The border between Othius and Dalgare had undergone many fluctuations in recent times. Now that they were both under control of the area again, it had returned to more or less how it was before. That included the ability to easily pass from one country to the other.
In his current position, Emerich had little to do with the details of passage between countries. He was just relieved that the Scoubarrans had been removed from both countries, though not without great cost. Now he had been promoted to a position he didn’t want and wasn’t qualified for. At least he had Mariana to assist him as… his apprentice? Though that would imply he was better than an apprentice wizard himself. There were a few more powerful mages that had come out of the woodwork in Othius, but Emerich already worked for the country, and had good relations with the fey. So he was bringing along with himself Redbark, the son of the Mayor of Heartwood, the first fey village he’d actually found.
Redbark was half human, and had learned Othian from his parents. He was going along as an expert on magic… as much as anyone in Othius, at least. The way fey spoke and the way wizards crafted spells were quite different, and with their assistance Emerich had found himself slightly more learned… if still inexperienced in both ways of using magic.
The current trip was to hopefully learn more. Dalgare had a few wizards remaining. Specifically, men with their tongues cut out. Emerich thought that precluded them from being able to use magic, but apparently they still could. That was quite an impressive feat… and something he would be interested in learning, if they would share. Bryria had more mages, but they were a slightly further neighbor… and less positively inclined towards Othius. Dalgare and Othius shared more recent trouble with Scoubar, at least. Perhaps eventually Emerich would find himself in Bryria, but for the moment he would go to Dalgare.
The trip to Rido was much more pleasant than his last visit to Dalgare, darting along backroads and entirely off roads to avoid Scoubarran troops. Despite the damage that had occurred from the Scoubarran occupation and then the revolt, Rido was still more prosperous than any city in Othius.
The mansion that Emerich was directed to radiated magic. With his limited abilities he couldn’t determine exactly what, but he doubted there would be danger. The group was directed to a sitting room, which had a pair consisting of a traditional guard with equipment fit for a soldier… as well as a mage of some sort. Again, Emerich could feel the magic but not determine its secrets.
As two figures entered the room, they were announced by the translator. “Mage-Councilor Allegri and Senior Mage Lynwood.” In turn, their contingent was also announced… though none of them had impressive titles. Then again, that was basically why they had come to begin with. Othius had removed from themselves their magical traditions long before, so even though much of Dalgare’s magic had been lost they still had much more.
Emerich wasn’t skilled in the ways of diplomacy, but after waiting a moment he supposed he should be the one to speak first. If he was wrong… well, he couldn’t be blamed. He was just supposed to be a scout. “Greetings, Mage-Councilor and Senior Mage.” He tried to remember what sort of things people did in diplomatic situations. Complements were good. “I sense the great magic around you two, and around this magnificent building.” There was a look on their faces. Had he said something wrong?
Fortunately, it developed into a smile on Mage-Councilor Allegri’s face. “Most of the magical enchantments on this place were placed by Scoubar. It’s the only half-decent thing they left behind.” Maybe that wasn’t a real smile. “As for the two of us, we would not traditionally be considered very strong.”
Emerich suppressed a grimace. “Nonetheless, your power is much more significant than most of what we have in Othius. The fey have their own magics,” he inclined his head to Redbark, “But it is not something so easily learned or harnessed by humans.”
The one called Senior Mage Lynwood wrote a response down on a slab of slate that had been polished to perfection. He held it up for the translator, who rendered the text into Othian. “I have heard that is the case. It requires much talent for non-fey to achieve a high level of proficiency in the language of magic.”
Emerich nodded his head. “It is quite unfortunate that for the past generations Othius has not been open to magic. But that is what we come here to rectify. We were hoping you could share your knowledge of wizardly magic with Othius. While it is not as directly of use for a wizard, the fey still have much knowledge about the workings of magic that comes to them naturally. We might offer an exchange of knowledge and work together to improve both our countries.” Some of the lines he’d been practicing in his head. He stumbled some of them out… but hopefully the translator would fix that and it wouldn’t be too obvious. He really hated that he couldn’t just say what he really meant. All they had was a few hidden books and the knowledge of the fey, and they could pay some money for Dalgare to help them… but he couldn’t throw that all on the table. Why did all of the diplomats have to be busy? There were even some in Dalgare, but they were doing ‘more important’ things. Not that they understood enough about magic to make good deals, but if he could have one of them talk for him…he sighed internally. This was really just an afterthought on the other negotiations. Othius was still in the habit of devaluing or villainizing magic.
It was obvious to Xavier that the mage from Othius was inexperienced in magic and diplomacy. The first was expected, of course. Othius had a long history of disliking mages of all sorts. Frankly, he was quite willing to just share knowledge. However, he was aware that Dalgare expected him to look out for their own benefit given his position. Each side had things they were willing to offer, and they just had to figure out what the value of those was. He wondered if he should direct them to Secure Vantage. Certainly not without consulting those there. He wasn’t so knowledgeable about their affairs to know if the fey who lived there had some sort of ideological split with those from Othius. It would have been recent, but that would be even more reason to be concerned about it.
If Douglas was around, he would have begun teaching the man in front of them magic before Emerich could even open his mouth. At least, if he judged him to be a decent person. So far that hadn’t been an issue, and Douglas had amassed enough personal power that he could withstand a failure or two in that regard. Lucy was a bit more cautious… but she would also be able to provide more for Othius. Xavier wasn’t going to bring that up immediately, but perhaps he could take the chance to set up a coalition of wizards. Secure Vantage might be brought into the picture eventually, and they had the most knowledge- with a section of the Endless Library- but they also valued their independence. It was likely once their presence was known that some of the surrounding countries would try to make them beholden to their authority. They needed a bit more time to be able to stand on their own. It was unlikely Secure Vantage would actually fall… but only because Douglas would probably do something extreme. He had no desire to find out what that might be.
“I do believe we have spoken for long enough for today about details and plans,” Janette said. “Though we might move on to discussions of an actual magical nature. It would be important for us to know what Othius can actually do with magic so that we might plan how this arrangement could best benefit us both.”
Xavier smiled. Janette hadn’t chosen to be in a position of authority more than he had. She was just the former mistress of the Scoubarran governor, so she’d been forced into some high society meetings… and she was also one of the most powerful mages that Dalgare had. It was a short list, but even Xavier would like the chance to stretch his legs and perform a little bit of magic.
They found their way out through the back gardens to a magical training field. Mostly it had wards around it to prevent spells from flying out and destroying the rest of the house. Janette demonstrated some of her own magic- as a sorceress, her options were limited. She might eventually be able to learn some wizardly magic, but access to fey speaking the language of magic directly might be better. Xavier couldn’t help her with that, for obvious reasons.
The young mage Emerich had a wonderful expression when Xavier demonstrated silent magic. It was already well enough known that Dalgare had access to such magic, and demonstrating it wouldn’t give anything away. Or if it did… the young man would have been able to figure it out later on his own.
Emerich demonstrated his own spells. “I’m sorry they are so crude…” he said, “I had access to few resources.” Xavier agreed with him to some degree, but as Emerich demonstrated some explosive wards he found that while the grammar available to Emerich was limited, he’d done quite an excellent job making use of it. Words wrapped around on themselves to make up for other insufficiencies. His actual power was a bit weak, but more practice should help with that. Before the past year or so, his magic practice would have needed to be secret.
They would be sharing magic formally soon enough. Xavier understood that magic could be dangerous- but those like Scoubar who were most dangerous already had knowledge of magic. Thus, it made little difference if others knew more magic… and Othius and Dalgare were extremely unlikely to go to war with each other. There had been little conflict in the past, and at the current time both just wished to recover. A formal alliance wouldn’t hurt either.