Here's a resurrected collaborative story that stalled ages ago, so I'm reposting an edited version.
Not much historical information exists on exactly how Minoan society worked. We are left to imagine from pottery pictographs & the one sculpture of the woman holding snakes over her head. It was a rather successful culture administrated by women. Temples, where snake-dancing and fertility rites went on, were central to village life. It was mostly a pre-bronze age, but there was the rare bronze tool. People made pottery, grew crops, kept & ate cows, fished, lived together in what appeared to be family groupings because they were in such close proximity, even sharing walls. Not many people except the specially educated can read, writing was on cuniform tablets, travel is on foot or by donkey.
This story starts showing magic healing abilities hard for the medical community to imagine today. We see our protagonist going through his initiation ceremony, inside the temple of a magically supported Healing Order.
August 30th, 2003, 02:16 PM
Vertigo. Slight pain. A little nausea. That's what the others said it
would be like. Baldarr fell to his knees, his mind spinning. He was suddenly taken up in a coughing spasm, blood and saliva spewing from his mouth. He made a weak moan. His eyes burned. Whips of pain flogged his back, and his nerves
screamed in agony. Baldarr could no longer will his throbbing hands to hold his body up, and he collapsed onto the marble floor. He was oblivious to the stab of pain to his skull as it hit the marble, his whole body wailing from the sheer shock of what had happened. Tears streamed down the man's face as the fresh memories of the spell surfaced in his mind.
Baldarr took a deep breath and lifted himself off the ground, clenching his teeth against the pain. He stumbled across the long temple room where he had been left, past column after a column of marble. When Baldarr had visited the temple before, he would spend hours pouring over the ancient hieroglyphics inscribed into the endless marches of columns. The stories of the past were writ on the marble surface, telling of the bygone days of Cencaria's infancy-stories of the gods in Olympia, of Pheona and the King of Darkness. Indeed, this had been Baldarr's favorite place to visit when he was studying at the Academy Magiius. These pleasant thoughts were far from Baldarr's mind as he struggled to make it to the lavatory.
Baldarr spotted the small, wooden door in the west wall of the room. He was all too thankful to find the place empty as he stumbled to the sink closest to himself. Baldarr hastily turned the faucet, impatient as the pipes filled with water and a slow stream came forth into the sink in the full moonlight. Baldarr filled his callused hands with the cold water and threw it on his face. He didn't mind that it soaked his woolen robe; he was too exhausted to care. After wetting his face a few more times,
Baldarr turned the faucet back off and reached for a washcloth hanging from a small wooden peg in the wall. As he dried himself off, Baldarr looked up at his visage in the small silver mirror. Deep rings of black lay under his eyes, and his face seemed to slump in fatigue.
Baldarr made a small mordant chortle as he thought back to what the graduate physicians had said about the huag. They had claimed it would be a simple process, relatively free of pain and over within the hour. As the physicians had claimed, a mage specializing in hüag spells would incant the ancient Spell of Magiius, a magical chant invented by the renowned sorcerer-turned-physician. The chant was invoked whenever a studying physician completed his stay at the Academy, and was known as
being the most important qualifying moment in a physician's education.
This was because the Spell of Magiius activated an ability to see all afflictions, whether they be exterior or interior, in he to whom the huag spell was directed. Veteran physicians referred to the process of obtaining the huag by the same name.
The huag has started this evening at sunset, and the result was
instantaneous. Baldarr remembered standing in the central room of the Academy reserved for the ceremony. He remembered glancing around at the room's cylindrical enclosure and all the tapestries and murals depicting the Miracles of Magiius. The silence was broken when his instructor and the mage, face hidden by a dark brown hood, entered the room. There was a
brief ceremonial introduction, and then the mage dismissed the teacher.
When the door had closed, the mage turned to Baldarr and removed his cowl. A gasp escaped his throat as he saw the mage's hideous face. It was covered with scars from boils and gouges that had seemingly never healed.
The old man's forehead was marked with innumerable tiny stitches. And the man's eyes were even more peculiar. They were large and contained deep gray pupils hinting at a vast and profound wisdom.
The mage suddenly slammed his hands together in a loud clap, roaring in laughter as the sound made Baldarr snap out of a daze. Baldarr was incensed. How could the mage tease him with a grusome illusion at a time like this? The mage said, "No time for mind-wandering," once again shrouding his face in his cowl.
"I…I was…," Baldarr stammered, his heart suddenly racing. He didn't realize how nervous he would be either.
"You were daydreaming. Now, let's get this thing over with. Let me see, where is that dratted book?" The mage plunged his hands into his cloak, feeling around for the object. Apparently finding it, the mage's face brightened and he said, "Aha!" The old man pulled the thing out from the depths of his cloak. It was a massive book, leather-bound, and spine and cover alike covered with strange inscriptions which Baldarr thought held a striking resemblance to the characters on the temple's pillars.
Baldarr waited anxiously for the mage to start the ritual, the mage
himself having seemingly forgotten his subject as he slowly flipped
through page after page of illuminations and fancy writing. Under his breath, the mage was muttering something, "…confounded spell…physicians… their huag…" He said the last word with an especial tinge of contempt, and violently flipped the page. Coincidently, he seemed to have found the spell, for the old man looked up at Baldarr. He said slowly and distinctly, with a suddenly formal tone, "Let us begin." There was no verbose introduction like Baldarr had expected. Just a short, and rather
The mage cleared his throat, spending a few seconds perusing the page on which the huag spell was written. From his vantage point less than a foot away, Baldarr could clearly make out the diagrams accompanying the spell-positions of the spell-caster's fingers, the intonation of the words, and other such things that Baldarr found quite nonsensical. His patience already gone, Baldarr made an angry sigh.
"Will you start?!" he snapped, at once regretting it, as he was ensnared in the penetrating gaze of those deep gray eyes.
"Very well young man!" spat the mage, slamming his book shut. He immediately began a series of chants, his arms and hands and fingers moving so quickly that they at once became a blur. Baldarr's heart boomed as his stood there, the incomprehensible words whispering past his ears so fast and so silently that he felt, for the first time in his life, utterly terrified.
Now the mage had silenced, but Baldarr had barely noticed this when an onslaught of pain ripped through his muscles and he fell to the floor.
Thus the huag had begun.
You were daydreaming. Baldarr remembered the mage's accusation, a familiar one. Here he was, still leaning on his hands over the sink, daydreaming again about something other than what was here now. He stood up and stretched, feeling his usual easiness stiffened by how long he had already spent in agony on a marble floor. He stretched his arms over his head.
He looked back at the mirror to see how far back behind himself his arm could reach. In the mirror, the skin on his arm began to bubble. He couldn't take his eyes away as his skin erupted and sloughed off his forearm. He wrenched his eyes away from the mirror to look at his forearm. Without the mirror, his skin was clear.
His mind raced wildly, fearing something had gone wrong with this huag. Baldarr painfully walked back out to the middle of the marble floor where the mage was standing to wait for the next seizure. He cupped his eyes in his palms.
It came again.
As his eyes cleared, Baldar began to hear voices inside his head.
Whispers perhaps, barely audible, but definitely there, tickling his ears as if the sounds were a swarm of tiny flies attacking the delicate surfaces of his eardrums.
The voices grew louder and the ticking sensation quickly turned to pain. Baldarr buried his head in his hands and immediately felt the warmness of blood, which was now trickling from his bleeding ears. He stared at the blood as it began drying on his calloused hands, watching as the stains swirled and danced across his trembling palms.
The blood stopped moving and Baldarr looked at the image in his hands. A face started back at him; a face he knew. A face he feared he would never see again. He screamed. "Mage, what sorcery is this?" he cried. "Why didn't you tell me?" he sobbed, watching as his tears puddled in his palms and slowly washed away the evil image his fears had painted.
August 30th, 2003, 02:31 PM
The face. That dreaded face.
He'd never meant for things to turn out that way. He'd never meant to kill her. If only she'd listened! With the gods as his witness, he'd given her a warning. She chose not to heed it. It's not his fault that she was dead. It was hers!
If only such desparate justifications didn't ring so hollow.
And so he cowered, on hands and knees, staring at the veins of the marble floor as his tears collected like rain drops on the newly waxed tiles. All the guilt that he'd worked so hard to bury wriggled it's way to the surface. It bore through his mind like a worm through a rotten apple.
"Why didn't you warn me?" Baldarr sniffled. His voice was torn between anger and self pity. "Why?"
The mage watched him not unsympathetically. "Ah, my boy. It's a hard lesson, but one that each must tackle when enduring the huag. In the beginning, your deepest fears and most private desires are brought to the surface," the mage drew open his book once more, "and then they must be faced."
Images flashed through the mage's aging head. Images of his own trial. His breath shortened as memeories of heartache and gut wrenching pain charged through his mind like a wild stampede. "And Baldarr, my boy," he said sadly, "I'm afraid this trial is just beginning."
And then, as the mage began to chant the incantations once more, Baldarr loosed a scream that echoed through the marble halls like an explosion. It sent shivers down the elderly mage's spine.
Slowly his body had adjusted and soon all he felt was a consuming numbness. Blood-coloured hallucinations writhed in front of him. They gradually took shape. A snarling mouth then a familiar pair of eyes.
Baldarr realised what it was again shaping into with a new shock of fear. He crawled hurriedly backwards whimpering. As it flew towards him pathetic soundless cries errupted from his wretched figure.
Pain started to filter through the numbness as it whirled around, slowly forwards to him. Suddenly it coiled tightly around his face. Whisps of crimson filled his sight, blocking out the blurred vision of the chanting, withered old mage. Lances of pain speared his chest as the face flickered away with a hiss.
Baldarr blinked and looked around. A warm glow of relief spread through his tired limbs. The mage chanted out one more word before squating down to watch him. An avalaunche of pain suddenly hit Baldarr, flinging him backwards onto the hard marble wall. He slid down and landed jarringly onto the floor. Miserable, weak sobs burbled out of him.
An eternity seemed to pass before he regained the strength to open his eyes. He felt like someone had cut open his soul and let all his life energy, happiness and optimism drip slowly, cruelly away. Baldarr wanted to feel relieved and happy it was over but all he did feel was a cold distant pain inside his chest. It was colder than he had ever felt before and probably colder than anything he would feel again.
Then he remembered the second part of the ordeal. He had to get to the Healer's Shrine, only a short fifty metres away. This was something he could jog to in ten seconds. He wasn't even able to stand up now.
Baldarr leaned over to rise, putting one hand on the floor and the other on the wall. Another rushing in his ears threw him off balance, and he found himself back on the floor. Shite, it wasn’t over yet, he thought.
Fire, heat, his face and breast felt as if it were the most awful
sunburn. It went on forever. Too long. Nobody has a huag like this.
Mercifully, eventually Baldarr finally went unconscious. He came to with the mage snoring next to him. As soon as Baldarr stirred, the mage was up again squatting over him.
"How do you feel now?" the mage examined Baldarr's eyes carefully. The mage had sat down the rest of the way and was leaning against the marble wall against the younger man.
The echoes in the silent hall amplified Baldarr's heavy breathing. It was awhile before he could answer. The buzzing in his head was gone too. So it really is over, he thought, relieved. "Cold," he said out loud, gesturing to his solar plexus.
"That will pass. It's the last stage of the spell’s protection for the
huag's visions, so you can turn them off at will." The mage felt about Baldarr's solar plexus, then his head and neck. Satisfied, he struggled to get up against his heavy robes.
"You'll be sore. I think you're ready to get your, hmmm, I'll go and
fetch it for you. After the Shrine was when, but, ahhh." The mage
rearranged his robes now that he was standing. "... Since your huag was, ...well, rest here." The mage ambled out, continuing to mutter, shaking his head.
It wasn't long before the mage returned, holding a staff. He handed it without ceremony down to Baldarr with wry, pursed lips holding back a smile. "Well, you're in the club now, since you still have a mind. ...There's probably something more, with huags like this one, that you will do...as you saw."
Baldarr took the staff and pushed against it heavily to get himself up.
"Thank you, Mage Fausskolen. Forgive me that I can't honor your teaching just at this moment." Baldarr grinned, snorting with the irony. I'd better get going to the Shrine before I collapse, he thought. Painfully, he dragged and tapped himself out of the marble hall towards the school's shrine.
Mage Fausskolen stood still, musing. Watching this huag had made him think of his own promise when he took the huag, late in life. He had always imagined he was too old for a healer's life. So he had used that excuse to stay in the school to study more magery. Turning to leave the hall, the mage mused that he probably wasn't so old after all if he still had the knees to squat.
August 30th, 2003, 02:32 PM
The mage slowly rounded the hall, stealing one last glance at the
weakened man. Baldarr had just made it to the smooth marble steps of the shrine, and seemed to be pausing for a breath before he ascended the stairs.
Ah well, thought the mage, let the young man do it by himself. With this thought in mind, he strode out of the Inner Quarters and locked the heavy oaken doors behind him.
The mage smiled politely as he weaved through the crowds of students hurrying to class. It was about noontime, and radiant sunshine bathed the whole Academy in its light. That huag had lasted over a day and a half. Very unusual.
The old man paced past the endless marches of columns, set on the two bronze doors far down the hallway. As he neared the towering structures, the mage began to make out the familiar shapes and designs he had seen so much in his earlier days. Beautiful images of the gods and the creation of the universe were carved into the metal. But most outstanding were the
flowery words engraved along the length of the metal, each letter the height of a woman.
The words formed the most famous passage in all of Cencaria: “Pheona, envelop us in your protective wings; forsake us not to the King of Darkness!”
Fausskolen plunged into the mists of his long memory, seeking out the one jewel that gleamed among the haze. He seized it.
It was Fedille himself whom raised these words to the sky during the First Invasion. The proud general had led the Wreylionian Army to meet the great hordes of dragons invading from the East at the coast.
As the King of the Dragons swooped down upon the masses of men, his blood-ruby eyes set upon the general. “Man of the earth, you dare battle the King of Darkness!” bellowed the dragon, his voice shaking the very core of the earth. The dragon’s jagged teeth gleamed with the blood of countless victims, and the great Fedille fell to his knees before the behemoth.
“Pheona,” he cried to the heavens. “Envelop us in your protective wings; forsake us not to the King of Darkness!”
A long silence covered the land. “Ah, mortal.” roared the dragon, “You are a fool and weakling.”
A great cry sliced through the dragon’s taunt, so piercing that it
brought tears to fighter’s eyes. Suddenly, a ball of flame and lightening erupted into existence before the great dragon into the shape of a phoenix.
“Dragons from the Eastern Isles,” declared the goddess. “Be gone!”
The great bird spread her wings their full length, spanning across the Wreylionians' front line. Thunder crackled next to the flashes. The Phoenix Goddess launched into the air, chasing the dragons out to sea and beyond the crimson horizon’s edge. It was said that the sudden lightening storm that uexpectedly sprung up had lasted for days.
And so it was that the First Invasion had been stayed. The volcano slept again. Fausskolen doubted that story was a literal rendition, but it made for an inspiring tale.
Fausskolen emerged from the mists of myth. Now I’m mind-wandering, he reprimanded himself, angered that he had almost forgotten the task at hand.
“Guard, open the door,” he ordered, turning to a young woman standing at attention to the side of the Pheacrum. The helmeted figure nodded its head, stepping forth with the Rod of the Pheacrum. Fausskolen thought the great doors’ ‘key’ was a strange object—a rod of metal about five feet long, contorted at the end into a wild curve.
“Step aside, sir.” The mage complied, watching as the guard inserted the rod through an invisible hole in the door’s surface. As the woman inserted the rod further and further in, it began to glow. Finally, as the guard pushed the entirety of the blazing rod into the bronze, the two quickly jumped back.
Less than a second later the great brazen doors swung wide, revealing the great city of Ukintile below. The mage nodded his head at the guard, beginning to descend the long flight of stairs to the ground. He didn’t even glance back as the Pheacrum slammed shut.
Baldarr sank to his bed in a dizzied state. His body felt numb and
distant. If only his mind would follow suit! Unfortunately, that aspect of him remained surprisingly sharp. That face, his sister's face, which he's witnessed in his vision, was opening old wounds that he'd thought had scarred over. He'd worked so hard to forget her; but as it always seems to be with painful memories, the more effort you put into shutting them away, the harder they hit you once they return. And as it was, while Baldarr was attempting to bury those hurtful thoughts once again, the terrible event played through his mind as vivid as if it had occured this
He stood on the cobble-stone bridge that led from the village of
Fealdine, the smells and sounds of running water drifting somewhere beneath him. His sister, Victoria, stood before him, her face screwed up in anger. Tears streaked her cheeks.
"You can't leave! You can't abandon me and mom," she screamed for the hundredth time. She was only nine, but she'd already developed into such a melancholy creature. Her hard life was taking it's toll.
But Baldarr's patience was wearing thin. "I have to leave! Don't you see? I'm mother's only hope!" He'd told her this repeatedly during the past week, but she refused to listen. Her fear had too tight a grip on to allow her to listen to reason. Baldarr knew this, he could see it in her dampened eyes, but there was nothing that could be done for her at the moment. He had to leave. Mother's illness was going to kill her within the next two years. Father had already fallen to the same illness the year before, and he knew for a fact that his mother wouldn't last long. In fact, now that he was thinking of it, two years was probably an
But how could he explain all of this to Victoria so that she would
understand? Baldarr shook his head. He'd already come to grips with the fact that he couldn't. He had to leave and she would just have to deal with it. As coldhearted as it sounded, there was no other way. Tired of explaining, Baldarr patted his sister on the head. "I'm sorry. I know you don't understand, but I have to go. Take care of Mom."
He started to walk away, but Victoria grabbed his hand and bit down with all the force her little jaws could muster. In his shock at the sudden jolt of pain, Baldarr thrashed his arm aside, slinging his little sister onto the cobble-stone walkway...directly under the wheel of a passing carriage.
The wheel rode over her neck with a sickening crunch. Baldarr ran to her aid but by the time the carriage had passed, his sister was gone. Her lifeless body lay completely still, eyes bulging as if surprised.
Baldarr tried to scream, but his voice was choked off by a gushing flow of vomit.
This had all happened four years ago, when Bladarr was fifteen. It had taken some time, but he'd slowly come to forget that terible day. He pushed it out of his mind with constant work and vigorous studying. And it had come as some solace that he'd at least been able to help his mother. Upon arriving at the temple, he'd quickly told the healing authorities about his predicament and reasons for study. A missionary was sent to his home village to cure his mother and bring her news of her son's whereabouts. He'd never had the heart to talk to her after his sisters death. He was so afraid to see the hurt in his mother's eyes that he had just ran.
Baldarr, shaking slightly as he lay his head on his pillow, had trouble swallowing past the lump in his throat. "I'm sorry," he said aloud, as if his sister's ghost were beside him. "I'm so sorry."
And for the first time since the day his sister died, he cried himself to sleep.
Baldarr slept. And in his sleep he dreamt.
In the dream he was back in The Hall Of The Huag. The hall was empty, silent. Only his footsteps echoed faintly amongst the tall pillars. He slowly made his way across the marble floor.
In his dream he reached the middle of the large hall. Then faltered. The air grew thick around him. Dark. Terror enveloped him. Slowly, as if wading through tick mud, he took another step. The air rang with the sound of a giant bell. - The First Seal - a voice said in his mind.
Suddenly he stood at the foot of the stairway leading to the shrine. He felt the magic of the huag within his heart. Cold. He took the first step on the stairs. Then the second. And the third. He looked up and the stairs seemed to go on forever. Weariness drained his strength and in the
dream he closed his eyes. But he continued to climb the steps. The bell rang again. Its tone even deeper. Its sound even louder. - The Second Seal - the voice intoned.
He stood in The Healer's Shrine. In front of him lay the altar. As he had done in reality, so he did in his dream. Falling to his knees, he locked his hands before him in The Sign of The Phoenix. The world narrowed until it was only a small circle of light. Himself and the altar. A scroll rested in front of him. The healers Scroll. He reached out towards it.
He saw the small cracks where it had been rolled up. He felt its ragged edge and rough surface beneath his fingers. He smelled the wax used for the seal. His right hand closed around the yellow parchment. The seal erupted in fire. He screamed.
His hand was on fire, flames licking his skin. Heat. He screamed again. The flames waved, melted and grew. The world expanded. The shrine reappeared. From the flames rose The Phoenix, filling the shrine. Then also the phoenix changed and he starred at his sisters face again. A single tear rolled down his chin. The bell rung a third time and the ground shook. The voice was inside his head anew. - The Third Seal is still unbroken... -
August 30th, 2003, 02:34 PM
Baldarr started out of bed. He decided to go for a walk, wondering if moving would help his sore legs. He slowing hobbled out of his small flat in the Student's Housing area. The nightmare was still bothering him. He wondered what the Third Seal being unbroken meant symbolically. He would have to consult his oracle teacher on that question.
Another thought struck him as he made his way down the outside staircase. He'd have to move out soon. All healers had to move to one of the cottages on the fields north of the Academy after their huag. He would miss his little room with the southern window.
He decided to bypass the huag Hall by going past the front of the
Academy. As he walked past the marble steps of the Academy he noticed a group of Imperial Guards lined up at the Academy Door. A large group of eager looking classmates surrounded them, most of them were about Baldarr's age.
Army horns suddenly blasted out and a clear voice cut through the air.
"Healers of the Imperial Academy! Our gracious Emperor Salaknin has ordered that at least ten accredited Healers of this Academy are to go with the 1st and 2nd Wolf Legions, the 5th, 9th, 10th and 12th Infantry and the 1st Hound Legions as the army goes forth to meet the Nghar barbarians on our Northern Borders. Any most honorable Healers that wish to join up are welcome."
Mage Fausskolen was not distracted by the sounds of the Ukintile as he weaved his way though the winding streets. It wasn't far. After a brisk walk down to a side-street, he turned into a courtyard where two older children were skipping around a well, chasing each other and chanting a song.
"Hello, Reino and Sooniss. Can you go and get your grandmother for me? Tell Twenta her old school chum is here." Mage Fausskolen sat down to wait on the stone well steps.
A woman twice the age of the mage tottered into the courtyard with a bucket. "Reinold you old conjurer, how wonderful to see you! How is the achedemy? To what do I owe this honorable visit?"
"A matter for an old scholar such as yourself. How are you Twenta? Would you like me to help you with that bucket?"
"No...no, an old woman like me can still carry water. Keeps me healthy while I still can walk around."
"You always were stubborn. Here, you carry the smaller one and I'll fill this monster." The mage took the bigger of the buckets standing beside the well and filled it to the brim with the other while he spoke. "I wanted to take a look at that book of yours that you were telling me about last cycle." The two of them walked into the patio of the stone house and into the study, which was the only large room in Twenta’s humble shelter.
"There, thank you, in that basin. I'll just put these here while I...."
Twenta toddered over to the shelf for two cups and to the water crock that the mage had just filled. She dipped out a fresh mug of water for the mage and herself, covered the crock with a plate and sat down. Then she remembered that she also had some bread which she brought to the table from the breadbox. "Go on, I know you like to get to the point. An old woman likes company, but I'm not one to torture you with pandering pleasantries when I can see you have something on your mind."
Reinold Fausskolen sipped the water. "This morning I have just finished a huag for one of the graduates at the school. It was very unusual. I wondered what these plates of yours had to say about such a thing."
Twenta reached under the table where many other clay tablets were stacked and dragged a thick series of them out onto the floor from the stack."These."
Reinold picked up the heavy tablets from the floor into his lap and
looked at the images On the start of every one was the wild curve of the Rod of Pheacum outlined on top of a dragon's mouth.
"Yes, there’s a part in there that speaks of a huag lasting two days, probably an exaggeration. There are many, many songs about huags, even though you won't be able to figure them out because, as you know, why else would I be useful? Look here…" Twenta leaned over to pull a tablet further down in the pile and blew off the dust from the markings.
The mage read silently. "I see what you mean. What do these say?" Reinold pointed to passages written with a sculpturally decorative hand alongside pictographs of the huag's Shrine steps.
Twenta moved around a few more books on the table, uncovering her monacle with the little holes in them. She put it to her eye and ran her fingers over the marks. "In the fire of huag, one who sees the future pain will become that fire," Twenta read with a squint. "It implies that a certain healer who can predict injury or sickness will become a dragon himself. I know that doesn't make any sense because the huag doesn't work that way, but that's what it says."
"Yes, well...it's making more sense if you had seen this huag and this boy's reactions during it." The mage sat back and broke off a piece of bread. "Does it say anything about about the Seals?"
"No, that part has been crushed to dust long ago. Just these few plates have been transcribed from one of the copies. Here is a picture though." Twenta turned the plates upsidedown for the mage to see the image reversed. The dragon's mouth looked like a bell when turned around.
"That's enough for me. I doubt if I should warn the poor fellow, because we have no idea what may happen to him because of this. So because I can't say the truth I don’t know, I'll have to say a little more of nothing."
Mage Fausskolen grasped the hand of his childhood teacher across the table. "Thank you for your impatience and study. I promise to come more often, but I must go now. May I honor your teaching?" The mage bowed and brushed his knee with the sign of the Pheonix held to his brow. He then rose and clasped the old woman in a bear hug.
Reinold Fausskolen hurried back to the shrine at the school.
August 31st, 2003, 02:58 PM
"Healers of the Imperial Academy! Our gracious Emperor Salaknin has ordered that at least ten accredited Healers of this Academy are to go with the 1st and 2nd Wolf Legions, the 5th, 9th, 10th and 12th Infantry and the 1st Hound Legions as the army goes forth to meet the Nghar barbarians on our Northern Borders. Any most honourable Healers that wish to join up are welcome."
Baldarr listened again as the announcement was repeated. The dreams had left him drained; they had compounded the affect of the huag. Memories of his sister and the dreams of what may be rolled through his thoughts. Perhaps if he were busy, perhaps if he raised his hand. Then would he be allowed to go? Questions upon questions.
It was true the army would take only young fit healers, young men who could keep up with the march, and still practice their art at the end of a long day in the field.
But he had only just…. He put made to raise his hand only to have it clammed to his side by Reinold Fausskolen, the old mage was panting and his eyes burned into Baldarr’s. Baldarr again felt the fear that had been at the centre of his huag. Again was aware of the Phoenix in his breast.
“Before you make such a decision we must talk young healer.”
Baldarr nodded and moved to one side, but his eyes were still drawn to the army officer standing waiting amid the host of students.
September 3rd, 2003, 07:44 PM
He was relieved to have happened on the scene in time and prevented further catastrophe. “Those idiot recruiters, doubtless looking for more young fodder for justifying their foibles of useless spending and raising of grain taxes,” was scarcely mumbled in the mage’s unintentionally audible thoughts. Perhaps I just saved the realm too, he thought with another wry frown.
He put his face up to the young man who was straining to hear him amidst the din of the healers that were shouting out their names for the recruiters.
“Come with me back to the temple shrine. There are some serious questions without answers that could be more important than this that we must ponder carefully. Obviously, you are in no shape to go marching off this moment with these…” Fausskolen whirled to walk away before he began to betray his anti-patriotic eccentricities in a voice everyone nearby could hear. The fledgling healer had to limp to keep up with him.
The mage gathered his robes about him off the shrine floor when they arrived. He patted the spot next to himself as he sat on the bottom steps inside the entrance. He noticed that Baldaar had still not been in the shrine nearly enough times to take the opulence for granted. Baldaar remained standing.
“Symbols, pretty pictures, but what do they mean for you…” mumbled Fausskolen, turning his bowed head from side to side.
“Pardon, Magi?” Baldaar used the formal address, which was customary at the shrine.
“I was saying that you might wonder if there are some questions about your huag that need to be answered, hmmm?” The first question would be of the sanity of the healer, Fausskolen supposed, noticing the strained brow of the younger man. Well, that would come out as the effects of the huag wore down the boy’s defenses. The paradoxes of “Healer, heal thyself” was an oxymoron of the school doctrines.
“Ahhh, how are you recovering your strength? Anything that should be known that has happened after…after your staff award?”
“No sir.” Baldaar’s face blanked in an over-controlled fashion against intimidation.
Fausskolen wondered if he had already witnessed too much about Baldaar’s past for comfort. Obviously the boy did not have the urge to reveal more personal details. There was no way to tell if something was being dangerously denied and festering inside the boy. The mage admonished himself, how foolish it was to imagine that asking would reveal any new information from a mere boy. He did not have the boy’s trust because he had not earned it. Perhaps his denial was the innocence of what he had just been through, but the mage doubted it.
“Fear of self-disclosure to your superiors with important concerns never advanced circumstances,” he snapped, regretting his tone of voice. This fish will have to be wooed to swim upstream, he thought. I have to get friendly with the poor soul to save him.
Baldaar appeared properly contrite. “I would answer any particular questions you have for me.”
“No, no, no, ah, no wrong. Not that you would not, I mean, you would if you could, but you cannot.” The mage pulled back his cowl and peered up to the young man, baring his own balding head. “It has been my fault, for not being, ah, more, ah… Well, I do want you to call me Fauss,” he requested. The mage smiled, trying to think of the two children running around the fountain.
“Very well,” Baldaar agreed. He said nothing more.
Fausskolen sighed, realizing that something else would have to be done.
”I believe you were about to find out which one of the cottages will be yours to claim? Please inform the house parents you will be traveling with me instead of taking one of them.” These damn robes are a nuisance, it will be a relief to be in some lighter traveling clothes, he thought, as he rose to go. “I will find you at the fountain in two days. If you visit the healing class for help, you should be able to walk easily by then. We’ll get one of those walking carts that you’ll have to handle, but that way neither of us will have to use our backs.” Fauss winked to Baldaar, and pulled up his hood.
“I am dismissed, Magi …Fauss?” The young man seemed so impatient, and there he had just been given traveling papers. Magi Fauss, thought the mage, now I have made a new name for myself. He waved his hand in the formal gesture of dismissal.
“May I honor your teaching?”
“None of that. Now, leave no strings hanging for we shall be gone for some time.”
Baldaar turned on his heel, wincing.
September 7th, 2003, 07:52 AM
I walked out of the shrine to be greeted by the shouts of some of my fellow students. They were bouncing on their heels full of the thoughts of adventure. Of battles and travelling with the army.
Me, I was to travel with Mage Fausskolen call me Fauss. For the first time I was angry at the man that had played such a part in my training. No, would you wish to, no would you desire to. Just
Please inform the house parents you will be traveling with me instead of taking one of them. I will find you at the fountain in two days. If you visit the healing class for help, you should be able to walk easily by then. We’ll get one of those walking carts that you’ll have to handle, but that way neither of us will have to use our backs."
Orders and I felt as if "Mage Fauss" had an agenda that had to do with my Haug. He saw something in it I couldn't. It was leading him too.... I sighed and limped through my friends, nodding and smiling. "The haug had brought the reasons why I was here, what had happened back into the front oif my mind with such force even now it made my stomach heave.
I made my way to the house parents and told of my departure in two days, saying I would stay in my students quarters till then. Then I limped to the healing class. The teacher's eyes lit up at having a "live" subject to instruct first years.
I allowed myself to be placed in the centre of a ring of interested and fresh faces and lay back.
The teacher talked about the form and shape of the lef. Of the muscles and flow of good and bad within the limb. Softly he began to work his healing magery. The lilting chant, the feeling of warmth spread through my leg and up into me hip, yet it did touch the pain in my heart and the hurt in my soul from the memories the haug had woken
September 9th, 2003, 08:44 PM
Pleasure to be away from all this memorizing and be traveling for awhile, thought the mage. He walked to the center of the school where there was someone he wanted to see. He did not particularly relish the meeting because he did not like Calain's style, but it had to be heard from the source.
“Hello, well, a long time since we have spoken, Reinold, my friend. Come and and make yourself comfortable and tell me what is on your mind.”
This young flatterer Calain is so ingratiating, thought Fausskolen. He took his time sitting down and making himself comfortable. Always good to allow a host to serve when it is obviously his turn. “Quite a sensation, new healers conscripted for the palace war, hmmm?” commented Fausskolen, fingering his robes. “Volunteers weren’t enough?”
“Yes, yes, well, as you know, the palace funds some of our studies here, so, it has always been our obligation to keep up with their requests.” Calain reached for the pitcher of spring water and poured himself and Fausskolen a half-full carafe without calling for his Page that normally served. “It will be a good experience for most of them. To see the horrors of war and to watch one’s charges die builds character and appreciation for the reality of what is important and rare in healing.”
This is where I must keep my thoughts to myself about the stupidity of war, thought Reinhold, slightly peeved that Calain would deliver such platitudes to him. He decided to forgo his opinions and get on to why he had come. “I have questions about the young student who is going to accompany me on my sabbatical. Does a student called Baldaar reside in your memory?”
“Baldaar, yesss, yes.” Calain walked across the long room to put the carafe on the table next to Reinhold. “A wonderful young man. You were Witness at his recent huag, yes, no?”
“That is the student. I have taken an interest in his history and wondered if you could tell me something more about him.”
“Not much to say, no, except that upon his arrival, we had sent a missionary to inform his family of his enrollment and scholarship here. Evidently they did not know to where he had disappeared.”
“Any word on his parentage from where he would have gotten his talents?”
“Oh, we don’t keep track of that sort of thing these days, you know that Reinhold. He most recently came from the village of Rivart, if you must know. Our people don’t get down there often, so his family information would not be something anyone we know would tell us.”
Now that he had found out where he was traveling to, Reinhold Fausskolen supposed he would have to sit around and pretend he wanted to hear more of the rest of the gossip Calain had to deliver before he managed to politely make what he could tell was going to be a slow exit. Obviously, Calain was just getting started, regarding his curiousity as the prelude for another long philosophical discussion. He sighed and wished the water were wine.
September 21st, 2003, 11:43 AM
Get a walking cart, get things sorted. Leaving in two days make that one now.
I go to the temple and ask at the commissariat. Lotusmanaa, rolled her eyes and placed both her hands on her wide arms hips and demanded to know for whom and why.
" Master Fausskolen and I are going on a trip"
"Indeed, indeed," Lotusmanaa sighed and then began listing things, "well you will need blankets, cooking pots, warm clothes felt boots, a fire pot, not to mention food stuffs. Well don't just stand there...." Her hand reached out and grabbed my tunic, and she pulled me into the depths of the store rooms.
"Blankets, put your arms out" I did and four thick lengths of woven wool were laid on them.
"You pile them over there, then I will get you a good cart to load them in."
I spent the rest of the morning carrying and packing. As I took my leave Lotusmanaa said. "Get your personal stuff and bring it here and we will have things just right for your off.
"What about Master Fausskolen personal "Stuff" I retorted.
"Oh I have left room enough for that. "lotusmanaa waved a hand and dismissed me. I frowned, My leg ached again and that in its self was bad enough, but this "trip" I sighed and walked, no limped for my next session of treatrment, before returning to my quarters.