|The Price of Magic (standard:fantasy, 3428 words)|
|Author: M.||Added: Feb 03 2001||Views/Reads: 2121/1143||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A young mage wishes to take the Test. What price is he willing to pay?|
The Hall of Mages. All of us, initiates in the Tower of Wayreth, had often dreamed of standing in the Hall of Mages, a place forbidden, a place most people on Krynn would never see. The chamber halls were obsidian, shaped smooth by magic. The ceiling was lost in shadow. No pillars supported it. Light shone, white light that illuminated twenty-one stone chairs arranged in a semicircle. Seven of the chairs bore black cushions, seven of them red cushions, and seven white cushions. Here was the meeting place of the Conclave of Wizards. A single chair stood in the center of the semicircle. The chair was slightly larger than the rest. Here sat the head of the conclave. The cushion on the chair was white. At first glance, the chairs were empty. At second glance, they were not. Wizards occupied them, men and women of different races, wearing the different colors suitable to their orders. The wizard in the center chair, Par-Salian, rose to his feet. “Greetings,” said Par-Salian in a kind and welcoming tone. The great archmage was in his early sixties, though his long white hair, wispy white beard, and his stooped shoulders made him look older. He had never been robust, had always preferred study to action. He worked constantly to develop new spells, refine and enhance old ones. He was eager for magical artifacts as a child is eager for sugarplums. His apprentices spent much of their time traveling the continent in search of artifacts and scrolls or in tracking down rumors of such. Later on, I learned that Par-Salian was also a keen observer and participant in the politics of the continent, unlike many wizards who held themselves above the trivial, everyday dealings of an ignorant populace. The head of the conclave had contacts in every single government of any importance on the continent. He kept most of his knowledge secret and to himself, unless it benefited his plans to do otherwise. “Greetings, initiates,” Par-Salian repeated, “You have each come at the appointed time by invitation to undergo tests of your skills and your talent, your creativity, your thought process, and, most importantly, the testing of yourself. What are your limits? How far can you push beyond those limits? What are your flaws? How might these flaws impede your abilities? Uncomfortable questions, but questions we each must answer, for only when we know ourselves – faults and strengths alike – will we have access to the full potential that is within us.” We stood silent and circumspect, nervous and awed and anxious to begin. Par-Salian smiled. “Don’t worry. I know how eager you are, and therefore will not indulge in long speeches. Again I want to bid you welcome and to extend my blessing. I ask that Solinari be with you this day.” He lifted his hands and we bowed our heads in deep respect. The head of the conclave resumed his seat. The head of the Order of Red Robes stood up, moved briskly on to the business at hand. “When your name is called, step forward and accompany one of the judges, who will take you to the area where the testing will begin. I am certain that you are all familiar with the criteria of the testing, but the conclave requires me to read it to you now, so that none can later claim he or she entered into this unknowingly. I remind you that these are guidelines only. Each Test is specially designed for the individual initiate and may include all or only a part of what the guidelines call for.” “There shall be at least three tests of the initiate’s knowledge of magic and its us. The Test shall require the casting of all the spells known to the initiate, at least three tests that cannot be solved by Click here to read the rest of this story (320 more lines)
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