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First Craft

Eyiel and Ardarrion both were walking through a forest, each wearing large cloaks to hide their identity.

It was the first day of the weekend, now the middle of the day. He had caught her in the morning, during communal breakfast, on a rare occasion that he decided to eat with the students instead of in his office. That action alone was enough for her to know that something was up, and afterwards she went to his office. Sure enough, he indicated that they had to depart immediately, and they headed  out.

"Remember," he said to her, after not having said anything so far on their journey. "I am the one that is using the device, you are merely a magic apprentice." He thought for a moment, then added with a chuckle, "and there's no reason to hide that you are my wife outside of our town."

She nodded in confirmation. "But," she said in reply, a little confused at the statement. "If this is a meeting of the Order, wouldn't they be trying to keep the secret?"

"It's not a meeting of the Order itself," he replied, chuckling. "It's a guild meeting of magic instructors. We use it as a front, only two or three others will be members. Meeting all together in one place would be suicide."

"So," she replied, drawing it out. How exactly would I be of use, then?

 "The fact that my presence as a member of the Order was requested, though, means something major is going to happen. Either something major is wrong in the guild, or it's another trap and the person's going to go after another member of the Order.

"Either way," his voice went somber, and he looked ahead. "Thats why it needs to be kept a secret. I don't want them to remove your ability to use the power as well."

She nodded, and for a little while they didn't speak any more. Another trap, she pondered as she was now left to her own thoughts. Then again, if not for that trap, we wouldn't be traveling together like this now. Husband and wife. She smiled as she pondered that thought some.

"By the way," he said, as they walked out of the trees into a small clearing with a dirt road, and turned to follow it. "I like your new outfit, it looks nice."

She smiled, then laughed. She had to change her style to hide the Messerweiß, now wearing dresses with long sleeves and high collars, and padded shoulders to hide all signs of the device. It was a wardrobe somewhat above her social status normally, but around her school fashion was often dictated by irony, and such social deviance in clothing was commonplace.

They continued walking down the road, idly chatting about random school things now that the serious discussion had ended. Everything else aside, talking to him is like talking to any of my classmates. He's the youngest teacher here, and his quick wit and sharp memory has made him just as sociable with the students as a student themself would be. He's one of the most popular teachers among the students. She smiled slyly to herself. And the other girls would be so jealous to find out he's mine.


 * * * * * * *  * *


There was maybe twenty or thirty people in the small, crowded guild hall. It was evening, and oil lanterns hung from the ceiling kept the room lit, but the light wasn't cast brightly enough for Eyiel to clearly see everyone's faces.

Eyiel and Ardarrion stood towards the back, where they could make a quick exit if they needed to. They had both removed their hoods, but were still wearing the dull brown cloaks they had traveled there in.

"What are we waiting for?" Eyiel whispered closely to Ardarrion so he could hear through the noise of the crowd. He motioned towards the front of the hall, where a pedestal was standing. It had several lanterns sitting on top of it, not yet lit, but waiting for someone to take the podium and begin leading the meeting.

Sure enough, someone soon took the stand, and lit up the candles. He was a tall, slender man, face strong but wrinkled, with long hair, blond in parts and going white in others. He wore a scowl on his face.

"Brothers and sisters," he said loudly, and people quieted down. "Fellow instructors, people of the First Craft!" A large cheer was let out as he finished the introduction, then it quieted down again.

"We come together because of a grave danger," he continued once the noise had died down completely. "Our schools are under threat!" A few overly-eager people gasped. "We are being infiltrated by a dark Order, one threatening to rip our society to pieces!"

Eyiel saw Ardarrion react by lowering his eyebrows to indicate intense focus, and as she looked around the room to the other faces she could see from her vantage point, one other person reacted the same way. The rest reacted with surprise, or shock, or simply no reaction at all. Without anything more to go off of, she thought to herself, that person might be another member of the Order.

"Yes," the man practically shouted, clearly reveling in the attention. "The beasts of the shadows have been increasing, as you people no doubt must have observed, and the cause is among us!

"The cause is a secret combination, twisting our magic for their own evil purpose. And they're walking among us! They are our students! They are our fellow faculty members! They might even be starting to gain some of our own numbers!"

Eyiel looked at Ardarrion, who had now relaxed the concerned pose he had earlier. She glanced at the other person she had noticed as well, and saw that he too had relaxed. Realized that this wasn't about them directly, no doubt.

As murmuring began to be exchanged among the people and raising the noise level, the speaker slammed down his fist on the podium. A loud, booming sound reverberated through the chamber, the device clearly designed to make an attention getting sound. The din of voices stopped almost immediately.

"I am not here to try and pass judgement," the man announced. "Nor am I here to point fingers. No, I say to this group, let them try! For we are the true masters of magic, the people of the First Craft!" A cheer filled the room again, and the man raised up his hands to the crowd.

"I simply call for you all to be aware of the danger, so that you can protect your people. Protect your students from being corrupted. And protect the good name of magic users everywhere!"

Another cheer filled the room, and the man reached into his coat pockets. He pulled out a pendant and held it into the light for everyone to see, a clear crystal wrapped in thin gold strands. "We have come up with a magic pendant," he announced proudly. "It is not done perfected yet, but once complete, it will shine with a brilliant light whenever in the presence of someone with control over the shadows.

"I bring you all here now, so that you know, there is newfound hope! And if there are some of the darkness here, know that the days of your heresy are numbered, and repent now and return to the path of good!"

He put the pendant away, amidst more cheers. As Eyiel looked around the room, it appeared as if everyone was cheering, so if there were these people as described in the room, they were certainly hiding it. "We will meet like this again once the pendants are complete, and I will give you all one at that time. As for tonight, that is all I had to say, and I now offer you a feast provided generously by my schools estate and our cooking students!"

Another cheer was let out at the notion that they would be fed, from some of the larger set people Eyiel could tell they were cheering louder than ever. The crowded room quickly emptied, heading through a different door than the entrance as indicated by the meeting leader, people starving and eager to dine.

"Well," Ardarrion chuckled, and grabbed Eyiel's hand. "Shall we go dine, then?"


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