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Nov 22, 2019 4:29 AM
Inanna's Ring!Sasuke in Arcania Artefactum
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"I'm not taking anything yet; I'm trying to learn more about the magic system, right now, so I'm attending a few open lectures on that and related history, to try to get a feel. I'm from another universe, I think, or at least another planet - my magic system works differently, and I want to understand here better. Today I was also going to go to Permanency and Runecraft, as well as an Introduction to Artifact Handling." He names the times.

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"A different universe?" His brows raise, then he glances at the scholar badge and shrugs, accepting. "Well, P and R is in the Enchanting department, in the magic studies section of the Academy. That's across the quad from the entrance, on the third floor. Artefact Handling is in the same section, but the Artefacts department is on the first floor, in one of the extensions..." he pulls a map out of one of his belt pouches and points out the two areas. "You should be able to find the right room from there - there's signs showing which way to go in front of the lifts and stairwell doors." 

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"Thanks."

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He nods, offers a quick smile, then turns to face the front - the lecture should be starting any moment now. 

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Sugira sits nearby, also on the aisle. 

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Indeed, the old man - presumably the visiting scholar Thom Morton - straightens up at the podium and clears his throat.

 "Ahem. Hello, welcome to, ah, this discussion - or, ah, lecture - on the Mana Crisis. If everyone could, please, quiet down?" 

He sweeps his gaze over the class as everyone settles down. After a moment of silence, aside from the shuffling of papers, he continues. 

"Right. Well, best start at the beginning," he mutters, "As I am sure most of you know, the Mana Crisis began when the Mana Seal was broken, at the end of the last age - which we now call, the Sealed Age, or Sealed Era. Well, I say it began then, but the disaster most associated with the Crisis - the Mana Sickness - did not begin appearing more than, ah, sporadically, until perhaps ten years after the Seal was broken. We will not be covering the Sickness right away, instead I will be taking this time to speak of the societal collapse caused by the sudden introduction of magic to a previously magicless world..." 

 The lecture is fairly informative. The man speaks more of the experiences of the common people during that tumultuous time than of the collapse of nations and such, in many cases sounding as though he experienced it himself. Despite pausing to peer down at his notes every so often, the lecture portion is well worded and engaging. 

Apparently most communities either banded tightly together or collapsed - in the face of witch hunts, in some cases, or forced recruiting, in many others. The first ten years after the Seal broke many nations fell to civil war, while many others warred with each other. Conscription of any who showed any sign of controlling their mana was common. It wasn't until roughly twenty years after the sickness had run its course that ancient compendiums began to be found in ruins all over the world, eventually leading to safe, structured high tier magic being used by more than just Complex Artefact users and those they taught. 

With fifteen minutes to spare before the end of the lecture period, he stops to answer questions. One boy - looks to be in his mid-teens - raises an arm to catch his attention. 

"You were alive during the Crisis, right? Do you have any idea how the Seal was broken?" 

He clears his throat nervously, "Ah, no, no one knows how it happened. It's, generally assumed, that the ancients left some way to break the Seal, but no one knows how it was done - no, not even I." 

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He doesn't know enough to want to ask questions, here, but he is taking detailed notes.

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A few more questions follow this, before the end of the timeslot. One student wants to know more about the Islands during the crisis, but Thom regretfully informs her that he didn't spend much time there before the second century. 

When time is called, Thom is mid-sentance, answering a question about the early mage armies.

"-lead by an Artefact Wielder who spread what their Artefact taught them..." At the sound of the bells, he trails off. Clearing his throat, he waves his unoccupied hand at the listeners, "I, ah... Suppose that is all the time we have. Thank you for attending, I hope my words prove useful to you!" 

 

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Students and scholars begin standing and stretching, gathering their belongings and checking through their notes. Heun stands as well, turning to Sugira, "Well, that was fascinating. There aren't many people left from that far back, and the times were so chaotic that not much survived. Hearing about the Crisis from someone who experienced it is a rare treat." 

A few of people head to the front to talk to the lecturer. Heun frowns as one of them passes, a man in his mid-thirties. When he reaches the pit, Morton looks no happier to see him than Heun did to watch him pass. Bits of their conversation can be heard over the babble of every other conversation happening in the room, thanks to the acoustics. 

"-old, Master Morton, surely it's time... claimed by anyone who finds it after... powerful Artefact deserves..." 

"Excuse me," Heun says, "I should go interrupt that. Can you find your way off the directions I gave you? If not, you're welcome to wait, or join me in the pit." 

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"I might join you."

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He nods agreeably, and begins making his way through the seats to the aisle, and from there to the pit. 

As they get closer, the subject of the conversation becomes clearer. 

"-Surely the Artefact department would be a good place to keep it until a proper wielder can be found?" 

Heun interrupts Morton's nervous stammering when they arrive, "This again, Mien? Your demand goes against the Artefact Inheritance law, and you know it. Give it a rest." 

'Mien' turns to give Heun a condescending look, "As you well know, I am demanding nothing, only suggesting that an Artefact of such unprecidented power and utility as the Staff of the Magus should, pehaps, be kept somewhere safe while its wielder lives out his last years! If we lost it to the Empire, the results could be catastrophic. Think of the ruins they could access with that Staff! The Artefacts they could find!" 

"The Artefacts you could find, you mean, if you could just get your hands on the Staff." 

Mien looks comically offended, "Well, I never-" 

Heun scoffs, "Of course not." He nods towards the door, "Perhaps you could storm off in insult over that way and leave Master Morton be." 

Mien gives him a disgusted look, but leaves as suggested. 

Heun turns to Morton, "Apologies, Master. The Artefact department has been clamouring for new Artefacts to study for months. With Lady Erin refusing to open the vaults to potential wielders until she's experienced enough to hear the Healer's word on the subject, they must have decided you made a viable second target." 

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"Ah... Thank you for the intervention, Scholar," he hesitates. 

"Heun Korrus." 

"Scholar Korrus," Thom continues. He pats the Staff with one hand, the other gripping it tightly, "I think the old girl would be most displeased with me if I gave her up before I absolutely had to." 

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"Are Artifacts usually choosy like that?"

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"Oh yes!" Thom tells him, "Particularly inherited Artefacts! An Artrfact just lying around in a ruin somewhere is likely to be willing to take whatever it can get, but given options and a good relationship with its wielder? They can be very choosy indeed!" 

Heun hums, "Complex Artefacts, at any rate - Artefacts with souls, personalities, like the Staff of the Magus, and the Gauntlets of the Healer and Guardian. Simple Artefacts will bond anyone who touches them. This is Scholar Sugira," he adds towards Morton. 

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"Pleased to make your acquaintance."

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"And I yours!" He half-bows, using the Staff as support on the way up. "Did you have any questions about the lecture? Or about Artefacts, I'm always happy to discuss them, so long as the conversation doesn't turn to stealing my own," he huffs. 

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"I have a few, but I don't necessarily want to keep you very long."

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"Oh, worry not, this is my purpose for being here at the Academy! Teaching, sharing thoughts - I wouldn't visit if I didn't wish to answer questions!"

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He smiles a bit.

And he has quite a few - rather intelligent - questions on artifacts, their impact on history... Though he'll cut himself off when it gets too close to the next lecture he wants to go to, or if someone else seems to have a question.

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He answers them! Among those answers is that Artefacts did have a great impact on the methods of rulership - as he already knows, Sanctuary is ruled by the Healer and its wielder with aid from the council, which is made up of certain nobles, merchants, and scholars. Rulership passes from one wielder to the next, though Erin is only the second Lady of the Sanctuary, inheriting the position along with the Artefact from the late Lady Helen. The Arming Empire is ruled by an Artefact Wielder, but the Blade of the Emperor is a Simple Artefact, and does not extend its wielder's life. The Blade is bound to each new Emperor at his coronation. Cialin, meanwhile, is emphatically not ruled by an Artefact wielder - after the kingdom was won from a tyrannical wielder in the first century AMC, rulers, and first heirs, whether royal or lesser nobles, were forbidden from wielding Artefacts by law. 

The only part of the world which has mostly continued the same methods of rulership regardless of the appearance of magic and Artefacts is the Island nations to the south - where individual islands have long been lead by a single leader and council of elders, and the wider alliance by a leader elected from among the leaders of each isle. The addition of Artefacts has mainly allowed elders to live longer - admission to the council and retirement from leadership is based on chronological age, not physical. 

Artefacts do talk to their wielders, which has allowed those with significant enough bonds to their Artefacts to gain information on the Age of Mana. Unfortunately many Artefacts know little of the world beyond things which happened to their past wielders directly, and the rarity of Complex Artefacts, and even greater rarity of wielders with close bonds to them, mean few reach a point where they can truly converse. 

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At this point the person who asked the last question before the timeslot ended pipes up to ask about early magic militaries again, and Master Morton turns to adress her.

It's getting close to when Sugira's next lecture starts, anyway, so he may want to get going. 

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He thanks the professor and heads out.

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Morton distractedly thanks him for attending.

Heun leads him across the quad to the Mana Studies building, and points him to the lifts. 

"There's stairs, too, just to the right of the lifts - if you can't use our magic you might need to take them instead. It was nice meeting you, I hope you enjoy the rest of your day - and if you need anything, feel free to come find me, my office is H282, on the second floor in the same building as the library."

He bids Suira farewell and heads towards the history department to get some marking done. 

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He thanks Heun and uses the stairs to try and track down his next lecture.

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The signage is pretty clear. All he has to do is follow the numbers to the right room. 

The Permanence and Runecraft class is much smaller than Master Morton's lecture. It's all on one level, for one thing. There are a number of tables for students to sit at, all the chairs facing the professor's table at the front. Most of the chairs are already filled when he enters. The professor herself looks up from her notes when the door opens.

"I don't reconise you," she states, "I suppose you must be an observing scholar? I'm Jan Kelvin, Master of Runecraft." 

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