stickmaker: (Default)
"I am reminded of the dictum of Charlemagne III, that in war one must be generous, and always give the enemy more battle than they want. In this case you gave the enemy more cooperation than he wanted."


I need some help with this book. It is set in a world physically like ours, but with magic; history has taken a very different course. The time is contemporary, but they are just getting automobiles, so technology is between one and two centuries behind ours, depending on the field. The empire of Charlemagne remained intact for several centuries after his death. Today, the primary source of unease in the world is a nation which split from the empire a few hundred years back. This is Carolina, roughly equivalent to Germany in our world. The rest of the empire is now known as the Compact, and the home of the school mentioned below. It is roughly France, Spain, much of Greece, Italy and bits of several other nations. Unfortunately, while the land is currently at peace and prosperous not everyone in it is content with the status quo.

The setting for most of the story is an academy for magical instruction. While it is a civilian institution, it is supported by the government in return for magical aid in time of war. A new teacher has recently arrived, part of a program by the current Grand Regent (the speaker, above) to expand the types of magic studied and taught. The story mostly alternates between the new teacher and a young student, giving two primary points of view to what is happening.

My working title is _Academy_. I would like suggestions for another title, one to be used for submission and - hopefully - publication. I currently have over 83,000 words written. Once finished I would also welcome readers. That, though, will probably not be for a few months.
stickmaker: (Default)
Very much just getting started, but I already have this:

The girl gave Bergen a long, elaborating look.
"You're little," she said, not quite making an accusation of it.
"I'm an elf," said Bergen, grinning.
"Oh," she said.
She took a moment to integrate this information into her worldview, then resumed her flight.
"Alicia! Alicia!" the leader of the woman chasing her cried out. "Stop, dear, before you get hurt!"
Given the flushed faces of those plump matrons, Bergen decided they were at far higher risk than the child.
"The King's great-granddaughter," said Magda, with a rueful laugh. "Affectionately known as Princess Handful."
"Alicia Nantes," said another plump matron, this one even more elegantly dressed and not even offering to exert herself. "My daughter. Who someday will be the terror of an allied court."
stickmaker: (Default)
"At least once during their time here, we challenge each student with a task we instructors know is impossible," said Llewellyn, with a slight smile. "We give them the task, and repeatedly stress how important its completion is with no mention of difficulty or previous failures. The primary reason for this is to evaluate how a particular individual handles stress. The secondary reason is to teach the student an important lesson about unreasonable requests or orders. The tertiary reason is that sometimes they are successful."

"Wait," said Bergen, startled. "You mean..."

"They - rarely - succeed at a task which was previously deemed impossible." The craft user gave him a sly smile. "Humility is also important for teachers."
stickmaker: (Default)
Once the librarians realized Bergen respected both the physical objects and the knowledge they contained, they proved surprisingly helpful. While few could actually work magic, many were thoroughly familiar with it. Unfortunately, there were limits to what they could do.

"We've lost so much," said Julian, one of the most senior archivists on the spire. A pleasant, slightly pudgy man with short, grey hair, he could occasionally be found clambering around on high shelves like some oversize squirrel. "Through fire, flood, vandalism, the activities of 'collectors' and simple misfiling. Fire and flood are why we have many small libraries instead of one great one."

He tapped a finger on the volume Bergen was returning.

"The next of her journals in sequence to that one has been missing for at least a century and a half. And who knows how long before that. The last time it was seen was over a century before the loss was discovered. Worse, it was never translated, so there was only the original..."

"So there's not much hope," said Bergen, sadly.

"The Grand Regent and head archivist of the time the journal was discovered missing even tried divination," said Julian, with a tired shrug. "The answers they received were vague and not helpful. Still, they were recorded, and are a part of what each archivist and librarian here at the academy are required to learn in their training. So we know to be aware if a clue ever turns up.

"There's also some hope that a project of mine might help," said Julian, when he saw the disappointment in the physical adept's face. He seemed a bit eager to share, perhaps wanting to brag.

"How's that?"

"I'm working with an alchemist, a scryer, two wizards and a tanner to create a way to recover the previous writings on palimpsests," said Julian. He shook his head, looking mildly outraged. "Idiots. I keep finding important, significant works only partially known from other sources scraped away so the parchment could be used for some noble's favorite recipes, or some accountant's records of wheat sales. Our methods have only been partially successful so far, but we have already filled in gaps in several records."
stickmaker: (Default)
This is a world with no Declaration of Independence, no Constitution and no Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. (Though an almost identical Magna Carta was signed in AD 1215.) What it does have is the Stenoses, a document which formed the motivation for and core of the Compact. The true origins of The Stenoses is unknown. Popular myth and official Church policy have them created by two holy people, a male human and a female elf, known as Valour and Grace, respectively.
The Stenoses are only part of what are collectively known as the Grand Revelation, most or all of which also supposedly comes from Valour and Grace. Since some of the principles were presented centuries or even millennia before the Grand Revelation (and in some places of those documents are presented word-for-word as they appear in older writings) it is likely that the work is mostly or entirely a collection of what someone considered to be the best of human philosophy.


The Stenoses


1) There shall be no compulsion in religion.

Worship not given freely is worthless.

2) Women shall not be treated as chattel.

As the Mother is part of the Trinity, so are women part of humanity.

3) Government has no interests except to act on the behalf of Church or Court or Citizen.

The governed have an obligation to support their government only as long as it governs wisely. The governed and their government have the support of the divine only as long as they are righteous. The Courts may adjudicate only as long as their application of law is both consistent and fair.

4) Government shall not interfere with Citizens except to aid them against violation, or punish them for committing violation.

A call to war to defend the nation overrides the rights of the individual. Committing a violation of civil law forfeits the protection of civil law.

5) Church, Crown and Court are equal partners in governing and administering. Each depends on and supports the other. They must cooperate without interfering with the business of each other.

The Church represents the divine, the Crown represents the government, the Court represents the Citizen before all others.

6) Respect those who came before you, and those whose path has branched from yours.

Any road may lead to the final destination, if followed in faith and and a desire for the truth.
stickmaker: (Default)
Excerpt from a fantasy novel in progress:

"Real things are independent of observation," said Llewellyn. "They have ontological inertia. If you go away, they're still there. Things of pure magic - as opposed to real things altered by magic - do not. Once the magic is over, they're over. Most magical changes to real things also only last as long as the magic lasts. To make a permanent change requires a magical effect different from such things as disguise or shapechanging spells. That is one reason major healing spells are so difficult. You are removing infection, knitting flesh. Ironically, some of the simplest spells also make permanent changes. Mend. Move. Multi-volume works have been written on how spells with permanent effects are different from those which cause only temporary effects."

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