Edit: rewriting story because I realize how dumb and shallow my conflict is, awaiting release of all the changed lores. You can read about the new lore snippets here:
I don't see many Xerath fanfics and the that are there talk about his life after ascension, so I decided to write about his life growing up.
This is like, my third fanfic, the first one that's league related, so if you have anything to say don't hesitate to leave them in the replies, and if you spot something wrong or something you don't like or whatever be sure to tell me why and what and stuff so I can improve.
With that out of the way,
ENJOY THE STORY!
A series of spheres hovered about the rectangular duelling hall, casting their magical light across the stone. It was momentarily lit up by a flash of unnatural lightning, before leaving the room slightly darker than before.
Xerath blinked a few times to get the afterimage out of his eyes as he quickly blocked a stream of fire with one of water. Steam filled the box like pit, obscuring their vision, a figure shifted in the mist. Another bolt of lightning followed the first, only this time, it hit its mark.
His opponent spasmed for a moment before he was flung back and hit the wall. The boy panted for a few seconds, gasping for air to compensate for his strenuous exertions before he righted himself and bowed towards Damas.
The Magus nodded before clearing the mist with a gentle wind while Xerath ascended the steps and headed towards his teacher. His opponent was being taken to the medical ward to ensure the duel had caused no permanent damage.
The man possessed an angular face, topped with short dark hair. Hard brown eyes rested above a fairly big nose and thin lips. He was clad in sand coloured robes with thin trimmings of green, gold and silver, the crest of Shurima was not woven into the robes; no one could mistake a Magus of the empire for anything else.
"Well done Xerath. But..." Damas paused, "You need to plan your moves in advance, do not rely on the sands of destiny to always shift in your favour."
The triumphant grin that adorned the boy's face was slightly miffed at the reprimand but nodded in understanding.
"Of course Magus, who is my opponent for tomorrow?"
The calm look on man's face was marred as he furrowed his eyebrows in concentration.
"If my memory serves correctly, you will be facing Arkus."
Xerath nodded and as he prepared to bow, Damas continued,
"And do try to use something other than lightning, it leaves an unpleasant scent in the air."
The boy nodded again and met the Magus' eyes, he could have imagined it but there seemed to be a near imperceptible twinkle of amusement in those dark orbs, but it was gone before he could be sure.
He bowed and exited just as another of Damas' apprentices walked in, ready for their practice session and assessment.
Xerath agilely weaved through the sandstone halls of the Temple of the Falcon, bowing to his 'superiors' as tradition demanded, silently enforced by the great statues that lined the halls and scattered around the Temple that reminded the people of their ancestry. For he was nothing but a lowly disciple, beneath the notice of the Magi.
At least, that was what everyone else assumed.
The boy spent a great amount of time in the Great Library, studying all manners of techniques and spells well beyond his years. Things that would confound an adept was merely a challenge to his intelligence, one his insatiable hunger of the arcane arts would devour like the rest.
Alas, Xerath could not show the extent of his skills for fear of punishment. It brought up an old memory of his previous teacher, one that had taught his initiate class.
It had been during the final test day, similar to the one twenty four hours from now. The examination would be one of skill, strength and tactical proficiency. While Xerath had no problems in fighting with magic, his endurance was lacking and his usual strategy was simply to overpower his opponent with spells.
On that distant day in the past, the child had allowed the duel to progress normally, tossing the appropriate level techniques at each other and attempting to formulate plans that would grant either of them victory. Xerath could have easily ended it, but he wasn't cruel nor mean spirited, so he allowed the other child to garner a barely passing score before he ended with a flourish.
He had launched a Magus level fire spell known as, the Phoenix. Shaped in the form of a strange bird the boy had never encountered before, except in the tomes he studied, it had impacted his opponent with enough force to slam him harshly into the wall. And that was when it had to go through an inch of ice.
A fitting coup de grâce, but rather excessive.
His opponent remained the infirmary for a week to recover from the damage to his back, while Xerath had been given seventy lashes, ten for each day the other boy had to spend in the medical ward.
But the Magus training him was not stupid and had advanced Xerath to a disciple class. Allowing him to skip the apprentice phase of his training, not that he didn't know everything in it already.
Still, the lesson had not been lost on him and now he only used the correct level of spells when duelling, however much he liked to show his intellect, he knew the punishment would be worse when he committed the same offence a second time.
Damas had encouraged him to use his mind to sharpen his strategic and tactical mastery, something he had very little knowledge of, instead of dwelling on what he couldn't do.
But he know someone that did and was on his way to meet them right now.
The child was still absentmindedly rubbing the scars on his back as he arrived at the Great Library. His attention was soon caught by a muffled conversation coming from between the shelves. The boy searched the stacks in an effort to locate the source of the continual exchange between the two unknown parties, curious as to what they were speaking about.
After going through half of the library he finally came upon the origin of the exchange. A fairly tall boy; no a teenager, one he easily recognized from Damas' class; Arkus. His face possessed a strong jawline, continued by his angular features. His hair was dark and short, leaning forward slightly. But teenager's most distinctive feature were his eyes, they were a gunmetal grey colour; hard and unyielding, currently levelled at the the three people before him.
One was slightly shorter than Arkus, but held an unmissable air if arrogance around him. His beady dark eyes were glaring back at the teenager across from him; framed by a slightly pudgy face, Xerath guessed he looked about twenty. His aquiline nose betrayed aristocratic origins, along with the fact his robes had a near gold colour to them, while his features were scrunched up in a sneer. Xerath assumed he belong to one of the noble families of Shurima, a man like that was hard pressed to be mistaken for something else.
Another boy stood beside him, obviously an indentured servant, wearing a light brown shirt and pants; the standard uniform for all Shuriman slaves. He retained a thin body, evident by how much the robes billowed with every movement. His skin was dark, identical to the majority of Shurimans, but that was where the similarities ended. It was blindingly obvious he was not native to this land, his flat features betrayed his origins. But it wasn't the fact that he was a slave that was strange, most noble houses and some commoners possessed them as well. No what was peculiar was the fact that the servant was accompanying to be what Xerath presumed his master, all slaves were restricted to their respective household unless one of the noble family members specified otherwise, which was very rare.
The third person standing beside the aristocrat was female. She carried herself with a certain grace that complimented her svelte frame. Her shocking violet eyes held a undeniable intelligent glint to them, sweeping the room and its contents for unknown purposes. A curtain of straight dark brown hair fell until the small of her back, framing an angular face, adorned by a petite nose and full lips. Her face somehow managed to be attentive and serene at the same time while retaining its beauty. Her eyes darted towards Xerath and the two made eye contact for half a second as he peeked around the shelf. He was afraid he had been caught, but as she returned her attention to the scene before her it seemed he had been allowed to stay.
The first boy was throwing a plethora of insults at Arkus, who, to Xerath's surprise was taking it rather elegantly. The variety of words the aristocrat chose was enough to make the child's blood boil had it been directed at him.
"What is scum like you doing here in the Temple?"
Arkus casually leaned back on the bookshelf and replied with boredom,
"We both know the answer to that Salaco"
His gaze darkened visibly as he growled,
"Don't use my name street urchin"
The apathetic teenager rolled his eyes but otherwise remained silent,
"What's the matter mongrel?" The aristocrat's sneer managed to intensify somehow, "Too uneducated to understand these words?"
Arkus sighed, exaggerating the motion, as if replying to the question would take great effort,
"No Salaco, if I couldn't understand you I wouldn't have answered before"
"Look, we both know where this is gonna go; you've tried this at least seven times. Just let it go."
The aristocrat went red-faced and before Xerath could intervene the nobleman attempted to punch the teenager.
Arkus did some sort of lightning quick shuffle and dodged the punch that never came.
The mysterious female; a teenager maybe? Xerath wondered, she certainly didn't look as old as Damas ; caught Salaco's forearm mid lunge. Her violet eyes flashed dangerously at the aristocrat, who seemed to possess an inkling of defiance before he grudgingly pulled back.
The child could see his jaw working as he shot an annoyed glance at the girl, before he faced Arkus again and spat at him. Again Xerath's classmate showed impressive speed as he side stepped again to avoid the organic missile, leaving it to splatter the books where his head had been.
A raised eyebrow was his only reaction.
Salaco's visage was one of shock for a few moments before it turned into a scowl, he stormed off without another word. His slave offered a somewhat apologetic look at his owner's victim before hurrying off after the aristocrat. The female eyed him for a split second before she too followed after the nobleman.
The teenager nonchalantly stretched his arms as he spoke,
"All right, you can step out from behind the bookshelf now"
Xerath froze unsure what to do, he was afraid that he was going to be in trouble, again.
Arkus rolled his eyes, a motion the child had become familiar with seeing now, and called out in a quiet voice.
"I'm not going to murder, rape, torture, steal or hurt you; despite whatever that bastard may have been spreading about me"
This caught the boy's attention and curiosity, immediately overriding his sense of fear as he emerged from his hiding spot.
The teenager's eyes widened slightly as he recognized his class mate,
"Xerath? What are you doing here?"
"I heard some noise coming from between the shelves, so I decided to check it out" the child tilted his head slightly and adopted a confused expression, "What was that all about?"
Arkus' neutral visage broke into one of embarrassment as he rubbed the back of his head, "Ah, well... Hmmm... Eh I guess you've heard it all already so there's no harm in telling you..."
"Tell me what?"
"Let's get a seat, I gotta feeling this is gonna be a long story..."
Again don't hesitate to leave constructive criticism in the replies, if you find it boring or whatever tell me why, so I can improve!
Arkus and Xerath slipped out from between the stacks and headed towards a table. The duo sat down on the sandstone floor across from each other, Xerath was staring expectantly at Arkus, while the teenager himself was still piecing together his story.
"Ok, so... Where to begin..." He folded his hands together and placed his chin upon them, his elbows resting on the table, “Yep, as rich boy said back there; I'm from the outside. Any questions?”
The child blinked a few times as he gathered his thoughts, “Well, what is it like out there?”
“Well, you gotta duck the strong and extort the weak, steal what you can; except from the gangs, use whatever you can find as a weapon” Arkus paused and thought for a moment, “Oh yeah and you gotta learn fast and be fast; brute strength may help but having wits and agility is better"
Xerath nodded as he took in all the information, “Tell me about the gangs”
Arkus broke off his curious gaze, “Heh, sorry; most people run off after the first sentence. Anyways, there are three gangs that control a piece of land around Shurima”
He grabbed a scroll off a bookshelf, unrolling it to reveal a map of the kingdom and the surrounding lands. Shurima itself was a massive circular shaped city, dotted by a number of oasis' both inside the walls and out. Twelve jagged stone peaks were placed at consistent intervals in the walls, providing a unobstructed view of the city and land for miles around. The center of the city was marked with the legendary sun disc; the holy Artifact that had granted the Shuriman heroes Nasus and Renekton their bestial forms.
“There are the Jackals” He pointed to the bottom of the map, “They are extremely territorial, Do not trespass on to their land or else you'll be tortured to death if they ever get their hands on you. Most people absolutely hate doing business with'em, but you can't dent their results: if you want something protected, give'em gold and it'll be untouched"
“The Scorpions are assassins without equal. They're also known as the Night Haunters, Night Lords, blah, blah, blah. You get the idea right? They use darkness and poison to kill people"
“Finally the-” The teenager stopped, glancing at Xerath, “You have any questions?”
The child nodded, “Why didn't you point to a place for the night people?”
“They have no definite location. Wouldn't be good for them since they rely on stealth and surprise.”
“Anyways, finally there are the Scarabs, excellent construction workers and master craftsmen. They build traps, buildings, machines, gadgets and weapons. These guys are the most civil of the three, but the only recruit people that meet their high standards; means most people can't get in, but that's how they survive”
Arkus motioned towards either side of Shurima, skirting the boundary of the Jackals that he had ounlined earlier.
“They also excel at siege warfare, priding themselves on their inventions to break through walls. But of course you can't have to groups of people that are skilled in opposite things live next to each other without trying to whip their di-" The steel eyed teenager stopped himself before he completed the sentence.
Oops, can't say that in the Temple... Especially not in front of a kid...
He faked a cough and continued, "Sorry about that, anyways. The Jackals and Scarabs are at each other's throats"
“And before you ask, the gates are off limits; for obvious reasons. They're usually populated by the beggars, hoping to get some coin from the merchants, a no man's land really. Renekton guards the four gates, so no one's dumb enough to go near them."
“Now” He yawned, “What else do you want to know?”
“Where did you come from?”
“Well, I didn't come from the gates, or else I wouldn't be here” Arkus sighed, “No I was with the-”
He froze, hearing the sound of flesh lightly touching stone and jerked his head to face the newcomer.
Unarmed, pale skin, dark hair, angular eyes, pleasantly round face, petite nose, thin lips
Identified: Tabia, Classmate, Non-threat
All of this raced through Arkus' head as Xerath blinked,
In a quiet voice she replied, “Hi guys” she turned to Xerath continued, “So ready to learn?”
“Could you wait a moment? I was just asking Arkus what g-”
The teenager faked another cough and interrupted, “It's fine, I'll tell you next time Xerath; until then, good day”
He quickly disappeared into the stacks once more, leaving Xerath and Tabia alone.
Her eyes flickered towards the bookshelves Arkus had slipped between,
Impressive, he made no sound
“Xerath, ready to start?”
Remember to tell me if there are typos, grammatical errors or if its boring
ENJOY PART 3!
The ten apprentices stood along the borders of the dueling pit, waiting to see who would be the first to duel. Some stood eagerly, others with dread, but all of the students had a nervous energy humming through them. The fidgeting came to a stop when a man in ornate Shuriman robes arrived with Damas.
"This is Arch Magus Angelos, he will be spectating our tests today."
They all bowed respectfully toward the older man who acknowledged them with a nod. Damas opened a scroll of parchment and announced the first pair,
"Chaia versus Seth"
A boy and a girl stepped forward, they bowed to each other before hopping down and taking positions at opposite ends of the rectangle. Both settled into casting stances, they awaited for the signal that would begin the duel.*
The girl reacted instantly, she fired a bolt of ice at Seth, who redirected it with a burst of wind. Moving closer she launched a torrent of water at him, forced on the defensive for he had no answer and was thrown backwards against a wall, drenching him.*He summoned a tiny hurricane to force Chaia back, she stumbled in the middle of her spell, allowing Seth to breath for a few seconds. He used a new technique and drained the girl's lungs of air. Unfazed Chaia froze the water on his clothes and immobilized him.
It became a battle of time as the girl could only sustain oxygen deprivation for so long before she began to blackout. Likewise Seth's heart and respiratory rate along with his blood pressure was beginning to drop and soon it would render unconscious as well. Chaia forced the ice to expand inwards, making his vitals degrade faster. She herself was about to pass out as her tortured lungs struggled for breath, Seth's eyelids fluttered as he fought to stay awake, but the frost finally knocked him out cold.
Damas waved a hand and all traces of the battle were gone; Chaia could breath again, Seth was no longer frozen nor were his clothes, the water and ice left in the dueling area were removed.
"The victory goes to Chaia."
She was busy gasping for breath as she joined the other students on the edge of the platform. Seth was hauled away by a servant to take to the infirmary.
The next few matches were uneventful, weapons were formed and spells were cast, but they usually just beat each other with raw force until one of them was unconscious. They showed none of the ingenuity the first pair had, until it was Tabia's turn.
She and Juliana descended the steps on the opposite sides of the rectangular dueling area, they bowed to each other and took their stances.
A nod from Damas and the match began,
Tabia shot a ray of light towards the other girl's face, hoping to blind her for an easy win. Juliana countered wall of water, it refracted the light slightly lower, striking harmlessly against her robes. The younger girl took note of the refraction, moving quickly, she soon closed the gap, knowing that her light would be nullified at long distances. She formed a crude club from a small amount of arcane energy and swung it at Juliana.*
The arcane club hit met fluid and was slowed down significantly, another burst of liquid knocked Tabia back a few metres. She remained on her feet and prepared to shine a burst of light into her opponents eyes, Juliana redirected the water to form over the younger girl's body, preventing her from breathing and moving. She unformed the club and tried to move her hand to her face in what seemed like an attempt to clear away the water. Tabia finally managed raise her fingers to eye level, Juliana realized what she was about to do and cast another film of water over herself.*
The younger girl already calculated the angle of refraction the light had to go through for two bodies of water, along with the distance between Juliana and herself, the beam of light hit the older girl exactly in the eyes. She screamed and dropped to the ground, the water mimicked its controller and formed a puddle around Tabia. Juliana was guided away by a servant to recover from her temporary blindness, Damas cleared away the water that had formed. Angelos had watched intently throughout the battle and made a mental note to talk to young girl.
Four more duels passed by with nothing noteworthy happening, the victor of those were always the ones who could use their spells to beat the other into submission.
"Xerath versus Lanius"
The two most promising apprentices in Damas' class were about to duel. Despite being in the presence of the Arch Magus excited whispers rippled through the students. With a stern glare the mage silenced his students and apologized to Angelos, who merely nodded. The seventeen year old teenager against the ten year old boy, it seemed like a mismatch, but their skills were equal.*
They like the eight people before them, took positions at the opposite ends of the dueling arena.
Damas nodded for the tenth time and the match began in earnest.
Lanius opened with a massive fireball that sped across the stone, the boy barely had enough time to throw up a wall of ice to block it. Steam swirled around Xerath as the ice melted before he saw another fireball flying through the fog, he managed to duck in time before it impacted the wall behind him.*
The boy cleared away the fog with a gentle wind and saw Lanius a good distance away. He smirked at Xerath before sending a stream of fire at him, the child returned in kind with a torrent of water. The teenager shot the boy a glare, reminding him that he was supposed to throw the match.*
Acquiescing, the next few strikes Lanius threw at him he barely blocked, allowing it to weaken him with every attack. Xerath was gasping for air from the last fireball, he managed to block the searing flames but not the force behind it. The teenager elected to end the duel with a flourish, he shaped a flame in his hands before releasing it at Xerath. It had taken the form of a bird and it was speeding towards the boy, he created a pathetic wall of ice and was thrown back as the bird impacted, laying on the ground after hitting a wall.
Lanius smiled expectantly towards Damas, the latter's face etched with disappointment, likewise it appeared on many of the students faces as well, foremost on Tabia's, with no choice the mage announced the results,
"The victory goes t-"
A cough brought everyone's attention back to Xerath, he slowly struggled up, unsteady on his feet. The teenager's expression instantly switched to one of barely contained fury and a small bit of fear. He summoned another firebird and launched at the boy. Xerath's eyes narrowed in concentration, he threw up a wall of ice, but this time it was a different type, the structures of the ice crystals were reinforced with arcane energy, difficult to control but extremely durable.
The flames smashed into it and puttered out, causing no damage. Lanius panicked, he threw fireball after fireball in a vain attempt to penetrate the fortress. Meanwhile Xerath resided inside the box he had created for himself, nursing a ball of energy. Sweat dripped down his face as he struggled to maintain the sphere, small hisses rang in the space as the liquid dropped into the orb. If he fired too soon, it would do nothing; too late and he could destroying everything in a one hundred meter radius.
On the outside, Arch Magus Angelos watched with intrigue wondering the same thing as Damas and his students; what was Xerath doing in there?
At first the glow inside the ice box was slight, but it soon grew in intensity, it looked like there was a miniature storm within. Lanius was still attacking the ice, hoping that repeating the same action would yield different results. Before anyone could react a wall of ice slid down and a massive streak of lightning shot forth. Xerath's aim was off, he clipped Lanius with a tiny bolt emanating from the main body. Yet this was still enough to throw the teenager against the wall and knock him out instantly, the rest of the energy impacted the opposite wall and blew a remarkable chunk from it.
Damas' eyes were wide with surprise, Angelos blinked, while the rest of the students were slack jawed at the display of power. The training pits were reinforced with fairly strong protective enhancements, so the damage caused didn't need to be repaired after every match. Naturally the wards got stronger and stronger for the dueling areas that were used by the adepts, mages and arch magi. Even at the apprentice level they were fairly powerful, it usually took an adept to break the stone with some sort of spell.*
Xerath was doubled over coughing before righting himself and gave Damas a weak smile before he returned to the wall with his fellow disciples. The mage, realizing the duel was over proclaimed in a steady voice.
"The victory goes to Xerath."
Arch Magus Angelos whispered something to Damas, who only nodded before proceeding,
"Congratulations, those who are standing with me, have passed, as such tomorrow you will be assigned to a new magus to begin the next phase of training. But for the remainder of today, you may do as you please, Tabia and Xerath follow Arch Magus Angelos, the rest of you: Dismissed!"
The apprentices, now disciples, ran off in a plethora of different directions, some heading to the library to get a start on next year's training, others run off to the baths to relax. Damas smiled at Tabia and Xerath before heading to his office to review the dossiers of his next apprentices.
The Arch Magus faced the pair before nodding to the young girl, "How did you best Juliana?"
Tabia proudly replied, "I shot the first beam to see the angle the light refracted at and then I charged to determine the distance between the two of us. After that, a few calculations allowed me to execute a precision strike."
Angelos nodded, his face impassive, "You have shown impressive strategic brilliance in your match, as such I will be transferring you to the class of Magus Maritus, you have much to learn but if you are as smart as you seem, it should not be difficult."
He turned to Xerath, "I have never seen that spell before child, where did you learn it?"
The boy cleared his throat and gathered his thoughts before replying, he didn't want to look like an idiot in front of an Arch Magi, "I studied the notes of Arch Magus Fulmen and developed the technique myself yesterday, I only need a bit more practice to perfect it."
Angelos nodded, "Very well, you will now be under my direct tutelage" he looked to the both of them, "Your instructions for tomorrow: Tabia, go to the west hall, seventh room, I will have informed the magus; Xerath, meet me in the Magus training area, both of you are free for the rest of the day."
The pair bowed respectfully toward the Arch Magus who returned the gesture with a nod. Tania excitedly looked towards the young boy but found he had already disappeared, she shrugged her shoulders and ran off to the baths to unwind.
Xerath ran into Damas' office, the latter had a look of surprise on his face before it turned into anger, "Xerath! Where did you learn that spell from?!"
The child was taken aback by the sudden fury and stuttered out his answer, "Oh... I learned it in a book... Yesterday... I made it myself..."
"You nearly killed yourself in your duel! Why didn't you fight Lanius normally? You're more than capable of defeating him through conventional means!"
"Because... Yesterday he threatened me... That if I didn't let him win... He would do something worse to me..."*mumbled Xerath, seemingly very interested in the floor,
The mage's gaze softened, "Then why didn't you tell me?"
"I... I don't know... It was late and I think you already went to sleep..."
Damas rubbed his face and sighed, "Look, next time if something like this happens again, just tell me, I don't want you killing yourself over the fact that I might lose some rest. Okay?"
Xerath nodded and then asked another question, "Why is he like that? He could've asked me or you or anyone for help..."
"Lanius... He's different from the rest of us."
"What do you mean?" Xerath questioned, looking up from the ground,
"He was born in the town, but his parents died in the war."
"But my mother and father passed away the same way his did!"
Damas regarded him with a neutral gaze, "But you didn't have to fight and steal for your life at age six."
The child went wide eyed, "What?"
"After his parents died, he was evicted, thrown into the slums without a second thought, like some mongrel pup. He fought and stole to live. Asking for help in there is begging for a knife in the back. By the time he was your age, he had seen as much death and suffering as our battle magi. He had great strength and magic potential, so the temple took him in as a prominent pyromancer."
To say Xerath was speechless was an understatement, he had so grossly misjudged the nature of Lanius his mind had turned into sludge.*
Damas patiently waited for the child to break out of his reverie, before speaking, "Violence and theft was the way of life for him, he knew not of safety or respite, that was only when his parents were still alive. They have been deeply engrained into his nature, he did not let it go when he entered the temple."
The boy coughed and nodded, "I... I see..."
"Good, perhaps you won't be so quick to judge next time. I'll have a word with him; You have a big day tomorrow, get some rest, you've earned it."
Xerath nodded again and set out for the infirmary, intent on speaking with his tormentor.
Xerath quickly walked through the halls of the Temple of the Falcon, bowing his head toward the mages and Arch Magi between him and his destination. He arrived at the infirmary a few minutes later, scanning the room, he saw the beds were pressed against the wall on both sides with a small space in between each of them. He spotted Lanius several beds down on the right side, it seemed the teenager was the only one there.
Xerath hesitated for a moment,
What if he attacks me?
No, even he's not dumb enough to do that...
The boy drew a deep breath and exhaled, walking over to the teenager. Lanius was facing the opposite side Xerath was approaching from, the child stood beside his bed, still contemplating whether or not to run away.*
"I know you're there"
The voice shook the child out of his reverie, he froze as Lanius rolled to face him and the teenager's eyes widened in surprise and fury. The older boy's voice was still level, but filled with malice,*
"Come to gloat about your victory?"
Xerath shook his head vigorously, "No, I just wanted to apologize."
The teenager barked a bitter laugh, "For what? For ruining my chances of advancing? For making me the laughing stock of the Temple?"
"The why would they laugh at you?" asked a confused Xerath, his fear slightly subdued by the sudden curiosity,
Lanius stared at the boy for a few seconds, he raised an eyebrow in disbelief, "You can't figure out why they would laugh at me for being defeated by someone younger than me by seven years?"
The child shook his head again, unable to comprehend why someone would be mocked for being bested. The Temple always taught there was no shame in defeat, but to learn from it and strive for victory. Xerath assumed that everyone in the temple knew he was an extremely skilled mage; Lanius had no chance of beating him. Even though he had the comprehension of a Grand Magus , the Arch Magi refused to allow him to skip classes.
The teenager scoffed, he paused to say something but then rolled over, his back facing Xerath, "Leave now and I won't kill you once my body stops aching." His voice no longer held venom, instead it was replaced with...*
Irritation? The boy wondered, what had caused the sudden change in attitude...
"I didn't mean to hit you with the spell, it was an accident."
The teenager gave no confirmation as to if he heard it or not, but repeated what he said earlier,
Acquiescing, the boy quickly jogged out of the medical ward; unwilling to test how far the teenager's patience would extend.
He didn't stop to think about the conversation until he had left the infirmary. If Lanius was true to his word, Xerath didn't want to risk snapping the olive branch that had been offered to him. The child questioned himself for several minutes before giving up, surrendering to the fact that standing there would not answer his queries.
He wondered what he could do for the rest of the day, he realized the answer would be the same as always: study.
The boy walked to the Great Library to study the book from yesterday to see if he could improve his technique, he didn't want to accidentally kill anyone with it; himself included. Xerath still hadn't named the spell yet, after searching through the records, it seemed no one had done anything similar, allowing him the honour of dubbing the technique.
Nah too lame,
No, it was just one bolt and there wasn't a storm...
Hmmmm... This is going to be more difficult than I thought...
He was deep in thought as he turned the corner with his eyes to the floor, when suddenly he felt a sharp pain in his head as he staggered backwards. Xerath looked up to see a boy with tanned skin, short black hair and thin lips mirroring his motion. The other child looked up at Xerath with piercing golden eyes and they lit up in recognition.
The boy's faced broke into a smile at the sight of his friend who returned the expression. Xerath's smile quickly turned sheepish as he apologized,
"Sorry, I wasn't looking"
Seth waved it off, "Don't worry" he grinned, "Neither was I"
The thirteen year old wind mage motioned for Xerath to follow him,
"During the duels, how did you make that ice? and what was that spell you used to win?"
The child was slightly surprised at the questions but responded quickly nonetheless, "I had to form the ice crystals perfectly so the energy that reinforces it forms properly, otherwise the ice might explode, but it makes the ice super strong, that's why Lanius couldn't get through it."
"Wow... How come Chaia didn't use it?"
"Oh, I think its because she doesn't know about it yet, I read it in a book meant for adepts."
Seth stopped to look over to Xerath and was met with a toothy grin, rolling his eyes, the wind mage continued walking,
"So what about the lightning thing?"
"I created that myself, but it still needs a bit of practice"
Seth looked at the boy again, an expression of mock disbelief on his face,
"Yeah, and next your going to tell me you beat the Grand Magus in a duel."
Xerath huffed and gave a playful punch to the older boy's arm, "Hey, I researched it an no one else has done it before!"
"I know, I know, I was just joking" Seth raised his hands in surrender, giving Xerath a cheeky smile, "Hey, we're here now"
The boy had been too busy arguing with the wind apprentice to realize they had arrived in the library,
"Hey how'd you know I wanted to come here?" Xerath asked,
"Because you always come here. Besides, I need to study for next year so I can win the duel next time." Seth started to move toward the stacks, "Bye Xerath!"
With that, the golden eyed apprentice walked off, leaving the child alone.
Xerath wandered over to the bookshelves meant for the adepts and quickly grabbed the tome he had been studying. Sitting down at a wooden table, he flipped it open to a page. The boy rifled through until he found what he needed,
Here we go... Energy stabilization...
The boy whiled away the hours without realizing it, the contents of the text had him completely enthralled. It didnt surprise him that he heard no other students in the library; most of them were probably celebrating or relaxing, neither of those activities interested Xerath, he found the books much more interesting.*
If the librarian didn't tell him to leave, he would have accidentally spent the night there; not a good idea for someone who was meeting an Arch Magus the next day. Xerath apologized and weaved through the stone halls, he found few people along the way and those were only the custodians.
He slipped into the dormitory, thankful that his bed was close to the entrance. Xerath sat on the edge of the reed covered stone, contemplating the mysterious behaviour of Lanius. Yesterday, the teenager was ready to murder him to advance and yet, today when they spoke, the rage was replaced with...
Xerath still hadn't discovered what the furnace of wrath had been replaced with.*
Nope, didn't sound like it,
No, not that...
Nothing to regret...
It sounded similar annoyance, but there was a hint of something else in there as well. Something Xerath couldn't identify and it frustrated the boy to no end.
Ugh, this was harder than balancing a boulder with lightning...
Xerath sighed and flopped down on the bed, immediately regretting the action, feeling the reed covering barely made the stone any softer. The boy realized he was heavy with exhaustion, the toll of casting prototype spell began to weigh upon him. He rested his head on the bed and closed his eyes,
I'll worry about it tomorrow...
I didn't know what to write for the longest time. Lol
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Xerath had been hearing that word for the past two hours in the magus training arena.
He fired the spell he created, only for it to be stopped by Arch Magus Angelos without any visible effort. The energy seemed to dissipate into the air in front of Angelos; which of course, he had modified. The boy's opponent was a fair skinned six foot tall man, his impressive muscles rippled under his robes as he shifted slightly. The imposing image was further reinforced by his sunken blue eyes, his short white hair ended high on his forehead in a widow's peak. He had a grizzled appearance with the shaven stubble covering his jaw, above the lips and under the ears. A scar ran from the end of his left eye across his nose, ending just before the cheek.
All in all, it gave the appearance of a man who had seen too much war.
The child sent shards of arcane ice at Kyras, only for them to disintegrate a foot from the bald man. Xerath growled in frustration, seemingly unable to bypass the invisible barrier in front of the Arch Magus.
"Think boy!" The man rumbled, "I took you under my wing for a reason!"
Xerath paused and racked his brain for an answer,
Dispersion field in front of him, using air as the medium, anchored there too so I can't move it...
Concentrated arcane bolts won't work, nor will reinforced projectiles...
Damn, if only I knew how to make a destabilization barrier myself...
A stream of energy...?
He launched a torrent of fire at the shield, bathing it in arcane flames. The field held steady for a few minutes as Xerath gritted his teeth, the strain of channeling so the spell was taking a toll on him; before it gave away and the fire hungrily licked towards Kyras. The boy stopped the flamethrower before it reached the stoic Arch Magus.
"We'll done Xerath, but that was only a novice level deconstruction shield" the man nodded, "Sometimes the correct solution isn't the most obvious"
Kyras motioned for them to leave the arena, "You have done well for your first day, but I will expect more from you."
Xerath nodded as they passed by other duelling pits when he saw someone he recognized,
"Arch Magus if there is nothing else planned for today, I would like to visit a friend."
The man paused for a moment, then nodded, leaving the boy to himself.
The child quietly crept to the edge of the training pit, watching Lanius hurl fireballs and phoenixes at the wall. It seemed he was attempting to repeat Xerath's feat of shattering the stone without much success.
As the boy neared the edge of arena, the teenager froze,
"I know you're there."
Xerath sighed, exasperated, "How do you keep doing that?"
"You learn a few things when your as old as I am."
The child was about to protest that, finding it ridiculous that seventeen year old boy could refer to himself as 'old' before remembering his past. Unsure if he was supposed to reveal it, he decided on another approach,
"What do you mean?"
Lanius remained silent, Xerath could see him twitch slightly and then resume his stoic posture. Deciding not to push his luck, the boy retreated away from the duelling arena. The moment he was out of sight, he could hear the teenager unleash a torrent of fire against one of the walls.
The child was glad he was taking his fury out on the stone instead of Xerath. It seemed he had chosen an excellent time to make his exit.
He breathed a sigh of relief, perhaps he would choose a time when Lanius was in a better mood.
Xerath made his way to the library, grabbing a different tome today to see if he could learn anything about dispersion fields, wanting to surprise the Kyras tomorrow. He sat down at a wooden table and began to devour the information the book offered. He was so entranced by the knowledge, he failed to notice someone taking a seat beside him.
Tabia cast a sideways glance at Xerath who had his face buried in the tome, completely oblivious to the world. She sighed, then grinned devilishly as an idea formed in her mind. She inched closer to him, Xerath, still distracted noticed nothing as his eyes ran over the paper. The girl reached over with her hand and flicked him on his left temple.
Startled by the sudden outside stimuli, he was abruptly awoken from his trance and flailed off his chair. The stone floor did nothing to cushion his fall as he looked around, bewildered at who had been responsible. His mind had been jolted from arcane studies to questioning why he was on the floor, his thoughts were of anger before he saw Tabia laughing her head off on the chair next to him.
Xerath's brain melted into a puddle for a moment before he forced it back into shape.
"What did you that for?" The boy was mortified as his voice cried out with a slight squeak, hoping Tabia wouldn't notice.
To his chagrin, the ever perceptive girl picked up on the change and giggled before she regained her composure. "I sat down right next to you and you didn't even notice! I thought I'd help you wake up."
Xerath grumbled as he rubbed his bruised bottom, "Well you could've said something..."
Her eyes sparkled as she laughed again, "But that wouldn't be any fun!"
The boy found himself entranced for a moment before plopping himself down on his chair.
"So how was your first day?"
"Eh, it was pretty boring. They mostly taught me about the basics of command." She answered after a moment if thought. "What about you?"
Xerath's face lit up as he spoke about his training with the Arch Magus, "Remember? The energy bolt that I used during my duel against Lanius? When I fired it at him, he waved his hand it it disappeared! And he taught me how to teleport using mediums, its difficult but I still managed it. And he made this thing called a dispersion field! It blocked all of my attacks, except for my last one, which I had nearly overloaded to a crazy level."
The boy was breathless as he finished recounting his tale. Tabia managed to process it all and ended with an amazed look on her face.
"You can teleport now?"
The child nodded, "It's still difficult but I should be able to perfect it in a week or so."
Tabia stared at him incredulously, "But I thought it took months of practice for an Arch Magus to teleport with mistakes."
"I don't know what they find so difficult about it" Xerath shrugged, "All you have to do is to dissolve yourself into energy then use the air or water or whatever as a conduit."
"Do you think I could learn it?"
Xerath rubbed his chin like an old man, which elicited a quiet giggle from Tabia that went unnoticed, "Maybe, but you have to have lots of concentration and deep understanding of energy. If you messed the teleportation, you could kill yourself. Even if an Arch Magus was standing by you could still be permanently crippled if your energy reforms improperly."
Tabia did a double take as she realized the implications of a failed attempt.
"Hehe, maybe its better if I didn't try after all..." She nervously laughed.
The boy lost interest in the book; studying deconstruction barriers could wait while he was talking to her. He was about to speak when the sound of metal against stone resonated through the library. The two glanced at each other, before returning their gaze to the entrance of the facility.
Their eyes widened at the sight of thick plate armor that curved over the chest, extending up slightly, covering the mouth and no doubt protecting the back with equal thickness. The midsection had a series of plates to allow a degree a movement at the waist. The sizeable shoulder pauldrons were adorned by besagues of the Shuriman crest. The faulds, tassets and culets were shaped like overlaying falcon feathers, but betrayed none of their image-sake's softness. The cuisses, poleyns, greaves and sabatons were similar to the midsection of the cuirass in that they were all over layered plates; allowing free movement of the legs. The most notable feature however, was the hawk head shaped helmet; smooth layers of feathers swept in a downward fashion into the neck, a beak curved outwards under the eyes. In one hand they held a kite shield in the form of an outstretched falcon, in the other, they held a long and straight sword with serrated edges, the guard was a spreadeagle falcon, the wings forming the barrier between the handle and blade. The pommel ended with a heavy counterweight to balance the mass of the sword, usually in the form of the crest of Shurima.
Those were standard issue to the Shuriman Magus Knights, but what shocked Xerath and Tabia was the colouring. Gold and silver coloured the majority of the plates, with emerald green trimming. Along with the sight of gemstones in the eyes of the falcon helmets. They could see one man had emeralds in the sockets, two more had rubies and the rest had sapphires. The pommels of their swords clutched jewels, holding the same ones their helmets did.
It meant one thing: the Chosen of the Falcon had arrived. Their armours and weapons were all enchanted to be nigh indestructible and unnaturally light, the source of energy was embedded into the guards themselves. The gemstones set into the eyes of their helmets provided them with unparalleled vision, able to see things miles away, detect magical energies and zero in on what the wearer was seeking. The blades were sharper than anything else in existence and could cut through steel effortlessly. The shields could hold back an avalanche of rocks without so much as a scratch and block magics just as easily.
The guards themselves had gone through years upon years of war and training, each of them an army in their own right with insanely fast reflexes, herculean strength, blinding speed and genius level intellect; all further augmented by arcane enchantments woven into their beings.
They rushed into the room and cleared everyone out and into the hallway, including the librarian that managed the room, along with Xerath and Tabia, who had been the only others inside. The Chosen soon stood into parallel lines as Grand Magus Kyras entered.
The tall man was completely bald, not a single hair was to be found on his head bar his eyebrows. His red eyes were sunken in, even more so than Angelos', giving him a supremely intimidating appearance. Kyras' face was adorned with a wide nose and thin lips, lending more to his imposing stature.
One did not earn the seat of Grand Magus through backstabbing, brute force, political betrayal and alliances, defeating your opponent in a mage duel or showing strategic brilliance alone, but rather a combination of all of them.
What good is a person who can claw their way to the top but cannot wage a successful war? Or who can display the most cunning plan in all of Shurima when they cannot fight?
Anyone that made it to the position of Shurima's ruler was incredibly powerful, in both mind and body. Not even the High Falcon could defeat the ruler in a one on one duel, even with his armour and weapons. But not unreachable as many would like to think, there were an unbelievable amount of assassination attempts during peacetime; poisoned food, drinks, robes, books, air, even toilets had all been attempted before and were still happening without success. The craftier ones had done things creatively from a disruption stone embedded into a stone, capable of forcing a spell to go awry and backfire on the caster, to planting augmented microscopic flora that would force the oxygen in a person's blood to violently detonate.
Only the cleverest, most audacious and mind boggling schemes had an chance of success, and even then those were in the days before the Chosen were formed. Now the Falcons stood as an impenetrable fortress against any attempts on the Grand Magus' life. Usually the man or woman that was the target was not notified of the failed assassinations as they had become so routine it was daily occurrence.
But few were mad enough to play the game of politics when waging war; even if it was the best time to do so. A sudden decapitation of the hierarchy could destabilize and demoralize the whole of Shurima, dealing possibly a fatal blow in a conflict.
Xerath and Tabia both ran all of this through their heads as Kyras walked past them, they had their heads bowed so they could only hear as the Grand Magus passed by them.
Kyras looked around the shelves for a moment, searching for a specific tome that taught about destabilizer fields. His eyes landed on the table, with the very book he had been seeking sitting on top of it.
He considered the significance of it for a moment before diverting his attention to the two children, suddenly losing interest in the book.The Grand Magus stepped toward the duo and the sapphire eyed Falcon moved aside.
"Children" the voice that rang in Xerath and Tabia's ears was neither too deep nor top high, the perfect pitch with a rich, mellifluous tone rolled forth, filled with power and control, "Cease bowing."
Instantly, the duo obeyed, straightening their backs and looking forward at Kyras.
"Which one of you was reading the book on the table?"
The two glanced at each other nervously; you would have to be made of stone to not flinch in the presence of the most powerful person in Shurima.
"Me, Grand Magus" answered Xerath,
Kyras' voice roiled forth again, "What were you doing with a book meant for the Magi?"
"I was studying it to learn how to create a dispersion barrier."
The man eyebrow raised slightly, "One as young as you?"
Xerath nodded, "I can show you"
"Very well, we will see if you can demonstrate your claim."
Kyras motioned for the Falcons to form into a circle, with the boy and himself in the middle. The Grand Magus nodded for the child to proceed.
Xerath concentrated and thought back to what he had learned,
Destabilizer fields are created by implanting microscopic pieces of volatile energy in a medium...
Should be simple enough, just need to make sure they don't detonate prematurely...
The air shimmered in front of him and the barrier was set. Xerath nodded to Kyras to begin.
The Grand Magus sent a ball of the absolute weakest arcane fire he could muster at the boy. Even at the lowest possible level he could summon the flames from, it impacted with as much energy as Lanius' phoenix. Luckily the field was designed to hold back more than that and held in the face of the assault. The flames instantly dissipated as it hit the air in front of the boy.
The man betrayed no emotion as he stoically looked at Xerath before speaking, "Who is your mentor?"
"Arch Magus Angelos, sir"
Kyras retained his stone mask as he contemplated the answer,
So he has found a new pawn...
The man nodded, "You are doing well under his tutelage"
Xerath stammered out an appropriate response, few people were praised personally by the Grand Magus and the boy needed to react accordingly,
"Th-Thank you s-sir!"
He hastily bowed again as Kyras exited the library with the Chosen.
When they could hear the clanking of metal on stone no longer Tabia looked at Xerath.
"Wow, the Grand Magus congratulated you, that's pretty cool..."
"I know right! I have to tell the Arch Magus about this, he'll be so impressed and... And..." Xerath trailed off as he finally noticed the expression on the girl's face; it was crestfallen, none of the usual cheer was apparent and she had lost the shine to her eyes. Even her smile had become false, giving the boy the impression he had done something wrong.
"Tabia?" he ventured, "Are you ok?"
She looked up at him with poorly concealed sadness, "Yes, I'm fine. I... I have to go now, I need to review what I learned today."
"S-sure, See you tomorrow..." Xerath waved as she left the library, leaving him alone to wonder what had bothered her...
Armor kinda looks like this, it's the idea I based off of
Sword is like this, model of which I described the Falcons' from
Shield pretty much looks like Locket of the Iron Solari with the mentioned changes
Looking good. Couple spelling mistakes, but nothing major that can't be solved with a quick edit.
In terms of the scientific terms and such, remember to think carefully about using them. Taking the basic definition and working from there is my advice on the matter and work your way up to exactly what you want to convey. But you never want to go too far into it unless you are exploring a scientist's breakthrough or something like Xerath does in these sorts of scenarios.
You should also be aware of talking in a childish sense with very clear black/white disparities. You can use them to set scenes and such, but in the long term it can be better for the audience if people are forced to think whether or not something is moral. I just get the feeling that this fanfic is going down that route and, as the guy writing the longest and (at least from what I can boast about) one of the strongest Xerath fanfics on the forum section, I don't really want that to happen to this.
I probably ranted a bit too much, but whatever.
Ima proof read it again and hammer out whatever typos I can find
Indeed I did go overboard in describing the armor :P
I'll have to make sure I don't do that again
I'm wondering about the black/white contrast you mentioned. Perhaps if you could point out where they appeared? Just so I can avoid it when appropriate.
I do plan on having massive amounts of moral grey areas show up in the story.
Don't worry about ranting, you replied with great constructive criticism, of which I am grateful for. If you can perceive any more errors, don't hesitate to mention them.
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