Hello, Alchemists and Magicians!
How do you plan to do it? Are you even sure it’s safe? Tell me you at least took precautions to make sure you’ll be okay. If you have, then it’s time to see what this little experiment can do, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
Scientific Magic and Magical Science
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
At first mention, science and magic always seem to be polar opposites, don’t they? Science has to do with understanding the world around us, and magic is rabbits from hats and vanishing in puffs of smoke.
But look closer at both of these. There’s traces of both within each other. Think of any one attempting a potion. Combining enchanted and magic ingredients to make something that grants strength, or invisibility, or even a cure for some otherwise deadly bite. Or how about a teacher in a college of magic, showing their students that there is a specific process to enhancing the spells they wish to cast. What would happen if they get it wrong? Does it simply fizzle out, or does some strange mishap occur? Perhaps the class isn’t magic at all, but just a typical non-magic class studying chemistry. Maybe this is the students’ first time seeing what happens when you combine Mentos candy with Coke, wonder lighting their faces as it fizzles and suddenly geysers up to the ceiling.
Perhaps a class is visiting the science center. The flow of water, the wonders of electricity, even seeing how the planets and stars in the planetarium move. It truly is mesmerizing, isn’t it? The science center can ignite a passion in a child that sparks their entire career plan. Perhaps that child will be the one to discover something new, something that seems even more magical than everything before it. Perhaps the method they use seems more magic than science, baffling and impressing their peers. Or maybe there’s that one person who decides to combine the two worlds, creating a simple medicine, and finding that using crystals energized with positivity enhances how effective the medicine is.
The world of science and the world of magic are at your fingertips. It is up to you which ingredients you pluck from each and weave into a tapestry of words. If you will, think of this as your own form of alchemy.
We look forward to what you can concoct. Just remember to always wear safety glasses.
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!
The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.
Rules and Guidelines
We read at least four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!
Text and Formatting
- English only.
- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
- Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
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What to Submit
- Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
- Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
- Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
- No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
- Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
- One submission per participant.
- Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
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- Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
- Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
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Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
It has been decided that we will share our faery magic with humanity.
For a year and a day I supervise the creation of the potion that will instill knowledge of all faerie magic to its recipient. Each ingredient must be harvested at the precise moment of peak vitality. Each contributor must be of good will. Planetary alignments must synchronize with every step of the magical process.
We begin when my sister Branwin arrives. It is dusk, the earth is drowsy and we smell Fall reclaiming summer’s bounty. Branwin the Solemn is small in stature and modest in all things except her voice. Her incantations are legendary: powerful and terrifying.
Entering the clearing from the North, Branwin is wearing a simple muslin shift tied at the waist with a knotted cord. Her dark hair is cut in a short bob; evidence of her bereavement for her murdered baby.
She walks confidently to the kettle, climbs three steps onto the platform and announces: “I give the gift of transformation. She retrieves a ribbon tucked into her bodice. Tied to it is a single raven’s feather. She carefully releases the shiny black plume from its satin leash and holding it like a wand she transcribes a sigil over the simmering pot. Her contralto voice awakens the crystals sleeping in the granite stones. They vibrate her spell:
You who will be transformed These are the gifts I sing for you
Curiosity, willfulness and dissatisfaction to lead you,
Fear and deep grief to drive you
Desperation to bow your head, bend your mind and release your spirit.
This is the path to freedom.
Come Gifted One Become Hero. Become Servant. Become.
Share my way-showing song.
Branwin stares into the liquefying herbs. One tear passes down her flawless cheek and drops into the pale yellow fluid. The Tear of Compassion sits like a sapphire on yellow satin before turning the opaque liquid to aquamarine one radiant ripple at time. Creation holds its breath. Her magic is complete.
“The Spectrum of Magic”
Julian stared at the blank page, annoyed at having to write yet another essay on magic. Having magic was amazing; writing term papers about magic theory was something else completely. He picked up his pen and tried to think of an opening line.
“Magic, like light, can be split. While this is not a perfect analogy, it serves to describe the five Spheres of Magic. Outside the world, magic exists as a single force, but as it passes into the world, it splits into the Spheres, much the same as light passing through a prism…”
Julian sighed, exasperated, and flipped open his textbook, hoping for inspiration. The page opened on the charts comparing the Spheres to the rainbow: Forces as blue, Ether as green, Space as yellow, Spirit as orange, and Life as red. There was no inspiration there; it was the same chart as always.
Julian stared lazily at the page, letting his gaze roll up and down the chart. His eyes fell on the first entry.
Why was Forces listed as blue, he wondered. Why not violet, if the comparison to light was intended to be literal? Why not start at the edge of the rainbow?
“It can’t matter,” he muttered. “There are only five Spheres, where there are seven colors. That’s why the whole rainbow isn’t used in the charts. Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation is most often correct.”
But what if that weren’t true? After all, he mused, light extends beyond the seven visible colors, why not magic? Could there be unknown Spheres, beyond the demonstrable ones? No, someone would have found them by now.
Julian conjured Forces, bathing his hand in magical electricity. He tried to imagine the Forces tighter, in some sharper frequency. The electricity extinguished suddenly, as his mind screamed in pain, straining to feel something that did not, could not, exist.
He shook himself and smiled, reinvigorated. This warranted more investigation, and now he had a topic.
“Magic is traditionally defined in the five Spheres, but what if, like light, magic extends beyond our senses…”
By Aaron Fleming
I carefully traced the symbols within the circle upon the floor. A spiral here, a horned arc there, and the sigil of Marn there. This was delicate work, the signs and symbols had to be just so, or we’d all be in danger. Especially me. Finally, my work was done. The circle had been prepared. I turned and withdrew from the larger circle and walked to my own smaller circle of protection against summoned creatures. I began the evocation.
“Imoloch formoth iblich mor,” I pronounced in the infernal tongue. Within the larger summoning circle, the air wavered and twisted as if above a great fire.
“Oblok kosh ehmack kol.”
As expected, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up on end. A reflex from the primal instinct knowing something was coming. Now a thin tornado of fire materialized in the circle. It grew in diameter until it nearly filled the summoning circle. Then it subsided, the flames dissipating, leaving in its wake the emerging figure of a horned red-skinned ogre like demon.
The hulking horned demon let loose a mighty roar shaking the chamber and scattering some of the observers of the ritual. I concentrated. This was perhaps the most dangerous part of the ritual. I concentrated on my will over the fiend, and it raised its will in turn to me. It could not breach the summoning circle, though I could sense how badly it wished to do so. I could see the images of murder and my body mangled in its hands, the demon’s thoughts of what it wished to do to me. It sought to use its thoughts and will to drive me into submission to it, but I would not bend. This contest of wills seemed to drag on, though only a matter of minutes had passed. I focused my mind to try and balance my mental state, trying to offset the deluge of images and rage.
“I will not yield!” I shouted at the beast, and with a rumble like distant thunder the beast relented.
A Few More Calculations
by Lunabear (Clatter Moon Universe)
The rusted bicycle’s wheels spin under Alden’s direction. They squeak like hungry mice. At least the chain is still intact. He stops the rotation with his hands and jots down the level of heat from the friction.
He turns and walks his fingers above the row of colorful potions before selecting a purple fizzy one. He swirls the tube while squinting at it from behind his goggles. All components appear stable.
He slowly removes one glove with his teeth.
Alden rubs his thumb and index fingers together. A few sparkling specks fall into the mixture.
He holds it at arm’s length as the purple becomes a sickly orange green. It bubbles and fumes.
Alden waves his hand over the potion, focusing a more concentrated amount of magic on it.
When the concoction stabilizes, Alden grins and steps a small distance from the bike.
His long arm stretches out to the frame.
Forcing his nerves to calm, he cautiously tips the tube until a drop teeters from the rim. For a moment, the drop is suspended. Alden holds a painful breath.
Contact is made with a quiet sizzle. Where the potion touches the rust, it melts away, revealing the shiny blue of the bike’s original coat.
“Yes! Mom’s old beater is going to shine in no time.”
Alden corks the tube and sets it aside. He scribbles notes about chemical reactions and elapsed times.
What he fails to notice is the drop’s continuing descent. It eats away at the grass and earth beneath the bike.
He rereads his neat script, memorizing the figures and filling in how much magic he had used.
A rumbling from below captures his attention. An enormous eruption of water spurts upward, drenching everything within its radius.
“Alden! What did you do NOW?!”
He meets his mother’s angry, shocked gaze with a sheepish smile.
“Guess I need to tweak the calculations some more.” The geyser dies down, leaving small puddles and one side of the house soaked. “Annnnnnnddddd put a REALLY strong tarp down next time.”
His mom curls her fist against her forehead and groans loudly.
Chronicles of The Dragon: Sufficiently Advanced Science
Jostica walked into Thomas room, carrying a large poster. She cleared a section of wall and hung it up.
“What are you doing?” Thomas asked.
Smoothing it out she said, “I want you to study this. Memorize it. Every bit of it. You need to see this in your sleep.”
“Okay,” Thomas said, looking around her at it. “Why?”
“Because it’s a spell.” She walked over to him and poked him in the forehead. “And if you burn it into your brain you should be able to use it.”
He rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I’ll just ‘attune myself to the universe’ or whatever,” and turned back to his workbench.
Scowling she marched over and spun him around, “I swear I’ll never understand how you can build these,” she pointed at one of his gauntlets, “But can’t believe in magic, despite seeing me do it repeatedly.”
He sighed. “It’s not that I don’t believe in it. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Jostica threw up her hands, “No one’s powers make sense! Blaise glows pink and moves faster than sound!”
Thomas waved his hands, “Okay. Yeah, but no. We’ve been studying these things. We understand the source. Kinda. There’s a single trait everyone with power has in common, and that’s a way to draw ridiculous amounts of energy out of–”
“The universe? Maybe?”
“Well, yes. But there’s a science to it.”
“There’s a science to THIS!” she said, gesturing to the poster. “It’s possibly the oldest science on earth!”
“That’s not science. This is science,” he said, picking up the half assembled gauntlet. “I know every part of this and how it works and how it could do something different. See, this is the shockwave generator-”
Jostica snatched the part he pointed to and held it up. “This is a spring. How, exactly, does this make a shockwave that can punch through steel?”
Thomas opened his mouth.
“No, I don’t care. Just memorize the spell. Please.” And she turned to leave.
Thomas sighed. “What does it do?”
She stopped, and turned. “It’ll let you talk to me. Wherever you are.”
Rust, Dust and Fairy Guts
By refreshing firecrumb
“C’mon, wake up, maggot!”
A sudden crack of pain spreads across my cheek. I awake to a grizzly man shouting in a coarse voice.
“Gods damned, finally! Was startin’ to think I bagged another veggie.”
I look around. I’m in some sort of crude workshop, with wood scraps hastily nailed together for walls. I’m sitting in gray sand. Sky green and stars purple. Everything is moderately lit, even with no sun in sight.
“Son, tell me what’cha remember.”
“I… What? Why?”
“Cause I’m tired of giving guns to coma patients. Do faeries ring any bells in that thick skull o’ yers?”
“Well… yeah, they did go public after all. Wait, what do-”
“Then do you know about the overnight war?”
“Not a clue.”
The man grimaces, taking a big huff of his cigar before speaking.
“Hate ta’ break it to ya kid, but the fae snatched up a ton of us and took us offworld.”
It took me a moment to process what I heard before I responded. “I… How many-”
“Least 100 mil. That’s my guess.”
I’m speechless. A few moments of silence pass before he reaches his hand out to me. “I didn’t drag you outta that camp for you to sit and wallow. Now get up.”
After feeding me and giving me some questionable water from the black sea nearby, the man told me of the situation at hand.
Apparently, the fae abducted a load of humanity and put them in “science camps” across the galaxy. It’s like the fae physically cannot understand human science on their own, and after seeing our many technological advances, they elected to snatch us up and force us to make things for them.
Soldierboy here, madman that he is, managed to escape into a pocket dimension, and has been raiding fae sites for months with his homemade “magitech,” as he calls it. The materi-
“Stop writing your life’s story! We’ve got work to do!,” He screams as he sparks a gateway to life.
“Wait, I’ve never fired a gun before!”
“Point and shoot, simple as that. Now, MOVE IT!”
The Great Debate (Golemtide Universe)
It was early in the morning. Too early for debate, but that never stopped Cay. The twenty-something golemancy major posed the question over morning coffee while scribbling down his latest invention idea.
“Is golemancy a magic or a science?” He mused, scratching the side of his temple with his pen.
Across the table, Ryan, one of Cay’s flatmates, blinked. The caffeine from his coffee kicked in just as his brain registered the question. “Of course, it’s magic,” his morning voice growled. “We use rituals and blood sacrifices for father’s sake.”
“I know, I know. Just hear me out,” Cay said as he tucked his pen behind his ear. “It takes years of study, right? It has laws that are universal and infallible. We make theories about it and test them with logical thought. So, therefore, it’s a science.” He grinned as he finished with a flourished hand gesture.
Ryan’s eyes glared skeptically at Cay over his coffee. “You’re telling me, a practice so ancient we have cave paintings of it, is a science?”He frowned and set his mug down. “They were making golems before we even knew what the scientific method was. Clearly, it’s magic.”
“That’s just it!” Cay exclaimed, “We have journals from scholars of the practice dating back centuries! People were always studying it, experimenting with it, pushing its boundaries. If that doesn’t scream science, I don’t know what will.”
“Too loud,” Jade, the last flatmate, grumbled as she entered the room. After getting coffee, she glanced at Cay and turned to Ryan. “Did he stay up all night again?”
“I wish,” Ryan sighed, reaching for his mug again. “He’s claiming golemancy is science instead of magic. Which it is not.” He emphasized the last word with another glare.
“Oh, it most definitely is,” Cay began. “The existence of the Great Laws since ancient times-”
“You’re both wrong,” Jade snapped. “It’s an art form.”
Ryan sipped his coffee and sat back as the two brightest students in all of Harthwright College passionately argued over semantics for the next hour and a half.
Is this thing on?
By Tamela Redfin
Night was falling and I noticed cyphas were out and got an idea. I paced in my room before finding what I was looking for: my pen. I clicked the top, listening for the static noise before speaking.
“This is Phosphorus Cameron Boyle. Today’s date, March 14th. Time of day. 11:35. Time to find out more about the mysterious creatures living on the doormat of Western Rolt. Better known as cyphas.”
I walked over into the streets, but quickly the cyphas ran off. Well, except for the one. “You again.”
Radon Cecilia walked closer. “Humans have a weird way of greeting us. What brings a researcher like you out here at this hour? You can tell your little friend Feldspar-”
“No, not Feldspar Augen. I’m… trying to better understand your type.”
“Why should I believe you? Thanks to humans like yourself, I got my nails filed down!”
I seized my opportunity to speak. “It’s not normal to file your nails?”
She looked annoyed. “Would you file off a rhino’s horn? How about a horse’s hooves? That’s what I thought.”
“So it’s keratin.”
“Yes, like a badger or a prairie dog. Fitting as we are supposed to live underground and not in some desert in a barren wasteland.”
“This isn’t your ideal living?”
“Ask yourself this: what about a light grey, long clawed humanoid creature with night vision screams superbia?”
“I think you’re looking for the word suburbia, Radon Cecilia.” I corrected.
“Get on with your questions! I’m asking more than you are.” as was the design, I thought, but proceeded.
“What would you call cyphas then?”
“Scientifically, I’d call them Homo Deterra. As a man of science, I’m sure you understand the term.”
“Yes I do. Are they nocturnal by nature?”
“What do you think we are, badgers? Moths? Sulfur Cora wouldn’t care either way, but we are diurnal”
“Can all cyphas turn invisible and have special powers?”
“That’s a stupid question. I don’t ask you if all humans can throw fireballs. Like humans, we don’t have special powers. Though I understand humans thinking thick skin is a power.”
The Hallward Brush
“The Hallward Brush,” the grinning bazaarier said. His hand flapped at a miniature sword rack containing all manner of pens and brushes. The top place was held by a mundane-looking, paintcoated brush.
“It is said,” the bazaarier continued, “That it grants immortality.”
The customer, a balding man in a tweed jacket, smiled graciously. They both knew what he wanted and the preamble was a formality.
“It will freeze your despiction in time, in life.”
“But not always,” the customer said. “Lady B——— still aged.”
“No, not always. There’s a missing piece, of course. An unhealthy dose of truth. An understanding of reality! An epiphany, my good man! That’s the magic!”
The customer frowned. “Why a brush?”
“Well, I’m no grifter! We’ve all heard of Master Dorian G——. Well, this is the brush what did him in!”
The customer produced a loup, held it awkwardly against his bulbous nose and leaned forward. He spoke from the corner of his mouth, his slight lisp becoming more prominent. “Does it only do people?”
“Got a favorite pet, have you?”
“No, I was thinking more abstract. Can you imagine what kind of laws I could fashion with a brush like this? Unbreakable, yes?”
“Well, I don’t really know. Could you even write with a brush?”
“The Japanese do it.” The customer glanced at him. “No one has ever tried it?”
The bazaarier laughed quietly. “Who would? Sir, I offer you an opportunity at immortality and you think of forging unchangeable laws? You could have all the carnal pleasures of the world with none of the ill effects.”
“How well that worked for Dorian G——.”
“Even so, sir!”
“I am quite satisfied with myself,” the customer said softly. “I have no desire to waste this one chance at permanence on such a creature as myself. London has seen quite enough of my scarred face. I do not think haunting it for another lifetime to be prudent.”
He smiled through stained, crooked teeth. “Leave such frivolities to the young and beautiful. I want to leave a true legacy. Something I don’t have to live with.”
A Masterpiece (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
Six years ago, the legendary Azamod Aerenhardt created his masterpiece. She was not a thing of beauty or glory. Not a statue, exhibited in a famous museum or a powerful machine. No, she was alive. The first of her kind. A thing of wonder, made of clay and stone. And he called her Lilith.
Five years ago, he tried to teach her how to feel. How to be human. She didn’t understand. She couldn’t understand. At least not yet. She asked why she was not allowed to leave the basement and why she was given two bronze pistols. She did not know what her purpose would be and what others like her had done. Azamod promised, he would explain everything and that it would all make sense soon.
Four years ago, he kept his first promise. He took Lilith out into the world and introduced her as his long-lost daughter. He showed her how to use pistols and how to make and maintain them. He showed her how to make machines and how cables worked. How electricity flowed and how to calculate. Then he taught her how to pretend.
Three years ago, Lilith had killed for the first time. It was a clean kill, targeted and without any sacrifice from bystanders. Azamod was secretly proud. Finally, he knew that she was different. Different than the rest of her kind, who killed without distinguishing between necessity and excess. He taught her about advanced mathematics and languages, strategy and magic. Lilith listened, always learning. Pretending to fit in.
Two years ago, he tried to teach her about herself. Lilith knew her purpose. Father gave it to her, after all. Eventually, he asked her what her own purpose was. She reacted, confused. How was she supposed to know? He just chuckled and said that, in two years, she’d be ready. Just two years…
One year ago, Azamod Aerenhardt died.
Today, Lilith stood over Father’s grave. She was a miracle of magic and science. She stood over countless dead bodies.
And not a single saved person.
“I’m sorry, Father. I’m failing at your purpose.”
Steampunk Inheritance [From Private]
C. M. Weller
My luck is… weird. I honestly don’t have any other word for it. I’m the kind of person who finds a random coin on the street and still end up five cents short for a coffee. THAT kind of luck. I just sort of bumble my way through life and prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. Good luck always has a catch when it comes my way.
So when I inherited a heritage building from an obscure grand aunt because I was the only person in the family who didn’t know the drama… I just knew it was either a junkheap or haunted. And I was right. I inherited a fixer-upper plus a hoarder nest.
Oh, and a ghost.
Well, not quite a ghost. It’s complicated.
So, yeah. The first week with a voice in the house was disturbing. Granted. It’s a better place to live than the old cockroach castle I used to pay too much rent on.
A lot more storage space for a start. Like the surprise cellar I’ve unearthed. That’s where my not-quite-a-ghost exists. I can’t exactly say ‘lives’.
This place used to belong to a really smart lady who wanted to live long enough to do everything she wanted. Real bad case of idea fission. BUT one of her more interesting ideas came with a rare find of the miracle element – Benjimium. Since it was the Victorian era, the only real tech she had access to was clockwork, mysticism and… building a new body.
My ancient ancestress mysteriously vanished and people locked up the cellar and forgot about it. Yet, she never really stopped working on her magnum opus. The result is disturbing.
Ever seen Metropolis? Imagine someone started with that robot as an idea and then ran out of materials somewhere along the way. She’s a mess. Especially around the knees.
If she had made working knees, she’d have busted out and taken over the world years ago.
Stairs are her mortal enemy. Thank. God.
I’m still working out how to calm her down. Maybe if I got her some internet?
Same Interest, New Friendship (Sword Isles)
By Connor A.
Given the nature of teleportation, the spell would most likely depend on all four elemental bases. The only way to know for sure was to make and test a circle.
But what about the ratios? Would mixing more than two elements in a spell even work? That was not even considering how the components would interact in practice.
Marcos scribbled that much down to start. Under that he wrote, “Goals,” as a smaller heading and looked back over his initial thoughts. Perhaps the first step would be to—
From the corner of his eye, Marcos saw someone approach him. When he looked up he saw a masked figure looming there. While most people would be horrified, Marcos only grinned.
“Oh, Death. Finally time?” He looked around the dimly-lit library in a casual manner. “Let me guess, a criminal is gonna break in and I nobly sacrifice myself for this place?”
Death looked around as well before answering, “You are not set to die tonight.”
“Then why come here?”
“To help you leave this place before the city watch accuses you of trespassing.”
“Library’s still open, though.” Marcos stared at Death, paling as the silence spoke for him. “Fuck.”
He gathered the books from the table and almost tripped on himself as he scrambled to put them back where they belonged. When he went back to grab his journal, he saw Death reading over the first page.
“Teleportation,” Death mused. “I thought I was the only one curious about how that worked.”
Marcos opened his mouth to explain, but stopped when Death closed the journal and held it out.
“Explain while we walk.”
Marcos nodded, took the journal back, and followed Death out.
“I thought it would be neat to figure it out,” he began, “but there’s not a lot of research on what I need.”
“Hm. Perhaps I can be of some assistance?” Death asked, then clarified, “This hardly seems like a one-person effort.”
“Y’know…having a firsthand account wouldn’t be a bad idea. You got yourself a deal, partner.”
The two shook hands, then quietly slipped out of the building.
The Eldenite Demonstration (Nyssa’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis
“Well, that’s all the basic theory covered,” Nyssa announced to her audience of academics. She smiled coyly. “But I don’t think we all gathered here today just to hear me talk, did we?”
A ripple of excitement flowed through the crowd, as she drew a long pointed shard of pale blue crystal from her robes. “It is one thing to hear about how charged Eldenite crystals interact with soft-magic manifestations. Seeing it, however, is another thing entirely!”
With that, she placed the shard into a socket at the centre of the demonstration platform. Then she patted a nearby arcane glyph, causing it to flash into life – and before her, a glimmering immobile disk of magical force took form, floating a couple of feet above the crystal.
Nyssa clapped her hands excitedly. “Okay! Everyone, prepare for a lightshow!” With one hand, she started rapidly spinning a little wheel in front of her, as the crystal began to glow with flickering emerald light. With the other, she carefully turned a crank, extending the crystal’s socket upwards and bringing the shard closer and closer to the magical surface…until finally, she cranked the flickering shard straight into the force wall.
The sound was the most immediate thing – a staticy ripping sound, as the crystal pierced right through the barrier. The previously solid magical manifestation now quivered like an animal in pain, shuddering and distorting around the shard. Then Nyssa began to rotate the socket, twisting the force-substance like paper, as the noise rose to a screech and the disk began to crumple and fray–
–raw energy tore away from the disk, striking the ceiling with a howling blast–
–and suddenly a flash of white light filled the room, and the twisting, screaming magic was dispelled in an instant.
Nyssa looked across to the back of the crowd, and locked eyes with her superior – Quelvara, her hand still outstretched in a magic-dispelling incantation. Her usually stern expression had been usurped by one of sheer horror.
After a moment of silence, the crowd erupted into applause, as Nyssa smiled back at Quelvara, her expression defiant.
Nonexistent Magic (repost from private)
There was an overwhelmingly melancholic air in the dimly lit room. Candles were close to being burnt out, having reached the base and at the end of their wicks. Even the magic concoction itself didn’t glow very bright, it’s metallic colour dull and unimpressive. A number of materials – from stardust to wolf fangs, dried frogskins and the beaks of durocqs – were scattered carelessly on every surface. Yellowed papers with seemingly endless scrawls and lines of research were overflowing; they were impossible to not step on as they littered the floor.
Stepping forward, the mixture is done. It smelled foul and probably tasted no better, but it wouldn’t matter in the end. It’s lifted away from its burner and the bubbling within the beaker subsides. With the heat gone, it’s metallic colour grows ever yet darker.
Nothing moves. It’s silent, a reminder of the contents of this life. But in this stalled moment of clarity, the silence had an unexplainable lightness to it. A memory plays out from the want of better days: an open field of flowers, where it’s quiet beyond the wind whistling through the grass and trees. In the distance, the trickle of the river and the calls of creatures could be heard. And the sun. It was shining brightly, complimenting the azure sky with its glow. This place, the memory, was nostalgically painted in sepia. Within a blink of tired eyes, the sun grew so warm, so beautifully warm.
The empty beaker falls to the ground and shatters, scattering more of the notes and materials that were threatening to do the same in time. Where there should have been a sound, an outburst, there was nothing. In the lack of words, there was no logic.
One by one, the candles within the room begin to blink out, their flames engulfed by melted wax. The last one to burn out was beside the glass beakers, in few moments transitioning from dim to nothing.
Oh, Grow Up!
Teriana’s garden appeared to stretch on forever with such a variety of perfectly maintained flora that it still boggled Matt’s mind whenever he saw it. And yet somehow this morning, he’d woken up to what appeared to be a brand-new part of it that contained massive sections of his kitchen and dining room from back home. “W… wha?”
“Told you he’d be speechless.” Mara chuckled, reaching across the table to add more bacon to the growing mountain of meat already on her plate.
Bacon, eggs, pancakes, waffles, sausage, even hash browns and what appeared to be freshly-squeezed orange juice. There was a practical buffet awaiting Matt on the table, as he saw Laila still slaving away in the kitchen, steadily cranking out more food to replenish what Mara was eating. “Morning Matt! PLEASE eat something so I’m not just throwing food straight onto Mara’s plate.”
“I’m a growing demon!” Mara giggled as she dug into her meat mountain.
Matt quickly sat down and began to pile a more balanced amount of food onto his plate, “Okay… but I expect an explanation while I eat all this.”
“That’s what she said.”
“Mara! Behave!” Matt said with a mouth full of pancakes.
“Never.” Mara winked back.
“Anyway…” Laila visibly rolled her eyes at the demon’s antics. “You said that you wanted to live in the temple since there’s room for all four of us. So… I thought… maybe you’d want some amenities from home. Kitchen… dining room… indoor plumbing…”
“We’re in an ancient temple with a mystical garden in one of its rooms.” Matt got out after another delicious bite. “Where are you even plugging in the appliances?”
“Magic IS a thing, you know.” Laila giggled.
“…Magic can power technology?”
“And technology can power magic.” Laila looked thoughtful, “Under certain circumstances…”
“Huh…” Matt looked around at the new additions with a newfound appreciation. “Well, I am officially impressed. And not just by your cooking.”
“Thank you…” Laila blushed.
“This is way too much though…” Matt said, looking at the food.
“That’s what she said…” Mara smirked, piling more on her plate.