A formal first piece to the Mage Wars series. Here we have our protagonist going against your typical wand-wielding wizard. Who is going to win? Find out on the next episode, piece, writing-thingy… okay, just read.
“Give me that!” A tall bearded man grabbed the card from the Saver’s hand. “Wow, would you look at that; Page of Wands. Now, who’s my opponent?”
I took a brief glance at my card: Queen of Cups. My opponent would have to be a queen of the remaining Minor Arcana. Who would it be? A Wizard? A Mage? A Sage? A Priest? I was so excited and at the same time, scared. If the field was not within my expectation, then my tactics would fail miserably and with that my life as well.
“Queen of Pentacles,” a young man called out.
My chest tightened, choking me; unable to answer I turned towards him. A black robe with a phoenix drawn within a triangular coat of warms covered in silvery leaves and a small white sphere within the phoenix’s left claw. A red scarf wrapped around his neck and a small wand in his right hand; I knew right then and there that he was a wizard.
He walked up to me, a greeting with a handshake. His grip was firm yet not too strong; that was expected of a proficient wand wielder. Witchcraft was quite the magical art that demanded from a pool of energy from the surrounding world: Mana.
“Can’t wait to face you in battle, sir.” His eyes gazed into mine. “I was told you were pretty good at what you do best.”
“And what is that?” I replied.
“Escaping death with sheer luck. That’s why they call you Lucky Number Seven.”
I looked away. Lucky Number Seven, a silly nickname a Necromancer or should I say, a now dead Necromancer pinned on me. He said I survived the sorting through sheer luck. Well, that may be so, but my luck has taken me further than the pit he now sleeps in.
“Pleased to meet you, my name is Leonardo and you?” I tightened my grip.
He quickly pulled way. “I’m Mathew, Mathew Gul, from the northernmost school of wizardry and witchcraft in the British Isles, southernmost part of Scotland.”
“No, you dunce… Never-mind, just prepare yourself. I’m going to wipe the floor with you.”
I couldn’t stop thinking about my battle. The only thing that would ease my mind was regular equipment maintenance and reading the newspaper. There was a strange article in the paper: ‘Science vs Magic, things are looking up for these brainiacs’.
Mages, Witches, The Church, Wiccans, and now: Scientists?
Yes, that’s the latest from the battlefield. A small group calling themselves Tabula Rasa,
have invested millions of dollars on scientific discoveries and improvements to win this war.
What, skeptical about the power of science? Well, take a look at the scores!
Their participant: Miriam Lewsky has won both matches in the past week.
Her mysterious powers put her on a par with any
Mana-absorbing, Prana-consuming, Chakra-emitting,
Chi-expulsing, supernatural power that these wars have to offer.
The bets are on! How many of you think that she will continue on to the finals?
Impressive, I thought to myself. Science had finally placed their cards on the table. Well, they aren’t too far away from what I do. Being a non-magic person, my only way to fight is to use these inventions as a means of defense and/or offense. Mr. Wizard will try and fight up close, that’s their main tactic. Their wands are reliable little buggers; made of a wood drenched in a blood-wine concoction, covered in leaves from a sacred tree and a core made from unicorn’s horn powder, or dragon’s whisker powder, etc. These small instruments could bring death faster than anything else in this competition. I could not lose to a Wizard.
Besides, he was no Gandalf… But, just in-case, I would need a plan B. I grabbed a large bow and several makeshift arrows; compressing it to a manageable size, I swung the bow over my shoulder, held by a piece of silver-chain and the arrows all placed together inside a cylindrical container at the left side of my waist. Arrows filled with liquid mana. Even if I was unable to use mana, I could still gather it in four manageable states: Solid, in the form of crystals; Liquid, within tubes, flasks, cylindrical tubes and other containers; Gas, within blisters, and Plasma, a superheated mana source within small spheres. These arrows had enough propulsion and power to force their way through a magical shield that had not been previously reinforced.
We walked side by side, his long rope gently touching the ground as his short footsteps tried to catch up to mine. Walking down Desperationem Via or, the path to despair; we headed towards the center of the battleground. It was a game of chance; the field would change according to the will of the Council. I had my fingers crossed for urban warfare, my forte.
In the middle of the field, the Saver stood with a small crystal box. The box glowed in a bright pink color, heralding the drawing phase of the battle. Here, we drew spheres; whosoever had a red, blue or yellow sphere, they had the opportunity to choose to go first, if a purple, orange or green sphere was drawn, then the contestant had the privilege of having a ‘wish’. What this meant was: you could count with a minimal backup we used to call the Scapegoat. Tiny little plushy spheres that would save your life if you were in dire need of being saved. Finally, the Minor Arcana cards we had drawn previously in the sorting contest would give a powerful ability boost: Pentacles – Improved Physical Performance, Wands – Improved Mana/Prana Absorption, Cups – Projection Magic and Swords – Servants.
Looking at my card, I knew this would come in handy if I ever found myself without a weapon. The effect was short-lived but it would help you out of any predicament. Pulling out a golden sphere, Mathew quickly called for his flying broom. As it zoomed by, he caught it and hoped on; soaring as far away as he could. He had a tremendous advantage: speed.
Kissing the silver cross dangling from my neck, I closed my eyes. “Sister, gib mir kraft.”