God Punk

Hello, my faithful readers, fans, followers and miscellaneous internet dwellers.

I bring you a new offering to feed your insatiable hunger for stories.

This isn’t mine but I came across it and thought “Wow, this is pretty cool.” It is also complete. So you won’t be left hungering in update hell.

From George Royce, the journalist who covered the god killings, comes this revelatory look at the end of the world. Godpunk covers the shootings at Jewell’s Damned, his meeting with the Death Cult in the ruins of the Metal Dragon Bones, and the friendship he forms with the Angel of Death.

It’s written by Billy Higgins

Shiny link is…….HERE

Magelife Epilogue

I hate horses, just to note, they smell. They are uncomfortable and disobedient. The one I had ridden on the long journey home did nothing but hurt me. My legs and arse ached in ways I just didn’t have words for. My companions weren’t very sympathetic despite the oath that bound us all. Soldiers are like that, it seems

Brendon had elected to stay in Nelar, for a time. I didn’t push him to come back with me. It wasn’t my place. The city had brought something out of him and while I was thankful for all he and Vesic had done for me, I wanted no part in what was going on with them.

I rode at the head of an army, my army. There were very effective at travelling but that isn’t the point of an army. I would have to wait to find out how they were at combat. Their magic was simple but I’d given a few lessons on the way to fill up the time.

I was nearly home.

The thought filled me with restless impatience and fear. What if I had done something wrong? What if Lyphia had found someone else? How had Sophia been without me? These thoughts tormented me over and over again. I alternated between excitement and dread. The journey was nearly over.

We broke camp this morning, not quite covering enough distance for me to spend last night in my own bed. But tonight I would be.

The early afternoon sun shone down, not hot but cool and bright on this autumn day. The wind blew; bring to me the crisp scent of damp earth. Light showers came and went. I didn’t care.

We had pulled up on a slight hill.

Telsan had assured me before we left, a few weeks ago, that Jase would be informed about the army so that no one panics at the sight of them.

Ten thousand men and women riding down on a town that held maybe five thousand citizens could only be here for invasion or raiding. Nope not this time but it was a reasonable fear.

I looked over the landscape; there was the forest with the lake that I had taken Sophia on her first lesson.

There was the farmstead, surrounded by fields that I had completed my first task.

There was the dark stonewall protecting my home.

There was the old foundry district, the smooth plaza I had turned it into glimmered in the sunlight.

There was the headquarters where I’d served and been exiled from.

There was the academy where I’d suffered to be taught just enough to get by and released into the world, also where I now lived with my apprentice and golem boy, the darker memories held no sway now.

There was the stone guild where Lyphia was probably toiling, unknowing that I was watching, waiting to ride down and wrap my arms around her.

This was my home.

I couldn’t wait any longer, be it good or bad, the nervous energy settled and pushed me to act.

I raised a hand in a signal to the army and spurred my horse, horrible thing, into motion.

Home, I was finally home, back to a Mage’s Life.

MageLife Chapter 45

I actually woke up pleasantly for a change. No people stood watching me. I was alone. It was nice, sort of. It did remind me that most of what I cared from was back home, far from here. But I would be going home soon. My task was almost done. I dressed slowly, feeling my muscles slide over each other, I’ve always loved that feeling when you first wake up and stretch yourself out. My stomach rumbled in protest at the lack of food it had received in the very busy last few days. Sadly, I couldn’t eat this early in the day. I felt slightly sick just thinking about it. Midday would be fine; I didn’t feel weak from hunger just yet.

I walked down the hall to the stairs adjusting my sword’s harness; it hung ever so slightly off balance that took a bit of settling.

I found Brendon seated in the chair at the end of the hall, not doing anything as far as I could see, he didn’t even notice me. His burning eyes were fixed on something beyond my sight.

I didn’t push it, he could be doing anything in the strange places in his head, sharing mind and body with a god has to do odd things to a man.

I carried on down to the main hall; I really needed to pick a name for it. I pushed that aside with a small mental shrug.

Orb and Telsan were discussing something, but both stopped when I reached the desk.

“Morning Tristan I trust you slept well?”

“I did, there was clearly nothing that needed my attention. Did you sleep well?”

“I didn’t sleep; there was too much that needed organising for our departure.”

“All the current needs are accounted for; I have been formulating plans for growth and development. The stone in this area is perfect for enchantment and warding. It is a valuable resource that we can transport between the duchies, depending on the infrastructure. My knowledge of current development plans throughout the duchies is incomplete; I will request an update once my connection is solid. It will be another mark or so.”

“Thank you Orb, do you have a designation yet? I feel uncomfortable just addressing you as Orb, I knew another and I would like you to have a name if possible.”

“I’m the Nelar Orb, any further designation will be granted by my master.”

“Alright, orb it is for now.”

“Telsan, what has been done in my absence?” I asked.

I was told in excruciating detail everything that had been done, with interjections and updates from orb where relevant.

The sun slanting through the windows crawled down the walls, shifting the few shadows. I found my gaze drawn again and again to the changing light marking the movement of time. It crawled by.

“My connection is firm, I can reach for the Westhaven orb now if you wish.”

“Please. I need to speak to Jase.”

“Give me a moment.”

The ball of light flickered through most of the colours of the rainbow before settling on a yellow that was nearly golden.

“Tristan are you there? I can’t see you.” Jase’s voice sounded worried.

“I’m here; Nelar is a part of the duchies now.”

Jase’s chuckle echoed through the room. “Of course you succeeded, never doubted you for an instant. Well in that case come home as soon as you can, I have two very concerned redheads and a stone boy waiting for you. Bring the others if you can.”

“We need to leave someone in charge here, this orb needs a master apparently.”

“That is correct master Jase.”

“Right you are, well Telsan do you want the job, raising to senior? I will confirm it with Velar but I doubt he will have any issues.”

“Jase, I don’t want the job but I will take it as a short term post. But only until someone more qualified can be sent.”

“Very well. That should be fine.”

“Jase, how can I come home? Rysan sent me here to die, it was an exile.”

“It was, but a funny thing happened while you were away. I had a word with a friend of mine, he checked out your story about Selac Freant, he had been abusing the people for a long time, and Rysan was in on it. Rysan is no longer in Westhaven; he has been recalled to Greenlaw to answer charges in front of the wizards. You are free to come home.”

I was speechless, grateful beyond words that Jase had risked his position and possibly his life to bring Rysan to justice. I finally found my voice.

“I will be home once my duty is done.”

“Good man. Is there anything you want passing to the girls and Airis?”

“Just tell them… tell them I love them and will be home soon.”

“I will. Telsan you are in command. Nelar Orb Mage Telsan is your master until he is relieved. Is that understood?”

“Yes sir.”

“Then farewell all. May the heart bless you.”

Jase’s voice faded away then, the connection severed.

I was going home.

MageLife Chapter 44

Standing in the centre of the Nelar Mage headquarters alone was a strange experience. The men had cleared out on my orders and I was seated, legs dangling, on the desk in the main hall’s reception. I still could never work out what to call this part of the building. But it wasn’t important right now.

In my hand was the Orb seed, its glassy structure bending the light in the room in very strange ways. It sent shapes and colours onto the walls that weren’t found anywhere in the room naturally.

The doors were barred and a couple of my mages were outside keeping all away.

This had the potential to go so very wrong. Most mage magic was just expressions of will using concepts as a sort of lever against something that was so vast it was beyond the mortal mind to comprehend. As you advance, you get taught lots of little ways to compartmentalise thoughts feelings ideas. But this thing in my hand was beyond all that.

It was a spell that covered so many parts of magic, so many concepts. It touched so much that it was more than many could handle. It could interact and change, grow and develop.

The Westhaven Orb was a golem in only the most superficial sense. In some ways close to what Airis could be, in others nowhere near.

Orbs could know anything with in their range, as they grow and get more complicated they get more powerful, more able to use that information.

They are normally one of the final things set up after the basics, so that they can give the senior, at his request, anything about the health of its area.

But in a city this large that had been without magic for so long, I feared what an orb could do. It could interact with the unnatural creatures, maybe some of the older, more primal magics that seeped into everything, that were everything. In tamed towns and cities, mages and knacks worked constantly building on what was there, cultivating, nurturing. It made them safer.

There was none of that here.

All this went round and round in my mind as I watched the light dance over the walls.

Sitting here alone watching the light show reminded me sharply of Sophia and Lyphia, the show we had seen and the players that I had promised patronage if they helped train my apprentice: The promise that I’d been unable to keep as I had been exiled from Westhaven, another responsibility to live up to.

And just like that, I made up my mind.

The desk I was sat on was solid oak. The whole thing was made from a single tree, the top was a slice clean through the trunk as if the tree was planted here, then cut and in many ways, it was. It was reshaped by magic, made for this very purpose, roots of wood spread throughout the floors and walls of this building. That was something I had figured out from my intense although brief study of the orb seed. The very enchantments that had been used here were standard for all headquarters for this very reason. Not exactly, secret knowledge but their other use was less well known. They meshed with an orb.

I stood, planting my feet on the smooth stone floor and then I laid the glass ball on the desk, in the centre of the rings, the very core of the once tree.

My hand brushed over the seed as I opened my link wide and plunged into the torrent of sigils that made up the construction of spell.

Blackness.

Vast emptiness greeted me.

I stood, my mind stood, in the void. My senses alert to anything as magic poured out of my body into the seed. I could feel it but I was removed, somewhere else. One by one stars appeared in the void with me, each with its own voice, calling out and filling the space with sound. Pure notes touched by emotion, ideas given form. They gradually illuminated the void; there was nothing to see except them, each trying to draw my attention. Soon there were thousands. They danced and swam all around me.

I reached my mind’s hand out to touch the nearest, complex ideas and diagrams, shapes. Few words were conveyed although solid meaning lodged in my head: An anchor. As I held it part of the material world slid into focus, the room around me this single star was the core all the other built upon, it went into the desk, the core of the tree, linking it to place, location.

The glass ball under my body’s hand sunk into the desk, the rings opening to accept it. Its progress was slow but fluid through the grain of the wood, living wood that grew, its roots spreading, pulling nutrients and giving influence, reach.

The next star to come to me was just as complex, its ideas, the foundation of body. Building on the anchor it gave the Orb a form, The same form as the one in Westhaven but younger, more fluid. It was a ball of light and air, joining the ideas of knowledge and intellect. On to the anchor sigil it went, growing link by link, they interwove tying one to the other.

The next was harder; it was almost pure knowledge, a skill set, but adaptive. A flexible shifting thing that defied any solid grasp, into the body it went, all building into something.

Time had very little meaning here, I had no idea how long I had been building the orb, its network. The last few remained, and I was tired. The wonder of creating something so… magical was draining out of me and exhaustion took its place.

Each star took power from me and through me, pulling on me as like a child demanding constant care and attention. A couple of times I had felt myself slip, and the links woven between stars had shifted fraying. Despite being nearly finished I couldn’t rest or let up or all my work would be undone and the power I had spent would need to go somewhere.

The final stars slowly, so slowly slid into place, I didn’t even look where they needed to go I just placed them where they told me. Their purpose clear to me now in this state of numb receptivity.

The last locked in and the void shattered, I fell back into myself.

I staggered on my feet, my legs long since dead, most of a day spent on my feet, unmoving, will do that to you.

Stretching them out brought pain and tingling heat shooting through the numbness that pervaded my body. Sweat, thick and oily sheathed my body, its cold slickness soaked into my clothes. A twitch in my hand brought my attention to the now sunken bead of glass that it rested on. I pulled it back and massaged blood back into it.

“You are Mage Representative Tristan Sodden,” a voice called into the empty hall.

My mind was too numb to make sense of anything right now, but the voice was clear and familiar.

“Orb, I did my task well then, if you are awake.”

“You did, Mage. I’m aware and alert. Not yet fully capable but that will come in time. Who is to be commander here?”

Oh

A small ball of light floated out of the sunken bead, its form almost identical to my Orb back home except much smaller, maybe half the size and its colour was closer to green than blue.

“Oh, there had been a question, hadn’t there?”

“That hasn’t been decided just yet. I will need to speak to my second and to Master Jase before such a decision can be made.”

“Understood.”

“How come you talk like this? The Westhaven orb has a personality.”

“My limitations are in place until such a time as I have a master.”

“Well that makes sense. I will get on that as soon as I can. Now if you will excuse me for a moment I need to open the doors and let my men in, it’s been a long day already and I expect they will want to rest.”

At my words, the doors swung open, the enchantments unlocking them. I turned to look between the doors and orb.

“You did that?”

“You wished it. Until such a time as I have a master, I’m to obey all lawful commands from a mage. You are in the command structure.”

“Thank you, although could you not do that until give clear commands please. It could be dangerous.”

“Of course.”

“Will you be alright by yourself for a few moments while I summon the men?”

“I will but I can call the men here, there are seven pendants in my range, although one is inactive and you are without one.”

“Oh. Do you mind if I sit? It’s been rather exhausting.”

“Sit Tristan Sodden, Mage Representative. I have knowledge of the process until such a time as I have a master. It must have been a drain on you.”

“It was. Thank you.” I stepped slowly around the desk, my legs still not happy with me for their abuse, to the chair and sat.

“The summons has gone out. They will be here soon.”

As I sat gazing at this baby orb, a slow and sluggish thought started to take shape.

“Can you scry?”

“Not as you imagine, but I can look upon remote locations and people. Depending on many factors.”

“You can use magic even though you are made of magic.” The statement fell from my lips without thought.

“We are not so different mage, as I was created, you were created in turn. Your bodies are shapes containing minds capable of thought and feeling, although my feelings are muted until I have a master, and magic. My body is made of light and air, yours earth and water, in the main, air for breath and fire for heat. Not so different really mage.”

“No not so different at all. I never thought we were really. I just wondered if you can scry can you let me look upon my apprentice.”

“I can but it will use up energy that I will need to continue the process you started. Already the roots quest out; enchantments to detect various things are being put in place. Once that is complete I will be fully capable of fulfilling your request.”

“I can wait; I don’t want to damage you.”

“The men have return Tristan.”

“Thank you.” I stood and walked around the room, waiting for the promised men to arrive.

Telsan was the first through the door followed by the other in a staggered procession; they all carried small glyph-screens and looked distracted.

Telsan looked from me to the newborn orb. “You did it then after you sent us away I wasn’t sure you would survive.”

“I survived,” I smiled tiredly. “It was hard work but I think my part of it is done now.”

“It is Tristan until a decision on my master is made I will draw my power through the roots. A mage’s energy is easier but I need the bond to make it work.”

“You aren’t like the Westhaven orb at all are you?”

“In fact I’m almost identical, that orb has been restricted by its master. I have connections forming that link me to all Orbs, we are all linked together, and soon I will be able to actively use that connection to communicate.”

“How soon?” Lysar said. He had stood next to the desk, and I hadn’t even noticed

“At this rate a turning of the earth.”

I looked over to Telsan a wild grin stretching my face.

All the men smiled back, being cut off from home was the worst nightmare of many of these men, which was over, almost.

“Good, I’m beat. I need to rest. Is there anything I need to know before I go to sleep?”

“It’s only early evening. The sun it’s even down yet, although it’s not far off,” Lysar said.

“I’ve channelled a lot of magic today. I’m done.”

“Get some rest, we can handle this. Now that we have an orb, we can get all this set up easily enough. It will take time but it’s not hard.”

“Okay, wake me if I’m needed.”

Telsan waved me off, not even bothering to comment.

I headed off to the stairs, my legs still not overly happy with me but only mildly complaining.

My room was empty, just a bed and a basin but that was all I needed right now. I stripped off my clothes my sword and scabbard then ran the water, it was cold, so just a quick wash to take the grimy oily residue off.

I grabbed the strap on my harness and pulled it with me over to my bed, I didn’t want it far from me, just in case. Laying down and staring at the celling didn’t work well for sleep but closing my eyes and focusing inwards, turning my thoughts to the concepts that I had learnt back when I was first at the academy did. The gentle reminders of home and how soon I could be there calmed me enough to rest.

I was borne away to the land of dreams, my head filled with peaceful visions of home.

MageLife Chapter 2 Rewrite

I woke in near darkness. I found myself laying on my my injured hand. The cuts on my knuckles, stung. I pulled myself out of bed, looked out the window, the pre dawn glow illuminated the furthest edge of the sky.

“Light,” I called to the empty room.

The glow of the globes brightened the room, enough that the window turned reflective. I stepped over the discarded pile of clothes on my way to the basin. I ran the water, then submerged my wounded hand. I tensed as the sharp, cold pain, took my breath away for an instant.

I let the tension that had formed in my chest out in a sudden unformed noise of relief as the pain vanished, replaced by numbness. I pulled out my hand, had a look at it. the scraps wasn’t anything serious, a day or so and they would be healed. I picked up my discarded uniform and lifted it to my nose. I recoiled as the scent assaulted my senses. I held my clothes at arms length away from me and deposited them in the washing basket, then went and got my other set from the wardrobe. lingering aches forced me to take my time getting ready, a wash. No need to shave, it took me a few days to grow enough stubble for it to even be visible. Then I pulled on my fresh uniform, the tight leather coat creaked as I slid my arms through. My shoulders filled it well, but then it had been tailored just for me. The sun had come up while I was going through my ablutions.

 

I stepped out on to the street, fresh and alert.  I saw something new, street cleaners, simple plain dressed men, with large metal staves, glowing gems on the tops. They were directing the dirt ahead of them. It rushed forwards like a tide leaving smooth shining pavement behind. The dirt was propelled towards small openings in the bases of the fountains that were at every intersection.

I stood watching for a long moment.

The men waved their staves, a flicker of light rose from the street itself and the last of the dirt rolled into the openings.

I strolled along behind them, contemplating the the level of thought that had gone into making such a system.

I caught sight of the doors to headquarters, they were open already. I stepped into the open doorway, to be met with the sight of  a couple and a child standing before the main desk.

“Tristan, get over here,” my boss called.

I couldnt see him. My view was blocked by the people. I made my way to the side of the desk.

Rysan was behind it, with a frustrated expression on his face. Orb was hovering around him, a hint of green in his normal blue light.  I felt my curiosity rise up, almost an itch to know, at the change in colours. I opened my mouth to ask, then noticed Rysan looking at me.

“Yes sir?”

“Tristan, this is Mr. and Mrs Leif. They have a problem that you can solve for us,” Rysan informed me.

I nodded politely at them.

They had a sense of worry about them. The woman, Mrs Leif, had her hands tightly wrapped around the hand of the child.

I looked back to Rysan. My polite but blank look must have told him I had no idea what this had to do with me.

“Their daughter has shown signs of her knack, it’s earth as far as we can tell,” he told me

I looked back to the family, to the child. She was a small girl, about half my height, with right green eyes and long red hair. She was dressed in plain clothes, a pale green tunic and leggings with little leather sandals. She shifted nervously under my gaze, her little head lowered so she looked at her own feet.

I turned back to Rysan.

Rysan raised a hand, stalling any protests I might make. “Yes, she is eight. Her awakening  happened very early and no, it doesn’t appear to be a false start. She would normally have a few more years before needing to learn control. She’s too young to learn it at school, so I am assigning you as her master until she’s got the basics down.” He fixed me with a stern expectant look.

“Yes sir.”

“Good now take her to get something to eat. I need to write out the contract with Mr and Mrs leif. Ma’am, if you could release the girl to Junior Mage Tristan, here he will look after her while we conduct our business.”

The woman tightened her hold on her child for a moment, I could see a look of indecision on her face. then her husband laid a hand on her shoulder and nodded. she let go with a final look at me.

“I will look after her, I promise,” I said answering the unspoken question in her eyes.

I gestured for the child to follow me and then I led the way to the side of the entry hall, next to one of the many benches that I had yet to see filled.

She followed along dutifully but with many a backwards glance at the backs of her parents.

I stood looking down at her, she was very uncomfortable, she couldnt meet my gaze or stand still it seemed. I knelt down next to her. Once down my head was almost level with hers. She met my gaze this time.

“Hello. I’m Tristan. I’m sure you heard what’s happening. Is this okay for you?” I said to her. I had softened my tone so it was barely above a whisper.

She looked at me for a long moment before whispering back “Hi. I’m Sophia. I’m scared. Are you going to help me?”

I felt my eyebrows raise. A strange mix of emotions threatened to choke me up. This brave little girl confiding in me, a total stranger. I paused to get myself under control.

“I’m going to do my best to help you. I’m new at this too,” I said. I looked at this trusting little girl and felt a sense of protectiveness. A desire to shelter her.

“Are you hungry?” I asked

“Yes. Can we get some eggs and bacon? It’s my favorite,”  she smiled around the words. It was a weak smile but the effort was there.

I stood up, my knees creaked, the stone was hard.

“Sure we can Sophia,” I smiled in return. I cast a look back at Rysan who was still hashing out the details with Sophia’s parents, motioned to Sophia to let her know we were going now. She came to my side shyly and we were off.

The early morning sun shone down on us. I looked around for somewhere to take her. This part of town was full of little cafes and bars, but most weren’t open this early.

“Can we go there?” Sophia asked pointing to a small building on the very edge of the square. I  had walked past it everyday since moving to this part of town. The whole district was built of a pale cream stone, everything from the streets to the buildings, which felt like they flowed up out of the edges of the wide central thoroughfare.

The cafe was cozy. The tables made of the same cream stone rose out of the floor, large windows let in the bright morning sun. The place was busy, but that didn’t matter; the smells of bacon and sausages cooking drew us in. I looked to my side to see the matching look of anticipation of Sophia’s face. We took a table by the door and looked down the menu, which was made of glass, the words gently glowing.

“Can you read?” I enquired as the question occurred to me. Sophia’s green eyes took on a proud glimmer as she answered.

“Yep, course I can read. Why do your eyes glow? My grandma’s eyes do that, but my mamma’s don’t, does it hurt? Can you see in the dark?”  She rattled out before pausing, clearly having run out of breath.

I looked away and closed my eyes briefly, I could feel my cheeks heating up under the barrage of questions.

In that brief window, the waitress arrived to take our order.

“What will you have?” She asked, giving me an amused quirk of the eyebrow.

I looked over at Sophia she was looking unsure. I felt it was my duty to reassure her so I said, “You can have anything you want. It’s my treat.”

A smile bloomed across her face,“Ummm. Can I have, um, the bacon and the scrambled eggs and glass of milk please? she asked the waitress.

“Of course, you can honey!” the waitress said then she turned to me“She so polite, and what would you like?”

I’ll just  have the blue ice tea please,”  I said, I placed my hand on my stomach to sooth the slightly queasy feeling at the thought of putting something in it, with that she was gone, back to the kitchen.

The momentary reprieve stretched.

Sophia stared at me with an air of expectant silence.

I took a deep breath.

“Right,” I started hesitantly. “I’ll give you the short answer about my eyes, and then if you think it’s not enough, you can ask again later, does that sound fair?”

She nodded quickly her red hair waving around.

“Here it is. My eyes glow because I am a mage and I have a lot of magic inside me. No I can’t see in the dark any better than you and no, it doesn’t hurt,” I stated as clearly as I could.

“But that doesn’t s’plain why my mama doesn’t have glowing eyes but my grandma does. Will I end up with them too?” The words rushed out of her in a torrent of excited curiosity.

“The older someone is, the more magic they have, normally. So, one day you might glow too. Unless you want to be a mage. Then you will certainly end up with them.”

I found myself answering her question slowly, in an attempt to forestall further questions.

Sophia’s food and my drink arrived just then I thanked the waitress and paid for us both. I could tell she was bursting to ask more questions and while I respect curiosity, I’d had enough. So, as she opened her mouth to utter the next one, I interrupted with one of my own.

“What did you do with your knack?”  She flushed and looked down at the table which was almost as cute as when she smiled.

“Ummm, my parents think I made the plants in the garden grow, but I don’t think I did they were just like that, when we woke up,”  She explained very quickly. She wouldn’t look up at me

Well, that covered why they thought it was earth, but not why they thought it was her,

“ Anything else that you may have forgotten to mention? We need to find your range before we can teach control,” I coaxed her.

“Well, when I was playing with Josh, he’s the boy who lives at the house down the road, we were playing stone skipping on the lake, right?” She looked up at me briefly, checking to see if I was listening. I nodded, trying to look extra attentive. She continued.

“Well, he was beating me, he got five skips and I only got two I was getting mad that my stones wouldn’t do it, and then my next stone did. Ten whole jumps, but that’s not magic. I just got good at it. Right?”  She looked like she was desperately wishing I would agree that it wasn’t magic. I felt torn, I really liked this poor girl, but I had to do what was best for her.

“Sophia, I would love to tell you that it’s not magic, but I can’t. I’m sorry, it sounds similar to when I got my knack. I’ll tell you about it if you want, but it may be a bit sad. Do you want to hear it?” I wasn’t sure if this was the right way to approach this, but it’s all I had.

She nodded, looking more and more vulnerable. It made my heart ache, but duty came first.

“I was nine. When I bloomed, I was young, but it happened more often back then. I didn’t know what was happening. I accidentally channeled most of my magic into the earth creating Zelf as I thought of him. He was a mirror to me. A boy shaped rock, the same size as me.We went everywhere together, he was my only friend. Since my blossoming all the other kids were scared of him. He couldn’t talk, but we played. He looked after me. Then the waves came.”

I took a sip of my drink to wash away the choked up feeling rising in my throat, it didn’t help.  My next words were thick with suppressed emotion.

“ My parents were tired, helping to look after those that had lost everything in the destruction left by the waves. I asked Zelf to help them, he went.  But I was just a kid, I didn’t know they needed charging or constant exposure to their creator when they are so young. He died a few hours later while I was sleeping. I never got to say goodbye to him.” I could feel tears in my eyes, but i blinked them away and took a deep breath, a faint hitch in my breathing, i let it out in a sigh, then forced a smile for her

Sophia’s eyes welled up.

“That is really sad, but that’s real magic. I didn’t really do anything,” she sobbed at me.

“Everyone has some magic. It’s nothing to be scared of,” I said as gently as I could. “You don’t even have to use it if you don’t want to, but we can’t have anyone getting hurt because you can’t control it. Can we?”

“No, I guess not,” She wiped her face on her sleeve, then looked up at me, a tremble in her lips and splotches where her tears had been were all that showed her emotion.

“You eat your breakfast, then we can go find out what your parents are doing,”  I calmly said.

I nodded at the waitress as we left. Acknowledging the assistance she had given me with Sophia.

(—-)

Walking back into the office, the boss leant over  his desk, signing something.

Mr and Mrs Leif countersigning, where he indicated.

Sophia ran to her parents straight into the arms of her mother. She started telling them what we had talked about at breakfast. I stayed back not wanting to interrupt their family bonding. The boss motioned me over as he stood up

“Mr and Mrs Leif, I’m going to brief Junior mage Tristan. We shall leave the reception so you can explain to Sophia while I bring Tristan up to speed,”  Rysan announced. He was far calmer than I’d ever seen him, before turning on his heel and walking into his personal office behind his desk. I followed him.

I’d never been in here. To be honest, it wasn’t what I expected.

There was a deep reddish-brown desk, blood cherrywood if was to guess, next to which was a waist high pedestal that Orb was currently resting on. A huge unlit fireplace taking up a whole wall, a basin on the other side and a chair that Rysan promptly sat down in.

I remained standing,

“I hate days like this. We have had something else come up that I will get to in a moment. Now I have to take your masters oath. Are you prepared?

“Yes,” I squeaked out. My voice betrayed my nervousness

“Then hold out your hand in a fist and repeat after me.”

I held out my right hand towards Rysan clenching it into a fist

“I, Tristan Sodden, do take Sophia Lief to be my apprentice. I will guide her in magic to the best of my ability, as is the sacred duty of the mages. I will protect her from all that would do her harm until she is released from her apprenticeship.”

I felt a heat in my fist as I repeated the words. I looked at it. A multi-coloured flame had formed around it. It didn’t hurt, but it was warm and tingly.

A voice sounded from the flame.

“Witnessed and bound,” came the voice.

Rysan paled at that. I wondered why. Before he spoke he accessed the glyphscreen in his desk.

To read a report, I guessed.

“Well, that’s that done. The arrangement is one day a week. They will bring Sophia here, you will spend the day teaching her control and what not. You are excused from other duties on that day. Moving on to the other problem of the day, there have been sightings of gnomes on the outskirts of town.”

“Really? Gnomes? I thought they all died out in the waves,” I gushed, suddenly excited about possible surviving magical creature. It took precedence over an apprenticeship

“Yes supposedly they did, we have three unsubstantiated accounts of gnomes to the east. Now I shouldn’t have to remind you, if you do find gnomes, do not engage, they fight in packs and are extremely dangerous if they feel threatened,” Rysan warned me, sounding very stern.

“What am I supposed to do about the gnomes then, sir?” I enquired as my hands shook from nervous energy

Rysan just looked at me like I was an idiot.

“As a mage, what is your duty?” He prompted firmly his face set in hard lines.

“The first duty of the mage is the protection and guidance of magic,” I recited from memory. It was drilled into us from day one in the academy.

“Exactly Junior mage. Gnomes are magical; they eat magic. They are a danger to the whole town, if the reports are true,” he sighed.  “Normally I would go myself, but I can’t. The wizards are calling all seniors through our Orbs. You need to go as soon as possible and assess the danger.”

“Yes sir,” I said and with a fist to chest salute went on my way.

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Magelife Chapter 1 Rewrite

“Oh boy, not this again.” Was the first thing that went through my mind, when I was woken up by the small glowing orb. A blue-white colour, and a touch larger than a grapefruit, it was the same orb from yesterday’s orientation. It hovered in the corner of the room near my plant. First brightening, then dimming.

It must have noticed me looking at it, because a voice came from it.

“Mage, you are summoned to headquarters for assignment.” The voice was deep and gruff, not at all what you would imagine coming out of such a creature.

Groaning, I looked out the window and saw the sun peeking over the horizon.

The Orb continued in its normal childlike voice, “Do you need any help getting there?”

I grunted again; I had hopes that just once I would be able to sleep in, just a little bit. I moved myself out of bed. Not bothering to hide my nakedness from the Orb, it was a construct, they didn’t care about clothes. I did do my best to cover over my rejection of the day, forcing a bit of brightness into my voice.

“Sure, why don’t you ride on my shoulder. You can give me directions from there. Sound good?” I responded. “Give me two minutes to get dressed.”

The Orb just blinked.

I looked around my room, my sleep-fogged mind confused for a moment.  The room wasn’t familiar yet, it was large, a huge window took up most of one wall,and there was even carpet. An admittedly short pile, but any carpet was an improvement over stone floors. My mind slowly caught up as I started moving around. I walked over to the wardrobe in the corner, I opened it and pulled out my uniform; simple black trousers and shirt, tough leather boots and a full length leather overcoat with colour coded bands at the wrists. For me it was green on one wrist, blue on the other.

I stood for a moment stretching this way and that. The new clothes fit but they weren’t comfortable yet.

“Right, I’m ready,” I said, more cheerfully than I felt.

The Orb floated over to my left shoulder and off we went.

 

I walked down the short road to the headquarters with the Orb on my shoulder. The early morning sun glinted from the tops of the buildings but didn’t touch the street, and the shadowed path was cold and brisk to walk through. My pace quickened, but whether it was from the early morning chill or the rising excitement I couldn’t tell.

Orb was silent on my shoulder, and the only sounds I could hear were the few people up this early and the birds that lived in the chimneys and rooftops singing their welcome of the dawn.

Orb was dimming.

I could see the headquarters not far up ahead, the large pale stone building with the huge oak double doors just within reach, and I sent my magic ahead of me, to request access. The authentication charm chimed and the doors swung open with a thud that was surprisingly loud , in the still morning. I stepped across the threshold just as Orb’s light faded to a dim glow, less than a candle’s worth.

 

The reception was bright and open, predominantly white stone broken up by the windows set high in the walls, small wooden benches along the walls, and the large solid-looking desk in the center. A couple of mages wandered by, disappearing into a different part of the building that wasn’t open to the public.

My boss sat at the desk; a large stocky man, extremely red in the face. I’d met him briefly yesterday, but never caught his name.

“Junior Mage Tristan! What time do you call this?” He shouted at me. His voice was the same deep, gruff one that Orb had imitated earlier.

I looked away and mumbled out an incoherent mess of syllables that was supposed to be an excuse.

“No, don’t answer.” He raised his hand and pointed at his feet. “Orb, you get over here, you took too long.”

Orb floated over to the boss, flickering slightly.

“Sorry Dad.” It said in its childlike tones.

It brightened as it got closer to its “father”.

“No! How many times have I told you we are at work, you call me ‘Senior Mage,’ or ‘Sir’ at work.” My boss said to Orb. The harsh tones made me wince in sympathy.

Orb shifted colour from a pale blue to light pink.

“Sorry Sir,” Orb said.

The boss turned back to me looking mollified by the submission of his “child”.

“Junior Mage Tristan, as this is your induction week you are to attempt as many different tasks as we can find for you. I have your testing shard here. It says your mentor Jase has many nice things to say about you, but I’m going to ignore that. He was always a bit soft. It also says you were top of your curve in earth. Is this correct?” he asked.

I drifted off slightly remembering my earth classes, and I’d missed that he’d asked a question.

“Is this correct?” He shouted at me.

Wow, where is my head today? I’m not normally this much of a pixie, I thought.

“Yes, sir, it is. Golem creation and skill implantation are my best earth skills. I’m okay with plants and infused enchantment.” My voice vibrated with pride.

“I didn’t ask for your life story, Junior Mage. A simple “yes Sir,” or “no Sir,” will suffice. Am I understood?” I nodded in reply. “Good. Now it says here you have water skills as well?”

“That would be correct, Sir.”

“Well, Mud Boy, have I got a job for you. Let’s send you out to help the farmers today.” he said with a smirk.

I bit my tongue and clenched my fists as I felt my body tighten up in response to the insult.

“The farmers west of the town are having an irrigation problem. Do you think you can handle it?” He asked.

I blinked at the order. I hadn’t expected to get a task like this. A multitude of retorts welled up in me, but I choked them down, with an almost physical effort.

“Yes sir.” I said.

“We’ll see. Remember, this is induction; if you can’t handle it report back to me or send a message, and we shall find you something so simple that even you couldn’t screw it up.” My boss said, doubt in every line of his face.

He handed me a small rock.

“Dismissed.”

I left, carrying my rock.

 

Out on the street, I pounded out my frustration on the neat pavement. I accessed the information stored on the innocuous, black rock. It fit in my hand easily, smooth edges that didn’t bite as I gripped it with a clenched fist. My knuckles went white when the flood of information hit my mind, and I staggered next to the fountain. I knelt down to the water and used my empty hand to take a mouthful.

The cool, fresh fluid washed away a great deal of the bubbling anger and frustration. I looked down into the placid edge of the water away from the spray. I could see my reflection.

The glow of my eyes illuminated the rest of my fine-boned, narrow face. My youth shone almost as brightly as my eyes. My dark hair, long but bound, contrasted against my pale skin. I’d been called “handsome” by a girl when I was younger. Before I became a mage. Before the glowing eyes.

I stood up, a tingle of magic welling from the stone I was crushing in my grip. I tensed and was braced for the rush this time. Tiny waves of energy flowed up my arm, transmitting simple instructions directly into my mind in someone else’s voice.

 

I looked around the square at the wide white streets that were slowly filling with people as the sun climbed higher. I spent a moment receiving instruction before heading off, away from the rising sun. The easy layout of the town helped, set out like a compass in cardinal directions.

 

I could see the farms cast in bright light from the early morning sun, deep greens from the maturing crops, solid earthy browns from the muddy paths scattered in a disorderly fashion, and animals in profusion.

I took a deep breath of the fresh air. The scent of growing things and the faint but unmistakable taint of animal dung brought a sense of calm, like being back at home. I could feel my chest relaxing as I took in the scenery.

I caught a glimmer of movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head to focus on the moving shapes in the fields. Field golems, man shaped rocks animated with magic. They were watering the fields, I assumed it was a stopgap measure until I finished the task I’d been assigned. I tore my eyes away from the golems and scanned the horizon. I could see a solid stone plinth, near the farm buildings, a cluster of human men standing around it. I angled my path to intersect with them.

They saw me coming. The oldest just looked at me, a wrinkled man with darkened skin like leather and laughter lines deep around his eyes and mouth.

I shifted my feet, but raised my head to look him in the eye.

“Hello, I’m Tristan Sodden. I’m your assigned mage for this incident. Can you please tell me what the problem is?” I forced out, as the intensity of his stare almost stole my words.

The farmer’s mouth tightened as he looked me up and down.

“You’re a full mage?” he asked.

“Yes I am, just qualified.” I said.

“We were expecting someone older, you sure you’re in the right place?”

I opened my mouth to reply but he cut me off.

“Your boss Senior Rysan mirrored us to let us know who you were. He didn’t mention you were so young though.”

I didn’t know what to say. It must have shown.

“Anyway, get to work, we can’t keep the golems in the fields forever, we need them for other things. This here,” he pointed his chin towards the square plinth, “is the irrigation system, new fangled device. Had to set it in the well, it needs whatever it is you mages do.”

I nodded, more to myself than to the farmer, as my eyes fell on the solid grey stone.

The farmers stepped away then, almost an assumption that I knew what I was doing. They didn’t take their eyes off me.

I shifted my shoulders and rubbed my hands together.

I then knelt down next to the dark grey stone, its edges sharp against the crumbling well. I placed my hands against it. I took a deep breath then I closed my eyes.

 

My othersight opened up, and I could see the ghostly threads imbued in the control device. It just needed animating and limiting. The rush of pale colours was confusing as I figured out the central elements. Water and earth, bringing life and growth from the land with the addition of water. The concepts were clear, but the limits needed adjusting. That was the problem with these ready-made devices; they always needed configuring for the various situations. I send a whisper of my magic inside to arrange the concepts, define the boundaries, the shifting shapes, that only existed in othersight travelled at my direction. Containment, earth based, went around the edge, marking a barrier within the stone and without. I traced the edge of the farm, marking it. I found the final sequence, threading the connective strands through the concepts to create the fully functional system. I snapped out of othersight and blinked, my hand wet and cold. Beads of moisture were accumulating on the surface of the stone. Waves of chilled air poured from it, before settling.

I sent my magic out again, this time in a torrent to bathe the system. The stone shifted and sunk, settling into its location, and I bound it to the well much like a cap stone. I manipulated the old loose stones into a better alignment, then smoothed and joined all the edges. Glyphs lit up on the surface of the control stone to say it was fully functional and to grant control to the farmers.

I stood up, brushing the dead dry grass and dirt from my knee and watching. The water collecting on the sides started to be absorbed into the stone. In just a moment, the land all around me flushed with health. The grass beneath my feet lost some of its limpness. There was an almost visible ripple as the effect hit the boundary of the farm and stopped dead. The smell of rain on dry earth rose under me and I inhaled, then smiled.

I stood there as the farmers watched me, and nodded to them. They nodded back.

The oldest farmer tipped his hat to me, a faint smile on his face.

I turned and walked back the way I had come, my steps light. I held my head up. the feeling of triumph that filled me made the walk back to town feel very short.

 

The shift from dirt paths to smooth paving startled me out of my self-congratulatory mood, and I looked around at the wall. The high grey-stone structure was much older than most of the town, one of the few constructions made without magic. It had barely been touched by the waves that had struck back when I was a child.

I had passed the gate in the wall around the town when the rumble from my stomach reminded me that it was around lunch time. I’d never been able to eat much before noon.

I walked through the outer market, and the bright cloth roofs of the wooden stalls wavered in the gentle wind. Mainly produce was for sale, but I could see a few rare items: alchemical ingredients, even some magic focus. Mages don’t really use focuses much, but some were beautiful; my hands itched to touch them but I was distracted by something savory on the breeze. I found myself standing at a small intersection just off the main square, turning my head this way and that and sniffing. My eyes caught on what was clearly a tavern; the wooden sign hanging above the door was a give away.  The door was open, the scents were coming from inside.

When I stepped inside the change from the brightly light outside to the slightly darker interior took a moment to adjust to. The first thing that struck me was how clean the place was, the floor was smooth flagstones, the booths were along the walls, each one facing the center of the room. A long wooden bar was at the back. A few booths had customers in them, most didn’t even look up at me. I headed right for the bar at the back, where a waitress leaned, eyeing the customers, the attentive hovering air about her giving her away. She was smartly dressed in sensible durable clothes; a simple white cotton blouse and grey skirt, complemented her sturdy shoes.

“Excuse me, could I order some food please?” I asked.

She looked me over, before responding. “Of course, Sir mage. Find a seat. I will be over in a moment.”

I nodded my thanks then walked to the nearest empty booth.

My foot caught on the edge of one of the flag stones. My heart leapt, but I recovered. I could feel my face flushing, and I looked around. No one was looking, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

I watched my steps slightly better, and made it to the booth without further incident.

Just as I was sliding in, the waitress came over.

“Master Mage. What would you like?” She asked.

“Um. Could I have steak and vegetables and a glass of  silver juice please?” I asked.

“No problem. Anything else?” She asked, her smile both dutiful and bored.

“No, that will be all.”

She didn’t say anything else, just hurried off.

I sat in the surprisingly comfortable booth, enjoying the curve of it, the soft padding. I placed my hands on the wooden table. I noticed a smudge of dirt on my palm. I licked my thumb and attempted to rub it away.

The waitress returned with my drink. Silver juice is an alchemical drink that most don’t like. I’d grown used to it at the academy, where they served nothing else. It was infused with magic.

“Your meal will be a few moments, how will you be paying?”

I reached into the small pouch at my waist and pulled out a yellow octagonal crystal, about the length and thickness of my thumb.

The waitress nodded, a look of relief on her pretty face. “We had one of the older mages in here the other day, he tried paying with gold nobles.”

I winced, I’d not seen a noble since I was a child, never a gold one.

“Thank the wizards for the shards.” She said. “That will be three knacks, please.”

I passed the shard over her hand, which had a small metal ring on her middle finger, and sent a sliver of my magic to the shard authorising the payment. I felt a tiny jolt as it went through.

The waitress smile brightly, then went off through the door next to the bar.

I waited patiently, I sipped my silver juice, the thick metallic liquid cold and sharp,  similar to citrus juices. It was refreshing; I could feel the cold racing through my veins, like taking a plunge in a pool in the winter, the surface ice breaking on impact. My heart raced and my mind cleared, and I smiled grimly. It takes some getting used to.

My meal arrived not long after, along with nice silver cutlery.

I raised my eyebrows at that, and the waitress went off chuckling to herself.

I tucked into my lunch, medium rare steak done to perfection. The light salad was fresh and crisp, the potato light and fluffy. All in all it was a good meal for a starving young mage. I took my time with my juice afterwards though, I felt pleasantly full and didn’t want to rush.

I felt my pendant warm. It had never done that before. I slid a finger along my neck, found the chain and pulled out the plain green gem. An oval uncut emerald, it looked like green glass set in a very simplistic silver setting. I smiled as I stroked the inexplicably warm gem. A tingle of magic informed me that I was being summoned back to headquarters. I probably wouldn’t have noticed the pendant being warm while asleep, no wonder Orb was sent.  With a sigh I rose, nodded my thanks to the waitress and walked out the door.

 

“Why did I have to summon you?” Rysan thundered at me. He stood up and started pacing.

“I was having some lunch before returning.” I explained.

“A very responsible use of your time.” He said sarcastically as he turned away. “You should have come here as soon as you were able, I don’t have time to be babysitting you.”

I remained standing in the reception hall  of headquarters, and I looked around, to make sure no one else was about. It was just Rysan, Orb, and I.

I pressed my lips together and looked at my feet.

“Junior Mage, am I boring you? Do you have something better to be doing?”

“No, Sir.” I said, raising my head and standing to attention. I focused my eyes on a point on the wall.

“In fact, you do have better things to be doing, and so do I. You need to do your report of the events of this morning. I need it filled by the end of the day. Your master should have informed you, prepared you for this job. It is not my task, but it seems to fall to me. Go to one of the private rooms and do your job, Junior Mage. You may think you’re better than us, considering you completed training early, but I find you lacking, lazy and arrogant. Prove me wrong or serve somewhere else.”

“Yes, Sir.” I remained standing, waiting to be dismissed, my face locked in the most neural expression I could manage. Inside I was seething. My hands had started to shake. I could feel my tendons creaking as I fought them to a standstill.

Rysan walked over to stand in front of me, mere feet away.

I continued to stare at the spot on the wall.

“Dismissed.” I saw him move away, back to the desk.

I eased myself from my attentive paralysis and turned to one of the doors at the back of the hall. I avoided looking at Rysan as I walked.

I chose the door closest to me, placed my hand on the handle and pushed. It didn’t budge. I stared at it.

The door was solid oak, stained dark. There were faint carvings on its surface, but as I ran my hand over them it felt smooth as glass. Glimmers of light followed in the wake of my hand, running through the carvings. I cocked my head to one side as I considered it.

“Activate it, Boy. I want that report today.” Rysan said from the desk.

I clenched my fists again, my nails digging into my palms, I counted silently in my head. Then I opened my othersight and looked at the door, my head throbbed at the additional sensory input.

The door shimmered with pale colours, greens and blues, a touch of red, in waves over the wood. The carvings stood out as active concepts, threads wove in thick tangled lines to the handle and the desk and the main doors.

I placed my left hand on the central glyph carving, then placed my right on the handle, channelling a small flow of raw power, barely enough to do anything with. I felt an answering echo from the door as it recognised me. The door swung open.

I stepped over the threshold muttering to myself about my own stupidity. It was just a different authorisation system, much like the main doors except this one would only let in a mage that had the approval of the desk and the main doors.

I felt my curiosity growing at what would be in this room, almost an excitement.

I lifted my eyes and had a look, and felt them go wide in surprise as my face fell.  There was nothing there. Well, nothing exciting or interesting or worth locking up so tightly. The tiny room contained a glyph screen embedded in the desk, and a chair. That was it. The white walls were stark and clean, a glowing beam of sunlight slanting from the small window lit the room brightly.

I took myself over to the chair and sat. The desk was new, a darkly shining wood with a large screen that looked like a window set into the desk. I placed a palm flat on the screen, and it slowly came alive with lights, flickering in depths that weren’t there. I rested my head in the other hand which I’d propped up, closing my eyes to ease my headache. A dull pounding had formed behind my eyes where I had overused my sight; hours at a time just isn’t a good idea. I breathed deeply and the pounding settled a touch. I really had to get more used to othersight. It always felt like staring at the sun afterwards, painful and not very clever.

I opened my eyes, which took a moment to focus, and saw little glyphs forming on the screen. The sharp angular lines signified whole words. A few taps of the right ones and I was given a blank. I took my palm off the screen and it flickered, and the blank solidified into an image of paper. I ran my hand along the underside of the desk, and a small glass stylus slid into my grasp. I held the stylus over the screen. I shifted my grip, the sweat on my hand making it slide.

I started writing the elaborate glyphs of the mages. Sharp and angular, they similar to the regular glyphs, but these were whole words, thoughts, and ideas, condensed. The connectives always confused me, the marks which linked one to another. I made a few mistakes and had find them, but my eyes refused to focus, they just glazed over. I found myself watching the sunbeam moving across the wall. The sun was sinking and my first real day as a mage was almost done. Yesterday didn’t count, I’d been shown around and that was it. I forced myself to concentrate. The once-blank page crawled with glyphs, connectives linked the necessary parts, I had to translate it into common in my head to check that it was adequate. It was, if barely. The sun was setting as I made my final changes. The circle of light shifted to an amorphous flare of reddish gold. I tapped the glyph to store my report, and stood. My back ached from hunching over and my legs were stiff. I had a cramp in my hand as I tried to slide the stylus back into its resting slot. I only just managed. I then spent a moment stretching, creaks and pops coming from various parts of my body as I did so.  I walked to the door, opening it this time without any difficulties.

Rysan was still seated at the reception desk, his own screen lighting up his face and casting deep shadows under his jaw and eyes. He looked far older than I’d first guessed, fifty at least. Orb hovered around him, its light making the other shadows dance.

I walked directly for the door as fast as my stiff legs would carry me.

Rysan grunted.

I pretended not to hear and carried on, even though my belly did a little flip.

I could hear nothing behind me as I left.

 

The dusk cast the town in blood-red light. I blinked to help my eyes adjust; too long spent in a tiny room, looking at words ruins my far sight

I walked the path home, taking slow gentle steps. The shifting air was cool and moist with the smell of rain on the wind. I looked up at the clouds covering the sky, barring the edges of the horizon.

I moved stiffly down the street, my legs refusing to be bend or straighten quite right.

I reached the door of my building, and it recognised me without any fuss. Once inside, I looked between the stairs and the round dais in the center of the floor. I turned my head towards the stairs and persuaded my legs to take me up despite their protests. The walk had helped, but sitting at a desk wasn’t my thing. It took longer than I had planned to get up to my apartment, but I got to my door in one piece. A touch on my door swung it inwards without a sound. It was dark inside, but the window showed the very last touch of the sun disappearing below the horizon.

“Lights.” I called to the empty room.

The small glow globe set in the ceiling created a gentle glow, enough to see by.

I limped over to my bed, pulling off my overcoat before I  sat and took off my boots. I rubbed my feet with strong circular motions, sighing.

I looked around the room, trying to familiarise with my new home. The mages had given it to me on passing my test. I felt something bubbling up inside, looking down at my hands to find that they had stopped massaging and were now clenched into white knuckled fists. I stood and padded over to window. The darkness made  the window act like a mirror. I was tense and shaking, a sense of frustration and anger coming over me as I looked at myself, standing in my mages uniform. It had been all I’d wanted for so long, and I was stuck dealing with reports and farmers, and a prick of a boss. I was only a junior mage, but I thought we did more than solved tiny problems. I passed my exams five years before anyone else. I was the youngest living mage. That had to count for something. As my blood heated, I swung my fist at the window.

The pain replaced all the anger in an instant.

The window didn’t break; reinforced with magic and metals it was strong. I flexed my hand, the blood rushing through it making it throb.

I walked to the basin in the corner and touched the faucet, filling the basin, then touched it again, turning it off. I carried the basin over to the armchair a few steps away. I sat down and balanced the basin on my knee. I placed my aching hand into the cold water. It took the sting away, but I would be feeling it in the morning. The cold water helped. With my hand cool and my body still, I was struck by a realisation.

I had thought the hard work would be over now, that I had earned my mage licence. Why would real life be easier than that? People respect ability, and I hadn’t proved myself yet. My first real task, my second day, but my first as a working mage.

I looked down into the water at the little tendrils of blood floating in swirls from my skinned knuckles. I channeled magic through my hand, and filmy, unclear images formed; places and people, but none I recognised. I moved my hand through the water and let out a sigh.

I held the basin and stood, walking over to drain the basins and pour the pink-tinted water away. I shook my hand to get the last of the water off.

I looked at my bed longingly.

My body was tired, a bone-deep weariness, as if it was saying  “no more today”.

I stripped myself with an almost agonising slowness, my tired body refusing to move quickly.

I crawled into bed, body aching, mind numb.

“Lights out.” I called.

The lights dimmed to sparks then winked out.

I lay in the dark drifting into sleep, wondering what the next day would bring. I could never have foretold what was in store for me.

 (——)

The poll, please give your views.

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Snippet

There is a tiny chapter of something that just came to me this morning . It’s in other writings at the top of the page. It may appeal to some of you. I might decide to expand it at a later date, but that won’t be until Mage Life is done.

Here

 

So this post is just a heads up to those that aren’t random clickers or those that don’t have “Ooo shiny” moments.

Posting

Well thats it for the rapid posts. I’m trying to work out a schedule that I can keep.  So I have a question for you all.

Would you prefer full chapters or part chapters?

I can do a few scenes at a time, it would make it more frequent or I could do a full chapter which will take far longer.