Quill of the Mystic

There he sat. Returned to the wooden desk in the corner. A single candle lit nearby. A lantern hanging from the ceiling provided most of the light, but the calm flicker of the candle gave him a sense of tranquility. He stared at it from time to time. Outside, the occasional pair of knights could be heard on their patrols. The rest of the castle town was fairly quiet. The mystic prepared to write. Quill in hand and parchment on the desk, the world seemed to fade away, turning into a calm void where it was just him and his mind. In this void now suddenly materialized a vast field. It was mired with soldiers from two different factions. In a moment’s notice they charged ahead, clashing against one another. Death claimed those not skilled enough to be there. A sad endeavor for sure, but it was the mystic’s job to record what he saw and report it in as much detail to the king. It was a burden that slowly took its toll. The previous scribe went mad after the last battle he witnessed. To the mystic it was yet another day. His mind was a fortress. Many days were spent at the monastery studying and honing the skill to focus in such profound ways. Life itself, even the people around, were nothing but distant specks, like grains of sand.

The king was fighting a losing war. Farmers, merchants, even young children began to be conscripted into the army. A great many of the people fighting had been taken prisoner by these apparently ruthless foes. Yet, the mystic knew the truth. Our ruler simply wanted to continue his reign. That man possessed no real love for his people or his country, he simply relished in the comforts of being the head of the kingdom. Slowly some of the people began to notice this. Towns in the outer edge of the kingdom had turned to the enemy. It was easier to do when the fighting had become so pointless. Their surrender angered the king, but he could do little about it. Even with the conscription, the armies’ numbers were dwindling. Hundreds of refugees swarmed neighboring nations in the hopes of returning to living their lives freely.

As he grabbed another piece of parchment the mystic’s thoughts turned to that battle once again. It was clear that the king’s enemies weren’t what he portrayed them to be. In that battlefield soldiers who surrendered were spared and taken away. Most of those who did were farmers whose fear of death prevented them from taking any action. No amount of training could change these people. Their lives had been turned upside down by their ruler. Taking some more ink, the mystic recounted as much as he could. He knew that the king would be greatly displeased, but the man had his hands tied. It was suspected that a final assault on the capital could soon come. The clash of swords, spears and metal armor would ring among the walls of this great city. This castle town had survived a great many battles. It also bore witness to many more diplomatic missions. In contrast to the current king, the previous one had built bridges through trade and understanding. Sadly, the child that the previous king raised was a spoiled brat. Everything came to him on a silver platter. What he could not gain through the servitude of others, he would take by force. The once proud father died of a mysterious illness. Of course, nothing escapes the perception of the mystic. That illness was in truth a poison, especially crafted to mimic a common sickness. So then, how does this revered mystic end up working for someone so despicable? The answer is fairly complicated.

War had broken out for some time now. The monastery stood fairly hidden. Within its walls most people believed the war would never reach them. Eventually the fighting got closer and closer. The strategies employed by the king brought fighting to the monastery. All the headmasters protested to the king, who revealed that he did so on purpose. It was well known that the mystics could manipulate the forces of nature, though they were bound by an oath to never use it to gain favor as it could have devastating consequences. The king cared little for such a thing, but the mystics were adamant. They would not bow to the demands of such a person, even when the monastery stood inside the kingdom’s border. In his rage he removed any and all guards from the monastery, leaving them defenseless, or so he believed. In order to preserve a small cadre of knights, the mystics promised one of their own to accompany the king and make records of the battles. If this mystic deemed it necessary he would be able to interfere in favor of the king. This never happened, and the king was too fearful of the mystic to do anything against him.

On the next morning, as he walked to the throne room, the mystic saw as guards rushed from the castle barracks to the outer walls. All evidence pointed to that final assault, though no one expected it to be this soon. The enemy was pressing their advantage. As best as he could, the mystic hastened his pace to meet the king. At the throne room, there was no one but a number of guards and the captain. The captain said, “The king cannot meet with you, he has retreated further into the castle for his own safety”. In truth, the king is a coward. That his people would so willingly die for someone so unworthy. It was the last straw for the mystic. His eyes turned completely white. The winds outside the castle twisted and churned. A storm gathered above the castle town. People ran to their homes fearful of what was to come. In a heavily guarded cellar the king rejoiced. His belief was that this would finally be the end of the war and he was not wrong, yet it was not going to be to his advantage. Shortly after, a voice echoed throughout the castle town, “Lay down your arms. Do not fight for this coward of a king and I promise no harm will befall you”. It was, of course, the mystic himself. Even the invaders hesitated to press their attack. In a few moments those who were once defending the king, were now bringing him to the enemy forces. He was bound, complaining about his traitorous people. In the skies, the storm had calmed, but was still a powerful presence. When the mystic arrived he explained to the leader of the enemy force his purpose there, as well as what should be their next steps. As the mystic suspected, the soldiers were very understanding. They retreated leaving only a number of diplomats that traveled in the backline. The ambitions, greed and the blind hostility of one man nearly brought this kingdom to ruin. It would be up to the people now to rebuild. In the end the mystic’s true purpose was revealed. To find whether or not the king was worthy of any help, or if the people were being held hostage by some maniac. The latter was true. With his mission completed the mystic was ready to return to the monastery, but not before the people themselves asked him to help with the peace talks and reconstruction. To this, he agreed. 

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