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The Purifiers

September 05, 2015

demoIn the Millennium of Purification, a group of Elves and Dwarves join forces to purge the world of the dark magicks they themselves once helped unleash. Is there a chance to make up for their sins of the past and restore order to the world? Find out in the serial fan fic: The Purifiers.

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September 05, 2015

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The Purifiers

Chapter 3: To Reason Why (Scene 4)


Q'Uetel wanders through the tapestry of trees. The mist from earlier has now transmuted into a light rain. His fingers take hold of his cloak's hem and pull the forest green wrap taut around his slender physique. Dripping through the leafy canopy above a tear from the sky falls from the heavens and lands on his cheek, trickling down his face. Echoing through the trees two voices sound like the siren's song calling to him.


"The circle of all things, that is a very Elven philosophy," the female sounds. The voice belongs to Z'Xen, the Elven Priestess of the Blue Flame that joined the team in Eyescend.


"That's because it is," the gruff male voice responds. That one is Bastiel the Empty, the only Dwarf that's ever caught the interest of Q'Uetel. Each syllable they utter like little whispers in his ear luring him ever closer, each word a tantalizing pluck on the strings of his mind.


He can hear Z'Xen respond, "Amazing. With the war and all, I did not think a Dwarf would study Elven philosophy."


"It's complicated," responds Bastiel.


The soft leather boots of Q'Uetel glide over the moistened soil as he progresses increasingly closer towards the voices which have since been struck speechless. Is she waiting for him to elaborate? He muses that if that is the case, then she best indeed be prepared for an elongated interlude. Finally, just up ahead, the voice of Z'Xen sounds again, "What about the metal? That does not seem very Elven. I thought metal interfered with magic. Is that a special type of Dwarven magic?"


"No," Bastiel answers. "That is --"


"Dwarven ingenuity perhaps, but not magic," finishes Q'Uetel as the slim figured Elf steps out of the trees and into the clearing. Bastiel turns his head only a hair and lets out a low rumbling grunt, but otherwise ignores the intrusion. "Sorry," Q'Uetel adds, "I did not mean to interrupt."


Q'Uetel pauses, leaving room for Bastiel to contribute. When the Dwarf does not, the Elf says, "Metal interferes with magic because it acts like a lightning rod, drawing mystical energy towards it. So when a Wizard attempts to weave his energy into a spell, the metal draws the energy away. The Wizard must then expend more energy as a counter, and even then the spell is more often than not drained of full potency. To an Elf it seems natural that avoiding metal is the most rudimentary resolution. Dwarves, on the other hand, are different. They believe in metal as one of the five elements. During the war they even had Metal Warlocks, an element only they could wield."


He continues, "You can even ask Mancer. He was one himself, once upon a time that is. That is why he is now trapped in that metal shell of his. At least until Dwarves committed the atrocity that is the Circle of All Elemental Power. Now no Elemental will ever call Dwarf brother again."


"That sounds so sad," Z'Xen says. She then looks to Bastiel and asks, "Is all of that true?"


Bastiel answers, "Yes, it's true. All of it."


Q'Uetel says, "Still, Dwarves see metal differently. Not as an unnatural obstruction to avoid, but one of the elements of life to be embraced. During the war I heard rumors that Dwarven magic users could use magic even in full clad plate armor without conflict. Seeing as how Dwarves abandoned studying magic after the war, I have never seen a Dwarven Wizard in action. I confess I was skeptical, suspecting the tales nothing more than a story to illicit fear of our enemy so we would not underestimate them. After seeing Bastiel in battle today I see things from a new perspective."


Z'Xen asks, "And what perspective is that?"


Q'Uetel answers, "In front of us you observe a circle made from iron spikes. His style of magic requires circles to properly function. As I noted earlier, metal attracts magic energy to it. Bastiel uses that to his advantage. In combat, he uses chains and metal spikes to create circles, and these objects are made of metal he's able to naturally channel his energy through them to the circle. This allows him to turn a ritual that requires time and physical contact into an improvised ranged assault. Is that not accurate?"


Bastiel responds, "You like to talk a lot."


Q'Uetel says, "I noticed you did not deny it. What I have yet to ascertain is whether this is a technique that can be trained and learned, or if it is the result of Dwarven philosophy. Conviction, after all, is a necessary component of magic. If it is only within the Dwarven belief that metal is a natural element, then this ability may exist and die with their refusal to practice magic."


"I don't know which it is," Bastiel says. "I believe, that is all I can tell you. If an Elf can figure it out, be my guest. But it's not something a Dwarf can ever teach."


"I understand," responds Q'Uetel. "But there is something I desire to discuss with you."


"No," Bastiel answers.


Q'Uetel protests, "But I have not even asked anything yet."


Bastiel the Empty turns to Z'Xen and says, "I think it's time you excuse us. Please return to the cabin with the others now."


Z'Xen looks at Bastiel. There's a moment's pause, but then she bows. "I will see you there."


The elderly Dwarf watches as the young Elven priestess departs the clearing and makes her way towards the cabin, the plethora of trees soon obscuring any further visuals of her. Finally Bastiel turns to face Q'Uetel and speak to him face to face. "I will not teach you the ways of Void Magic."


"Why not?" questions Q'Uetel.


"Because," answers Bastiel, "it is part of the dark magic we seek to destroy."


Q'Uetel says, "No. The Void is an element as natural as metal for Dwarves, and its magic a symbol of hope. It was the pride of my people, or at least it was until the last Elven Void Master fell, slain by your hand. Void Magic is the one unique mystic style my people created."


"Elves created many styles," responds Bastiel.


"Variations," Q'Uetel says, "yes, but not unique styles. We can learn any school of magic in existence, but we lack something ... we do not have that something akin to Dwarven ingenuity. Void Magic is a representation of our philosophies, and the one time we did something unique. It should not die in Dwarven hands."


Bastiel takes a deep breath. "I'm sorry. But it should still die. Even the Elven Void Masters believed that." The Dwarf watches the way the Elf's face contorts. Not often does Bastiel get to see that expression that confused look indicating he can't quite figure out what was meant. Bastiel smiles, enjoying the moment, not out of malice but out of hope. For it is one of the only Q'Uetel hasn't acted like he knows everything, and not acting like you know everything is a good sign.



Bastiel continues, "Elves believe the Void is the fifth element, the embodiment of which connects all things and yet remains as nothingness. From the nothingness bore all of creation and into the nothingness shall all things once again return. That is the endless circle of life, and the center of all your beliefs. That is the philosophy which gave rise to Void Magic. Its creation marks the greatest day of Elven celebration." He then lowers his head as he adds, "And of their greatest sorrow. The Void Masters learned Elves were wrong."


The Dwarf finishes, "The Void is not nothingness. There's something else there, something beyond our understanding. You think Void Magic can be controlled by its user? You're wrong. The wielder merely taps into its power and feeds its hunger, a dark and bottomless hunger that constantly cries out for more. This was shared with me as I tortured the Void Master to learn all his secrets. Even though he knew it should be destroyed, he shared its secrets with me anyways. Not out of self preservation or to make the pain stop, but because the Void compelled him and he couldn't resist. The first time I used his magic, I knew what he said was true. The Void is not a symbol of hope and life, but of a darkness greater than any we've ever faced."


Q'Uetel asks, "If what you speak is true, then why do you continue to use it?"


Bastiel the Empty responds, "Because it remains useful. And, though my resolve is great, I have never been able to fully resist its call. Once you start using Void Magic, you cannot stop. I know that one day it'll consume me as well, but that day is not today."


"So you admit in word and action that Void Magic is of use," says Q'Uetel. "That means it can be used for good, such as banishing a Deevil or ridding the world of this accursed candle, and not just evil. Teach me; let me ease your burden."


"I understand what you're trying to say, and I believe you'd intend it only for good, but no."


Raising his voice slightly Q'Uetel says, "If you believe me: Then why ... not?"


Bastiel sighs. "Because, despite your intentions, sooner or later you'd use it consume whatever stands in your way, even living souls. You will fall into the darkness. That outcome is inevitable, yet something that should never be allowed to happen again."


Q'Uetel responds, "You underestimate my strength of will."


"Perhaps," says Bastiel. "But I haven't underestimated your thirst for power, nor your confidence to handle everything that stands before you."


"What is your point?" asks Q'Uetel. "I am confident. Is confidence such a bad thing."


"No," answers Bastiel. "But it can blind you to your limits."


Q'Uetel laughs with a smug smile on his face as he shakes his head at the Dwarf. "The first thing I learned as a Wizard is that a great Wizard has no limits."


"Then your first lesson was a mistake. Everyone has limits. Magic simply increases those options. To forget your limits, however, is foolishness."


Q'Uetel quips back, "Spoken like one whose greatest limitation is a lack of imagination."


Bastiel replies, "No. My greatest limitation is morality. Our two empires cast away their morality and look at where it led them. That is where the belief in no limits leads."


"If you truly believe it must be destroyed," Q'Uetel says, "Then let me help you. Let me share this burden. We can combine our efforts to defeat the darkness within the Void. If Elves are responsible bringing this dark magic into the world, then we should be responsible for ceasing it as well."


Bastiel says, "Elf ... Dwarf ... it doesn't matter! This evil cannot be defeated with effort. The only chance we have is to let it fade away and slip back into the Void, forgotten. It must end with me. That is how this has to be. There will be no debate on the matter."


Q'Uetel says, "If you do not wish for further debate, that is acceptable." He turns his back to the Dwarf, his cloak rumpling around him as he turns. "Though understand this matter is not yet resolved."


As the Elf vanishes into the vastness of the forest, Bastiel looks up at the clouded night sky and mutters in a disheartened tone, "I know." The light rain continues to patter down on the Dwarf in his solitude. A faint wind causes jingling in the thin chain encircling and linking the iron spikes. The noise sounds like a small bell calling the elderly Dwarf's attention back to the task at hand.


The knee of Bastiel sinks ever so slightly into the moist earth as he places his hand on the edge of the metal circle. He utters in the tongue of Elves as the magic energy flows from his body and through the iron. Surging upwards into the sky is a rush of blue energy only the eyes of a trained Wizard can see, and then it is gone, so too is the Brimstone Candle, banished into the nothingness.


Standing, his knee still wet from the ground and the light rain continuing to come down, he gathers the rest of his things and turns towards the cabin where all the other Purifiers must be by now. As he stands alone in the emptiness of the clearing, a drop falls from his face and to the ground.