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The Tale of the Apprentice #1

Author: 
Stariovarius
Old Vault Category: 
fanfiction
Old Vault ID: 
478



Tarranau sat out on the cliffs, looking into the clear blue sky, matched at the edge of the horizon by a darker blue sea, blurring into one grey-blue mass as the sea mist softened the view and removed all hard lines until it became one seamless whole, air and water together. Below him, the sound of waves crashing into and over the rocks of the seashore provided a reassuring background music to his relaxations and contemplations. It was the end of the day and one of his favourite moments in it, waving goodbye to the departing sun as in slipped below the horizon, the glowing rays reach out through the low lying mist and causing it to glow, molten gold running across the water to greet him, a last warm caress before the darkness of night fell over the island.

He lay there for another hour after the sun went down, just enjoying the fading warmth of the day and the idle contemplations of the clouds, sea, and sky. Finally, the light had sunk low enough that the young student knew he needed to get back to the dormitory and head over to the dining hall to eat, for idle contemplations and golden rays had stirred and filled his mind, but done little for his growling belly. Grinning at the idea of eating sunbeams for dinner, he moved on down the path, loose gravel and worn away earth marking a trail that had been used for a long time, so long that it overrode any right of the owners of the land to close or stop it.

Lazy strides took him down from the cliffs back toward the city, where it sat in a depression between the natural walls of stone, walls that sheltered a wide inlet in the western shore of the island. The city wrapped around the entire inlet, a mass of tall wooden buildings and large shore front warehouses, with wooden and stone docks reaching out across the beach and into the water, fingers stretching towards the open ocean. It was the home of the largest fleet that sailed anywhere in these waters, a fleet comprised mostly of deep sea fishing boats, but also heavily laden traders, carrying goods up and down the coastline of the main shore, and to and from the outer islands, of which Bohortha Eilan was the largest and most populated. It was on one of those boats that Tarranau hoped to make his career, as a marine wizard, as one of the guild.

It was back to their school that he went now, not that he really had any choice in the matter of going there. The guild of wizards that ran the school sent out small parties to the communities that were within their scope, which included everyone living on this main island, and that meant Tarranau's family. They examined all boys at the age of ten, testing them to see if they had magical talent. Those who did fell into two categories in the eyes of the wizards: those with a simple affinity, and those with real potential. Having an affinity meant being tied closely to the water, often able to eventually manipulate the element slightly. They were given a few years of training, until the age of fourteen, and then sent off to become whatever they felt like. Usually, they ended up as sailors or fishermen of some sort, for knowing the waters so well gave them an advantage in those area.

For the others, those with potential, they were trained for nine years, from ten to nineteen, and it was into this track that Tarranau had fallen. As with all boys of ten, he had regretted leaving home, and cried a good deal in those first few months, for most of the boys were sad, and the teachers appeared stern and unyielding after a childhood that had been infused with a familial closeness. Still, it was one thing to be turned down by the wizards, but another entirely to turn them down, and thus Tarranau had gone to the school, even if it had nearly bankrupted his parents in the first few years, for mussel farming was not the most profitable of occupations, even if it always put food on the table.

Now, he was eighteen and nearing the end of his time in the school, with less than a year total time to be spent under the tutelage of the teachers here. By this time, he paid for his own learning here, mostly by jobs that the wizards would give to him, and if that wouldn't suffice, there was always something that needed doing in the docks region of the port. Students were encouraged in that regard, for it was felt by the guild mages that it helped them get a better feel for the life they would be living come graduation, and so it was a common sight to see several of the apprentice mages down on the docks every day, in the early morning before the boats set out and classes began, or during the evenings, as the boats came back in and the bustle of unloading and repairing for the morrow began again.

This evening, it was the hustle and bustle of repair and unloading that drifted up to Tarranau as he made his way back into the city, along with more than a few salty comments and bantered insults. The path ran down a sloping hillside into the outskirts of the city, where a few spread out houses slowly gave way to more and more packed in buildings, the wooden buildings also growing taller as they crept towards the city centre, where many stretched into the sky at four stories tall. Tarranau's destination was the one walled area of the city, placed close to the sea shore, but far enough round from the main area of the harbour that it did not take up land that would be valued for commercial purposes. Here was where the compound and school of the Sailor's Mage Guild was located, marked off as its own little community inside of the larger populace of the city, and it was into the largest of the halls within the compound, the dormitory.

Tarranau went up the stairs to the second floor, walking along the long corridor of doors, each hiding a single small room, complete with bedding and a desk, the cause of crooked backs as students poured over texts by the light of a candle. His was further along, down where the corridor went off at an angle, allowing all the rooms in this small area of the dormitory to have a view out over the sea, and it was in one of these rooms that Tarranau was quartered. His status as one with under a year to graduation had earned him a rather nice view out across the waters of the harbour, including those cliffs upon which he had been perched recently, away off to the left of the view, as well as a more spacious room. The view was also designed by the teachers to prompt some thought as to what comes after the school for those who were nearly graduated, showing, as it did, the harbour in which they would probably spend many years working, and the sea that was the lifeblood of the city. Tarranau, however, was a young man, and not often given to the kind of introspection that the view was supposed to inspire, although from a sunny spot on the cliffs he would often spend hours trying to answer some of the great philosophical questions, including “What does come next for me?”.

Chuckling at the futility of trying to answer that question, the young apprentice changed from his dirt and dust covered clothes into his more formal student's robes, required wearing for the school related activities during the day, including all meals and any time spent in class or with a professor, although that latter was often waived by some of the more lenient teachers. Dressed in clothes that were appropriate, if showing signs of being put on hastily and with little regard for decorum, Tarranau jogged down the stairs at his end of the building and through the compound towards the dining hall, his dirty blonde hair bouncing as he ran. He'd left it late again, and the bell that marked the end of food serving would soon ring out, and he had to get in the door before that happened.

The servant at the door, and the man who would be ringing the bell, chuckled and shook his head at Tarranau as he ran for the doors, holding them open to allow the lad, gown flapping, to rush into the serving area, quickly grabbing a serving or two of any food that looked like it still retained some warmth and was actually edible before sitting down at the nearest table, his stomach forcibly reminding him that the hour was later than it liked, and that he could still consume large quantities of food when given the chance. He waved to a few of the people that he knew, but they were finishing up their meals, and Tarranau was too busy eating to want a conversation.

When he got back to his room, his stomach nicely sated, he collapsed on the bed, resting and letting his stomach digest its meal. He didn't fully fall asleep, but rather remained half-awake, only to have his dreams split by the sound of a hand connecting solidly with the wood of his door. “Tarranau, you've got a message here from Magister Gothren”. The young apprentice staggered up, straightening as he walked over to the door, opening it to find a fourteen year old student holding up a scrap of paper and a bucket full of water. “He wants you to practice, Magister Gothren said.” “I can see that”, replied Tarranau “I'm sure I'll have a wonderful night, doing the same damn exercise over and over until I collapse from exhaustion. Oh well, thanks for this.” Tarranau took the two items from the young student, sending him on his way and closing the door with a foot as he re-entered his room, placing the bucket of water on his desk and flipping open the note. “Practice your water purification. You are deficient in this area. Magister Gothren.” Well, he was nothing if not direct, thought Tarranau. He looked into the bucket, which turned out to be full of brackish, salty water that was unfit for drinking, or much of any other use. Shrugging, he sat down at the desk, placing his hands on either side of the container and staring into the thick green mess, focusing his will on making it pure, clean drinking water.

Two hours later, he crawled into bed, the smell of salt water still wafting at him from the bucket. He'd cleaned it, mostly, but it still wasn't drinkable, and he knew Magister Gothren would send someone round to collect it in the morning. Shrugging slightly, Tarranau collapsed into sleep.



The Tale of the Apprentice #1 © Stratovarius

Migrate Wizard: 
First Release: 
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