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THE MAGI LETTERS
(Imperial Magic Academy)
(University of New Pasifica)
Perhaps no point of imperial history is as disputed as the brief period following the mysterious reappearance of the Suldan Stones, seventy-five years after their theft by Magi Sedgwick Demestheln in 425 A.I. The return of the Stones was documented when Magi Stephanus Demestheln restored them to the Justicum vaults after they materialized on his doorstep. But whether and how the remarkable events which followed—the assassination of Princess Ameliorene, the restoration of magic to the Shazar Pass, and the reform of magical education—were connected, remained unclear. Later history has attributed the confusion to the political maneuvering of then Head Councilman Master Desiderius Lastra. At the time, however, speculation ran wild. The most popular conspiracy theory described a Nirabian plot to monopolize the magic carpet trade. (This was later discredited as propaganda of the Imperial Carpet Weavers Union.) What truth was known soon became obscured by a rash of highly improbable histories churned out by hacks capitalizing on the political drama.
The personal correspondence contained in this volume was discovered when the Ardaya family papers were donated to the Justicum archives by the last surviving member of that family, Miss Genevieve Ardaya. The letters chronicle the weeks following the Stones’ reappearance, an account which must absolutely overturn all existing historical narratives. Not only are the actions of the principle players clarified, but political and personal motives emerge that were never even guessed by historians. The importance of this volume to even our general understanding of the history of the Imperial Realm cannot be overestimated, and we hope that scholars and laypersons alike will approach it with an open mind.
A number of scholarly aids and other supplemental materials have been appended.
Obvious errors in spelling, punctuation, and usage have been corrected. The inverted ‘g’ then in vogue has been silently amended.
The editors wish to thank the staff of the Justicum archives, the special collections librarians of the University of New Pacifica, Magi Patricia C. Wrede, and Magi Caroline Stevermer.
Letter I (F.M. to C.D.)
Where were you today? I’m dreadfully worried about you and if I don’t receive a reply before sundown, I’ll positively faint! I suppose that would be a good threat but for the fact you know of my personal goal to never, ever faint. Well, I almost gave in today. I was, in fact, wishing I would disappear, but here, I’m getting ahead of myself.
First off, your absence at the council caused quite a little scene. Dear, you did know that all magii were to attend regardless of their skillhouse or social standing. I know you did because we spoke of it, but everyone wanted to attend anyway so when you, of all people, failed to make an appearance, it caused more than a few raised eyebrows (not that that is saying much with all the carefully bored eyebrow raising that goes on at these meetings-bah!).
No one notices whether I come and go, but because you were gone I became the center of attention (my worst nightmare as you well know). And how is this accomplished you ask? How does a mousy girl of little beauty and even less skill get any attention at a social function? Let me explain and I earnestly hope you will cringe on my behalf as the story unfolds.
I arrived just as the meeting began, taking the usual seat in our dark little corner of the council room where we can watch everyone and their petty, but amusing little games of social intrigue. There was little of that going on today as the seriousness of the meeting superseded everything else. All eyes were on the dais as Head Councilman Lastra prepared for his opening remarks and the giving of the pledge. I, too, was intent upon Lastra until I felt a very slight probe hit me from the northwest corner of the room. I looked up suddenly, too suddenly it seems, for I could detect no one. I dismissed it as nerves until another one hit me. It was then that I noticed ‘you know who’ sitting in that section. Of course he wouldn’t condescend to ask me where you were nor would he condescend to speak to you even if you had seen fit to attend, but he was looking for you. And don’t tell me it wasn’t him or that he wasn’t wondering where you were. I may only be third skillhouse, but I do know how to trace a probing spell (which he obviously assumed I could not). And even if I didn’t, he very carefully avoided the gaze I directed at him the remainder of the meeting in my annoying way. Guilty, I say!
The horrible part, though, is that his last probe was so strong it caught me by surprise and you know how exuberant my magic is when I’m surprised! The blocking spell I put up made quite a lot of noise and I think a few sparks even came shooting out of my ears (oh yes, my ears of all places!). Everyone turned to look in my direction and you can guess what color my face turned and stayed for the remainder of the meeting. I blame you for this! (Not really, dearest, and I am terribly worried about you.) What could possibly have made you miss the council? Everyone knows you are in mourning over your grandfather, but they do expect you to attend these things especially to give evidence since it is widely believed that your grandfather’s death was somehow related to the mysterious re-appearance of the Suldan Stones. Without the addition of your testimony, there was little for the council to discuss so we were dismissed with only a few of the usual long and boring lectures on the importance of spell guarding and not taking tea with any trolls (what a notion!) and such.
And now, for the most important reason for my sending you this urgent letter (besides your well-being, of course). I was wearing my blue gown with the long hem and, as usual, did a fair amount of tripping. I tripped over the same young man coming in and going out. He was quite good-looking and I’m hoping it really was the gown’s fault that I fell helplessly into his arms. At least to any onlooker I was completely innocent of duplicity! I still don’t know his name, but he was very polite and actually seemed to enjoy assisting me to my feet (goodness, observe how my imagination runs wild). The main thing is that when I returned home, I found a letter had been placed within my cloak with your name on it! I am enclosing it and hope that you can enlighten me as to its contents. And your whereabouts!
As ever your dearest friend,
*Editors’ Note: Shortly after this period, common usage began to drop the pluralizing ‘i’ of magii. The ensuing confusion caused by having identical spellings for the singular and plural forms eventually led to the official adoption of the stylized “magus” as the singular, although its use was long restricted to the upper classes. Even today, rural areas of the realm retain the identical spellings, to the great confusion of Imperial census takers. For a full etymological explanation detailing the relationship between linguistic change and the reopening of Nirabian trade relations, see Appendix F.
Author's Note: Thank you so much for reading! If you’re enjoying the story, please read the further chapters posted on our blog - www.themagiletters.blogspot.com - and please leave us a note! We love to hear from readers!
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