At The Beaches of Nondras

"Is it true?" He asked, his face contorting into a grim frown.

"I'm afraid it is, Master Alejandros. Several Gernen soldiers are dead, as are several of our own guard." The young acolyte's face was pale, but fierce. "There is something more, Master. I fully intend to enlist, which means I will have to leave my studies behind." His face once again flashed, this time uncertainty clearly visible.

"It is not my place to doubt your actions, but as your teacher I ask you to heed my words. Consider your actions carefully, you must not forget that our own work is of the highest importance, and you must consider where your talents may be most fruitful to our government. If there is to be war, where will your talents shine?" Alejandros attempted a quick smile though it faded soon enough.

"You are too kind, Master, but I must serve. I will not stand by while my homeland is invaded..." he trailed off, still deep in thought.

"War is still not certain, Jaxon. Remember that." The acolyte nodded dully, and quickly disappeared through the doorway and into the hall. Alejandros turned back toward his study, quickly shifting through the countless pages of notes that lay before him. His mind was racing. Time was no longer on his side, blood had been spilled. Soon the Onoradas Alliance and its council will come seeking progress on his work. The exhausted Elf however, still needed more time.

Only a week had passed before he had his grandest breakthrough. Having concentrated all of the manipulative energies of the world, he now had complete control over the element of fire. With the help of a curious Elf centuries ago and years of his own research and that of his students had finally come to fruition.

However, as fate would have it the Onoradas Alliance, a coalition of Elven kingdoms from all of the north-western lands of his his continent, had finally ceased diplomatic talks with the Gernen Empire, which stretched over a vast continent across the ocean. They were unlike the Elves, But just as ancient. They were a rather strange looking race, reptilian in their features yet not so, as their blood ran warm unlike their seeming cousins. Some are feathered, and old and wizened are their people. It seemed though, that now the two peoples would be enemies.

It was early morning, and Alejandros had received the expected summons after the dire news had broken. It was still dark out when the Scholar took his first steps out into streets of Markus, the grand city and crown jewel of the Onoradas Alliance. If war where to come to these lands there would be no better fortified city than this one.

The grand old city sat in the traditional lands of Elves, far from the disputed beaches of Nondras, where trouble has as of late begun to brew. Beyond its perimeter and all around it are the ancient trees of the forest of Ever-Baum. The city itself was designed to resist siege; in ancient times it had erected a grand wall of enchanted marble, which had repelled the advance of the disgruntled south Elf, as they are know around these parts, during the Scourging of Ever-Baum.

Within the walled city is a myriad of streets, shops and personal dwellings, all sprawled around a grand square, where the lively smells and sounds of the market place come to life each morning. To the north west of the city is the palace grounds of Markus, where the fifth King of the Mark-lands dwells. And at the northernmost point of the grand Jewel, not far from the Palace lies the destination of Master Alejandros, the Council of the Oronadas.

Quickly he walked along the stone path through the solemn market place, and toward the court of the Council. They would be expecting him and he was as late as ever, he mused, as he let out a few chill breaths and continued on. As he walked along he could see how quickly the news of war had spread, the familiar faces where now changed to frightened looks, gaunt and unfriendly. His footsteps landed heavily upon the stone, emanating a racket of noise that cut deeply into the alien silence of the typically bustling city square. Shifting eyes descended upon the mystic, their whispers of doom rushed him along. They knew by his pomp garb his official purpose.

The sky began to break into a steady dull blue as the morning wore on. Alejandros bound his loose cloak tightly around himself. At the footsteps at last, he thought to himself, as he continued up the steep, broad stairway that lead to the Council chambers. Finally at the pinnacle, he entered the opened, arched doorway into a gloomy hall within. Beyond this hall lit with dim candles, was the grand chamber. Here, the ambiance changed completely.

The grand chamber was well lit, large and circular in shape. Up above him, a ceiling so high he could see nothing but darkness beyond. Before him, where the seven council members sitting atop their wooden high benches, all looking with their expectant eyes upon Alejandros.

With a sudden stir, the center Councilman spoke. "Thank you for coming on such short notice. It is unfortunate that we had to call upon you before the full remainder of your allotted research time was complete, but these are dire times, and we are in the process of re-allocating funding toward promising undertakings."

At that moment, the first Councilman broke in. "However, we are under the impression that you have had some recent developments in your research?"

Alejandros began to pace. "Yes Councilman, indeed I have. As you all know, for quite a few years now my Pupils and I have been developing a capable weapon that of which no know nation has ever seen." Alejandros stopped short, a smile slowly growing across his deceptively youthful face as he witnessed the eyes of the Council widen. "Continuing upon the findings of my predecessor, the late Master Ermentrud, I have discovered a way in which I can manipulate the strange energies often used by our skilled neighbors to the east, and apply them in a radically different manner."

"Simple Dwarven enchantments? Is this what you propose we continue to fund?" said the seventh councilman, who had been sitting quietly for some time. "I find it difficult to justify this type of expenditure..." trailed off the furrowed Councilman, a distinct malaise in his voice.

"Of course not, Councilman Gert. If I am allowed to continue," said Alejandros, looking sternly upon the ill-tempered Gert, who made no further movements yet was visibly irritated. "Fire is among the most dangerous elements know to our kind. It is also comparatively easy to imagine. It is simple and effective. Therefore I have been able to conjure the energy typically used to enchant our sacred objects and use it to bring forth controlled, destructive force!"

"This is all well and good, but we have other weapons that utilize flame for war, Instructor Alejandros. Perhaps a demonstration, or is it still not ready?" Said Gert, the malice in his voice nearly spilling into unbridled contempt.

"I thought you would never ask. Witness flame enslaved!" Announced Alejandros, in full grin. A few moments passed, as Alejandros stood in the middle of the chamber, in deep concentration. Long moments passed, and the Council looked on, confused yet wary. Suddenly, the room came to life, wild flame erupting and licking at the heels of the Mystic, growing larger and more powerful, threating to consume not just the Scholar but the entirety of the chamber. From his hands erupted bolts of flame, smashing upon walls with terrible fury. The council looked upon the fire in horror, humbled by its power. To them, it was like Magic.