The Real History of Our World
The Dwarf, Arven once again is sitting at a wooden table, large mug in hand, and on the table sits some of her wares. You’ve begun to think of it as her table. Today, you see a thick journal displayed prominently, with a few different styles surrounding the larger copy.
“What’s with the journals?” you ask, eyeing one with some sort of runic image on the front.
“That, my friend, is how we remember our stories,” she says.
“And I suppose this is where you tell me about the lost magic again,” you say a bit more sarcastically than you mean to.
She frowns, catching your tone. “Not lost, STOLEN,” she says, crossing her arms and looking away.
You feel a little bad and decide to humor her. “Okay then, who stole the magic.”
She huffs and turns away.
“Oh, come on, Arven, you’ve been dying to tell me this story since I met you.”
You see Arven can’t resist. She stoops to dig in her pack. She starts stacking journal after journal onto the table and you notice they are exactly like the journals she is selling, though worn from years of use. After a few minutes, and more than a few journals being pulled out of her pack she finds what she is looking for – A journal that is clearly the oldest of the set, with a tattered cover and folded pages. She clears her throat, drawing your attention back to her tale.
“As I have said, our world once contained great magic, because of this we had a great and wonderful creations and, of course, many who would choose to abuse the power in our world”. She starts thumbing through the journal, a wistful look in her eyes, and softly closes the journal. “My Aunt Arven left us this journal. She was a warrior in the Great Lich Wars, and an avid writer as well. She is largely responsible for the knowledge my clan had about the wars. Why don’t you take this for a while, I could tell you the tale but… well Aunt Arven says it much better than I.”
“Arven, I can’t take your Aunt’s journal. I wou-,” you start, but she cuts you off.
“I am still toddling around this earth to share this story. To find worthy adventurers like you who can continue the search. Now go, learn what you can from my dear Aunt.”
You gently take the journal, nodding in thanks and reverence, and find a well-lit booth near the bar, the smell of old books mixes with the smell of the bar, and you start to read. Eventually, you come to the last page.
I’m tired. And I miss my family. My sister, my dear niece. How I long to see them again. It’s been so long since this war started, I doubt some even remember what we are fighting for anymore, but I can feel it – my spells are getting weaker, even with the best components. I suppose I should write the story, for posterity’s sake, lest my clan forget what we are fighting for.
The lich king, Theros Darkwing, cast a curse on our world, locking away all magic in a hidden pocket of time and space that only he could access- dooming us to this cursed life without magic. Our armies have fought for decades against his armies while our other forces have searched for where he locked the magic away. But with our magic fading, success is less and less likely each day.
Magical creatures are disappearing. The fighters don’t see what’s happening but we that know magic, we can feel it. Any that can leave this plane are doing so, it is an exodus and it breaks my heart.
But there is hope. Today the king’s own love, Duke Erron Minzkuft came to our camp under the cover of darkness, armed with nothing but a white flag. I escorted him in to see the general, wary of some deception. But never have I seen a man who walked with so much weight on his shoulders. I could almost see his bones breaking with the burden of what he was doing.
And why would he do it? Why betray the king? He has the king’s love. He has the world at his feet, yet he gave it all up. Perhaps the idea of a world without magic was more than he could bear. I had always judged this man harshly for aligning himself with such evil, but I’ve seen a man broken before – many, after all these years fighting. The look in his eyes… the betrayal of a Love is the bitterest of all.
He told us the resting place of the King’s soul locked in its phylactery. We now have the means to kill the lich, but should we? Only he knows where the magic is hidden. I’ve counseled the general to wait until we have the magic back, but he’s not a magic-user, and he’s eager to end the war. He assures me the king would have hidden the magic with his soul, but I have my doubts. And I’m afraid if we kill the king we may never find it.
Tomorrow we storm the walls of the king’s keep. The tomb where the Lich King has hidden his soul is close, we have a large force, but I can’t shake this feeling in my bones that this is wrong. Ah, but these old bones have always been a tad superstitious.
I should rest now. Tomorrow there will be an end. One way or another. May the gods grant us victory.
You close the journal, a hollow feeling in your chest. You look up, the candles around the tavern have burned low. You see Arven nodding off at her table, a book in her lap.
As you quietly walk over and place the journal down on the table, she stirs. Looking up at you with a serious look on her tired face.
“Where’s the rest,” you ask, hoping that wasn’t the end.
Arven spreads her hands and looks around. “You know the rest. Magic slowly but surely sapped from the land – and as time marched its steady pace, hope of finding it faded. Centuries passed and histories became nothing more than fairy tales. The elder generations who fought to preserve the memory passed on. Some children and grandchildren tried to remember – to believe – but the heartbreak of what they had lost drove many to want to forget. Well, can you blame them?”
“And Aunt Arven?” you ask.
Arven shakes her head, letting the gesture answer your question. ”I dare say the only thing worse than living in a world without magic is living in a world that lost it. Of remembering what it felt like to cast a spell, or the awe and fear struck into your heart as a Wyvern sailed over your head.
Humans, the least magically attuned of the species moved on. Humankind covered up its wound, the gaping hole left by magic, with technology and advancement – and you have come far in our own right to be sure. But humanity, and the world herself, is like an amputee missing a limb they never knew they had – a sense of loss for something they cannot place.”
You let out a long sigh, staring down at the journals as you process all your feeling, “Arven,” you start, but words can’t seem to encapsulate all the thoughts swirling around your head. Magic is real. Arven’s story is real. It’s all too much. And you have to do something about it.