December 11, 794 Talismanian Reckoning
That day the shop opened late, and only Desdel was at the counter. On the other hand, Valin was away in his own room reading a large tome about magic Desdel had borrowed from Tasanna, the bookkeeper. Valin could only understand the pictures, but the book comforted him.
Occasionally Valin would stop and examine a picture closely. There were often pictures of land, of disks, and of people. The pictures were in black and white, but Valin could tell that the land pictures were of plains like his old home, forests, bogs and swamps, mountains, and islands. At one point in time, he reached a picture of a disk. There were five pictures of it, each shaded differently.
Valin tried to sound each out. “B-blak man-na. Blu-ee man-na. (OOC: Blu as in bludgeon) Wa-hit-ee man-na. No, Wa-hit man-na. Red Man-na.” He continued for a while and settled on “Blakk man-na, bloo-ee man-na, W-hite man-na, and Red man-na. Hm… wait, those must be mana! Oh yeah, that’s that energy of magic.”
Valin smiled. He put an old bookmark in the large tome. Before putting away the book on his shelf, Valin stopped and examined the cover. He squinted, attempting to understand the words. Despite his hardest efforts, he could see no letters.
“No title, perhaps?” he thought.
Valin surveyed his room. He only had one book in his room, one bed, handfuls of toys from his childhood, and a closet. No chair, no table, no nothing. Master Desdel had once told Valin, “I won’t give you books, chairs, and desks as long as you’re illiterate.”
That had been a deep blow to his pride. He was only eleven and had wanted such accessories badly. When he was denied them, Valin started a private war of disrespect that lasted for over a year, and ended by simply dissolving. It was Valin’s way of showing he was mad, infinitely mad, mad enough to ignore his master. Master Desdel had not responded to it harshly, but whenever the subject was mentioned, he recalled how he had done the same thing in his childhood.
Valin finished getting dressed in his fancy clothes and went to the front room. Desdel was deep in conversation with Casrod’s Dad. Casrod was nearby, looking bored as ever.
“Hi.” Valin called as he walked to Casrod.
Casrod looked at Valin. “Hi.”
Casrod was the smartest kid in the whole town. He was literate, and frequented the library a lot. Though he was considered a geek, he received little disrespect because of that. His parents owned the town Drugstore, and thus he was richer and better off than Valin. “Guess what?” Valin said.
“What?” Casrod said, looking bored.
Valin spread his shoulders wide and tried to be taller than he really was. “I’m going to learn magic.” He said, obvious pride in his voice.
Casrod coughed, then looked at Valin. “You? You? What kind of a fool would teach an illiterate person magic?” Casrod blinked at Valin.
Valin chuckled. “Well, CR, guess.”
Valin nodded. “I’ve already overheard the nature of magic from him. Mana is the force behind magic; it is drawn from memories of land like this bog. And, it turns out, I’m from the badlands but from here too, so…” Valin coughed on purpose. “I am a white and black mage. Nice combination if you ask me. Kill you, heal me, reanimate you, and voila.”
Casrod managed to keep his pride. “Ever wonder why there are so little magicians in the world? Because the so called mana is fake!”
Valin looked at him and raised an eyebrow. “Fake? I would think, you, you of all people in this town. THE nerd, THE librarian’s familiar. THE person who spends hours digging through tomes would have the sense to realize that mana is real!”
Casrod just grunted, and turned away. “Believe what you wish, fool. Magic will never give you a career, put money in your pocket, food on the table, and clothes on your back!”
Valin shook his head. “What do you have against me becoming a magician while you’re a normal scholar?”
Casrod exploded in an instant. “Because you’re illiterate, dammit! Illiterate!”
Casrod’s father had finished his purchasing by now and was deep in a conversation with Desdel. He looked at Casrod, then looked at Desdel and said, “Well, got to go. See you.”
Desdel just nodded.
Vote Rath in 2001!
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Oh wait. He doesn't know mana comes from memories so just "erase" that, will ya?