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Author Topic: Chapter One, The Path of Decisions [final revisions -edited]  (Read 10675 times)
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« on: 22 August 2003, 07:48:00 »

Seven weeks had passed since Erebus’ entrance to the Academy of Ximax. Soon, the third day of the Sleeping Dreameress would dawn. The day the professors would decide if the mages would be allowed to stay at the Academy and continue their education, or would be sent back home with bits of advice on what to do before applying next summer. Many of the castaway students returned the following year, but seldom were they accepted.

Though the official title of this seven-week period was The Seven Steps to Academy Acquaintance, it was commonly referred to as the Waste Management Process by students and mentors alike. “If you have any bribes to offer, this is your chance,” joked mages that had passed the examinations in the previous years. Once the second day of the seventh week was over, the recruits could be called at any moment by their mentors to enter The Path of Decisions, an inspection of the students’ talents and their performance in the Academy universally thought about as the Test of Survival among the wizard world. It was true that the Tower of Records only took responsibility for those who passed the test and rightfully became members of the Mages’ Academy. Yes, seldom were the recruits injured during the exams because if the Judges sensed that the initiate was about to fail, they would take over and later send him back home with an elegantly crafted letter from the Tower of Records, which quite frankly said, “Game over; please try again later,” of course written in the proper, formal tongue. Accidents were seldom seen, but not unheard of.

When Erebus applied to the Academy he could already cast spells that required the guiding of one’s Car’all. Such spells had the tendency to be bluntly powerful and chaotic. It was awfully hard for the novitiate to maintain a complete control over such spells. Thus this stage of casting was recognized by the Academy as the "limit of what is attainable without recognized study of the metaphysical". Hence, he was treated as an initiate, re-membering and practicing the spells he was able to perform whilst at the same time taking the fundamental Tongue Basics classes. Erebus guessed that he would be asked to cast these and the one spell he was taught on the first floor of the floating Tower of the Skies. The only spell he knew that took longer than ten seconds to complete. All he had to do was to carry the spell with enough proficiency to impress the Judges of his talents. Yet somehow he felt that the task would not be as straightforward as it sounded.

The Magicitais assigned to each level would soon come to the dorms and take their group of recruits to the Great Dining Hall for breakfast. Each elemental school would be served different rations that would enhance the recruits magical talents during the Path of Decisions, which would come to pass in precisely seventeen days. At the end of the banquet the names of the recruits that will walk the perilous path that day would be announced by the Archmages of the four elemental Inner Towers. Erebus and his ensemble were served raisins anointed with drops of resin, skillfully peeled nuts of all sorts (including Erebus’ favorite, the walnut) set on the sunflowers (much to the students’ delight they still had the seeds inside), and every other kind of light fare that would benefit spell-casting, in elegant silver plates with ornate figures of the wind deities chasing one another at the center. Along with promises from the servants that the omelets would be supplied soon. Unlike some of his companions Erebus did not gape into the food with jaws wide open, he was well educated in table manners. Nevertheless, when the fruits were served in three large bowls woven from translucent crystal grass, even he could not hide his amazement, for it appeared as if the vivid mix of grapes, berries, sliced melon pieces, along with wedges of fresh figs arranged in a flower like formation floated faintly above the servants’ hands. Although crystal grass could thrive in any climate as long as it met certain conditions, it was so rare that few ever saw it before their lifespans ended. The servants lay the unseen bowls on clear spots encircled by the bright yellow petals of a sunrose with clear amethysts spread inbetween each leaflet. A jest the elves won’t miss, reasoned Erebus. Injèrá'yráná, as the elves called it, grew only in the wide sun-touched gardens south of Dragon’s Maw as well as the Tandala Highlands. Not only had the Archmage gone into all the trouble to deliver them to the Dining Hall, but also preserved them till this time of the year since the seldom sunroses matured and grew mostly during the Month of the Burning Heavens and were hardly ever seen outside of elven gardens. “So this was the strong scent hanging in the salon reserved for the Tower of the Skies. I should have noticed this before,” rationalized Erebus, “What other tricks does this old fellow have concealed in his pockets, what other tricks?”

As the first rays of dawn carressed the crystalline bowl like silver streams of silk flowing with a gentle breeze, a rainbow of colored lights shone in all directions; though somehow it appeared as if the rays encircled the Archmage's head forming the misty silhouette of a multihued halo. "What a marvelous sight," the apprentices whispered among themselves, secretly hoping that the Sky Lord would hear their compliments and would somehow secure their entrance to the Academy.

The Archmage raised his arms in an attempt to subside the heat of the feast. A long lecture is on its way, thought Erebus- apparently just about the time the Archmage fixed his eyes on that end of the great dining room reserved for the wind mages and gazed upon them with a frozen glare waiting to be released in his eyes. Then he spoke with the sound of a thousand wind chimes (according to Erebus, he was showing off):

“I hope you’ve enjoyed our little breakfast here. Due to the number of applicants and the restraints on time, I will be forced to abandon the ancient tradition of waiting till the end of the feast and will soon continue with the names of the recruits that will be asked to walk the Path of Decisions today, hoping that this would give you some reason to forcedly drink those verjuice in front of you.”

A few laughs were heard here and there at the Archmage’s joke. Until the drinks were mentioned none had noticed the crystal goblets with delicate wing-like extensions in place of the handles. By now the servants had already begun pouring tiny drops of ice milk (let not the name deceive you, for the ice milk is originally a type of grain whose juice is extracted for the refreshment of one’s breath). “If that selected few could hastily eat their meals,” when his speech was interrupted with protesting groans from the apprentices, he did not restrain from using that icy glare stored for some later scolding on the magelings who were still wet behind the ears. The complaints suddenly brought to an end as the aged wizard continued:

"For we have, at most, half an hour before the Judges will guide you to the Garden Tower. Yet, I must say I am troubled my friends... did you not like the fruits? I myself shall eat the first to prove to you that it is not our aim to poison anyone,” said he as one of the grapes slowly floated towards him without any gestures or runes drawn into the air- he was a true master of his trade. As the gentle breeze blew through the bowl, the woven strings of crystal grass chimed a mournful melody known to have a hypnotic effect on the human race throwing them into a state of melancholy. Little by little, people began to stir from their chairs and reach for the fruits with quick, hesitant moves as if the bowl might shatter at their touch any moment. When seeing the apprentices scared to touch the bowls, yet more worried of offending him by not eating, the Archmage breathed out a laugh that echo through the halls of the entire Great Dining Hall: “Do not be afraid, although crystal grass appears to be very fragile, it is, if truth be told, as flexible and tough as regular grass.” As the resonance of his laugh receeded, the Archmage continued with the dreaded list, “Albert von Tiesenhousen from Northern Lands of United Kingdoms of Santharia, Alvin Meraborn from Southern Santharia…” The list went on and on, Erebus had not bothered to listen to it until he heard his own name, “Seyh Erebus SandStorm from Thylascuran, representative of the Continent of Aeruillin” Many had turned to watch him, Aeruillin was not rich enough to send people halfway across the world without any guarantee that they would not be sent back. People had reasoned by now that he either had enough trust in his powers enough to apply for a scholarship – which were seldom bestowed upon people outside the United Kingdoms of Santharia. To make it even worse, when a person failed to receive one from the Academy it was counted as a great disgrace on the family – or he came from the ruling family. Both were mesmerizing enough for the students that did not have the royal blood and manners in their veins, nonetheless were born to rich fathers. The Archmage had halted for some two seconds before he carried on with the rest of the names.

When the feast ended with blessings from the Archmage of the Winds, the selected few were taken first taken to the Bathhouses for cleaning after dinner (and other sorts of humanitarian needs), and then to the Garden Tower by the Judges of the Year. There they would be able to replenish the reagents required for their spellcasting and for any other arrangements that might be considered necessary. They would have promptly an hour to prepare themselves for the assessments that awaited ahead. The smart ones would have gathered the ingredients in the previous week, hence use this valuable time to mentally warm themselves up for the challenges that lay ahead. Some believed that this preparation period was also an aspect of the examinations, while others mocked them saying that they would next take their own shadows for lethal enemies and spend their days in a vain attempt to hide from them. Indeed, it was the very reason the Judges themselves accompanied the recruits to the Garden Tower. From the third level and on, if a student wasted such precious moments to gather stuff, he or she would fail even before the tests started for this would mean that the apprentice did not prioritize well enough. Taking the Path seriously and being responsible was an asset essential to any initiate, yet not going over a check-list would be a signal for extreme self-assurance – a trait that would bring about their own ends in the mists of a real battle. Better safe than sorry, thought Erebus as he went over the reagents in his pockets, the pouches hanging from his belt and re-organized them for easier handling for maybe the hundredth time in the last two days. This busied him no more than seven minutes. “Still thirty-three minutes left. Great time management friend, plus this would make an excellent number for a sanctified day,” Erebus muttered under his breath as he rose from his seat next to an acacia tree. Erebus had a weird habit of trusting gnome inventions such as the time-measurer; in fact this was how he could calculate precisely how much time he had left. Now, he followed the rituals taught in the Academy for the easing of the heart and relaxation of the mind, mainly exercises to balance one’s car’all or to focus the elemental powers to the desired proportion. After thirteen minutes of this study, performing “all the mage stuff” as the commoners alleged, Erebus chose to spend the last twenty minutes or so to blend his car’all with the wind element around him since he felt totally refreshed and calmed. A deed said to empower a mage’s will and focus, thus enhancing his influence over the streams of magical energy.

Sharp at six, the Judges announced that it was time to walk the first steps of the Path. Soon each Judge would take the recruit they were responsible for to the zones assigned to them so that the assessments would start promptly at seven past six*, whose sum represented the number of Ximax Towers. Most prayed that they would not fall into the hands of a strict authoritarian who would even fail people because of a mispronounced syllable even when the spell worked. Erebus himself did not possess such worries, he was a dedicated believer of what happened was supposed to happen. Thus if he failed in the hands of such a mentor, at least he would improve much from the criticism. Actually even those who were cast away accepted that what they’ve learned walking the Path often surpassed the insight gained in an entire lifetime. Subsequently he was not disheartened when he saw Lord Coren advance towards him.

When the two finally arrived at their final destination, the garden through which the will-be-wizard begins marching on the Path of Decisions, much to the surprise of Erebus all Lord Coren bothered to say was, “Okay now, go survive. I’ll be there to help when you most need me. For the rest of the day, until you have left the last obstacle behind, I will remain nonaligned or will simply be unseen - if it should pleases me more, and will be offering bits of advice as you keep on walking past the troubles hidden on your Path. May the Winds be on your side along with Ava’s smile.”

As soon as Judge Coren disappeared a horde of snakes stirred up from the bushes advancing towards him with deadly speed. Erebus knew he had to assault straight away for he had at most ten seconds before the snakes were on him, not enough time to shield him. Yet for some unknown reason he felt that doing so would merely waste a precious spell that might be needed later on the road. A distant whisper in the back of his mind warned him, things are not always what they seem to be, the first lesson he was taught at the Tower of the Skies. He would be gambling for a high price, maybe for the cost of his life, but he could not resist the temptation to learn. Erebus focused on his car’all to send a wave of it without truly letting it drift away, whilst pronouncing the hymn over and over again: Erí’Cár’áll, Erí’Cár’áll… He was almost on the verge of praying that no pulse would be reflected back other than the quiet thumps of things belonging to the Earth. As the strings of his magical web reached out, SandStorm could hear the reverberation of his own heartbeat. Seven peds covered, twelve peds reached, eighteen peds… nothing. The snakes were but a delusion. “Few mages would have the gut to do that Erebus even with their inner-self pleading them. I would commend you for the faith, yet most would object saying that it would be an unnecessary and thoughtless risk to take.”

Feeling that this division of the trail was over and done with, Erebus walked down the Path until the majestic woods were positioned some three hundred peds away. He dared not walk foolishly as the crow flies into the forest without any precautions. Sensing Aura came handy in situations where the verdict had to be reached quickly, but in turn the results were not only unsatisfying but in addition oftentimes confusing. He had plenty of time to prepare without fear of an ambush, for there was the vast field of little flowers to the east and west, the Academy to the south and the ancient woods to his north. He would be able to distinguish even the stealthiest foes approaching from a distance in time. The perfect time to play around with his new tricks. Before he began the ritual, Erebus made sure that his body was in the desired pose, muscled relaxed, thoughts calmed, car’all balanced in twenty seconds worried that resting too long might be counted against him when the Time of Judgment came.

Erebus feared helping the spell out with a drop of verjuice, yet he feared failing even more. As he reached to the potion belt slightly below his waist – the so-called “residents” of Aeruillin thought it more attractive to wear things designed in a fashion they called low-rise as it revealed just enough to tempt the wanderer without actually presenting anything – in an attempt to seize the tiny bottle of verjuice that had the dim yellowish brown tint of moiréd silk, which was located exactly below his right shoulder, the wind carried Lord Coren’s disapproval, “You would not want to be blinded when your opponents run towards you with wide scimitars, would you? I tell you: The verjuice is totally unimportant, in matter of fact it serves no higher purpose than the sadistic entertainment of an elder mage. As any cook and they would tell you that verjuice is nothing more than soured wine, or vinegar.” So that was why he had a sudden urge of vomiting when the bitter drink carved through the walls of his stomach in the morning! Erebus now looked at the Archmage from a slightly altered perspective. With all these toughts circling his mind, Sandstorm slowly touched the forefingers to his forehead starting the ritual. Then he made an unhurried sweeping motion down and around and touched his forehead once more, making sure that the sky-cut pieces of amethysts he wore on the ring fingers of each hand touched each other in the center. As he began to shift his hands outward imitating the movement of the winds the recitation sounded. As the sigh surged with the soft breeze, a shroud of shades lifted from Erebus’ eyes, allowing him to see through the physical shell covering every entity into their auras. All appeared as Archmage Xarl Bluestride had once described, every being had a “tinted formless form” around them, which represented “the two most dominant elements of a being”. When he saw the aggressive reddish-brown current of orc archers positioned on top of the ancient trees, he was almost sure that somehow he had caused a unique spell fizzling effect. “But that cannot be the case,” reasoned Erebus, “ ‘cause then Lord Coren would have interfered before the uncontrolled magical energies resulted in a catastrophic fizzle, and by doing so would have declared Erebus futile for the current level of teaching.” “A stealthy orc ambush that was planned? The end must be near!” chuckled SandStorm, seemingly being the only one laughing at the joke. Yet things were not always what they appeared to be. “Well, if orcs wish to be birds, then they should as well prepare to be knocked down for dinner…” Along these lines was his next choice made. “The enchantment should be enough to create a small whirlwind about twice my height, if I can force this mountain gust to swivel in a spherical motion around me,” considered Seyh SandStorm, at the same time robbing his left wristlet off an gorgeous feather taken from a matured male eagle’s right wing, and threw the feather into the air. “Eráia’ avás!”  was his battle cry, spoken in fluent Styrásh with the slighest trace of the desert accent, flow wind! Without more ado, the soft mountain breeze thickened around him, carrying the morning mist with it; misleadingly transforming his image into the shimmering framework of a ghost. Six orc archers, being as stupid and superstitious as the rest of their race, fell from the trees they were situated on, in an attempt to hide between the branches. Those who could manage to actually remain on their stations fired black walls of descending arrows, one after the other, on the so-seemed Wight named Erebus. Such a quick disposal of foes and a tremendous waste of arrows even exceeded SandStorm's wildest hopes. The arrows were aimed in such a hurry that most of them did not even fall in ten peds of SandStorm, and for those that did, the momentum of the whirlwind was strong enough to easily deflect them.

Erebus did not know loads of offensive spells that would hack through the ranks of his enemies or burn the hairs in one's nose as the fire-mages of his schooling and skill did. So he had to trust his luck yet again as he warily walked into the forest. “What I do is not a foolish act of valor,” he tried to convince the nagging part of his conscious mind. “Even if I stayed at a distance where the winds would be able to screen me, I would not have been able to maintain the shield,” he continued, slowly building his case, “It requires far too much effort and focus for a wizard of my skills to keep the winds flowing.” Erebus then moved towards a heap of fallen leaves to his left, allowing the gusts to raise them off the ground, surrounding him on all sides. It was true that he would not be able to see for a while, but so would the archers. He could have been anywhere in that swirling sphere (which was almost 20 peds in diameter now) that seemed to grow with the passing of each second, picking up more and more strands of leaves and small pieces of trunks and tiny scraps of wood off the ground… “Yes, I indeed have a few seconds before the air falls back to it’s regular behavior, and another five or six seconds before the movement of the leaves subside, leaving me open to attacks... I’ll have to cast the fastest mind-manipulating spell ever, if I want to live.” Seyh Erebus Sandstorm did not have time enough to mull over the question of whether the battlegrounds were a part of the Ximax classrooms or not (since most mind-messing spells were forbidden outside Ximax because of the danger they held). Because of his limited sight, Erebus did not start by concentrating on his target, and locking onto the orc's car’all, leading it to disarray and chaos, but instead conjured up the images first and then forced them into the archer's car’all while chanting the necessary mantra. When the leaves finally left him bare, save for his low-rise pants and tight shirt, it was a little less effortless to spread the wind car’all in this manner, thus making it impossible for the orc to access the information and knowledge stored in his brain, hence inhibiting him from making carefully planned decisions – (falsely) assuming that an orc had the capability of doing so, without mind-manipulators affecting him.

At the sight of his comrades reaching for their bows, the befuddled orc had the unfortunate notion that a knife hurled towards one of them might turn helpful. The two others that still remained sane threw their very bows – for in their desperate thoughts a solid weapon would hit the damned wizard better than a shot fired from one of those cursed “elfish” weapons – down at Erebus. It was not the wooden bows that disrupted Sandstorm's concentration but his very own laugh at the ridiculous sight, which had unfortunately sliced the invisible strands holding the orc’s wind car’all apart, before the bonds had time to settle. Consequently the orc was free of the chaotic enchantment.

Erebus had only a clap of thunder spell* left in stock when the trio of orcs clumsily climbed down the tree and dashed towards him in great fury. Master Coren chanted something in ancient Styrásh whilst making a snapping sound with his fingers. The orcs abruptly froze in their tracks.

“You certainly were not going to waste your last spell by throwing a lightning bolt at one of the orcs, were you? For it would have been the most foolish thing to do. Remember, it is not a wizard’s power that wins him the battle, but the tactics he uses and... imagination. Be smart. What were you planning to do? Engage in battle or retreat? If you are to retreat, will you strike and dart away or block the orcs' way while you run away? Examine the surroundings. Now tell me, what would be the clever thing to do?” asked Master Coren.

As Erebus was mindlessly gawking around, his mentor continued, “Always follow a methodical advance. First, start with the very earth you’re standing on. Will it be any use to you?”

“Not really,”

“Now turn your gaze to the skies. Look at the trees. Do you see any shortcuts, anything that would be useful?”

Erebus did as his master commanded, “Amm, I think that branch is about to fall.” Lord Coren smiled at him, “Maybe you wouldn't mind hastening the process a little? But be careful, you only have one chance. If you lose it, you die. That simple. Plan ahead; wait for the perfect moment to strike. And limit the power you unleash. It is not your wish to burn that branch into ashes, you merely want to target the weak spot where it is attached to the tree, and branch it out.”

The apprentice seemed overwhelmed with the task ahead of him, “But, but how do I know when the perfect moment comes?”

“Consult your insight, dear. And listen to the whispers of nature carried by the winds. You will know then. Now, off you go,” replied Lord Coren, at the same time making another clicking sound ending the spell. The orcs did not even realize that they had been frozen dead in their path. Before Erebus had the time to object, the orcs had already covered half the way to the rotten branch. The only clap of thunder Erebus knew of was cast by staring into the eyes of the victim in order to focus. And as far as he was aware, branches did not have eyes… Then he remembered his mentors' teachings, “Most Wind Mages fail to recognize the power of the living earth around them, as they tend to underestimate its willpower. Every being has a soul, and can speak to one if he knows how to listen. Try not to invoke the ancient forests’ anger, for they too are part of the Great Dream.” Erebus converged his energies on the quartz crystal hanging from his neck and then guided them to the branch in an attempt to establish a connection between him and the aged trunk. Something snapped at the far end of his consciousness, as if two puzzle pieces slide into the proper places. Once the bond was set, Erebus raised his hands to the morning skies and intoned twice in a great yet hollow voice, Vásh ór, Spark of Wind!, while clapping his hands together with all his might. To Erebus, the bolt that rained down from the sky seemed too hesitant and slow, as if it was traveling leisurely among the clouds. Erebus felt as if he was watching a performance artist move in slow motion. Some tenths of a second later, the thunder of his clap was heard. Such was the link between the magic user and the power he channels, while to the witnessing eye the whole incident took no more than six seconds, the wizard felt every movement of his powers as if they were a living extension of his body. The brilliant bolt of sizzling energy stroke its target with a touch more intense than intended. It required a great amount of grace to control the clap once the spell was chanted; few could resist the magnetic field created between their hands.

So The branch fell somewhat earlier than expected, hitting the first orc on the head rather than smashing the three to the ground. But, luckily, orcs were not known for the speed and elegance of their movements. The two at the back could not halt in time before their friend, and stumbled over him. In moments they were in quite a messy pose. It was hard to say which leg belonged to whom.

“Ava smiled upon you thrice today. Yet, all in all, well done; class is over for now.You have passed the examination without a shadow of blame. I would suggest that you go back to the House of Physical Education and work out there before attending the celebrations in the Great Dining Hall. Congratulations.” Then the Judge disappeared as mystically as he came. Some say he got the habit from the Archmage Xarl Bluestride, whille others objected claiming that Lord Coren preferred fluent, flowing movements while Master Xarl had besieged everyone with his sudden and majestic entries. No, he was - slightly - different.

Edited by: Coren FrozenZephyr at: 9/18/03 17:27
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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #1 on: 22 August 2003, 08:16:00 »

I was sooo hesitant to post this with the current discussion of Ximax layout going on. i just pray that it is relevant to the principles present today.

hope you enjoy the read

* why can' t i italisize the text?

Edited by: Coren FrozenZephyr at: 8/21/03 16:20
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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Arancaytar Ilyaran
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« Reply #2 on: 22 August 2003, 09:27:00 »

To italize, check either the ezCodes or the HTML box at the top when you post, then enter the italized text in:

TEXT for HTML
or

TEXT for ezCodes.

Arancaytar Ilyaran



"When you start quoting yourself, it's a sure sign of senility" Arancaytar Ilyaran

Edited by: Arancaytar Ilyaran at: 8/21/03 17:33
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #3 on: 22 August 2003, 10:54:00 »

*just forgot switching mode to 'ezCodes'*:o

what about the story? is it bad?...

*afraid of reading the next post*

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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Arancaytar Ilyaran
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« Reply #4 on: 22 August 2003, 12:46:00 »

:o   Slinks off to actually read the story...

Wonderful story, nice style and a good plot:) . You mention some things about Ximax in there I'm not sure about, but I'll leave that to the local mages;)  . Some textual suggestions:

"When he saw the aggressive reddish-brown current of orc archers positioned on top of the ancient trees, he was almost sure that somehow he had somehow caused a unique spell fizzling effect."

double somehow; best delete one of them.

"few can resist the magnetic field created between his hands."
IMHO, the correct pronoun for 'few' would be 'they', not 'he', so it should probably be 'their hands'.
There are some others I forgot, but I'm gonna find them again later (got a bit of homework pressure right now).

The end bit about Xarl was especially funny, seeing as I have the feeling it reminds me of something I said to you once...:lol  

Edit: Btw, I'm unsure about the logic of one thing; first,you mention that the testing criteria are devilishly tough, then Master Coren is practically there every few minutes to give advice and to admonish, yet at the end he says that the initiate passed without a single flaw.

Arancaytar Ilyaran



"When you start quoting yourself, it's a sure sign of senility" Arancaytar Ilyaran

Edited by: Arancaytar Ilyaran at: 8/21/03 20:55
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #5 on: 22 August 2003, 14:13:00 »

hmm... you may be right about that, for the last part was in fact written way before the rest of the story. what i had in mind was this when i scribed the lines:

1- you either pass or fail, although there is/are indeed an evaluation sheet/criteria, that is not revealed to the students. if you fail (no matter even with half a point) you're miserable, you don't deserve to live... if you pass, you're the best, keep up the good work!

2- that coren might not end up being this one you're talking to

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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Rayne (Alýr)
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« Reply #6 on: 25 August 2003, 10:01:00 »

I haven't read all of it, but I'm a little worried. You've assumed a lot about Ximax Academy that hasn't been decided, that goes against my plans for the school. All of this is still being developed and none of it is in the original plans.

Maybe you schould try to contact me on MSN..

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"There is much misjudgment in the world. Now, I knew you for a unicorn when I first saw you, and I know that I am your friend. Yet you take me for a clown, or a clod, or a betrayer, and so I must be if you see me so. The magic on you is only magic and will vanish as soon as you are free, but the enchantment of error that you put on me I must wear forever in your eyes. We are not always what we seem..." -Schmendrick the Magician, The Last Unicorn
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« Reply #7 on: 25 August 2003, 13:50:00 »

Hmm, well, I am still around. My comments are in bold, corrections in italic:

Seven weeks had passed since Erebus’ entrance to the Academy of Ximax. Soon (comma) the third day of the Sleeping Dreameress would dawn. The day the professors would decide if the mages would be allowed to stay at the Academy and continue their education, or would be sent back home with bits of advice on what to do before applying next summer. Many of the castaway students returned the following year, but they were seldom accepted.

Though the official title of this seven-week period was "The Seven Steps to Academy Acquaintance", it was commonly referred to as the "Waste Management Process" by students and mentors alike. “If you have any bribes to offer, this is your chance,” joked mages that had passed the examinations in the previous years. Once the second day of the seventh week was over, the recruits could be called at any moment by their mentors to enter The Path of Decisions, an inspection of the students’ talents and their performance in the Academy universally thought about as the Test of Survival among the wizard world.This sentence is two miles long - please split it up. It was true that the Tower of Records only took responsibility for those who passed the test and rightfully became members(Those is several, thus members) of the Mages’ Academy. Yes, seldom were the recruits The recruits were seldom, not the other way around! injured during the exams since when the Judges sensed that the initiate was about to fail, they would take over and later send him back home with an elegantly crafted letter from the Tower of Records, which quite frankly said, “Game over; please try again later,” of course written in the proper, formal tongue. Again, way too long sentence, and also not properly worded: Since when the judges should be "because if the judges" Accidents were seldom seen Comma!yet not unheard of.

When Erebus applied to the Academy he could already cast spells that required the guiding of one’s Car’all. Such spells had the tendency to be bluntly powerful and chaotic. It was awfully hard for the novitiate to maintain a complete control over such spells. Thus this stage of casting was recognized by the Academy as the "limit of what is attainable without recognized study of the metaphysical". Hence, he was treated as an initiate, remembering and practicing the spells he was able to perform whilst at the same time taking the fundamental Tongue Basics classes. Erebus guessed that he would be asked to cast these and the one spell he was taught on the first floor of the floating Tower of the Skies. The only spell he knew that took longer than ten seconds to complete. All he had to do was to carry the spell with enough proficiency to impress the Judges with his talents. Yet somehow he felt that the task would not be as straightforward as it sounded.

The Magicitais assigned to each level would soon come to the dorms and take their group of recruits to the Great Dining Hall for breakfast. Each elemental school would be served different rations that would enhance the recruits magical talents during the Path of Decisions, which would come to pass in precisely seventeen days. At the end of the banquet the names of the recruits that were to walk the perilous path that day would be announced by the Archmages of the four elemental Inner Towers. Erebus and his ensemble were served raisins anointed with drops of resin, skillfully peeled nuts of all sorts (including Erebus’ favorite, the walnut) set on the sunflowers (much to the students’ delight they still had the seeds inside), and every other kind of light fare that would benefit spell-casting, in elegant silver plates with ornate figures of the wind deities chasing one another at the center along with promises that the omelets would be supplied soon. Unlike some of his companions Erebus did not gape into the food with jaws wide open - he was well educated in table manners. Nevertheless, comma when the fruits were served in three large bowls woven from translucent crystal grass, even he could not hide his amazement, comma!! for it appeared as if the vivid mix of grapes, berries, sliced melon pieces, along with wedges of fresh figs arranged in a flower like formation floated faintly above the servants’ hands. Long sentence again... Although crystal grass could thrive in any climate as long as it met Watch your tense! certain conditions, it was so rare that few ever saw it before their lifespans Lifespan, remember, etc. are written without spaces ended. The servants laid the unseen bowls on clear spots encircled by the bright yellow petals of a sunrose, comma with clear amethysts spread inbetween Inbetween - one word, as said... each leaflet. A jest the elves won’t miss, Erebus reasoned. Injèrá'yráná, as the elves called Grew, thus called it, grew only in the wide sun-touched gardens south of Dragon’s Maw as well as the Tandala Highlands. Not only had the Archmagi gone into all the trouble to deliver them to the Dining Hall, Comma before but, always!but also to preserve them till this time of the year since the rare sunroses matured and grew mostly during the Month of the Burning Heavens and were hardly ever seen outside of the Particular gardne,s not general, thus "the" elven gardens. “So this was the strong scent hanging in the salon reserved for the Tower of the Skies. I should have noticed this before,” rationalized Erebus, “What other tricks does he have concealed in his pockets?” Who?

As the first rays of dawn flickered on The rays of dawn flickered on... Ava, turn the lights off, woudl you? LOL, reword please and around the crystalline bowl like silver streams of silk flowing with a gentle breeze, a rainbow of colored lights shone in all directions Too much description, one gets lost here.. ; though somehow it appeared as if it circled the Archmage of the Wind’s head forming the misty silhouette of a multihued halo. Genrally strange sentecne, dear - can you reword to make us able to comprehend this multitude of description? What a marvelous sight, the apprentices whispered  among themselves, comma secretly hoping that the Sky Lord would hear their compliments and somehow secure their entrance to the Academy. A) There is direct speech here, put it into ""

The Archmage raised his arms in an attempt to subside the heat of the feast. A long lecture is on its way, thought Erebus apparently just about the time the Archmage fixed his eyes on that end of the great dining room reserved for the wind mages and gazed upon them with a frozen glare waiting to be released in his eyes. Again, sentence too long to be readable. Then he spoke with the sound of a thousand wind chimes (according to Erebus, he was showing off): Not comma, but colon “I hope you’ve enjoyed our little breakfast here. Due to the number of applicants and the restraints on time, I will be forced to abandon the ancient tradition of waiting till the end of the feast and will soon continue  with the names of the recruits that will be asked to walk the Path of Decisions today, and hope that this would give you some reason to forcedly drink those verjuice in front of you.” A few laughs were heard here and there at the Archmage’s joke. Until the drinks were mentioned none had noticed the crystal goblets with delicate wing-like extensions in place of the handles. By now the servants had already begun pouring tiny drops of ice milk (do not let the name deceive you, comma! for the ice milk is originally a type of grain whose juice is extracted for the refreshment of one’s breath). “If that selected few could hastily eat their meals...” His speech was interrupted with protesting groans from the apprentices, he did not restrain from using that icy glare stored for some later scolding on the magelings who were still wet behind the ears. I do not comprehend this sentence..



This will all for today, Coren, as my tiem is unfortunately limited. Please, try to edit some yourself - I have given you a great clue to what you need to change.


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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #8 on: 25 August 2003, 13:34:00 »

"Grammar! Comas! Guys, come back inside - you'll catch a cold there!"

I cannot thank you enough guys for all the time you've put into this... and silfer... *sobs*

when i have time, i'll certainly re-read this... i wonder how so many errors escaped my eye... must be the time..., for most of them are in fact silly mistakes.

Silfer, i've changed what i could, and these are the ones I'm still thinking on:

- some of the inverted sentences: "reasoned erebus" and "seldom were they accepted" still sound right to me, but i don't know

-"judges of his talents" was one block

-lifespan : funny, that was what i said to spell-check, must have done that on its own.

- archmagi? no, only the wind mage. Everyone is responsible for his own table.

- "Not only had the Archmage gone into all the trouble to deliver them to the Dining Hall, but also preserved them till this time of the year since the seldom sunroses matured and grew mostly during the Month of the Burning Heavens and were hardly ever seen outside of elven gardens. " is okay imho. somehow "but also to preserve them" sounds weird for that sentence.

-about 'rare' and 'seldom'. sorry, that 'the' was meant to be deleted. it is not 'the rare sun-roses' but 'since sunroses seldom matured and grew..."

- i don't think it should be 'the elven gardens' for it talks about 'elven gardens' in general

- what wrong with "hoping", why change it to "and hope"?

- the sentence about the stored glare referred to the sentence at the beginning of the paragraph - when Erebus realized that the Archmage was on the verge of a severe outburst, but was working to conceal it.

once again, thank you soooooo much for all the effort

@rayne: as i've said, don't over-stress yourself, tyring to produce more on the topic. this can wait until you have the time.

edit: and oh! i forgot to mention; there was a special reason i insisted on writing 're-member', will be explained -hopefully- soon ;)  

Edited by: Coren FrozenZephyr at: 8/25/03 8:42
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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

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"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
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« Reply #9 on: 25 August 2003, 15:21:00 »

The inverted structure is in fact just something found in a slightly older style of writing. It's all over Lord of the Rings (see Silfer, it's useful at times.:p ). Use it, by all means!:D  

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"When you start quoting yourself, it's a sure sign of senility" Arancaytar Ilyaran

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Silfer Darkflare
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« Reply #10 on: 26 August 2003, 09:05:00 »

Ah, we are back at LOTR discussing? Nice... by all means use an old style of writing, however, don't change it at random, as it only confuses the reader.

And Coren, PLEASE: The rays of dawn glimered on... NOOO!

Dawn does not glimmer, flicker, turn or do anyhting esle with "on"....

The first rays of dawn caressed the towers (this an example, but if you want, use it)


Edited by: Silfer Darkflare at: 8/25/03 17:19
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« Reply #11 on: 26 August 2003, 10:54:00 »

Well, hereby follows part two of my comments, acidic scoldings, and general corrections :

The complaints suddenly brought to an end, as the aged wizard continued: Again, when you start direct speech, you use a colon, not a comma! Also, capital leter when direct speech starts. “For we have, at most, half an hour before the Judges will walk Walk? As in-carry? They will guide, not walk you to the Garden Tower. Yet, Comma after yet, almost always, same as with but I must say that I am troubled my friends... Ellipse here, not comma Did you not like the fruits? I myself shall eat the first to prove to you that it is not our aim to poison anyone,” He said as one of the grapes slowly floated towards him without the need of any gestures or magical formulas - he was a true master of his trade.Long sentence... maybe split it into two sepratae ones As the gentle breeze blew through the bowl, the woven strings of crystal grass chimed Sounded is used when SOMETHING sounded, e.g. sounded starnge. here, the word is "chimed", or any equivalent thereofa mournful melody known to have a hypnotic effect on the human race and throwing them into a state of melancholy. Little by little, people began to stir from their chairs and reach for the fruits with quick, hesitant moves as if the bowl might shatter at their touch any moment. When seeing the apprentices scared to touch the bowls Plural! and comma yet more worried of offending him by not eating, the Archmage sounded Sounded again... change it a laugh that echo through the halls of the entire Great Dining Hall: COLON! “Do not be afraid, although crystal grass appears to be very fragile, it is, if truth be told, as flexible and tough as regular grass.” As the resonance of his laugh receeded, he Too many "he", substitute e.g. this one with "the archmage"continued with the dreaded list. Use a period mark, by the gods! “Albert von Tiesenhousen from Northern Lands of  The United Kingdoms of Santharia, Alvin Meraborn from Southern Santharia…” The list went on and on... Erebus had not bothered to listen to it until he heard his own name, “Seyh Erebus SandStorm from Thylascuran, representative of the Continent of Aeruillin.” Many had turned around to watch him, for Aeruillin was not rich enough to send people halfway across the world without any guarantee that they would not be sent back. People had reasoned by now that he either had enough trust in his powers to apply for a scholarship – which were seldom bestowed upon people outside the United Kingdoms of Santharia. PE-RI-OD!Also, when a person failed to receive one from the Academy it was counted as a great disgrace on the family – or he came from the ruling family. This becomes confusing - you mix a lot of info here. One forgets that you talked aobut two alternatives befor eone sees the second one, and therefore one begins to wonder "What is this aobut?". Tolkien syndrome (yes, Aran, I love annoying you)Both were mesmerizing enough for the students, Comma who did not have the royal blood and manners in their veins, nonetheless were born to rich fathers. Even the Archmage halted for some two seconds before he carried on with the rest of the names.

When the feast ended with blessings from the Archmage of the Winds, the selected few were first taken to the Bathhouses for cleaning after dinner (and other sorts of humanitarian needs), comma yet again and then to the Garden Tower by the Judges of the Year. Period, PLEASE! There, they would be able to replenish the reagents required for their spellcasting Spellcasting, one word and for any other arrangements that might be considered necessary. They would have promptly an hour to prepare themselves for the assessments awaiting them. The smart ones would have gathered the ingredients in the previous week, hence use this valuable time to mentally warm themselves up for the battles Battles? Challanges maybe, but battles? that awaited ahead. Some believed that this preparation period was also an aspect of the examinations Maybe extend this sentence, like "While others... Indeed Indeed, one word and comma it was the very reason the Judges themselves accompanied the recruits to the Garden Tower. From the third level and on, if a student wasted such precious moments to gather stuff, Comma he or she would fail even before the tests started, comma again for this would mean that the apprentice did not prioritize well enough. Taking the Path seriously and being responsible was an asset essential to any initiate, yet not going over a check-list would be a signal for extreme self-assurance – a trait that would bring about their own ends in the mists of a real battle. Better to be sure than sorry If you want the classic, it is "Better safe then sorry", thought Erebus as he went over the reagents in his pockets and pouches hanging from his belt This actually reads that both the pockets and the pounches were hanging form his belt, which is funny, but not correct.and re-organized them for easier handling for Too many "for" in one snetnce..  please edit maybe the hundredth time in the last two days. This busied him no more than seven minutes. “Still thirty-three minutes left. Great time management, my friend, plus this would make an excellent number for a sanctified day, 33 isnt a sacred number in Santh, as we dont have the Trinity here” he muttered under his breath as he rose from his "He muttered as he rose form his place"  too many "he"seat next to an acacia tree. Do we have that tree in Santh? Erebus had a weird habit of trusting gnome inventions such as the time-measurer; in fact this was how he could calculate precisely how much time he had left. Now, Comma he followed the rituals taught in the Academy for easing of the heart and relaxation of the mind Not the relaxation of the mind, only one "the" in such a line, mainly exercises to balance one’s car’all or to focus the elemental powers to the desired proportion. After thirteen minutes of this study, performing “all the mage stuff” as the commoners alleged, he Too many he once again... what should I do to you? make you read your own story as it is? chose to spend the last twenty minutes or so to blend his car’all with the wind element around him since he felt totally refreshed and calmed. A deed said to empower a mage’s will and focus, thus enhancing his influence over the streams of magical energy.



That is all for now... But I will return.


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« Reply #12 on: 26 August 2003, 11:04:00 »

I'm sure it was meant as the past tense of 'to glimmer on (something)', but I'm not sure if the word glimmer can be used this way.  


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« Reply #13 on: 26 August 2003, 14:51:00 »

Nope, glimmer has the wrong sound IMHO (and Silfer's too seemingly;) ) - when I hear glimmer I think of a small point of light flickering, and that's hardly fitting for dawn.:p  

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"When you start quoting yourself, it's a sure sign of senility" Arancaytar Ilyaran

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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #14 on: 27 August 2003, 04:16:00 »

i don't really want to use 'shine' because i imagine it as rays of light dancing all over the plates - as if they were somehow blocked before they came into the hall (maybe the windows?)

also silfer:

- it shouldn't be "even the Archmage halted" because he did it on purpose as a sign of respect for the Desert Queen (or who ever is in charge... still to be decided among Aeruillin developers)

- what trinity? I'm not even Christian... i have no idea what you're talking about. The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost?

i would have checked the whole thing yesterday to prevent you from working on silly details, but i am too occupied these days to do that... sorry for that. if you want, you could wait for two days before continuing so i would have the whole story edited

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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
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