Where is Casey?

I showed up at Casey’s apartment today for a lesson, and the little twerp isn’t around. He is so “secure” that he saved his log-in information on this computer. It was unsurprisingly easy to break through his pitiful spells, if you can call them that.

If any of you see him – let him know that he can’t escape this easily.

I will have his spine.

-Celene


On ‘Mancies

Throughout our careers, most mages develop one or more of what are called “‘mancies.” I’m not sure who decided to call them that (most have nothing to do with divination) but for whatever reason it is the accepted term. There are tons out there – fulminomancy, nubilomancy, cryomancy, spectromancy, and geomancy to just name a few. I’m pretty sure Celene is at least a pyromancer. (But she certainly hasn’t talked to me about it.)

Some can be taught, others cannot. Most are triggered through some sort of specific criteria or chain of events. These can include anything – including genetic predisposition, witnessing traumatic events, meditation, and simple exposure. In my case, I’m pretty sure it was a combination of genetic predispostion and witnessing the magics of the tome being torn apart (that was probably Felicitus’ plan right from the start now that I think about it).

Being a ‘mancer basically unlocks a specific subset of spells and traits. It’s pretty sweet. For example, somnomancers can fall sleep whenever they choose, always have lucid dreams, and have access to many spells regarding dreams that a non-somnomancer could not cast. I haven’t really figured out what traits and spells come with auramancy. I can see the auras now, but for the most part have no idea what they mean. I haven’t noticed that anything else is different, and I don’t suddenly have the ability to cast (any) spells, haha.

Celene certainly won’t give me any clues. In the weeks since the encounter at the gnomish meadow, I’ve had a few sporadic “lessons” with her, which mainly consist of terrifying scowls followed by a frustrated rant when I am not able to cast anything that she asks me to. Most of the time she looks at me like she’s about to rip my spine out (probably because that is where Felicitus bound the magic of the tome). Still, it’s better than getting my ribs broken again.

But, I’m gonna keep plugging away. At least I have some vauge semblance of a teacher now, and I really feel like I’m on the verge of having enough magic to cast something worthwhile. Exciting days to come!

Magically,

Casey

Mage of SF – Rank 2


Bizarre Thursday – Part Four

I did what any sensible person would do in my situation – I turned and fled. My clothes had mostly dried in the time it took to cast the thawing spell and tumble with the sorceress, so I cringed inwardly at the prospect of diving back into the cold water. It was certainly better than getting my ribs cracked again though, that is for sure.

I reached the edge of the brook and dived in headfirst. The portal at the bottom of the stream was much easier to see now, as it possessed a strong white aura with a particular pattern that was unmistakable to me as anything other than Lloyd Lake in Golden Gate Park. I swam down toward it hastily, but I did not make it before I felt a vice-like grip on my ankle. Water filled my lungs as I gasped in surprise. I was ripped out of the stream and Celene flung me onto the soft grass as if I were a rag doll.

“You dare to humiliate me!” Her words rang out across the meadow as I coughed and spluttered the water out of my lungs. “Your pathetic magic cannot hope to stand against my own, child.” Her fists once against lit up with white flame as she stepped towards me menacingly.

Just as her fists were sailing right towards my face, a bright light shone from the portal’s direction. Both Celene and myself were forced to shield our eyes as a wondrous creature emerged from the brook and trotted up next to us. For a moment, we saw Felicitus in all his glory – his silky silver mane meticulously styled and his singular shining horn rife with magic.

Then the unicorn shimmered and coalesced into a human form. Who knew he could do that? I guess it explained the texting.  His slender frame was  tall and exceedingly pale. Opulent silver and blue robes trailed behind him that looked like they were straight from the set of Star Trek (he was apparently really big on plastic ribbing and spiky shoulders). His silver hair was impossibly long – coarse like his horse’s mane and just as perfectly styled. Silver and faintly glowing eyes gazed upon us with utter serenity.

“Celene.” His voice was soft and oddly musical. “Calm yourself. I can give what you seek.” He held out a hand and the pages scattered throughout the meadow flew towards him, aligning themselves in a neat stack. “Auramancy is a dying art. I could not bear to see it squandered. This tome has now served its purpose well. You may glean whatever power you wish from it.” The pages in his hand burst into life once more, and with a flick of the unicorn’s wrist they flew directly at my chest and vanished. “However, all tomes need a spine. Casey’s will do nicely. Celene – you need only to teach the young mage and together you may access the spells contained within my pages.”

With that, he shimmered once again and trotted back into the portal, tail swishing behind him. Celene stared at me. I could not tell if she was about to punch me again.

What had just happened?

Your friendly auramancer,

Casey

Mage of SF – Rank 2


Bizarre Thursday – Part Three

No one really knows how mage ranks are determined. Some say that it is the amount of power than a mage can wield – but I know that isn’t the whole truth. Others say that it depends on the number of spells one knows, or how influential you are in the magical community. Your guess is as good as mine. One thing is certain though – and that is that all mages are clearly defined in a numbered rank, and when a mage increases in rank – it is quite apparent.

I stood there for one long moment staring at Celene as her triumphant laughter echoed through the meadow. My mind was racing fast. The gnomes hadn’t lost their gnomeherd. I had known that the Circle had made that impossible, but I still had fallen for her ploy! She, of course, was the gnomeherd herself – and it was appalling that she had frozen her own flock just to get her hands on the tome.

When I realized the deception, I kind of lost it. I lunged forward and attempted to rip the book right out of her hands. She was caught off guard and her laughter was silenced with a grunt as we tumbled to the ground and started rolling around, both tugging at the tome. Much to my surprise, after a moment passed the pull on the book lessened and I snatched it away, cradling it in my arms and struggling to my feet.

I looked over to Celene and saw that she was doing the same thing. This prompted a closer look at the tome – and revealed that it had split right down the spine into two halves. Great. The look in Celene’s eyes was pure murder. She tossed the book down and a flutter of pages fell out and fluttered away in the breeze. Her fists immediately began to glow brightly with white fire and she took three swift steps to close the gap between us.

The first blow landed on my left side and I felt a rib crack as smoke rose from my jacket. The second blow hit on my right and a similar crunch resounded through the air. The third blow landed with such quick succession that for a moment it seemed as if the sorceress possessed three hands. And then I was flying backward in the air and I fell with a smack onto the soft grass, more than sufficiently dazed. I hadn’t felt that much pain before, so I was a little distracted as Celene stood over me yelling something or another. Honestly, I didn’t even hear her, I just remember her red face and overly animated gestures.

It was then that I noticed the auras. A page of the broken tome (now scattered throughout the meadow) fluttered past my face and I saw the potent magic in it winking out of existence now that it was away from the binding power of the spine. It glowed with constantly shifting and exceedingly detailed colors and patterns. How had I not noticed that before? Then I saw them everywhere. The trees several yards away, the gnomes, myself, Celene, and even every blade of grass – they were all glowing with various colors and patterns. There was a single moment where Celene and the pain all melted away and time slowed down as I just stared at the swirling colors.

Apparently, discovering these auras is what lead to my first (and so far only) rank advancement – but I didn’t discover that was the cause until later. I had never even witnessed the moment when a mage increased in rank before, so I was definitely startled when a noise not unlike an enormous bell cried out from my location and a myriad of colorful sparks exploded outward from me in a shock wave – knocking the sorceress to the ground.

I had ranked up, and my wounds were healed.

Yours,

Casey

Mage of SF – Rank 2


Bizarre Thursday – Part Two

As I sat on the 5, I nervously fingered the binding on the heavy tome. I hadn’t yet tried to control one of the living spells inside the book, and I wasn’t entirely sure what would happen. Plus, taking the tome out of the wards around my apartment made me a vulnerable target. I wasn’t sure what I would do if Celene or her like appeared (unfortunately, I was about to find out).

I pulled the cord to stop the bus when it was near the 22nd avenue stop. Then, gripping the tome fiercely with both hands, I thanked the driver and hastily made my way into the park and Lloyd Lake. I hesitated as I stood on the edge of the cement lining and stared into the scummy pond. The rain had let up, but it was still a crummy day so luckily there weren’t any people in sight. I don’t have the magic power for an illusion shield, and it tends to turn heads when someone jumps into a public duck pond. I also don’t have the power for any sort of weather shielding, so I was about to get very wet. There was nothing I could do about it though. I couldn’t just abandon George and the other gnomes.

A flow of energy was slipping downwards towards the bottom of the pond like a spiritual whirlpool (right into the portal), so it wasn’t difficult to locate the exact location. I tucked the tome into my jacket, steeled myself, and leapt into the water. Swimming quickly downwards, I followed the trail of energy. It didn’t take very long until the my senses completely reversed and I was suddenly swimming upwards. Portals are super disorienting – especially when you’re wearing sopping wet clothes and converse.

Soon, I was pulling myself out of a babbling brook next to a beautiful expanse of wildflowers – the gnome meadow. I rolled over and panted, grateful for the bright sunshine present in this pocket world. Well, I guess it wasn’t technically ‘sunshine,’ as it didn’t come from the star Sol (obviously), but you get my point I’m sure.

It didn’t take me long to find the gnomes. There were about two dozen in all, and just like George had said – they were encased in blocks of ice. It didn’t look as if they had been aware the spell was coming when they were trapped – they were all in various poses of play or frolicking, with giant grins on their faces.

George hadn’t arrived yet (which I thought was odd), but I figured I would go ahead and start the reversal spell. I opened the tome and held it in my left hand open to the page I had deciphered a few days prior, and held my right hand out above the red runes that shifted and flowed across it. I concentrated, and beads of sweat appeared on my forehead as I guided the eager runes from the page and directed them towards the gnomes. I wasn’t really casting the spell myself, but I was fairly sure that I could control the self-contained magic well enough to get the job done.

It was then that George appeared. I saw him frolic towards me excitedly out of the corner of my eye – he seemed overjoyed at the sight of his herd slowly being released as the ice began to dissipate. It was only when he was right next to me and the spell was finishing that his image began to shimmer.

I nearly fainted when a moment later, a tall woman in with steely gray eyes and a faux-fur cape stood in his place. I didn’t even have time to react as the tome was snatched out of my hands with a triumphant cackle.

Until next time,

Casey

Mage of SF – Rank 2


Bizarre Thursday – Part One

You know you’re going to have a weird day when you wake up to a text from a unicorn.

Be wary. Danger is ahoof. -Felicitus

That was all that it said. So helpful! You’d think that if he had managed to sent a text message without possessing hands, he’d at least take the trouble to provide a few specifics. When isn’t there danger when you have an extremely coveted mystical tome hidden in your apartment? I didn’t have much time to ponder the message though, because as usual I was late for work.

It wasn’t until my lunch break that the excitement began. I was sitting in the mall (I like to sit under the dome at lunch on rainy days) eating my soyrizo and reading Sense and Sensibility when a panic-stricken gnome tugged on my sleeve and pleaded, “Casey! Casey! I need your help!”

You probably haven’t seen a gnome yourself (they are invisible and inaudible to normal humans), so I’ll take a moment to describe what they look like. They appear mostly human, except that they have odd proportions (heads are far too big for their skinny necks), are about 3 and a half feet tall, and they have giant bulbous noses, blue tinged skin and a propensity for wearing child-sized sundresses. I had never seen this particular gnome before in my life, so I was a bit confused about how he knew my name and how to find me. Gnomes are generally very friendly though, if a bit silly – so I was not immediately afraid.

“Calm down, what’s going on?”

“My flock is trapped and our gnomeherd is missing! I don’t know what to do!” The gnome began to cry. “A unicorn told me you could help. You have to! You just have to!” I’m sure I looked completely crazy to the other mall-goers considering that I was consoling a blubbering invisible gnome, but at this point I didn’t care. How could a gnomeherd go missing? Each flock of gnomes is magically linked to a mage that looks after them. It should be impossible for a gnomeherd to abandon his flock. (Wild gnomes can generate quite a bit of mayhem, so The Circle put very secure countermeasures in place.)

“Trapped? How?”

“I don’t know! I left the flock this morning to go scare some tourists in the rain, and when I came back they were all trapped in blocks of ice!” Trapped in blocks of ice? In retrospect, it was fairly odd that the gnomes would be afflicted with a condition that I had just figured out how to undo a few days prior from the tome (well, kind of). But, my Rank 1 self did not find that at all suspicious.

“It’s ok, George.” The gnome’s name was embroidered into his yellow sundress. “I’ll help you.” I quickly got directions on how to find the portal in Golden Gate Park that lead to their meadow, and told him to meet me there.

Stopping only to call the office to let my coworkers know that I’d miss the rest of the day at work (my boss loved that btw) and to grab the tome from my apartment, I hopped on a bus to the park. Boy, was that ever a mistake – but I’ll tell you what happened next time. Don’t worry – I’m obviously still alive.

Best,

Casey

Mage of SF – Rank 2


The Circle

This past weekend I was called to The Circle. The organization was the only thing keeping people like Celene from ripping my guts out, so I didn’t think that refusing the summons would be the wisest course of action. I certainly hesitated though, as I had been so poorly received there in the past.

Late, (and still far too early for a Sunday) I dragged myself out of bed and walked down to city hall. This was my third summons to The Circle since becoming a mage, and previously I had not had any trouble locating the secret entrance to the conclave – despite its tendency to move around. But of course when I was in a rush it was a nightmare. My dowsing rod just would not cooperate and it kept pointing me towards my apartment. The early morning and my preoccupation with deciphering the Tome must not have been helping.

After circling the building three times, I finally found the catch. It wasn’t even on the same block as city hall this time. That is so frustrating! They chose the place for their portals so that they can masquerade as some sort of magical government, and then they aren’t even consistent about it!

Anyways, I had to stand on my tip toes to block the flow of energy into the particular knot on a sycamore opposite the building. This tripped a sequence of spells and I marvelled at the intricacy of the magic as an illusion shield* sprung up around me and the ground began to quake. Within moments, a stairway emerged from the pavement leading down into the conclave.

By this time my apprehension was particularly heightened. I was twenty minutes late and still embarrassed from my actions at the previous calling. Regardless, it was all I could do not to chuckle inwardly as I thought that these particular mages watch entirely too much television. The three ominous figures (typical robe and cowl types) received me in their dark conclave with a single torch in the center of the room. The figure in the center spoke in a magically modified voice, to conceal his identity. It was all completely over the top.

“You’re late.”

“I apologize for that, sir. I had trouble finding you.”

The figure grunted before getting right to the point. “It has come to our attention that you are causing far too much trouble for your status. You are hear by commanded to stay out of the business of other mages and to NOT engage in public fights of any kind. Do you understand?”

I gulped. Were they talking about my encounter with Celene last week? Or the band of pixies the week before? Probably both. How was I supposed to obey?  I certainly can’t give Celene the book, and I’m still not entirely sure what the pixies had accosted me for. I never go looking for trouble, it just always seems to find me.

“Yes, sir.” What was I supposed to say? You don’t talk back to The Circle if you want to stay protected (at least not twice in a row). Still, I was not sure how I was going to keep my promise.

They dismissed me immediately. All that dowsing for a two-minute meeting. What gives?

Respectfully,

Casey

Mage of SF – Rank 1

*a spell designed to hide magical secrets from the public eye