Lachlann had never been one for parties. He preferred to be in small groups at most. However, one advantage of this yearly party was that he could sneak away unnoticed to research in the Elder’s library. It was quite a spectacle to behold. Among the villagers there were maybe three or four books total and those were mostly just the history of creation and the gods, but here there must have been close to a hundred books packed into a tiny room with a single window and desk. There weren’t even shelves just stacks of books lining the walls. This library although grand by Lachlann’s standards was just a glorified closet filled with old tomes most holding useless or obsolete knowledge.
Working by the light of the moon overhead so no one could see from the outside, he began to search the room. Normally it would take hours to find anything useful but, in a vision from Lykos, Lachlann had seen himself grab a specific book. Hidden under several books in the corner, bound in dark leather, was a thick book with a blank cover. There was no title as it appeared to be someone’s journal. Skimming the pages, it wasn’t long before he found what he was looking for. The author had laid out a process for using magic for beginners. Elder Topapa had always told him to wait as magic was not a power to be trifled with, but a literal god had given him the go ahead. The author began,
“The gods in the immense glory gifted the races with an acute ability to sense the power of the natural world and enact their will upon it. The layman refers to this process as magic. It is important that before anyone tries to utilize this power, they should understand that the power they are attempting to use is left over from the creation of this world and is divine in nature. The force of creation ebbs through this world much like a system of rivers rushing across the world. There are places where the power pools for years such as in the bodies of animals and plants or for centuries as crystals. To use magic the first step to using magic is to connect the power pooled in your body with another source. The most difficult source to use it the power flowing naturally since you must go against nature itself to use that power. Training daily can increase the amount of power you can move with the force of your willpower.
The first step to using the force of creation is to attune yourself to it. Begin by closing your eyes and feeling around you for the flow of this force. Feel the natural elemental flow, for instance the heat from a fire and the wind’s gentle blow are both fueled by different aspects of this power. Focus on an element around you and gently try to move it. See if you can make a candle flicker or turn the page of a book with a breeze. After you have mastered those try gathering a single element into your hand and then manipulate it. After you have mastered the use of single elements try using raw power. Instead of using an element to move an object simply will the object to move. Once you can do that you will be well on your way to becoming a master.”
Lachlann closed the book and closed his eyes. After an hour of focusing and trying to feel the elements. He felt a slight ping of wind outside the window. He felt a few bits of wind rustle the nearby leaves. Soon he could feel the subtle breeze outside as it flowed around objects. It only took another hour before he could feel the heat from a torch across the street.
“I must be a genius. Topapa always made it sound like it would take years to understand the simplest parts of magic,” Lachlann boasted to himself, “Maybe it’s because I was chosen by Lykos for this task.” Since Lykos was a child of the moon, Lachlann attempted to extend his perception towards the moon and after a few moments what he found puzzled him. He could feel a string of force that connected him with the moon. It felt strange and invigorating. As he observed the string, the elements around him became more apparent.
“Praise Lykos, I am grateful for the gifts I have received,” Lachlann recited the simple village prayer out loud. He began to try to do as the book said and move the element from the moon into himself. As it flowed into him, he felt strong enough to trample mountains. Focusing all his will to a single point Lachlann pressured a book to lift into the air. After about 20 minutes of focusing the book began to wobble into the air. It hovered about a foot of the ground shaking unsteadily.
It was at this moment that the world seemed to stand still and all his hair stood on end. Lachlann felt a tremor through the atmosphere originating from the sky. The energy of the moon rotated until it appeared centered on him. A cold chill ran down his back as he felt the lifeless stare of the heavenly body. There was no indication of an emotion, only that something whether it a being or force had noticed him. Lachlann was unsure if this was a god or something else but he knew it was connected to the moon. The only problem was he remembered the elder telling him the moon god, Fuarceann, had split himself into many parts long ago leaving the moon with no lord. Supposedly heroes could be blessed and receive power from the moon but there shouldn’t be a consciousness.
While Lachlann thought about it, he felt his connection to the moon surge uncontrollably. Power poured into him scurrying across his body. His veins began to feel like they were filled with lava as all of his muscles tensed. A million pin pricks of pain moved across his body as his mind released a guttural scream, his mouth unable to follow. His vision became a blank canvas as he fell unconscious.
Thomas threw a set of dice, watching with a sense of dread as each of the five dice landed. Hanging his head in sadness, he handed the man across from him a few copper coins. The trader collected the coins and left the table. That was the third game in a row Thomas had lost.
After losing the tournament Thomas had sought refuge and booze in a tent set up for gambling during the festival. Waitresses hurried from table to table as the air was filled with shouts of frustration. Pulling back the opposite chair, Ciaran sat down at the table.
“It’s not like you to lose this often,” Ciaran teased taking a swig from a pewter mug filled with mead,” Seems like your luck in dice now mirrors your luck in women.”
Thomas glared at his friend for a moment before responding with, “At least I had luck. The only thing you had going for you is chopping down trees.”
“Always gonna be a need for lumber can’t say the same for whiny gamblers,” Ciaran murmured into his mug just loud enough for Thomas to hear over the clamor of the tent.
“I’m sure you didn’t come here just to mock me at my lowest,” Thomas said with false drama.
“Stop with the theatrics and tell me what’s the wager?” Ciaran chided grabbing some dice. Ever since they’d been young the two friends had an ongoing tradition of gambling during the fire festival. They would each throw three dice and the one with the lower count would have to pull off some ridiculous feat or task.
“Here’s the thing I heard that this year since there’s a chlochdreki among the traders there’s also a supply of clochdrekian epiphany shrooms.” Thomas informed trying to keep his voice low,” So we nab some of those and slip them into the stew tomorrow.” Thomas had thought for a long time on this prank. He had spent weeks without even a sliver of a good idea until a trader had told him of the mushrooms. The idea of putting the mushrooms into the annual festival potluck was without a doubt the greatest epiphany of Thomas’ life.
“I hear those shrooms make your wildest dreams look like reality. What if people begin to think themselves birds and start flapping their arms?” Ciaran mused making a flapping motion with his arms.
“Just get ready to throw your dice so I can watch you scurry to pull this off.” They both pumped their fists three times and then threw their dice. Both sets of dice landed to equal thirteen.
“So together then.” Both said in unison as they clasped hands in the center of the table. With the important matters already discussed the two began a friendly competition to drink each other into oblivion. Neither of the participants could remember the next day who had drunk more.