Thursday 2 July 2009

The Chase

Today I thought I'd share a piece of short fiction that I wrote when I created my home grown D&D setting, The Isles of Ethos. It was inserted in a printed Setting Guide I gave to my players before we started the campaign. Magic Users have a hard time of things in my world, with prejudice and suspicion directed at them (not entirely undeservedly) on a regular basis. I wanted anyone that played a Mage in my game to be under no illusions as to what they were getting themselves into.

Favion’s lungs felt like they were about to burst out of his chest. The muscles in his legs burned with the exertion, but he had to force himself to keep running. He stumbled over a pile of rubbish lying in the street and crashed into a wall. Temporarily dazed he drew in a few quick breaths to clear his head. In the distance he could hear the sound of running feet and the assorted cries of the mob. Tears of frustration and fear welled up in his eyes but the young Magi fought them back and began running again. He had grown up in the city but now he didn't know where he was. In the dark the city was a stranger to him. His quite life of study and discipline now looked as if it would end with a premature and pointless death.

The fine robes that marked him out as a Mage Acolyte were streaked with filth. Blood, from a cut above his eye, flowed freely down his face staining the high white colour of his shirt. He had been lucky to have survived this long. When he had been surrounded by the Followers of Manifest Destiny fear had immediately filled his heart. But he had kept his mind clear and when they attacked he was able to use his arts to buy time for escape. Favion’s legs felt like lead now. He couldn't run for much longer and when he stopped the mob would be on him. He skidded into an ally and made one final effort. His legs gave way and he crumpled down in a doorway totally spent. He was now too exhausted for tears, each breath was agony and with each moment he could hear death approaching.

How had it come to this, he asked himself. He had started the day full of optimism. His new robes had arrived from the tailors and having now come of age the way was open for him to take his studies to the next level. Proud and eager he had donned his robes and gone out to buy new materials. He had almost finished his shopping and headed down to the dockside. Heading off of Fish Street and into the maze of little shops Favion crossed into the market square. Immediately he was aware of many eyes watching him and it was clear they were not admiring his gold and purple robes. Mumbled words quickly turned to angry shouts and then Favion found himself surrounded. He knew he was in trouble immediately. The followers of Manifest Destiny, the Manifestors, hated wizards and blamed them for the cataclysm. Some cities were virtual no-go areas for wizards but Deephaven had always been cosmopolitan and tolerant. But down here by the docks many sailors from other islands mingled with the crowds of city folk. It was a tanned and scarred sailor that roused the crowd against him and sent him running for his life through the streets of a city he called home.

Lost in his pain and self pity he was caught completely off guard when the door behind him swung open. Panic entered his heart as several hands gripped his robes and he was hauled unceremoniously inside the building. The door was quickly shut plunging Favion into utter darkness. He struggled free of the hands and shuffled back across a polished wooden floor. Brief thoughts of fighting his way out were quashed with the sound of the doors bolts being thrown. Whispered voices echoed in the dark and when he tried to speak a hand was thrust over his mouth. "Be quite you fool or you will kill us all" hissed a woman’s voice. Favion’s eyes were by now growing accustomed to the darkness and in the cave like gloom he could make out two adult figures, one obviously a woman. His captors stopped whispering as the sound of running feet approached. Many people were passing by and from their tone it was clear this was the mob that had hunted Favion.

After what seemed an age to the young Magi the sounds outside died away and his captors let out a collective sigh of relief. The hand was removed from his mouth. "Where am I?" he managed to say. Again the woman’s voice "You are safe from the Manifestors. This is the house of Gilalian, and I am his Life Mate, Freneya". Across the room a Lamp fluttered into life and the fine features of a young Elven woman appeared before him. "We will tend your wounds and then Gilalian will make sure you get home safely. But first we will have to do something about those ridiculous robes of yours."

1 comment:

  1. Great! I like it a lot - subtle and very characterful.

    Oh, and great use of mages being "under no illusions" too!


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