A Magical Slice
The below was an old writing exercise I used to get a feel for how I want magic to be in my world, as well as to try out a couple different things. It’s stream of consciousness with no editing. But hey, I need to make a long post…
The wind howled across the strait, giant waves crashed over ice and ship alike as the two frigates engaged in furious battle, against each other and the storm. Balls of flame, ice, lightning and iron exploded from the mouths of angry canons. Mages held on to what they could as they hurled their spells. Men screamed as balls of magical ice exploded into clouds of shrapnel upon the masts, and fires were extinguished almost as they started by storm and sailor alike. The deafening chaos of man was drowned out by the vengeance of nature as the frigates hurtled headlong across the seas, locked in the fight for their lives.
“Wanted: Young, magically ept fellows not over eighteen. Must be a Lightrider, willing to risk death or disfigurement daily. Orphans preferred”
~A recruitment ad for the Lightning Express, the fastest method of getting documents from one end of the Crystal Empire to the other. It lasted three years and was considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Lightriders can travel great distances in incredibly short amounts of time, by literally becoming lightning. The average lifespan of a Lightrider is less than six years after learning how to do it.
It were a dusty, hot summer morn. Fields was dried up an’ crackin. Ain’t had no water fer th’ crops in nigh on three months. Farmhands was doin’ wut they could, but after th’ local crick dried up, twas nuthin’ to be done. Erry day, we’d walk to th’ edge of town, hopin’ to see ‘em comin’. That day were no different. ‘Sept we could see it. As th’ sun were peekin’ over th’ old oaks behin’ us off’n th’ distance could see the barest speck of cloud. And we knew, today were th’ day. Sho ‘nuff, half hour later he arrived. They’s called Irrigators. Bringer’s of th’ storms. When we get times like these, wit no water, Th’ villages gets together an’ purchases th’ services of th’ Irrigators. They summon up water from th’ ocean an‘ guide her here up to thousan’ miles. Takes weeks it does. They’s a bunch of ‘em, spread out across the countryside, guidin’ in th’ storms. When he reached th’ center o’ the village he stopped, drew a circle aroun’ himself in th’ dirt, an’ started dancin’. He didn’t stop dancin’ till th’ clouds was o’erhead ‘n rain was comin’ down in sheets. We all ran inside o’course, it came down so heavy we couldn’t even see him out thar. When th’ rain stopped, he were gone. Twas expected I suppose, bringin’ rain is wut they do. Crops was good after that.
He was alone, alone on a mountain in the middle of nowhere, a week and a half from the nearest settlement. And he was fine with that. In fact, he wasn’t the kind of person to think about it at all anymore. He existed solely for a single purpose. He had a fist sized magical gem that pointed him in the direction of the nearest deposit of Corundum and he’d been mining it for years. The tunnels he had dug into the mountain were labyrinthine due to the single mindedness of his digging. He didn’t sleep, didn’t rest. There was no flesh on his bones, but a soft green light in roughly the shape of his muscles would flare up wherever he moved a body part, as if they were the muscles now. They may have been. He didn’t care. His skull was carved with faintly glowing runes, and in his eye sockets were two gems, glowing a sickly green. He wore no clothing to hide his bones. All he cared about was his mission as he pried the last piece of crystal he needed from the rock. He clasped it in his hands of bone and scurried out of the tunnel. There was a single path, going up the mountainside. It was well worn. He followed it up, like he always did, in his slow undead shuffle, each step sending shimmers of green light across nonexistent muscle groups. The destination was a small, smooth tower, that was slanted at a peculiar 35 degree angle. He had built it, when he first arrived, magically fusing the solid rock of the mountain together into this structure. There was a small door leading into the tower and he let himself in, almost with reverence. There was nothing inside, it was just a hollow tube. But the walls and floor were covered in runes of all shapes and sizes, carefully etched into the rock over the course of a few years. The skeleton set himself down in the center of the room, and opened his fingers. He brought the crystal close to his face and whispered his spell and clenched his fist tightly. The crystal became powder, one that he used to carefully finish tracing the last segments of runes on the floor. The powder melted into the rock, and he was done. Well almost done. He looked at his arm, there were twelve runes on there, and all but one glowed faintly. He touched the blank one, and whispered a word. The rune flared up brightly, and then dimmed like the others. He sat down in the exact center of the floor, and began chanting. A dagger of light appeared in front of him. He reach out and grabbed it, and as the light began searing the bones in his hand, he drove the dagger into his skull. There was a flicker as the lights in his eyes went out, and then the entire room exploded with magic