Adventure in Wyr
by Kenny Crowe & Peter Bonney
Anethar shivered slightly in the cold, wet street. By the powers that be, let this be over quickly!
The rough stones in the street dug into his blistered feet as he sat, waiting for his companions to return. Not for the first time, he cursed the blow received in a bar brawl days earlier which kept bringing intermittent dizzy spells. By rights, he ought to be accompanying his companions in the culmination of their quest to understand the magic-hostile city of Wyr.
The other two mages of Taltheran were at that moment dashing across the moonlit cobbles to the huge myterious structure that they had found at the heart of the city of Wyr. The months of stealthy travel had taken its toll on them as well, as one moved with some trouble due to a wound he had received in the same brawl some days earlier, while the other winced every time his weight descended on his swollen right ankle.
The mages were not dealing well with their new social mediocrity. Anethar rubbed at his roughly shorn head. This fashion of shaved heads was going to make them the laughing stock of the Wizards Guild back in Tal, but it served their purpose here. As the time slowly passed, he went over his many spells of protection in his head. Ironically, these same wards prevented them from easing their various injuries. However, the time for stealth was fast coming to a close, as once Taltheran mages knew how to deal with the magic hating people of Wyr, they would be sure to strike.
Anethar shifted unconfortably yet again. Normally, his innate bond with his brother Tsareph would allow him at least some degree of contact with the other two mages. However, the various talismans they carried prevented this, also. But soon, soon the waiting would be over.
* * *
The structure loomed above the two Taltherani mages. At first they had not known what to make of it, with its knee high circular wall surrounding a dizzying mosaic which stretched for hundreds of feet.
At the center of this unfamiliar pattern rose a narrow spire, which flared into a wide platform with overlapping walls at the top. From a distance, it looked something like a flower with it's petals opening to the heavens.
Tsareph stopped at the base of the spire, favoring his sore ankle. He could see an open chamber through an archway, where a small flame danced in the darkness. He shared a conspiratorial smile with his younger companion Qualim as they entered together. The walls inside were distrubing. Raised stonework portrayed extremely lifelike figures in various situation. A staricase beckoned them upwards. As they spiralled up the tower, the walls told them a story.
At the beginning, those who practiced the art of magic were not rare in Wyr. They used their skills for the betterment of their fellows, but as the years progressed, those who used magic began to see themseves as better than those who did not. The Sorcerors formed an exclusive society, and made all bow down before them. This was not to the liking of the inhabitants of Wyr. Some magicians used their arts for their own betterment, not thinking about it's effects on the common people, who suffered under the mystic rule.
Then, for the people of Wyr, a miracle occured. It began poorly, as the rule of Cedonian Empire was challenged by Ice Daemons from the south. They came from their icy homes to terrorise and conquer the lands. The Sorcerors of Mir sent forth their Dragons to destroy the Daemons with fire. But due to old grudges, the Dragons were also sent to attack the mages of Wyr. This was the time that the people of Wyr chose to make their stand. They pleaded with the few humane Mages left in Wyr for assistance. These few killed many of their fellow mages, and their battles damaged much of the great city of Wyr. Eventually, the last desperate Mages, hemmed from all sides by Evil Sorcerors, called upon the gods to save them and the good people of Wyr from an age of slavery and suffering at the hands of the Sorcerors.
They were answered.
The gods sent down their angels who slaughtered with fiery swords all who stood against them. The Angels demanded a price for their efforts, and the last Mages of Wyr gave their souls for the eternal safety of their people. The Angels made a great tower rise from the blood-stained soil of Wyr, and in this tower would reside the Angels who would preserve the people of Wyr from all dangers - at the price of their Mages.
The two Taltherani stopped at the top of the stairs. Above them the stars shone in all their majesty, while all around the pale white marble glowed in response. At the four cardinal points, north, south, east and west, stood statues of the angels. Only the short, nervous breaths of the two mages could be heard.
"There is nothing here. I can't sense anything," said Tsareph.
"That can't be right. It has to be these wards we carry," answered Qalim. The younger man reached under his clothing and removed the wards he carried for protection. He hoped that away from their influence he would be able to sense what magic was at work in the city of Wyr.
The young man, highly skilled but barely out of his apprenticeship, closed his eyes in concentration. "There is no spell at work here," Qalim declared.
"What, you must be wrong, how can you explain the ward surrounding the city!"
"I can't. But there doesn't seem to be any magic active." His youthful features were creased with concentration. Desperation began to show in his motions.
Behind the two, the eyes of a statue opened, revealing a golden radiance within.
"Who are you to disturb us?"
* * *
Anethar felt his wards become hot as they worked to prevent a scrying attempt. He jumped to his feet, soreness forgotten.
"Shit, we've been discovered".
Far in the distance he saw flashes of light spear from the top of the central Wyr spire, and a fire leapt towards the sky.
"Shitshitshitshitshit. I'm in trouble."
One of the wards burst into flames as a powerful spell broke them. He nearly buckled as his mind was filled with images and warnings. His younger brother's mind melded for a brief, final time, sent him in an overwhelming flash the findings in the tower, and a parting message - run!
Without thought, Anethar leapt to his feet and ran to the east, towards the closest of the city walls. As he neared the gates he instinctively glanced behind him. The tower was shedding an ominous silvery light, and above him a glittering canopy was spreading out towards the walls of the city. With a final desperate burst of speed, he dashed towards the gates. The guards standing there were cast aside - asleep before they hit the ground, and the doors were flung open as he neared them. As he passed under the gates, the mystic shield slammed home only inches behind his feet. The shock threw him to the ground.
A angel in silver armour stood at the gate. In it's hand it held a sword whith flames running along it's length. The armoured figure's face was hidden within the great helm, but a golden glow came through all the joints in the armour.
"You are beyond my protectorate. But not entirely beyond my reach. You will not leave unscathed, intruder."
Flames spilled forth from his sword, and engulfed Anethar, but he was not burned by them; only a momentary coldness touched his mind, and a sense of loss filled him.
"Depart now, and cease your questing. You shall no longer wield control over the laws of this realm."
Darkness once again descended over Wyr as the mystic shield, and the glowing angel, disappeared. Anethar breathed a sigh of relief at his survival, and then cursed the name of Wyr for the loss of his brother, and his friend.
He began to concentrate on a spell to inform the Mages Guild of the events of this night. Nothing came. He desperately tried even the simplest of spells learnt only days after his apprenticeship began, but even though he knew that everything was perfect - the power didn't flow.
The fire had burnt out his ability to wield magic.
After screaming defiance at the protectors of Wyr, he began the long journey home. This would not end here. Anethar intended to be sure of it.
* * *