You stand in a circle of blinding light. The marble floor, worn
by the movement of countless feet, decorated by arcane patterns
of runes, is one you have seen many times before. It is that of
the tower of the Grand-Mages, the highest point of Talras, the
land of your birth. But Talras is not to be seen; outside the
illuminated circle is only a swirling darkness, a void whose presence
is absence. Ghostly figures appear in the corners of your vision,
hands outstretched towards the darkness as if holding it back,
but when you turn to look at them, they fade away. All, that is,
but one. It steps forwards into the light, its spectral form gaining
eerie solidity, its whispered voice rising. You recognise the
Grand-Mage's robe and lined face of your mentor, Theodoros.
|Artwork © John Blanche|
closely," he says, his face contorted by tremendous effort, "for
there is but little time. You must reach Novgard soon and lead
an army to the World-Flame. At first we thought that the death
of the Northern World-Flame did not affect ours, but we were wrong.
Everywhere the other World-Flames are fading, despite all our
efforts". Your blood chills, the extinction of the World-Flames
would plunge the Earth back into the chaos of its formation; an
event that civilisation would be unlikely to survive.
you reply, "it pains me to deliver this news, but my way north
is barred. The Necromancer has besieged the city; I can neither
reach it nor cross the Geirskon."
Theodoros' grimace deepens,
but his expression is of resolve rather than despair. "We planned
for this eventuality. It is said that there is a secret passage
into Novgard, created by the first of the Innshelmin Kings so
that if the city fell he could escape to safety. During Talras's
war with Innshelm an agent of ours claimed he had discovered its
entrance. He was executed before he could return to us, but he
did send us this message: Look to the path of Wisdom, for it shall
guide you into the city. I am afraid this is all I know."
notice that the circle of light has contracted. The darkness outside
it seems to move, probing for weaknesses, pressing inwards. Theodoros
has seen it too; he clenches his hands into fists and furrows
his brow in concentration. For the briefest of moments the darkness
recedes, the tide crashing against the sea-wall. But then it rushes
inwards, faster than before. Theodoros reaches out a tremulous
hand towards you, and is ripped apart by the hungry void.
You startle awake, banging your head against the overhanging roots
of the small hollow you have been sleeping in. Your camp is bathed
in the soft grey light of dawn - and by a blazing star on your
chest, the Beacon-Stone. Perhaps thanks to its proximity to the
World-Flame, perhaps thanks to the blessings of the Gods, the
small shard of dull crystal thrums with heretofore hidden power,
scorching your chest. Then the light dims, fading as quickly as
You are a Sorcerer, one of the finest to have ever been trained
at the Mages' College in Talras. As a result you are able to
perform a wide range of spells; each spell has different effects
and different strengths and weaknesses that come with it. Although
these are often easily deduced from the spells name, it may be
worth becoming acquainted with them below:
INFERNO - creates two fireballs, one in each hand.
Once the fire leaves your hands it may spread and damage you in the
process (requires 4 STAMINA).
FORCE - summons a powerful wind which you may direct
at your enemies. This is perhaps your most powerful spell, but its
usefulness against groups of enemies means that it may also be
dangerous to allies (requires 5 STAMINA).
ENERGY - enables you to shoot a bolt of lightning at
an opponent. This bolt will be conducted through water in a similar
way to electricity (requires 4 STAMINA).
SHIELD - creates a magical shield around your arm,
protecting you from your opponents' attacks (requires 2 STAMINA).
UNLOCK - will unlock any non-enchanted devices
(requires 1 STAMINA).
REVEAL - allows you to perceive the mental states of
those around you, it is analogous to telepathy (requires 2 STAMINA).
LEVITATE - will make small objects move or hover for
long periods of time and large objects for much shorter periods of
time (requires 2 STAMINA).
LEXICON - translates languages and writing which you
cannot understand (requires 1 STAMINA).
SECLUSION - forms an invisible barrier (which may be
small or large) through which sounds and smells cannot penetrate
(requires 2 STAMINA).
DISSONANCE - causes its subject(s) to become dismayed and
depressed, it works best on one target and diminishes in its effects
based on how many you do target (requires 3 STAMINA).
CAPTIVATE - creates an illusion based on what it is that
the subject wants to appear, for example casting it on a merchant may
produce the illusion of gold coins. Be aware that this illusion is
strictly mental, and will not be apparent to those who are not under
the influence of the spell (requires 3 STAMINA).
IMPASSION - inflames the subject's violent and energetic
tendencies, for example it may be used to start a fight. It is more
effective the smaller the number of creatures targeted, and the less
intelligent those creatures are (requires 3 STAMINA).
In addition to the above spells, which readers of
A Shadow In The North
will have already encountered, your exposure to the magical
energy of the Beacon-Stone has unlocked magic previously dormant
within you; including a number of powerful spells...
SHIFT - teleports you short distances (costs 3
DISPEL - removes enchantments. The weaker the
enchantment, the better this spell will work against it (costs 3
ENSNARE - causes vines and roots to attack an enemy of
your choice. This spell only works when the enemy in question is
standing on dirt (or something else which plants may grow from)
(costs 3 STAMINA).
EMPOWER - gives you incredible strength for short
periods of time (costs 5 STAMINA)
WITHER - rots and destroys the flesh of an opponent.
It is ineffective against the undead (costs 4 STAMINA).
REFLEX - endows you with prodigious speed for short
periods of time (costs 3 STAMINA).
IRONHIDE - makes your skin as hard as iron for
several minutes, giving you a natural layer of armour. Note that
although this is especially effective against bladed weapons,
impact-based weapons (such as hammers) will be just as effective
as before (costs 3 STAMINA).
FARSIGHT - gives you the ability to dislocate your
perception of sight from your body (e.g. enabling you to see as
though you were above the treetops when you are actually on the
forest floor). This spell doesn't enable you to see through
objects (costs 3 STAMINA).
NIGHTSIGHT - enables you to see in the dark for a
prolonged period of time. Bright light will blind you until the
spell ends (Costs 2 STAMINA).
WILD-CALL - summons unintelligent creatures to do
your bidding. Beware that this spell will not affect intelligent
animals, or those that are already ill-disposed towards you.
(Costs 4 STAMINA).
You start armed with a sword, but you may acquire other
weapons later. As usual, you can choose the one that you will use in
battle by selecting in the list of possessions and clicking on USE.