Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Winding Road: Wizard Lazeron Pi of the Mage's Guild

by Frank Gori

Lazeron tried to ignore the numbers, but as he circled the bar a third time, he couldn’t help but notice them in the cobblestones. The pattern was Chaos to an untrained eye. Along the route he walked every few cobbles had a sparkle of glass in the stone, three, then one, four, one, five, perhaps the pattern is over… Nine, two then six, five, and three again what did it mean! He checked for a tail but wondered once more of the numbers and their hold on him.

Lazeron closed his eyes and counted to five, then took nine measured steps outside of the path he was on and toward the door. The numbers and their meaning served a purpose but they could wait. Within the bar was the Caravaneer he was to meet, and all the wizards in the Mage’s Guild were counting on him not screwing this up.

To his knowledge, he was the first non-sorcerer to play the Chaos Man for an outsider. Of course he didn’t know about playing the Chaos Man until he was asked to, so his knowledge was regrettably limited on the subject, but it stood to reason he was the first. Wizards were a relatively new phenomenon regarded by most sorcerers to be dangerous and possibly unstable. Lazeron wondered if the real Chaos Man shared that opinion, if he indeed existed anymore. Knowing he was to play the role shook the foundation of what Lazeron thought he knew of his own organization. One thing was certain, whoever did run the guild ran a far more restrictive and controlled regime then outsiders perceived, the pressure was on to perform well tonight.

The dominant line of thinking was that magic was inside everyone, it was simply easier for sorcerers and the like to access magic then it was for the average person. The power was wild, mind altering, world altering, and addictive as hell. Usually to use magic was divine, it felt indescribably good, but the more you used the less that was until despair as deep and indescribable as the bliss overtook the magic user. In the depths of despair even raising a blade to kill oneself was like climbing a mountain, not worth the effort.

Wizard’s fought that. Lazeron truly felt by the force of his will he could control the raw powers of creation itself. To him that secret laid within the numbers and when he used a spell he could connect with the numbers. He no longer felt bliss or despair, but that was limited, his mind was limited and magic was really unlimited. Even the numbers seems to stretch out into infinity.

Every wizard had their own way of imposing a semblance of order to the bliss, letdown and despair. Lazeron could safely use the protective magic of what he called abjuration. His numbers were somehow related, but the highest form of their unending pattern was on his right hand, where twenty two was over seven.

Tonight the numbers needed to wait; he was going to follow protocol to a tee. He was to be within two hours late, he was to impose some sort of game with the subject, and give the Caravaneer whatever he wished within reason for a price. He brought dice, he found comfort in the feel of his dice. A comfort. Numbers were sometimes the only thing that made sense.

Calling the memories held within the amulet Lazeron was issued washed him over in a moment of bliss. He reveled in it a moment longer then he should have before using the numbers like a mantra to stave off the effect: three point, one, four, one, five, nine, two, six… The rationalization of an irrational number, that paradox was magic. Then numbers balanced the bliss and then came the tide of memories about Caravaneer Malleck. Some were from previous assignees, others were from observers, one particularly unnecessary one came from a high end courtesan. Malleck’s identity from dozens of perspective came to fruition in his mind all at once.

The heady addictive rush of the bliss was something he expected. Better than sex, drugs, food, even the joys of love fell short. Magic was life piled upon life. Life without it was too little, too small. The air he breathed was less necessary.

Mixing that rush with the sudden power and intimacy of new knowledge was an intense new spice. He found he knew Malleck, like an old friend might, and he found he rather liked the bad-blood. Continuing the farce had been hard on the last few stand-ins, he suddenly understood the reasoning for using a wizard. Lazeron might seem crazy but he was accustomed to dealing with that and concealing it from others. In a way his numbers were both his greatest weakness and strength.

Still, Lazeron circled the block round the bar a fourth time.He needed to separate the memories and emotions of the amulet from his own. With more time Lazeron was fairly certain he could use the amulet to strengthen his control over magic. The potential was there to bolster his will. He let that thought slide away, he had to be professional.

He had come down enough to observe that there was a Workman’s Guild leader stirring up a crowd of workmen. Something about the cost increases on tools needed for their trades, and outrage with the Blacksmith’s Guild.

Lazeron’s stomach started to knot up, someone was using magic in the bar. It was a rare gift to sense magic, rarer still to discern things from the sensations. He could not place why but the disturbed nature of this magic was somehow familiar. It took him a moment to realize the magic was fueling the temper of the crowd. The ugly undercurrent in the crowd of the bar would not need much of a spark to lash out like an inferno.

If Lazeron failed his duty tonight the guild might strip him. The Chaos Man could never fail, which was made clear whne Laz was assigned his role. Should he make the Chaos Man look weak he'd forfeit the lives of all witnessess and he'd be forcable stripped of his magic and left into a permanent despair.

Lazeron ran in the bar hoping it wasn’t too late, the magic he sensed felt finely controlled and nauseatingly impure. It was like tasting a fine wine then getting a sour and rotten aftertaste.Somewhere a bell rang and a trace of magic came into fruition above the third booth to his left. The magic was a contingency, this was a trap. A basso voice rang out with the call “Shenanigans,” and The Sawhorse erupted into absolute chaos.