Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Chapter XVI

Because it's been too damn long since I've written anything.

Erdyn paced the lobby of the Sorcerer's guild Pyramid. Not fair, he thought. He had rushed through his breakfast to get here exactly on time, and he'd been waiting for nearly half a fig.* This was absurd.
He looked around the large, rectangular room. The sorcerers, it was obvious, liked to show off. The two large couches on either side of the entrance changed color every few twigs, oscillating from red to orange to yellow and all the way down the spectrum, inexplicably stopping off at plaid in between blue and turquoise. The door on the opposite side had a few simple wooden chairs by it, perfectly normal except that they occasionally got up and walked around the room on their four legs. On the floor surrounding the door, carved into the wooden floor, were two concentric rings, with an ornate pattern strung between them. Every foot or so was a tiny circular indentation, inlayed with silver. On the right wall was a large portrait of a dark-skinned, bald human. He was quite muscular, in a turquoise vest with silver trim and sparkly silver pants and holding a wooden staff with a shining gem in it. The staff Erdyn recognized - Xindor had been carrying it when he first arrived. The inscription on the portrait simply read "Damien Windhammer, first Lord of the Stargem." This confused Erdyn - he wasn't one humdred percent sure what the stargem was, but he didn't even know it needed one lord, much less several. The only other ornamentation in the room was definately the most bizarre - and enormous, pulsating pair of human-looking ears on the left wall.
"I'm sure they'll see you as soon as they can Erdyn," reassured his brother. "They must be very busy,"
Just then, an unfamiliar elf stepped through the door. He was short, for an elf, bald and quite wiry, and he was holding a clipboard.
"Erdyn son of Indryn?" he said, looking down at the clip board. Erdyn nodded. "The council will see you now,"
"Finally," said Erdyn.
"Erdyn," said Halyn sharply.
The younger gnome glared at him.
"This way," said the elf.
Erdyn and Halyn followed him out the doorand to the left. He led them into a long hallway filled with portraits of various sorcerers in decisive, take-charge, action poses. All carried the same shining wooden staff. After two right turns, they reached a small, black door. Well, not exactly a door. More sort of a doorway. It was pure black as if no light could possibly escape. As if looking into it too long could be spomehow dangerous.
The elf spoke some words in a language Erdyn couldn't understand, and suddenly the doorway changed. Now instead of pure darkness it was sheathed in pure light. Erdyn shielded his eyes and turned away.
"Step through please," said their guide.
What? said Erdyn.
"It's safe," said the elf. "This is the entrance to the floor. Your brother and I are going to the gallery. They're expecting you. Step through,"
Erdyn took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and stepped into the light. RThe light was so bright he clould feel it with his eyes closed. He kept walking forward. He was about to risk opening his eyes when he heard a shrill, female voice.
"Close the damn gateway!" it said.
There was a flash, and the light was gone. Erdyn opened his eyes.
He was standing on a large, circular platform. The room was dark - the main source of light was a ring of blue lights on the cieling and a bright white rectangle somewhere far above him, which vanished shortly. Actually, the platform he was on appeared, inexplicably, quite well lit. It was empty except for a lecturn and a bench next to it, and another black doorway, which appeared to lead nowhere. Beyond the platform however, was total darkness.
"Clear the lecturn," said Xindor's voice. The lecturn and bench vanished.
"Welcome, Erdyn, son of Indryn, of the Hills of Gloob," said Xindor. "Why have you come before the Elder Council of the Sorerer's Guild?"
You could hear the capitalization.
Erdyn thought this was rather silly. Xindor obviously knew why he was here. But he decided to play along anyway.
"I want to become a sorcerer," he said clearly.
"The guild is not for everyone," said another voice, this one lower and gravelly, "What makes you think you posess the innate magical skill required to manipulate the universe?"
Damn he's dramatic, thought Erdyn. He wondered whether it would be better to seem humble or confident. He thought what he could do was pretty good, but having seen the wonders he had since coming to Errilliance, he was no longer quite so sure.
"Well?" asked the rumbling voice.
"I have powers," said Erdyn. "In the past couple of months I've realized I could do things - not normal things,"
"Have you any bloodline?" asked the grumbly voice.
"Yes," said Erdyn. This part he had rehearsed, "My Great, Great, Grandfather, Sildyn son of Moolyn, was a member of the guild,"
"That is all?" said the low voice.
"That I know of," answered Erdyn.
"These powers," said a third voice. It was higher, female sounding, and somewhat shrill, "Can you control them, or do they happen spontaneously?"
"They basically only happen when I want them to," said Erdyn. This was mostly true.
"Would you care to demonstrate them, then?" she asked.
Erdyn nodded. He took a deep breath in and beban to concentrate very hard. He was glad it was dark. That would make this more impressive.
"Take your time," said Xindor, "We're in no hurry,"
Erdyn clasped his hand together and focused. Then he opened his hands just slightly and peeked in. A bead of light was nestled in his palm. He closed his hands again and concentrated even harder. Finally, he opened his hands. Four tiny circles of light, like bright fireflies, floated out. There was a mix of sounds from the group, mostly murmurs of what Erdyn hoped was approval.
Spurred on somewhat by this, Erdyn moved on to his next trick. He raised his hands into the air and thrust them forward, willing the lights to follow. The little beads zoomed off in the direction he was pointing, straight out into the gallery, until the illuminated Xindor's face, which Erdyn saw had broken into a small smile.
Erdyn pulled his hands in, beckoning the lights to return to him, then winked them out.
The crowd was murmering excitedly now, which Erdyn thought of as a good sign. There seemed to be quite a few more of them then he'd originally thought, though.
"Is that all?" asked the gruff voice.
Erdyn considered for a moment. Aw, what the underrealm? he thought, Might as well give it a shot. "There is one more little thing," he said uncertainly.
"Well, by all means, show us," said Xindor.
Erdyn nodded. He concentrated again, this time on his ears. He had decided some time ago his large, gnomish ears made the best demonstration of this ability. He concentrated on shrinking them.
After a minute or so, he reached up and touched them. They were smaller, but he wasn't sure the change was enough to be noticable.
There was hushed talking going on in a language Erdyn couldn't understand. Then the female voice spoke up.
"Is it just your ears, or can you resize anything?" she asked.
They'd noticed! Erdyn breathed a sigh of relief.
"I've only managed my ears, nose, and eyes. I tried to grow my whole head and I got a massive headache,"
Xindor laughed - a brief, percussive laugh that stopped almost immediately.
"SO it's a real change then - " he said, "Not illusory?"
"As far as I know," answered Erdyn.
"Then I would stop experimenting with it," said XIndor, "Transmutation magic can be very dangerous in the hands of an amatuer. Is that everything?"
"Yes sir," said Erdyn.
"You may go then," said Xindor."We'll let you know our decision by tomorrow. Thank you for your time,"
The black doorway behind Erdyn flashed white again. Erdyn closed his eyes and stepped through. He strode through the portrait hall with a little bounce in his step. He'd impressed them, he was sure of it. And he was on his way to becoming a sorcerer!

*A fig is a period of 9 lengths. A day is divided into 18 figs.

7 comments:

Nathaniel Cornstalk said...

I'm trying kind of a new writing style this chapter. Let me know if it shows.

Jonah said...

what about a twig?

Nathaniel Cornstalk said...

a twig is an eighteenth of a length. I already said that.

wings said...

I like the writing in this chapter. It moved well. I loved the "You could hear the capitalization" bit.

world champ stephen neal said...

Cornstalk .. are you an indian?

Erin said...

I enjoyed this chapter very much. Very cool description, and I like Erdyn's powers.

Nathaniel Cornstalk said...

Nope. It's not so much my real name.