Looking up from where he sat, Elgaer1
focused on the rows of books which lined the walls. Many were covered in dust centuries old, and looked as if the merest touch would cause them to crumble. The room was roughly circular, with a luxurious maroon carpet covering the floor. Towards one end (if there is an end
in a circular room) was a large heavy wooden door, which was locked and bolted from the inside. A thief trying to enter through the door would quickly discover a dozen deadly traps. Someone trying to enter through magical means would find the door warded with powerful spells which could not easily be broken. There were no windows, and the walls of the tower itself were over two meters2
thick. But despite this, anyone actually in the room would feel comfortable and at ease. A soft light seemed to emanate from all around, and the air was fresh and clean. Opposite the door was a huge oaken desk, ornately carved around the edges with exotic plants and animals; behind this was a black high-backed leather chair.
Contrary to the conceptions that most people have of the desks of dark magic-users, this desk was free of clutter. There were a few neatly stacked piles of paper, and some writing quills. His reagents were stacked on a shelf off to one side and clearly labeled. At the desk sat Elgaer, pouring over one of his spellbooks, oblivious to the world around him. He was very proud of his book collection. It was the largest in all of Altuan3
. He had books that were as old as the world itself. Some, he believed, were even older. His entire life had been spent studying these books. Several he had written himself. Today he was looking for something specific: a way to unlock the magic stored in the stone which was sitting in the center of the room.
Elgaer called the object a stone because he could think of no better name for it. It was hard like granite, had an oblong spherical shape, and varied in color from dark brown to black. About the size of a loaf of bread, it seemed somewhat light for its size, weighing only two kilograms. Most people wouldn't have given it a second glance. But Elgaer was not most people. The stone emanated with an immense and ancient power. He could almost see the stone pulsing, and hear the hum of power stored within.
He had discovered it a few months ago as he was searching the depths of the Ssindel4
dungeon after a recent earthquake had opened up a number of new passageways and caverns. Always looking for ways to increase his power, he was eager to search the new labyrinth. He was deep in the bowels of the earth, following a passageway that went down and down at a steep angle until it seemed he must soon reach the center of the earth. Suddenly the passageway ended in a large room. It was the treasure vault of the original architects of Ssindel: the dwarves. He guessed this from the huge piles of gold and silver and gems which were lying everywhere. There, sitting amidst the pile of ancient dwarven treasure, Elgaer found the stone. Being a cautious magic-user, rather than immediately try and use it, he had spent these last few months studying it. In all that time he had learned nothing useful about the stone. It did not react to anything he did. He tried to find what material it was made of, to no avail. He had cast spells of identification, but had gotten no clear result. He had pricked and poked and banged on it, trying to cause it to do something. Finally, there was only one thing left that he could think of to try ? cast a spell to try and crack the stone open. He had been reluctant to try this, as it might destroy the stone, or perhaps the magic of the stone would react and destroy him. But he had run out of ideas.
Gathering his thoughts, the dark mage mixed some reagents and began chanting in the language of magic. "Corp Por!
". The air seemed to grow cold, the light in the room dimmed. Completing the words of the spell, he pointed at the stone and released his magic. A pure-white lightning bolt of energy blazed forth from his fingers and slammed into the stone with the force of a tidal wave crashing into a cliff. There was a loud roar, and the room went completely dark. Except for the stone. The stone had a dark green light emanating from within. Somewhere from deep inside the stone, a power was awakened which had slept for countless millennia. The white light of Elgaer's powerful energy bolt had been absorbed harmlessly into the stone. The roar of his spell increased to a deafening tone, and the walls of the tower began to shake. Suddenly, the force of the spell was repelled outwards and magnified a thousand-fold! Elgaer did not even have time to scream before the bolt hit him and his tower burst apart.