Power Compelling

Remnant: Book of Xiandol Chapter 2

At the opposite side of Xiandolia, far at the edge above the rough, cold waters of the sea below, stood the house Weisen, the sanctum of the Magi. For as long as anyone could remember, there lived families and groups of such magically apt people across the land. The magi were those who were able to conjure powers from inside themselves; the elemental magics of fire, ice, or earth, or perhaps twist the forces of their own being into others, animate or otherwise. In the land of Xiandol, these Magi had long been kept near the seat of the kingdom. In the spread of King Halmalch’s power, it is said that certain bloodlines came to join his forces, while others were banished or erased for their desire to keep the land fractured.

Since the founding of the Kingdom, the magi of the land had been allowed to proliferate and share their knowledge and teachings with others. While not affiliated with the Guard or the Enforcers, they were often directed to aid in certain affairs, typically to share their knowledge or powers to aid in the continued solidarity of the Kingdom. The sanctum inside Xiandolia, one of only a few about the land, was the largest of the sanctums. Its stone spires often projected smoke of unknown origin, and the depths inside were of an equally mysterious nature to most people who inhabited the capital.

Enforcer General Edrian’s errand that day led him to the wide door of the structure. The metal knocker upon the door was strangely light. With a swing into the wooden surface of the door, the fixture echoed with a deep, chilling sound, and the hinges seemed to creak open on their own. On the other side, inside a small, open courtyard, was one of the sanctum’s inhabitants, smoking a pipe.

The mage, all but hidden underneath the thick hood of a wool cloak turned to him gently. “Edrian, is it?” The whiny voice said before extinguishing the pipe and tucking it back into one of his wide sleeves.

“Who else would it be?” Edrian huffed, rubbing his bare, dry hand over each other in the cold. “Will you let me in?”

“Of course,” The magi turned to the second door, “my master has been expecting you.”

Edrian pushed hastily after the magi, taking the door handle in his grasp as he stepped through. The interior of the heavy stone walls smelled of musty herbs and charcoal. The mage lowered his hood, revealing dark, short hair and burnished skin. The general held his tongue and looked about to distract his mind. To either side were long, cramped hallways, but the path continuing forward led outward to a larger room with various cluttered tables and shelves about.

“Master,” The magi said across the room, his feet seeming to drift across the floor from under his cloak. “The Enforcer has arrived.”

A wiry, pale man with hair as thin as himself shifted about one of the long tables. Upon it was a collection of thin weapons, shaped into rudimentary swords. “Thank you, Chin.” The elderly mage huffed, his lips dry. In the distance, there was a pounding of metal and hammer.

Edrian ignored the departure of the first mage and presented himself before the unique items that had been placed out for his arrival. “Mulegend, let’s see what you have for me.” His hands tested the thin grips, yet to be fashioned with leather bindings or pommels.

The old mage held his hands before his back and took survey of the table opposite Edrian. “No significant progress.”

The general grimaced and took up one of the rudimentary blades in his palms. “Quite light. I would fathom to say, though, that a swordsman would desire as much weight behind an attack as they could manage.”

“You said something to the same effect last visit.” Mulegend pursed his lips.

Edrian diverted his eyes and flipped the weapon around in his grasp. “Hmm, is that so?” With a focused gaze, he forced the wide section of blade against the edge of the table. The metal offered a hint of wanting to bend, before splitting in two with a jagged gash. “Not quite up to standards. Here I was expecting the magical flames in your forges would be able to do extraordinary things.”

“I think you misunderstand our powers, Enforcer General. The infused energy will flow through the material if willing, but in fact, that is where we have found our obstruction. If your best craftsmen cannot turn poor quality ore into something usable, then how should we hope to manage?” The senior mage tapped his lips together. “Give us proper material on which to practice, and then we shall see if the same theories will work on more meager supplies.”

Edrian tapped his foot loudly. “It is a commodity, at the moment, you know.” He tossed down the broken bits of metal a loud piece at a time. “The old mines are running bare. We have more men, who need to be outfitted, this very day even.”

“So be it.”

“Words like that won’t work here,” Edrian grunted. “You have one of the only remaining weapons from that collection. How hard could it be to replicate such an old technique?”

Mulegend bit his lip and shrugged. “The technique is beyond just ordinary magic. Lend us, perhaps, an experienced forge-hand. One who may be able to make sense of the nature of this metal. Halmalch would want such information shared with those who would gain the most from it, don’t you think?”

“Don’t tell me what the King may or may not want,” Edrian said, cracking his knuckles. He paced about, gazing to the collections of puzzling supplies. “You’ll get your artisan, but ore any better than what you have now may be a while.” The General’s face wrinkled up in thought, before raking his hands across the weapons again. “Go ahead and melt these back down. If you still need the finest of ores, what is even the point?”

“One step at a time, good General.”

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