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An Encounter With A Magistrate

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This is a little short story I wrote on how I imagine and expect my game to end in Y5. definitely bittersweet. I love it. Maybe it will even influence the team. *fingers crossed*

 

 

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It's a cold and dark room, with a somber atmosphere. A single magical orb shines a dim light over the center of a table that is also placed in the center of the room. Sitting at one end of the table is a boy around the age of 16, bound by chains. At the other end of the table sit five figures, of which 4 of them are hooded. Sitting in the corner of the room behind the boy is the Legate of the Academagia, with a massive frown on his face, deep in thought.

 

The unhooded figure, a man seemingly ancient and yet also almost timeless, says to the boy. "Nathan Silverspoon, you are charged with knowledge of, and usage of phemes and spells associated with the Forbidden art of Gates, as well as that of Mastery."

 

The boy quietly but emotionlessly replies "I know."

 

The man continues. "These are absolutely very, VERY serious charges, and if I had my way, we would not be merely speaking here right now." he pauses only a second to give a stink eye to the Legate. "That said, cooperation on your part in this investigation will be noted and may alter the final punishment given to you, although I make no guarantees."

 

The boy nods his head and says. "I fully understand. I would not be here in this position if I was not willing to fully cooperate."

 

The man sneers. "Don't expect that the fact that you turned yourself in will give you any mercy. It has merely given you the opportunity, a chance, to receive it."

 

The boy again merely nods, and says "I was told as much. All I ask is a chance to tell my story in an official light."

 

Legate Orsi shifts in his uncomfortable seat. He really liked this student. In fact, the boy was one of his favorites, not least because he reminded Orsi a bit of himself. But there was also the fact that the kid was very talented with magic, to the point that during his time at the Academagia he had taken classes solely subsisting on the foundations of all the legal magical pillars and on magic as a whole. Nathan was already coming up with new theories and spells revolving on mixing magic from across all pillars... Give him a few more years and who knows what he might have been capable of achieving. That Nathan willingly came to him and confessed that he was even studying illegal magic under everybody's noses was mindblowing! Although it was not the most mindblowing thing about all the things that he had confessed.

 

The old man prepares a complicated Negation spell. He clearly has practiced and used it a great deal in the past, as it's execution goes off without a hitch despite the speed of its casting. "This is a Negation which makes it impossible to lie." he says. After the spell is finished he casts another spell for transcription, as a quill moves to life and begins putting word to paper as they are spoken.

 

"Let's be out with it. Who taught you illegal magic?" The old man impatiently asks.

 

"Oh, it's just me, if that's what you're after. I taught myself from many sources." the boy responds.

 

"So you intend to tell me that you've never come across another wizard that used illegal magic?" the man inquires.

 

"Well, I've encountered illegal magic users before, sure, but they were more interested in zapping me with spells than teaching me anything." the boy replies.

 

Sensing something to dig his fangs into, the old man asks "What kind of spells?"

 

"Maybe the kind that make you dance." The kid suggests, which gets a small chuckle out of the Legate before he pretends to clear his throat at a harsh stare from the old man. The kid then continues, "Look, even now I'm sure I don't know every single Mastery and Gates spell, 3-4 years ago I was just lucky and halfway decent enough with Negation to get by in one piece."

 

"Oh really?" The old man's sarcasm bleeds through, "And despite that you claim to have solved one of the greatest mysteries of Gates magic?"

 

"Yes" the boy answers confidently.

 

"Poppycock" The old man scornfully replies. "Despite five years at the best Academy of magic ever seen by the likes of Man, You've never advanced beyond a 2nd rate understanding of any magical science. We've reviewed your records. You're just a dumb kid attracted to easy power."

 

"Maybe I am eccentric for my age, but I like to think of my studies of magic being outside the box of conventional wisdom. You say I am only 2nd rate, but I challenge you to find someone who knows as much as I do in more than two of the conventional pillars of magic. I've worked very hard for what I know." The boy retorts.

 

Uncaring, the old man restarts his questioning. "When did you start learning illegal magic?"

 

Without hesitation the boy replies "My first year at the Academy." which catches everybody by surprise. Except for the Legate, who had already learned this information.

 

"What?" the old man says, clearly he did not like the concept of a student managing to elude them, and their traps and plans to catch illegal mages for so long.

 

The boy continues. "It's not like I leaned a lot on Gates or Mastery in my first year. I had to adjust to school life and learn the ropes and so forth, not to mention I aced my classes"

 

"Why did you seek out this knowledge?" One of the hooded figures asks.

 

"At first? It was mere curiosity." The boy admits.

 

"You were curious? about magic that carries the DEATH PENALTY!?" the old man flares with anger.

 

"Well, yes. Everyone is always so tight lipped about these magics... I wanted to see the danger in them myself."

 

"And did you see the dangers in Mastery and Gates?" another hooded figure asks.

 

"That question is irrelevant." the old man interjects.

 

"It is relevant to us." the hooded figures respond almost in unison.

 

"Yes, and no, to both Pillars." The boy answers. "Both can be catastrophic if the magic is not respected. I can say my experiences with them have taught me that much, but despite that I firmly believe that they can be used safely and responsibly, especially after what I have discovered and worked out."

 

"I sorely doubt that." the old man states with no apprehension.

 

"It's true. I figured out the cause of Gates' instability. I also discovered a source of corruption within Mastery and dealt with it. Everything I know on these subjects, I've written down and the Legate has a sealed copy for you." the boy is extremely self confident about it.

 

"The Legate gets up and gingerly places a wax-sealed envelope on the table and returns to his uncomfortable seat.

 

"What is your stake in this, Orso?" The old man hostilely asks.

 

Legate Orsi chooses his words carefully: "It's quite simple, our friend here came to me, and laid bare everything that he had learned and was willing to come forward with it. All he asked was to ensure it all got to those who needed to know. I gave him a day to write down what he needed to. After which he handed me several sealed copies of that document sitting on the table. A little later and here we are, sitting down and talking."

 

The old man picks up the letter, produces a knife, and while removing the seal asks the Legate "Have you read the contents of this document?"

 

The Legate responds. "No, I have not, although I am aware of the general information held within. I do plan to read it in an official capacity when I bring it to the Praetexta council at the next major meeting, however."

 

"You can't be serious." The old man mutters under his breath as he opens the envelope. He then glances over the contents of the letter within. It only takes a moment before his face goes pale, whether from fear or anger. Perhaps both. "You did WHAT!?" he screams at the boy.

 

"It was necessary." the boy says, cooly.

 

The old man gives the letter to the hooded figures to read, and takes a moment to regain his composure. After which, he resumes. "If this is true, then I'm actually mildly impressed. It's not easy to do that. But even if this letter is 100% accurate- and we will find out if it is or isn't- That does not excuse you from flaunting the law."

 

The boy shows slight emotion for the first time. "It is true, and... I am aware of that." he says.

 

The old man almost appears to mellow out a bit, and as each hooded figure reads the letter, they appear as shocked as a mysterious figure can appear, which in turn visually impresses the Legate, although he remains silent, serious and frowning, as though it were expected of him to act that way. The old man continues. "Where did you learn Gates and Mastery?" he asks the boy, trying to measure the kid up.

 

The boy takes a deep breath. "I learned them in many places. Too many to recollect every single one. Mostly I learned of bits and pieces in these locations.. A pheme here, an old riddle describing movements of famous summoners there. I gradually collected these pieces from all over and primarily put the pieces together myself in one of the study cubicles normally reserved for visiting wizards at the Venalicium library."

 

"I suppose you got most of these 'pieces' in the forbidden section of your school's library?" The old man baits.

 

The boy doesn't take the bait. In fact he never did. "Actually, far less then you'd think. I may have gone in there a few times to glance at a couple titles, but I never took any books or actually read anything in there. Over half of my research in Gates and Mastery was actually serendipitous, as I would discover pieces while looking into Glamour or Revision... Even my studies in other fields turned up bits. I'm not picky when it comes to magic and I have tried to learn from all sources I could find."

 

The old man continues to stare. "That alone is not enough to display the command of illegal magic you

claim to have. I want to know specific locations."

 

The boy nods. "You're right. When I really needed to plug a hole in my knowledge, I would intentionally seek out places. I've been to many libraries. Such as the library of the Forbidden. Although that wasn't a great repository of knowledge. The Library of Longshade has some excellent treaties on Mastery hiddenaway."

 

The Legate's ears perk up at this. "The Library of Longshade? Really?"

 

"The boy quickly points out "There is a 1st edition copy of 'Proof of Mastery's Evil' down there. Being a famous anti-Mastery book I guess it was overlooked but it was written before the bans and it's author knew it. The whole thing reads like 'don't do this thing, here's how it works. It's bad.' The following editions sloppily edited out the most obvious references but if you give me a copy I can point them out for you."

 

The legate mentally kicks himself. "I will have a thorough resweeping of the Library of Longshade once we're done here, Magistrate Decurio."

 

"Good" The old man snorts.

 

The boy adds. "Please tell the Librarians to leave the library in the state they entered it in, Legate. I spent a lot of time reorganizing that place to be a useful place for learning. Also tell them that most of the illegal materials I found there were safely secured behind the floorboards under the head Librarian's desk."

 

The Legate actually smirks for a moment as he jots down a reminder to do just that.

 

"Anyways," the boy continues, "I've been to many libraries. I've even been inside the Mirapos Gates library."

 

"You know where it is?" The old man gasps.

 

"To be more accurate, I know how to find it. Astrology is very useful for these kind of things." the boy states matter-of-factly.

 

The old man, Magistrate Decurio, would never admit it, but this kid was beginning to deeply impress him. He'd been hunting down illegal wizards for over 150 years, and every single one he came across was usually a sniveling wreck at this point spouting how sorry they were. This kid had nerves of steel and that was an admirable, if potentially fear inducing, trait. And at such a young age, too. "Why did you continue learning illegal magic after you had seen some of the dangers that the magic poses?" he asks.

 

"At that point, I began my 3rd year at the Academy. You may recall some of the crazy stories about the island that showed up over Mineta and the consequences therof. I felt that if there exist mages that are willing to brazenly flout the law, that I had better know all I can about their magic to better defend myself. I credit that choice with saving my life more than once." The boy says softly.

 

"You don't need to learn how to control people to defend youself." the old man gruffs.

 

"Mastery is more than just that, as I'm sure you know. It's also about mind reading, telepathy, and even dulling pain, or breaking the normal limits of the body. All of those things can be dangerous if used against you, particularly if you are unaware of them happening. Knowing the phemes also makes countering the magic with Negation easier and more effective, and gives you additional defenses. Seal against Mastery, for example." the boy concludes.

 

"I've heard enough for now." The old magistrate states. "Since you turned yourself in and have been cooperative, I am willing to leave you in the School's- The Legate's custody until this investigation is completed. You do not want to abuse this privilege. You've certainly given us a lot to think about. I know what you're trying to do, and I can actually respect that even if I disagree. I make no promises other than I will obey the law."

 

And with that, he leaves, while the hooded figures pack up some of their materials, one of them turns to the boy and says "You are the first person we have seen since the bans started to show any real respect for the ancient magics. You will succeed in lifting much of the stigma they carry, and may even cause the bans to be repealed.... soon. We will petition the courts to forego your impending execution in favor of cloistering. May we all be free of our bondage."

 

And with that, they leave.

 

"Those might have been cloistered Mages themselves." The boy observes.

 

"They rarely leave their monasteries, but I suppose it's possible." The Legate adds.

 

"I think that went well." the boy wittily quips.

 

"I'm amazed they only put chains on you." Orso says as he gets up and rubs his keester. "You'd better get some sleep, it's getting late and you want to be ready for tommorrow."

 

"You mean...?" The boy looks up expectantly.

 

"Well sure, you're in my custody for now, and I kind of feel I owe you one after that incident with Von Rupprecht. You've also worked plenty hard for it, so I figure you deserve to graduate with the others. I mean come on, you'll be the first mage officially recognized to know Gates and Mastery to graduate from the Academagia in over 300 years, what could possibly go wrong?" The Legate chuckles almost to himself as he removes the chains with a spell.

 

And with that they both leave.

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