Star of Mages – Beginnings

Lavinia: Aha! There we have it! One simple, Defensive Shielding spell. (And it’s got a Restorative effect too!)

Percival: Beautifully done. That at least gives us something to start with. With the wall containing its own catalyst stones, it shouldn’t be difficult to make this span its whole length. With some strategic placement of the actual casting, we might be able to support something stronger as well, but it’s difficult to gauge that without the existence of the wall itself.

Lavinia: I’ll keep looking at this then, and try and see what improvements I can make without increasing its cost too much. I reckon Blake might have a knack for this too, actually. He’s very accustomed to maximising a spell’s capacity on minimal energy…

Percival: I believe he would appreciate that, if not necessarily for your reasoning.

Lavinia: Perhaps. I shall speak to him about it. But I meant to ask, how are you finding all of this? I know I have asked quite a lot of you, and Amalric certainly seems closer to you than the rest of us.

Percival: I think, for Amalric, it is simply a matter of time. I don’t think he entirely knows how to respond to how friendly everyone is. Perhaps I am less…

Lavinia: Imposing?

Percival: That wasn’t the word I was looking for, but I think you understand what I mean at least. I am… plainer. Perhaps it makes me easier to become accustomed to.

Lavinia: You still haven’t lost some of your old ways, at least when it comes to trying to please people. But Percival, please, you must tell me if I am putting too much strain upon you. You already do so much for me, and to have now taken on the orb research as well… I just don’t want you to hurt yourself.

Percival: Thank you, Lavinia, I appreciate the concern. But I would rather do what I can to help now, at this stage, while I am able. Once things become more advanced, I fear my element will prevent me from being much help to you.

Lavinia: I see. I wish there was something I could say, but I thank you for being so forward-thinking. I hope, even when things do become more involved, I may continue to have your non-magical support?

Percival: Of course. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Star of Mages – Beginnings

Although the manor house was quite often full of energy, of a magical, academic sort, it had been many years since it had last felt busy. Lavinia had not replaced any of the servants, and for a time the house had been occupied only by herself and Percival. When it was agreed that Blake and Haneul would join them, it regained some of its former liveliness, but the group had never wanted for anything, and had never needed to make haste. With the addition of Amalric, the change in the atmosphere of the house was even tangible.

Hanuel: Right! I’ve done the calculations, and this is it! This is how big our wall would need to be to surround the whole of Eruvene!

Blake: Ok, I think even our Earth Sorceress is going to balk at that a bit… What height were you using when you calculated it?

Hanuel: About two metres, but if I’m honest, I reckon we’d probably want it higher than that. I mean, I don’t want to stir up any trouble, but the Centaurs are some of Arach’lor’s most devoted followers, and most of them are over two metres tall as is.

Blake: Sheesh! You don’t think we’re going to end up having to defend ourselves from them too, do you!?

Amalric: I’d feel comfortable saying it’s highly unlikely. At this stage, they are mostly looking for magical sources. If it were to come to an actual war, which I daresay it might some many years from now, then yes, it is possible we could count the Centaurs among our enemies. As it stands, there is very little, if any, magic among their race, so it’s unlikely that they have even been considered yet.

Blake: Ok, that’s good to know. So what are we thinking then? Three metres? It’ll be impossible to ever build a wall high enough that the vast majority of the city can’t be seen over it anyway, given that everything just keeps building on top of itself, but three metres should be enough for a decent start? Even if just for the calculations.

Hanuel: We’ll use three to fill the numbers for now, but I’ll see what information I can find on Florinye’s castle town too, as that would probably be the best thing to base this around. Moving on though, over… here… is what I think we should do about gates!

Meanwhile, in the vast underground study that spanned the house’s lowest floor, Lavinia and Percival were trying what they could to craft a Shielding spell.

Lavinia: So let me just check this once more before I begin; Shielding spells have their own array, and to start with, I’m only likely to need the one, innermost circle?

Percival: That’s right. In addition, there are two main types of Shielding spell; Aggressive and Defensive. Aggressive shields will inflict some form of harm or damage upon anything that should come into contact with them, whilst Defensive shields use that energy for better endurance. The spell’s type is determined primarily through the elements in the centre and inner circle. For the purpose of our wall, I’d say we’d be much safer with a Defensive type.

Lavinia: I see, so I want four element discs, one for the centre, and three for the inner circle. And I want a Defensive combination effect…

Star of Mages – Beginnings

Three hours later, and the group assembled in the drawing room once more. Haneul had with her two rather large books, Percival was carrying several pages of hand-written notes, and Blake appeared dejected and was empty-handed. Amalric and Lavinia’s own set of notes was substantial, but vague.

Blake: I’ll get it over with now; the search was a bitter disappointment. Makes sense, I guess, given that magic wasn’t as widely understand at the time, but all I’ve really come away with was what we already knew; they used the Philosopher’s Stone as a central catalyst to cast spells across the city. Not really a technique we’re going to be able to copy.

Hanuel: That’s kind of what these two are discussing too, actually. The biggest issue with wide-scale magic is finding a strong enough source in the first place. There are a few different theories about what might bring together enough energy to cast across a city, but a whole country? We’d need Hectaythe herself. We’d be better off going down the other route of casting smaller spells at greater frequency, and trying to join up their effects.

Lavinia: That sounds like a promising idea. We shall have to look into that one. How about you, Percival? What do you have for us?

Percival: I’m afraid this is also something of a puzzle. There hasn’t been much need of purely magical defences, so it looks like we’re going to have to do some spellcrafting of our own, but I’ve put together a list of some of the smaller, augmentative spells that we might be able to use as a starting point.

Blake: Oh, like Guardian’s shields and stuff, right? Good thinking.

Percival: Thank you. It isn’t much, but it should at least give us a better understanding of which components would have the desired effects.

Hanuel: Well, if nothing else, we can convince the king to build a really big wall, and augment it beyond recognition.

Amalric: If we were to imbed such a wall with catalyst stones, it could also serve to heighten the effects of any spell cast within it…

Haneul: I hadn’t actually been serious about a wall…

Lavinia: It’s a good idea though. Naturally, walling off the whole of Esperant would be foolish as well as impossible, but Eruvene is a small city of greater height than width. It just might be possible.

Blake: And it at least gives us a defence people can be working on while we try to find something more effective. Going to take a bit more than a couple of weeks though…

Haneul: Hmmm, not necessarily. The Dean’s an Earth-elemented Sorceress; with a bit of help from her students, she could probably have a wall up around Eruvene in a matter of days. We’d just have to bring her the catalyst stones. Where would we get something like that?

Lavinia: For the sort of scale we’re proposing, I think we’d have to make them, Haneul.

Hanuel: Ah…

Percival: … … … I might be able to help with that. My father was an orbsmith; I was able to learn a little of the craft from his notes. It’s enough at least to be able to source the materials we’d need, even if it might take a more experienced hand to finalise it.

Lavinia: Thank you, Percival, that’s wonderful news. In that case, I think we’re ready to start drawing up our first plan.

Star of Mages – Beginnings

In the bright morning, it would have been easy to forget the discomfort of the previous night, but the scent of unfamiliar magic still lingered on the air, un-missable in its strength. At least the night had given Lavinia chance to collect her thoughts, and decide upon their next course of action. She settled herself down in the drawing room, and waited for the others to wake.

Already their usual routine was out of turn, for Lavinia was rarely up before Percival, but when Blake entered the room only a short time after her, it was clear that it was going to be another unusual day.

Lavinia: Dear Blake! You look like you have barely slept at all!

Blake: Bad dream. Well, a few of them, actually.

Lavinia: This whole situation has really troubled you, hasn’t it?

Blake: That’s putting it lightly. I know I can be a bit on the argumentative side at the best of times, so I know it’s probably hard to tell, but this is different. It frightens me, Lavinia. Frightens me the way I do…

Lavinia: Oh Blake… Here, sit with me. I know there is little I can say to console you, but please, you must know that I care very deeply for you. I’m going to do everything in my power to keep you safe, to keep all of us safe, in this matter and any other. You have my word.

Blake: Thanks, Lavinia. Sometimes it’s nice that you’re always so serious.

Haneul: Morning, you two. I haven’t missed anything, have I?

Blake: Not yet, no. Heh, you at least look like you’ve had no trouble sleeping.

Hanuel: Not one bit! I thought I’d consult the cards, last night before I went to bed, and I have to say, they’ve left me feeling much better about the whole thing.

Blake:  Not that you needed convincing. Go on then, what did they say? Wait, let me guess, he’s actually the prince of a faraway kingdom and he’s going to fall hopelessly in love with you and carry you away to his castle in the mountains.

Hanuel: Blake, really? At least pretend to be interested! Though I have a good mind not to tell you now.

Blake: Go on, you know I want to hear it really.

Haneul: Right, well, here’s the thing: we’re going to reshape the whole of Esperant! Now, I won’t pretend to know the details, but the cards have made it very clear that everything we do now is going to change the way the entire country carries itself. And in a good way, I should add! We’re going to be famous!

Blake: Ok, I can see why that would put you in a good mood.

Lavinia: And this is all thanks to the arrival of Amalric?

Haneul: Pretty much! Like I said, I don’t have any details, but he’s the start of it all!

Lavinia: Interesting. Well, try not to let that colour your judgement too much, Haneul; we still have a lot to ask him before we can decide if we’ll be maintaining this new friendship.

Haneul: I know, I know. But I’m going to let you do most of the questioning anyway, so my day-dreaming’s not going to do any harm. Oh look, here they come now!

Percival: Good morning all.

Lavinia: Ah, Percival, Amalric, good morning. I trust you slept well?

Amalric: Most certainly so. I must thank you again for the hospitality you have shown me, Lady Lavinia.

Lavinia: You’re very welcome. And it shall continue for as long as you have need of it. You must be very far from home.

Amalric: Indeed I am, though no distance could put it far enough behind me. I’m afraid I am not in Esperant on good business. Not at all.

Lavinia: You’ll forgive us for asking then what brings you here? The state in which we found you suggested this was not an ordinary sort of visit.

Amalric: Gladly I will tell you, though I fear you may not believe the whole of it. Worse yet, you are not the only people I need to tell. I need to get this message to your king…

Blake: Whoah now! That’s not suspicious at all! Just who the heck are you, anyway!?

Amalric: I’m sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. I have given you my name, I’m afraid that’s all there is to know as to who I am. I have no title or family with which to elaborate. I am a Sorcerer, as I believe you have already guessed, and I have come from a small land of no name or prior history. A keep in the mountains to the west of Florinye. No, not a keep… A temple. It was a temple…

Lavinia: A temple? To whom, Amalric?

Amalric: Arach’lor. It was a temple to Arach’lor. But also a keep, a fortress of sorts. He is there. Arach’lor, Himself, He is there. In flesh and blood. He is the reason I have come here. I have to warn your country. I have to stop Him…

Blake: Ok, slow down, you’re still not making any sense. So you’re saying that you’re a Priest of Arach’lor?

Amalric: No! No, please, I am nothing of the sort. They wanted me to be, they trained me to be, but I am not. I am not! I fled before they could make me. I fled so that I could warn Esperant…

Percival: Careful, you’re still not fully rested yet, please, try not to move too suddenly.

Amalric: I… Thank you, Percival, thank you. You are too kind…

Lavinia: We’re not accusing you of anything, Amalric. Please, continue.

Amalric: … …. …. I don’t know how best to explain it, but please, I swear to you I speak the truth. They are using magic to sustain Arach’lor’s mortal body, to build power within it, so that he may act as he wishes. I am one of many mages that they held there, but they are running out. They kill the ones that they cannot take much from, and train those of us that are more useful to them alive. But they are running out. It’s not enough. They’re going to have to act soon, and they have chosen Esperant as their target. It’s magical blood that they’re after, and there is so much of it here…So much of it…

Lavinia: I see. Then, what would you have us do..?

Amalric: I… I don’t know. I don’t know much of Esperant, I haven’t been able to plan it. I have ideas, but they are just that, ideas. But we have to do something. The country must be warned, and quickly, while she still has chance to defend herself. As it stands, every single person here with the slightest hint of magic in their blood is at risk…

Blake: And that might as well be the whole country…

Lavinia: We will need to speak to the king after all. Even with our power, this isn’t something we can just quietly work towards.

Hanuel: What about Lord Hyperion? We should probably tell him too.

Blake: And Peninnah, the Dean at the University.

Percival: How long do you suppose we have before they trace you here, Amalric?

Amalric: Before they find me? Not long. A couple of weeks at best. But it will take longer than that for them to act in full. As I said, their numbers are limited; they won’t risk any great action until they are thoroughly sure of the circumstances.

Blake: So we get a bit of a head start at least… But this sort of thing, this is war we’re talking about, surely!?

Lavinia: War against who? If they have no nation, who are we fighting? I don’t know that we shall have to prepare for it as though it is such, but diplomatically speaking, we’re in a much trickier situation. I don’t doubt Amalric’s words for an instant, but we would need far more to convince Florinye or Valescha to aid us, and Esperant has never been at war herself before.

Amalric: I could show them… I have ways of doing it… But it’s risky, and at this stage, the power is better spent elsewhere. I’ve saved what I can up to this point, but for even my simplest plans I haven’t enough on my own…

Lavinia: That we can help with. And I might just be able to get us a meeting with the king.

Haneul: I can get us a meeting with the Dean, for what that’s worth?

Blake: Can’t say I’ve got any useful contacts for us.

Percival: Nor I, but I shall help in any way that I can.

Blake: Exactly. Count me in. Even if all I can do is fetch books.

Lavinia: Actually Blake, that may just be the very best place to start. If we can approach His Majesty with some sort of plan already in the making, then he may be more inclined to listen to us. Percival, find us any books you can on magical defences. Hanuel, you’re on wide or grand-scale magic. Blake, I want you to look into whatever you’re able relating to the Dark Elf War. Amalric, if you could please begin to outline some of your ideas to me, we can work out which would be most suitable given Esperant’s location and magical diversity.

Blake: On it.

Hanuel: Consider it done!

Percival: I shall do my best.

Lavinia: Thank you. Let’s give it three hours, then we shall meet back here to discuss our options. Hanuel, you’ll probably be able to find a fair few things in the library here. Percival, you might also, but it’s less likely. Blake, I’m afraid I’m going to have to send you a bit further afield.

Blake: I’m not putting my cloak on as a fashion statement, Lavinia, I’d already figured that much.

Haneul: Well get out the door a bit faster then!

Amalric: Thank you, Lady Lavinia. Truly, I could not have found myself with better people. I confess, I hadn’t much hope for Esperant before I came here, but now I think that she just might be able to save herself.

Lavinia: I only hope you’re right. Hanuel has said for some time now that she thinks our little group may have established itself to serve some greater purpose. I think perhaps that this is it.

Amalric: You may well be right. In which case, I don’t think it is any coincidence at all that you are the ones who found me. Fate has a loving way of putting people in the right places and at the right time, even if the circumstances themselves might seem peculiar.

Lavina: That it does. But we have no time to waste. Please, tell me what you think we can do.

Star of Mages – Beginnings

Blake: They’ve been in there an awful long time. I swear, if he tries anything, or harms Percival in any way, I’m going to-

Haneul: For crying out loud, Blake! Just cut it out, would you!? Percival will be fine! He’s more than strong enough to handle one, half-dead mage!

Blake: Well forgive me for worrying about him! I just don’t like the idea of leaving him alone with some stranger we know nothing about, who’s strong enough that he’s probably making the bath water boil just by being in the same room as it!

Lavinia: Both of you, enough! Blake, I’m sure Percival would be touched by your concern, but he is a very sensible man, and he wouldn’t have volunteered for this task if he didn’t think he could handle it. And Haneul, please, there was no need to lose your temper like that.

Blake: … … …

Haneul: … … …

Blake: You’re right, you’re right. Sorry. I just- Argh, sometimes I’m not convinced that he wouldn’t knowingly put himself in danger like that. You know, if it meant one of us wouldn’t.

Lavinia: I can understand that.

Percival: Is everything alright in here?

Dressed in something less blood-stained, the man at Percival’s right suddenly looked quite normal, although his pale face suggested it was going to take a bit more than just a hot bath and some clean clothes to get him looking well again. Nonetheless, his manner seemed quite amiable.

Percival: Everyone, allow me to introduce you to Amalric.

Amalric: A pleasure to meet you, all of you. I owe you a great debt.

Lavinia: Think nothing of it. My name is Lavinia, and I am the Lady of this household.

Haneul: I’m Hanuel, Sorcerer, nice to meet you!

Blake: Blake, also a Sorcerer, hello, I guess?

Amalric: A whole house of Sorcerers. I’ll confess, that doesn’t quite feel like it was chance…

Percival: Amalric has travelled a very long way. If it’s alright with all of you, I had thought we might discuss this in the morning?

Lavinia: Of course. Percival, please make Amalric feel at home.

Percival: Of course.

Amalric: Thank you, Lady Lavinia. You are very kind.

Percival: Here, this way. You can lean on me.

Amalric: Thank you…

As the pair left, a heavy silence fell about the room, each mage forced to reassess their previous thoughts. The agitation in Blake’s breathing was hard to miss, and Haneul scratched at the surface of the table as she was warrant to do when deep in consideration. At last, Lavinia was forced to break the silence.

Lavinia: Perhaps some rest might do us all some good. It has been far more of an eventful day than I am used to, at least. I shall bid you both a good night.

Haneul: You might be right. Until the morning then. Good night, you two!

Blake: Night, Haneul. Good night, Lavinia. See you in the morning.

Star of Mages – Beginnings

Hanuel: Lavinia! Lavinia, come quickly!

Lavinia: Why, Haneul, whatever is the matter?

Hanuel: Over there, that gentleman, look! I think he might be hurt, there, look! He’s bleeding!

Lavinia: My word… We should help him. Come.

Blake: Hey wait! Stop, keep your distance! You can feel it, can’t you?

Hanuel: Blake, now isn’t the time for that! He’s hurt! He could be dying!

Blake: Exactly! Come on now, you know I’m not the sort who’d avoid helping someone, but think about it! I can feel his magic from here! If his control slips and we’re too close, we’re done for!

Lavinia: … … …

Blake: Never thought I’d be the voice of reason around here…

Hanuel: But…We can’t just ignore him…

Lavinia: … … …

Percival: I’ll go to him. If something were to happen, there’s no reason we all need to be in its reach.

Lavinia: Percival…

Blake: Hey, now wait a minute! Percival, what are you doing!?

Lavinia: It’s all right. Even if something like that were to happen, Percival can take it. Let him go.

Blake: You can’t mean that…

Haneul: Drop it, Blake. Lavinia’s right. And we have to do something!

Percival: I’ll be alright, Blake, it’s just a precaution.

Blake: I don’t like this.

The injured man’s power thrummed through the air all around him, offering a warning, and Blake was right to be cautious. But for all the tension in the air, like a dark cloud threatening rain, the promised storm never came. When at last he was satisfied that everything was under control, Percival signalled for the others to approach.

The injured man was unconscious, and in a sorry state, but upon closer inspection, it looked as though his life was in no immediate danger.

Percival: He needs rest, and someone to properly tend to his wounds, but, in theory, it shouldn’t take much more than that.

Lavinia: That’s reassuring. Can you lift him? It would probably be best that he came back with us; I don’t want to subject him to the Healers’ scrutiny if we don’t have to.

Percival: None of his bones are broken, and he shouldn’t be difficult to carry, but…

Haneul: He’s been walking this far. If he’s bleeding on the inside, then he’s already done himself more damage than us moving him would.

Lavinia: We don’t have a lot of options. Let’s get him home, and take it from there. If needs be, we can still fetch for a Healer.

Percival: All right…

Lavinia: Blake? What’s the matter? You still seem uneasy.

Blake: I am uneasy. It’s just… That amount of magic… It’s not right. Even if he can control it, we should keep our guards up. Human mages don’t carry that sort of power by natural means…

Lavinia: I see your point. Still, he might be able to offer us an explanation for that once he’s rested. If he can, would that satisfy you?

Blake: Yeah, it would definitely help, though I can’t promise to just look past this right away. You get why, right?

Hanuel: He might not even be human, Blake. He could be half-Elf, or Yukionna, or a Dragon-

Blake: Yeah, all right, I get it, Haneul. But none of that’s really the point. If it turns out he’s one of those things, great, at least we know he can carry that kind of magic, but it still doesn’t tell us what he intends to do with it or how he managed to get into this mess. There are a lot of questions he’s going to need to answer before we have any idea just what we’re dealing with.

Lavinia: All in due time, Blake. I don’t intend to put anyone in harm’s way.

Blake: ‘Cept Percival…

Hanuel: Blake!

Blake And Hanuel Talk Meditation

Haneul: Blake, are you feeling ok? You’re looking a little distant again. Can you hear me?

Blake: Hnnh? Oh. Yeah. I hear you. Sorry, I was…gone for a minute there.

Hanuel: Gone as in..? Are your powers ok? Have you made sure you kept up with your meditating?

Blake: Meditating…? Why would I be…?

Hanuel: Because Lavinia told you it’s important! It’s the only way to stop your powers running rampant again! Oh Blake, you have to pay more attention!

Blake: Running rampant? I’ve been having a hard enough time trying to get my powers to do anything at all, let alone go wild. That’s kinda the problem. Hence, Magician. If there was risk of them going crazy, I wouldn’t be using your Catalyst Stone, would I?

Hanuel: That’s true… Maybe it was important for a different reason then…

Blake: Wait, what? You mean, you’re not even sure what she said?

Hanuel: Well, no, I just remember she said it was useful and that you should do it. I sort of filled in the rest on my own.

Blake: Haneul! You’re such a drama queen!

Rough Haneul


Because it wouldn’t be right to have Blake without Haneul, have a rough Haneul doodle too. I wanted to do some fun coloured background stuff with her too, but it didn’t turn out nearly as effective, or dramatic. I don’t dislike it though. She makes me think of watermelon…

Rough Blake


So the rough ink-only images of Aubin I found made me think that it’s probably a good way for me to make sure I keep drawing even when I don’t have the time/motivation/ideas to do something that’s actually productive (like that big list of character sprites that’s still waiting for me to give it some attention…) So I did some more.

One Blake, enjoy!