The Coward's Magisterium

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20091117

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The Coward's Magisterium




Bonjour. Good day. I pride myself on catchy headlines, and I hope the above matches said criteria. I pray that this 'blog' will become a harbour for my thoughts, for all to see. But be forewarned. I often do not mean to sound cruel, harsh and vicious....But I am, so that's how it translates. As the Great Bill Hicks said.




But, to start off upon a lighter mood, here is a little story I wrote. Enjoy.






People are shit. This is a fact, simple as that. People, in general, are worthless pieces of filth. You'll meet very few people who'll disagree with that. Well, few people with half a brain.
But there's something you learn. Even the briefest light shines in the darkness. This means more. It means that despite the terrible things we do, as long as there exists a single person willing to put their own interests behind that of another, these terrible things do not matter.
The first chap we come to had never done that. Farron Warwinter. Sitting in a dingy cell, with hard stone cobbles around him like granite snakes, moss leeching in between the gaps and Rats popping through the various holes in the pitch black. He was not a very physical powerful man, indeed, his age and confinement had withered him to a husk; a once-strong Oak wilted and cut until it turns into little more then propped up driftwood. But appearances, as we all know from far too many proverbs, can be deceiving.
Where we come to his tale, it was his 9341th Day of confinement. Damn near 26 years. And a door opened. Instantly, the old man grimaced, closing his eyes, but did not stir from his place; lying broken against the wall of the cell.
"Finally come to break the old Villain's bones, I hope, Guyt."
A truly majestic figure's outline stepped from the beaming light of the hallway into the pitch black cell. Had Farron been able to see him, he would have proudly considered he was a Hero; Mage, Rogue, Archer, Paladin, something like that, come to examine the purest visage of their worst enemy: in short, a walking skid-mark.
"My name is Grasdan the 3rd."
"Who the feck are you? You look like a right twat."
"I'm your King."
"So you are a twat." Farron couldn't see a bloody thing, but it didn't take eyes to guess his visitor was grimacing, pretty badly. To Hell if he cared. Farron died 25 years before.
"I have come to request your attendance as a Tutor at the Knight-Academia."

It wasn't very easy to surprise the old bastard. He'd seen Fire demons rain from the sky, gather around him, before helping him firmly cook a City. He'd seen Knights charge off cliffs to their death.

But he was surprised now.
His tone turned from the light, resigned rasp to a stern whisper.
"Why?"
"As I recall, 25 years ago, you duelled the Bear-Master Hrolf Shining-Shield, High-Magi Jon Demar, and Sir Erik Longfang. Hrolf was killed, while Jon shattered your magical abilities with Sir Longfang...decorating you." He nodded his head at the curious stump of Farron's left arm.
"As I recall, it was about 5 feet outside a bedroom where you, your father and entire family were cowering like the spineless shits you were. Correction; Are."
His vision up to about a tenth of what it used to be, Farron saw the King's lips tighten, his brow furrow and eyes intensify.
"Jon Demar has disappeared. Sir Erik has been appointed Knight-Commander of the Academia. No Mage currently exists with a third of your experience." An intake of breath, and the boy had his steel.
"Listen, you crippled old codger, you can either spend another 25 years in here and continue shitting yourself in your sleep, or become the Tutor for Battle Magic. Your fucking choice."
Without noticing, the prisoner grinned, showing teeth tragically broken by falling down stairs in a single-floor building. He had a choice. Choices break men, or forge them into something better. Sorcerers like Farron belonged in the latter category. And Grasdan obviously did not know why Jon Demar had forbidden anyone to speak to Farron during his imprisonment.
"You got yourself a teacher." He closed his eyes, savouring his last moments in the dark, as Grasdan turned his head.
"Get this fuck cleaned up."

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

15 Birthdays. Each one the same. I wake up. I trundle down stairs. Presents are showered on me for 12 minutes, most of which will be forgotten within the week, then I return to my room. I read the books I've been given. I play the games I've been given. But I do not talk to the people who have given me them. I avoid them, callously, as if any kind word or light gesture from or towards me could shatter my glass fascade and make me scream my judgements at them. My mother, neurotic and image-obsessed, who has broken down many times, with a chubby figure that waxes and wanes from the edge of fitness to the resigned state of a flailing housewife. My sister, cowardly and shrunken against all but those who love her, to whom she is instead snide and sharp, with spectacles, light blonde hair like our mother's and a figure that permanently restricts her attractiveness and fitness. My brother, the ever-present Protector of the Family, attempting to make up for our father's mistakes, quick to anger (like me) and disdainfully kind towards our mother (unlike me), who shares our father's face with me, except our father's nose, hampering my face like a giant, seething buboe. Fitness seems to be his driving force, as he hopes to join The Royal Marines Commandoes - after previously wanting to be a Games Designer and a Concept Artist. Sleep for me was filled with leading armies and fighting as a Soldier, which I gladly shared with my family. Regret nags at my heart as I see my brother fufilling the dream I know I could never accomplish. My father, the provider, just as image-obsessed as our mother, but with none of the paternal ferocity. If everyone considered hittng children perfectly reasonable, my father would beat me senseless every chance. But, deep-down, unlike the other members of my family; I know there is someone who wishes to be the tall, upstanding man; Protector of his family, permanent and proud Patriarch of our clan. But his upbringing has taught him to be subservient to the wishes of the public, and transfer the anger he feels about the slightest things towards us in a cavalcade of hurt, swearing and verbal violence. Deep down, there is no kinder a man, and I think I owe my generosity and intellect to subliminal hints from him.

I avoid these people as much as I can without becoming detatched to them. Despair, mingled with love and a firm bedrock of dislike,carry me through the times inbetween happiness and disaster. During our times laughing, joking and actually enjoying each other's company, the very moment uplifts itself, bringing out the best in our family. No family laughs and talks as much as us at a Pizza Hut, or restaurant. We find humour in the slightest things; a bad joke aimed at one of us will make one sulk, but that lasts minutes at worst, and that member is quickly joining in again. My brother and I spar with the aptitude of century-old partners in crime, my verbal crudeness being offset by his silver tongue; my raw intellect tempering his limited intuition. My mother and sister sit beside each other and enjoy each other's company to no end, my mother's innate kindness (which sometimes sickens me) reflecting all the brighter off my sister's mirror image of her; as if her glasses act like windows into the loving, deep, scarred heart that is my mother's. Each parley between them seems god-given. My father sits at the head, gladly being excluded from the majority of each conversation, but delegating half his attention to each, carefully turning a discussion away from an argument with an inspired quip, or an utterly useless, but nonetheless genius, piece of information.
We enjoy our meals, making jokes about the passing topics; Film, Government, Family Affairs, Television and Religion. We then leave for the car, everyone stating how thoroughly we enjoyed ourselves.

And then we get home. Masks are pulled down, and the grizzly underside of our family bares it's fangs. Mother will go upstairs to rest, proudly demand the remote from her more nimble of servants or moan at the state of the house. I will sprint to the Computer, jumping at the chance to distance myself from the argument I know will come. My father goes to do the same upon his Laptop; even though he will most likely be an unwilling participant. My siblings, 18 and 19 years old, will watch the Television, my brother knowing he will not get a chance to venture onto the PC until the clock strikes 00:00.
Typically, an argument starts after an hour to three hours after getting home. A personality will veer off against another; my Mother against my sister, my Mother against my father, my Brother against me (but these last but a few sharp words exchanged between us), my Mother against me.
Each will be over the most mundane and pointless of things; an extra £5 upon a shopping bill, a glass left on the Coffee table, the Dog crap left undone. Despite the feeling of firey calm afterwards; this will likely be the direct prelude to a hideous argument between my Sister and my Mother. Each being windows into the other's soul, they strike at each other like twinned vipers; knowing where to hit and with virtually no defence against it. They become little more then animals, proudly preclaiming the most reclusive and darkest of their opponent's secrets. It disgusts me. They forsake everything that even allows them to resemble a human and tear relentlessly at each other, before one of three things will happen; my Brother will step in on my mother's side (for which I hate him) or I will step in on my sister's side (for which he hates me), or they will be left alone and thir fury eventually peter out.
The grand finale, usually accompanied by my mother stating her mental fortitude and emotional capabilities days; or even hours before, will be my mother collapsing, breaking down, crying and lamenting her life and forcing us to fix her in some way. I hide without shame when this happens; I cannot deal with the woman who taught me and haunted me my entire life throwing down her arms and giving up all sense of adulthood. Often, I wonder if the slaves of Africa ever demanded someone to make their life better.
I think not.
This is the pattern of all School Holidays; Birthday, Happiness, Argument, Breakdown. Sometimes it is my sister and not my Mother. Sometimes it is even me; sometimes the Teenage hormones and sheer emotional retardation I have inherited force me to shout, scream, cry and demand to be left alone. Somehow, I think my mother takes pride in the fact she never does wish to be left alone (But I hate her for it).
Only Christmas is our respite, perhaps in collective shame, as both Parents have abandoned us on separate Christmasses (My father did not wish to go).
The process is repeated, but the Breakdown is small and brief; if we're lucky.

It was several months after my 15th birthday that I was offered an escape. An escape from everything that was slowly turning me into an emotional cripple. I woke up, one August morning, with rain tearing at my window with the enthusiasm that very few could even hope to rival, that I lifted my head from my unwashed, burgundy pillow with a headache. Shrugging, and setting my head back down, I discovered something long, hard and tubular under my pillow. Instantly, my thoughts darted to some disgusting trick, but as I pulled up my rest, I found a shining metal cylinder unlike any other that I'd graced with my eyes, at any construction site. Roughly 12 inches from end to end, it gleamed silver, but most awe-inspiring was the golden writing upon it. Several hits to my temple confirmed I was not dreaming, so I touched the cylinder.
Without further ado, the Cylinder unrolled. You read that right -Unrolled. It was a solid silver tube, but by some unknown artifice, it unrolled to reveal a beautiful length of paper with the same golden writing upon it, about 12 inches long and 6 inches wide, but the paper itself was a brilliant white hue, that seemed to glisten with age and sparkle with life at the same time.
Strangest thing was, it was in English. It read:

Dear Mr. Matthew Warwinter.

After careful examination and extensive subliminal testing, including having the courage to touch the Messenger, you have been selected to join The Knight's Academia. Your genetics are a perfect match for all our parameters; indeed, some factors were off the scale, and we would be honoured if you chose to attend. Explanation is in order. Magic exists. Magic exists, but not in The Harry Potter sense. Indeed, our World may prove to be far darker then that fallacy could ever portray. Magic drains, magic destroys, and magic creates. But most of all, Magic tempts. You will be joining The Knight's Order, descendants of the European Code of Chivalry. The Knight's Academia is just one of the gateways to our world; the Velaraa. Much more will be explained, in time, but for now, I will give you a brief introduction into the lessons you shall be taught, and the Teachers you shall be taught by.

The Code: The Knight's Code is what defines us. It's clauses and applications shall be dictated to you by me, Knight-Commander Erik Longfang.

The Weapons of a Knight: You will be taught by the finest Weaponmaster to have grazed the earth of Velaraa, Sir Davinrad Farlight. These weapons shall range from the Knightly Weapons of your world, such as the Sword and Mace, to more exotic tools from Velarra, such as the Horlen.

The Beasts of Velaraa: Dame Selendra Delion has elected to transfer from the The Knightess' Academia to train you how to ride the more domesticated Beasts, and how to kill the most dangerous. She is also High Mistress of The Dragon Jousting Team.

The Armour of a Knight: Forger Varkharhan Drystnium The Hearty shall proudly inform you on the care, maintenance and rituals of The Plate.

The Lore of Velaraa: The history, culture and relationship with Terra (Earth) and Velaara shall be illustrated to you by Convict Farron Warwinter, under severe armed guard at all times.

The Art of Magecraft: Some Knights may seek to pursue their education further after the mandatory 5 years in The Academia; scoring high in this subject is a must for the 20 years training at The Mage Tower. Taught by Convict Farron Warwinter, under severe armed guard at all times.

The Squirehood: The Squirehood is dedicated to preserving the tradition of the Squire passed down by our Ancestors of Europe, Terra. It is an ancient tradition to keep this process a secret, but we highly advise looking it up on your Internet.

There are over 200 Teachers in the School, and 5000 Pupils. It is hosted in the Frerian Valley. This valley is heavily fortified, with 2 Levi-castles, Archem and Deran, for protection.
Should you accept this proposal, merely touch the word 'accept' in the previous phrase. I shall come to acquire you personally, as I was originally the one who took an interest in you 15 years ago, before I became Knight-Commander.
Should you decline, merely show this parchment to any other. The lettering will disappear, and your life will resume. You will go back to your family, and your Birthdays hidden away in your room. You can, however, tell them; though I doubt you will.
Be informed that, should you accept, you will be subject to a form of training far harsher then any you will have known. Also, you will be able to see your family every weekend for an hour, until your Graduation. At which time, you will have developed the capability to commune with them anytime you wish.

I offer you this placement despite great pressure from my superiors, for reasons that are obvious; the relation between the man under armed guard and yourself.

Yours Honourably

Knight-Commander Erik Longfang The Valiant, 5th Knight-Commander of The Knight's Academia and Decapitator of Farron The Feared.

I pride myself on not being put flat on my arse by anything. Anything. Somehow, I force myself to react, in one way or the other. Unfortunately, I failed to do so. My hands shivered with the millions of ideas that had just become, I hoped, very possible. Electricity. That's the only word that could ever possibly hope to describe what I felt. Here, in these letters, was freedom. Pure and sweet. As I reeled with excitement, I only just registered several marks directly at the bottom of parchment. They beamed light at me in a startlingly similiar way to the writing, but these were only a few milimetres across. There were 2 of them. The first was a effervescent green, that seemed to depict some kind of animal claw. The next, far darker, was a morbid grey that stood out just as much nonetheless, showing a simple letter; the latin sign for Beta.
Several seconds before, I would never have dreamed of touching either one. That was before, however, I had been freed. It's strange to think how I would react if it hadn't of been true...
The first I touched was the claw. Lightly, with my forefinger, I indented it gently.
For a split second, my heart shattered, as the script seemed to spit away, the golden writing seeming to literally leap off the page into the air. I had declined! I did not mean to, it was an accident, would the Knight know?..
But my worries were ill-suited.
To replace the golden scripture came more writing, this time of the luminescent green of the claw. It read:

Dear Sire Warwinter

It saddens my heart to have to bow down to Sir Longfang's wishes. Know, however, that should a life of Chivalry, Blades, Hardwork and Brawn not suit you, I would be glad to avail you of the wonders of Animalia. We at The Velaraan Beastiary instead tame and curb beasts, using selected techniques developed over centuries to carefully curb the Rhinoxen, Drakes, Dire Wolves and other such wonders of Nature to help benefit us.
Though I am disallowed to indulge my eccentricities, should you decline Sir Longfang's Offer, the Beastiary's proposal will appear instead.

Yours Fiercely

Dagonet Hawkeye.

This seemed to be going beyond me. I was being fought over? Yes, I did well at School, but my attitude and general hatred towards 9 out of 10 teachers meant I got thrown down with the stooges and delinquents. I'd inherited a deep curiosity that drove me to find things out; my stubborness kept me at it. So, I lightly touched the third symbol.
The process repeated itself, the lettering being scratched in a dark, penetrating grey

Boy

You will not accept this offer. Because you cannot. I am merely introducing you to what will happen. You will join The Academia. You will pass at the top of your class. And then, you will join The Wardsmen. We are the silent guardians of Earth; we are those who maintain the barriers between our worlds. And we are feared.

Grandmaster Horke

I moved with a sudden assurity. I had my way out! It was there! Beasts had no appeal to me, so, before I could adequately grasp myself, I had accepted the offer on The Knight's Academia! I was a Knight!

Then I woke up.

***********

The moment I realized that blissful escape was a dream, tears fell from my eyes. I turned my face and screamed into my pillow, again and again, digging my nails into my face as I did so. Why?! It seemed so real! It seemed so real. For full on an hour, I simply lay in bed, screaming and crying at the ingenuity of my own imagination. Yes, it had never been real. But I'd so wanted it to be...So much.
“My dear boy, that won't do, will it?” If a voice could be a shining ray of light, this voice would be it. For a second, I lay there, thinking it had to be my imagination. I lifted my face out of my tear-soaked pillow and looked round. Nothing. Then, I looked behind me, in the direction of my door.
He was a large man. Easily 7 feet tall. Shining blonde hair that gleamed like a star crowned a welcoming, smiling face circled and bisected with grizzly scars. Every inch of him was attired in a chique Armani suit, but I knew who he was.
He wore a sorrowful expression, of great pity.
“I'm sorry I had to put you through that.”
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Tykrieg
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Join date : 2009-08-18
Posts : 40
Location : Upon the Ides of March.


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