May 21, 2019, 06:16:02 PM

Author Topic: Arraxia Rising: Understanding the Dark School of Magic  (Read 2886 times)

Sabrath_Kell

  • Official Loremaster of Etheria
  • Full Mage
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
  • Banana Stickers 0
    • View Profile
    • @ArraxCrown on Twitter
Arraxia Rising: Understanding the Dark School of Magic
« on: June 28, 2015, 11:45:33 PM »
5. ARRAXIA RISING: Understanding the Dark School of Magic

For over 500 years, the Arraxian Crown has plotted and schemed to bring about the destruction of the nations of the world, through whatever means necessary.
ARRAXIA RISING is a chronicle of its stories, plans, and machinations, played out across Etheria and the Dark Realms.


City of Elbereth, Westlock

In the weeks after the wholesale destruction of the Blood Wave army by the warlock army in Elbereth, a distinctive, different atmosphere could be felt in the city. Some attributed it to the horrors of war, felt even more keenly when the battlefield is a citizen's own backyard. Some attributed it to the sudden influx of unfamiliar faces, a collection of warlocks from nations all across Etheria, who now openly walked the streets and filled the inns. Some attributed it to the newly opened Temple of Taranis, hastily converted from a Temple to Akiro, a god who had very much fallen out of favor with the local populace.

Once Governor Marchens had given his decree that warlocks were welcome in Elbereth, and that a temple to Taranis could be established, Sabrath Kell had moved rapidly and with a sense of command that one would expect of a general. Within days, he had assembled and set crews to work, some on the temple, others using the spell craft to help with the cleanup and reconstruction of the town, particularly on the city walls and watchtowers. He had also made available warlocks to the city guard, charging them to help with finding and bringing down any remnants of the Blood Wave force that might still be lurking in the countryside. The warlocks had been looked at distrustfully in the beginning, but they had caused no trouble, followed orders, and had been very good at flushing out/burning down goblins and orcs.

The Temple of Taranis now stood complete in the west side of the city, its vaulted stone and silver exterior painted black, its front courtyard, which opened to the bustle of city traffic, now cleaned. The statuaries that had lined it on either side had been torn down, and sent to the Governor, to be erected at some other shrine dedicated to the God of War. Kell had gone out of his way to let it be known that this remodel was not a form of desecration, merely a repurposing. Kell had brought in a foreigner to run the temple, a stately, well-spoken man from the Selenian city of Atticara, named Mazmur Hext.

*****

Courtyard of the Temple of Taranis, west side of Elbereth, Westlock

Mazmur Hext looked out at the small crowd that had formed in the courtyard at the bottom of the steps that led down from the temple. As the appointed head of the temple, Mazmur had the unenviable task of educating the populace about service to the Dark Lord. Not an easy sell in a country in which the servants of Asyra, Bim-Shalla and the Dawnbreaker were fixtures in virtually all aspects of daily life.

Still, people are people, down deep in their bones, and that was something Mazmur knew quite a lot about.

As he did every morning since he had come to the temple, he started his speech to those who gathered with news of the world. During normal times, Westlock was open to trade, travel and commerce, and news of the other portions of the country, and of Sortilege and Ivarium was relatively easy to come by. However, the Blood Wave seige was hugely disruptive, and even now, few merchants wanted to venture this way. The city was healing, but news was scarce.

“People of Elbereth, I bid you good morning. I start with news from outside these walls. First, the main Blood Wave force is still encamped outside Victoria. There are reports that Trokoth may have been captured, but those are not confirmed. All I can say of a certainty is that his force has not taken the city, and that at present, there is no seige warfare.

“News is more bleak as you venture east. The city-states of Selenia continue to fall to Ivarium aggression. The Seventh Legion has annexed Iklosas and my home city of Atticara, and now battles the forces of Maradon. Citizens of Westlock, I know you have suffered already at the hands of the Blood Wave, but the real threat is no ad hoc force of orcs and goblins. Since the days of the Grand Alliance, Ivarium has kept their swords sharpened, and their eyes focused on reforging the Pellian Empire. Perhaps they believe that time is now.

“I have reports from the north as well, reports of sickness and blight from the Darkfenne. It may be that the Bog Queen has chosen this time to wake from her unnatural slumber, and to gather the forces of the swamps to her banners.

“Some good news at least from the west. Sortilege reports no Blood Wave forces on its borders, and the Grand Academy of Sistarra will begin its new year on schedule, as it has for the past 235 years. I was once a young mage there, and I can only wish those who are preparing themselves for the rigors of magecraft the best.” There was light, nervous laughter from the crowd. Polite, nothing more.

“I have also received word from the ancient desert kingdoms of Dsjer-Tet.” The crowd quieted — Dsjer-Tet was a far flung land, and little word came of its exotic nature even in the best of times. “The old pharoah has died, some say at the hands of the Council of Djinns, and a new ruler has been installed. To mark the occasion, all debts have been cancelled, slaves of more than 12 years have been freed, and a celebration of games have been called. Those looking for fame, glory, and the beauty of the Dsjer-Tet bosom should leave now."

The crowd chuckled, save for the more pious adherents of Asyra, who shot Mazmur unkind glances.

“And now for word within these city walls,” Mazmur said. “Halthom Strom has returned from a hunting party made up primarily of your stalwart city guards. They have found a goblin camp of twenty Blood Wave soldiers, and have cleansed it from your borders. Sleep well tonight, and remember their service.

“Embrisa Nightforge has shored up the northern gate, and has been aiding your blacksmiths in forging new and stronger reinforcements. Everyone knows that the Anvil Throne knows their business when it comes to metalworking, and Embrisa is among the best Dwarven forgemaster of their realm. We are lucky to have her here with us. With a little luck, she and her team should have the eastern gate redone in a fortnight.

"There have been no reports of demons, nor shall there be.” Mazmur paused to let that sink in. Despite all the work, and despite their help, he knew the citizens of Elbereth did not trust the warlocks, nor believe their oath to the city Governor. “Taranis is the Lord of Darkness, not of fire. We serve him here, not the denizens of Infernia."

“How can we be sure?” called someone from the back. “Warlocks summon demons to fight for them. We’ve all seen it in the arena.” There was general agreement from the crowd.

Mazmur nodded, then raised his hands for silence. “Let me speak today of the Dark School of Magic, of its practitioners, and of the Arraxian Crown. I believe that if you hear me out, you will understand.

“Before there was Light, there was Darkness. Taranis is the Dark Shadow, an embodiment of the original state of being. The Supreme Darkness existed long before Asyra, before Bim-Shalla, before the Dawnbreaker. I say to you today, long after their lights burn out, he will continue to exist. Why? Because there will never be nothing. But there will always be Darkness.

“The Dark School of Magic is not the evil school of magic. You all know that it is taught in Sortilege and at other magic academies as one of the Six Great Schools of Magic. It’s magic derives from the unknown, the shadow, the power that comes from fear.

“I ask every person here to search your heart. Are these not conditions that are within each of you?  Conditions that have existed since you were a child? Dark mages embrace these conditions, not because they love them, but because they know they can never truly remove them. If you cannot remove something, the next best thing is to harness it, to shape it into a tool to be used.

“Dark magics protected this city. Curses rained down on the Blood Wave soldiers who wanted to burn your homes and your families. Dark mages harnessed this power as tools. And those tools have allowed you to stand here today, alive and well.

“The Dark Lord Taranis wants us to use his tools. Dark magic is not about evil, it is about subjugating those things that would hurt you, that would destroy your family or your city. When Ivarium comes to destroy your way of life, who among you would find it repulsive to call down a curse on them? To use the tools available to stop them?

“I have been to arena battles — I have seen Wizards and Priestesses and Beastmasters and Forcemasters use Dark Magic as part of their strategy to win. This is because they are educated, and because they know that the Dark School of Magic is not something evil, that should never be touched. The use the spells that can seal their win, knowing that spells are spells, not something evil, something to avoid.

“This Temple is here because the Arraxian Crown came here, using Dark tools to help protect this city. Taranis gave us these tools, and he wants to give them to you as well. As I mentioned earlier, conflict is at the border, even within your nation. Now is the time to gather up as many tools as possible.

“And as to demons? We did not summon demons to help defend your city. We used spells that your priests and priestesses have used. Circles of fire, flameblast, walls of flame, fireballs. We summoned creatures of the night, called down curses on our foes. You were there, many of you. Is there anyone here who felt that our spellcraft was evil? Did you not wish it yourself on those orcs and goblins?

“The Arraxian Crown follows the will of Taranis. While Infernia bows to his will, we are not a one-trick pony. Ask any warlock, and they will tell you — there is no love for any demons that they have summoned in the past. Demons were simply tools, and the time for the usefulness of that tool is over.

“How can you be sure?” Mazmur scanned the faces of the crowd. “You can be sure because we do not need them, citizens of Elbereth. The real power comes from Taranis, not from an imp or hellion.

“I invite you to enter his temple, to receive his teachings, and his blessing. I invite you to become a part of the Arraxian Crown, an organization dedicated to making sure that the aggression of foreign nations does not stand unchecked."

As they had every day for the past several days, the crowd quickly dispersed as Mazmur invited them to visit the temple. And yet… They return each day to hear my words, and they are less and less afronted by them.

Mazmur Hext climbed the steps of the Temple and walked back inside, through the main foyer, the library, the meditation rooms. He unlocked the large iron doors that led back to his personal chambers, and stepped inside.

The light of eternal flames filled the room. He was not one to live in the shadows. To either side of the door an animated skeleton stood. For each, its rib cage had been removed, and in its place, iron bars and shelves had been fused to the bones above and below it. The skeleton on the left contained two rows of neatly arrange books or lore and spells; the skeleton on the right housed drawers of clothing, jewelry and wands.

“Tome, Trunk, come over here,” commanded Mazmur Hext. The skeletons silently obeyed. Mazmur  searched inside each for the items he needed, a ledger and a collection of quills and ink.

Mazmur Hext knew just what made people tick. He had searched it out himself, many times, right down to the bone. At their core, people wanted to serve those who had been chosen. Just like his wife and eldest son.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 02:20:25 PM by Sabrath_Kell »
  • Favourite Mage: Arraxian Crown Warlock

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3128
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Arraxia Rising: Understanding the Dark School of Magic
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2015, 06:58:40 AM »
I still don't understand. Won't warlocks lose a lot more in the arena without demons? It's on their ability cards, seriously. Or will there eventually be spells that can sacrifice a warlock's ability to use demons for a really awesome benefit? Would that even work?

Maybe something that comes into play immediately at the start of a duel, like the leylines in mtg.

Or demons that can disguise themselves as other things, though that would be a LOT riskier, if someone like Laddinfance stumbled upon them and sees through the illusion. Then again, maybe they're resistant to being seen through, somehow? Not to mention the Adramelech warlocks wouldn't be able to use pentagram (since they're pretending all warlocks no longer serve Adramelech).

In fact, now that I think of it, having cards that modify your mage's abilities would be awesome, and would totally explain why the academy mages have completely different abilities than they do after graduation. Of course this would probably be better as all mage class only or school only objects. Something like:

Infernian decree
Warlock only
This mage loses their blood reaper or demonic reward abilities and gains the ability: once per round, when you or a creature you control damages an enemy creature you gain 1 mana.

I think this would allow the arraxian crown warlock to tank with dot, and the Adramelech warlock could use her curses more for board control, and use a variety of spells that only work on things that are burned, like an incantation that can heal you by the same amount as the number of burns on target creature, or a curse that takes control of an enemy burned creature until the end of the round.

I'm really enjoying your writing. Keep it coming!
« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 07:08:31 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sabrath_Kell

  • Official Loremaster of Etheria
  • Full Mage
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
  • Banana Stickers 0
    • View Profile
    • @ArraxCrown on Twitter
Re: Arraxia Rising: Understanding the Dark School of Magic
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2015, 01:04:52 PM »
Just a clarification that warlocks have not given up their demon abilities wholesale -- this was simply a concession that they made while living in and working out of Elbereth, as a sign of good will, and as part of a deal to get a temple to the Dark God Taranis.

Many of the locals still aren't convinced that the city's warlocks have all turned over a new leaf, and there's still a lot to tell in that story.

Suffice it to say that there is life outside the arena (most of this story line takes place outside the arena), and the Warlocks (and Council of Lies/Arraxian Crown and Chamber of Embers) have agendas that they are putting forward, one strategic step at a time.

  • Favourite Mage: Arraxian Crown Warlock

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3128
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Arraxia Rising: Understanding the Dark School of Magic
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2015, 02:01:59 PM »
So then they're just avoiding the arena for the most part in order to avoid suspicion? Since if warlocks are constantly losing because of lack of demons after they told everyone that they don't need demons, that might look suspicious.

Considering how Sabrath Kell used to be a warlord but is now a warlock, it's clearly possible to change your mage abilities and even your training and stats. I heard in a podcast that mage wars was originally going to use the spellbook point system for letting players design their own mages. While that of course isn't feasible on the whole, it would be really cool to have cards that can modify the mage ability cards in certain, limited ways. The arraxian crown warlock has a lot of cards that would lend themselves well to a dark/fire tanking mage: circle of Fire, helm of fear, demon hide armor, curses that can make it harder for enemies to hurt him, and he has GREAT damage over time and 38 starting life. It's almost like he's MEANT to tank, except for his blood reaper ability and channeling stat of 9.


EDIT: Oh! I think I get it now. They're only pretending that warlocks don't summon demons anymore in Elbereth. In Victoria they're not really trying to keep up the pretense. Right?
« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 09:09:13 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sabrath_Kell

  • Official Loremaster of Etheria
  • Full Mage
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
  • Banana Stickers 0
    • View Profile
    • @ArraxCrown on Twitter
Re: Arraxia Rising: Understanding the Dark School of Magic
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2015, 10:41:41 PM »
Let's just say that the Warlocks in Elbereth are being judged differently than warlocks outside the city.

In the rest of Westlock, warlocks are allowed to compete in the arena duels as part of the Mage Wars Accords, but they are not accepted or tolerated outside of that as a rule. Now, in Elbereth, as part of the agreement for helping to save the city, they can operate openly, as long as there is no demon contact.
  • Favourite Mage: Arraxian Crown Warlock