CHAPTER II: MEMORIES
by SILFER DARKFLARE
t the great library, everything was as it should be – quiet. A few students were sitting in a group behind one of the tables, parchments and books carelessly scattered around on top of it and thick clouds of bluish smoke hanging just above it. The students were eagerly discussing something in hushed voices, but Lucaj could not make anything out of the few pieces he heard – and he did not desire it, either. He was in no mood for discussing anything – even if he was allowed to.
Looking lazily trough the books on the shelf, Lucaj wasn’t really aware of the titles. If something that he desired to read right now would pass his eyes, he would know of it. Several minutes passed in the search... there! His eyes stopped on a dusty book, without any readable title, written somewhere in the long since gone elven empire, Fá’áv’cál’âr... at least judging by the language, it was. Well, Lucaj knew Styrásh... he was not very good at speaking it, but he could read this book. Read, smoke, and remember...
Two years had passed since he was enrolled to the Academy... In two weeks, it would be two years. And even back then, he did not care for simple force. Force was for the brutes... it was not challenging. It contained no knowledge, and could easily be deflected, or even reflected back. At least in a place where magic was all that mattered. Force was force – whether magical or physical. It was the first thing he had learnt, and it gave him the strength to go on. Being an outcast certainly taught one a great deal... Blessed with the gift of magic, Lucaj quickly learnt how to defend himself against physical force... and in the Academy, he had to learn defence against magical force. But after he was done with it, new realizations dawned upon him.
At first, he was fascinated by all the knowledge in the Academy. But as his own knowledge of magic advanced, Lucaj became more interested in the arcane arts, the ones not officially taught at the Academy. Everyone here seemed to treat magic as a science... as something that could be taught by simple spell formulas. “Speak a few words, throw a pinch of this and a handful of that up in the air, and there you go!” Lucaj said that once, after a student managed to produce a chaotic fizzle out of a simple fire spell. That essentially summarized the way of magic at the Academy... and it was nothing compared to the ancient art of Xeuá.
It was in his second year... by that time, Lucaj was already known as the “archfreak”. But also, by that time he knew how to defend himself. Most of those who harassed him stopped after a series of incidents... involving fire, constant fizzles, and other unpleasant things constantly happening to them. But he did not care about it back then, and neither did he now. However, it was tiring over time, disturbing and annoying, like a fly buzzing around your head. Thus, Lucaj made them stop. But he held no grudge against them... sure, he had been angry, but holding grudges was no good for anyone.
As these memories passed trough his head, Lucaj kept lazily reading the book, which appeared to be a diary of a mage who once practiced the powerful art of Ecuá. Speaking of books, Lucaj always liked to read... and it was his passion for ancient texts that helped him to achieve power in magic.
It had been a very old, dusty parchment he once had found in the unorganised section of the library. It was black around the edges and on the lower half, as if someone had tried to burn it once. However, it was way too old to at all be readable so many years later – meaning it was somehow enchanted. A rather powerful enchantment... and Lucaj could still recite the words written on it:
“The first level is Force, the solid, brutal, and material. It is hard to restrain, but easy to guide... like a small spring. Try to restrain it, and it will flow over, finding another path. Guide it, and it will willingly take the path you offer.
The second level is the Idea, the unreal, the virtual, and the non-existent. It holds no power of itself, yet it can guide the force, greatly magnifying or weakening it. Try to use it on it’s own, and you will find yourself deluded. But surrender it to the force, and you will find your skills augmented.
The third level is Will, the defensive and the offensive. It can do nothing on its own, but it is the only thing to control the two others. It is the man making the wall, to guide the shaped force, to control it.
The final level is Emotion, the chaotic, the changing, the destructive and the creating. It is the key to the ultimate power – for while Will controls, Emotion combines the three into one. Only with Emotion does magic achieve its true might.
These are the four Sentences of Will – the key to ultimate power. For the one...”
The parchment became impossible to read after that – somehow, somebody managed to destroy a part of it once, despite its powerful enchantment. But Lucaj did not care about that – he had seen enough. From other books, he deduced this to be a very ancient form of Xeuá... and for the last five months he had been trying to learn this magic. Some results were obvious, but for the last month, Lucaj could not advance further. Something held him back from applying an Idea to the Force he created. It was... annoying, sometimes even frustrating. Like today... it went perfectly fine until the last step. “It is as something, or maybe someone is holding me back” – Lucaj thought wearily. He would still try tomorrow, but he had already lost count on how many times he had tried it before.
Glancing across the room, he noticed that the students behind the nearby table had already left. And as the smoke after them already managed to clear up, it was likely to be late night now. Rising from his chair, Lucaj stretched the numb muscles, yawning lazily. It did him no good to keep musing on all the failures. And if it did nothing good, one should not do it. That was his philosophy, and he would stick to it.
After putting the book back on the shelf, Lucaj headed back to his chambers. He was tired – the annoying memories of pains far back in the past were still fresh in his mind. And the fact that a hard day of study awaited tomorrow didn’t exactly add to his already low happiness. On top of that, a hard day of study would leave him too exhausted to attempt another ritual. “Well, you cannot change it, old man... so you better prepare to face it” – Lucaj said to himself while walking past the empty halls of Ximax.
Entering his chamber, Lucaj immediately felt better. It was about the only place where he could be safe, where he did not need to keep his defences up. Without fear... No, to start thinking about this again wouldn’t do well. As Lucaj made himself ready for bed, he banished all the disturbing thoughts from his mind, finally escaping into the blissful peace of sleep.
Story written by Silfer Darkflare