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IML_42 t1_jdt943l wrote

Iso Mito, a great mage, sits cross-legged before a menacing vault. His hands move in practiced, precise formations, his finger tips glow faintly blue as his mind picks it’s way through the locked door. A bead of sweat gathers on his forehead and streams down his chin into his lap.

This is hard work.

He is given the most critical job—he’s the most tenured mage on the team, after all—the job of cracking the most expertly shielded vault in all of Kantaban. And the vault’s defenses are high for a reason, for within the vault sits the most closely coveted spells in all the land.

To get past the vault’s defenses requires the brightest magical mind, one intimately familiar with runic and intentional magic, one able to call upon an encyclopedic knowledge of defense spells and their associated counter spells.

A mind like Iso Mito’s.

In the room with Iso, defending his back, is Hal Miter, another mage. Hal’s leg bounces in anticipation, betraying his impatience with the process. He watches on as Iso continues on in a workman like manner.

“How is Iso progressing, Hal?” asks Fin Baker, group leader, through the ether. Hal hears Fin’s voice as his own within his mind.

“As best I can tell, he’s cracked the first runic guard but has yet to proceed to the second order defense. At this pace we’re going to get caught,” replies Hal silently.

“Patience, young one,” says Fin. “We have planned for this. We have time. You are there to provide protection and support. The rest of us have done our part. Iso should have all the time he needs.”

“Whatever you say,” says Hal.

To say that Hal is bored is an understatement. Fin often chides Hal for his lack of patience.

“Success should be hard fought, the result of tedious study and slavish devotion to the craft,” says Fin at any given one-on-one training session.

To which Hal inevitably replies, “Fuck that. I’m not going to be slavishly devoted to anything.”

Or Fin has been known to say, “Magic works best when treated as the intersection of intention and practice.”

To which Hal replies, “Nope. I don’t give a shit how it works. What I care about are results. And, oh baby, you bet your sweet ass I get results.”

So it was no surprise to Hal that he was given the least critical role for the mission. He was given Iso babysitting duty while the rest of the team worked hard to ensure that Hal’s role would not be needed.

“What a fun job,” thinks Hal to himself.

Was it Hal’s fault that magic came naturally to him? The rest of the group viewed him as dangerous, a loose cannon. To Hal’s mind that was simply because they were jealous of his gifts. Hal knew in his heart that he could open the vault more quickly and more effectively than Iso ever could.

Alas, he was not afforded the opportunity.

Hal hears footsteps in the corridor. That’s odd. No one had alerted him they were coming.

“Fin, I hear footsteps just outside our antechamber. You send reinforcements?” says Hal.

“Shit,” replies Fin. “It’s not one of us. Hal, you listen to me and you listen good, do not engage unless they do. We’re too close to blow this whole thing because you’re trigger-happy. You stay still and only engage if Iso’s life is in danger. Am I clear?”

“Yes, Fin,” says Hal petulantly.

“Hal, I mean it. Do. Not. Engage,” says Fin knowing fully well that his meticulously planned mission was about to go tits-up.

Hal turns to Iso, still seated before the vault door, fingers still pulsing a faint blue. Hal taps him on the shoulder to see if he’ll respond.


Hal knows better than to bother Iso while casting, but some part of him wants to warn Iso of what’s about to happen. He taps again.


The footsteps grow louder.

“Fuck it!” Curses Hal under his breath. “Bring it on, big boy.” Hal readies himself, his back to Iso. He spreads his legs wide and raises both hands in anticipation.

The footsteps have now paused just outside the door. The antechamber door creaks as it opens. Hal sees a flash of the crimson robes worn by the Kantaban guard. He knows he has no choice but to strike now.

As the door swings open Hal begins casting, unthinking and natural. He says words that mean nothing in his tongue but that carry with them the force of a magical codex.

“Kowabunga hang ha!” He cries aloud as a wave forms before him and swallows the Kantaban guard at the doorway. The force of the wave sends the guard tumbling down the corridor.

Hal just makes out another 5 guards wading through the now knee deep water. He’s bought some time, but not enough to allow Iso to crack the vault. He knows he has to act fast.

Hal scans the doorway and screams the first words that come to his mind. “Entranco no passo!” A black mass rises from the bottom of the doorway and slams against the top of the door jamb.

“That’ll hold them for maybe five minutes,” Hal says aloud.

“Hal, what the hell is happening down there?” says Fin.

“Kantaban Guards. A lot of them,” replies Hal. “I’ve sealed the door, but it won’t hold long. I need to help Iso get through the vault asap.”

“Do not interfere! For the love of all that is holy you do not interfere with Iso. The consequences could be catastrophic,” orders Fin.

“If I don’t do something both Iso and I are royally fucked, Fin,” replies Hal, “and I think you and I both know I don’t mean that metaphorically.”

“Hal, please, don’t do anything rash,” says Fin.

“Rash is my middle name,” says Hal as he turns to the vault.

Part two in the next comment. r/InMyLife42Archive


IML_42 t1_jdt9abp wrote

“God damnit,” is the last thing Hal hears before he begins to cast against the vault.

A slurry of words fall from Hal’s mouth with fury and vigor. If good magic was where intention and practice met, then Hal’s magic was at the intersection intention and passion. He cast against the vault door as if his life depended upon it.

And it did.

“Open sesame!” He screams. “Entrado a now-o,” he cries.

He waves a straight arm wildly through the air like a sword, casting behind it a cross-pocked afterimage of glowing red. He extends a palm toward the glowing shapes and says, “Fucking open, you god damned door!”

As his spell meets the magical defenses of the door, it erupts into a fire of white and red lightning, the spell roars and rages against the defense set by a mage of greater study, but lesser ability.

The door crumbles into a million pieces before him.

Iso opens his eyes to the mess before him. He looks up at Hal. He already knows what’s happened but, being the prudent mage that he is, confirms his suspicions.

“You get impatient and just blow up the door?” he asks mundanely.

“Er—yeah, but I mean I had to. There’s—“

“You think about the fact that you probably just destroyed the Book of the Damned inside?” interrupts Iso.

“Well, not exactly. I—“

“We’re so fucked,” says Iso.

“Look, the Kantaban guard is right outside the door and I had to act,” says Hal. “We didn’t have time to do this the right way. We needed results and you bet your sweet ass I got the results.”

Iso rises from his seated position and begins laughing. Hal is taken aback by this reaction. He’d never seen Iso laugh before. Iso puts a hand on Hal’s shoulder and looks him in the eye.

“Kowabunga,” he says simply.

“What?” says Hal confused.

“You really casted a spell with ‘Kowabunga’, dude,” he replies shaking his head. “You’re something else, you know that?”

“Look, Iso, my spell isn’t going to hold them out there much longer. Can we figure out how to get the hell out of here and debrief of my spell choices later?”

“Let’s see what’s left of the book and then you can blast a hole in that there wall so we can make our escape,” says Iso.

The Book of the Damned is badly burnt but not beyond repair. Iso’s mood improves at the sight.


Try as they might, neither Hal nor Iso has any luck casting their way out of the vault.

“We’re fucked, Iso,” says Hal.

“Cast the spell you did to crumble the door, Hal,” says Iso, “surely it will work on the inner walls as well.”

“It doesn’t work that way for me,” says Hal. “I kinda just, feel it in the moment.”

“Well, you better feel it fast or we’re going to be feeling the pointy-end of a Kantaban Guard Rod,” says Iso gravely.

As if he summoned them, the guards break through Hal’s defense and enter the antechamber. Hal and Iso share a look.

They’ll have to cast their way out.

They are two powerful mages, but their odds of survival against upwards of ten Kantaban Guards are not good.

Hal turns to Iso. “The book. Throw it to me,” he says.

Iso looks at the Book of the Damned and back to Hal. He reluctantly tosses the book to Hal who catches it. Hal feels it’s power in his palms, he feels words flowing through his mind, whispering, rooting out mental corridors long-empty, burrowing their long-forgotten, ancient wisdom deep into the recesses of his mind.

In that moment, he understands the chaos at his finger tips.

Hal stares down the Kantaban guards and then closes his eyes. He says the first words that scream in his mind as if begging to be uttered.

“Ashes to ashes! Dust to Dust! Now you die, you must, you must,” he screams.

The Kantaban guards look around at one another, then down at their bodies.


They advance.

And then it happens.

The Kantaban guards slowly crumble into nothingness, first arms fall off and dissipate into ash on the white marble floors. Then heads and torsos dissolve into nothingness like water dissolving pillars of dust. Hal’s words had cleansed the room of any trace of the guards.

Soon the two mages stand alone in the now silent vault. Hal looks to Iso as if to confirm that that just happened.

Iso looks to Hal and smiles—another first for Hal. Iso approaches Hal and takes the Book of the Damned from him. He then puts a hand on Hal’s shoulder and finally speaks, eyebrows raised.




BeardedAnglican t1_jdurot0 wrote

Amazing. I could read a series about Hal


IML_42 t1_jdw7lc7 wrote

That’s very kind of you to say. Thank you.


Loki007x t1_jdx41eg wrote

Dude, that's an awesome story. Better writing and pacing than some of the regularly featured writers on the creepypasta narration channels I listen to. If you could expand the story and turn it into a series you could get this narrated and turned into an audio book.


IML_42 t1_jdx8wvd wrote

Thank you so much for the encouragement - it means a lot!


AmishPotato t1_jdvbd1l wrote

Somehow felt like Malcom in the Middle with Hal and Iso. Hal being hal and malcom being Iso.


IML_42 t1_jdw7oi1 wrote

Funny - that’s the second piece I’ve written recently that has been compared to Malcom in the Middle. Sounds like I should give that a watch.


Ketheres t1_jdwqbyz wrote

Definitely not the worst thing one could do with their time.


CommanderMalo t1_jdxa5pv wrote

Fin: “please Hal don’t do anything stupid.”



IML_42 t1_jdxhx0b wrote

Haha you’ve perfectly captured the essence of Hal in two lines.


CommanderMalo t1_jdxi3yd wrote

Amazing story sir, I would totally read a start to finish about their heist planning and find out what happens because I’m just that hooked. Well done.


IML_42 t1_jdxpbos wrote

Thank you. I really appreciate that - it means a lot to me that my story hooked you. Thanks for taking the time to comment!.


ludonope t1_jdxbrtk wrote

That was such a great read, a very satisfying character to follow after such a small amount of time.



IML_42 t1_jdxhtp7 wrote

Thanks for saying that. I’m really glad you enjoyed Hal! Kowabunga!


lego1042 t1_jdwr10y wrote

> spells and they’re associated


IML_42 t1_jdwv94o wrote

Fixed - thanks!


lego1042 t1_jdxpdhn wrote

Usually stuff like that jumps out at me a bit more when I'm reading but I got too engaged with this one and only got hung up on the one typo near the beginning.

One note I did notice just now glancing back is that the words 'says' and 'replies' come up a lot (particularly says). It wasn't noticeable to me on first read but it might be worth taking a look at. On the other hand there are a few other words like screams that come up which maybe are a little more emphatic because they're rare? "I guess you could also stick with words like says but then maybe describe the declarer a little more," he says now yelling loudly.

Anyway this was a particularly fun read. Thanks for the story


IML_42 t1_jdxx6xk wrote

Hey! Thank you for this well considered feedback. It really is greatly appreciated.

As it relates to dialogue tags, I actually prefer that they blend into the background unless I really want to add emphasis (as you pointed out).

Generally speaking the tags are there first and foremost to provide clarity for the reader. For that reason I don’t mind having the “Hal says” “Iso says” be repetitive because they are meant to fade away and allow readers to skip over them. I don’t like to get too cute with dialogue tags as I personally get taken out of the story when I read something like “Hal hissed/bellowed/squealed” as those things often don’t adequately describe vocalizations made by a real person.

Regardless, I greatly appreciate this dialogue and you taking the time to provide feedback. Thank you!


gaborrero t1_jdsu8es wrote

"There's nobody with a more punchable face than Harold."

"Harold... if he fell in a market, somebody would probably kick him for good measure."

"I don't wish death on the guy, but I wish he'd fuck off for a while."

These were the sentiments of residents of the Tower, a place both for cutting edge magical research and exploring ancient tomes on forgotten magics. There was plenty of information to be uncovered, prestige to be had, and... yadda yadda. Really, who gave two shits besides the pompous assholes that called themselves Tower Mages?

I'll never forget the lesson my mentor gave me when I was younger. He was viewed as a swindler and no-good mage, but he leaned in not two minutes after getting his ass beat in by thugs sent by the Tower to tell me, "Kid, there's a small secret when it comes to magic. You can literally make shit up and it'll usually work. Makes the guys who actually take it seriously really pissed off."

There was a part of me that wondered if nursing the wounds of this crazy young mage was worth it, but he offered to teach me magic as gratitude for my caring for him. The result? Well, I learned that magic was in everything, and that at its most foundational level, we were all magic. Even smaller than we could see or imagine, we were magic.

"What about the words of power?" I remember asking, and my mentor scoffed at me.

"Don't forget what I told you, Harold, it doesn't matter. What is magic?"

"Energy directed by intent."

"What is the Tower?"

"A load of shit," I said proudly at six. Twenty years later, my mentor was right: they were still a load of shit.

Unlike my mentor, wherever he went, I had no issue with using magic on the "innocent" mercenaries that were sent to "teach me a lesson." I didn't kill them of course, but...

One charged at me from behind while I walked down the street and I announced, "Bubble." The sound of his feet approaching came to a suddenly halt and I stood still as he collided with the invisible barrier that surrounded me.

I wasn't going to take any hits. I wasn't my mentor.

I turned to face the mercenary in question, a balding man with a scarred eye. He climbed to his feet and took a few steps back cautiously. When I opened my mouth, he must have assumed a spell was coming, because he made a run for it.

"... boo."

Maybe it's time I visit the Tower after all.


MangoTekNo t1_jdtb98o wrote

Kinda sounds to me like the people at the tower exist more to suppress magic out of fear. This could be a crazy style of story if it can waltz into abstraction nicely.


247Brett t1_jdu0yzf wrote

Reminds me of the Choice of Game, Choice of Magics. Magic is suppressed because while, yes, it can do amazing things, casting comes at a cost depending on the school you used. Having unregulated untrained magic users could easily bring about large scale destruction.


MangoTekNo t1_jdyxy1g wrote

I imagine that sometimes the cost is, "Oh shit, I pulled that off!" Followed by why it was a bad idea.


BHawleyWrites t1_jdt4p7w wrote

"You ate too much chili last night. The cook used the hottest peppers imaginable, and things are on fire down there."

That's always what I lead with. It scares off most every visitor I have when their colon suddenly lights up. Once in a while, someone's able to resist, throw a monkey wrench of their own back at me. It often ends poorly for them. It ended poorly for me too, when I came before the very stoop I stand on now, and said those same words.

All of my friends liked to play with magic when we were young. We were a rambunctious group, constantly challenging random people to magic duels, whether they could cast or not. We tore up the country side on more than a few occasions, always chased off the land by one magician or another. One day, I remember one of my friends scored an apprenticeship with a famous magician by playing a well-timed prank involving a carnival game. The magician found the darts he was throwing would boomerang back around and land in the meat of one of his butt cheeks. Most people would be off-put by that, but magicians are a bunch of tricksters by nature. My friend went off in their caravan to learn from the master and we never saw him again.

After that, any time we found a magician we'd assail them funny magic, assault them with undue ferocity, or try our most creative tricks to get someone to take notice and teach us what they knew. There was one magician none of the others would mess with though. Everybody back then knew about the lady on the hill with the power to make your magic fizzle out with nothing but a word. We tried her exactly once. Well, all my friends tried once. I found myself drawn back, time after time, and I saw her magic often enough that I thought I might try the same trick. When I spoke those words aloud, cursing her with last night's evil chili, and the tears came down her face from the pain, or the laughter, and she could hardly breathe a word I knew I had her beat. That was, until she caught her breath, and a combination of orange juice and toothpaste started pouring from my nose.

Afterwards, she made me her apprentice, and taught me the extent of a power like the one we shared. It was a small secret that everybody else refused to believe. That anything you wanted could come true as long as you had the guile to just make it up. Maybe it was good thing nobody really believed it. When the other powerful magicians dotted around the country found 'laws' and 'patterns' and 'restrictions' in the magic they had at hand, it kept them safe. When people believed things like 'my magic can't penetrate the skin' or 'I only have control over fire' it was usually better off for them. Simpler. Not like how things are for me, or how things were for my master. They don't understand our magic, and so they're afraid of it. Like my friends, other magicians stayed away. Hateful from afar.

But she was good to me, and I her, so when the time came, I inherited her little house on the hill. I haven't been around other people for years, much less other magicians. This kind of power is disastrous in the wrong hands, or even in the right hands, so we made a pact to stay on the farmland the house sat upon, far from anyone we might do harm. She made the same pact with her master, and her master before her. Magic words spoken aloud so they could never be broken. Nobody ever said anything about turning away people who show up at the doorstep though.

Now I'm the one people tell stories about, the old guy on the hill that people come to test their magic against. Some copy a powerful magician's best spells, or try something uniquely their own. Others, braver, but sadly lacking in imagination, try my tack. It doesn't matter, because most of it doesn't even phase me. I just tell them their magic doesn't work here, and suddenly its true. Then the ol 'too much chili' sends them packing, or they remain, and the next words out of my mouth send them to the hospital. Assuming they draw first of course.

I've just cursed my latest visitor with the chili. Standing just beyond the stairs of my porch is a boy who looks an awful lot like I did once. I'm waiting patiently to see what he's going to do.

"Maaaan," he says, drawing the word out. "That's not even fair."

He's bent over, holding his stomach and grimacing through the pain. I'm surprised he can still talk.

"Yeah well, life's not fair." I may have gotten a little crabby in my old age, I admit. I never thought that cliché would cross my lips, but it's true, and it's one of those things I don't have to say out loud for it to be so.

"Oh yeah?" the kid says, face all screwed up against the spicy chili. "Well you're ma was so fat that you were born with encephalitis."

"Jesus Christ, kid!" I say through thick lips.

I feel of my head and it's completely misshapen, and my thoughts are like molasses all the sudden. This is bad. Brain damage is a bitch to deal with, and I doubt this kid knows exactly how much of a bitch it is. In fact I know he doesn't because he's laughing his ass off at the new shape of my skull. I'm ticked off now, and also a little amused. I won't let him know that though.

"Too far! You'll get somebody killed like that. And my mother was not fat, rest her soul."

The kid was laughing too hard to retort, thank goodness. My mom actually had been fat for a moment there. I remembered her being so. She was restored to her regular form in my mind, but I still couldn't think straight.

"It's a damn good thing I have a separate body stored in a pocket dimension that I can swap into like this," I say, and snap my fingers. I feel of my head again and let out a breath. Good as new. I knew it would work of course. I have to, otherwise it won't. The held breath just happens on its own now.

"Hey!" The kid says. "Cheater!"

"How is that cheating?" I retort.

He thinks about it for a second and then sticks his tongue out at me. I shake my head and hit him with my best 'grumpy old man' look.

"It's a good thing I actually didn't eat any of the chili last night."

The relief on his face is palpable. I can tell he hardly believes that it worked, and for a second he's just standing there beaming at his own power, glad to have his intestines back to normal again. I let him beam. For a moment anyway.

"We done?" I ask after a minute. I'd be happy to let him leave without going any further. Mostly to spare myself whatever pestilence he'll come up with, but also because if he keeps going then I might just have to let him stay. Can't have people going around giving other people fat mothers and encephalitis.

"Not yet!"

He's obviously looking for something good to hit me with, so I prepare for the worst and whisper a few protective wards. There's no guarantee they'll work, but I doubt he'll have the forethought to counter them.

He gets a look in his eye, a look I know well enough. He thinks he's won. That he has an undefeatable sentence. I wonder if it'll be something else about my mother, or if I'll suddenly have some kind of disease. Maybe even something advanced, a trap that's impossible to escape, or an opponent that's impossible to defeat. Any of these things can be circumvented. In fact, there's only about one thing he could say, and for a second I'm confident he won't come up with it.

"You lose!" he shouts, and falls on his ass laughing again. I can't help but smile. Maybe I could go on arguing, but I don't believe it'll work.

"Not bad, kid," I finally say. "Not bad."


CatpainCalamari t1_jduwq40 wrote

"No u" :-)

Very good story, I enjoyed reading it. That being said, what a nightmare world to live in.


BHawleyWrites t1_jdw1n96 wrote

Thanks! And yeah, this would an absolute nightmare wouldn't it?


Krutaun t1_jdte9jh wrote

"Cavanathus Ankantis!"

The earth cracked, trees bent, and bandits were sent flying, bodies breaking painfully upon impact. Qalhet's field of vision was filled with carnage.

"Bullshit. Garbage. Trash." Kursott sat in her wheelchair, peering through her binoculars which she gripped furiously with her aged, slender fingers. "Are you seeing this, Tursin?"

Tursin brushed his goatee with a finger and a thumb, "Yes... What was that, a class-120 thunder spell with a 30-meter blast?"

"Yeah, with no casting time and only a verbal component! That's the fifth time he's done that today!" She jerked the binoculars away from her face and spun her chair around to face Tursin. "He's not a normal caster, Tursin..."

"That much is obvious..."

The hill on which the two wizards watched from was a safe distance from the carnage below, but both wizards were nervous. Kursott College and Tursin Tech were the two most prestigious colleges on the continent, and Qalhet's divisive paradigm could be disastrous for enrollment. Why go to a fancy college if you can just bullshit your way through magic?


A flash of light and an electric crackle announced the arrival of the halfling Dr. Bullfreckle, owner of a local medical practice, grandson of the great Elias Bullfreckle, and current president of the Bullfreckle Academy for Magically Inclined Youths. "Sorry I'm late, friends."

"Greetings, doctor!" said Tursin warmly.

"What's the matter, did your teleportation spell act up again?" Kursott said dismissively. It was no secret that Kursott questioned why Tursin was so friendly with Bullfreckle, who was on the fringes of arcane academia.

"Well, hello to you too, Kurse," Bullfreckle said, recoiling from Kursott's snarky comment. "No, I was actually busy consulting with a patient and coining a name for a new and mysterious disorder." It was an obvious brag, spoken at a volume where Kursott couldn't ignore it, though she did. She watched Qalhet chop a bandit in half with a fiery hand and then drop kick another off of a horse, unleashing a massive burst of electricity. The bandit hit the ground... and then he exploded.

"Woah, tell me more," Tursin said, interested in Bullfreckle's new discovery.

"It's a learning disorder specific to changelings: protea spontanea."

"Hmmm. I like the ring of it," Tursin said stroking his goatee in ponderance.

"It's bullshit. Bullshit like Qalhet's verbals... 'cavanthus', my ass. What does that even mean?" Kursott watched Qalhet ride a bandit like a surfboard. He then kicked the bandit into the air, and then the bandit exploded.

"Hey, Tursin likes it. I don't remember asking your opinion!" Bullfreckle was feeling a little bolder than usual. Kursott didn't care. She watched Qalhet twist and mangle a bandit like a balloon animal.

"Yeah, yeah, did you come here to watch this bullshit or not? He's about to dribble this guy like a rueball." She looked in disbelief through her binoculars.

Bullfreckle sighed and walked beside Kursott getting a clearer view of the carnage below. He was stunned by the demolished trees and great craters, not to mention the corpses... especially the bandit that was twisted like a ball of yarn. Qalhet repeatedly bashed this ball against the ground, until he lifted it over his head and shot it into a nearby tree, where it landed with a sickening crack. The tree was then struck by lightning. And yes, it exploded.

"This guy is sick," Bullfreckle said. He was nearly sick himself from seeing the gory mess left in Qalhet's wake.

"He's sick. He's bullshit..." Kursott lowered the binoculars from her face. "But he's damn good."

"Indeed," Tursin said grimly.

Qalhet, covered in blood and surrounded by the exploded remains of bandits and trees alike, stood victorious. He turned to face the trio who watched from high on the hill. He opened his mouth wide and his voice boomed with a joking tone. "Hey! Maybe you'll invite me to the Collegiate Spellcaster's Gala this year, huh?" His voice echoed through the valley. He loudly chuckled and then turned his attention to pulling out the six human teeth that were forcibly embedded into the soles of his boots over the course of this routine bandit ambush.

Kursott muttered under her breath, "Molitz willing, he'll be dead by that time."

"Are you going to kill him?" Bullfreckle asked.

"We don't have another option," Tursin muttered with regret. "Personal motivations aside, he's simply too dangerous to live... He's going to run out of bandits soon."


Deformator t1_jdtgs23 wrote

Funny enough I read your other WP entry, both very good!


armageddon_20xx t1_jdtvjav wrote

Hal had turned the sign on his trinket shop to "closed" when a thunderous knock caused him to jump. Through the peephole was the local deputy director of magical arts Von Bruseman, who looked hurried.

"Open up Hal, I know you're in there!"

Hal had no desire to receive whatever the punishment was for his sparkler work in the town square. He'd explain that the kids loved it when he waved his hands and sparks started flying, but that would fall upon the deaf ears of a seasoned magician such as Von Bruseman. His mentor, the Archmage Wyndolyn had said as much, stating that the prim and proper will never accept the ways of a fire mage. For a fire mage's power lies in breaking the rules.

"It's not what you think, Hal. Open up! I've got a proposal for you."

Hal creaked open the door, causing Von Bruseman to thrust his way into the dark shop.

"Haven't you got a torch?" he asked, "you're a fire mage, right?"

Hal lit his hand aflame and held it out in front of Hal, nodding that it would have to do. He found it strange that Von Bruseman didn't understand that a fire mage had no need for a torch.

"Look Hal," he said, catching his breath. "I ran over here because we might actually have a use for you at the Academy after all."

"Hah!" Hal laughed, swinging his hand towards a table to reveal two plain wooden chairs. He sat on one, motioning the other to Von Bruseman. "You tossed me out for 'my ceaseless and needless antics'. Why would I ever so much as grace the Great Hall ever again?"

Von Bruseman sat down, looking uncomfortable in the simple accouterment of the shop. "I mean, you certainly understand. You used your capability so brazenly. We cannot have rings of fire floating over the heads of babes in the mess hall."

Hal stared at him straight in the face and shook his head. "But now that you suddenly require me, you come running? Is that it? How have you never seen a fire mage before? You should know such 'antics' are the hallmark of our kind."

"They are quite rare, you know." Von Bruseman put his hands on the table as if he was about to beg.

"All the more the reason to keep me there."

Von Bruseman nodded. "If you accept our quest, I assure you we can pay you in considerable coin. It looks like your place could use a few upgrades." He shifted in his chair, looking as if it pained him.

"I am but a simple trinket mage, thanks to you."

"I know what you can do. And we need your fire, most badly. I am afraid to admit."

Hal put his head in his hands. "And what quest shall you send me on?"

"Erm, well. In the west, a considerable army of the dead has arisen led by a necromancer who goes by Jin'gonan. Our eagles report they are camped at the base of the Shadderack Mountains. We are looking to lead an expedition there to route them out before they gain strength. A fire mage would be most useful in that endeavor."

"Fascinating," Hal nodded, suspicious immediately that Von Bruseman was who he said he was. "But there's one problem, first. You must tell me exactly how you know I have the power to stop them. I demonstrated nothing more than antics at the Academy, simple tricks. To you and your lot, I would seem like a weak fire mage."

Von Bruseman's hand went underneath the table. Hal responded by putting his hand on his wand in his pocket. "We've always known your power, my dear Hal."

Hal wished he could cast reveal imposter, but that spell was far out of his reach. He didn't think about his decision on who Von Bruseman was for long, for as Wyndolyn had said impatience was the hallmark of every fire mage. He pulled his wand and summoned a flame arrow under the table, which he sent a moment later straight at Von Bruseman's gut. He expected Von Bruseman to topple but was shocked when he lifted the arrow in his hands.

"You didn't think..." he said, his face contorting.

Hal wasted not a moment, extinguishing his torch hand and running for the exit before Von Bruseman could get his bearing. As he climbed the stairs out of his shop he swore he heard hoofbeats from below.

When he got outside he threw the biggest fireball he could through the window. Flames came spilling out at once, licking the stone walls greedily. If that didn't kill it, then he didn't know what would.

Screams pierced his ears. A black and green flame rose from the shop, withering and hovering in the air. In the center, a purple eye formed.

"You may have won this time, but there will be no escape, Hal," Jin'gonan said. "Give in now, or perish."



NeedleNodsNorth t1_jdu0tmm wrote

"Alright kids, settle down I'm about to teach the lesson none of your professors want to you to hear" Already Donzel could see the faculty in attendance begin to scowl at him. "So to start off - what is the purpose of an incantation?"

An annoyingly chipper teacher pleaser hopped to their feet and immediately began to speak. "The purpose of an incantation is to force magical energies into a specific form, these forms having been discovered via trial and error over the centuries."

"Well yes - and no my ignorant little friend. Also next time - wait to be called" The snickering of the other students began to fill the air. "The purpose of an incantation is to invoke a particular mental state - to prime your mind to imagine the effect that is to come. It doesn't cause the magic - it merely helps your unimaginative little ass to conjure it." Kirata walked up to the board and began writing. "Take this incantation for example, it calls to mind imagery of fire gods and burning destruction. It mentions traveling forth. Obviously you all know that this allows you to throw a fireball. But at the end of the day it's all bullshit. A memetic device to prime your brain to do something you can already do. Now watch." He went to front of the class and silently slung a fireball forward.

"See no stupid incantation necessary. Infact the incantation has nothing to do with the magic at all. Watch this." He slung out his hand and began the incantation. "Ignaeus god of the forge, Ventraya goddess of flame, send forth your fiery destruction - FIREBALL!" The fireball did not come however but a thin piercing bolt of flame spewed forth from his hand. "Now early in your education your instructors blew that off as you saying the incantation wrong. But you didn't. Your mind merely evoked a different bit of imagery from the words. You didn't do it wrong - your teachers were just morons."

One of the faculty started to raise an objection but Kirata merely motioned for him to sit down. "It's not their fault. The fact is - most mages are morons. There isn't anything wrong with that - even a moron can be useful. But greatness comes from the mind. From imagination. With war on the rise and dark forces closing in they just aren't up for the task. They are shit combatants. That's why i'm here. The next three weeks I will be evaluating you all on your imagination. Those deemed worthy will be transferred to my new unit. You want to be a big goddamn hero - impress me."

And so the first trial of mages by 2nd Lieutenant Donzel began - marking the start of a new era of magical warfare - an age where mages stopped being tools of the rich, and transitioned to a sad state as weapons of mass destruction.


Remarkable-Youth-504 t1_jdvyha9 wrote

Who thought D&D would come so handy one day?

A long time ago, my mentor, Merlin explained to me how magic really works. I was his best pupil, he said, to carry his legacy forward.

Unfortunately, Merlin is no longer around to vet me.

Most people just see me as an annoyance, a slacker nerd with no aptitude for anything.

That annoyance only grows when they find I am one of the greatest mages in the world.

Many mages tried to show me my place. They all fell flat on their faces.

Other mages tried more lethal routes. All of them failed.

As the mage society started unifying in opposition to me, the attacks on me grew deadlier and yet equally impotent.

Which brings us to the events of today.

The great grandmaster Andlurth, the seventh of his name and leader of the Archmages, and the Dark Mage Kovith, the first Hellspawn, have jointly challenged me to a magical duel, in front of an audience that includes the High Council of Mages and the Kings of the continent. The Emperor of the Rhoyyylanth is the Chair.

As we take our respective positions, the two mages start chanting in unison, using the black speech:

“Skaat burz goth

Durb tala ul

Pau ishi grish

Nagraufrom! Nagraufrom! Nagraufrom!”

“Come dark lord! We summon you, Morgoth!!”

I sigh. An evil God. How predictable.

As Morgoth appears inside the runic circle, I hear a few gasps. The audience shifts uncomfortably.

I sigh again, step forward, and raise a finger:

“A giant hand from space appears and swats Morgoth like a fly.”

On cue, a giant hand from space actually appears, and actually swats Morgoth like a fly.

The resulting gore is something to behold.

The arena goes into a hushed silence for a minute, then explodes:


I sigh again.


Method-Frosty t1_jdwu0jh wrote

It's like he broke the 4th wall in his universe. Allowing him to become the consciousness of God...


NotAMeatPopsicle t1_je1xrkl wrote

I’m hearing the Deadpool theme song in my head. And the mage wouldn’t even know who Wade Wilson was.


Xyragn t1_jdv6suw wrote

112 figures sit around in a large cottage by the sea, the frozen wind quelled by the quietly crackling fireplace, the waves crashing in the distance, 5 days after the 1st frost.
"Hah! I Win AGAIN!"
Butt grammy, whyyyy, aren't you oldies meant to be nicer and let us win??
I look at her with my brightest fake puppy eyes, the same expression I got her with eons ago. The children copy my expression, I swear I saw a slight tear in granny's eye.
She looks back, "Imagine that, if I were nice, you'd be bored, very bored that you might just turn into a board."
I feel myself becoming square, flattening, the familliar feeling brings me back to my childhood, 'I turn into a large yellow elephant that shoots tea at the table right there.' The cluttered cottage grows, rattle, and turns, a pristine palace garden emerges, a petite teaparty palace fit for the princess pops up, the children I am currently teaching giggle.


"I turn into a giant pink and purple dragon who breathes marshmallows!"
*Poof* 'AAAAAAA- how do you keep doing that gramgram?' I squeal with glee
"Sweetie, magic comes with lots of secrets, now don't tell your mama I said this, but you can literally make shit up and it'll usually work. Makes the guys who actually take it seriously really pissed."
'Granny! You just said a bad word!?!?'
"What, oh, right, well, better to expose you when you're younger!"
Thinking that was a fair reason, I go back to playing
'I save my grammy from the dragon and we live in a shiny castle right here'
The spell slowly reverses, wait, did that really work? Normally her magic was stronger than this, taking me more time to slowly do one part of the spell each.
*POOF* The dragon falls and a shocked, ecstatic old lady appears.
"You finally did it! The student has become the master!"

~Present day~
The good old days, really, "Miss, you spaced out a little, when are we getting the tea?"
Oh, right, the tea party, 'Thank's for reminding me Stacy, the tea is served!' I trumpet out loud, tea raining everywhere, the once white tablecloth is now a mess, but hey, isn't everything a mess. "Me and my best friend Evony float into a bubble of soap!"
Turns out almost everything is a mess then, well then, the children are finally learning.
"Why does Molly get a bubble? I get one too!"
Suddenly all the kids are floating in shiny bubbles of their own design, "All the bubbles pop and the children are in a masion with their tea!"
POP they all fall, looking at granny, "I think you've all grown since I've last seen you lot, you all used to shout stupid rules at me, it was always 'the great wizards handbook says this', and 'But that never, ever, happens normally!', it was getting very very tiring for a poor old immortal like me."
Just as dramatic as ever, "Congratulations, children, you've done it! You are cured of being boring!" Various cries of offence rise from the children, some attempting to curse the all powerful witch infront of them.

'Aww man, momma's here' "Noooo, not my big brother" 'Can I please stay dad?'
It seems the parents are here, time to try burst their bubbles and attempt to bring them back to imagination, where they probably lost them around 230 years ago.
'I am now a giant version of Shrek and rise out of the castle'
The parents are annoyed as always, trying to drag their children to normalcy, at least the children prefer living their magical lives like they are meant to be, for now at least.


-___-_-___-_-_ t1_jdwmtex wrote

"The laws of magic are not the laws of physics, but the laws of mortals. It is like music, or theatre, there is a mode and means yes, but you do not have to follow the script to the tee."

The litch stared at me with pure hatred, but I continued, "what you think is possible, is possible!"

The litch's jaw opened with the clear intention of stealing my soul, the soul i did not have to sacrifice for immortality because i just held the belief that i could not die.

Delusion magic is powerful. One needs to be strong to make anything stick, because adamantly denying what is true until the truth changes takes a lot of commitment.


beholder_dragon t1_je1vvic wrote

Most can’t handle truth, especially when it comes to the world. You could paint the most photorealistic portrait to face the earth, yet a painting of a white line on a black background could be seen as more valuable. Same with magic. No shade to those who actually put effort and showmanship into their magic, but if the equivalent to dipping my hand into paint then slapping a canvas gets the job done for me, then I’m going to continue doing that. It does get boring though NGL, I can just shout out BORT and it does anything I desire.


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Looxond t1_jduil51 wrote

de ja vu i have seen this prompt before


Aristocrafied t1_jdut28e wrote

I second this, not too long ago I believe


Ketheres t1_jdwp5qq wrote

I think I saw it last summer, which is aeons in internet time. Good prompt nonetheless, I suppose


archpawn t1_jduixph wrote

This is how placebomancy works in UNSONG. Someone did a study comparing praying for rain from a pagan deity vs from random letters pulled from a game of scrabble, and both worked equally well. Though placebomancy isn't the only form of magic in it.


velocirapture1377 t1_jdx6li4 wrote

I CAME HERE TO SAY JUST THAT!! I'm so glad that series is so widely known. I also wish they'd called it bullshitism, theatermancy or some sort of joke about how throughly nonsense it is.


frost5al t1_jdu5q8g wrote

This is how Sovereign Citizens think Law works.


Captain_Nesquick t1_jdumsdb wrote

I think it's how magic should be, creating a magic system with strict rules to follow and learn makes it ressemble a science artificially, just because the author doesn't trust that the audience can't accept anything but logic. It also ressembles more closely old litterature magic, having sets of rules is a rather recent way to write magic


siskulous t1_jdvg53h wrote

I swear I've seen this exact prompt before....


LaserRanger_McStebb t1_jduuts4 wrote

Almost literally the plot of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

hugely recommend that book/miniseries btw.