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TS18: Introductions 3

The question hung in the air. Chris sat back down and offered no explanation. Hypatia looked around the circle, and it was clear none of the students had heard hobbled in that context before. She started to explain, “Hobbling is a terrible practice. It was used by early Venator to enslave other mages.”

“The process is long and from what little I know, quite painful.” She took a breath, and wrapped her wings tight to her body. “You’ve been told there are five senses, but there are only four that mages recognize: Sight, associated with Air. Touch, associated with Earth. Hearing, associated with Water. And Smell, which includes taste and is associated with Fire. You can use any of those four to direct your magic.”

“Hobbling blinds three of those four senses. Not completely, just with regards to magic. Normally only touch is left open. This creates a mage who cannot use magic at range, which makes them easier to keep caged.” She paused, and let her words sink in.

“It is no longer practiced in civilized areas, even as punishment. This is because a small number of those who are hobbled display a powerful side effect. With their magic turned inward, these mages become very resistant to magic. Artificial nulls.”

Jove shifted uncomfortably at Hypatia’s words. “Were they revokers?” It took Jove a moment to realize he had spoke his concern out loud.

Hypatia nodded, “That is one possible origin of the revoker legends, yes.”

Aden raised his hand, “Why would Venator need to keep other mages?”

“I’m not sure it’s appropriate for your first day.” Hypathia reasoned, “I can’t really give it a proper context in the half-hour we have left, how about we make that your first reading. I’ll give the assignment out when class is over.”

Duane spoke up, “Duane- I want to hear this. It’s the history of this world, isn’t it? The real history, not what we’ve been told.”

“I couldn’t do more than give highlights.” Her powerful gryphon frame seemed to pull inward, “It’s not a very nice history. I don’t want you to think that this is all that mages are.”

Elsa said, “Please, I don’t want to feel it’s a secret.”

Hypatia sighed and nodded. She began, “You’ve been told that two thousand years ago, something occurred to our world and all the races became sentient. That’s not how it happened at all. It was closer to five thousand years ago, and all the races did not become aware at the same time.”

Her wings shivered as she talked, betraying how she felt about the past. “Predators were the first to become aware. Starting with the most aggressive, they started to use basic tools and technology in your world. We’re not sure how long it took, but they were also the first to use magic. Venator, hunters, carved out city-states with the most powerful in control. This lasted a long time, and since prey had not yet become sentient, all of them consumed prey for food.”

She slumped slightly, pulling her wings tightly to her body as she continued. “At some point, prey started to be aware. Most Venator refused to believe that was possible, and they ignored the signs. However, others could not ignore the knowing eyes of the prey and sought other food sources. Such knowledge was suppressed, and sentient prey were kept as slaves. This is when hobbling became popular, as a method to silence Venator who objected. Yet, some Venator became a resistance, keeping prey safe.”

“It wasn’t widespread until two thousand years ago, when Praeda first appeared.” Hypatia paused, and Jove wondered why that would make such a difference. Hypatia continued, “You see, magic was and still is only usable by sentient beings. Only a self-aware mind can use magic. When prey started using magic, there was no longer any doubt. The war that followed was brutal. Many Venator sided with the Praeda. Those that did not were the first Vorax. That first mage war ended in the exile of all Vorax to the magic realm, Atlantis. Where we are now.”

Most of the students were listening closely. Aden seemed the most shaken, but he asked, “How did we come to be here?”

Hypatia thought for a moment. Slowly she explained, “Peace lasted a short time, with the vorax in this world, and the new order of Venator and Praeda came to terms with what happened. The Animus Council was formed, and in many ways a new age of knowledge occurred. Yet, the worlds are not separate, and skirmishes happened when one side crossed over. That lasted until about a thousand years ago, when something happened the Vorax could not let exist.”

She took a breath, and paused. “Even some of the Venator were unnerved by it. The first predator Praeda burst. This was such an affront to what the Vorax believed that war became inevitable. Suffice to say, it lasted several hundred years and resulted in the Vorax being almost completely wiped out.”

Everyone was quiet at that, and Hypatia let things settle. She said, “I’m sorry this is a lot darker than I wanted it to be. Even in your history, these were the dark ages. When the war was over, it was decided that the two worlds must be separate, so that non-mages could live without fear of what we might do. The Oath of Habitat was signed, and a shortened version was left in your world. All records of mages as truth were removed, and we faded into legend.”

Mark interrupted, “Yeah, yeah. So, you came here to hide, and left the otherworld to have it’s own wars. Why do you find us then? Out of guilt?”

Hypatia winced. “No. The university was founded to find those who knew about magic, and prevent them from being lost. After the inquisition and witch hunts, we felt we had no choice. We did it to help you.”

Paula snarled at Mark, “Can’t you show the teacher some respect? She wasn’t there.”

Mark looked at the larger wolverine, and nodded, “I’m sorry, I just thought that maybe if we had worked together wars could have been avoided.”

Paula went to say something else, but Hypatia held her hand up. Hypatia said, “Mark has a point. These were difficult choices, and it’s hard to know if they were the best ones that could have been made. In the past five hundred years, both worlds have gotten stronger. Surely that’s a good thing.”

Mark grumbled, “I suppose. I’ll decide when I find out more.”

Hypatia nodded, “Unfortunately, we’ve gone over on time. I’ll send everyone the reading for next time, I’ll keep it short for now.”

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