‘A Thaumaturge In Love: Part One’

1 Oct

A randomly-generated story plot courtesy of http://www.seventhsanctum.com

“This story takes place in a university town on a world artificially created by magic. In it, a pragmatic fire fighter falls madly in love with a nun in love with someone of another species.”

This is Part One. There will be more.

A Thaumaturge in Love

‘Fire! Fire!’ The words shouted by a disembodied voice brought John Steinman running into the cavernous thaumadrome, where his apprentice squad were co-summoning a vectorcraft in which to speed them on their way. Holding out his hands, he shot out purple-red sparks, pooling his mana with theirs to hasten the build.

In less than a minute, the thaumaform was ready to take the fire fighters to the scene of disaster at the Cloister of the Sacred Star. The four-strong crew climbed in to the shiny red airship, cast the necessary runes of protection, and shot away.

John upbraided his apprentices whilst the ship punched through the clouds separating the university students from everybody else. ‘Who is going to explain to me, then, why I find a vectorcraft being summoned in the thaumadrome whilst the alarm is sounding?’

John waited as the three youngsters wilted into their seats, stretching the moment out until somebody broke. Worth Fowler, a pale young man sitting in front with curly brown hair said something like, ‘Mumblemrmbr…Inebriziono…’  Barnabus Brent punched him hard in the ribs.

‘So I’m to assume’ said John, ‘that the future of this nation’s lifeline division has been up all night, drinking potions, smoking scrolls, and having careless, unlicensed sexual relations?’ A telling silence followed. ‘And how is the future of this nation’s lifeline division feeling today?’

An unconvincing chorus of ‘not bad’ formed the reply. Worth was sick into his hands.

‘And where, exactly, are the Noctorum twins? In fact, I don’t even want to know. Not after last time.’

The Cloister was consumed with thick black flame, spilling blood-red thaumasmoke into the burning night sky. Hundreds of fire-fighters were already there, pouring their purple mana into the building, negating the accumulated dark energies that had caused this blaze. John hustled his apprentice squad, the 145th division, to the front.

Various ecclesiastical figures spilled out of the high-vaulted edifice of conjured stained glass and steel, their tall hats clutched in one hand and robes hoiked up with the other as they ran for their lives. One particularly distressed high-priest had been ignited, his vestments billowing around him with the black fire before a trio of fire fighters pinned him down, wrapping him in thaumaphagic foil.

The immense size of the fire was the perfect opportunity for John to teach his apprentices some valuable fundamentals; how to pace yourself, with controlled breathing, pooling your mana accurately with your team, focusing  the mind to keep your energy pure.

Jozy Teaguin showed herself to be the most promising apprentice. The quietest among them, she simply got the job done, maintaining a steady, controlled stream of mana most of the time. Blind in both eyes, Jozy had an intimate knowledge of her surroundings, and had learned to diversify her magical talents to an alarming extent given that she was only 18. Beastlore was her favourite, but John was concerned that some way down the line, this careful, soft-spoken prodigy would come to step on the wrong person’s toes, and things would go badly for her.

John lamented the lost cause that was Barnabas Brent. ‘Barn’ was a giant of a young man, and had picked up the brazen habit of ‘shouting’ his mana; that is, expelling the purple-red magic material through his mouth rather than channelling it properly. A popular practice amongst young lads mostly, ‘shouting’ had the unfortunate side-effect of, over time, turning one’s insides to the consistency of bladderfish stew.

And then there was Worth. Poor, pale little Worth. The first time John Steinman saw Worth he declared, on the spot, that the boy had ‘The inherent magical ability of a soggy bunnysprout.’ Not exactly Lifeline Division material, but Worth had very wealthy parents.

Hours later, architects were hard at work putting the place back together. Spires rose up out of green mana streams, curling upwards into twisting cone shapes, becoming sometimes steel, othertimes glass, with occasional blackbrick. Seeing things being built would always hold a fascination with John. His father had been an architect, and whenever he saw them at work, it always got him to wondering.

As they sat, lunching on a park bench and soaking up the sun only a few lengths away from the steaming cloister, John and the 145th division were approached by a clutch of breathless nuns, clucking with gratitude, compliments, and prayers. There were about eight of them, their faces looking like little white eggs wrapped in blankets.

Wicker-hatch baskets brimming with meats, vegetables, fruits and confections appeared from somewhere in their many layers of habitments and were placed at John’s feet while he sat there feeling absurd and awkward, nodding his head and smiling a whole lot. Barn and Worth both had a bit of a chuckle to themselves at John’s discomfort, but Jozy just nibbled an apple, her mind elsewhere.

John thanked the nuns for their kind words, prayers, and perishable gifts, and replied that the Sisterhood of the Sacred Star would be in his prayers also. John was a religious man himself, up to a point, this being the point at which nobody was looking. He had no real faith in the Great Benevolent Star-King, but figured that, logically, it was only practical to make the occasional sacrifice and supplication just in case he was wrong.  Also, with the way things were these days, it never hurt a man’s prospects in the land of the living to be seen as being conspicuously pious in public. In this way, John had both his immortal soul and corporeal body pretty well covered.

As the nuns eventually bowed their heads and took leave to go off and do their holy duties, one of them hung back just a little longer than the others to sidle up to John and whisper something fleeting into his ear.

Part Two coming soon.

3 Responses to “‘A Thaumaturge In Love: Part One’”

  1. KP October 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    Somewhere between Terry Pratchett and Dan Abnett; between the Unseen University and Sabbat Worlds. Where are we going … ?


    • jackkastor October 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

      When the random story generator spat out ‘Set on an artificial world made of magic’ and ‘set in a University town’ I realised that the Unseen University comparisons would be unavoidable.

      But, hey, it’s hardly an unflattering comparison, is it? Thank you very much for your comment, KP, I’m interested to see where this goes myself!


      • KP October 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

        Definitely not unflattering.


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