its not hard to figure out.
|That article is about me, Cyrus Tagma, Auramancer, one of two in the world right now. The other is old, and still goes on adventure, like many of us born with auramancy do. My parents still have not been found. Much to my annoyance. Not that the Cadeauxs aren't nice people, they are what I call gray crayons, not the brightest in the pack.
The Cadeauxs were new bloods. If that term confuses you permit me to explain. After the second wizard war, being a pure blood no longer held weight in the minds of the magical community. Well in North America it no longer did. New families rose to prominence, and called themselves new bloods. I have no idea where they come up with this stuff. Anyway the new bloods, now held more influence than the pure bloods. Everyone agreed the new bloods were just as annoying, as the pure bloods, so in essence nothing changed.
Their daughter was a squib, I guess that is something that causes shame in prominent families. Mariette was enamoured with me and at times that got to be very annoying. Worst of all her parents thought we were a suitable match. Quenton began grooming me to take over his business, which was collecting and selling rare wand materials, and potion ingredients.
I did not mind that at all, in fact he hired someone to train me in muggle fighting arts so I could help him. It was a good thing too, because for a smart guy Quenton did an awful lot of dumb things.
For instance there was the time we came across a sleeping sasquatch, their hairs can be used in wands. They are effective at giving a spell longevity when used as a core. The hairs also are excellent in hair growth potions, and potions that endow strength. You can just imagine how Quenton felt, when the gentle giant broke wind with Quenton standing directly behind it. He took four showers after that.
My personal favourite was when he took me to Brazil to get some ingredients that can only be found in the months of January and December. As it turns out there was a cartel drug operation near where we were. They were not happy they had been discovered, not that I blamed them. After we were caught, he demanded to see their supervisor, and when that didn't work, we both memory wiped them.
Another time we went to the Swiss Alps for these rare flowers that only bloomed in winter. Quenton saw the yodellers, and the alpenhorns. I know what you are thinking, Quenton is about to do something stupid. It should be noted, that yodelling, and blowing the alpenhorn is best done at the top of a mountain, and not the middle. I remember watching him lips pursed ready to blow, and saying,
“Quenton are you sure this is a good idea?” I asked him, I had just turned nine.
Quenton laughed, “The locals say it is an experience”, what came next was not all that surprising in the least.
Quenton blew a long out of tune note, and then proceeded to yodel at the top of his lungs which sounded like, a wounded gazelle getting mauled by a lion. Then there was a distant rumbling that got louder, and louder as time passed. Thankfully as an auramancer my magic was already active, and I do not require a wand. “Protego Inflamari”, I shouted as the snow hitting the shield disintegrated turning into harmless steam.
I was surprised at the strength of the shield, as was Quenton. “I daresay young man you have gotten much stronger. My daughter is lucky is to have such a skilled future husband.
You know those moments in magless movies, and there is that record scratching moment when someone says something off colour? This is one of those moments. “Excuse me?”, I said pretending to have not heard.
Quenton sighed, “Look I do not expect you to understand, but I will not have my daughter marrying some magless idiot. You are a dependable young man with a bright future if you play your cards right. Mariette adores you, and her mother does as well. You work hard without complaint, and you are not cruel to anyone on the estate”
I glared at him, “Mr. Cadeaux are you aware I am only nine, and Marriette may change her mind” I said warning him.
Quenton seemed unconcerned, “She won't” he said promptly ending the discussion.
After Switzerland, Quenton once again proved his stupidity knew no bounds, we were out in the middle of nowhere, near Hudsons Bay Ontario. When we came upon a dog people settlement. They are not to be confused with werewolves, and they are basically humanoid dogs.
Quenton foolishly entered the village thinking they would accept our presence. They are recluses by nature, and still are hunter gatherers. They speak English, and several Algonquin languages. Like centaurs they enjoy divination, and watching the stars, as far as I know Centaurs are welcome among them, humans not so much. We weren't in any danger, but they were very displeased with our presence.
Old Quenton completely ignored the snarls, and dour looks. They were curious about me, especially the pups, who sniffed at me. I formed a small knife out of magical energy, and they all stared in wonder. A rather large husky stared at it, and shouted something to the others. Another husky like dog person came out of a tent, carrying a staff adorned with eagle feathers and a turtle shell.
Quenton looked at me, “Do you see those other feathers woven into her hair, those belong to a thunderbird, I wonder if they....”, Quenton trailed off as the shaman paralyzed him.
The shaman turned her attention to me, “Worry not young one, I only seek to bless you”, she said in a growling voice.
I was lost, “Why?” I asked
The shaman smiled, “Answers are meaningless unless you know how you got them”, was she all she said.
I was taken to sweat lodge to “purify” my body, and then was bathed in sweet grass smoke. The shaman looked at me after all that and said. “May the creator watch over you, and may you become the person you are meant to, may your health ever remain strong, and may your life be filled with the light of your purpose”, she said waving the staff over me.
“What purpose?”, I asked bewildered
The shaman looked at me, “Answers are meaningless unless you know how you got them”, she said.
I was then brought to a strange tent with wood and various wand ingredients. A Scarred looking dog looked at my hands, then at me, and looked at the shaman, who nodded.
The scarred looking dog went to work at first I had no idea what he was doing waving his hands a whole bunch. As the minutes passed I could see the block of walnut slowly but steadily taking the shape of gloves. The shaman pulled out two bottles from her clothes, one had scales, and the other looked like a bit of antler. She handed the items to the scarred dog man, and he put them on top of the block of wood. Once more, he began to wave his hands rapidly, I watched as the material slowly sunk into the wood. When he was done, he hand the gloves made of oak.
The shaman looked at me and said, “These will never wear out, or become too small. They are made specifically for you, and will shock anyone trying to wear them, they will only break under the most extreme magic or disaster”, was all she said.
After that Quenton, and I were escorted to the outskirts of the nearest town. Quenton was determined to see what I saw, but the dog people had already moved. He did however find some scales of a mishipeshu, and was quite pleased with the find.
I noticed several signs depicting a rather ugly looking creature, underneath it said beware the wendigo. I pointed at the sign, “Quenton not that I don't enjoy you dragging me everywhere, but maybe we should get out while the going is good?”, I asked.
Quenton went white, “I encountered one once, got a bit of its fur too, nasty sort of things preying on people till they eat their companions. Not everyone becomes a Wendigo after eating human flesh mind you, it is almost as if they know who will embrace the life given to them”
I never questioned my caretaker further on the matter, mostly because he was genuinely afraid of the damn things.
Back at their mansion, Mariette was as per usual was with her squib friends talking and giggling far to much. My only saving grace was the fact I was not old enough to sign any legal documents. Even as my guardians, marriage agreements could only be signed by people seventeen years of age. For now because I still need more experience to make good my escape, I played the part.
Mariette saw me and jump on me, “You are home safe, and sound, I was so worried about my future husband...”
I pried her off of me, “Is there not any squib boys your age?” I asked her irritated.
Mariette completely ignored my harsh tone, “Oh Cyrus you were the best present dad ever gave me, and mom thinks you are going to be quite the looker when you get older. I have it all planned out....”
I zoned out, I learned to do this fairly early on. Mariettes ten year plan was not only boring in thought, but quite boring to listen to as well. I dreamed about being out in the world having adventures, and doing what I wanted. Quenton from time to time, would run into bounty hunters.
In Canada we have the bounty hunters guild, basically their job is to pick up the slack where the aurors fail. It still is not enough, as winter brings out the worst creatures, from the artic. I applaud the inuit for understanding their territory enough to survive there. The problem is the system is inefficient, and often causes exposure risks.
When Mariette was done talking she kissed me on the cheek, and promptly went back to her friends, “You have to give them attention or else they forget you”, she said in a tone that caused her friends to nod in agreement.
I headed to my room, or at least I was until Kendyl saw me. She was quite pretty for her age and perhaps was the smartest person in the house, which was not saying much for the family to begin with.
She always talked down to me, which was annoying as hell. My experiences with Quenton had aged me beyond my years. I was eager for my body to catch up, so I could get the hell out there.
She hugged me close to her, “Oh and how is the little man doing?”, she asked like a child.
I glared at her, “The same, still annoyed by you, and your daughter”, I said without humour.
Kendyl just laughed, “Your grumpiness is adorable, no wonder Mariette has taken such a shine to you” she said pinching my cheeks.
I just pushed her back, “I am not adorable, and I really do not think anyone paying your husband will appreciate an auramancer taking over his job. I am only tolerated because of him” I said bitterly.
Kendyl sighed, “Cyrus the faster you accept the fact you will be a part of this family the easier it will be on all of us”, she said.
I laughed, “Mrs. Cadeaux, things will get better once you accept the fact your daughter is a squib. She deserves to be happy, not happy doing what she is told” I said, as a matter of fact.
Kendyl glared at me, “Cyrus why do fight your feelings for her?” she asked
I walked away, “This conversation is a complete waste of my time, all of you are probably the by product of inbreeding” I said heading to my room.
Things got weirder as time passed, Mariette began to question if I really liked her. I know she was finally getting the hint. However, much to my dismay she decided of all people, I needed to be loved the most. What I needed was a large stick and five minutes alone with the family to set the record straight.
It was election year, and the candidates were Armand Helios, he was new, and the current minister, Hubert Boot. Hubert boot was a media whore, if it made him look good he was right there smiling for the camera. Helios was much different, and was more of a, I made my choice and I stand by it sort of person. The Cadeauxs backed, the old boot, as he had come to be called. Helios was called the beautiful dreamer, while that sounds nice, it was a stab at his campaign promises.
Helios won, and his first act was to give equality to races, capable of emotions, and being able to contribute to society. This became known as the Helios act, and it made Canada unpopular with other countries. The second thing Helios did was appoint advisors from humans, magical races, and the First Nations, who governed themselves. Armand Helios, said, “We have given equality to races that have been a part of magical society for quite some time. These races have families, capable of love, compassion, empathy, and remorse, is this not what it means to be a person? We cannot call ourselves civilized and continue to treat such people as second class citizens”. The rest of the speech was rather inspiring, he meant every word.
The next speaker was the current leader of First Nations, Chief Lucas Waut Saulk. His last name came from a great and powerful shaman of the Tsleil-waututh. He took the podium and said, “ How can we as a long suffered people, allow the mistreatment of another race to continue? Does healing begin with us becoming like those who mistreat us? Or does it begin with us showing others a better way? I choose a better way, and I stand beside a minister who has chosen a better way”
Benton Forgwell a half goblin, became the first Representative Of Magical Races said, “This is a great day for those of us who struggled for equality. However this equality means we must let go of the past, look to the future, and show the people we deserve to be equal. We must let go of the grudges we hold”
The Cadeauxs were not fond of the Helios Act in the least, and often complained that other magical races were still inferior. I thought the man was inspiring. The wizards of Canada suffer from political apathy like their magless counterparts.
The next few months passed, and Helios was far from done making changes. He implemented the first cooperative action by setting up the defense camps. Basically their job was to watch over the wilderness, to ensure magical creatures stayed in the wilderness. The camps would have extra men dispatched during winter, to ensure the horrors living in the artic, did not expose magic.
The first nations offered some top notch defence magic, and specific wards to plug the holes in the defenses. The magical races offered centaurs, and Leshy to help. The centaurs were scouts and did regualr patrols. They had become less hostile towards humans, mostly because Helios offered them some land with the permission of the magless minister, all he asked was they wear special rings that hid what they were to magless humans. They had no trouble with this. The leshy were forest guardians from Slavic countries, they were adept at manipulating the forest, and became the first line of defence. Helios recruited people with good reputations to man the camps.
I know what you are thinking, what could possibly be so dangerous in the artic there would be a need for such a thing? Well lets start with Polar bears, as the worlds largest bears, they are quite ferocious, and they do not hibernate. When food becomes scarce the travel south in search of it.
Amarocks are a curious thing, and are the Inuit version of the werewolf curse. Amarocks are bigger and stronger than normal werewolves. They are immune to silver, heal faster, and can transform at will. They can be killed by normal weapons, I would advise bringing a group to do so.
If that was not scary enough there are ahkluts, half wolf half killer whale, known for not being picky when it comes to food, they sometimes travel with killer whale pods. Waheela are giant wolves not be confused with amarocks. Wendigo, a giant Walrus type creature whose name escapes me at the moment, and a group of marauders known as the Claw tribe. Not much is known about either.
There are malevolent spirits across Canada as well, though it is believed they may very well be subspecies of dementor. Sharp Elbows have a dementor like appearance, with sharp bone protrusions on theif elbows. The nastier ones have a second face, they live to kill. Baycok are skeletal like creatures with glowing red eyes. My point is for every beautiful creature in Canada there is another, with big fangs looking for an easy meal.
I was determined to join the bounty hunters guild and become a world renowned hunter. Mr. Cadeaux did not like this, “Cyrus when will you have time to do that? You will be taking over my business remember?” He asked
I smirked, “I suppose you are right, but maybe joining leads to rare finds. For instance rare creatures, and potion ingedients”, I said easily appeasing him.
He appeared thoughtful for a moment, and then smiled, “Yes I can see it, added revenue from capture, plus a chance to look for materials while doing so. I wish I had thought of it. Perhaps this Helios fellow is not so bad”
In the mean time my current master said he could not teach me anything further. Quenton decided to up the ante, “Cyrus if you are going to be hunting dangerous people, and creatures. I need to make sure you can get home to your wife and children. I know just the person to help you.
He hired a Tengu name Sakura Musashi. Tengu hail from japan and are magic swordsman, using elemental spells cast from their swords. Tengu come in three flavors, Shogun or leaders, Samurai, or tengu that currently serve someone, and Ronin or tengu that currently serve no one. Tengu do not care who they serve, so as long as the position brings them honor, and because of this they are probationary members of the Helios act. Tengu always ask for fair wages and never more than their worth. It is also unclear how long they live, Sakura said she was eighty, and still young by the standards of her people.
Sakura was a no nonsense sort of teacher, and made sure I paid for my mistakes. She was not unkind, but she brought the reality of battle home. At the end of a particular practice she said, “You grow very quickly Cyrus San, you are most talented for a human”, she said helping me up.
I looked at all my bruises, “I do not feel talented just sore”, I said.
Tengu can be quite humourless, Sakura occasionally would crack a joke, her clan mostly saw her as the funny one. “It has to be painful or else you don't know if its working” she said with a smile.
I glared at her, “Then I must be the pinnacle of progress”, I said sarcastically.
Sakura gave me a stern look, “Your future wife will not appreciate such an attitude”, she said.
I laughed, “I am here long enough to get trained and then I am out”, I said in a determined tone.
Sakura looked at me strangely, “Your parents did not agree to the match?”, she asked bewildered.
“My parents were friends with the Cadeaux family, I was left on their doorstep when I was five. They never said what they were doing, or where they were going. It was the Cadeauxs that wanted the match. I really had no choice in the matter”, I said, my voice filled with venom.
Sakura summoned two chairs, and we sat across from one another, “What do you think of this family?”, she asked
I scoffed, “I think they are mostly gray crayons, not the brightest in the box. Mariette has bought into the life set before her just because she is a squib, the mother pretends she is in control, and the father is going to die from his own stupidity. They have no idea what any of them really wants” I said.
Sakura nodded, “Indeed they are fools, however you could lead them to a better future” she said challenging my point of view. Tengu believe that debate increases ones ability to assess opponents.
I shook my head, “I could, but that could take an entire lifetime. Mariette is a nice girl but she chose to not accept herself as she is. She craves accepetance from her parents, who see her as a doll to give away”, I said quietly
Sakura smiled, “I see, you think even if you lifted her up, she would still crave approval of the parents?”, she asked
I nodded, “I think there is a reasonable chance”, I said
Sakura was silent for a few minutes, “I have reviewed what I know about the young woman, and you are correct. We will train twice as hard, so that you will be ready to face the challenges of being on your own”
Over the course of the next year, Sakura worked me to the bone, but it was worth it. She taught me several fighting stances designed for shield work, which is where I had to live at the time, because I did not know anything about firearms. Sakura abhorred firearms, and said they were the cowards way out of honorable battle.
I went on two more nerve wracking expeditions with my less than intelligent guardian. The first a trip to Egypt to get his hands on some hydrus skins. Hydrus are tiny lizards that eat crocodiles from the inside out. Thus we had to go looking for the deadly beasts of the Nile. Quenton inisisted we get as far away from any city, as we would most likely encounter the hydrus there.
The problem with being in another country is you do not speak the language, and sometimes a sign can look just like a sign that tells you where the nearest town is. Quenton noticed that the further away from the Cairo that we got the less creatures that seemed to be around. Call me crazy, but that was not good, our chances of finding any hydrus had significantly dropped. If we had spoken Egyptian or some other dialect native to the area. We would have seen, “Beware the Blemeyes”.
Blemeyes are odd creatures about nine to ten feet tall and they have no head, their faces are on their chest, and they are hairless. They also have a fond taste for humans. Quenton of course saw their happiness, as them being happy to meet us. When in reality they were quite happy to try an eat us. Yes I know how did he miss that, while being ushered forward at spear point? It wasn't until the cooking fire started did Quenton get the hint.
“Cyrus I think they want to eat us”, he said after a prolonged silence.
I shook my head, “Quenton why are you so stupid?” I asked him
He scowled, “Excuse me young man?”, he asked
“I meant every word Quenton”, I said pausing, “WHY ARE YOU SO STUPID?” I shouted with such force I started to glow briefly. The blemeyes watching left right after.
Quenton sighed, “Cyrus I am aware I do not always do things with intelligence...”
“To put it mildly”, I said bitterly
Quenton gave me a hard look, “Really Cyrus, what gives you the right to judge me, you are an auramancer, I mean really...”, he started to say.
I remember getting angry, and I remember giving Quenton two black eyes, “Yes because while I was in the womb, I thought to myself, how can I make my life as difficult as possible? I know I will become an auarmancer, that way people will hate me outright. Then I can travel around the world with complete moron, who does not have the sense to know when he is in trouble”, I said relenting my attack. Quenton looked hurt after that, and went silent.
A blemeye holding an ornate staff helped us up and walked us out of their camp, and made some kind of gesture, which I took to be an apology of some kind. I looked at Quenton and felt like I had kicked a unicorn foal. I held up a picture of the hydrus, the blemeye nodded and he lead us to the where the hydrus were.
Quenton cried out happily as he went chasing them about. I stared at the blemeye with the staff. Wondering what on earth possessed them to let us go. The blemeye stayed with us for the duration of the gathering. The blemeye watched Quenton, shook its head/torso, then looked at the sky shaking his fist, and said something that I took to be their version of idiot.
I looked up at the creature, I drew a house in the sand, and drew a person pointing at Quenton, and then drew another, pointing at myself. The blemeye said nothing just patted me on the shoulder sympathetically.
The next adventure involved us going into the Congo basin. First off Congo has made great strides in making their country safe for travelers, and I applaud them for the effort. Second there are still some places where armed rebels roam. We had gone in search of some magical plant that grows in the area, its nectar is used in a variety of healing potions.
Unfortunately we ran into a group of armed rebels. I was surprised when Quenton finally proved himself capable of silence. We were not captives for long as we heard gunfire, and then silence. I formed a blade, and burned through the ropes that held us.
We were just about to leave the hut, when a grassy creature with bells on its hands, entered. Quenton looked at me, “Cyrus do you know what that is?” he asked.
I nodded, “Yes I do, its an eloko. We need to get the hell out of here, I have a feeling our captors have made themselves at home in its stomach”, I said just before the eloko began to ring its bells.
Quenton was put to sleep at once, I was unaffected. I would later find out, auramancers have a natural magical distortion field around them, things like charm, sleep, and even the imperius curse have no effect, paralysis lasts half as long. The magical distortion field is also what prevents me from casting magic normally.
The eloko hissed at me, wondering why I was still awake, “I know I am just as surprised as you are. I took up a fighting stance and formed a pair of swords, “Lacarnum inflamari” I said as blade turned red with dancing flames. “So lets make a deal, you leave now, or you die, it is really that simple”
The eloko looked at Quenton and then me, and went off in search of easier prey. I saw no point in killing it. I figured if it stuck to eating rebels, it was not such a bad thing.
When Quenton finally woke up, he looked around, “Why are we still alive?” he asked
I shrugged, “I convinced him to find supper elsewhere”, I said in an unconcerned tone.
Quenton looked worried, “Why didn't you kill it?” he asked
I shrugged, “He ate a bunch of armed rebels, I figure it was doing a public service”, I said as we continued on to find the flowers.
After this adventure, I waited until I turned eleven, before I escaped. I felt conflicted, because I worried that Quenton would go back to being stupid and leave his family in the lurch. I also did not want to be kept around to appease their shame over their squib daughter, who in spite of all her faults was a decent person.
I remember Sakura leading me down a secret passage, “You seem to have mixed feelings about this”, she said observantly.
I nodded, “These people are stupid, and not evil, I am worried they will get themselves in a mess they cannot get out of”, I said feeling weird.
Sakura put her hand on my shoulder, “They stunt your growth as a warrior Cyrus, we revere the auramancer in Japan. They represent the best of both worlds, magic and might, combined into one being. Unfortunately there have not been any in Japan for some time”
I asked her, “How old are you anyway?” I asked her.
Sakura smiled, again a rare occurence for a tengu, “I am not going to tell you” was all she said,
“How is it auramancers are honored in japan?” I asked.
She lit a lantern and said, “Well besides the fact they make good warriors, many grew to be heroes. Like your First Nations, magic was practiced openly, in Japan, it is western influence that causes the humans to forget. When Nobunaga rose to power magical and non magical samurai had to band together, just to stem the tide of his violence, even we chose to lend a hand. He killed men, women and children, a sin even in a warrior culture such as ours” she said.
I had another question, “Are we friends Sensei?”, I asked her
She nodded, “Yes we are, if you were a tengu I would have propositioned a joining, it is out version of a wedding, but since you are human we are friends”
I shook my head, “What is with women and wanting to marry me, I am only eleven”
Sakura stopped, “Cyrus you have greatness in you, and most of all you do not believe yourself superior because of your gender. A rare trait among human males. Do you have any idea how many human males have challenged me because they thought I was weak?”, she asked
I shook my head, “You are joking right? I mean everyone knows, all tengu are trained to fight from a young age. I actually heard cases where some tengu women were feared more than the men”
Sakura nodded, “Precisely, you took heed of what you had heard. I was quite surprised to see you taking me seriously from the outset. To woman this means you will treat her, as an equal in a marriage” she said.
I glared at her, “I am not getting married, I want to become the worlds greatest bounty hunter”, I said.
Sakura laughed, “Love does not discriminate, in the end if love wants to find you it will and you will have no choice in the matter” she said as we hit the cool night air, “She pointed in to a heavily forested area, “Somewhere among those trees is old growth, hurry before the Cadeauxs know you are missing”
Freedom was great, amazing, and awesome. I learned quickly poverty was also free, I was far from being troubled. I had saved up enough galleons to figure out my next move. Luckily for me I was not on the street for more than two weeks, and magical care found me. I just hoped I was not going back to the cadeaux family.