A Tale of Two Magi

Vantal and the School of Magic
Galen's Story

Session 1 – From Sanction to Vantal

Before leaving Sanction for Vantal, I was assigned to Trevor – I have always seen him as a mighty magic user when I was first learning magic. But he does not where a colour – that is strange…

Later traveling around with Trevor, Mother left me alone and I no longer on the receiving end of her beatings. Or was it is because I am older? No more beatings though…

Tusk (leader of The Shades) decided that I have been selected to go to a school to help develop my powers and that I would leave on a boat and travel to the southern city of Vantal. There I would be met by a person called Adarni – he will find me. Now I would finally get to study Magic!

Trevor constantly reminds me that Tusk is putting a lot of faith and money into me and I am expected to pay it back. No matter what happens Tusk has made this happen and it is important that I do well. We shall see – they just want to use me. Trevor believes this and Trevor defers to Tusk.

Arrival in Vantal

The boat I am on arrives a few days later at the city of Vantal.

Vatal was a major trade city that has been on the decline for many, many years. The stone work of the pier is beautiful – dwarven made in my option (Sanction only has wooden docks) but the further you head towards the city it all turns to wooden construction.

As I wait on the dock, first some children try to sell me things (and steal from me but it is an old trick and I do not fall for it) and then Adarni finally approaches me. He asks if I am ready and I say ‘I was waiting for him and have all my gear’ and I see approval in his eyes. I ask him if the docks are dwarven made – “Yes” and Adarni adds that New Vatal was built over the foundations of the old one as the old city was destroyed during the Cataclysm.

The Grand Bazaar of Vantal

Sanction does not have a Grand Bazaar like Vatal. It is quite interesting but I keep my stuff close and follow Adarni. The local police force is dressed in Red – they march in small groups and anyone that gets in their way had best beware. They wear full faced helms, plumes and breast plate with swords or polearms as weapons.

Adarni takes me to an inn and we enter into a big open room – tables etc. with some people drinking coffee – Adarni leads me to a table where there is a super fat guy on cushions with women feeding him grapes etc.

His name is Abdul-bari and he is an associate of Tusk. Abdul-bari has arranged for me to join the school of learning and Adarni will take me to the School of Suni to meet the Headmaster tomorrow. Again I am told to:-

  • Do not waste this opportunity – Tusk says I will learn and do well
  • Abdul-bari is to act as my Guardian – my actions will reflect on him
  • Adarni is the go between.

Adarni takes me to where I am staying – a wooden building – a hostel where I will have a room. Adarni is given a key and I am taken to my room. I am given a pouch of money and I can get food from the bazaar. Adarni will be back one hour after dawn to take me to the school.

Exploring Vantal

I head out to get some food and have a drink (local ale – not too bad), while I work out where to eat – The Eagle Arms is a recommended to me by the ale house owner so I head to this eatery. I see low level thieves and such and enter the Eagle Arms (big eagle out front). I order correctly (show I am not a newbie) and get the cucumber yoghurt and naan bread etc. – the meal is quite decent. I also get Turkish Coffee afterwards.

As dusk arrives people come and go and a person walks over to me – Greeting young sir. My name is Dharr. He is portly in appearance and mops his face with a cloth and orders a coffee. He says that he noticed me from outside and could tell I was not a local – he says he is ‘a Guide to the new, a purveyor of goods and all round great guy’. As he leaves he says ‘Ask for Dharr at the Sign of the Lion’ – I respond that it is good to know this fact.

(I do realise after he has left that he could not have seen me from outside – he was given the heads up while I was here from someone else – this is also a common practice in Sanction).

I sit a bit longer and enjoy my coffee before paying and leaving. I pay the 3 iron (half a steel) and pay a tip of another steel.

At dusk there is music playing and it seems to be more of a festival with many traders and workers talking and eating together in the Bazaar. Even sweethearts are catching up with each other but there are a lot of the Red Guardsman here. Mother told stories of these events and it is good to actually see one.

As night becomes proper the sound of massive bells echoes through the city; all the locals turn towards the bells, kneel and pay homage. Could it be a seeker temple here? Trevor showed me a map of The Seekers – they did come to this city, but I do not know if there are seekers here. The seekers acted more like invasion force on the maps to me, rather than a group spreading religion to the land.

The people are all praying to the Prophet Mohammad. I listen in to what they are saying to try and work out what their religion is about. They pray for about 10 mins and they believe that this ‘prophet’ is a Seeker God. I have never heard of him.

I head back to my room (No. 6) to sleep so that I can then get up early the next morning, study my spells, have breakfast and await Adrani’s arrival.

The Next Day…

I pay two iron and get breakfast and a packed lunch – a little wine skin as well, then study my spells and an hour after dawn Adarni arrives and we head off towards the School. We go through the middle of the city and he points out the Library, the Keep where the King resides, and then a big wooden structure. Adarni says that this building is the Temple to the Prophet. We then arrive at another stone building that is the School of Suni. There are two red guardsmen at the front of the building and when we arrive Adrani says we have an appointment to see the Sage of Suni. A guard rings the bell three times and a grey figure approaches, unlocks the gate and we are let in.

A big stone path leads through lovely gardens and we come to another stone building – go down a corridor and I am motioned into an office filled with plush rugs – a large fire place – and there is an open doorway to a court yard. Sitting at a large writing desk is an old gentlemen who I presume is the Sage.

The Sage Master of Suni

Adrani greets the Sage Master – bows and then introduces me as an ‘associate of Abdul-Bari’ – the Sage Master seems to ‘understand’ this reference. The Sage Master introduces himself – Sa’eed Qadir and I introduce myself properly.

I say that ‘I have a talent for and an ability to learn the arcane arts’. The Sage Master says ‘A talent you may have – the ability to learn we shall see – this is a school of learning and we have students with different desires and backgrounds’. He waves a letter and says ‘You do have some ability with the arcane arts – we shall work out if you have true ability or a passing ‘knack’. And with that I am admitted to learn at the school.

Rules of the School

No disobedience – repeat offenders are expelled. He says that there is a ‘high price’ involved and if you are expelled there is no refund – failure of lessons is grounds for expelling. Your ‘Guardian’ understands these rules and knows there is no refund. He adds that I will be at this school as long as they think I am required, or continue to learn, and it will be up to me how far my power and knowledge will take me.

Some students have gone on to be apprentices of Wizards of High Sorcery and then they have become Wizards of High Sorcery themselves. This is VERY interesting.

The Sage Master finishes and adds that I will have a dorm room at the school and I will have my own time to do things.

Master Ugray (the Master that showed me in) will show me the way and I follow him out after the meeting. I ask about the ranking system of the Masters – the sashes indicate their levels in the school, as do the symbols and stripes on them.

Before he leaves, Adarni says that is important to remember that ‘not taking advantage of this opportunity would be criminal and an affront to the Gods, Master Abdul-Bari, my master (Tusk) and everyone else involved’. I understand Adrani.  Adrani wishes me well (it is heartfelt) and gives a blessing from the Prophet and then we part ways.

Master Ugray leads me to the dorms and says this is my room – there are NO secrets in this school and none of the doors lock. There are Robes I must wear at ALL times in my cupboard and when at lessons, or on the school grounds, or on official business for the school. There is cleaning and other work that is done by the new students at the start. The more powerful \ proficient one becomes, the less menial tasks I will have to do. 

Number one rule – must obey all directions from a Master.

Number two rule – losing your necklace is grounds for being expelled.

I am shown the meal area, the classrooms and where the field for exercise is located. There is a farming area as well where the school grows some of its own food. I ask if there are many new students – Master Ugray says that when they have an intake, it depends on how many students have graduated. The current group I am with is 15. A student’s rank in the school depends on their ability and also will help determine how long they stay at a certain level.

Master Ugray says to change into my robes before going to the library and then gives me a necklace; it is my symbol of a student; it must be worn at all times on School grounds – the necklace also gives a little bit of authority outside the school with the locals. Interesting to know…

Master Rankings – Black Sash is for Masters – the symbols are an indication of their speciality; the more symbols the more ‘advantaged’ they are – the strips represent the Masters ‘mystical’ achievements in that speciality.

Student Rankings – New Students – Grey Robes with a white sash and I must always have my necklace displayed. The robes are well made and the sash is made of silk. There are lots of pockets in the robe.

Higher level students have some changes to their sash and get some authority over new students, but a student can NEVER ask for another student’s necklace.

The School Library

Upon entering the library I see a vast array of books and a number of students and a Master. I approach the master and look at what is on his sash. There is a symbol with a diamond and three lines under it. He has five little lines on his sash. He is also old.

It is my first time here I explain but it was redundant as Master Veer already knew this from the way I was dressed. He adds that the library is his dominion and says I can study any of the GENERAL books on the right immediately; the books on the left are by magical aptitude level and students have to earn the right to read those.

I ask where I can read them – you need special permission to do so outside the library. Conversation must be kept to a minimum in the library. I go searching and find the following books:-

  • Histories on Civilisation, Mages before the Cataclysm, War, Knights of Solamnia and Religion.

I decide to start on the Histories of the Wizards of Krynn and find a book that talks about the ‘Lost Battles’ where there were multiple towers of high sorcery – five in total. It says the corrupt priesthood wanted the riches in the towers and fought the wizards – the three orders came together against the priests – the priests of good rallied the people against the wizards, so they decided to blow up two of the towers – the priest realised that doing this in Ishtar would destroy the city so an agreement was reached. The orders did what they could and removed many items of power before handing over the towers – Ishtar was first and was to be followed by the Tower of Palanthas. This did not happen as it was cursed and kept it out of the priest hood’s hands. The book adds that the tower would only be occupied once more when the Master of the Past and Present entered. Not sure what that all means.

A GREEN elf enters (never seen a green one before) and he says he is Venlith of Silvernost (or something like that) and he is new like me as he is wearing a Grey Robe and White Sash; we introduce ourselves. We talk and I talk about the Orders of Mages saying I did not know there were colours and though that grey was the only colour. He says that Grey are not full wizards and have not chosen. If you think you are ready, a mage can travel to the Tower of Waywreth and take the test. Venlith is either knowledgeable or full of it. He goes off to look through the General books while I try to find out about the Orders of Wizardry – Black, Red and White – there is no mention of a Grey Order – but he does seem to know what he is talking about.

I find references to Grey Robes Mages being Renegadesis Trevor not a Mage? Each order has certain ways or traditions they follow, but the Grey DO NOT follow an order. The tenants of magic were made to stop the destruction mages were causing. The Test is no grantee to anyone and you are not considered a mage until you take the test. The TEST will give the mage their ‘order of wizardry’ – you can die during the test.

At meal time, there are around 100 students at the school on long tables with around 20 Masters at the top table looking towards us. I look and see other students with the white like myself, but there are also many different coloured sashes. There are white, yellow, green, blue, and brown coloured sashes for students. We sit and a student with a yellow sash gives us food and fills our bowls; there are breads, water etc. on the tables and the Masters eat the same as us.

There are a number of students that are not wearing their grey robes well; I believe from what I can see that Green, Blue and Brown sashes appear to be scholars – white are new and yellow look like warriors. Most people are human and because of this Venlith gets a lot of looks, not just because he is an elf but because his is green and stands out. There is a dwarf here too!

I listen in and realise that Venlith is being talked about… a lot! Must be the Green – and we both agree that we need to ‘rise in the ranks’ as soon as possible.

I take a good look at the Masters – Sage Master is here – no Master Ugray or Veer. There are 4 other Masters at the table – four men and one woman. A few students are moving between the tables and they are still talking about Venlith – I mention this to him. They have not seen me in action yet! Venlith says. Ugh – he might not make friends and influence people very well…

We are discussing the orders and grey robes when we are interrupted by one of the ill-mannered and ill-fitting grey robed, white sashed individual that starts to talk down to Venlith. Insults are thrown and the burly dumb ass (Joppa is his name) grabs Venlith and throws him back. Venlith is very dexterous and lands with a flare on his feet; Joppa was going to draw a weapon as well but luckily there are no weapons allowed within the school.

Venlith says ‘have you met my friend’ and a Green Dragon appears! What… The… Hell! And then I realise it is just an illusion. Joppa and his friends run screaming out of the room while everyone else here that was cleaning crack up with laughter.

Just before we leave the hall, a black cat walks in like it owns the place – it ignores us, jumps on the tables and is then given a bowl of food. We head to library again but at least there is no one watching Venlith anymore. The library is almost empty but one student – a female with a grey robe and white sash. I look for another book and find…

Trials and Tribulations of the Inquisitory – There is a group of wizards that make sure all other wizards follow the rules and they also track down Renegades. There is always one wizard from each colour – this person was a Red that wrote the book.         

A book on Fistanelantous – he was a very powerful Black Robe – some say the most powerful mage in his time and he lived longer than he should have.

A Book on The King Priest – the living voice of the Good Gods on earth; he died during the Cataclysm.

Venlith talks to the female white sash – she is new and is reading a book about the stars and astronomy. Her name is Rohseia and starts classes tomorrow. Venlith knows a lot about the history of Magic, but he is an elf and has lived a long time (or has read a lot), or talks through his arse. She is from Neraka – it is where the armies are forming says Venlith and she gives Venlith a piercing gaze. If looks could kill… I think she is more than she appears. She adds that we can request time in the observatory but the more advanced students have the time booked. She then leaves us. Could she be a spy for these armies Venlith is talking about??

In the evening the bells go off and we go to the meal hall again. Most of the Masters are here this evening but the library is open at all hours. Joppa and his three friends are watching Venlith and he nods to them (he is not making this easy) – Joppa is not happy. The Orange sashes are doing the meal serving tonight and it is a beautiful curry. Venlith has gone even ‘greener’. Hehe

Rohseia is sitting next to an Ergothian and are chatting and eating. I say we should sit separate and see if anyone comes over and visit us. After we sit the Sage Master stands, taps a glass and says it is time again – new people (class of 16) after graduating or being expelled. We are to respect the sashes and everything we do here is observed and graded. There are no second chances. If you reach your peak or fail you are expelled – Joppa has a smirk on his face, the arrogant prick…

We are reminded to always wear our necklace at all times and it you lose it or if a student tries to take it, you will be expelled. This will not happen to me as succeeding at this school is something I want to do, and I WILL succeed.

A weedy individual comes over and sits next to Venlith; Greetings I am Gates of Tarsis; I am Galen of Sanction I reply. Gates is one of the 16. Gates’ family are merchants and grow cotton in the desert. They use their slaves to get everything moved around.

Tarsis is a land locked city now – the cataclysm took away the sea so it was a major port city no more. Venlith is full of information. Suni is a school for scholars – why is Joppa is here? Must be money as that is how you get in.

During the meal a Master walks in and everyone gives him a wide berth. He looks around the room, gives it a look and then looks at Venlith and I… He is wearing Black Robes with a black sash. He has a skull on his sash and NINE strips – is he a necromancer? Venlith is taking a good look at the master’s now that he knows that the symbols and strips mean something on the sashes. This Master also eats western food – not the local dish. The other masters also leave once this Master arrives and sits down.

Staring at the Stars

Trevor said there were only two moons but Venlith says there are three – the black moon can only be seen by those of the Order of Black Robes. The moons are the gods of magic and the other star constellations are the other gods. The old gods abandoned us and the seeker gods are here now. I ask more questions and the Master taking the astronomy class and the students with him all come over to listen to what Venlith has to stay. The Ram is Kirin-Joth. He is an old god and that is when I notice that other students have wandered closer to listen. Venlith then draws with his illusion spell the following shapes:

  • Paladine – The Dragon – God of Good
  • Gilean – the God of Neutrally.
  • Takhisis – The Dark Queen. The 5 Headed Dragon!! God of Evil but it is missing!!!

The Master taking the course says it is basically theological – it is not there now because of natural gases in the sky are hiding it. He goes on to outlines the 6 good, 6 evil and Neutral gods that are in the stars. Venlith says to me privately that the Dark Queen has returned – Queen of Darkness.

The Gods of Magic are:-

  • Solinari – White
  • Lunari – Red
  • Nuitari – Black

Only a practitioner of the black arts can see the Black Moon– a student says so ‘Master Avacardis can see it’.

Master Lennon – the current teacher doing the astronomy class says well yes – All the Masters seem to get a bit anise talking about religion and the old Gods.

The seekers can heal says one of the older students – and Venlith is not of that opinion at all but I interrupt and lead the conversation in another direction so that the situation is defused by saying ‘So Master Avacardis can raise the dead?’ There is laughter all round.

The Blue Sashes start talking together and we over hear them say ‘Did you see in class today the number of muddles was like 4 or 5. They get in because of money’ So Joppa is one of them I say and again there is more laughter.

Then Master Avacardis is standing next to the group of us and says ‘What is all the laughter about?’ I am singled out and I say we were discussing the stars and the moons and I say “So where is the Black Moon right now?” and follow this up by looking at the sky. Master Avacardis is left stunned to silence and says nothing and leaves us. I will probably pay for that…

We then all head back to our dorms and a Green sash student comes through and says once you hear the bell in the evening you have 15 mins until sleep period and no more noise. He also explains that in the morning you will hear the first Bell – this is time to get up. Second Bell is to say food is being served and the Third Bell means it is time to get to class.

During the Night

That night someone tried to get in my room but I had my staff leaning against the door – it fell and alerted me and whoever it was ran very quickly and disappeared… I spoke with Venlith and another white sash called Hemmit – he did not see anything either.

The First Day of Class!

Hemmit is the kid that spoke to us last night and in the morning he does not have his chain on – he goes back into his room to find it. The rest of us arrive at breakfast and it is fresh fruit, yoghurts and buttermilk. Hemmit arrives late – he tripped on his chamber pot and had to change again! He still smells… but Venlith casts a cantrip and the smell is gone. The bells go off again and I say grab a pile of fruit to Hemmit so he has food – he almost immediately gets stains on himself. We look around the hall and it is only the white sashes still here as we wait for the Master that will take us to our first class.

The White Sashes are:-

Gates, Hemmit, Joppa, Watt, Wilcock, Willis, Rohesia, Galen (Me), Venlith (Phil), Beatrice, Rosita, Bayard (the black guy Rohseia was talking to), Drew, Nazir, Muta, Zahid.

A Master enters – Master Raticis – and says Magic is his game. 

He takes us to an amphitheatre – his symbol is like a dawn sun – he has two strips. This first class is about learning the basics. Brown Sashes is the second most level of dropouts – many have reached their potential at Brown. As initiates it is about completing tasks and improving the mind – study tomorrow is going through cleaning everyone’s chamber pots. Must be completed by lunch – then we have dinner and then another class. You must be able to complete all challenges you come up against and you must be able to adapt in life.

Sash Ranks

White, Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, Brown, Black. Everyone is graded differently and once you advance you leave the current area and go to next. Initiates have little free time.

Someone asks ‘how long are we initiates? Master Raticis says people can be an initiate 3 years and people are like What The Hell!?!?! It was actually a joke. Well played Master. Well played.

Most people leave because of obedience issues and at this point we all introduce ourselves to the class. Master Raticis says if you need, help ask your class mates and you help them in return.

Next is ‘What is the essence of Magic’ – the Master talks about drawing power from this, that and everything and then talks about the laws that were laid down – this leads to him explaining the TEST – if you fail the test you die. Magic is first and for most EVERYTHING in life and you must have this in your mind AT ALL TIMES. Magic is EVERYTHING. I agree with this and I will succeed!

You choose an Order after the TEST – White, Red or Black. There is no fighting on Tower grounds at all. Certain schools of magic are not available to each ‘Order’. This interesting – things are not allowed?

Renegades – the mages hunt down and kill all these traitors of magic. The Inquisitory do this. Those of us that wear the grey have not taken the test and have chosen to not do it, or are not ready for it.

Master Raticis believes that some of the Master’s here have more knowledge of Magic than actual Wizards of High Sorcery – some wizards have come here to consult. Some masters have leadership and martial abilities as well.

Master Raticis adds as the class finishes that ‘We will be woken early for training at the field for exercise…’ There are some groans at that but I have always worked hard.

Joppa is back – What did you say to me Green Boy? as we are leaving. The fight is stopped when Venlith does not insult Joppa back as we go to lunch. Well maybe Venlith is learning after all.

A new teacher after lunch…

Master Adeena – symbol of an eye with 5 tear drops and 6 strips on her sash – she is great looking. She points to a pile of hessin bags – one for each of us and then she points to the leaves under the trees… great time to do the gardening.

I cast Tensors floating disc to carry all the bags back at the end of the lesson and use mending to seal them after dropping them off where we started we all go inside for dinner.

After dinner we meet up with Master Trelann – her symbol is a cross with swirls and one strip on her sash and she takes us to a room that is surrounded with a dispel magic spell so that we can learn a cantrip and practice the techniques involved. Light is the first one we start with. The Master adds that once you are proficient in this class you will be able to learn and scribe them into your own spell books in the library. Also we can get more free time by being able to and finish the tasks we are assigned during the day.

Venlith and I do well with Light. Next is Prestidigitation and I am a legend again. The Third spell is Minor Illusion and I succeed once more. Fourth is Mending and I am a legend again.

Master Trelann says I can go and do my grading tomorrow night – this is when Venlith and I go to the stables to gather straw to make hats. As we approach we see the other six come out the stables after putting the horses away. Joppa and his minions walk off but the others join us after we explain what we are going to. We take the hay back to our rooms and I copy the Prestidigitation to my spell book and sleep.

In the morning after breakfast we are assigned to the White Level – Venlith uses the spell and the pots are all done while I use the mending cantrip to make the final product – awesome straw hats from an awesome job.

We then go to yellow level and they are finished and I hand out the hats. We go to the other levels and reach the Green level to find Drew and Hemmit still cleaning. Seems Hemmit has fallen amongst the chamber pots again… Venlith and I are not surprised. Venlith stays here and I go to the next level and find Joppa and Watt – Joppa is not doing anything. I cast Prestidigitation and the job is done and Watt is thankful – I give a hat to Joppa and Watt and do not mention where they came from to him, but I do tell Watt. Seems I might be getting through to Joppa’s minions. After lunch we meet outside where the bags are with Bayard providing water skins and sharp sticks in advance. We are working well as a team.

Watt says the martial people will continue doing leaves into the hessn bags while the rest of us practice Mage Hand. I am awesome!! Only Drew did better this time. Hemmit, Gates and Nasir are the ones still struggling. We let those that are not ‘quite’ getting the spell continues practising – Hemmit and Gates are the only two that fail and Gates goes off his rocker. We finish up and go back to dinner.    

After dinner we have the evening class;  I finish all my cantrips except Mending (which is strange as it is one I have always cast) so I do not finish my grading, but that is fine as I think being with this group of people has helped to make my interpersonal skills better.

The class finishes and I am successful with all the other cantrips – even Poison Spray which I cast like I have always done it. Later I teach the others the best way to scribe Mending and overall I have learnt much. Tomorrow I will do even better and we head back to the dorms and meet the others just as they return from their martial training. It is time to sleep but I put up the my staff once more but in a different position just to confuse whoever it was that tried to get into my room last night.

 

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