Despite having seen several showcases of fire, wind, earth, and water magic at the summer festival, and occasionally from a street performer on my trips to market, I didn’t feel like I’d gotten the amount of magic that Nehcor bragged about so heartily. He’d made it sound like I’d be walking down Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter world. But all I’d seen was a less fancy, no dance version of Avatar: the Last Airbender.
If you don’t know what those are, I have nothing to say about your upbringing or your nonexistent use of Google.
Thus, when Roman mentioned his own magic in passing during one of our many tea times, I latched onto it.
“Oh! What kind of magic is it? Don’t nobles have huge magical capacities?”
He gave me a very odd look.
“Just how little do you know about this country?” he asked.
I thought he had gotten use to how obtuse I was to common knowledge by now, but apparently not.
Rather than look suspicious, however, he chuckled.
“Alright, no need to pout,” he put his tea cup down. “Though before I tell you, I think it would be public service to add a little background. If there’s anything you already know, feel free to stop me.”
“Yes yes,” I just wanted him to hurry up. I already had a handful of crackers as my impromptu movie popcorn.
Ever amused by me, he started with, “Lisuania, as I hope you know, is a monarchy ruled by the king. But before the time of the king, Lisuania had been four separate nations. Tribes is probably a more accurate word.”
“Oo! Let me guess. Water, fire, earth, and wind!”
“Almost. The ruling families of each section did specialize in one of the elemental magics. However, the distribution of magicians was about even, depending on what the landscape needed. The remains of those four countries still hold up Lisuania today, as the four original ruling families support the king.” He pulled over a lacey doily between us, then held up a shortcake cookie with a red current in the center. “There’s the Marque of Donnel to the North. They guard the border to Yinaria, a bitterly cold land. Because of the long winter of their lands, the Donnel family, with their strong fire magic, survived the best there, and created a foundation for others to live well there too.”
Next, he took up a swirly cookie with blue sprinkles.
“To the east, sharing their borders with Mila, is the Marque Fairenson family—“
“Oo! Sir Fairenson! Your knight! He’s a marquee?”
“Not quite. He’s the third son of the marquee. It’s common to send second or third sons to other territories to serve as knights, but then he fell in love with the daughter of a branch family of ours and, well, that was the end of work being his excuse for staying around. Though his family disowned him for marrying outside the family.”
I felt a little girly with that bit of knowledge. “Our Knight of the Square’s married? And with such a dramatic romance behind it? Oh, that’s so cute, does he have any babies?”
“Their first is due in the spring, I believe.” He cocked his head. “Knight of the Square?”
“You know, because he’s so square? Square jaw, square shoulders, even has a bit of a blocky nose.”
He thought for a second, then laughed.
“Goodness, I daresay you’re right. I can’t wait to call him that.”
“Yes, now, continue with your lesson, I am enjoying you’re cookie visual aid.”
He chuckled, but after putting down the blue sprinkled cookie, he took up a cookie with white, powdered sugar on it.
“It is a great visual aid, isn’t it? It’s almost like the maids planned for this.” He cleared his throat and put the white cookie down on the doily across from the blue sprinkle ‘water’ cookie. “Marquee Rigard of the west guards the southern border against Pinistan. Oh, goodness, I haven’t explained Fairenson.”
“They live next to the ocean and so their woo woo water magic gathered people to them who wanted cheap fish?”
He laughed, as he often did in our conversations.
“Woo woo,” he shook his head. “More or less, though the west has a border against the ocean as well. However, the difference is that, while the eastern seashore is warm, green, and with many sandy beaches, for some reason, the western seashore is more craggy and cold. Some water magicians have hypothesized that there is a warm water current brining waters from the south to the eastern shore, but not the western. There is one big thing that the north western coast is famous for, though, and that is cyclones.”
I perked. “Like, water tornadoes?”
He nodded. “There is a mountain range between the south and north that runs through the eastern territory. Because of that, the land is too mountainous and craggy for warm air from the south to come up very often. But in the west, the land is flat. Combine that with the cold winds often coming from the ocean and the warm air from the south—“
“Tornadoes! Oh, that’s exciting.”
“I suppose deadly can be exciting. Because of that, many feared living in this land. But it was perfect for a family of wind magicians who had been persecuted for their religion for many generations, so they made their home in the west. The people there still depend on their magic to protect them from the frequent storms.”
“Then we come to, dare I say, my favorite territory.” He set a caramel iced cookie in the center of the doily. “The Dostuve family use to be a Marquee as well. But a generation back we married into the royal family via a princess who had Earth magic. Caused a bit of an upheaval since the royal family had never produced an earth magician. Despite the rumors of her being illegitimate, the king opted for a closer relationship with our duchy, and since most of our territory takes up the fertile plains set against the mountain range of the east. Because of the mountains, rains blowing up from the south and west are held back to water the lands. Add to that we have an ancient volcanic grounds to the north east, right up against the northern territory, and you have the perfect circumstances for Earth magicians to pull up crucial nutrients from the magma beneath to fertilize the earth. And because of that, I suppose, the princess having earth magic was enough for my ancestors to accept.”
“Inbreeding aside, it sounds like you guys got it easy compared to the rest,” I said with a wry smile.
He wrinkled his nose a bit at that. “I like to think we’re blessed. It was my ancestors who discovered the nutrients of magma and other such agricultural inventions. Because of that, we are known as, well, the bread basket of the Lisuania. The Dostuve’s are famous for avoiding famine even through drought or disease. They’ve long been the richest and, dare I say, the most powerful family of the four.” And after clearing his throat briefly and glancing at the clock on the mantle, he added, “And I have no intention of continuing the legacy of intermarriage. If for nothing else than the hope of keeping this curse of mine from my children.”
I clapped slowly. “Good for you.”
He rolled his eyes lightly and scratched the back of his wrist, something I was beginning to hypothesize he did when nervous or sheepish.
“That aside, there is a reason for the four founding families and the royal family keeping marriage among themselves. Each family houses the blood of the most powerful magicians of their kind—or, at least, the four families do. Marrying those of other magic affinities or even lack thereof waters down the magic, or replaces it completely. Even I, with my unfortunate health, have perhaps one of the most considerable magic capacities for Earth magic in the country.”
As he said this, he pulled out a round lump of gold the size of a goose egg from his pocket.
“Would you like to see?” he asked, seemingly excited by my own bated breath. It reminded me of an uncle entertaining their favorite niece.
So I humored him.
“Oo! Yes yes yes!”
The gold egg on his palm rippled, as though going liquid, and shifted before my eyes into the most exquisite image of a horse I’d ever seen, with tiny, glittering ruby eyes and diamond hooves.
But it didn’t stay a statue. Rather, it came alive, throwing its gold mane behind it as it pranced about his palm till he let it down onto the table between us. There, with tinkling clip clops of its hooves, it set off in a delighted gallop, its tail out behind it in gossamer threads of rippling gold.
Nothing I’d ever seen had compared to this.
“Since I couldn’t move as much as I liked,” he said. “I had a lot of time to perfect my magic.”
Even as it ran, the horse rippled into a new shape—a lion! The diamonds changed shape to became claws and the ruby eyes glittered fiercely. It turned on me with bared fangs just before it melted into something scaled, winged, and gorgeous.
“A dragon,” I gasped.
“Yes, though I dare say I haven’t been able to see one up close enough to get the details down right.”
“Oh my freaking—that’s so cool!”
“Amazing, awe inspiring, take your pick—oo! Now it’s a wolf! This is so cool! So cool!”
He chuckled at my continuing squeals, even as he herded the wolf onto his palm.
“Gold is extremely heavy, and diamonds are the hardest substance known. As well as keeping it moving, with that much detail, and changing the shape of the diamonds without breaking them, takes not only a large amount of magic, but a good deal of control. As I’m sure you know, the more detailed the spell, the more skill is needed in magic.”
The wolf snapped back into the gold egg once more, the diamonds and rubies hidden somewhere in its core.
“And, as you can see, I didn’t even break a sweat.”
And so he hadn’t. Not so much as a twitch.
“So cool.” And I meant it. That was a spell I could never get tired of. “You’re the awesomest magician I’ve ever met!”
Yeah, I sounded like I was five. Kind of felt like it too, though.
Even so, Roman blushed.
Alright, my long-promised change has come. The first platform ‘Raising a Hero’ has been published on is Webnovel.com, where you can get access to advanced chapters all the way up to chapter 148. I’ll be updating weekly for the web novel publishers once I get my new cover done for it, since the cover I’m using right now uses a painting I don’t have a license for. Once the new, all-owned by me cover is up the distributors will send it out to other web novel sites/apps like iDream and…other places I’m drawing a blank on because I foolishly decided to put this up first thing in the morning while I’m brain dead. I’ll post in the link below this. As for what that means for all you who’d much rather just stay on Quotev or Wattpad, my updates will be cut down to every Saturday. That includes on my blog–though I might be moved upon by special occasions to update more chapters on my blog in an attempt to be compassionate or marketing. Because, lo, I hate marketing, but I’m required to do it and using my blog is the least I can do.
Quick link to ‘Raising a Hero’:
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Anyhoo, thanks for your patience! Hope you enjoy the plethora of chapters!
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