Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Potioners of the Green Tower

Dran was supposed to report to a man named Lencius. A Master of Potions. Dran hadn't learned to navigate the entire Tower, but he found Lencius' chambers without much difficulty. He was filled with no small anticipation when he entered. He been in his father's workshop, of course. But this, the domain of a renowned potioner, situated in the greatest center of magic the world had ever known. He beheld the bubbling beakers, the racks of ingredients, the cauldrons, the fumes, the books Dran had never even heard of. He also beheld the unfriendly green-robed sorcerer he had met in the stacks. Dran wondered whether this individual was Lencius. He seemed to young to be a Master. Dran hoped the other sorcerer didn't remember their previous encounter. He hoped that he was just an interloper, and that he actually worked in another part of the Tower.
"Dranarius Caesorium," came a voice from behind him. "Brewer of potions, and blocker of doorways."
Dran stumbled into the room, and a green-robed sorcerers followed him. This one was old, wizened almost. "Lencius, I presume?"
"You presume correctly. My assistant here is Marius Stanium."
Marius seemed to be in shock. "D-did you just say Caesorium?"
"Yes. Young Dran here is the son off Phorius Caesorium. I suppose that would make the current Emperor his cousin."
Marius couldn't have looked more shocked if Takenor himself had casually walked into the room. To him, it wasn't much different. A member off a half-forgotten race, an evil which his parents had warned him about but which he had never believe could harm him. He had only ever read about Caesoriums in books. And now, one was in a room with him, blocking his Master from getting in.
"Now, we three Etorans could spend the next hour talking about our family connections. But I would prefer if we actually brewed some potions. Marius, care to tell Dran what we are doing?"
"W- We... We've mostly been focused on solvents, before the war, I mean. Lencius had the idea that we could poor solvents on the invaders, but that would require scaling up a lot, so we've been looking over potion books trying to find something we can make in bulk but which is still dangerous enough that we can use against the people who are-"
"Interesting idea," Dran said. "Liquid or gaseous?"
"Why? A gas would spread much more quickly. Also, we have some people who know the True Name of air, so that could be helpful."
Lencius looked thoughtful for a second. "I suppose we could use the fumes from Allifer's reagent."
"We would probably want to tweak the mixture. Nightwater slows the process of vaporization, so we might want to take that out."
Lencius was impressed. "Very well. If can show that you can make your fumes in high enough concentrations to kill monsters from a distance..."
"I'll get to work," Dran said.

Marius was curious about this new sorcerer from the edge of the world. He had questioned Lencius. He had ideas of his own. And those idea... were good.  Marius assumed it was beginners luck. Dran might be bright, he might even be brighter than Marius. But he was young. He was inexperienced. He was out of his depth.
The subsequent days and weeks revealed that Dranarius was not the one out of his depth.
He was brilliant. He devoured one book after another, scribbling ideas in the margins. He would go up to Marius with his clever new recipe, excitedly explaining how this stabilizer would react with that charm and that energy source. he might as well have been speaking Darmashian for all Marius understood.
Everything Dran tried worked. And when it didn't work, it didn't work for a profound reason, and even Lencius would be puzzled, until Dran found his error, and laughed at the simplicity of it all.
Marius knew he wasn't the best. Only a fool would go to the Green Tower expecting to be the best. But now, he was the worst. 
Dran was the best. He was witty. He was handsome. He was royal. How could Marius compete?
Marius lay in bed, his mind filled with jealousy. His parents had been expelled from the Empire to study magic. They had worked hard to amass enough money to pay his tuition. And now it was all a waste.
Marius tried to be productive. He tried to learn from Dran. He tried to benefit from the wisdom of this wonderchild interloper. But, as he so often did, Marius failed. 

1 comment:

  1. See my NaNoWriMo novel at