February 3rd, 2002
Being a Mage - By Oton
"Magic is the only thing I think of. Magic is my life. Magic is my
beginning, magic will be my end. It is the center of my inner universe. It
is the center of everything I see, taste, smell or touch. It is the
life energy which streams through my veins, making me feel like a living and
breathing being. Magic is everywhere around me, it is the life essence and the
motor which drives the reality. Magic is me. Without it my life is
pointless, my senses are thick and lost, my reality is someone else's
reality. There's nothing impossible with magic, there's no one who can
oppose me with magic on my side. I can rule the world with magic. I can be
whatever I want with magic. I can even defy the Creator with magic."
Those are my thoughts while I am standing at the bottom of the Main
Training Chamber of the Mages' Guild Hall. I'm holding the Punishment
Chain which is fifteen yards long. You get the idea of the Guildmaster's
attitude towards students who don't try hard enough... Well, I think I
really try very hard, because I've been here four hours already. Five
minutes... just five minutes more and it will be hard for anyone to
collect the pieces of my body on the floor after I fall. The Guildmaster
doesn't allow other spells while you are studying a new one. So I really
have to fall if I'm going to...
"Are you going to stay there all day like a complete idiot, talking to
yourself? Or will you finally try to channel the damn shockwave, for
Vryce's sake!" The voice of the Guildmaster is deep and loud, echoing
from the massive walls of the Main Training Chamber of the Mage's Guild
Hall. "Spread your legs! Raise your hands above your head and concentrate!
Squeeze your mind until it reaches the size of a tiny spot! Let the
magical energy flood around that spot! Start leveling the spot with the
magical energy! How many times do I have to repeat this?"
"Stop yelling at me! I can do it! I can channel that shockwave! Just
leave me with my thoughts!" I gather my thoughts and concentrate.
Inhale. Let your senses guide you. You have to make a ball out of your
energy, like you do it for the spells you already know. Then reshape the ball
into a straight line. The line must become flexible. When it is so, you
have to change it into a circling vortex. That is how the massive
shockwave emerges. Everything in the spell casting is reshaping the magical
energy. Each shape is more difficult and complex. The more powerful the
spells are, the more versatile their forms are. I've been doing this
for five weeks already. I haven't slept, eaten or rested since the Guildmaster
told me I was ready to learn the shockwave. Five weeks. Or was it
yesterday? I have no idea and I don't care. The Guildmaster punished
me. He said I should've learnt it three weeks ago. Why is it so hard?
"If you learn this spell, you can destroy everything," the Guildmaster
said. "Learn it and I will grant you permission to call yourself
"Magic-User." How wonderful these words sound. It is something you
don't just get and put it whenever you sign. "Magic-User" means respect. It
means people make space for you when you enter an Inn. It means you
have proven to the world that you're somebody. But above all - it means
you have proven your worth to yourself. You have proven that you can
prevail - that you can survive in the disgusting and brutal world of
Medievia. "Magic-User" is a word of pain. Pain you can cause. Pain you have
suffered all your life. Pain you can ultimately conquer. Such pain
causes the Guildmaster, when he sees you don't make any progress. Endless
pain, caused by the Master, magically touching the neural centers of your
backbone. When you feel this, you feel like the whole world screams in
agony with you. And the pain stops just when you think it's all over
and in the next second you'll die. The cessation makes you feel even more
So I concentrate once more. The magical energy begins to take its
shape. And just before I reach the final stage, the shape deforms. I failed
again. Released energy sparks fill the whole room with bright flush of
light rays, which the huge hall absorbs like the sand in the desert
instantly absorbs the few rain drops. "I can't... I just cannot do it."
Those words are mistake.
By the time of an eye blink, the Guildmaster is not there - he is here.
A bone-chilling shocking grasp pulls out the air of my lungs, making me
feel at least one billion nails sticking in my body. I can smell and
sense the hot breath of the Guildmaster on my face through the agony.
"Now listen to me, you, spell-casting earthworm! There are no such words
as 'I cannot' in the Mages' vocabulary! Either you will channel the
shockwave immediately or I will personally see that your liver is thrown to
the sewer rats below this hall! Do you know what the sewer rats are
like? They're like big bears. The biggest among the bears I mean. Now, can
you imagine - just imagine - what will be the next organ of yours which
I'll throw to them?" I don't want to imagine. "Did I make my self
clear, Oton?" His eyes are red as the sun when the sun is not in a pleasant
mood. The pain - I can't stand the pain.
"Like a crystal, Guildmaster!" Was that my voice? Why is it so thin?
"So be it, Oton." The shocking grasp disappears instantly. I take my
breath eagerly. One day - one day I'll make you suffer the same way you
make me! "Don't even think about it," he says. Did he just read my
thoughts? Yes! He looks at me! Well, who cares? Let him see them. Let him
see what will I do to him. "You will do nothing to me, Oton. You will
thank me one day! Just the way I thanked my Master for everything he
taught me. Don't be angry - hide your anger behind the mask of the magic.
Clear your mind of everything and be a Mage!"
"Again!" His voice is the voice of my will. His eyes are my eyes. His
power is the power I can reach. Everything he knows I will learn some
day. But that day is too far away. So I inhale, concentrate and start
over. It's going to be one hard day in the training chamber. Aren't they
all like this though?
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