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The Price of Magic (standard:fantasy, 3428 words)
Author: M.Added: Feb 03 2001Views/Reads: 2187/1191Story 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 


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