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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

Hu's Iron Ball

       By: Murometz

Hu was an ambassador of the Seventh Emperor of the Reng Dynasty. Throughout his life he traveled across many miles and lands to entreaty with neighboring kingdoms and the semi-savages who dwelled amidst the Metal Mountains.

During one such diplomatic mission, Hu was gifted a small iron marble as a gesture, by a shaman of the Kiy-Kiy tribe. Little else is known of Hu, but that marble was lost and is now somewhere out there for someone to find.

A tiny, shiny sphere, the marble has several properties. First and foremost it is a strong magnet, considerably stronger than its size and density would indicate.

Secondly, if thrown or rolled upon the ground and the command word is spoken, the iron ball will magically enlarge to either the size of an ogres's head or to that of a great globe, twelve feet in diameter. The rolling ball of either size will continue to roll or fly at the same relative speed it was when launched as a marble, and can thus cause great damage to anything in its path. The magnetic power of the ball will also magnify when enlarged.

Legends claim that the ball has been tossed from besieged castles upon attacking foes and rolled at marching armies in ages past. At the end of such rolls, the larger size globe has been known to not only crush soldiers underfoot, but to also "collect" many dozens of metallic weapons and bits of armor unto itself, appearing as an armored sphere, with swords and spears sticking out from it in all directions.

Owning this powerful marble has its drawbacks. Anyone carrying it on their person, will experience the iron ball's insidious effects after some time. The owner feels no worse for wear, but after two month's time they will suddenly awaken one morning to find that their hair has fallen out completely, their teeth loosened like baby's teeth ready to drop, and their fingernails simply shriveled and sliding off the fingers and toes. Perhaps unbeknownst to the owner at first, the iron ball also renders an owner sterile or barren by this time.

Regular clerical healing will not reverse this horrible malady. Only finding and beseeching a shaman of the Kiy-Kiy tribe to heal the iron ball's effects with their particular brand of magic, will work.

Hu's Iron Ball should be handled carefully by players and gms.

Ideas  ( Items ) | March 8, 2014 | View | UpVote 3xp

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