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Exiled to the Couch
Omake Fic: Either That or Get a Different Bird
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Omake Fic: Either That or Get a Different Bird
The spring rains, Lillet Blan thought, might have brought the promise of rebirth and renewal for the land with them, but in the capital they were just as gray and dismal as those that fell in autumn. The downpour hammered on the pointed roof of the tower room like thunder, to the point that had there been any actual thunder it might well have been drowned out. Chilly drafts blew in the open windows, and occasionally sprays of water accompanied a particularly forceful gust.
"I appreciate your spending the time to hear me out on this, Mage Consul," Lillet's gray-bearded companion said. Royal Magician Lans Aquavit certainly looked the part of a wizard, with his steeple hat and long robe festooned with astrological charms, though his broad-shouldered build and square, hard features always gave Lillet the impression that he was a soldier or laborer dressed up as a magician for a masquerade.
"Not at all. The idea of using magical familiars to convey messages over long distances, much faster than the mail coaches or a courier could be very useful. Not only would it benefit people, but if it ever became within the reach of less skill magicians it would be the kind of thing that would allow magic to start taking its place as an ordinary craft in society, an accepted part of mundane life."
Aquavit stroked his beard, thinking that over.
"I hadn't quite thought of it that way, but you've got a good point. Of course, this particular Rune is a little beyond the average hedge-wizard's level of ability, but the general principles."
"And even at that level it could still be of service to the government, for urgent diplomatic or military communications. Or to merchant houses and joint-stock companies. Knowing the market prices in Albion or Lusatia might be the difference between rich profits and heavy losses."
"That it could." He said it heavily, probably because he hadn't thought of the
of messages people would send with his idea. As a role, magicians tended to be scholars and introverts, for whom social and political considerations were afterthoughts. Lillet herself had been that way, something her commoner origins hadn't helped, but her time as a Royal Magician had proven to be quite an education. She still wasn't comfortable with her present role as Mage Consul, but then again who would be? "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown," and all that, which she supposed applied to ministers of said crowned head's Grand Council as well.
Thankfully, Aquavit distracted her from those thoughts before they started becoming depressing.
"Ha! There it is," he cried, and pointed out one of the windows. At first Lillet saw nothing, but then caught sight of a spark of orange light. It rapidly grew nearer, until with a flutter of wings a large bird rushed through the open aperture and settled neatly on a perch fixed near the room's center. It looked much like a large bird of prey like the gyrfalcon in the royal mews, but its plumage was a fantastic riot of reds and oranges shading through brilliant blues and pure whites. It was the various colors of flame, the hottest hues near its breast shading to the coldest by its wing-tips.
Ordinarily, the phoenix would have looked magnificent, but the rain had taken its toll, leaving it a mass of bedraggled, sodden feathers.
"Poor thing; it looks like a drowned rat," Lillet sympathized.
"Do not worry; the message pouch is of oilskin to keep it safe." Aquavit pointed to the band on the phoenix's leg and the shiny, dark material of the small packet affixed to it.
"That's good, but is the bird all right?"
The phoenix shifted on its perch, then flapped its wings twice. Incandescent fire roared up, wreathing the bird and flowing over its body, sending plumes of steam hissing into the air. The flames vanished, and the now perfectly dry creature settled back and preened.
Ashes trickled down over the perch and drifted like snowflakes to the floor. The two magicians stared speechlessly for a moment, before Lillet found her voice.
"I think before you try this again, you should figure out a way to also make the pouch fireproof."
~X X X~
A/N: If you've ever seen an adolescent eagle after a rainstorm, then you know just how pathetic one can seem!
heehee well, at least killing the messenger would be a bit more challenging if said messenger was a pheonix...
Fuyu no Sora
Seeing as Lillet's entire house is actually fireproof since she has dragons in the stables, methinks she could be nice and give the spell to Master Aquavit.
Although I have to wonder: Out of all bird-familiars he could have summoned, why did he pick a
? For a master magician that was a bit shortsighted (though very funny)!
Now posted as July's
Tome of Eldritch Omake
entry! Man, for a slightly-over-700-word story, there were a
of typos in there!?
Incidentally, Sora, the reason to use a phoenix is partly from speed (magical bird flying faster), the need for the familiar in question to be both summonable (and hence controllable over a functionally infinite time period...though some kind of "animal control" glamour magic might be workable, it's an open question of whether it would work for the time periods and distances needed) and of animal intelligence (...can you see a fairy playing messenger over hundreds of miles when you can barely get them to stay in one place on a single battlefield?), and as yui pointed out, hard to kill (which, ultimately, is the problem with carrier pigeons, not that I'm sure that
's setting even has carrier pigeons) and intercept the message. Now if only they could work out the details...
(...which actually shouldn't be that tough; if Lillet can work out wards that keep her daughter's barghest from accidentally burning down the house, fireproofing a message container should be workable, so long as the ward doesn't just prevent the container from igniting but also stops it from transferring the heat to the message inside.)
fireproofing a message container should be workable, so long as the ward doesn't just prevent the container from igniting but also stops it from transferring the heat to the message inside.
Can I just say that I love that the people here overthink things
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