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August 13, 2006, 2:21 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, 22:49
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, 11:51
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, 12:03
This sounds intriguing! I hope we see a lot more of your world here on the site :)
January 30, 2006, 20:22
So do I...if only I can get all my half-finished ramblings into decently organized essays...hah!
Voted Ancient Gamer
January 11, 2006, 7:59
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 22, 2011, 23:21

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


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Wet Faeries

       By: Murometz

Sages and naturalists frown at the common name given to these strange creatures by the small folk, but sometimes the silliest nicknames for creatures, places and people persevere in the minds of many. “Purifiers”, “Pond Jellies”, “Breath-Stealers”, “Lung-Ticklers” and “River Butterflies” are much less commonly heard appellations for these life forms. Wet Faeries are basically (and simply) a species of fist-sized, fresh-water jellyfish. Several traits steer them toward the peculiar category however. Firstly, Wet Faeries are nearly invisible in the water, much like their marine cousins but even more so. One can swim in a river swarming with these critters and not even notice their presence. Secondly, they possess the unique ability to clean and purify whatever body of water they inhabit. They do this via some sort of biological filtration process, sucking in all toxins present in the water, and releasing it back in its purest form. Needless to say, they are both a blessing and a curse to whichever folk dwell beside the rivers and lakes Wet Faeries inhabit. On one hand, no purer water can be found anywhere than a Wet Faerie lake or pond, and yet, in “pure” water “life” tends in fact to die out, lacking the needed nutrients to prosper. Thirdly, their “sting” is (unfortunately) virulently poisonous to all mammalians. Wet Faeries are loathe to sting anyone or anything, using their barbed fronds as a last line of defense, but if stung, most swimmers will suffer respiratory arrest, and die within minutes, usually drowning before they can make it back to shore.

Alchemists, druids, and less savory characters have studied these creatures over the years, and have predictably found all the ways Wet Faeries could be exploited. Morbidly humorous, some bards find it, that the Poisoners and Assassins Guilds as well as the Healer’s Union, all prize these creatures. The assassins use the extracted venom in obvious fashion, while the priests and healers use the still-living jelly-fish to sterilize other poison potions and to cure those already poisoned on death’s door.

It is known that a certain Earl Von Trumble keeps his vast castle moat stocked with Wet Faeries, the waters so clear that every bone of every one of his past enemies can be clearly seen on the bottom, twenty two feet below.

Encounter  ( Any ) | June 20, 2014 | View | UpVote 3xp

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