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Nov 22, 2019 5:13 AM
Inanna's Ring!Sasuke in Arcania Artefactum
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"I might be able to do something? My magic's versatile, and theoretically powerful."

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She shrugs, "Maybe," she agrees. "The Empire has a lot of mages and wielders. The Emperor himself has the Blade of the Emperor, one of the most powerful Simple Artefacts. I don't know much about your magic, so I don't know how much of a difference you'd make."

They pass another set of guards as they enter the building, finding themselves in a small hall. At the end of the hall there's a door, and the hall continues down to the right. She ignores the door and leads him down the other hall, before heading up a flight of stairs at the end of this one. Back down this hallway, through the door above the one they'd passed downstairs (which slides into the wall as she approaches), and they enter the main hallways of the palace. 

"We're only holding out because we have better mages and wielders," she tells him, "The city had a lot of powerful Artefacts in it when it was found, and our academy turns out some of the best mages in the world. Our magic users fight with the Cialin army, and their mages come here to learn - that's some of the biggest things we trade them in return for food."

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"I could list the type of things I can do - the teleport I showed is fourth level, two ranks below my most powerful magic, but power progression between ranks isn't really even. First level spells are basic, through sixth level spells, which are the height of what everyone except a single person can do."

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She nods seriously, "That would be good," she agrees, "And you don't know if your magic might mix badly with ours, right? I should introduce you to the teachers at the academy."

At the end of this hall, she turns left. She stops outside another door, this one with an exasperated looking guard standing before it. 

"Lady Erin," he sighs out. 

She grins at him, "Hi Walon," she says, cheerful, "This is Sugira," she pronounces it carefully, "I met him out on the city," technically true, "He has some unusual magic that I believe could be a great help to our ally's efforts." She turn back to Sugira, gesturing at the other man, "This is Walon Carver, the head of my personal guard." The idea is just as silly to her now as it was when they were first introduced. What does she need a guard for?

The beleaguered guard looks over at Sugira and nods, "Evening, sir," he says. 

 

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"Good evening," he says.

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Erin frowns, looking around, and then pokes the Gauntlet. She frowns harder at what it tells her, "I thought it was Lucan's shift tonight?" She asks Walon. 

He shrugs, "Councillor Lethburn told him to change shifts, my lady," he tells her, "They're having some kind of event at the estate tonight." 

Erin crosses her arms, frustrated, "Of course. Hoburn must have known, he probably assigned Lucan tonight on purpose." 

Walon hums, "I couldn't say, my lady," he states. 

She sighs. After a moment, she looks up at Sugira, "It's pretty late," she notes, "I was going to go to bed. I can get one of the servants to lead you to a guest room, if you want." She pauses, "Unless it's too early for you to sleep?" She knows it's a little after noon in Cialist, "There's always the library if you're too awake." 

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"It is somewhat early, yes. The library works."

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Despite the late hour, there's always servants at work in the palace. Erin touches a thread of magic to the metal strip which runs through the middle of the walls. 

"Someone should be here any moment," She assures Sugira. She yawns, quickly covering her mouth, "Excuse me," she says, "I'll have someone direct me to you when I wake up." She smiles, "Good night!" 

Assuming no one needs anything else from her, she enters her rooms and leaves them there. 

 As Erin had assured him, a young woman in a simple, pale blue robe hurries up to them from the direction of the door they'd used earlier. She bows shallowly, "How may I help?" She asks, glancing from Walon to Sugira. 

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"I would like to go to the library, please."

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The servant gives him a pleasant smile, "Of course, sir, just this way." 

She turns to lead him down the hall, sticking to the main hallways, unlike Erin. Unlike the vault, the hallways here have no water troughs in the floor. They do, however, have small fountains here and there, the water features creating a relaxing atmosphere of trickling water and leaving the air pleasantly humid. Oddly, the blue and gold carpet running down the hall is bone dry. Well-tended plants in neat blue planters sit in the corners of the hall, leaving the halll smelling of fresh, green things, and the lights above are low, allowing the light of the stars and streetlamps in through the window at the end of the hall. 

The door they come to slides open to allow them to pass at a touch of the servant's own magic. On the other side is a wide stairwell. Above, the stairs continue to a third floor, but she leads him down to the ground floor instead. 

There they enter another door on the other side of the stairwell and continue down a hall much like the one they'd come from, if larger and without the carpet. After a bit of walking they come to a large set of doors, which swing inwards when the young woman touches one. 

She gestures him inside, "The library doors open at a touch," she assures him, "You don't need to have your mana registered to leave." She is unaware of the fact thay he lacks their kind of magic, but as he isn't keyed into the palace's system he wouldn't be able to enter any of the doors which require it anyway. 

"I expect Master Kelka, the librarian, is still insdie. He'll be happy to help you if you need anything," she says, giving him another bland smile and a bow.

As she leaves, he can make out a scratching sound from inside. A dry cough announces the presence of what is likely the librarian in question. 

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He'll enter, then, looking around.

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It's a large, fancy library. One might call it palatial, even. 

It's probably about the same size as the ring room, with shelves of some dark red-brown wood covering every wall, as well as standing in ten wide rows starting about fifteen meters in. The books are neatly organized, metal plaques announcing their contents adorning the end of each row of shelves in large, easily readable font. Gentle gold light falls between the shelves to allow readers to peruse the titles, and sturdy wooden footstools can be found here and there to give easy access to the higher shelves. 

Between the door and the shelves are a trio of tables made of the same wood, a varying number of chairs tucked in around them, and a scattering of plush brown and gold armchairs. 

This room, with its soft gold walls, red-brown wood, and deep red carpeting, seems quite at odds with the parts of the city he's seen so far. 

Seated at one of the tables is an old man, his head bent over a finely bound book, a stack of large tomes settled beside it. An intricate lamp holding a golden globe of fire, one of several in this part of the room, offers illumination for his writing. He seems quite engrossed in his work.

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He'll leave the man to his work for now. He knows how libraries work.

First: recent histories, and primers on magic.

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On the plaque second to the left is written 'History, S.E.-A.M.C.', while the one to the right of it insists its contents are 'History, A.M.-S.E.'. The books on magic can be found in the two shelves to the right of these - 'Mana Studies', those shelves' helpful labels inform him. 

The man hums as he walks by, tugging down the third tome in his stack and flipping it open without looking. He glances over at it and taps thoughtfully at a passage, then rushes to jot down another line in his book. His quill is long and fluffy, it's bright green plumage waving and bouncing in the air above his head with every stroke. 

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He starts with Mana Studies, then. He'll wait for the history until he's found someone less distracted to ask about the dating system.

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The organization system in the Mana Studies aisle seems easy enough to deal with, at least. Just above eye height for him on each shelf is a small metal plate describing the contents of the shelf. On the left side, the first one says 'Time', the next three say 'Fire', and so on. The 'Time' shelf holds a sparser collection than most of the shelves, only the four shelves around head-height being full. 

Arranged at the begininng of the right shelf is a collection of books whose titles all begin with the words, 'Mana: the Elementary Principles', with variously coloured covers. The first is white; this one's title continues with, 'for the Novice Mage'. The rest, in all colours of the rainbow, declare themselves to be primers for the various types he has seen in the city so far, beginning again with the dark red Time book on the left. The plate on this shelf reads 'Compendiums', as do the two he can make out to the left. More books of that type litter the first three shelves, while further there seems to be more large tomes like the ones the librarian is using. 

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He'll pick up 'For the Novice Mage', and if it doesn't seem so thick it'll take him multiple hours, he'll also grab the Time and Space books. Those seem most likely to mess with his own magic in dangerous ways.

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They're fairly thick, but if he pages through to the table of contents in one if them he'll find that the first two sections are an overview and introduction to their respective magics, and those aren't terribly long. 

If he checks the introductions they quickly recommend he read 'For the Novice Mage' first, though, so perhaps he should start there. 

'Novice Mage' is about 300 pages long; the book begins with a page detailing its contents: 

1. Introduction to Magic

2. Meditation: Finding your Mana Pool

3. Affinity: Determining your First Affinity

4. Beginner Spellcasting

5. Minor Magics

6. Further Reading

7. Glossary

 

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He'll start with 'Introduction to Magic', skip to 'Minor Magics', 'Further Reading', and 'Glossary.' He's not interested in how-to for now.

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The introduction begins by recommending any potential mage read the book in order, as each chapter describes the successive, necessary steps to begin spellcasting. It also recommends the reader seek out an experienced mage to supervise their attempts, in order to prevent any unfortunate accidents. Sugira isn't planning to attempt any of the magic described, however, so he can safely ignore this advice. 

Next the book describes what it calls the eight 'primary colours' of magic: Deep Red, for Time; Red-Orange, for Fire; Gold, for Life; Green, for Earth; Blue, for Water; Indigo, for Air; Violet, for Space; Bright Violet for Illusion. It gives examples of each, including one each of first, second, and third-tier spells, and explains that the 'Beginner Spellcasting' chapter contains two simple spells from each category. 

The reader is reminded that it is unwise to practise anything beyond minor magics without examining one's own core, as mana exhaustion can come on unexpectedly, and is extremely dangerous. 

Next, the author writes that those minor magics, simple applications of mana to do such things as induce growth in plants and heat water for hot drinks, are in fact useful exercises in controlling and refining one's magic, and suggests that any prospective mage make an effort to preform them as much as possible - no matter what certain elitist types might say. 

Last, there is a 'Note for Artefact wielders', recommending that they not attempt any spells with their Artefact's assiatance until they have a good grasp of both their own mana pool and the Artefact's.

The Minor Magics chapter itself offers a number of suggested applications to strengthen the reader's control and affinity to the various types of magic. It also warns against investing too much of one's mana pool into any one type of magic, as this limits how much magic of other types one may preform. 

'Further Reading' contains several more spells of each type, along with a number of simple combination spells. Each spell description includes suggested incantations, an estimate of how much mana, and of what types (if applicable), is necessary, in a unit described as 'pins', where to direct the mana, and useful (if sometimes unusual) applications for each spell. For example:

Earth Wall - Calls forth an earthen wall from any surface made of loose earth. Common incantations are mostly variations on the word 'Wall' in one's preferred language. This spell requires seven pins of earth mana, and is therefore among the most expensive first-tier spells. It can be used to build defensive formations, platforms, temporary shelter, and allow access to places out of reach. 

 The Glossary consists of a list detailing the definitions of various terms used throughout the book. 

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Sounds like their magic system's pretty flexible.

He'll turn to the one on Space.

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'Mana: the Elementary Principles: Space' is quite a bit thinner than 'Novice Mage' but still thicker than 'Time'. Unlike the former, it does not appear to be a step-by-step how-to, though it does go over the basic method of casting in the introduction. Most of what it contains is more spells, from the first-tier 'move this object, at speed', to second-tier gravity manipulation, to third-tier teleportation. It also contains a warning against attempting those higher-tier manipulations without the framework of a spell, as such attempts often go wildly wrong, resulting in sometimes massive explosions, in the case of gravity manipulation, and body parts strewn across the continent, in the case of teleportation. 

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Sounds like spell development. Learning his homeworld's spells usually isn't that risky, though.

What about Time?

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'Time' is much the same, in terms of format, but it contains far less spells, and nothing beyond second-tier. First-tier spells are mostly meant to determine the time or to briefly slow or quicken a person or object. Second-tier spells include longer-lasting versions of the latter, spells which cause their target to reverse their recent actions, including mild de-aging and un-wounding, as well as past-oriented divinitory spells.

One might conclude that third-tier time spells may allow one to look forward, reverse aging, or even to move in time. The book describes none of them, however. 

The book also cautions against free manipulation of its magic type, though the results it references are more along the lines of mysterious disappearances, infinite loops, and reversions to infancy. 

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Different focuses than the time magic he's used to, then - highly limited precognition can be obtained fairly early, and postcognition's in some ways often harder, or at least more niche. 

And he'll avoid any very powerful time magics.

He stands up, stretches, and glances around for the librarian.

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