The Thirteen Months of Magic

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Prolog (v.2) - Pilot

Submitted: March 03, 2017

Reads: 112

Comments: 2

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Submitted: March 03, 2017

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Aside from a dim glow, the room was akin to night. Curtains drawn and doors shut, there was no light save for a faint luminescence from the mounted projector shining on the wall.

 

He'd never been in the spotlight as much as now; sure, he'd taken a few public speaking courses, introduced a few small bands at concerts, but nothing compared to this. The courses were mostly cosy chats – and everybody knew that tête-à-têtes were hardly a presentation – and in the concerts there were others with him, and the crowd was visible, it was comprehensible. But here? Here, darkness ruled supreme, with him and only him privy to the light. And in the black, uncertainty was king.

 

It was awfully uncanny being the only one he could see, knowing that he was the sole point of attention of a great many people less than ten feet away. He could already feel his hands starting to shake, his tongue tying itself up in knots at every polysyllabic word. Before his mind could become like a pair of earphones, twisted and entwined in a frustrating tangle that took far longer than it should to unwind, he cleared his throat and delved right in.

 

The bamboo pointer, already in hand, connected with the whiteboard like a slap, producing a sound as sharp and crisp as an Autumn breeze. It landed squarely on a trio of words that took up the entirety of the screen: “The Maverick Theorem,” he read out. His voice, he could tell, was already becoming desert rock, cracked and desiccated, but he swallowed and carried on regardless. “The Maverick Theorem,” he repeated, eyes darting about in vain search for some comfort, some security, in the unrelenting darkness. But he couldn’t let that show in his manner or in his speech. His career probably depended on this.

 

“The Maverick Theorem,” for the third time, was uttered, more for reassurance that he had actually said it than anything else. “The, um, the belief that there are those who defy our more conventional methods of magic. While our Arcanists practise a more subtle, more learned art of spellcasting, these Mavericks forego structure and order for a much purer and more animalistic form of magic. However, despite their complete abandonment of our most ingrained of teachings, my team and I believe that they are the key to, uh, our prosperity.”

 

Losing track of his words, he took the time to pause for a breather and glance quickly at the notes on the pedestal in front of him. Blast. As if it hadn’t been tough before, he now had to delve into an incredibly touchy subject. “I'll put it out there. We are fighting a losing battle against the insurgents; we haven't had much choice to throw in the army to take care of the Southern Riots, and we didn't have an army to deal with the Ravendale Crisis because of it. And, on top of this, our economy is buckling, and our crops are wilting. Most of this can be blamed on ICARUS’ recent boom in activity; destroying our factories and power plants, poisoning our crops to weaken the Capital. We have to eliminate them all, and soon, because, come Winter, we won't have the support or manpower to do so. Surely, we can't have forgotten how Wrothguard's inability to act led to their downfall in their own civil war so soon? Or how about their less recent failure in the Blackmoor Wars? And this is where I propose we use the Mavericks and their incredible power.”

 

His pacing quickened unconsciously, his shoes click-clacking on the hardwood below. “Now, this theorem is in very new territory, scientifically. Our leading researchers, and those of basically all the other cities, are still unsure of the cause of this development. We don't actually know much, if anything. Most of our ‘knowledge’ on this topic comes from conjecture and guesswork. One of the few things we know is, well, that they exist.” He took a few steps, staring around at the absolute darkness where he hoped he would meet eyes. A short pause for effect later - his tutoring hadn't been for nothing, it seemed - and he began to speak once more. “Without a shadow of a doubt, however, these Mavericks do exist. And their very existence challenges our knowledge on the nature of magic. Many theories have been considered, but we don't have enough information - or funding - to procure and propose a valid hypothesis.”

 

Returning to the board, he wiped away a trickle of sweat on his brow. He wasn’t sure if it was from effort or fear. Most likely both. A moment passed, so he could catch his breath. “So far, we have identified an exact dozen isolated occasions in which these Mavericks have shown themselves over the past few years. Marika’s team has come to dub them the Months.”

 

He pressed the remote snuggled warmly in his left hand, and the screen changed to a table of twelve rows; nine were filled in, with name, age, photo, occupation and a whole host of other personal informations, but three stood out, completely empty save for a grainy mugshot each.

 

The sharp crack of knuckles preluded the restarting of his monologue. “These twelve mages, they are special in that they have powers far exceeding any non-Grand Mage we know of to date. They combine a rather incredible manipulation of the fundamental sources of our magic, the elements (like Shimmergarde and their Icarus offspawn), with a whole host of other skills that, with training, could make them almost invincible in battle should the mood take them.”

 

He zoomed in on one of the nine’s faces, tapping his nose without turning from the darkness. “Take Mr Evangel here as an example. He was an awe-inspiring soldier even before he received this gift; now, imagine what he could accomplish. A complete mastery of the Earth element? That is something many people would certainly kill for, my good sirs. Couple that with his considerable repertoire of combat capabilities, and you have a particularly deadly individual.” His voice took on a tad more acidic tone. “Shame you let him go, and all. We could have learnt a lot from him.”

 

He heard a chair scraping off in the distance, somewhere to the back left of the room, and made the executive decision to stop prodding sore spots and skip straight to the meaty part of his speech, the real reason he has (in)voluntarily stood in front of a wall of black and spoke to the nothing for five minutes straight.

 

His voice reverted to the more strangled tone it had been at the beginning as fear of rejection took him by the throat and squeezed. “Now, heh heh, comes the important part. We've all acknowledged that the insurgency problem is, um, bad. We all know that it'll take more than a kiss and a bandage to solve it. What it will take, however, constitutes of an entirely practical and affordable donation to the Maverick Intelligence Agency’s Research and Development department, so that they can find out more about these, uh, wonderful unknowns, and provide you with not only knowledge, but an army of dozens instead of thousands. Think about it: almost no expense, plenty of space for more residential or industrial development, and a group of no more than thirty soldiers that could defeat ten times that amount of conventional Rune Priests and decimate the Insurgency in an instant.”

 

He ended his speech with a short bow and a thank you. Then, silence. He waited in the pervasive nothingness, the only sound his shallow, shaking breath, his uncertainty growing with every passing second; was his audience pleased? Disappointed? Angry? In fact, was anyone even there? No way in hell would he be okay with that. If there hadn't been a single witness, he thought he might break down. Had the chair’s scraping signified the only member of his audience leaving? All this… stress, this suffering, this mightiest of torments; was it for naught?

 

But no; the chair rasped violently once more across the carpetless floor, a smoker's tortured wheeze gasping air back into his cancerous lungs. The butterflies of hope once again flitted in his deflated heart, inspiring a slight swell of his chest. But then the voice spoke to him.

 

No words were actually uttered. None were necessary. The meaning was conveyed in total quiet, like a locking of eyes, a subtle nod.

 

No sound penetrated the silence. It would be disrespectful to the voice. When the voice talked, all the world listened.

 

When it spoke, only the voice existed.


© Copyright 2018 Avery Greyfield. All rights reserved.

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