-Save us? We all know how this will end. Fridr wants us either as slaves or dead. There is no salvation for us.
They all knew very well what was going on in the castle. King Fridr wanted the mages to serve kings around the world. He wanted magic to became a tool for royalty. However they thought this to be nothing more than a guise, everyone knew that King Fridr set his eyes on the most talented mages of Midgard and wanted them for himself. The magic users would naturally be rewarded with the riches of the Fridr kingdom, but for the free spirited mages this could by no means be ample compensation. There was only one small problem, rejecting King Fridr was not an option. Jemmir, the leader of the mages was trying to convince the king that this was not the best idea, but none of them really thought that to be possible.
Finally after a long wait they spotted Jemmir at the southern gates of the city. None of them moved, there was a very good reason for them to be waiting outside of the walls at such a great distance. Rumor had it that King Fridr has a wicked power that allows him to force his will upon others. While it was impossible to confirm whether this rumor was true or not, it was better to be safe than sorry. The mages kept a good distance from the city and it’s ruler.
Jemmir walked towards them. When he arrived none of them spoke, tho all of them wanted to know what happened. As everyone was silent Jemmir spoke first:
-I have come to an agreement with King Fridr. Surprisingly his desire was somewhat different than what we first thought.
-What does he want? – Harmah asked.
-He wants to regulate magic. As it turns out the nine of us are not the only people in Midgard who know the arcane arts. He wants to set up a council in Straumrheim with representatives in every other major country. He asked all of us to cooperate, but no one will be forced to comply.
-That’s great news, let’s get out of here as soon as we can! – Said Prah.
-If you wish, you can leave, but I’m staying. – Answered Jemmir.
This statement was most shocking for all eight of them. Before Jemmir was against everything that King Fridr asked. He was the greatest advocate of the personal freedom each and every one of them believed in, and now here he was, wanting to work with King Fridr. Under his rule.
-It’s all right if you do not wish to help us, but please don’t hinder our plans. This is the best both for us magicians and for others as well. – Said Jemmir.
-How can you say that? He must be manipulating you! – Shouted Harmah with rage that was really unusual for him.
-I can assure you he isn’t. I just believe, that this will be the best for everyone. I’ve already arranged everything, the headquarters in this country will be in Oakenwood.
-What? How could you, that is OUR home!
-That is MY home Harmah and from now on it will be used by the council of magic.
-You’re mad Jemmir! How could you do that to us?
-If you do not wish to help me please leave silently and don’t cause any trouble.
That sentence said by Jemmir was the last straw for Harmah. He was enraged. He felt betrayed. What’s worse all of this was caused by Jemmir, the person he had great trust in, the person who he called leader just a few hours ago. He couldn’t hold back his anger. His eyes started to faintly glow red. This was his trademark sign of fire magic. Out of nowhere three faintly glowing orbs appeared behind Harmah, one at each shoulder and one above his head. At this moment everyone except for Jemmir backed away as fast as they could, they all knew, things turned out far worse than they expected. Harmah and Jemmir, the two strongest mages, were about to fight each other.
-Please don’t do this Harmah.
That was the last sentence Jemmir spoke before fire rained down upon him bursting out of the orbs of Harmah. Jemmir was prepared for this, but he was not pleased. The very soil below his feet started to waver and wrapped around him, as if it was alive, shielding him from the fiery death Harma prepared for him. With this move Jemmir protected himself, but this was not enough. He lifted his left palm and as he did so the ground started to flutter even more as if it was liquid. Columns of steam rose from it, Jemmir was draining water from the ground to fight Harmah’s fire.
Harmah knew what was coming, and he did not intend to wait for it to happen. He knew very well that Jemmir was stronger, so he decided to finish this fight by pouring all his might into his next spell. As he collected all his power, the light in his eyes got brighter and brighter and the orbs behind him spread out and started vibrating. He released his spell with utmost precision, and covered the entire land around them in a sea of flames. The heat was so intense, that not even Jemmir could continue to drain water from the ground. What’s more, this fire was no ordinary fire. It moved, whirling around Jemmir. The fire wanted to consume him, to burn up every last bit of his flesh.
The situation was dire for Jemmir, he did not expect Harmah to be able to conjure such a malevolent and violent spell. Even if he were to defend against this with a shield of earth he would still die because of the heat. There was only one way out of this grim parade of dancing flames. Up. Using his right hand Jemmir formed a new spell and a pillar of earth elevated him far above ground level. For the moment he was safe, but as soon as the pillar rose from the ground, the flames started sliding up on it, as if they were serpents hunting down their prey. Jemmir couldn’t outrun the fire for long. He had to extinguish it or he had no chance of victory. For a brief moment he accumulated his power then with a few quick hand movements he released a new spell. The pillar he was standing on crumbled, only a small disk was left under his feet floating in the air. As the pillar collapsed an enormous cloud of dust rose, but the dust was neither blown away nor did it settle on its own. The dust was Jemmirs way of fighting the fire. All he had to do was stifling the flames, and he knew that flames could not burn without air.
The fire and dust swirled for a while as if they were dancing a ravaging duette. This blazing carnival continued for a few minutes, but soon the scene got darker and darker, the fire was slowly being choked. It took quite a while till there were no more flames, but the end was inevitable. Jemmir was victorious.
-End of the line Harmah, don’t pursue destruction any more.
-End of the line? That is all you have to say to someone who looked up to you for decades? For someone who was your friend?
-Please Harmah, just leave, and don’t ever return.
These words surprised Harmah, he was sure, his demise was inevitable. After a moment he grasped the situation and immediately acted accordingly.
-Fine. I’ll leave.
Jemmir was relieved by these words, but he did not foresee the way Harmah was about to leave. Harmah turned away, but continued speaking as loud as he could, making sure that the others heard him.
-I’ll leave today, but one day I will be back! I will set everything right! Those who think that King Fridr can not be trusted follow me, I’ll guide you on the right path!
Having said this, he turned his back on Jemmir. He knew that not all would follow him, but for now, leaving alive was more important than persuading the indecisive ones. Harmah left, four followed him.
-You should also leave, and unlike Harmah you should live a peaceful life. – Said Jemmir to the ones who still remained.
On his words, as if they were commands everybody left, except for Prah.
-Why did you do this Jemmir? – Prah asked in a sorrowful tone.
-The world will change Prah. We now have a choice. We either cling to our beloved freedom now and forsake the future of all, or start building something that might end up granting our descendant a liveable tomorrow.
-What will happen… What will happen to us?
-To us? Nothing. There won’t be change anytime soon, not in our lifetime, not even in the lifetime of our grandchildren, but change will come eventually. And without a doubt, we have to be prepared.
-I don’t understand you.
-That’s all right. Please go on and live a happy life.
Prah was confused. She didn’t know what to do, but she was certain of one thing. After the events of this day, she feared King Fridr more than ever. The king she never met, just in one day’s time turned friends who knew each other for decades into enemies… Prah knew what she wanted, but the fear was too much.
-I…- She stopped, she couldn’t continue yet.
-I am going to go after Harmah. – She finally said.
-That is not a wise decision Prah, but if you think that is the right thing to do, than do so. Live without regrets. Good bye.
Having said that Jemmir turned around and went back to Minas Fril. Prah stood there, alone. The sun has already set. Prah was still afraid, but she knew what she had to do…