Wednesday, December 14, 2005

City of Mages, Chapter VIII

Amora of Tiesan, Niece of Xindor the Incredible, stepped out the door of her dormitory and onto the roof. Vivacia Brown, her roomate, followed her. In sharp contrast to Vivacia's gaunt, willowy figure and mousy face, Amora was beautiful. Her wavy blonde hair fell in short curls around her face, which was beautifully constructed around a pair of round cheekbones, huge eyes, and a cute little nose. She was, perhaps, a bit plump for an elf, but not in an unattractive way. For a human she would have been downright breathtaking.
Amora liked it up on the roof. Technically she was still protected by the ancient magic, but she had a decent view of the city and some fresh air.
"So what did your uncle want to see you about?" asked Vivacia, trying to force her tangled brown hair out of her face.
"I'm not sure," answered Amora. "Something about 'conducting myself in accordance with my position', No doubt. That's what it always is these days,"
"I don't know," answered her friend, "He seemed kind of urgent for just scolding you,"
"I'm sure if it's important I'll find out sooner or later," sighed the elf maiden.
"Well obviously," replied her friend, "You can't stay in Tiesan forever,"
The two stood there for a moment, gazing down at the city below them. Suddenly three figures came into view - a familiar tall one in a maroon robe and two short figures in the bright-colored clothing of the hill gnomes.
Vivacia sighed dreamily.
"Are you still on about Bogue?" asked her roomate.
The girl smiled coyly.
"He's too old for you, V. And I think he's gay. Besides, a witch and a wizard? Never gonna work,"
"I know," said Vivacia, "But a girl can dream, can't she?"
As she looked over at her friend, an idea crossed her mind.
"We're up here," said Vivacia, grinning mischieviously, "If you fired a love bolt at him, no one would know where it came from,"
"It doesn't work like that, V," said Amora, "I can't evoke directed emotions like love for a particular person. Just general love for people in general,"
"That's a lie, and you know it," accused Vivacia, "I know you used it on guys back in school,"
"Ok, so it might have made them a little more... open to suggestion, but it's definately not foolproof. If he see's me first, he might just fall in love with me,"
"Fire one anyway, please?" pleaded the human, "Look, they're about to pass by, and then it'll be too late,"
"Alright," said Amora, "One romantic love bolt, coming right up,"
She stood to her full height, drew back both her arms, then quickly clasped her hands together for about ten seconds. When she pulled them apart, a glowing rose-colored sphere was floating above her right hand. She hurled it downward, towards the creatures who had almost passed out of view.

On the way to Margold hall, Erdyn watched the tall, sandy haired Wizard guide them on their way. He seemed to be in a world all his own, and Erdyn thought it best to give him his space. Tiryn, on the other hand, was bursting with questions. she was jumping up and down in an attempt to better communicate with the Wizard, who was around three times her size.
"Are you really a wizard?" she asked, as if ready to explode with energy.
"Yes," Replied Bogue, distantly.
"What kind of Wizard are you?" continued the twelve-year-old.
"A Rune Master," answered Bogue, still looking at something that didn't appear to exist.
"What does that mean?" asked Tiryn.
"Tiryn!" said her brother grabbing her arm, "Stop bothering the man. Can't you see he's working on something!"
"No, it's quite alright," said Bogue, looking at him for the first time, "I enjoy talking about my work. Helps me figure out problems," He went back to staring distractedly at the air, and speaking his light, floaty tone. "A Rune master is a wizard who studies the ancient magic of runes,"
"What's a Rune?" asked the little girl, shooting her older brother a mischievous grin.
"A Rune is an intricately drawn symbol with magical properties. These days they're mostly used for summoning but - duck,"
For no apparent reason, the man bowed. Erdyn looked around and saw a pink sphere fly over the wizards hunched figure and hit him squarely in the face.
Suddenly he felt happy. He looked up and saw the two most beautiful women in the world arguing with each other. One was a voloptous elf maiden with beautiful blonde hair, the other a tall, thin human with long brown hair. As if in a trance, he walked towards the building where they were.

"He ducked!" said Amora, "How is this my fault?"
"Well," answered vivacia, "You could have waited until he wasn't looking!"
"He wasn't!" answered Amora.
"Then how did he know to duck?" asked her irate roomate.
"How should I know? Look, that was a human sized dose. That little gnome is gonna be head-over-heels for the next creature he lays eyes on, regardless of gender. We've got to find him!"
And with that she rushed off and down the stairs.

Erdyn walked purposefully towards Tiesan Hall, but was stopped shortly bye a hand on his shoulder.
"No men allowed in there," said Bogue. He had now somewhat awakened from his trance and was speaking quite clearly to Erdyn, though his voice still sounded a bit distant.
"Now listen to me," he said, turning Erdyn around to face him. Erdyn hadn't remember how strong and muscular he looked, how perfectly defined his facial features were, or beautiful his piercing green eyes, "You're not in love with anyone. You're feeling the effects of a powerful spell for which our benefactor's ward has a natural affinity. Still it should pass within a few hours. I highly suggest you return your room, take a cold shower, and try and forget all about it,"
"B-but" began Erdyn, "They're so beautiful. I have to -,"
"No you don't," said Bogue, "This is someone's idea of a prank, though a not very funny one in my opinion. Now please, I have been charged to take you to your rooms and I have lot of work to- what are you doing?"
Erdyn had begun stroking the Wizard's hair.
"Your hair," he said, "It's so soft, and blonde, and-"
"Dear Lord," said Bogue, with all trace of airiness gone, "It's worse than I thought. We have to get you to a curse-breaker, here we go, the nearest one's up int the tower,"
"That won't be neccesary," said a voice from behind him. He turned to see Amora walking briskly towards him, with Vivacia in toe.
"I assume this is your handiwork?" he asked.
"Yes," answered Amora, "And if you don't want to suffer the same fate, you won't tell my uncle about it,"
Erdyn detached himself from Bogue and ran to Amora, burying his face in her stomach. A smile flashed briefly across Amora's face, but she pushed him away and held him at arms length.
"You really think you can scare me Amora?" asked Bogue.
"Yes," answered the elf maiden, opening her right hand. A yellow sphere flew out of it towards the wizard, but he reached out with his wizards staff and caught it on the end, like a bubble-wand catching a bubble.
"Fear?" he asked, inspecting the bubble. He blew on it and it popped. "I think not,"
"Fine," said Amora, "I was going to counter my previous attack with a blast of cold, calculated hate, but I think I'll just redirect all this -" she gestured towards Erdyn, who was kissing her left hand as it tried to holfd her at arms length, "towards you,"
A crowd had begun to gather, anticipating a duel. Magic duels were the main form of entertainment in Errilliance.
"You and I both know you can't do that," said Bogue, leveling his staff at the girl, "Now countercurse him,"
"Give up, Bogue!," counter Amora, "You can't do any more offensive magic than he can!"
"No," answered Bogue, "But I could summon something that can,"
"Given a few hours maybe," answered the girl, "Or you could just promise not to tell my father anything, then I'll counter-curse the boy. C'mon, can't you trust me?"
As she said this, she opened her right hand again, this time letting loose a deep purple bubble, which Bogue easily dodged.
"Was that trust?" asked Bogue, "YOu're so predictable,"
"Please," said Vivacia, taking Amora's arm, I'll take full responsibility for this, just reverse it?"
"I'm not backing down," said Amora.
"What's all this about?" said a voice from behind the crowd. Bogue immediately lowered his staff and turned to face the sound. Amora took this opportunity to fire a small light blue bubble at his back, but it was popped in mid-air by a bolt from her uncle's finger.
"Young Lady," said Xindor the incredible, "My office, now!" He zapped her with another bolt, and she vanished, "Now, what's the meaning of all this?"

Friday, December 09, 2005

City of Mages Chapter VII

Xindor the Incredible was feeling rather flustered as he walked out of the Sorceror's guild Pyramid, so he was happy to see an old friend approach him.
"Halyn!" He called, hailing the oldest of the three approaching gnomes, "Welcome to Erriliance! If I'd known your carraige was in I would have gone to greet you. How was your trip?"
He reached Halyn and they shook hands.
"Not too bad," answered the bard, "But long. And we only just got in,"
"And is this the boy you wrote me about?" asked Xindor, indicating Erdyn, who was staring awe-struck at him.
"Yes," answered Halyn, "This is my brother, Erdyn. We think he may have sorceror powers,"
"Well," said Xindor, "We'll see about that. I've set up a testing session for him tomorrow where we'll determine if he's powerful enough for us to take him in. But first, I need to talk to you in my office,"
"It's been a very long day..." Halyn began, "If I could just-"
"Time," said the sorceror, "Is of the essence. I'll have someone show your brother and sister to their rooms. You come with me. Bogue!"
A man who was passing looked up. He had short reddish blonde hair, and was wearing a maroon robe with white symbols all over it.
"Yes?" he said looking up as if coming out of a dream. He looked around, then saw Xindor, "Oh, Hi Xindor!" he said, unexpressively.
"Show these two to their rooms, will you?" asked Xindor.
"Where are their rooms?" asked Bogue, confusedly.
"I've had temporary quarters set up for them at Margold Hall, by the Tower," answered Xindor.
"Ok," said Bogue, staring intently at nothing, "I think I know where that is. This way..."
He wandered off. Halyn shot his brother and sister a look that said "follow him", which they did, a little reluctantly.
"Bogue's a bit strange at times, but nice enough," said Xindor, "Now come with me. We have much to discuss,"
Xindor led Halyn into his office and shut the door. Then he waved he hands over the door and muttered a few words, and a blue field surrounded the room.
"Sound-proofing," Xindor explained, "The walls have ears,"*
"So," said Halyn, "What's so important you sent me all the way from the hills of Gloob, and so secret even the rest of the guild can't hear about it?"
He stared intently at Xindor, who stared back.
"Four years ago," began Xindor, "You wrote a ballad about me. As I remember it was rather popular,"
'Oh, definately," said Halyn, "Really jump-started my career, that number,"
"Yes," said Xindor, "Did wonders for my P.R., too. And such a catchy tune," he began humming the chorus.
Several verses later, Halyn was getting a bit impatient.
"Um... Xindor?" he said.
"Oh, right," said the sorceror, snapping out of it. "While my defeat of the goblins of Kobor was admirable, it's hardly a good summation of my character. I want you to write me new ballad, longer and a bit more serious,"
"If you don't mind my asking," asked Halyn, regardless of whether he did or not, "Why does this have to be said behind closed doors?"
"Because this ballad will determine how I'm viewed by future generations. YOu see, my dear Halyn, I'm dying,"
Halyn looked a bit shocked.
"What are you talking about?" said Halyn, "You look great! You could have twenty, thirty more years left. You're not.."
"I am," said Xindor, "I have two and a half at the most. But of couse I can't let on to anyone... It'd be mass chaos. Still, I need a song about all the great things I've done... a song to remember me by. And you're the only person I trust to write it,"
Halyn was quiet for a while, as he contemplated the magnitude of all this.
"I'm honored," he finally said, "I'll need several consultations with you so we can- "
"Oh, you'll get more than that!" interupted Xindor, "I want you to stay here watching me and taking notes until the end! Only then can you get a really good feel for my character. And you can write about how I faced the last great adventure with my chin held high! Xindor the Incredible's final farewell! What do you say?"
"Live here? But I'm not a magician**. And my brother and sister, they'll need someone to care for them,"
"If your brother shows any aptitude I'll make sure the guild accepts him. Your sister can study with the witches if she wants to. The hills of Gloob have produced some top-notch witches in the past. I'm sure they'll take her on. And even if not, she can still stay here. There are a few non-magicians around, and no one will dare harm you if you're under Guild protection,"
"I'll need time to think about it," said Halyn, after a minute.
"Unfortunately," said Xindor, "Time is the one thing I don't have,"

*In fact, only one wall in the Sorceror's guild had ears, the left wall of the entrance lobby. No one remembers how they got there.
**Umbrella term for Wizards, Sorcerors, Druids, and Witches (and even Wytches.) Anyone who uses magic is a magician.