It was Kaylen's watch. The Wings
creaked slightly, the wind was pleasant, and the lands below him laid open, like a painting. Fields and villages, meadows and forests, all passed in silence. Dots on the painting moved, and he knew them to be people.
Something moved over there.
He adjusted his sight and moved closer. Nothing. There. A large figure was sneaking through the trees. It has to be a troll, and it was getting too close.
Kaylen released a burst of energy from his fingers. White flashes engulfed the creature, it writhed and trashed about. Then it picked itself up, and started running in the opposite direction.
The day was saved, no need to kill. When he gets home-
A soft magical pulse disturbed his thoughts. He recognized the link, it was his old teacher. It was a while, since they talked the last time. He answered.
"Hallo my boy. Still floating around on the borders?"
"Master Pehun! Yes indeed, protecting the kingdom and all the rest. How are you doing?"
"Well, as long as you like it, it is all good. And I am fine, thank you. Now I don't want to distract you from your duty -"
"- no, no, I was just to return."
"Then, I would be pleased if you visited me tonight. Come as soon as possible."
Kaylen sent a message to his base, and turned back home. His master had always a penchant for good manners, and today was far from the usual etiquette. It must be serious.
He briefly chatted with Kebien, the man who served right after him. They were all like that, guys from the evening shift. Late comers and late sleepers, it was a great adventure, followed by a party. The night shift, in turn, was morose, many of them religious fanatics. There was no talking to them when they entered their shift, but most were elated after the sunrise. It takes all sorts.
When he was freed of all the straps of his Wings, he left the base. Casting Swiftness on his horse, he joined the fast lane
. The traffic was lively at this hour.
He left home after a good lunch. There were fewer horses on the way to his master.
"Sit down, my boy, and have a drink." With a wave of his hand, the old man adjusted the fire, and mixed the drinks with a few gestures. Sipping the fine whiskey, they talked for a while, the master and his former student, of life and things in general. There was a moment of comfortable silence.
"It is always good to hear, that you live well. But it is not why I have called you here today."
Kaylen nodded, now came the reason. The windows darkened, his master pulled out a recording sphere. An inch large, standard small. Lights dimmed.
The illusion of land appeared, hills forests and rivers, a view from great height, a familiar sight. He noticed it right away. The viewer, another scout for sure, moved closer, and a large group became obvious. The standard long-range spells were cast, little effect. This should be exciting. The scout approached even more, and started to use heavier artillery. The band of goblins, dirty low folk, seemed determined. It would be a direct confrontation, then. The Proclamation of Civilized Borders was shouted. Stones and arrows were the answer, easily deflected by personal shields. A Wall of Fire was conjured. That must be their end. But the ugly humanoids passed unscathed. How could it be?!
Several flashes were seen in the recording, a powerful spell must have been prepared, something lethal. Without a warning, the image went spinning to the earth. The Wings must have failed. The small, misshapen figures paused, then advanced. The scout raised himself to defend, but it was too late. Swords were raised and fell. The record ended.
"How could this happen? I mean, even after the failure should his protections kick in. How could they resist the first spells? And why didn't I hear of it before?"
The teacher patiently waited until his student calmed down.
"It happened a few days ago, on our eastern borders. Few people live there, it wasn't hard to keep it secret." The windows cleared.
"We have lost a few more scouts, and there are wounded. The horde has looted a few settlements already. For now we can keep them occupied with illusions and the like, but it won't last. Worse, they call for other tribes and creatures. Soon, there will be an army."
"How can they resist our spells? Did they learn how to dispel them."
The teacher nodded.
"We thought so. But canceling magics are also spells. And there is a moment in casting, when the release of energy cannot be stopped anymore. It can be redirected, diluted, or shielded against. But not made to vanish or simply ignored."
He turned to one of his large workbenches, and after some looking produced several scrolls.
"One of my colleagues said long ago, that this could happen. That the primitives would develop 'anti magic', as he called it. They drove him out of the academy... or I should say we, for I didn't protest then. I do not know where he is today, we failed to locate him, though he still should be alive. We may pay the price for our pride now."
"And he wrote his ideas... on paper?" Kaylen broke the moment of silence.
"Yes, he was quite the anachronist.", smiled the teacher again.
The brittle pages held much in tiny script and were clearly unenchanted, the work of an obsessive mind. A full day of study at least.
"It is about humanoid tribes, and their resentment for us. It is about their tactics, and how they cope without magic. And how they are exposed to it, over and over again. Generations marked by magic without using one bit."
They left the study for a little air. It was a clear day, the threat seemed unreal. In a house below were some kids arguing.
"Mom, he slapped me!"
"No, he slapped me first!"Telekinetic jokes
, smiled Kaylen melancholically. The first thing you learn as a kid.
The rising argument was cut short by a crude, but simple Dispel Magic. The whiny duet rose to new heights: "Moooom!"
They returned inside.
"According to my esteemed colleague, it is very unlikely our society will be destroyed. But we will be changed, that much is certain."
"What can we do?"
The old man smiled.
"Whatever we can. I have decided to send you."
"The fate of our country, of our whole civilization is at stake. You must go and find a solution, before it is too late. The army can do much, but cannot solve the problem. You are more ready than you think. I always said you have more potential than borderguard. I hope you will prove me right. Take whoever you need, but you must act quickly."
"I don't even know where to begin!"
"Study the scrolls I have provided you. There are some hints. First you should try to find a being called "The Warrior". They say he doesn't use magic, but can survive in the wilds. I have full trust in you."
And that was it.
---The Out Of Character part
I would like the story to begin in a somewhat satirical view on a society, that uses magic for literally everything
. Kind of like the Jetsons, or the Flintstones - it's all pretty much like now, with X replacing the current technology. Then I would like to see the magic turning increasingly useless, or even dangerous to the characters. And yes, the characters will go on your basic noble quest, that can get distorted in any way... but we will see.
Because I release this to the public - feel free to continue the story!