Forte Mott blinked. “Why so suddenly?”
“I sense great magic within you, boy.” Phillip Lockheed said solemnly. “Great magic indeed. Magic that can quake the ground and slice the skies open. Magic that can change the world. That is why the Mage’s Guild needs you. That is why you need the Mage’s Guild. I bestow upon you the chance to earn the title of Master.”
“I understand that you see my potential, and you are not wrong. But why would I need you lot?” Forte inquired.
“The ancient Motley-Sinclair line may have died out, but their ancient practices of magic have not. We can teach you the basics of magic. Of combat magic, the likes of which has not been seen in the Varian continent for eons. There is only one catch. Your soul will be tainted forever by the dark magic, unless a dragon gives you its blessing. And since dragons have become extinct, that is no longer an option. Overuse of dark magic will tear your soul into shreds. But if you desire power, power like no other, power to part oceans and level kingdoms, the dark arts will grant you it. Think carefully. Do you accept these conditions? Do you desire great power?”
Forte smirked. Little did they know. “I accept.”
Phillip Lockheed nodded and explained. “Many of the arts have been lost through time, but we will show you what has been retained. Any further understanding of the lost arts must be regained through ancient scrolls and tomes, much like The Origin of Dark Magic that my dear old brother so carelessly lost. Look here.”
With a twirl, Phillip Lockheed rolled up his left sleeve so that the bare white flesh of his arm showed. It was mangled with ugly scars. He drew a dagger from his cloak, and then made a shallow cut into the arm. Blood spilled onto the floor. “The dark arts require sacrifice to cast,” Phillip explained. “And for those of us without the physical stamina to offer to fuel the magic, we instead give our blood. Not many things can substitute the body’s stamina, but ancient mages discovered that blood was a suitable catalyst.”
“Ariz vallan.” He spoke. A bitter groan escaped from his lips as his eyes lit up slightly. To the side of the stone platform, a skeleton hand appeared, and then another, as a skeleton climbed its way up onto the platform. The skeleton walked towards them, but with a shudder from Phillip, it fell into a mess of bones. The spell had ended.
“My power is limited. Blood magic is inefficient, and we are all limited by our knowledge of the ancient language of magic. The incantation I used was arise fallen. I will teach you to the best of our knowledge, the practice of magic and the incantations of the ancient language of magic.”
Forte’s eyes glinted. “Would you know what the incantation Fyrza means?”
Phillip frowned. “I’m afraid we haven’t happened upon that particular ancient word. Where did you learn of it? A tome?”
Forte’s face darkened. “It was used against me. By a mysterious swordsman in Sawen. He casted it twice against me, and I nearly died. Luckily my allies helped me escape, or I wouldn’t be here talking to you.”
“That is most strange… and concerning.” Phillip remarked. “To the Mage’s Guild’s knowledge, mages powerful enough to cast combat magic are few and far in between. This world has not seen refined hostile magic since the Motley-Sinclair era so very long ago.”
“But enough of that. Magic is a difficult force to control. You must reach deep within yourself to draw from the power. It is not an easy skill to learn, nor is it an easy skill to teach. Many people simply do not have the gift. Why don’t you try the incantation I just used?” Phillip said.
Forte braced himself, searching within to latch onto that vast power he felt when he used magic. “Ariz vallan!” He exclaimed.
“Ariz… vallan.” He whispered.
Phillip sighed. “It takes effort. Even the most talented of us required years to master the basics. Even though you are in trial to become Master of the Mage’s Guild now, you must realize that our mastery and knowledge of magic is near extinction. Magic and knowledge of magic is dying, slowly. We strive to preserve what is left of the art. That is what it means to be a Master, to pursue the mastery and knowledge of the ancient art of magic. You will earn your title eventually.”
Forte nodded. “Will you teach me the incantations of magic?”
“Yes, of course, in due time. I will teach you the basics now.” Phillip said. “First for the elements. Water is Vasar. Wind is Waera. Earth is Tonn. Fire is Infernus. And gravity… gravity is Blothe. Be careful of using gravity. It takes an inordinate amount of energy to cast a gravity incantation, even to weight down a single butterfly. We are not sure why, as this violates the First Principle of Magic. There are still many things we do not understand about magic. Gravity is one of them. Come with me.”
Phillip Lockheed lead Forte upstairs to a musty study room. He taught Forte many of the incantations that the Mage’s Guild had salvaged through bits and scraps of knowledge. Finally, Forte left. He paid the Mage’s Guild a two hundred silver fee for entrance, leaving him with 220 silvers. He didn’t regret the expense at all. Learning magic was invaluable, and he could have the chance to work with the Mage’s Guild to earn money.
Forte checked into a dusty old inn for three silvers a night, and paid two silvers for a dinner of roasted duck and potatoes. After a good night’s sleep, he went searching for work. After looking at the meager selection at the job office, he headed to his guild. Forte noticed that the Mage’s Guild in Leivestrum consisted of Phillip Lockheed and four assistants.
“Hello Master Lockheed. I’m looking for work.” Forte announced.
Phillip Lockheed nodded. “You’ve come to the right place. I have just the job for you. Something you should be familiar with. Money is tight these days, but I am willing pay you a hefty one thousand silvers for the retrieval of The Origins of Dark Magic, and I will pay you a respectable two hundred silvers if you can simply find who was behind the robbery.”
Forte nodded. “I’ll take the job.”
Phillip Lockheed. “Good. I already have my suspicions on who might be behind this. You see, my assistants have informed me that a certain mercenary called Mace Hammond was the bandit that raided my brother’s caravan. But you see, Mace is a sellsword, not a magician. I need to know his benefactor, who he was working for. The magician.”