pretentious cosmic picture


Falnee's first class, the next day, was a bit elementary, but they wanted to make sure what one knew and didn't know. Many were sent here with natural talent, but with no knowledge.

The teacher smiled at them. It was a beautiful morning, in the green world of the great forests of Wal Langand. "Who here knows the difference between magic and witchcraft?"

Falnee was one of several who raised their hand, but Falnee wasn't chosen. The student chosen was a dark-skinned youth from Kaanrarho. "Magic depends on the manipulation of the hidden forces of Tu. Elves can do it naturally, humans can do it with practice. There is no direct calling on other beings for approval, Kaan or otherwise."

"Correct. And witchcraft?"

"It draws power directly from other beings...mostly Sagin, but also some of the subsidiary powers that work with him. Sagin, being mightiest of the Kaanho, can stand it. Nevertheless, it puts the witch or warlock under his direct patronage. By drawing direct, a witch or warlock can draw more power than a wizard or sorceress..."


"No. A weak warlock can be overcome by a more skilled and seasoned wizard. But the potential is greater if you are a witch or warlock. No wizard can match the Great Power, which is Sagin's especial gift."

"Who possesses the Great Power now?"

" Dahnmaya."

"Very good, master Heosun."

"What is the difference in the two disciplines, as far as study is concerned?"

Falnee raised his hand again, and this time he was called. "Witchcraft is more a matter of supplication and pleading, whereas wizardry is more a matter of knowledge and study."

"Very good. Is wizardry a very ancient discipline?"

"No. It arose in response to the witches and warlocks of Dahnmaya's time..."

Their teacher grinned. "Dahnmaya's time? Has Dahnmaya died and we just haven't heard of it?"

Falnee colored, and a few of the students laughed, but Heosun smiled without laughing, and it was a sympathetic smile. "Uhh, no, I meant to say when Dahnmaya ruled above-ground."

"Not bad, not bad at all. Do you know the name of the first wizard?"

"Um. Um. Um. Uhhhh..."

"Gandin was his name, who was fleeing to Kaanrarho to escape Dahnmaya's oppresive rule, but his ship wrecked here, and his family and he were thrown on the elvenshores."

Falnee sat down, and he and Heosun grinned at each other. The teacher continued,"Who here knows who fostered his introduction into the Elvish Art...?"

Practically everyone raised their hand, "Hmmm. Easy question. Very well, but there will be a followup. Mistress Braele?"

A woman from Reir stood up. "Jequeror the Elvenking."

"Why did he do so? Out of the goodness of his heart?"

"No. The same storm that shipwrecked Gandin and his family on this isle also knocked down a portion of the forest. Jequeror, out hunting, got seperated from his entourage and came across a portion that was not protected from the sun, and lay there writhing in pain. Gandin covered him with a cloak and got him back within the shade of the trees."

"Very good. And as you all know, Jequeror taught Gandin what he could of the Elvish arts. To both their surprise, some simple spells Gandin could master, and the art of crystalgazing and wandmaking and a few simple things were also taught." He smiled again. "Tomorrow we will learn more about the history of wizardry."

As the three left the class, Falnee introduced himself to Heosun and Braele. "You're from Grejakim, right?" said Braele.

"Yes. And you're from Reir, perhaps?"

"And I'm from the kingdom of Nyasi in Kaanrarho, which doubtless you two have never heard of," grinned Heosun.

They ate dinner together at the great mess hall, and soon found they were in accord on a great many matters. It was good to have mutual friends, when you were new at a place. "Some say," said Heosun, "that Edonarter himself comes and hunts here in the company of the Elvenking occasionally."

Braele laughed. "Elves are enough for me to see. The Kaanho are too lofty for me to aspire to."

Falnee nodded. "I've seen only one elf so far, and that was quite intimidating. I imagine seeing the Elvenking is as high as I can possibly go."

Heosun laughed. "Not me! I want an audience with Angusin himself!" They all laughed at the impossible demand. So began a good friendship between the three.

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Copyright © 1997 Al Schroeder