Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Fire and Death

Amethyst - Lore of Death
"I'm ready," Gesper announced. Bruno, his apprentice, looked up.

"Ready, master?" he asked.

"Yes. Send out the challenge. We shall see who takes up the gauntlet first."

Bruno swallowed. As one of the masters of the Lore of Death, he'd expected Gesper von Sterben to be a morbid sort of man. He'd not been expecting the turn of events his master was putting into action, however.

"Are you certain, master?"

"Death calls to us. The omens are clear," Gesper said, stalking to the window of their decrepit tower room and pressing his wan face against the glass. It overlooked a miasmatic stretch of gloomy swamp. Cypresses wreathed the few hummocks that managed to emerge from the water. Crows hacked and cawed as they circled overhead.

Bruno managed not to roll his eyes. If you were going to live in the heart of a sunken graveyard, he doubted you'd see a lot of cheerful omens.

"Master," he began, reluctantly.

"I know, Bruno, I know," said Gesper, sighing. He turned his bloodhound-like eyes on the young man. "You would tell me I am a fool. That our order is to study death, not to embrace it. That this is suicide, a tragic waste of my research and nothing more."

"Well, I wouldn't put it quite like that," the student said, taken aback by how accurately Gesper had summed up his objections. He still wasn't used to how well a practised Amethyst wizard could read minds.

"You won't get used to it until you embrace your own mortality," Gesper said, with a ghost of a tragic smile. "Your own mind is loud with its own importance. You must learn how temporary you are, then you'll hear the thoughts of others as clearly as I. However. Your objections are have some force behind them, I must admit."

"Oh?" Bruno said.

Gesper studied the interaction of the other Winds of Magic with Shyish, the purple wind of death. After many years, he'd had decided that he needed to experience death in order to complete his studies, a death that had to be directly caused by an incantation of another Lore's magic. Hence composing a series of incredibly insulting messages to various other volatile mages, challenging them to magical duels.

Quite how being killed in a fight would help complete the old mage's studies evaded Bruno. Not that he minded, exactly, he'd probably get to step into his master's shoes. But he didn't feel ready, there was too much yet to learn.

"None ever feel ready, Bruno. Nevertheless. It is time."

"I don't understand, master. Time for what?"

Gesper sighed again. "I think, after all, you are right. I must embrace a final death to learn what I must. You must embrace it to learn what you need. I have signed the challenges in both our names, and taken the liberty of paying for a detachment of bodyguards for you. To ensure your discretion doesn't oversome your will to see this project through, you understand."

"But... What? Am I to die for this, then?"

"We shall both perish, young Bruno! And the Amethyst College will profit greatly from what we learn!"


Bright - Lore of Fire
Clovis Pyre screwed the letter up before consigning it to the flames.

"Another challenge," he declared, stifling a yawn. "A waste of time."

Rachel Kleiberman smirked. Pyre was old, his fires somewhat banked by spending the last two decades swigging port in Altdorf's finest gentleman's clubs. She known he would say something like this.

"Not this one, Clovis," she said. He harrumphed irritably, coughing a cloud of soot from his wretched pipe, adding to the fug of his perpetually overheated study room.

"You must call me Master, young lady," he reminded her.

"Master Clovis," she said, still smirking. "You cannot afford to turn this fight down."

"And why, may I ask, is that?"

"I've invested your club fees for the rest of this year in bets that you'll win the duel."

In retrospect, it was probably a foolish declaration, even if it had the desired effect. It took the servants an hour and a half to get the blazing study under control.

But at least the duel would be on.


  1. All this week! Daily fluff updates to gear you up for our forthcoming Wizard's Cup battles, beginning next week. I'll be imagining the circumstances of the duels (note - not to be represented in the games, sadly, those will be kept fairly straightforward for gaming parity and ease). But I will be completing the writeup, tying the threads together as the round continue, so watch this space!

  2. Fantastic! This all promises to be very entertaining. :)