Advertisement
Remove

A note from UnstoppableJuggernaut

Hello everybody and welcome to the most foolish story on all the internet! It's in the name!

...no wait that's not a compliment, lol. So episode 3 of Arcane holds up. Might do a mini-review at the end.

Onto Fool!

Alex jotted down his thoughts.

Maybe The Traveller’s name was written somewhere, maybe it wasn’t. He doubted—that if it was—it would be in the university’s library. Baelin had looked there for histories about The Traveller and had only found information that was commonly available; like general history books from Thameland.

For the first time since he'd gotten The Mark, he began to wish he could go near a priest: they might know the story behind why her name was absent from common records. Alex tapped his pen on his notebook. Maybe he could ask Theresa to talk to the few priests of Uldar who were still in Generasi. It shouldn’t come across as strange or suspicious for a young woman from Alric to be talking to them about her hometown’s patron saint.

“When casting a spell using relational contract summoning,” Professor Mangal said. “You send out a call that spreads across the planes. If you speak the name of a specific creature, then that creature will hear it. If you speak the name of that specific type of creature, then many will hear it. But—unlike with subjugational and binding summoning—it cannot compel a creature to answer you. Instead, potential summoned creatures are given a…vague indication of who is conjuring them and—if you are presenting an offering to the creature—an idea of what your offering is. It is then up to them to decide whether or not they answer your call.”

She pointed to the circle. “Much like in binding contract summoning, the spirit appears in a protective circle; I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the circle. It must be perfect, because—if a summoned spirit becomes hostile—the circle is your main protection against their anger. In relational summoning—like in binding summoning—those summoned cannot exit the circle, but they can retreat back to where they came from whenever they wish. In this way, this sort of summoning is safer since the spirit can retreat, which means that they can return to their home plane rather than attack you.”

She stroked the head of one of her little companions. “But this ability to retreat is why you must ensure that whatever you offer interests what you’ve summoned. From there, if the creature is interested in the offer and stays, you begin to negotiate. This could involve appealing to it or offering more payment. Once an agreement is reached, the magic in the circle activates to ensure the terms agreed to are binding, but the magic is even stronger because all parties are not under duress.”

A short student raised her hand. “Professor, what do these spirits want that they can’t already get? Why would they bother with you once they have your offering? Wouldn’t they just leave?”

“You would be surprised at what you can get for surprisingly little, and with the promise of potentially more,” Professor Mangal said. “Keep in mind that these are creatures from other planes: what is common here, might be rare in the extreme there. The other aspect to consider is that these creatures are immortal: they have infinite time. One of my teachers once contracted an Elysian nymph for forty years of service as a protector of her estate and to model for her sculpture. In return? All it asked for was for one statue: my teacher simply had to give the nymph the first sculpture that she made of it. Such a thing seems completely implausible, but to the nymph, forty years out of infinite time is payment from an infinite resource: in other words, essentially negligible. Does that answer your question?”

The student nodded, quickly taking a note.

“So yes, once the initial contract is fulfilled, the summoner might then call the creature again since their initial contact was mutually beneficial. In time, these contacts develop into an actual reciprocal relationship: the spirit and summoner become allies, and so a permanent bond is formed. Then-Arus and I are not friends, but we are allies: I know that I can rely on him and he can ask favours of me. With this in place, I can now summon him without the use of protective circles or bargains or anything else, much like how you can simply call on one who is close to you. He only remains in the circle now to illustrate a point.”

She nodded to him.

Crack!

The students all jumped at the same time. Some stood, prepared to run for the door.

The war-spirit’s forearm had warped into a blade and suddenly shot forward. Alex’s jaw dropped; he hadn’t even seen it move. Yet, the point of the blade was pressed against the boundary of the circle. Just as with the shoggoth that Jules had summoned, the war-spirit couldn’t pierce the circle.

Everyone let out a sigh of relief.

Then-Arus did something that made them scream and scramble away from the circle.

The war-spirit jumped. He soared into the air in a straight line, and then—after reaching a certain height—soared out of the circle and landed beside Professor Mangal.

He was free. His blade glinted in the light.

But as the students scrambled to escape and Alex was about to call Claygon, Professor Mangal raised her hands.

“It is alright!” she said, smiling. “This is part of the demonstration. Please remember: a summoning circle is not a circle in the strict sense of the word. It is a cylinder: you must build in the correct glyphs to project a second circle above so that a complete cylinder--with a top that is closed--is formed, otherwise if they desire to do so, the spirit can simply jump or fly over the top if they are capable.”

“Finally.”

She pointed to a corner of the room where Alex noticed a bunch of black, heavy robes hanging from hooks. He was sure they hadn't been there when he’d entered the room.

“There is an image that many have, that like cultists, summoners wear dark, heavy robes with hoods for some nefarious purpose. The robes, in fact, do have a practical purpose. It is—when you summon a creature that you do not know, you may guard your identity—should the creature escape or desire revenge against you. You may reveal your name and face when you determine it is safe to do so.”

She smiled. “And that, class, introduces you to the very basics of the three types of summoning. This semester we will concentrate on each one, starting with the simplest: subjugation. Summon Elemental Beetle will be the first spell we learn, but before we do that…we will learn how to draw circles. The circle is the basis for higher summoning, and so drawing one correctly is crucial. That might seem tedious but…”

She paused. “…it is the first step in being able to call the cosmos to your purpose. I promise, it will get very interesting very fast.”

Alex looked up at the war-spirit and took a deep breath to calm his pounding heart.

If this class was going to get anymore ‘interesting,’ then he just might have a heart attack before the summer was done.


Training Day 6 Take-II

Spells Known:

Force Spells:

Forceball, Forcedisk, Generalized Force Construct

Wizard’s Hand, Lesser Force Armour

Force Shield, Protective Force Rectangle, Force Missile (Impractical; Do Not Use this One),

Protective Force Weapon (Protective Force Crooked Long Rectangle)

Elemental Spells:

Orb of Air, Lesser Heat, Summon Stone, Call Through Ice

Teleportation Spells:

Call Through Ice

Summoning Spells:

Summon Stone (again)

Spells to Be Learned by Summer’s End:

Force Armour (In Progress - 20%)

Body Strengthening

Call Through Air

Lesser Phantom Display

Life to Mana

Alex looked over his progress with a satisfied grin. It was good to look back on how far he’d come from time to time. On days he felt tired or stressed, it helped to keep him moving forward, and it also helped him to have a written record of what spells he could build on.

Since the early weeks of first year, he’d been making lists like that because they helped him when it was time to choose spells or take new courses. They really gave him a good idea of where to direct his progression.

It was time for physical training. Alex dropped to the ground and began three sets of push-ups. He counted each one out loud while the wind rustled through the copse of trees he was training under. Reaching the location beside the sea called for a nice, warm-up run, and the warm summer breeze made being there extremely pleasant.

Recently, being there reminded him of home. Which was strange since Alric was nowhere near the sea. Maybe it was because of nostalgia that hit him when he looked at the Prinean Sea and remembered that Theresa’s parents would soon be arriving by ship. There were times when he caught the scent of the sea breeze that he half expected the ship carrying them to crest the horizon and for them to be on the deck waving at him.

With a deep breath, he finished his last set of push-ups, stretched, then wrote down the final count.

Three Sets Push-Ups: BEGAN. 150, 150, 150 DONE. TOTAL = 450

He chuckled as he remembered the very first entry he’d ever made recording the number of pushups he could do:

Three Sets of Push-Ups: BEGAN. 9,8,7. DONE. TOTAL=25

Eighteen times as many pushups as when he’d first started doing them. Now, 25 was only a warm up. And these days, his form and technique were perfect: no more shaking and shuddering for him. That was progress.

Next, he turned to Claygon and had him stick his arm out. With a powerful jump, Alex grabbed his golem’s extended arm and used it as a pull up bar to do pull ups to failure. Then, after a longer stretch, he sat down and began to work on force armour.

His progress was going very well.

The spell array was more complicated than for Lesser Force Armour. He compared the difference to how suits of armour were more complex to design and forge depending on how much of the body they covered, and the kind of armour being made. Force armour spells grew more complex with their levels.

It covered more of the body, so it needed a magic circuit to guide mana to more areas around the body. It was also stronger than Lesser Force Armour so it required more mana, which added another level of complexity to it as well. Thankfully, his experience with force magic was helping him progress through the spell faster than he’d expected.

This was good. The extra protection would be nice.

He could hardly wait to progress to the point where he could learn the strongest of the force spells: Greater Force Armour. The second-tier version: ‘Force Armour,’ covered different parts of the body in protective plates of force, but Greater Force Armour completely shielded it in a force mesh that was flexible to the caster, but as hard as steel against attackers. That would be a great spell to tinker with when he finally got there.

But, it wasn’t time to think about that yet.

Alex continued practicing the spell for about an hour, guiding himself through The Mark’s interference and making slow but steady progress in mastering the spell array. At the end of the hour, he paused and made a note in his notebook.

Force Armour Progress 20%—>30%.

Good. Very good.

Putting the notebook away for the time being, he decided to switch to something else. Doing something else for a while let his mind refocus, refreshing his concentration, and allowing him to process what he’d learned.

He tapped his chin, deciding what task would be next.

His eyes slowly drifted to the picnic basket hanging from his forceball, and the urge to lie down in the copse of trees and eat grapes until he nodded off was tempting…but that would be for later.

He could read and memorize his textbooks, especially since he had two to read for Magical Botany, but he was making good progress with them and really felt like doing something different.

Maybe he could work on designs for a while.

He slowly took out a notebook—the last one he’d used when building Claygon—and flipped to the back, stopping on a page with the title:

Selina’s Super Special Awesome Gift

Beneath it were the beginnings of a diagram for a magical device. It was one he’d encountered before, and one he was excited to start building. It was simple enough for him to try enchanting on his own—especially since he’d built Claygon—plus he could get the supplies from Shale’s workshop at a discount.

If things went well, not only would it be a great gift, but it would open the door to more advanced forms of alchemy.

Images of vaults of enchanted items danced through Alex’s head.

Advertisement
A note from UnstoppableJuggernaut

So for the summoning, I was kind of inspired by a bunch of different ways of summoning in different games and books. I kinda wanted to explain the whole 'I summon a demon and sell my soul' type summoning from occult novels all the way to D&D 'Summon Monster I'.

I suppose I could have chosen one method, but I REALLY like summoning. There's something about throwing monsters at bad guys that thrills me. 

Alright, I'll see you all tomorrow


Big thanks to all my readers—I appreciate each and every one of you—and a very special thanks to my patrons on my Patreon

If you want, I'd love it if you boosted me on Top Web Fiction through the following link.

Join us on discord! https://discord.gg/A4M3CzfWBn


Support "Mark of the Fool: A Progression Fantasy"

About the author

UnstoppableJuggernaut

Bio:

Achievements
Comments(78)
Log in to comment
Log In

Log in to comment
Log In