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August 13, 2006, 3:21 pm

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The Four Magi: A Children's Folk Tale of the North


Upon the fourth night of Winterkiss, a lord of the land was visited by four Magi.

“The Four Magi”
Maratom Foronwyn, Keeper of Legends
Written 873 AE

To ye peoples of the hearth, I present a legend of the land, taken from the mouths of men and set on page, that ye may heed its words.

     Upon the fourth night of Winterkiss, a lord of the land was visited by four Magi. After they presented themselves as the four traveling Magi of south, he bade them welcome to his castle. At his dinner, when all had ate their fill, he said to them, “Tell me the nature of magic, and in words a mortal can know, for I do seek to have a knowledge of the great mystery that surrounds us”. And the first mage, garbed in a robe of woven white, spoke. “Magic is like the wind, my King. It surrounds us, and though we cannot see it, it can be felt, and can be as delicate as a spring breeze on a leaf, or as terrible as a tempest on the plain.” And the second mage, garbed in solid robes of deep dusk, spoke. “Nay, brother, it is like the earth, in that it is the foundation of Aryth, and from what all things spring. As a man does shape the earth, so is he born from it, and so does he end in it.” And the third mage, garbed in robes of shimmering crimson, spoke. “Well-spoken, but in a shadow of imperceptions. Magic is as the fires that burn in this hearth, the source of the warmth and the life. It dances around us, but for a man, to touch it would be no easier than for him to catch a flame in his hand.” And the fourth mage, garbed in flowing robes of blue, rose and said, “What ye have said may be right to thee, but I hold the truth. Magic is like the waters and oceans of the world, flowing under us, and picking us up in its currents. And as a man puts his fingers in water, and the water flows around it, so does a mage put his fingers in magic, and shapes it to his liking.”
     And at this they began to bicker amongst themselves, until the king took anger at them and said,“Silence, ye workers of the world! Ye have come into my hearth, and have unsettled the peace of my keep. For ye are all right; magic is the wind of the world, flowing from castle to farmhouse without any paying it heed. Magic is the earth of the world, tilled by peasants who know not what they do. Magic is the fire of the world, into whom many have thrust in their hand, and burned another. Magic is the waters of the world, holding the souls of the countless who have delved too deep and drowned in its depths. What fools are ye, to think ye hold the truth, when only by seeing all sides of the gem can one hold it in one’s hand.”
      And with that, he leapt from his seat and cast a spell that held them in their chairs, where they sit to this day.

Footnotes & Sidenotes - This is presented as, and was written as a legend rather than a true description of magic. While its true intent is to illustrate the folly of pride and quarrel, it does a decent job of outlining the feel of magic in the world. Also, as a note, “Workers of the World” is simply an old-world name for Magi and Wizards.

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Comments ( 6 )
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Voted Scrasamax
January 10, 2006, 23:49
The story is nice in a quaint fashion, but I was intrigued by the use of Winterkiss. I don't know if it would be used as a children's tale, but I can see it being bandied about by would be magi, or common folk (IE non-magical) using it as a frame of reference for their understanding of magic.
January 29, 2006, 12:51
Winterkiss is the name of a month in the Tordarian Calender (the calender used in the Northern hemisphere of my world). Its equivalent would be early January.
Ancient Gamer
January 29, 2006, 13:03
This sounds intriguing! I hope we see a lot more of your world here on the site :)
January 30, 2006, 21:22
So do I...if only I can get all my half-finished ramblings into decently organized essays...hah!
Voted Ancient Gamer
January 11, 2006, 8:59
I like it. It is nice to add fairy tales, myths and legends to a setting. If this should reach 5.0 it should have been longer and the ending should have not been as abrupt.

Potential uses:
-Sung by a bard at a tavern
-Told by the fireplace in a keep while the PCs are stalking about
-Written in some book the PCs find
-Chiseled into the wall of a mage's sanctury
-Told to an apprentice by his mentor (If so a puzzle or riddle could accompany it. The tale could be a part of his education so to speak)
Voted Moonlake
February 23, 2011, 0:21

A nice folk tale with good metaphor use that can be inserted into any world.


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Castoria, Land of Shattered Stars

       By: Veretrix

Castoria was once a thriving and prosperous nation, a rich trade center for the surrounding lands. This all changed when, on one fateful night nearly a century ago, the Mist of Eternity rolled in and surrounded the land, obscuring more of the outside world as days and nights passed.

By the time the Mist blocked out the sun, a new light shone during what was assumed to be daytime: The Starpoint Spire, a mysterious place atop Castoria's highest peak in the northern-central region. Some say that there is some sort of building atop the mountain shining the dim "sunlight" onto the land, but it is only ever too bright or too dark to fully make out any structure, not to mention the mountain's immense height.

Not a month after the Spire's light lit up, the stars fell. Flaming rocks and debris from far-flung edges of space plummeted downward onto the eastern region of Castoria. Once the shower subsided, a strange energy from within the fallen stars transformed the eastern lands in what are now known as The Voidwastes, a barren gray land littered with craters and strange alien creatures (these can vary, but I had Pathfinder's Akatas in mind).

To the south, strange mechanism of eldritch origin are again at work after aeons of rest in the Ruins of Kchuthngnl, an ancient city of non-human creation that is estimated by scholars to be no less that five millennia old.

To the west, the once peaceful and serene forest, now known as The Plagued Woods, has been experiencing corruptions of the wildlife and humanoids living there. Some humans have reported creatures that appear not unlike a halfling, except that they can open their mouths to massive proportions to swallow creatures the size of an ogre.

When adventurers and citizens alike try to make an escape from Castoria, they are never seen again, and it is utterly unknown whether they found hopeful sanctuary or agonizing death withing the Mist's depths.

What is unknown to all residents of Castoria is that all of these events occurred because of the actions of a secret but powerful cult loyal to the Elder Gods who call the space between the planes their abhorrent home. The cult still lives on, larger than ever, and their plan is for the alien horrors to incubate and thrive within the dome of mist that now envelops Castoria, so that when the Elder Gods return as the cult's prophecy foretells, they will have an army of blasphemous creation at their disposal that they will use to make war with and enslave the denizens of the Material Plane.

Ideas  ( Locations ) | August 4, 2015 | View | UpVote 4xp

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