The Mage and the Mercenary


Well-Known Member
Something I whipped up today.  Meant to be a silly Action Comedy Fantasy setting, writing it using FATE system as a base for characters and plot development.  Let me know what you think of it, spelling, grammar, story, and so on.

The Mage and the Mercenary

Azren walked absentmindedly down the halls of Mage Association, studiously examining the book in front of him. Rituals weren't his preferred field of study, but they combined so many other fields into something greater than the sum of their parts that it served as a decent primer to all fields of magical knowledge, and he appreciated the time it saved him on learning about each of them individually.

He was just finishing a passage on Bixby's treatise of ritual in the use of spirit binding, when he turned a corner and collided with someone. It wasn't an usual occurrence, and Azren was already in motion to smooth things over before a single thing hit the ground/.

“Sorry! Sorry, I wasn't paying attention!” Azren gave a much repeated apology to whoever he had run into, already crouching down to gather up the scattered papers their collision had caused.

“Azren, just the person I was looking for.” A voice growled, and with trepidation on his face, Azren look up to see who he had run into. It was Feltoren, one of the senior mages who had almost complete autonomy over their particular domain. Feltoren ruled the Historic Archives with an iron fist, completely controlling all research into past ages and the magic that long dead divinities had wielded when the world was younger. While nowhere near as interesting as researching new spells and methods to manipulate mana, those who demonstrated the proper obeisance and dedication to Feltoren oftentimes unlocked

“Sir! I'm so sorry!” Azren renewed his apologies. It was a well known fact that a mage became less tolerant of others as they advanced in years and skill, and Feltoren had more than a century under his belt.

“Forget about it. You've got much bigger worries to be concerned about now.” Feltoren growled at him, causing the younger mage to freeze.


“Follow me, apprentice. Don't make me tell you again!” Feltoren snarled, and Azren hurried after him. The young apprentice remained silent as he followed the Master Mage deeper into the Association.

Even knowing that he was in for an unfortunate fate, Azren couldn't help but glance around curiously at his surroundings. As an apprentice, a significant portion of the Association was barred to him, so seeing the secretive areas that were normally forbidden was an unexpected opportunity.

It was a bit disappointing, but that was his own hopes and desires being grander than reality. It had been a bit silly to think that arcane secrets to redefine continents would be out where anyone could see them, but he had hoped there would be at least some indication that this belonged to those who had truly begun to unlock the secrets of magic. Perhaps he could sneak into one of the rooms on his way back. There was bound to be something more interesting in them.

Finally they arrived at their destination, a large iron shod door engraved with numerous runes and ritual circles. Azren had a moment to wonder where the handle was, before Feltoren uttered an incantation, and the array upon the door lit up with arcane power, before slowly dissolving into nothingness. Azren wished he had more time to study the array before he was dragged into the room.

He felt the bottom of his stomach drop out as he saw who awaited them. It was the rest of the Masters, mages of such power they could almost be considered equal to the rest of the kingdom in power. The fact that they were all gathered just to deal with him was... more than worrying. He was starting to wonder if he would be alive after this meeting, or if other apprentices would whisper dark tales of his fate for decades to come.

Immediately, he started straightening out his clothes, wishing he had worn the traditional robes most of them preferred rather than the more practical shirt, belt, and trousers her preferred. A quick pass of his hand through his dark hair to give it a semblance of order came next, and would have been followed by more if the steady gaze from the Archmage hadn't chilled him to the bone. Any attempts to make himself more presentable were forgotten as he quickly adopted a stance of apologetic contrition, hoping his sorrowful look would earn him some leniency.

The room was silent for long minutes. Azren did his best to remain as still and quiet as possible, but the silence began to eat at him, as tension built up. He glanced up at the Council of Mages sitting above him, hoping for some clue to what he had done to warrant such attention. It seemed that was what they had been waiting for.

“Apprentice Mage Azren, do you know why you have been brought before us?” the Archmage asked, no inflection in the question.

“Master, I promise that I will be more conscious of my surrounding when I'm walking! I'll do my be to refrain from reading outside of the proper areas!” Azren babbled rapidly, bowing repeatedly to the assembled Masters of the Association.

The senior mages looked at him nonplussedly.

“The boy ran into me when I went to fetch him” Feltoren rumbled from behind him, causing Azren to flinch. The ancient mage gave him another reproachful glare, before moving to take his seat next to the other Masters.

“Sadly, you have not been brought before us because of such a trivial matter.” Limstella, Master of Elemental Workings spoke up from her seat at the Archmage's right hand.

“Master?” Azren asked in confusion, daring to glance up at the assembly before him.

“The reason you are here before us is because we question your dedication to the study of magic.” the Archmage said, looking at Azren with a serious expression.

“Master-” Azren began to explain, only to be cut off before he could say anything.

“You have missed more classes and lectures than any other three apprentices combined. The quality of your work is barely acceptable in the best of circumstances, and you spend the majority of your time exploring other interests instead of learning the basics that apprentices years younger than you have mastered already.” Alkir, Master of Illusions lectured, sounding like a disappointed grandparent.

“If you'll just let me explain-” Azren tried again.

“It shows in your choice of study as well! Instead of mastering the fundamentals the way you should, you spend your time outside of the Association waving pointy bits of metal around! To make matters worse, instead of accepting the consequences of your poor work ethic, you rely on Chaos Magic as a crutch for your shortcomings! You've been lucky so far, but it's only a matter of time before it gets away from you and causes trouble you're lacking the skill to handle properly!” Feltoren snarled.

Azren opened his mouth again, but didn't even get a word out before he was silenced by a glare.

“The only reason you have not been cast out is because you demonstrate remarkable talent, no matter how poorly you apply it. When you put your mind to a particular topic, it's clear that you could climb through the ranks at an amazing rate, but you remain as an apprentice because you lack the will and drive to use your talents appropriately. We have been more than lenient with you, but you cannot squander such a gift and expect to avoid the consequences!” Limstella said, her quiet voice nonetheless filled with powerful emotions that seemed to shake the room.

Azren remained silent, well aware now that any attempts to defend himself would only serve to get him into more trouble. Instead, he simply waited to hear their decision.

“You show too much promise for us to simply bind your magic and cast you out, but we cannot allow you to continue on the path you've chosen. You need to make a decision on the path that you're going to walk. Will you accept the burden a proper mage must bear, or will you cast aside your aspirations and leave us forever?” Feltoren demanded, his voice echoing through the chamber.

“What are you talking about?” Azren asked confusedly, still trying to keep up with what was happening.

“Azren, apprentice mage, you are exiled from the hall of the Mage Association until such time that you learn the proper bearing of a mage. Should you prove yourself worthy of the opportunity, you will be welcomed back when we deign you truly understand what it is to be a mage. Until such time comes to pass, you are forevermore barred from the Mage Association, and you will not be given aid from any of our members or associates.

Azren tried to speak, but couldn't get the words to form on his lips.

“Perhaps the experience will help you reflect on what's truly important, Azren.” The Archmage said regretfully, before quietly murmuring under his breath. Everything went white for a moment, and Azren fell.

He landed on cobblestones, a bit worse for the wear with a startled expression on his face. He looked around, realizing that the darkened chamber he had been in had been replaced with a brightly lit street, with dozens of people going about their day. Behind him were the enormous doors that led to the Mage Association.

After regaining his feet, Azren stood there for a long, silent moment. His mind was still trying to understand what had just happened, when it finally hit him.

He had been exiled, cast out of the Mage Association.

In a blind panic, he tried to pull the door open, but the instant his hands touched the gargantuan iron ring, liquid agony shot through his body. He jerked away, cradling his still burning hand, staring at the door with a look of abject betrayal. As the pain faded away, he took the time to find its source.

Arcane runes ran up and down both of his arms. He hadn't advanced far enough in his studies to understand more than a few of them, but their purpose was crystal clear. As long as he bore them on his body, he could not enter the Mage Association.

He slumped to the ground. With enough time and research, he could probably find a way around them, but the best source of that information was the Mage Association itself. He might be able to piece something together over the course of months, but without access to the library, he would be fumbling around in the dark, and even if he got lucky enough to piece something together, it was unlikely that he would be able to break the enchantments cast by a Master Mage, let alone the Archmage of the Association.

A shot of panic flew through him, and he desperately reached out to his magic. A surge of relief filled Azren as fire appeared in his hand. It wasn't particularly impressive, but the way he called it was with the same ease he always did. He still had his magic.

With that concern banished from his mind, Azren wasn't sure what to do now. The past four years of his life had been dedicated toward learning magic. What was he supposed to do now?

At least, he had been dedicated to magic for the most part. He amended upon further reflection. He would be the first to admit that he wasn't an ideal student, willing to sneak out every so often to explore the border city of Kalsheem, and it had caused problems once or twice when a treatise or research project lagged behind or failed because he hadn't enough time to finish it. Sure he cut corners when it came to magic occasionally, but it worked out in the end for the most part, and the side effects of using chaos magic were manageable for the most part, and the oddities more often than not proved to be interesting enough to research on their own. And the only reason he hadn't finished any of the basic primers was because there were just so many other topics that were far more fascinating. He would get the basics down eventually.

Looking back on it, perhaps they were right to kick him out after all, Azren thought to himself. It wasn't even the first time that one of his superiors had warned him about his lack of effort, but nothing ever came of it, so he assumed they were just complaining about the flightiness of youth.

Realizing that his fate was entirely deserved did little to improve his mood, and Azren cautiously leaned against the spell reinforced doors, wary of any further spells such an action might inflict upon him. Once he was certain that the runes only kept him from entering the Mage Association, he slumped down in defeat.

Azren didn't know how long he remained there, and he honestly didn't care. It was still light when he finally came out of his stunned state of mind, but it was the fading light of late afternoon. Since his exile had begun in the morning, he had wasted more than half a day already.

With a shake of his head, Azren rose to his feet. Sitting slumped in front of the Mage Association wasn't going to change anything. If it was, they would have already allowed him back in. Every second spent here was a second he could have spent getting back into the Association's good graces. Azren slowly forced himself to stand up, as he pondered the best course of action. He had been cast out of the Mage Association, had lost access to critical resources for gaining their approval, and he didn't even have a place to sleep for the night.

Screw it. He needed a drink. The fact that the person responsible for his current predicament could be found at a tavern was a happy coincidence.


Well-Known Member
An interesting start, though I'm not sure how they expect him to 'learn the proper bearing of a mage' when they're also cutting him off from all magic resources. There really isn't enough of the story yet to say anything more.

Spelling and grammar wise, everything looks good to me, and I'm hoping I can see more soon. ^_^