Mage Lord Athimas Melith’enddare smiled as his children entered the room. They had both tested positive for magical ability, practically ensuring that his line would continue to rule the small city state of Elenduil. They spent most of their time studying under the watchful eye of the adahis and elder mages of Thril Gandir. However, twice a year, once for each of their name days, he paid to have two adahis accompany them home. Tomorrow was Naevys’s sixth name day marking her first full year at Thril Gandir, and her second visit home since going to the mage city.
They both ran up to hug him as the large doors closed behind them. The two adahis approached much more carefully, each giving a bow before taking their place next to Athimas’s own adahi.
His son, Ellorian, who was the oldest of the two, having just had his eighth name day only two quarters ago, said, “I missed you. Is mother feeling better?”
“She hopes to be able to join in on the celebrations tomorrow. We’ll go up to see her and have supper in the suite later. You’ll have to be on your best behavior. Noise bothers her head and tends to make her worse.”
Ellorian and Naevys both nodded. “We’ll be as quiet as deer in the forest.”
Naevys agreed, “Like ones who don’t want the hunters to see them!”
Athimas smiled, “As quiet as deer then. That should do well. What shall we do in the meantime?” He knew the answer already.
“Tell us a story!” They both exclaimed.
It had become somewhat of a tradition, since Ellorian’s first visit home, to tell a tale. Sometimes, Athimas made up the tale, and others he embellished a true story.
“I think I’ll tell you a story that happened not too long ago. In fact, it happened only a few years before Ellorian’s first name day.”
“So it’s like history?” Ellorian scrunched up his nose.
“History is full of stories. I know it doesn’t seem like it so much when your class only wants you to remember dates and events, but it’s the stories that bring history alive.”
“Okay. I guess that sounds all right.”
His little sister was a little more enthusiastic. “So tell the story!” she exclaimed while jumping up and down.
Athimas smiled again, doubting that little Naevys was going to be able to be quiet enough to stay for a very long visit with her mother. They will get to see each other before… No, it was not time to think of that. They were here, and this was a happy time. “Well, as I was saying, it was just a few years before Ellorian’s first name day. The entire world seemed to be at war then. I had only just married your mother. It was a time when many of the cities began to rise up, unhappy with the way the king was ruling.”
“And the king died and that’s why we have city states now.” Ellorian said.
“Yes, but that’s not what this story is about.” He would have to have a talk later on about his youngster speaking out of turn. Even the slightest things like that could get him marks on his record at Thril Gandir. If he had too many, they may decide not to let him leave. That was not just for visits, but even after he graduated. However, now was not the time. Now it was time to tell a story.
“This story is about a magic wand.”
“Father, aren’t all wands magic?” Ellorian asked.
“Yes, but this one was made of diamonds and gold, and was enchanted in a way that all spells cast through it were enhanced. It took very little from the mage doing the casting, but was very powerful.”
The young boy didn’t look impressed, but his daughter was listening intently.
“As you may know, back then, our city was loyal to the kingdom. King Adinath called for all of the mages to gather and fight in his name. As your grandfather was still alive and here to look after the city, I left and joined up with the mages in Kingsfall, which was then called Kingsperch. Before I left, your grandfather gave me the wand and instructed me to use it with caution. It could cause great destruction if it fell into the wrong hands, but with my warding and healing specialties, it would greatly benefit the king’s forces.”
“You had the wand?” Ellorian asked. He sounded as if he really didn’t believe it was true.
“Yes, I did, and it worked just as your grandfather said it would. I cast wards around entire cities, and was able to leave them there with very little drain on my power. My healing spells were more effective without causing any ill effects from the speed of the healing.”
“I’ve learned some basic healing theory in class. They said you can’t do it too fast or it weakens the patient.”
“Exactly, and with this wand, I didn’t have to worry about that.”
Ellorian’s brow furrowed. “Well, where is it now then?”
“Oh, now that’s the real story. You see, they sent me out to heal in the field because I was so effective at it. However, what we didn’t know is that the rebel cities had a secret weapon of their own. I had warded the healing camp, but as I was healing with the wand, the wards weren’t my primary concern. I did have an outer ward to block weak magic. Have either of you studied wards yet or warding theory?” He knew Naevys was still too young, so the question was more directed towards Ellorian.
They both shook their heads.
“Well, when a ward that you’ve cast yourself breaks, you know it. Do you know the feeling when something happens that you weren’t expecting? That jump? It’s like that, but there’s nothing there. It’s just the feeling. While I was healing a wounded soldier’s leg in the camp, I had that feeling. It was so strong, I thought my heart was failing. Time seemed to stop, though I don’t think it really did, and within moments, everything was on fire.”
“How did you get out?” Naevys asked. Her eyes were wide with wonder.
“I cast another ward immediately to block the fire. It didn’t stop all of it. This fire was very strong. I knew I had to find the caster, or the others and I would have no chance at all. There was fire all around, but I waited and watched while continuing to hold it off from the immediate area with the wand.”
Both children stared at him with wide eyes now.
“Then I saw it, a burst of fire rose up over one of the hills. I held fast against the attack, strengthening the ward where the flames fell. Then I cast a spell to translocate to the hill. I looked down the other side and saw him. He stood alone, with only an adahi to guard him. He started to cast again, but I knew if he got that cast off, the troops I had left behind would burn alive.”
“But you said you don’t know offensive spells.” Ellorian said.
“I don’t. I had to devise a way to use the pyromancer’s spells against himself. I quickly cast a ward around him and his adahi to reflect any spells. I hadn’t had the time to think that maybe he had taken time to ward himself. His adahi was unfortunately not warded and instantly incinerated, but the fire mage remained standing.”
“What did you do then?” Naevys asked.
“As you can imagine, he was a bit angry about incinerating his own adahi, but he didn’t know where I was yet. As he was looking around for me, I set to work unraveling his own ward just enough for it to fail. I did not get far when I noticed him looking right at me and casting another spell. At first my ward around him held, but I felt it bowing and bending, and finished a ward around myself just as his fire broke through. So there I was with flames all around me. I pushed back against them with my ward, and he pressed harder with his fire spells. Just as I felt they couldn’t get any stronger, I adjusted my ward to reflect. The fire returned to the pyromancer, and broke through the ward I had weakened.”
“Did it kill him?” Ellorian asked.
“Yes, it did, thankfully. I don’t think I would have survived if it hadn’t. As it was, the wand did not survive. With the last burst of power to change the spell, it shattered in my hands, and pieces of it fell to the ground. All that was left of the other mage was ash. I was fortunate to live, but we lost an advantage that day.”
“Wow.” Naevys said.
“And you know how the rest turned out thanks to your boring history classes, don’t you?” Athimas smiled as Ellorian rolled his eyes. He was definitely going to have to have a talk with him later. “But now, I think you both need to go get cleaned up for supper, and dress up nice to see your mother. I will join you in a bit.” He gave them each a hug and watched as attendants took them to get baths, their temporary adahis following as they left the room. It wouldn’t do to have them dirty from travel when visiting their mother.
His own adahi followed him as he rose and walked down one of the halls. He opened a door to reveal a stairwell leading down. The lower level of the castle was dark, but he cast an orb of light to float along next to him and his adahi as he walked down another hall. He stopped at a door and used a key to open the vault. His adahi helped push the door open, and Athimas approached a box kept on a pedestal in the middle of the room. He opened it and regarded the broken pieces of gold and diamonds in the box.
“Do you think one of them will be strong enough with their magic to put it back together?” his adahi asked.
Athimas sighed, “I can only hope so. I feel it will be needed sooner rather than later. The political climate isn’t as calm as it seems.”