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What Else Is There - Royksopp
"Storm clouds on Tilea". This was the first thought when Alfonso went outside on top of his tower, on the tip of Tilea, leaning towards the Saracen lands.
Usually from the south came dry sandy winds from the desert, but this time a huge stormfront, dark clouds illuminated by lightning rushed the tilean towns preceded by a heavy wind, laden with water. Alfonso had to strength to stand still under the assault of the wind, whistled in the ears, deposited on his face the first drops of the deluge that would follow in a few minutes, his pale blue robes were flapping as waving flags.
It was beautiful and he was the only one to enjoy, the people of the countryside had seen the signs of the storm in the morning and had taken cover.
Beneath him, on the south, the stormy sea was empty, looking at the sides he could see the long beach cut in two by the rocky promontory upon which the tower was raised, the fishing boats pulled in dry and set at ground with chains, pines waved their heads like dancers lost in a new rhythm.
He turned his back to the wind and knew what the sails feel, now he was looking at the fortress of Castelvetrano, as an island in a sea of wheat fields and rows of olive trees dancing at the same pace of the pines. There were scattered clusters of houses, the vineyards were covered with heavy tarpaulins.
He turned again to the storm coming, Alfonso was a celestial wizard, like all people who have chosen the blue ray of magic he was obsessed with the knowledge of celestial and atmospheric phenomena. That tower at the sea, far from city lights, was perfect for observations. It had not seemed true when the baron of Castelvetrano had offered it to him free, only in exchange for his help with the sentries on guard against Saracen raids, which were the only danger since Don Ciccio was in business with the pirates of Sartosa. Now the wooden watchtowers were empty, no pirate would challenge that sea, everybody was home, even the servants who worked at his tower, he was alone.
In addition to the movement of clouds his trained senses could see the flow of ether, the blue mana ran strong in that storm, the destructive power was seething with life that the rain would donate to the fields and woods.
While focusing on the sky a small part of his mind wandered farther down, on a clear day on the right the Sartosa coastline could be seen, but now there was only a dark wall, and a darker dot, like a lump of denser shade. He decided not to get distracted and turned to follow the air currents, until an acute stinging across his left heel made him jump.
His heart quickened, breathed to calm, less educated people would have thought a joke of humidity, but he knew .. men can change the course of mana because their body is connected to it through a series of channels that have their roots in heels. That pain meant dark magic at work.
The rain came like a bucket of cold water with no warning, but he remained motionless on the tower, arms crossed and palms resting on his chest, he let himself be enveloped by blue mana to become one with the wind . Now the air currents brought his gaze through the clouds, coming up to meet a vast heap of fog advancing with the storm, held together by currents of heavy black mana.
With an effort of will penetrated the fog, a chain of lightning outlined the point where the celestial and dark magic clashed as adverse fronts.
Alfonso managed to bring his sight beyond the mist thinking of finding some devilry of the Saracens, but what he saw was even more frightening.
There were no sails or hulls of wood, but walls of glass and black porcelain topped by slender towers, like a palace built on a floating island in the eye of the storm. Could only be one black ark of the elven pirates, on a straight course to Castelvetrano.
With the storm no one would hear the alarm bell, but today the blue mana was more powerful than ever. Alfonso began to gather its forces binding air and water with the intention to send a tidal wave against the attackers, hoping to send them off course or even overthrow the pit of wickedness with which they sailed. But in the midst of his work a horrible image appeared perfectly clear on the dark screen of his closed eyes, forcing him to open them and lose grip on what he was doing. The forces already collected and left to themselves took the form of a lightning that fell just short, blowing apart a section of wall at the base of the tower. He trembled with fear, but also the cold, what he saw could be an old woman, a wart shaped head covered with limp hair, but had only one eye and a toothed beak instead of mouth. Had never read of the these things in his studies, but it was so real ..
" Who they believe to be. I'll show them now!" Now he was coming down the stairs to his room while taking off his clothes soaked with freezing rain and cursing the fact that he had no one to send to warn the Baron. Fast wrapped his naked body in a wool coat, put on a pair of slippers and went into an empty room, except for a large stone throne in front of a window facing the sea. A red cloth and a pillow covered the throne, he took place and covered himself with a heavy pall of black velvet studded with stars, only the head remained outside. When the spirit leaves the body to ride the winds of magic we must guard against heat loss, and he had already taken half an ailment up on the tower.
Brought his hands on his chest breathing properly and let the celestial wind envelop him again, this time would not be stopped by an image.
Il vento di Aran - Dunwich
The Black Ark was fast, its distance from the coast had already halved in the short time that Alfonso had taken to prepare, had to act quickly, yet his conscience lingered in front of the coat of arms carved at the entrance of this floating palace. Something in his mind, as the awareness of dreams, was telling that it was the emblem of Aenarion, the common ancestor of all the Elven races. Probably the owner of the building was one of his direct descendants, the elves of Ulthuan would be mad with rage if they had seen ...
But why was he thinking about these things while the ark approached the shore? That symbol was hypnotizing him, was to be a magical protection against intrusion.
Impatiently focused on the intention to move forward and managed to overcome that first barrier ... only to be again driven out by a cleaning woman armed with broom! Clearly it was not a real person, but only the way in which the mind of Alfonso had shown another protective charm, impatience became nervousness as he brutally dissolved the barrier and made his way inside.
He was in a hall with columns and checkered marble floor, the elves were there, they shone like candles at the spiritual eyes, but there were other creatures that seemed made only of thick and dull humidity. They were like the hag seen before, with one eye only, toothed beak and long tails with sharp appendages. They had long arms tattooed with spiral motifs that were repeated in round bronze plates with which they protected the belly, soaked with the same black mana holding up the bank of fog around the ark, was certain that at the source of the dark magic flow the witch herself would be found.
Another hall, the kind usually used for dancing, in the back there was a throne on a raised dais, and on the throne ...
Upon the throne sat a figure of superhuman beauty, was to be the lord of that ark, radiating authority, cynicism and passion to the same extent.
Alfonso was again hypnotized as in front of Aenarion coat of arms, he could imagine worshiping at the feet of that perfect being, receive the death blow from his sword, with gratitude because it came from him. And in contrast the horrible hag was leaning against a gnarled stick at the foot of the throne, green skin wrinkled and covered with rags, the milky white eye pointed straight for him, must have sensed his spiritual presence.
To that creature had just experienced hostility as she posed a threat to his people, desire for revenge as she stopped his first spell, but now there was jealousy, that such a deformity was allowed to insult so much beauty with her own presence was unbearable.
He wanted to destroy her with his magic, but she had already started to weave her own while he was still captured by the sight of the Elvish lord.
"Caedh Fireann ...
Roi Caleann .. "
Two jets of fire departed in opposite directions from behind the witch flying away and then converging from two sides to Alfonso, like lizards followed by a trail of orange .. salamanders .. the situation was heating up.
Not to be surrounded moved to meet one of the attackers, opening a blue square in front of him and invoking the help of the upper waters.
The square lit up with electric blue and its surface rippled with concentric circles like water hit by a rock when the salamander came into contact, both vanished in a cloud of hissing steam.
Alfonso rejoiced a moment too much for his victory, the second salamander had caught him and began to dance around in a large spiral.
Everything began to turn, had lost his orientation, retreat would have been a good idea, but it had become a personal issue between him and the hag, this time he would not give way. Relaxed without resisting to restore his own perceptions, he came to the point of being dissociated into three people: one in the tower, one struggling with the salamander, and a third who saw both scenes from the top, almost with indifference. From his new point of view had to decide what to do, he still had the strength to call the lightning, but on whom? The salamander? The witch? The pirate leader?
Broadsword - Jethro Tull
The Lord Ra-Heru sat on his throne looking forward to the delight of the impending massacre, there was very little upon arrival.
He had planned everything in detail, obtaining allies among Albion's Fomorians was his most brilliant inspiration, their magical fog would not only allow to land, but also to come unnoticed at the door of the castle, then he would release the Fimm saving losses between Druchii.
Fomorians liked both castles and human slaves, they would be established there, would secure for him the stronghold, and he would give it to other Druchii lords as a base for their expeditions to plunder the rich Tilea, for a fee of course.
But meanwhile, until the landing he was to enable those hideous creatures to soil the "Joyous abyss of damnation," his personal ark, his palace. Under him the Meargh, the witch queen of the tribe of Fomorians which had formed the pact, was shaking, mumbling, laughing as if she saw something no one else could see, Ra-Heru could not wait to throw them out.
Then a flash of light took his sight and there was a crash.
For a moment he thought of betrayal, of being already dead, then his dazzled eyes slowly resumed to work, felt a cold wind, then finally realized that one of the upper windows had been smashed by the storm, the smell of storm, elves and fomorians ran aimlessly in panic, he jumped up.
"A lightning ... calm down idiots! Don't you understand that it was just a lightning?"
While saying these words he looked down and the words choked in his throat, of the Meargh remained only a heap of ashes, burnt rags and a broken stick. Outside the fog bank surrounding the ark was already dissolving.
Alfonso had closed the eyes of his spiritual body to let it fall back into the material body in the tower.
This way he would have escaped the salamander, which did not seem so dangerous anyway, the hag was no more and now the black ark must have reached the coast, but he would have accomplished the work turning again the water and wind against it.
Was a bit sorry for the beautiful sire.
But something was not right, he should already have sensed the feeling of fall and close to the stomach that accompany the return, and yet nothing.
He opened the eyes of the spiritual body.
He was in the tower, all right, but his body ... with the calm of one who knows he does not get way out he saw in its place was a blaze of flame roaring high to the ceiling. A memory flashed through his mind, the voice of a master of the celestial college, a lesson he had heard years before.
"The oily substances, such as the tallow of candles or the fat of our own body, are the best conductors of mana, so that this can overload causing the spontaneous combustion ..."
Auto Ignition ... now he knew what the salamander was doing ... too late ..
He had thrown himself in the magic duel like it was a game, to please himself with the use the power .. here was the result .. now he lived only in the wind, for a few minutes still, then Morr would come to take him.
But he had one last thing to do.
For every storm that comes the old sit by the fire and inevitably begin to recount the big storm's day.
They say that with the storm invaders came: Saracens, perhaps the pirates of Sartosa, others talk about elves or monstrous creatures with sharp beaks and scaly tails.
We know how old men like to work with imagination.
But all the stories agree on one thing: at that time a wizard lived in the ruined tower and that wizard warned them of danger, all of them.
Was seen in every house in the same time, be it the shepherd's hut or the baron's castle, to everyone told to take up arms or to flee.
After the storm everybody went looking for him, but all they found was a pair of slippers below a stone seat, blackened by fire.
It 's still there in the tower, for those who want to go see it.
Last edited by Hermann Morr; August 15th, 2010 at 13:48.
An interesting story you have here. I quite like the concept behind it, that of a duel between wizards for the fate of a land - it's interesting seeong how people write such magical duels, as there's so much room for interpretation and creativity. I quite liked the way you handled this one.
I even went and found my Royksopp CD with the intent of listening to 'What Else Is There' as I read this, seeing as you'd mentioned it... Alas, the CD I have does not have that song on it! And I don't have any of the other songs on hand, either...
Never the less, I enjoyed the story even without having the soundtrack to go along with it!
Well, this is what youtube is for.
Yeah... at the time I read it my internet speeds were shaped and I couldn't be bothered waiting for ages for things to load. The CD worked alright, anyhow!