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Tag: history

Prophecy I
Unless darkness ride to the ocean tide
The serpent’s teeth to blunt.
From the setting sun return one by one
Lost riders to the hunt

Gutteral calls through the seven halls
Awaken the Weeping Mound
Though reclaimed faith come soon or late
Font's Daughter again be found
Session: Broken Seal - Saturday, Jul 18 2015 from 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM
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Tags: history , Prophecy
Epic!
Rooftop Chat - Magic Theory
Maeve propped her feet on the rail that surrounded the rooftop terrace and let the cool breeze from the river flutter her shift to the tops of her thighs. The unseasonably oppressive heat of early spring made her room so stifling that she could not sleep so she had ventured to the terrace to cool down and brought the third volume of Boriccaci's Walking Tour of the Planes to bore herself sufficiently to be able to finally fall asleep. The concept of the planes and their juxtaposition relating to the prime material interested her significantly, but the Boriccaci's writing style was better than anything short of a sleep spell to induce slumber. She had decided early in the first volume of his work that he would have made a terrible bard.

She laid the candle she had brought with her on the planter of herbs next to her bench since there was ample light spilling from Namen's lab onto the terrace for her to read by if she slouched down in her seat so she did not block the illumination. At least she would not have to fight bugs for now and she could hum up some illumination should Namen douse the lights before she was ready to return downstairs. Maeve took a sip of the tea she had spell-chilled before padding up the spiral staircase to the terrace and found her place in Boriccaci's tome.
Namen blinked several times and leaned back from his work. His head swam a bit and he had to rest his hand on the table to keep from falling from the tall stool on which he perched. He did not know if it was the fumes from his work, the late hour, or the heat that had made him light headed but he thought it best if he went outside for some fresh air. As an afterthought he turned the iron crank fastened to one of the columns that supported the glass-paneled roof of the lab to open the ornate, leaded panes and release some of the putrescent smoke that lingered in the rafters.

He wondered idly how a flower so fair when in bloom could be so noxious when dried and burned - but the component was unrivaled in the potency it lent to arcane works so he would endure the stench with a certain smug satisfaction that his elfish counterparts, who knew of the benefits of Gerro's Lament blooms as an incense but did not have the constitutional fortitude to utilize it in their own endeavors, were masters only in their own minds. And joy of joys he would deal with them again on the morrow when he took Maeve back to Leulëleocë. He hooked his index finger through the handle of his stein and wandered into the dark of the terrace to relax before retiring.
Maeve frowned. Boriccaci was making leaps of logic that were not supported in any other source she had read. As she continued her reading she became more convinced that the author had never set foot off of the prime material though how she was certain she could not put her finger on. Now it would bother her and make it even less likely that she would slip into the soft folds of sleep any time in the near hours. She flipped the weight of her hair over the back of her bench to let the air get to her skin and shuddered a little chill that raised slight gooseflesh on her arms which vanished as quickly as it appeared. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back allowing her mind to wander the library of her memory for the source of her dissatisfaction with Boriccaci's conclusions.

The 'library' was a mnemonic exercise that Maestro Algarlegair taught to those students he thought might actually be able to remember more than their own names for better than a fortnight, which, Maeve mused, were decidedly few given his un-admitted racial bias against anyone not an elf. A slight smile pricked at the corner of her mouth as she passed the memory gallery of her mentor's various eye rolls, eyebrow quirks, and nostril flares, each neatly labeled with the subtle difference in sentiment it represented, that had been the first of her many mental catalogues. She had threatened to add ear twitches when she discussed the exercise with him, to which the Maestro had coolly replied that he was not a cat. But he had smiled which was rare currency at the Academé so she took it as a victory. No, what she was looking for was in the deep stacks, the cool and dusty corners of memory constructed out of curled vellum, cracked parchment, and wan candlelight. Odd how she still felt the thrill of sneaking into those restricted areas of the Academé library even when she was simply searching out the fruit of her youthful forays within the confines of her own mind. It made her smile.
Namen stopped short just outside of the doorway and tilted his head to the side. He first thought that Camilla must have moved past him onto the terrace while he worked but that thought was soon dismissed as he realized that his maid's legs were not as long, shapely, or porcelain white as those that stretched from bench to railing in that golden smile of light shining into the night. The cascade of auburn curls, stirred by errant breezes coming from the river, identified the legs' owner as Maeve, obviously, but Namen could not reconcile the memory of knobby knees and stick-thin calves he remembered with the delightfully curvaceous vision he now enjoyed. He stepped quietly to the side to get a better view of the girl ('ahem, woman,' some part of his mind corrected primly) lounging on his terrace.

She had a book lying in her lap, closed over one finger, which was the only thing that kept him from verifying she was a true redhead as the angle of her legs and breeze from the river had lifted the thin chemise she wore to the very tops of her very lovely thighs. Even clad in a chemise without the benefit of corsetry, boning, and laces, her bust was something to be frankly appreciated. The golden light of the lab and the silver of moonlight were at war over that mountainous terrain with the chemise acting as the fog of war. He very much appreciated the skill of the craftsman that had fashioned the garment; it was a gauzy silk that clung very nicely so as to suggest but not brazenly display the treasures it concealed. Namen breathed an appreciative whistle into his wine and watched the captain of his retrieval team smile in her sleep realizing Auntie Mo would beat him senseless with her heaviest spoon if she knew what he was thinking.
"Y'know," Maeve said softly without opening her eyes, "Last time anyone stared at me that long they had a sketchbook and I got paid a silver fer the privilege." She was accustomed to being ogled though this was the first time she had ever noticed Namen making eyes at her. She found herself oddly flattered instead of typically annoyed.

Namen blinked, startled, "What's the rate to do more than stare?" he blurted before thinking. Alarms sounded in his head as his better sense reminded him that there were two Arals downstairs that would feed him his liver if he laid a single finger on the girl, 'correction, woman', before him. But it was too late; he'd said it out loud. Being distracted had left him with his guard lowered and his natural predilection for flirting had taken over.

The bard cracked one eye open and squinted up at him as she chuckled, "I'd like have t'give refund fer ignorance and practicin' without a license."

"Ignorance can be remedied," Namen decided to test the proverbial waters - what the hell, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Maeve arched a brow, "Aye, I suppose ye have the right of it; but not in this heat," she shrugged and patted the bench with her free hand. "The breeze is free though, have a sit."

She didn't say "no", Namen thought to himself as he sat down. "So, what are you reading?" he asked, because I have to get on safer conversational ground, he added to himself.

"Boriccaci's fabricated guesswork," she held the book up so the gold-leafed title caught the light spilling out of the lab, "He's full of shite."

Genuine redhead, he thought as he 'examined' the book. "What makes you say that?" She was right, of course, but he hadn't realized that the Academé taught extensive planar theory and he knew that her coursework at the College would not have covered this advanced topic. He was somewhat surprised that what he really wanted was for her to put the book down again because he was becoming very distracted, and he did not like being distracted.

"Well, that's what I was thinkin' on when you came out and started oglin' me," she flashed a smile, "And so far, I've come t'the conclusion that he's never read anythin' ever written by the priests of Neguma or Manib - y'know, the blokes what've actually travelled t'other planes. His notion that the positive and negative are perpendicular is laughable t'say the least,” she pointed with the corner of the book to illustrate her point as she spoke, "and I'll nae even start t'describe how separatin' the Nine Hells from the Abyss, Gehenna, and Hades makes as much sense as wearin' yer hat on yer arse."

Put the book down. Please. "I'm impressed. I didn't think the Acadamé delved so deeply into planar juxtapositioning," Namen smiled.

"It nae does." She laid the book back in her lap and reached for her drink.

"Then where did you learn about the planes? Certainly not in your whirlwind tour of the College's offerings," Namen breathed a silent sigh of relief that the book was again safely nestled.

"Readin' fer ammunition," she smiled over the top of her goblet, "arguin' with a seven-hundred-and-eleven year-old elf tends t'make one study up on a host of subjects nae in the standard curriculum."

"Ah, the good Maestro Algarlegair," Namen nodded, "I don't know the fellow well enough to speak on the matter without my general prejudice against the elfish temperament influencing my opinion more than truth, but that being said, he strikes me as typically fae-centric in his opinions of others." He shrugged half-apologetically and frowned slightly as he realized his stein was empty.

Maeve chuckled, "True enough." She tilted her head in thought, "Come t'think on't,' she moved the book to the planter's lip then stood up and took his stein and her own goblet before padding toward the lab, "I've always started with books before practice."

He turned and watched her go, appreciating the silhouette. If I find out who that tailor was I'm going to tip him a year's wages. "Well, books are a fine start, but to really appreciate and become an expert on any given subject practice is required."
Maeve took a deep breath as soon as she was inside the lab, "What in the name of Sorcha's glowin' bloomers are ye doin'? He's nae some tavern sot t'be flirtin' with!" she muttered to herself as she scanned the lab for something suitable to drink. "Cliff-divin' again, looks like," she answered herself and grabbed a bottle of wine from the rack next to Namen's work table after checking her reflection in the scrying mirror to make certain she was not showing more than she intended, "and it's becomin' a habit."
The bard paused in the doorway on her return, wine bottle resting on one canted hip, "Oh aye, I'm nae disputin' that assertion." Namen could not see the expression on her face with the light behind her but her voice held a certain subtle tone that set the alarms in his head ringing again, "Though I'm certain I've nae any less desire t'enter an endeavor uneducated than you do; 'tis the curse of the cultured." She shrugged and returned to the bench, "but if I was t'engage in serious intercourse on any subject, real, theoretical, or metaphorical, I'd be damnable certain t'have studied more than one author's opinions on the matter."

Namen took pleasure in the fact that she had not bothered to tie the laces of her chemise, "certainly a fair view." She caught him looking though made no comment. Crafty girl, she knows what she's doing. He reached for his stein but she shooed his hand away and began humming. He watched her weave the simple pattern of her chilling cantrip on the wine bottle and enjoyed the subtle difference in her casting as compared to his. "It's all about subtlety, isn't it?"

Maeve's left eyebrow twisted into a brief question mark as she concentrated on pouring the wine, "Generally, aye, the dirt's in the details as the sayin' goes."

Namen nodded his thanks as she handed him his drink, "And we all take our pleasure in dirty details, don't we?"

"Those that's smart enough t'notice do," she poured the remainder of the wine into her own glass and raised it, "Life's a jest and all things show it, I thought so once and now I know it!"

Namen chuckled, "...'a jest'... like convincing a College full of mages that you've figured out evocation."

The young woman blinked over the rim of her glass, "Whate'er do ye mean, Master Roodle?"

"Your spell. It's transmutation. Oh granted, it runs right up to the line of evocation and threatens to jump over, but it's still transmutation," he shook his head, "It's a brilliant forgery, and I am impressed, but it isn't evocation."

"The College seems convinced it is, even still," Maeve tucked one leg under her and smoothed her shift over her knee in one deft motion. "Not that I'm disagreein' with ye. I might even go so far as t'agree though I cannae say why." She tapped her index finger against the side of her glass as she continued her thought, "Ye've got t'admit that even the College's own instruction is contradictory t'say the very least. I spent better than a week researchin' said material and even designed my 'forgery' based on that information," the stone seat of the bench was already digging into her ankle so she shifted and stretched her legs to the rail again angled so she was mostly facing her companion, "coupled with my own intimate knowledge of exactly what bards are capable of naturally; yet I cannae oppose ye with any honest conviction. So's here's an invitation ye'll likely ne'er get again," she smiled knowingly, "explain it t'yer satisfaction and I'll nae argue." She tilted her head to one side and rested it against the back of the bench, giving Namen ample opportunity to speak.

Namen was surprised that his heart began racing at the thought of what 'invitation' Maeve may be proposing, disappointed that it was not a solicitation to less cerebral activity, and disconcerted at his disappointment that it was an innocent request; he was not typically one to allow his immediate physical interests to addle him - in fact he took great pains to avoid such distractions by employing a ready partner. Now is not the time to think about this - I will examine this later when I am less distracted, he admonished himself.

He paused for a few breaths to organize his thoughts before he began, "Well, transmutation, traditionally, is the manipulation of the properties of some person, object, or 'thing'. True evocation is the creation of an effect or something where none existed previously - say a very large ball of flame or a lightning bolt." Namen subdued the urge to stand up and pace as was his habit when he lectured, "Part of the very tricky nature of understanding the line between transmutation and evocation is that energy, that effect most readily thought of when evocation is considered, can be a thing." Maeve nodded her understanding so Namen continued, "Take for example fireball versus light; bat guano is not fire though it has some elements that certainly enhance fire, therefore it is the focus component of the spell - the true evocation spell. Light, conversely, though long classified as an evocation spell requires phosphorous moss or a lightning bug which themselves emit light. Thus light is properly categorized as a transmutation spell because the inherent light in the components, however dim, is amplified by the spell's energy."

Maeve chuckled, "I'm with ye so far, but what about those of us who've nae any need t'carry bat shite and bug butts in our pockets?"

"That, my dear Maeve, is where you are truly exceptional; your ability to hold a rigid enough matrix in your mind to bend the power of magic to your will is... well it is a knack, a 'talent' that few possess." Namen smiled, "By eschewing the material components others require you move outside of the rules and operate in the more instinctual, primal state of magic from whence evocation comes. Simply put, nearly every spell you cast looks like evocation to the under-educated or untrained eye because you just do it - without daily memorization, without components, seemingly without effort. You are very much like a natural caster in that the bulk of your casting is so much more primal."

"A 'natural caster'," Maeve laughed and wiggled her fingers, "Och! Lookit me, I'm a warlock!"

Namen covered his face with his hand and shook his head, "I said 'primal' not 'eldritch' you ninny." Another tidbit she certainly didn't get from one of Durben's lectures, he thought. He was impressed that her knowledge of magic included the casters of myth and history though he said nothing. If the College knew the depth of her knowledge before they agreed to train her, we'd both be dead.

"'Twas a joke, professor, pray continue with your explanation," she smiled. "I believe you were about t'expound on the subject of 'natural casters'."

"Interesting word choice; 'pray'; in the two major classifications of magic, divine and arcane, divine casters gain spells through an agency whereas arcane casters manipulate magic inherent in the world. Natural casters, rangers and druids specifically, pull their power from a primal force with which they are aligned therefore they are classified as 'divine' due to agency." Namen thought for a moment, "The various schools of arcane magic arc across both classifications as an attempt to categorize types of casting though spells from each have similar fundamentals in the incantations, gestures, and components but the categorization allows for more directed instruction and understanding."

Maeve narrowed her eyes, "So the vast majority of arcanists proper nae know shite from shinola and are just blindly following 'tradition'? That strains credibility even for someone trained in the stretchin' of truth."

Namen smiled, "Let's examine that assertion." He could resist pacing no longer and stood, "Why is the school of evocation so muddied in its definition? To appreciate the current tradition surrounding evocation one must understand that evocation at its very core is extremely powerful, tapping into raw, almost primal, magical energy. It has minimal mental matrix structure required; in essence it is just blasting away with raw magic."

"Which is what sorcerers purportedly do," Maeve picked up the thread of Namen's explanation quickly.

"Exactly what sorcerers are alleged to do - or the warlocks of legend," he smiled at the expression of shrewd understanding on the bard's face, "Scary stuff for the uninitiated because it all looks the same. So the obfuscation is a matter of politics."

“And by muddyin' the waters the arcanists are confoundin' the crown so as t'cover our collective arses… it's the bogeyman hidin' in plain sight," Maeve grinned.

"Precisely. It would be easy for the crown to outlaw a school of magic if it were narrowly defined. By 'muddying the waters' where evocation is concerned it prevents the uninitiated from prohibiting the fundamental school required for magical theory and instruction and instead vilify a subset of casters," Namen concluded.

Maeve chuckled, "So what yer sayin' is that I should nae take the Inquisition as the best and brightest of the arcanist community?"

Namen looked aghast, "Gods no! Never! They can't be too smart, we let them talk to the Crown."

"And if they nae know the difference they cannae give it away," she smiled appreciatively, "Ostasio would love it!"

It was Namen's turn to smile slyly, "Well, any institution that's been around for any length of time is bound to have a few deep, dark secrets that could ruin it if the truth were generally known, wouldn't you say?"

The bard tilted her head back and laughed, "Oh aye, any Institution worth its salt that is. But gods forbid ye tell them that! A joke's never as funny if ye have t'explain it!"
Session: You aren't from around here... - Saturday, Jul 06 2013 from 3:00 PM to 1:00 AM
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Epic!