Chapter 2.4

Artes Telaios was late, but felt excused in this case. He held a small piece of rock in his hand, appreciating it like it was a nugget of gold as he walked. The four others looked up at him as he entered the hexagonal room. He placed the stone on the table before he sat down.

“I know it doesn’t look impressive, but this little piece is a treasure of knowledge,” he claimed.

“And what jewels of knowledge do you expect to find?” the Magister of Shadow asked. He picked up the stone and turned it around in his hands.

“This is effectively a piece of a star. Thus far, all our knowledge of the nature of stars has been wild guesses, based on distant observations. I have not yet been able to properly discuss it with Tharo, who is of course the expert on this matter,” Telaios explained. It was hardly an answer, but the best one he could give right now.

Shadow let the stone roll across the table back to Telaios. “Indeed. He was in the astrology tower with his apprentice late at night, observing the comet storm,” he commented casually.

“You are interested in the activities of the astrologer and his apprentice, then?” Pratoras Gorios asked.

The activities of the Magister of Shadow were always shrouded in mystery. Nobody knew what he did once he left the council chamber. Of course, that was all part of the arrangement that allowed him to question the leaders of Nevarus in anonymity and pose the questions that nobody liked to hear. It was suspected that the Magister had eyes and ears throughout the city, but it was never confirmed.

“Aren’t we all?” Shadow asked in return. “It was a decision that was made in this room. Does that not make it my job to keep an eye on the boy and his master?”

“That is correct, Shadow. As always, your contributions are invaluable,” Corastes replied politely.

Artes looked at the Magister of Shadow. Though the mask made him completely unreadable, he felt that the man had simply wanted to bring up a topic he was more interested in.

Gorios seemed to think the same thing. “You wanted to discuss Tharash, Shadow?” he asked.

“It has been almost three seasons since he entered Pelvacto’s apprenticeship. Is it not time for an evaluation?”

“I would think so, yes. What have been your impressions over these months?” Corastes asked the other three.

“He’s improving,” Iocas Pelu grunted. “Slowy, and he’s not displaying any particular talent, but he has found some determination. A pity he wastes it on petty rivalries with other students”

“They are children, Iocas. Such conflicts are only natural,” Gorios lectured the Magister of Gymnastics. “Tharash’s mind still wanders, but he’s more excitable than before. That gives him more energy to absorb the lessons he receives.”

“I agree with your assessments,” Telaios nodded. “He does seem more determined and energetic, and puts that to good use in my classes, demonstrating a sharper mind than I had previously seen in him. I continue to give him extra lessons in mathematics, as he still struggles with that aspect. Yet even there I see progress.”

“Yes, you taught him the secrets of Nevarran Fire, did you not?” Shadow asked him.

They all looked at him. The teaching of wizardry was a matter between mentor and apprentice. Only a student’s mentor could judge whether his apprentice was mature enough to bear the responsibility of that power. And lessons on the nature of wizardry were covered in Corastes’ classes.

“Artes,” The old sage said in a tone that lingered between chiding the Magister for overstepping his bounds and asking his old friend for an explanation.

Telaios was very willing to give that explanation: “I merely taught him the mathematics behind the combustion, as is my duty as Magister of Earth. I talked with Tharo on how to approach him. His assessment of the boy as being very imaginative is correct. Sparking this imagination of his does wonders for his ability to absorb the knowledge I have to teach.”

“Yes, I see,” Gorios commented. “The prospect of wizardry sparks an intuitive understanding in his mind, leading him to more easily grasp the presented theory. It seems that Master Pelvacto had something to teach the teachers.”

“Even a Magister should always continue learning,” Corastes nodded. “However, we should not forget that an intuitive understanding can never be enough. There must always be a theoretical foundation,” he added concerned.

“Have we not successfully practised intuitive understanding for centuries before the Barrier?” Shadow asked.

“That is true, but times have changed. That was the age of sorcery, and this is the age of wizardry. Ever since the Barrier, the line between the true wizards and the warlocks has widened. It only has made our path more clear, though,” Corastes explained the problem.

Warlocks were wizards that were not satisfied to work within the confines that nature presented and would seek out ancient and forbidden crafts in their lust for power. “The practice of true Wizardry is the only constructive contribution that our art can bring to our world. There is no point in teaching any other form,” Artes thought out loud.

“All very true, but an intuitive understanding has not become less valuable in the age of Wizardry. We should foster it in the boy, while balancing it with the development of a strong and grounded logic,” Shadow replied. Now, if we all agree that the boy is doing well, shall we move on to other matters?”

>> Chapter 2.5

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One response to “Chapter 2.4

  1. aywren May 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    A chapter that raises interesting questions. I like that you’re checking back in on the situation and keeping consistency using the group meetings like this. I’m starting to recognize some of the names more now, especially since you’ve allowed some time for Tharash to interact with some of the masters one on one.

    However, I did want to discuss dialogue with you for a moment. I’m still having a trouble telling the masters apart — their “voices” all sound similar to me. They speak similarly, respond similarly and use similar approaches with each other. When you pair them off with Tharash, I can feel a bit more individuality between them (and Tharash’s voice certainly stands out as his own character). But when you bunch them all together in one chapter, it becomes more difficult to identify them through dialogue alone.

    One writer’s exercise in character voice is to remove everything except the dialogue and see if you can determine who is speaking. You should strive to make each character’s response so individual that you can identify them by what they say and how they say it.

    Take this section as an example:

    “You wanted to discuss Tharash?”

    “It has been almost three seasons since he entered Pelvacto’s apprenticeship. Is it not time for an evaluation?”

    “I would think so, yes. What have been your impressions over these months?”

    “He’s improving. Slowy, and he’s not displaying any particular talent, but he has found some determination. A pity he wastes it on petty rivalries with other students.”

    “They are children. Such conflicts are only natural. Tharash’s mind still wanders, but he’s more excitable than before. That gives him more energy to absorb the lessons he receives.”

    “I agree with your assessments. He does seem more determined and energetic, and puts that to good use in my classes, fuelling his considerable talent in analysing the world around him.”

    These are different characters holding a conversation, but how easily can you tell them apart based on words alone? You probably can, since there are context clues based on what’s happened in the past, and you wrote it. But you get my point. : p

    The conversation isn’t written poorly. The dialogue flows well and the ideas are well-formed. It’s just the individual character voices I can’t pin-point.

    As a reader, my mind begins assigning characters with mental voice-overs — I don’t know if you do that or not? When character voices are distinct, you can imagine what a character would sound like, their accent, their talking pattern, etc. For example (I don’t like using my own characters, but it’s the best way I know how), Tai and Ben might say a sentence with the same meaning, but would use very different words. Kip has his own distinct way of talking compared with someone like Zeb or Leona. You probably even have an idea what you think their voices sound like and may overlay those voices when you read through Wayrift talk bubbles.

    I know you may not think that’s super-important since the masters aren’t the main characters in your story. But they play a large enough roll that they are always either interacting with Tharash or have chapters like this that belong to them alone.

    A character’s voice is a HUGE part of defining personality. Each time a character talks, the way they speak and what they say gives an opportunity for the reader to learn something about the character — either in the way the character is now, or how the character is developing. You do a great job of that with Tharash — it’s not always so easy to do it with a larger cast of characters, though. I know that difficulty! Part of that comes through time and developing connections with your figments.

    I urge you to look at the masters with the same attachment and detail as you do Tharash. Learn who they are as people, not just what part they play in your story, and they’ll speak more freely in your writing, too.

    Red Pen:

    “A pity he wastes it on petty rivalries with other students” Needs a period.

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