It was a beautiful sunny day in the grassy fields of the Tawarln Territory, but Nypre had no more time to enjoy it. He had fallen asleep while admiring the sky and was now going to be late for the most important event of his life. Today was his sixteenth birthday, but it meant more than just being sixteen. His mother, Wonik, would finally test him. If he passed he would be able to start learning wind magic once and for all. There was no age requirement for learning magic. Instead there was what he considered a ‘Wonik’ requirement. His mother absolutely refused to teach him before this day. Now the long wait was finally over.
He felt confident that he pass the test. He was always practicing meditation as that was the most important thing an aspiring mage could work on.
Yet, along with confidence, doubt grew within Nypre’s heart. It seemed with each step closer to home the worry grew stronger. His mother was the Guardian of Wind, the keeper of wind magic, and the only one capable of teaching others how to channel the element. If he didn’t have the ability, he would not be living up to the expectations of the wind guardian’s son. He shook those thoughts from his head. Magic was all about the state of mind.
Nypre reached the bottom of the tall hill where his house stood. It was a steep hill and one he had climbed many times throughout his life. He had lived all of his sixteen years in this house. Standing near it he saw another looking down at him.
“There you are! Good thing you made it back before mom!” Deren shouted. Deren was Nypre’s twin brother. Nypre climbed the hill quickly and stood face to face with his brother. While Deren looked exactly the same as Nypre to everyone else, with the same short blonde hair and light blue eyes, Nypre still saw many differences. For one, the leathers Deren wore were always considerably more unkempt than Nypre’s. When it came to hair however, Nypre’s was the more wild hair, always sticking out everywhere.
“I was off meditating in the fields, really connecting to the wind,” Nypre responded, unable to hide a smirk.
“Meditating, are you sure you don’t mean sleeping?” Deren replied with a mirror image of the same smirk. “You really shouldn’t leave without your sword, you know. What would mother say if you were caught with your guard down by a vicious claw beast?”
“Ha! Soon I won’t need a pathetic sword! I will become a master of the winds! I’ll fly around and toss lightning at those who wield a pathetic weapon such as a sword.” Nypre let out an exaggerated laugh.
“Right and when you fly around for all the world’s archers to see, I’ll be summoning gusts of wind to protect you and save your life once again,” Deren mocked. Normally Nypre would have thought of something to say back at him, but he was too excited to keep the charade going.
“This is going to be awesome! Soon we’ll finally be able to make those dreams a reality,” Nypre nearly shouted in glee. “What’s taking mom so long anyway? I don’t think I can wait anymore!”
“Well, getting food from the town is fairly important. You do want to eat tonight, don’t you?” Deren asked.
“I’m just glad the townsfolk are nice enough to provide us with food. To be honest I’ve always felt a little guilty about getting our supplies free,” Nypre admitted.
“Are you kidding? With the amount of protection mom provides them. She is the guardian of wind after all! She could handle an entire army if they chose to attack us. Soon we’ll be that strong too. We’re bound to have at least a portion of her strength,” Deren exclaimed. “Look, there she is!”
Most people would have looked down the hill, expecting her to come on horseback. Nypre instead looked to the skies. His mother was there, flyinh far above the ground, but still close enough to be within eyesight. She had white hair which was as bright as the pure white robes she wore. Her light skin seemed to blend perfectly into her robe making her look like a small cloud in the bright, clear blue skies. To anyone else, she would have been very beautiful. But considering she was his mother, Nypre never thought of her that way. Hovering behind her was a very large woolen bag which she always used to carry things. In this case it held bread and vegetables from the nearby farming town.
“Nypre, Deren. I expected you two to be waiting outside for me,” she said with a smile as she slowly descended to the top of the hill, her bag still floating behind her.
“It’s almost like you took longer on purpose today!” Deren moaned.
“Come now you two, I know it’s your birthday and you’re eager to be tested. But first let’s put away this food. We need to have a serious talk.” Wonik’s tone was cheerful, but Nypre couldn’t help but feel a little annoyed. It really was like she was delaying it on purpose.
“Mom, you said you’d test us today! Why do we have to talk first?” Nypre sighed. He was so sick of waiting.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be keeping my promise. The talk is about what you need to know before the test. Part of being a mage is traveling the world and advancing your own skills. So before you even learn magic we have to discuss what you plan on doing with it and why you want to learn it. Come now, I’ll explain more inside.” With that she walked past the two boys, Deren ducked out of the way of the woolen bag as it floated by him effortlessly. The twins gave each other a quick look before heading inside.
The four room house was small, built just for them. The main room that the three stood in now had a table and lots of cabinets underneath a counter used for preparing food. There was plenty of room for storage to assure they could survive a long time if for whatever reason they lost contact with the town. The other rooms were Wonik’s bedroom, which Nypre and Deren never dare enter, and the boys’ rooms which were as identical as them, each holding a bed, a rack to hold their sword, and some books from Lumin. Wonik did her best to treat them as equally as possible.
As Wonik stored the food and supplies she ordered the two boys to sit at the table. Nypre and Deren stared at each other quietly trying to suppress their excitement. There was an awkward silence that usually came before a big talk like the one they were about to have. Normally Nypre was not fond of what came after the silence as it usually led to being scolded. However today he was actually looking forward to the family conversation.
Wonik finally finished storing the supplies and sat at the table, making the table feel complete. Nypre and Deren scooted their chairs close to each other like they always did.
“Okay,” Wonik stated. This was followed by a shorter silence as Wonik willed up the nerve to continue. “Learning magic is a great thing. You can use it as a tool to protect many others who are weaker than you, or as a weapon to destroy them. A single mage, should they obtain enough power, is capable of destroying entire territories.” Nypre and Deren looked at each other in delight at this notion. Wonik ignored the look and continued.
“I know you two are excited to cast spells, and I hope that should you be able to wield magic as I do that you are responsible with it. There are many bad mages out there gaining power at this very moment. Some of them I made the mistake of teaching. Some of them were pure when they were mere novices channeling energies for the first time but later became corrupt after gaining the power to kill a person with a mere thought.” Finally, after speaking with a darker tone, Wonik instilled the idea of killing others sank into Nypre and Deren’s minds.
“I’ve raised you two well and I pray, this is me praying, that you two will never have to use magic in such a way. Or any tool for that matter. It’s just like when you two first began your sword training down in the village. Your teacher taught you that you were learning to kill others. This is the same thing. I just hope that you never have to take another person’s life. The guilt is much to live with, even if it is in defense.” Wonik sighed. She knew all too well about taking the lives of others
“Before I say more, I suppose I should actually have you tested. It is important, should you fail the test and not be capable of learning magic that you are not disheartened. There are many heroes that have done plenty of good deeds with just the use of a good weapon and skill. Even today, the greatest threat to a mage is not another mage. Instead it is a strong warrior of the Lumin army. Learning to use a weapon, even with magic, will hopefully provide you with the variety to survive an attack from anyone. I’ve spoken too much. I know you’re eager for the testing. Come now. Just know that no matter what happens I love you both.” Wonik stood up from the table, walking outside once again. Nypre and Deren gave each other one last look as the serious atmosphere slowly faded and the excitement began to return. They were quick to follow their mother out the door.
Before Wonik led the boys away from the house out into the plains she cast a spell, one that the two boys had seen all too often.
“Wonik-Dorei-Dey,” She spoke the incantation calmly and the house faded from sight. It was a security measure. Normally, when she or the boys were there, she kept the house visible in case any wandering mages came looking for her. The house couldn’t be kept visible when they were all away, as she kept a number of precious items, including an artifact that had been entrusted to her care.
As the three of them walked through the open field the ground slowly became very stony. There were patches in the grass that had their growth hindered by the stones. Nypre was starting to fear that they may not be able to find their way back. He mentioned this quietly to Deren who reassured Nypre that they had been walking in the same direction since they left and that everything was going to be okay.
“We’re here,” Wonik said suddenly. The area looked just like any other.
“Why here?” Nypre asked. Wonik turned to them.
“It’s important to have perfect tranquility for the testing. Listen closely, you’ll hear no sounds. The winds are still, a rarity in these parts. I sense no danger. This place is perfect for the ritual, at least for today,” Wonik explained. Nypre turned to Deren who simply shrugged.
“Sit, empty your minds. You must speak to the wind and it must speak to you.” The twins obeyed, closing their eyes and entering a meditative state just like they had practiced.
“Wonik-Dorestori.” Wonik began to chant. She repeated this spell over and over again. The calm wind erupted around Nypre. He tried to open his eyes but they forced shut by the gusts. He couldn’t move at all. It was an uncomfortable feeling as the wind continued to grow stronger. It felt as if he were going to be blown away. Finally, the wind stopped. Nypre opened his eyes. He was floating in the sky. It was just like when Wonik flew him and Deren into town. He looked down, but saw no ground beneath him, making him feel dizzy and nauseous. The wind began to blow once in the distance. He focused on the sounds the wind made and was able to understand a pattern. The pattern of the slowly shaped into words.
“Nypre,” the wind formed a soulless emotionless voice.
“Hello?” he responded unsure.
“You are different Nypre. You will be my greatest asset,” the voice spoke again. It was so cold, so distant.
’Nypre, Nypre wake up!” he heard his mother’s voice. Nypre opened his eyes. He was laying down in the field, both his mother and Deren looking at him. Wonik quickly lifted him and embraced him.
“Don’t scare me like that. What happened?” she asked. Nypre explained to both her and Deren what he saw.
“That’s very strange. Everyone experiences the ritual differently. I’ve never seen anyone enter such a deep trance like that though. I’m just glad you’re okay,” Wonik sighed with relief. Deren also let out a heavy sigh, but his was not out of concern.
“At least one of us passed the test.” he murmured. Nypre looked to him.
“Deren. What happened?” Nypre asked despite already knowing the answer.
“Nothing happened. I closed my eyes like mother said. I meditated deeply like mother said. Nothing but the darkness. No reaction.” Deren spoke as calmly as he could. There was clear anger in his voice.
“Deren,” Wonik said his name with a soothing voice. “There’s more to life than magic.”
“That’s easy for you to say! You’re an elemental guardian! The very embodiment of the winds. I am your son, yet I am nothing in comparison. I’m going back to the house. You two mages have fun.” With that Deren stormed off. Wonik knew better than to try to stop him. She just looked at Nypre who wore a worried look.
“These next few days are going to be very difficult for Deren. It’s up to you to make sure he doesn’t feel despondent. You two have never had jealousy between you before and have always been the equals. Now the scales have tipped. Make sure it doesn’t ruin your relationship,” Wonik told Nypre in a serious voice.
“Let’s go talk to him,” Nypre said. He tried to stand up but stopped in his tracks as his mother spoke once more.
“Don’t worry, he’ll be able to find his way back even with the house shrouded. As for you, the test is far from over. The ritual to see if you’re capable of wind magic may be complete. Before you receive my blessing and gain control over the element you must first channel the most basic of energies.”
“Basic energies?” Nypre had never heard of that term before.
“It’s a secret. We guardians and mages try to keep it hidden from the rest of the world. People who are gifted with magic are capable of using their magical powers even without elemental amplification. The result is pure energy that is taken directly from the mind, body, or soul to perform basic tasks. You are capable of this even now. You just don’t know it yet,” Wonik explained. Nypre tried to be worried about Deren still, but he couldn’t help but be excited about this secret information.
“You must never share knowledge of this as ignorance is the only way guardians control who can use magic and who can’t. If word gets loose, there will be a lot of people running around endangering themselves and others.”
“I won’t tell. So how do I use this magic that already exists within me?” Nypre asked. Wonik shook her head.
“First you must understand the words mages speak to cast our spells. There are three words which indicate the level of the spell. E, indicates a spell of the first level. First level spells draw from your mind, and overusing them may cause headaches and loss of concentration. Dorei indicates a second level spell and draws energy from your body, overusing it will cause sharp pains in your chest and, in extreme cases, may even cause death. Koretops indicates a third level spell which draws energy from your very soul. Overusing Koretops will not cause pain or death, but instead drain away your very morals. Koretops is by far the most dangerous and hardest to master, and yet in battle it is the fiercest of the three.”
“Next are the four words that signify the type of energy you draw from. If you do not use a word beforehand you will draw twice the energy from yourself. These words are easy to remember as they are the names of the guardians. Wonik, of course, is the wind element. Foran is the fire element. Quin is the earth element. And Meni is the water element. You combine your own energies and amplify it through the energies of the world. That, is what magic is.”
Nypre was getting confused. There was a lot more to magic than he thought. Wonik made it look so easy with the way she cast spells. He shuddered to think that every time she cast a third level spell, such as flying herself, Deren, and him to town, it was drawing from her soul.
“Do you understand?” Wonik asked. Nypre nodded slowly. It was a lot to take in, but he was always good at memorizing information like this quickly.
“Good. Then the testing can commence. Attempting to use magic E requires your mind to truly believe you are capable of using E. However, until you use E your mind will not believe you are capable of using E. Understand?” she said this very quickly, as if to add to his confusion.
“Not really,” Nypre whispered still feeling a bit unsure about this.
“It would require months of mental training for you to fully convince your mind. We guardians have found a way around this however. It’s quite simple. Wonik-Dorei-Dey.” Wonik disappeared from sight. Everything was quiet. Nypre looked, but knew it was no use. He recognized the spell as it was the same spell that kept his house hidden when they were gone.
“What am I supposed to do?” He yelled. The only answer was a thundering noise that made his body shiver in nervously. He turned to the location of the noise and immediately saw something which horrified him. It was a gathering of stones from the field, except these stones hovered, connected, and formed a humanoid shape. It was unlike anything Nypre had seen before, and he wished more than ever that he had brought his sword.
“Mom?” Nypre called out for help, but there was no answer. He thought this could be part of the test, set up by her. Yet this was a creature made of rocks, the opposing element of the wind she controlled.
The creature moved closer to Nypre thumping loudly with each step. Nypre was frozen in place as it moved closer to him. Suddenly it held out its arm, and with a quick smack sent Nypre flying backwards into the dirt. He hit the ground flat on his back and coughed for air, barely able to breathe after that blow. If this was part of the test, it would have ended by now. Yet still the rock creature lingered, stumbling towards him slowly. Nypre struggled to stand up. He had to run, there was no way he could fight this thing. He turned away from the creature ready to run, but to his dismay saw several more in the distance. All of them made of the same hard stone which had just slammed into his chest. Loud footsteps came from behind him and he turned around just in time to roll out of the way as the creature smashed overhead with both of its arms.
Nypre was on the ground again, in even more pain after that maneuver. That blow would have killed him had he not reacted. This couldn’t be part of the test. He knew he had no choice. He had to try the spell. He held up his hands aimed at the stony monster, unsure what to do as the creature approached once more.
“E!” he yelled looking away with his eyes closed. Still he heard the familiar thumping. He turned back and looked. It was close now.
“E!” he yelled once more. If the creature had been capable of laughing, it would have. The creature held up its arm and shot it forward. If he didn’t take action it would slam directly into Nypre’s head ending his life.
“E!” he shouted, tears of desperation forming in his eyes. He could feel something, a strange tingling slid from his head down his shoulders and through his arms. He saw nothing, but could feel the energy extending outwards from his hands, hitting the stony creation in the chest, pushing it backwards and interrupting its attack. The monster seemed uninjured, simply staggered by the attack. Nypre didn’t care. He had felt this feeling before when he sparred with his sword. The last of his tears fell from his face as he took a more definitive stance. This was the feeling that he could win the fight.
“E!” he repeated, not bothering to shout this time. Just like before his energy shot forward, this time forming a dim green light. It blasted the beast in the shoulder knocking it off balance.
“E!” he said once again, hitting it in the same spot and pushing it backwards. With the loudest thump yet it fell to the ground and the rocks rolled away from each other, no longer bound by whatever energy that had held it together. He turned to defend himself from the other stony creatures, remembering what his mother had said about overusing E. His head felt fine at the moment, but he couldn’t fight forever. As if hearing his concerns, the creatures fell apart by themselves. He turned around and saw his mother standing there. She hugged him, holding him tightly, which sent a sharp pain to his chest where he had been hit.
“I’m sorry you’re in pain. It’s part of the test. I don’t normally hug my students but I just can’t help myself,” Wonik cried out. She stopped hugging him and stepped back, regaining her serious, more professional stature.
“You have passed. The quickest way to learn E, the most basic magic, is for your mind to be convinced that you are capable of it. The problem is the mind is very stubborn. Only when brought to the brink of death will the mind, out of sheer desperation, believe that you have the power. Once you cast your spell once, your mind will then see that you truly do have the ability, and all energies shall be open to you. Good job! Don’t worry me like that next time!” Wonik finally explained herself.
“I don’t really understand that. So you were in control of those things? That didn’t look like wind magic. How did you do that? You wouldn’t have let me die, would you?” Nypre asked a bunch of questions at once. Wonik let out a heavy sigh.
“A guardian must keep her secrets. Now, it is time I blessed you. You will become a wind mage on this day, Nypre.” Nypre could feel his excitement building with these words. Wonik placed her hand on Nypre’s head
“I will now speak the magic word only we guardians use. Dorestori, the fourth level spell used only to test and pass our magic on to others. Wonik-Dorestori.”
Nypre could feel power entering him through his head. It was a strange feeling. The wind circled around him in a large gust. The energy flowing through Nypre was unlike anything he had ever felt. He could feel the wind around him. He saw the wind, the air. It was as if he had been blind, but now could see. The world looked completely different now and yet it was so obvious he wondered how he hadn’t seen it before. Wonik withdrew her hand from his head.
The first few minutes can be overwhelming. You can now sense the wind as I do, and manipulate it as you wish,” Wonik explained.
“No. It all makes sense now.” Nypre didn’t feel overwhelmed. For the first time he felt like there wasn’t something missing. “Wonik-E,” he said. He controlled the wind, creating a small localized breeze.
“That’s very good Nypre. You’re picking it up quickly. Most people are overwhelmed. You seem to have a knack for this!” Wonik was a bit excited herself. “Your testing is complete, but your training is far from over. The wind element is split into two sub elements: Air and lightning. Lightning requires creation, while air is always there. We’ll talk more about that later though. For now, you’re still hurt from the test and I’m worried about Deren. Let us return home.”
Nypre didn’t argue. He had learned enough for today and was still worried about Deren. The entire tip back he was fascinated by his new sight. He could see the wind move before he felt it. Wonik couldn’t help but smile at Nypre’s fascination. It’s always fun to see someone enjoy something you’ve taken for granted.
They made it back to the house and with a quick wave of Wonik’s hand it became visible once again. They walked inside.
“Deren?” Wonik called. There was no answer at first. After a moment the sound of movement was heard in Deren’s room and Deren emerged through the doorway.
“Welcome back,” Deren grunted. It was clear to see he had calmed down a bit. Yet this was something he wasn’t going to get over.
“Nypre, go to your room. I’d like to talk with Deren alone,” Wonik told Nypre. Nypre entered his room and closed his door immediately. He was exhausted and still in pain from being tossed around. He wanted nothing more but to collapse onto his bed and fall into a deep well deserved sleep. But his curiosity got the better of him. He sat down with his back against his door and pressed his ear against it.
“I know you wanted to learn magic. Tell me the truth. Why did you want to learn magic so much?” Wonik asked.
“I wanted to learn magic because I want to see the world. Mages get to travel everywhere as part of their training. I don’t get along with the people in town here, you know that. Nypre doesn’t either. We’re both outcasts because, well, we don’t exactly live in the town.” Deren explained. He wasn’t lying. Besides each other, Nypre and Deren had no friends. The only other person they talked to regularly was their sword trainer.
“That’s all? Deren, you can still go explore the world. You don’t need to have magic as an excuse. The time will come in Nypre’s life when it is his time to leave, you can leave with him.”
“What’s the point? So I can see him become stronger as I remain the same?”
“Magic is not what gives people true strength. It comes from the heart. Heroes are not heroes because of the power they possess, but because of the reason they fight. And finally, in this world we live in, nobody should travel alone. I want you to go with your brother. And I want you to focus more seriously on your sword training. I am certain there will come a time in Nypre’s travel where he encounters a problem that cannot be solved with magic. This is why I want you to join him, to save him should this problem present itself in the form of a foe.” It was quiet after Wonik said this. She continued speaking after the pause.
“Like I said before the test began. The greatest threat to a mage is a warrior of the Lumin army. It is their belief that all mages should be killed, and the world will be better for it. No matter where Nypre travels he will have to face these ideals. It would be better if he wasn’t alone. Please travel with him. And remember that it will not just be him who grows into a skilled mage, but also you who will grow into a skilled warrior. I guarantee it. Now come here.”
Nypre knew the conversation was over. He felt guilty listening in on the conversation. He was glad Deren seemed okay now, and what his mother said was true. He didn’t want to be apart from Deren when the day came for him to leave.