A collection of short stories about the College and its inhabitants

In an attempt to shed more light on the College and those who live there, I include a series of short stories. Often, these stories are only parts of bigger stories (stemming from role-playing), taken out of context. In these cases, I will try to give the reader enough information about the goings on that he will enjoy and understand the fragment. It is my hope that these stories will give insight into my version of the College that would be difficult or even impossible to impart in other ways.

Morden and Sagarl

Morden looked up. Someone was knocking at the door. He got up and opened it, not sure who to expect. As he looked out, his notion was confirmed, in this place, you really don't know what to expect. A disembodied hand was hanging there in thin air, obviously an illusion, beckoning for him to follow. So he did. Closing the door behind him, he followed the hand through the hallways of the College. Finally, he ended up before a stout wooden door. The hand had stopped, and pointed at the door. This was all the encouragement Morden needed, he knocked. Shortly thereafter, a voice was heard from the other side; "Enter". Morden entered the room.
It was a cluttered place. On a large desk by the opposite wall, several books, scrolls and sheets of paper and parchment lay in total disarray. Along the left wall were several book-cases with books and scrolls arranged haphazardly. On the floor by the right wall, half a dozen books lay on the floor, some half-open, some closed. Behind the desk sat an old man. He looked like a man, emerald eyes, black hair and a wrinkled face. Yet, there was something about him. As the man didn't seem to have taken notice of him yet, Morden had ample time to study him. There was something wrong about him, but it was impossible to say what.
Having pondered the matter a while, Morden walked over to the chair on his side of the desk and sat down. And waited. The man seemed preoccupied by a book and a scroll in front of him. He alternated between reading passages from the book, writing something down on the scroll and scratching his head. Time passed.
Morden cleared his throat, he wasn't the impatient type, but he had a feeling the man had wanted something from him, and then forgotten all about it. The man looked up, a surprised look on his face. He looked at Morden as if he not expected him to be there.
"Eh, umm, who ...? ...," he uttered.
"I am Morden Nôk, you sent for me?" Morden offered.
"Oh yes! Indeed! Indeed I did! I have been wanting to chat with you," he continued, sweeping the book aside and losing the scroll on the floor, "I really have. Yes."
The man studied Morden intensely for a while, looking straight into his eyes. He picked up a candle and moved it around in various patterns while studying Morden's eyes. He moved around a bit looking at him from various angles. An uncomfortable silence ensued, which Morden finally broke; "So, if you don't mind me asking, who are you?"
"Huh?" the man said, putting the candle down on the desk. "Oh, yes, where are my manners? I am Sagarl, master of the arcane here at the college. How are you? More to the point, who are you?" he finished, staring intently at Morden.
Confused, Morden replied, "I am not sure I follow you?"
"If you do not mind me asking, who was your mother and do you know who your father was?" Sagarl asked.
Surprised at such a direct and personal question, Morden could but admire this Sagarl's directness. He found it intriguing and a little scary that this Sagarl had just asked him the question that he himself had been asking his whole life. Maybe he could learn something here. "These are strange questions you ask me, but I will answer them. My mother is an Itanian and no, I do not know who my father is. How come you ask me these questions?"
Sagarl nodded. He shuffled around some of the books on his desk and finally opened one volume. He spent some time reading, then looked up again. "The reason, my dear ..." he hesitated, obviously searching for the name. "Morden," Morden offered. "Yes, exactly, my dear Morden. The reason is that certain properties of your appearance leads me to believe that you may be in possession of special powers. Literature indicated that these powers may be the heritage from your father. Are you aware that when viewed in the correct light and from the correct angle, your eyes have a most brilliant violet hue?"
Morden nodded, "Yes, I am aware of that. Others have been fascinated by that before."
"Indeed, indeed. Indeed," Sagarl nodded while studying his tome. "Indeed."
After another pause, Sagarl continued, "So, have you noticed anything special about yourself?" As Morden was about to speak, Sagarl waved his hand and shook his head, "no, no, I realise of course that your prowess in the ways of magic is excellent. Were it not, you would not have been trained as a Warlock in your homeland. I mean other things, special little things that noone but you can do? Have you ever noticed that you can hear things that others can not? That you can see things in the dark that others can not? That you can tell the exact location of origin of subtle smells that others do not even notice? May I see your hands?" the last sounded much like a direct order, and, being slightly confused by all this, Morden put his hands on the table. Sagarl looked on them for a second and then, with a disappointed look, dove back into his book.
"I think you owe me an explanation," Morden said, he was becoming a bit irritated by the respectless attitude of this Sagarl.
"Yes, yes, indeed, I do. I guess I do," Sagarl said absent-mindedly while reading the tome. "Surely I do."
A minute or two later, Sagarl picked up a pouch and emptied the contents on the desk. There were several coins of low denomination. He searched around in the pile for a bit and then picked up a silver piece. "Ok, let's make an experiment," he said. "Listen carefully."
Morden, not knowing quite how to handle this - obviously the man was insane - nodded. Sagarl dropped the coin to the floor, all the time watching Morden. He then picked it back up, scooped up a pile of copper coins, and said, "Now I am going to drop this pile of coins on the floor. Afterwards, I want you to tell me if there is a silver coin among them." Morden started protesting, "but, that is impossible!", but Sagarl had already dropped the pile of coins. "Now, don't look!" he ordered, "so, what do you say, was there a silver coin in the pile?" Sagarl looked expectantly at Morden. "I really wouldn't know," he replied, "now, if you will have me excused," he started to get out of the chair.
"No, wait, we must do more tests!" Sagarl objected, "we must find out."
"Find out WHAT? Test WHAT?" Morden interrupted, "tell me what you are trying to do here, and maybe I'll agree to help you!"
"Didn't I tell you? I'm sure I did. Anyway, your kind is mentioned in a few very old books. I have always been fascinated by this. Sit down and I'll recount the basics for you."
Morden sat, and Sagarl started to explain, "you see, every once in a long while, persons with spectacular, super-human or even super-elven abilities appear. Some of these have been reported to have bright violet eyes. In by far the most cases, the father is not known. There are several theories, including that the father may be one of the Lords of Orhan having decided to give unto the people a child of great powers. These people will almost without exception grow to become great leaders and shapers of history. As I said, the topic interests me and now I have here, before me, a chance to study it first-hand. Exciting. Truly exciting." Sagarl started taking notes on the back of the scroll he had been writing on when Morden entered the room.
While Morden digested all this - he had never discovered anything super-human about himself - Sagarl muttered to himself, shot glances at Morden and took notes. "So, will you humor an old man?" he finally said, looking Morden in the eyes.
"Very well," Morden replied, "there's not much else to do here anyway."
"Excellent! Excellent! Truly brilliant!" Sagarl almost shouted, childlike glee in his eyes. "I knew you would see it my way! Now, tell me," he dropped a pile of coins on the floor, "was there a silver coin among those?"
Morden sighed.

In the course of the following two weeks, Sagarl and Morden discovered several hidden traits of the Itanian, legacy of his K'ta'viir heritage. When Morden left Sagarl's office for the last time, he had learned much, and no longer did he think the man insane. Distracted and confused, perhaps, but not insane.

If you want to know more about Morden Nôk, you should pick up the Grand Campaign by Terry Kevin Amthor. Click here for its Internet source.

River Walking

The eight day of Orhan 3 was a beautiful day, as had been predicted. The Ryanna river was flowing lazily by, a good three hundred feet across at this point. The contestants were preparing, warming up. The seconds were in their row boats, eyeing eachother warily and checking that their boats weren't sabotaged. Somewhat surprising, none were. The ropes lining the lanes had been laid out over the river and anchored at each shore, the spectators were all seated, anticipating a juicy competition. It always was.

The Wings, having won the previous year's contest, had the lower lane, then came the Girls, last year's second place, the Claws and then the Uppers. The Bigguns, not having participated last year, had the upper lane.

The first sign of someone's good preperation came as the referee signaled that the participants were to don their bathing suits. All but one of the contestants, the represantitive of the Uppers, seemed to have serious trouble removing their shoes. The rules were quite clear on this point, no more than a regular bathing suit was to be worn. The Uppers had to start alone, the others could only do their best to get those shoes off before the Uppers had won the race.

The potion was given to the one starting walker, and he started strolling along. It did not take long until the Girls' contenstant was free of her shoes, drank the potion and went off. The others were still struggling, some had brought tools with them and were busy removing the shoes forcibly, while others were forced to improvise. The first to succeed were the Bigguns and their walker started walking over the river, somewhat hastily. Next came the Claws, and somewhat later the Wings had their man on the water.

The Uppers were now in trouble; half-way across the river, a large tree bristling with branches had suddenly emerged in front of their walker and got caught in the ropes of his lane. There was no way to get around it without leaving the lane, so he tried to walk through. His failure was spectacular, several of the spindly branches caught in his clothes and he was effectively stuck.

In the mean time, the Girls' walker (or walkress as they like to call her) was a clear leader, the Bigguns a hundred feet behind, then the Claws and the Wings closely behind.

Suddenly, without warning, a huge flock of birds came over the trees on the far side of the river, and stooped down at the participants. At this time, a new row boat had appeared upriver, thirty feet or so from the Bigguns' lane. The boys in the boat, Wings all, tossed a scarecrow-like contraption into the river, where it floated in an upright position. They then hid under a tarp they had in the boat. At the same time, the Wings' walker dove into the river, disappearing into the cold water.

The birds flocked around all the visible participants, causing several to lose balance and fall into the river. Only the Claws' walker remained standing, but did not make much progress against the onslaught. After half a minute or so, the birds flew off as suddenly as they had come. The roar of the crowd replaced the flapping of bird wings to the participants' ears. All the walkers were white with bird guano, something the spectators found hilarious.

Those who had fallen into the river were helped up into the row boats by their seconds and continued the walk as best able. It was clear that the Bigguns' participant had had enough, he refused to leave the boat. The Girls' walkress was obviously upset and had difficulty making much progress. This left the Claws and the Wings on almost equal terms. The Wings' walker was the faster, but was several yards behind the Claws as they continued. The rest of the walk was largely uneventful, but there was much cheering as the Wings gained on the Claws. The Claws' walker had obvious problems with getting bird goo in his eyes and stumbled along. He couldn't take the chance of washing it off, as he needed help to get out of the water if he should fall. Unfortunately, his seconds' boat had gotten entangled into the Wings' boat and they were both drifting slowly down the river. The Claws were vigorously trying to disengage, the Wings were not. The Wings' walker, only being wet, passed his adversary half way back across the river and crossed the finish line first, for another Wings victory in the annual river walk.

The Uppers had mixed a glue they managed to get into every participant's shoes, a plot they had flawlessly succeded in hiding and executing. This speaks of defeat on the Wings' side, who see it as their business to find out all the dirty tricks that will be attempted at the Walk and use the information to their own advantage. The Claws had rigged the tree underwater with an elaborate rope setup to be able to release it at the correct time. The Wings were also ignorant to this fact, but it didn't affect them much. The Bigguns had trained the birds to assault all the participants but the rightmost, which would be their own. This was found out by two Wings members and Dunas had devised the plan to introduce the scarecrow - one identical to the ones the birds were trained with - to make the plan backfire on the Bigguns.

The honor of being the fraternity's walker is quite questionable. One is normally happy to accept volunteers, this is something it can be quite hard to persuade someone to do.

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Last modified: Sun Oct 7 17:49:02 CEST 2001