The assembled high wizards were shrouded in a magical aura intended to protect them from wayward magical effects. It lay around them like an almost imperceivable pink fog.
Behind them, high on the wall, rows of candles illuminated reliefs worked in stone displaying the heroes of magic and their achievements.
On the wall below it there hung tapestries displaying arcane theorems with lanterns illuminating them from above
Some of the high mages were bored and stared at the ceiling. Others were whispering quietly to eachother. Only a few seemed to notice the rogue standing on the platform, but at the same time seemed to be staring straight through him.
Panic raced through his mind, how had it come this far? Damn that barbarian oaf of a Joran, for promising that oddly attractive witch in the swamp, to get that scroll from the academy.
Quickly tracing through his inventory and options he came to a shocking realisation that knifework would not impress the mages much, nor would climbing up the walls.
Throwing knifes, now that would be something he could do...
Then it hit him, the playing cards! He could maybe trick these mages with those, if they were more arrogant than jaxtherion.
Opening his travel pouch the rogue pulled his deck of cards out. With a flourish he flipped them over his head from one hand to another and then fanned them out towards the audience.
"Gathered high mages, I would like one of the esteemed assembled to verify that these are plain normal paper playing cards."
One bored looking mage spoke up
"just get on with it, we don't care if you prepared them or not."
With a nod the rogue aknowledged the statement and pulled a card from the deck.
With an almost imperceptable flick of hist wrist the card flew from his hand, travelling through the space above the wizards heads without a sound, through the warding aura as if it wasn't there, moving up and then cutting through a candle, snuffing it out.
This got a few frowns from the mages that were paying attention.
The rogue watched them grinning, now confident. He idled with the cards using some standard inn card showmanship.
One of the mages shook his head, and moved his fingers and mumbled something and the aura deepened in color, now a deep purple, interspersed with the occasional blue spark enveloping the mages.
This made the mages that were whispering together stop their conversations and eye the rogue on the stage, who was merging two halves of the deck.
"now that I have your attention, can someone verify that these are normal paper playing cards? To verify yourself that I did not acquire a rare artifact?"
One of the mages that previously had been in an particulary intense conversation approached, leaving the protective aura and inspected the deck.
"Yes, these are normal cards, cheap quality, almost falling apart even. The artwork is atrocious."
The mage handed the deck back and wiped his hands with a tissue he pulled from an invisible pocket as he walked back to his place.
When the mage was seated again he eyed the rogue disdainfully.
"good, now you know I have plain cards, you will see the power of my piercing magic."
With a flourish the rouge let the cards dance above his head again, but as they were in transit above he plucked them from the air and flicked them forward.
The cards flew silently to the mages who had barely time to register what was happening. As they reached the barrier they showed no sign of stopping or being deflected and passed through it effortlessly.
As the eyes of the mages turned wide the cards flew between their chairs and then bound upwards, each card cutting a candle cleanly in half.
The expanding darkness behind the mages gave the purple shield an ominous glow.
The rouge shuffled his remaining cards as the mages took in the scene.
Heads were stuck together and hectic whispers were exchanged.
"Pfah, I can think of at least 20 ways to achieve this!"
The disdainful wizard had spoken up. The other mages seemed to slowly fall back to contentment at the confidence of their colleagues assertion.
"try piercing this perfect cube of blocking magic, talentless wretch, and let this trial in patheticness be finally over."
The mage did something and the purple aura solidified and formed hard edges, with blue lightning dancing around the corners.
The mage stood in the middle of the cube, hands outstretched, with a large disdainful sneer on his face.
The other mages watched with interest as the rogues smile tightened.
"Allright, because you asked for it to politely."
The rogue threw the remaining cards in the air, and from the chaos falling twirling to the ground he snatched a card.
He held the card between index and middle finger, the back of the card facing the audience, and slowly moved it to his forehead
"I only need one card to display my opinion of your skill and your perfect cube of no magic."
He flipped the card around , showing the poorly drawn image on it to the audience.
A couple of mages started to snicker, which caused the snide mage to glare daggers at them.
"a fool for a fool."
With these words the card left the rogue's hands and travelled the distance between the stage and the cube border in no time, crossing the border and entering the cube as if it wasn't even there, and flew straight at the mage who had had no time to react.
The card flew close past the the face of the mage, which still had a furious sneer on it, and exited the cube behind the mage in a heartbeat. It broke the glass of a lantern, embedding itself in it. The card cought fire and the fool burned away, just as the mage lost control of the cube and it shattered in etheral sparking pieces.
The mage raised his hand to his cheeck, touched it, and then eyed his blood covered fingertips.
He muttered softly
As the rest of the wizards ran to the stage exitedly, shouting, making offers to buy the secret.