The basement room was dark as the robed man entered it on slippered feet. The soft blue light from an enchanted lantern floating behind him glowed brightly but could not fully dissipate the gloom. Moving fully into the rectangular room the man felt a moment's panic as his mind reeled back to his own training.
Lost in the revery, the shadows seemed to grow longer. Whispers from the depth of the darkness, unheard for years, seemed to grow in his mind. The soft whispers built and compounded until they were an unintelligible cacophonous roar. Clutching at a jade sigil at his waist his voice began to come from deep in his chest. Like a wolf he growled into the shadows, "I will not teach as I was taught." His voice growing with authority and quickly rising to a shout be bellowed into the darkness "I am not like them and I never shall be!"
As the sound reverberated off the walls, the power of his own voice in his ears seemed to banish the darkness. The spell, if spell it was, seemed to snap and the man suddenly found himself again in empty room. Frantically searching in vein for the source of voices, all he found was the light of his lantern playing blue shadows across the cut stone walls.
Startled by his loss of control, his fingers sought the prayer beads on his left wrist. The robed man began breathing in time with a litany to the light, learned long ago, to quiet his mind. Such a thing had not happened in so long that it was some time before he felt his control returning. Feeling his control return did not alleviate the disquiet in his mind.
Moving deeper into the room he questioned his motivations, whether it was even wise to even come here at all. Distracted with though he voiced aloud, "Of all the things I never thought to do...." Taking a deep breath he turned a circle inspecting the chamber that would be his classroom.
Massive pillars and vaults supporting the weight of the building above obstructed an otherwise open floor. Pacing to the far wall opposite the door, he began scrawling complicated sigil in various colors of mundane chalk, long familiarity guiding his hand. The silver knife gleamed like blue fire as he pulled it from his belt. With a sigh and a moment's pain, the blood in his palm provided the final ingredient. With a roar he slammed his palm against the sigil which suddenly burst to light in eery green flame. Taking a step back, panting with the effort the man looked around the room and mutters. "Once more into the breach dear friends." Finished with the first sigil he continued at regular intervals down one side of the room, then the other periodically inscribing smaller but no less complicated sigils in between. The sigils igniting now purple, now deep blue, now green as he worked his way around the room charging each as they were finished.
Finally satisfied with the work he returned to the only door to the chamber. Pulling a red bag the color of wet demon skin from within his robes, he poured the brick dust within, in a line across the threshold. Satisfied he returned the bag to its hidden resting place. Taking in turn to hand a black bag that seemed to absorb all the light around it, the warlock carefully overlaid the first red line with a powdery white one. Flexing his left hand to bring the blood up, he overlaid both lines with droplets of blood. Muttering as he did so the line seemed to sink into the floor, black filigrees replacing simple lines as the sigil charged. Content he returned the bag to his robe and, taking a well worn prayer book from his satchel, opened it to the marked page and laid it on the floor in the center of the threshold on the inside of the blended line.
The warlock's jade sigils seemed to grow heavy as he stood again. The lanterns blue hued light was joined by the slightest glint of fel green from the man's eyes as he pondered. After a few minutes surveying the room deep in thought, he seemed to reach a decision. "This will not be enough," he muttered to himself.
Turning to face the center of the room he walked under the larger central vault. Taking again, the black leather sack from within his robes he poured the salt within on the floor making a circle that touched each of the four pillars and leaving droplets of blood on each. He placed long sticks of pungent slow burning incense in the crevices of each pillar and lighting them in turn by mundane means.
Finally seating himself in the middle of the circle, whisks of smoke filling the air, he extinguished and dismissed the lantern. The room was suddenly plunged into darkness save for the burning points of the incense which seemed to float like ethereal fire flies in the pitch dark. Taking in a final deep breath he assumed the old ritual pose, the faintest glint of fel light growing slowly in his eyes framed by the three fel crystals which had manifested over his head but which provided no light of their own. In a tone between resolution and resignation the sound of the warlock's voice again echoed through the inky murk of the chamber, "so it begins.."
The house in the Damp Wick ward was dark as the man approached it. Despite the never ending flow of trade into the city, no sign of Broalus' wealth was on display here. That suited him, fewer questions. As he passed the soup kitchen for the third time during this reconnaissance of the house he wondered if he wasn't being a fool taking such precautions. The man wondered if the recent battle had taxed him more than he realized. Perhaps that was why he was being so cautious. That and whichever new cut-purses hadn't learned that a robe covered in jade sigils was not a prime score.
Despite the internal debate, Tybaltus Grimm had spent too many years keeping secrets to break his security habit. Despite the armistice with the horde, he had no doubt that an assassins blade might still wait around any corner. Satisfied that the house appeared as he had left it, he walked along the narrow parapet that led to the front door. He was still shocked that he had managed to buy the place for so cheap when the only structural problem was the lack of front steps. Though, he smirked to himself, the gangs, the violence, and the destitute do have a way of driving real estate prices down. Finally on his own front step he began inspecting his wards. Seeing them in tact, he muttered a few low words and with the snick of a key and the turn of the lock he was in. Breathing in the damp sea air, he smiled and with a wave of his hand lit the rooms candles in one go, their flames flashing momentarily green before softening to a cozy yellow orange. With a sigh he began to climb the stairs to his library.
The old room was wall to wall bookshelves with a few standing lecterns and a pair of leather club chairs near a circular table in the center of the room next to a large floor globe. Walking to the globe, he pulled a catch revealing a liquor cabinet within. Taking a crystal highball glass he poured himself a double of one of his favorite peaty whiskeys and walked over to the middle of one of the bookcases. Without thinking the man found the hidden button and pressed it. A portion of the bookcase swung outward and he stepped through.
Passing through the bookcase, he stepped into a room bathed in eerie light from the four sconces, two burning green, two burning blue. Like the larger library outside, this room too was filled with shelves packed with books, and various scrolls and manuscripts, but unlike the outer library this room had the air of a laboratory about it. Stepping to a wall with a scroll rack he quickly searched until he found his quarry. Laying hands to a green scroll case he pulled if from the rack and, cracking the black seal on the lid, opened it, carefully withdrew an ancient scroll and gingerly laid it out on the table. Despite it's age the skin it was written on was still supple enough for him to roll it flat. He weighted the corners down with a skull, an ink pot and a few other pieces of detritus from the table before moving on to a different shelf.
Scanning the volumes, his eyes fell on a black covered book. Pulling it from the shelf he couldn't stop an involuntary shudder as, despite feeling bone dry, the cover looked to be slick with some unnatural sheen. Mastering himself he carried the book to the table and set it beside the scroll. Pausing to light his pipe and collect his thoughts, he seemed to come to a decision and walked over to a plinth where a large bronze disk rested. Taking the disc from the plinth he examined the complicated curves and movable bits attached to it. With a sigh he sat the disk in the middle of the table.
Walking over to an old bronze brazier in the shape of a dragon, he pulls a few sticks of incense from a nearby box and sticks them in the built up ash before lighting them. As the exotic fragrance mingles with that of his pipe smoke he returns to the table and mutters. "To work then."
The weak light from the cloudy sky outside did it's best to light the large library casting the book lined room in pale gray light. With his back to the large floor to ceiling window, curtains pulled back, Tybaltus Grimm barely noticed the imp lighting the candles in the room. A pile of discarded parchment lay at his feet, the rejected attempts at the letter he was trying to pen. Tossing his most recent attempt to the floor he muttered, "...no, no, no......not right......." before reaching for a fresh parchment.
The warlock set his quill on the writing stand and turned to look out of the window at the district below. Gazing out his mind elsewhere he seemed not to notice the seedy and poverty stricken goings on of the Damp Wick Ward below. With a deep breath he turned back to his desk, took a sip of black tea, and began to write again.
I have had the opportunity to speak with Professor Steele and have received his permission to submit this formal proposal of curricula for your review. I would be happy to defend any of the methods and practices contained within this document before the Administration and any board of peer review. I would ask though that this document remain sealed and any involved in its approval be asked to maintain digression as it will reveal the method of the madness, as it were, and undermine the goals of preparing the students for the challenges they would face. Hoping this letter finds you well,
Yours in Service,
The man lets out a deep breath reading the letter again nodding as he signed his name to the bottom. Taking a stick of Kul Tiran green wax he folded the letter and dripped a dollop of hot wax on the back before impressing it with his signet ring. Watching the impressed seal of the 4th Battalion 23rd Kul Tiran Marines cool, he let out a sigh and turned to a larger folio beside the letter. In the harsh demon language he called out, "Scribe, see that these are delivered to the Headmistress at once. And don't make a big fuss. She may be understanding but others will not. Usual digression is in order." The demon bows, takes the letter and the folio and vanishes with a pop.
For the eyes of the Headmistress,
Professor C.X. Steele,
and approved designees only!
Curricula proposal for Introduction to Chaos Theory IFA101-01
This course is designed to achieve multiple goals in keeping with the University's goals in the teaching of the Ineffable Arts. The first objective of this course is to weed out the foolish, the thrill seekers, the naive, and those better suited to other vocations while simultaneously providing them with skill that can be easily transferred to other courses of study with no lasting negative impact on the student. The second objective is to prepare the would be warlock for the physical, mental, and spiritual rigors they will face should they continue within the department before their first encounter with the usage of fel magic. The demanding course will have the double effect of allowing those who wish to withdraw the opportunity to do so while they still can, and for those who would proceed, laying a foundation of best practices to enable them to face the rigors of future course work.
1. Provide students the opportunity to withdraw from Ineffable Arts course work without the lasting effects of direct exposure to, and handling of, fel magic.
2. To provide students with an insight into the difficulties of further Ineffable Arts course work.
3. To provide students with skills that will be useful across many disciplines should they wish not to continue, but which will have specific value for those wishing to continue in the Ineffable Arts.
4. To provide the University the opportunity to observe students in order to ensure that they will succeed within the Ineffable Arts department, should they wish to continue.
All students wishing to enroll in IFA101-01 will be required to have satisfactorily completed all the introductory course work from the Arcane Arts departments. Students cannot expect to succeed without a basic understanding of magical theory, spell casting, wards, sigils, defensive magic, etc. Mastery of these basic skills will be tested very early in the course and are necessary for a student to progress.
This course is also physically demanding and will require a satisfactory health screening report from the Campus Medical Staff.
Though not required, students may also wish to acquire whatever approval or blessings they deem appropriate from a representative of their religious tradition.
Students will require a set of robes or other garments appropriate for classroom work and garments appropriate for rigorous physical activity. All other course material will be provided by the instructor.
Having been formally trained in the Ineffable Arts, there are certain unavoidable factors to consider in the education of young warlocks. First and for most is that many will seek to study the Ineffable Arts who may be better suited to study elsewhere. As such there will be a heavy emphasis on developing physical and mental toughness through rigorous physical activity interspersed with academic challenges and vice versa. The goal being to develop the student's ability to think clearly under different kinds of stress and to hone their ability to maintain control of themselves in the process. A secondary effect of this method is to counteract the historical tendency for warlocks to eschew their peers. By successfully completing this demanding and difficult course of instruction, it will create a common bond of shared hardship and experience amongst those students wishing to continue and hopefully build camaraderie amongst the next generation of warlocks.
This course will require the use of the Ineffable Arts classroom which has already been prepared by the instructor. Further it may require access to the physical training yard. Given the nature of this course, other members of staff are welcome to assist, but only with the permission of, and under the direct supervision and guidance of, the course's primary instructor. It may also become necessary for the class to take field trips, these will not require much, if any, University funding.
Successful completion of this course and permission to continue within Ineffable Arts will be up to the sole digression of the Head of the Ineffable Arts Department, the Primary Instructor, and their designees. Given the unique nature of this course, it is possible that a student may successfully complete this course, but be disallowed to continue within the Ineffable Arts Department. Further, this course will be exceptionally demanding and taxing on the student and will daily be a pass/fail exercise with the student being free to withdraw or the instructor free to dismiss. With all these factors in consideration, I propose that any student who remains in the course through the mid term exam period be granted 2 hours of course credit and any who see the course to a full term be granted 4 hours course credit.
The teaching of the Ineffable Arts is a dangerous but necessary proposition whose history is full of darkness. It is the goal of this course, in keeping with the University's policies, to make this process as safe for students and as ethical as possible. With these considerations in mind, it must be made clear to the students and faculty that there are certain aspects of this course material that will be unsavory to some. The unfortunate reality is that there are certain unavoidable and irrevocable factors that must be dealt with when teaching the Ineffable Arts. We do the students a disservice if we do not adequately prepare them for such things ergo the difficultly of the course.
Professor Grimm can be reached to address questions or concerns regarding this material