Stories of Kili Toda
October 12, 2018 at 1:19 pm #31535Sílrien RanorParticipant
It was dark- the night’s chill wind brought with it the steely scent of snow from the clouds above and it made the huddle of people stood in the open, exposed to the elements shiver and draw ever closer. Like penguins they were all pressed into the corner, puffing and blowing, hot breath into steam but there was one that stood apart. One that did not join that gaggle of giddy geese.
Marked out in pale green, contrasting with their deep midnight blue. The elf was not as effected, or perhaps, just not as dramatic as the other scholars. Her eyes was looking up into the heavy leaden clouds that were highlighted with the violet filtered gleam of the moon it obscured. The tension was palpable.
Standing before them was a rotund and egg-like pated man, of ancient countenance. His beard flowed and caught in the wind, flapping up into his face which would have him tugging at it impatiently with an “harrummph” before eventually he clears his throat and calls out to the others to gather about.
By way of explanation he starts with “A little unorthodox perhaps but the only way to improve your art is to do it” as he can see there are those among them that would rather be tucked up warm in their beds.
The elf remains silent- just listens as the elder gruffly explains the purpose of the lesson. Rising up above them, the copper spike of the lightning conductor – like a dagger piercing the sky- that would guide any strike from the peak along the wires that stretch the length of the tower to the ground. They are all aware though, at the familiar static tension as the wizard gathers his Energie about him in readiness to cast.
Above them, the night becomes darker, as if the moon is snuffed out like a candle.
“You feel your way, like a blind man in an unfamiliar room- touch is your most important sense when dealing with the natural elements. It is a power that will fight you for control- but control it you must!”
As he speaks the hair upon arms and the back of necks rise like the hackles of an angry hound, causing a whisper throughout the crowd. The other students join the elf in looking up into the dark and just when they think nothing else will happen, the first streak of jagged fork lightning courses across the sky and burns it’s pattern upon wide eyed retinas. Instead of disappearing and leaving the delicate scent of burned air and ozone, it remains, hanging in the air and crackling with muted malevolence. The wizard has raised his hands and his gaze remains fixed upon the phenomenon as he continues.
“Feel it’s power– caress it as you would a lover” and they see his fingers curve and stroke through the air as though he was doing just that and the pulsating flash that seems to be a rent in the sky where the rest of the Verse was shining through, it reacts quite strangely as though a worrisome cat, wanting attention, as his fingers pluck at the air, it too would move in synchronized concert.
“You must remain focused- it is dangerous and wild. Take your eyes off it for even a moment…” and at that he does, averting his gaze to glance towards Silrien with a gentle smile.
At that, the spell is broken, the crackle of static and the strike was immediate, as the element searches for the highest point and rushes towards it. There is an ear splitting crack as it finds the conductor with enough force and ferocity that it threatened to break apart the tower. There were screams, cries, others cringed but Silrien merely stood watching, feeling that power as it rushes down the conductor, down the mechanism that would have it tucked safely into the ground. She was watching, carefully assessing, while others were causing a fuss.
When the others had stopped acting like worrisome children, the professor looks towards them and says “Right—one at a time, and remember what I say- feeel it- allow it to course through you, like cool breath– refreshing tired cells. It is there. It is everywhere- your role- is to gather it together as one” and so at this point he steps back and with a flourish of his hand, encourages the first scholar to attempt what he so adeptly invoked.
The mind must be still, free of the worldly distractions and petty worries that would consume it’s focus and make magic impossible. There was an art, a skill, it wasn’t just the snap of fingers and things happened. That was for those who wished to cut corners. As with all things magical, there was a cause, there was an effect- always a cost. The trick with magic, would be to predict each eventuality and be prepared for it- mitigating the damage if it all went horribly wrong. Which of course, it did and often- not that one would know this given the manner in which it was flung about as carelessly as insults.
No- the true art to magic, was accepting responsibility for it. Its effects- positive and negative. There are those that would do well to learn this. Even in this group. A breath in- cool air rises and she hears it rushing through her ears, echoing through sinii. Still. Like the waters of a lake. The merest ripple all that would hint of the power contained within it. It needed only the wind to become a maelstrom of waves that could destroy a craft as though it were made of twigs.
She was the wind.
Breath out, and there became a serenity about her that was not even shaken by the crack of discharged electricity as the next student attempted the spell. Not a flutter of eyelash nor a facial twitch.
One by one they took up the challenge and some achieved it better than others. Some created nothing more than a crackle that one would experience when stroking a cat, others a great and complex forking of lightning that spread out across the sky and caused the ooo’s and ahhhhs of mindless sycophants.
And soon enough it was the turn of the elf, who had stood silently, watched with some curiosity by the professor who studied her instead of studying the results of his tutelage. She became as empty a vessel as there was, in readiness to draw power from the air around her, becoming smaller and smaller until she was plucking the faint charge of electrons clashing against electrons on a sub atomic aspect, delving into the microcosm to bring forth that which would flow from her and through her.
She became the bridge between the inner and the outer.
As above. So below.
As above. So below.
Power – pure unadulterated energie in it’s rawest form, drawn from air and ground and the minute charge of colliding quark. crisp, crepitate and with a blinding flash, their above them was the simplest form of that energy, that self creating collapsing and forming, a roiling and rolling fulmination, held in thrall by the will of the elf. her eyes wide, gazing up at it’s beauty with a faint smile as she starts to sway, drawing her arms above her head with the sinuous and serpentine action of the snake and the cast mirrors her actions to perfection- drawn to follow her lead- it’s furious feral force felled and contained by an elf.
She is hardly aware of the space that forms about her, as her body moves to create a motion, and to the onlookers it appears the lightning is her partner in a graceful glide. It wavers, it winds, it curls about itself in ways that were inconceivable and beyond even the knowledge of known physics. It was a discharge held in a singular moment and dancing as coquettishly as a country maid.
Silrien is euphoric with the effect, as the rush of success fills her with a joy which this phenomenon seems to enjoy. Still with her eyes upon it, she reaches up with one hand, pointing towards it, the other by her side and striking down and so, as though thanking it for it’s time, she leans forward into a bow.
And so, it responds, the tip of that heated and most energetic fulmination, does the same, crawling ever closer until it filled the tower roof with a sizzling light, and faces become pale smears with it’s scintillation until, finally, the merest kiss upon the tip of the elf’s finger and with an almighty crack it was gone, leaving nothing but silent wonder from those gathered, and the bright guffaws of the professor who claps his hands with delight.
Eventually there are the curious murmurs of questions among the group. The effusive congratulations of the gruff and gravelly professor and a sense of achievement from the elf that has never before been able to invoke magic without the use of words and gestures. This was the sign of the shift in her, as she moves from the lesser path conjurations of the fairground magician, designed to woo the ignorant and uneducated, and cause wonder in children- to the path less travelled- the Greater Path that all scholars strive for and very few attain.
To reach those dizzying heights requires pain and torment and the tearing aside of ego and pride. Very few are able, even less actually choose that path- for to do so- would have mean’t great trauma and suffering and who would wish that upon themselves?
The wizard brushes once more the beard from his face and approaches the elf that was buoyant with success.
“Well done M’dear!” he exclaims. “Beautifully done! A very elegant weave indeed!” and rests a hand upon her shoulder, the weight of which causes Silrien to turn and smile.
The others file away in two and threes, descending the tower stairs, their voices now echoing up through the void until just Silrien and the professor is left.
The elder gazes to her and tilts his head in a conspiratorial manner and says “You have read Froggart haven’t you? That cast had his stamp all over it”
Silrien’s uncertain smile becomes enthusiastic and she nods. “Oh yes! I particularly appreciated his theory of confinement and it’s practical application. And I see now- that he was on the mark!”
Another guffaw from the professor “Ahhhh–a wonder indeed! A student that actually PREPARES!” trailing off into chuckles and snorts. “You will do well here, Silrien- keep it up!” and then he too disappears down the stairs that wind to the ground, leaving the elf alone with her thoughts and the flushed feeling of a job well done.
The darkness is eased as the moon shines from behind the clouds, that rush away towards the hub of the planet and bathes the tower in a cold, pale light. It was a shift indeed- an inexorable journey from which there really was no return. One could not unlearn that which was known, and so- the lesser path would have not the same fascination as it had for her previously, and she would strive towards greater knowledge, greater understanding.
It was intoxicating.
November 28, 2018 at 6:24 pm #32061Sílrien RanorParticipant
The incursion of the ravenous all absorbing entity that was Zheshu had caused concern, more than a little consternation from the professorial caste within the colleges. For something to be able to just slither in and eat whatever magical creature it wanted, without a “by your leave” and they still didn’t know who the human bones belonged to.
It was all such a worry for the staid mages that had become rather relaxed into a rut of lectures, lessons, study and mealtimes.
as many of their rather rotund bellies denoted.
There was a large gathering of them in the Archmages quarters. Silrien was asked to remain as she was the one that brought the troubling news, and listened to the discussions with interest.
“Well” the Archmage continued in response to some of the fearful queries of the faculty. “There has been a headcount- a few are missing. Some though still haven’t returned from show down with the FaE and it was all very rushed- we really didn’t take a formal register.
“But how did it get in here?” trilled one tiny fairy tutor, agitated in the furious hum of it’s wings. “Are the wards not functioning?”
A buzz of background murmuring from the motley gathering and the Archmage holds up hands for order.
“The wards are still in place and fully operational, and indeed have been bolstered. So one can only assume- given the ease in which this…this…”
A pained expression cast across his features
“What is this?”
“Slime sir” answered the Elf as it was assumed he addressed the witness. “It was slime that could shape shift into an orc girl child.”
“Right…right…strange choice but…no matter”
The scatterbrained Archmage seems to engage in what appeared to be self talk, and then his attention was drawn back to the crowd of wizardry.
“Well then– one can assume then with it’s ease of entrance into the land of Kili Toda, that it has magic enough to deserve to be here.”
“Either than or the AM blast affected the island more than was at first assumed.”
“Who knows? Either way- stay vigilant, keep an eye on your neighbours and we’ll deal with it as and when is required.”
And at that, the last of words following was a kind of dismissal and the faculty heads of the various colleges of the Université Magnifique slowly filed from the quarters, all of them considering more stringent personal security measures.
When they had left, the Archmage had returned to his desk and was studying a great, leather bound tome, each sheet of precious, illuminated vellum crackling the spine as it was turned.
“Still here Ranor?” he remarks without glancing up.
“Just one question Sir” Silrien asks with a timid tone.
“What will you do with it if you find it?”
He doesn’t answer straight away still scanning the book, a finger tracing the characters on the page.
“Do?” he replies. “Well, what can we do but train it, kill it or put it to work?”
The silence requires further explanation.
The ancient Archmage taps a long fingernail onto the page he is perusing, and Silrien moves around the ornately carved and enormous desk to look over his should.
The page is beautifully illuminated and in a manner she has not seen before. The characters, script, she could not comprehend, some alien tongue, hardly surprising given the seemingly infinite library and the works it contained from every corner of every Verse, the highly stylized illustrations showed an amorphous green splodge consuming a red skinned hexaped with a rather distressed human expression.
“If it’s anything like this creature, we should kill it but I get the distinct impression that this would not be a simple measure and so…”
“We train it in the Arcane Arts if there is intelligence there and given the shape shifting- I think there is…”
“Or- as I suspect, it devors anything radiating the power, then we could put it to work most definitely. There is enough magical waste around here to power a small village! The Lords know- I don’t know what to do with it.”
Silrien departs the Archmage and treads a path to the gardens. It was a most shocking way to be drawn back from one’s meditations, but she is infinitely grateful to the sunboy, Kaler for getting lost and happening upon her part of the tower.
Just in time, given the Zheshu had been about to attack.
What was this creature? Was it malevolent in nature or merely mindful of natural law?
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