Monday, October 8, 2012

Mage Knights: Quick Study

“News of the massacre in Arcanis has not yet spread to smaller hamlets.” Deviån reported as they trotted out of the village and on to Wayward. “It was the first time the villagers here had been made aware of the attack. I have no doubt that in larger cities such as Wayward, the Arcanis Council has scryed them and informed them of the massacre, as well as our disappearance. We were well received here, but it will not be so in Wayward.”

“We bought enough provisions to last the brief journey between here and Wayward.” Kashé informed. “Crowlin was also attacked by the village children. They wanted to know why he wore such thick robes and had black lines along his cheekbones.”

“Little savages.” Crowlin muttered, still brushing off his robes, which were covered in the dust that had been hurled at him. “And they say that mage knights are widely respected. Sha!”

“Did you find out if any of the masked ones passed through the village?” Sage asked Deviån.

Deviån shook his head. “As far as I could gather, no. We are no closer to tracking them down than we were at our outset.”

“Then we pin all of our hopes on this sage we are seeking to visit.” Coriko summarized. “We will have to sneak into Wayward, though. I do not imagine that will be easy.”

“Perhaps.” Sage said. “Or perhaps not.”

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mage Knights: Quick Study

“What promise is that?” Martin asked.

Sage smiled, then rose and held his sword upright before his face. “To stand for justice, mete out mercy, protect the downtrodden, and be fair and just in all we do!” Lowering his sword, Sage sheathed it in his scabbard once more. “Mage knights don’t just defend Aylodae. We stand for a higher ideal. We put the welfare of others before the one, before the individual. This is the duty of the mage knights; to be arbiters of justice under the wise counsel of the Archsage, and when the need arises, defend Aylodae as a unified force.”

“I want to be a mage knight.” Martin said with wide eyes.

Sage knelt down. “You’ll have to put every effort into it, then. In order to get into the Instructory, where they train mage knights, you must know both magic and swordsmanship, and you must show exceeding promise in both when you apply - which is at the age of fourteen. The Instructory only accepts the best to protect Aylodae and uphold its laws. If they find that you are worthy, then you will be called to the Instructory when you are fifteen, to begin your training.”

“Where do I start?” Martin asked.

“With learning. You need someone to teach you to wield a sword, and someone to teach you to use magic. Neither of these endeavors come lightly, Martin; you must be able to devote yourself to them. The duty of mage knight is not an easy one, and only the dedicated and talented are rewarded with the honor of being a mage knight.” Sage warned.

Martin stood upright, puffing up his chest. “I will be brave and true!”

Sage was silent for a moment, then reached up to his steed and pulled a dagger out of his bags. “This is for you, Martin.”

Martin de-puffed his chest and reverently took the dagger with wide eyes. “For me? Why?”

“So that, if at any time in the future, you doubt your path or what you believe in, you can remember the day that a mage knight visited your village and told you what we defend and uphold.” Sage explained. “If your studies in the sword and the spell ever become difficult, if your peers insist that you will not make it, if you become discouraged in dark times, you look upon this dagger and remember the high calling that is the duty of a mage knight. Justice. Mercy. Fairness. They are noble things to fight for.” Sage said, then ruffled Martin’s hair. “Now run along and tell your parents you want to be a mage knight. It’s an idea that they’ll take some getting used to, so keep on pushing it till they know you’re serious.”

“Yes sir!” Martin said, running off.

Sage smiled, opening his spellbook once more, and remembered a time a decade prior when a mage knight had stopped by in his village, and given him the same dagger Martin now held.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mage Knights: Quick Study

Sage brushed down the horses while the others were off at the respective activities. Once he was done, he took a seat and pulled out a small book he kept. In it were written spells that he was practicing or had yet to memorize, and flipping through, he chose a page and began studying. Off to the side, one of the village children watched him.

At length, Sage noticed the child and looked up. The boy started to move away, but Sage spoke. “Hullo. Who are you?”

“Martin.” the child answered bashfully. Sage would guess that Martin was no more than ten years of age.

“And what are you curious about, Martin?” Sage asked, putting away his spellbook.

Martin’s eyes flickered to Sage’s sword. “Are you a mage knight?”

Sage smiled. “I am. What of it?”

Martin bit his lip. “Can I see your sword?”

Sage drew his sword, laying it flat across his knees. Martin came forward in fascination, staring at the runes carved into the blade’s surface.

“This is the sword of a mage knight.” Sage explained softly. “Unlike normal swords, a mage knight’s blade is forged out of sunsteel or moonsteel, and shaped, molded, and sharpened by the mage knight who is to use it. No two blades are ever the same.”

“Wow.” Martin said, staring with wide eyes.

“My blade is forged out of moonsteel.” Sage continued. “And each mage knight gives his sword a name that defines both the blade, and himself. My blade is Siarnor.” At the mention of its name, the blade kindled to life with blue fire, causing Martin to jump back. “In the language of the Wolven, Siarnor is the Blade of the New Moon.”

“Is that what those symbols say?” Martin asked, pointing at the runes on the Siarnor’s blade.

“Ah, these?” Sage said. “The runes along the blade’s flat are the promise written on the swords of all mage knights.” he explained, balancing his sword. “This promise gives the sword its power.”

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mage Knights: Quick Study

“Wayward’s just a couple of days’ journey now, according to the villagers.” Kashé said, sliding off her horse. The five of them had just arrived in one of the small villages around Wayward. “We need to restock on provisions.”

“I’ll take care of it.” Crowlin said, trying to slide off Windcrest in the same manner that Kashé had slid off her horse. Unfortunately, his robes caught, and he flipped off his horse instead, hitting the ground with a puff of dust. “Oof!”

“You’d be less of a fool if you took off all those robes you wore.” Deviån said disdainfully as the village children snickered. “It’s a wonder you don’t melt to a puddle in the summer heat.”

Crowlin stood indignantly, brushing dust off his thick and many-layered robes. “I will retain them, Deviån, and trust you to hold your snide tongue. These are the robes of my people and it is my way of honoring my heritage.”

“Deviån has a point. How are you not sweating to death?” Coriko asked, tethering her horse. “You must have six or seven layers of robes on.”

“Nine, to be precise. And they may be thick, but they keep both heat and chill out.” Crowlin informed.

“And they keep you from getting off your horse.” Deviån pointed out.

Crowlin glared at Deviån. “I am the only one of the Instructory staff that survived. Do you know why that is? Because these robes were thick enough to protect me from the spell circle long enough for Myrrdin to break me out. Should anybody smite me with a fireball right now, it would have little effect but to burn through the first three layers. The other six are enchanted. For all intents and purposes, Deviån, these robes are the equivalent of magical armor.”

“C’mon, Crowlin. You don’t need to spend your time explaining yourself to the ignorant.” Sage said, tying up Windcrest. “I’ll keep an eye on the horses. Coriko, Kashé, you go with Crowlin and make sure the vendors don’t overcharge Crowlin for provisions.”

“Don’t you dare tell me what to do.” Deviån threatened. “I’ll find something productive to do on my own. As a matter of fact, I’ll ask around to see if the mask men passed through here.”

Sage repressed a smile. “Fine. You go do that. Meet back here in three hours?”

The others agreed, and they all went their way, with the exception of Sage, who stayed to watch the horses.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mage Knights: Quest of the Black Cat

At length, the mage knight reached the specified vault room. The doors themselves were unremarkable; it was the security measures within that presented the real challenge. Highly complex spell circles were carved into the stone floor, each one protecting an artifact stored in the vault. Deactivating those spell circles usually required a keyword or a very specific counterspell, and sometimes both were required.

Lurking by the door, Myrrdin slipped into the vault. The mage knight came to stand by an unactivated spell circle, holding the mask out; but he hesitated, staring at the mask. Myrrdin could sense curiosity in his actions, in the way he contemplated the mask. Slowly, the mage knight raised the mask to his face, as if to try it on.

Myrrdin hissed, weaving between the spell circles as he tried to get to the mage knight. This man was a fool for not seeing the danger in putting on an artifact like this. But Myrrdin was not quick enough; when the mask was but an inch from the mage knight’s face, it left his hands and locked onto his face, a surge of red light running through the lines in the mask. Myrrdin stopped dead, staring in dread. 

The mage knight, now possessed by the Kahu Ifera, snapped his head right in Myrrdin’s direction, the red eyes of the mask locking onto him.

Myrrdin bolted to the door, darting around spell circles and unsheathing his claws to allow himself traction on the smooth stone floor. He could sense a gathering of power behind him, along with the low words for a spell, followed by a hiss. He made it out the door and shot down the hall as a blast of dark light curved out of the vault behind him, hitting the wall and narrowly missing him. Tearing down the hall, he shot by the two mage knights that had accompanied the now-possessed knight.

“The mask has claimed another!” he shouted back at them as they shouted at him and drew their swords. But their attention was drawn away from Myrrdin when Kahu Ifera stepped into the hall behind them, red mage fire brimming at his hands.

Ignoring the shouts and the roar of fire, Myrrdin tore through the halls of the Instructory, seeking one who would listen to him instead of trying to capture him.