shadows had begun to spread across the land, by the time she tallied up her catches -- twelve rabbits and seven beaver strung on leather straps to carry on her shoulder, and two deer trussed by their legs to tree branches. She got a pair of toadstool gatherers to help her drag the beasts to town for the promise of a mug of ale each and, with them, she arrived at the Moonshadow Tavern.

The place was so crowded and noisy that Galian could barely hear her own voice as she negotiated with the tavernkeeper to sell the beasts she had killed, but somehow, a deal was struck. The tavernkeeper went off to have the creatures butchered, leaving Galian with a small bag of money to tie to her belt. She had just paid off the toadstool gatherers with their mugs of ale, when a hand fell heavy upon her back.

“Galian!”, cried Fyod Merevig. His black eyes shone like burning embers, and his cheeks were red with the heat of good dwarven ale.

“Hello again, Fyod.”

“Come, meet my friends,” he said, looping his arm around hers. “Dine with us.”

“Well, I--”

“I insist! Put that money bag away. We have a whole roast to share. Come.”

Fyod dragged Galian to a large table at the back of the room where a boisterous party of elves and dwarves was going on.

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

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

Galian was offered a chair -- she wondered briefly if it was the one Fyod had brought with him -- and someone handed her a tall mug of ale, dripping with froth. Raising her drink to the company, she noticed that a few of them were looking her over with less than encouraging expressions. In fact, Galian felt a slight atmosphere of suspicion, perhaps even hostility, 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? They did not dress the part. If not for the force of power she felt all around her, she would have taken them for bandits, pickpockets and street peddlars. Two elves at the far end of the table, in particular, who eyed her with narrow smiles on their lips, seemed to emanate a darkness not too different from that of the worshippers of Selain.

But Fyod left her no more time for such musings. With his silver-handled dagger, 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 her. Reaching as far as he could across the vast table, he speared some carrots out of a bowl and put them on her plate, too. Then he slammed the dagger’s point into the table and bellowed with laughter like a small, neat god of thunder.

“Where were we?”, he shouted.

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

Fyod snatched up the dice and cast them, and as they flew, he muttered some words, and other players, focused on the dice like hawks over a rabbit, whispered as well. Galian felt a sudden rush of energy over the table and saw the dice hesitate 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 elves laughed, and a flurry of coins changed hands around the table.

“Spellcasting games, eh?”, said Galian.

“Indeed, we do this every week,” said Fyod. “You try one,” and he put the dice in front of her.

“Yes, let the lady cast,” shouted the crowd, as Galian picked them up.

“I don’t know the spells,” she 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.

“You wish, Fyod,” jeered another of the company.

Galian shook the dice in her hand, and Fyod laid his palm against the small of her back. She felt first a pressure, then a quivering warmth that pushed itself into her spine as he murmured words in the ancient language, but in the general noise, she could not make out the incantation. At the same time, she sensed the rising power of the other mages, waiting to catch the dice with their own spells. She opened herself to Fyod’s energy, let its heat flow through her body, mixing with her own.

“Call it!”, his friends yelled.

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

The duel of magic lasted only seconds. Galian felt the powers struggling to control the dice in mid-air, felt them first connected to her and Fyod, then taken by another, and then another, and then grabbed back by Fyod, and so on until finally, she saw her moment and pushed with her 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.”

Galian resumed her seat, flushed, panting a little, feeling exhilarated. Fyod smiled at her. “You’re good,” he murmured.

So the evening passed. Galian withdrew from the game after that one throw and just watched the rowdy action as she feasted upon the good venison and ale. Jokes and laughter 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 even she felt welcomed, perhaps because of his approval.

The party was still in full swing when she retired for the night, to a bed in one of Mynadar’s guest-houses. Lying in the dark, under unfamiliar blankets, she thought about the night. Never before had she seen magic used so casually -- and never had she even thought of gambling with the power. Master Urdo would have been scandalized. Galian smiled as she imagined his reaction. And whatever would he have thought of that trick Fyod played with his hand on Galian’s back? Even she did not know what to think of it, or of her own willingness to open herself to another’s power that way. Too forward, Galian, she thought, too reckless by half. Blushing, she turned onto her side and pulled the blankets over her head, willing herself towards sleep.

And while Galian Starhawk lay abed in the small, dark hours, the friends of Fyod Merevig were gathered in another room. Hand in hand, they stood in a circle of painted symbols and flickering candle flames, focusing all their power on an object in the center of their ring. Strange words they chanted, and strange powers they shaped, and the object quivered and jumped on the floor before them, like dice skipping over a tavern table, only bigger.

Edited by peino, 17 May 2008 - 12:03 AM.


#16 PhilDaBurn

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 11:49 AM

Awesome story so far, Peino. Very nice! I'll try to wait patiently for the next installment. :D

Phil...

#17 Acelon

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 02:42 AM

Looks good, I caught one mistake.

"Are there no taverns with chairs in them in Tarsengaard?”, Galian asked with a hint of laughter in her voice"

Do you mean Myndar?

#18 peino

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 03:35 AM

Looks good, I caught one mistake.

"Are there no taverns with chairs in them in Tarsengaard?”, Galian asked with a hint of laughter in her voice"

Do you mean Myndar?

No, because he's leaving Tarsengaard "to drink" and apparently bringing his own chair for the purpose. So he's covered drinking and sitting, but why does he have to go to Mynadar to do it? That's what she means to tease him about. When I do the next draft, I'll think about rewriting that line to make it clearer.

#19 Roja

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 09:50 PM

Great job again!

Yes I think the line Acelon picked up on should be rewritten because it does seem like it should be Mynadar they are talking about-which is fine if changed to that imo.

A couple other things I saw:

and deep blue shadows had begun to spread across the land, by the time she tallied up her catches

I would remove the comma from here.

Two elves at the far of the table, in particular,

end should be put after far.

#20 peino

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 12:02 AM

Great job again!

Yes I think the line Acelon picked up on should be rewritten because it does seem like it should be Mynadar they are talking about-which is fine if changed to that imo.

A couple other things I saw:

and deep blue shadows had begun to spread across the land, by the time she tallied up her catches

I would remove the comma from here.

I want to tweak that paragraph a bit, so I'll leave this and the line Acelon noticed for when I do the second draft.

Two elves at the far of the table, in particular,

end should be put after far.

I'll make this correction now. :medieval:




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