Wizard! Chapter 488
The report on Roque Strnad didn’t have many details. His skin was brown, not the sort of brown a gevai would get but closer to the skin-tone light brown that those from Ustil generally shared- courtesy of his father. He had nubs for horns, but they hadn’t grown in yet. Beyond that, there wasn’t much else to say. There weren’t many other differences between humans and gevai. Eye shape and other features varied among both. It was too early to know if he could inherently see mana like gevai, or whether he had a strong body. His lifespan would also be unclear for quite some time.
William could already anticipate all sorts of negative reactions to his existence. Those humans or gevai who did not like the other would probably call it a crime against nature or something… but people having children was about as natural as things got. At least the test community was made up of those who would be more open to the idea. Perhaps some of them would still be wary of him- maybe they only thought humans and gevai could live in peace, but didn’t agree that they should intermingle. Either way, his very existence was something that people couldn’t deny. Now all that was necessary was a lot of hard work and probably a gross or two of years and people might get along swimmingly.
William knew that making assumptions was a necessary fact of life. Assumptions existed so people could handle situations that weren’t exactly as experience before, but would probably be close enough. Even so, he had to keep an open mind and be willing to change his beliefs when assumptions proved false. Sometimes it was hard… especially when it was so unexpected.
William had spent more time talking to dwarves lately. When he wasn’t busy dealing with other issues, he found he wanted to hear about dwarven culture from their own mouths… and not just through snippets of memory. Those discussions led to magic, and magical formations- though most of the dwarves knew little enough about those. That led him to assume dwarves were like humans, with some able to do magic with the potential of awakening to be able to see mana. It was a logical assumption, but it proved incorrect.
While the dwarves were reluctant to discuss details of magical formations even if they knew more about them- since they had trouble not seeing him as an enemy of their nation, which was probably technically correct- he eventually got in a particular discussion.
“So, do dwarves know about chantless casting? That you don’t actually need a particular chant to use magic?”
“Chanting?” The dwarf he was talking with had a big bushy beard, streaked with grey. “Chanting like… elven magic?”
“Umm… I’m not sure. What is elven magic like?”
“Lots of tossing around fire and lightning, and not so much solid construction.”
“Fire… like this?” William created a small flame like a match above his hand.
“Yeah. That’s elven magic, probably.” The dwarf nodded, “At least, I don’t see anything else that would have created that flame.”
“Of course there’s nothing else. I simply used the surrounding mana to create flame. Do dwarves not do that? You can see mana, after all.”
“We surely can. If the mana’s in a proper place, anyway. Like your staff and robes. Teeming with mana. Just not floating around in the air without a proper container.”
“Wait, so…” William waved his hand around, gathering mana as he talked, “You can’t see free mana? Like this here?”
“I certainly can’t see it, whether you have any or not.” The dwarf’s beard bounced up and down as he talked, “Haven’t heard of a single dwarf who can.”
“So dwarves can’t do magic?”
“We can do magic just fine!” the dwarf retorted loudly, “We have magic to create nearly indestructible fortresses, the best weapons and armor, and much more! Just because we can’t conjure a flame from out of the air-!”
William waved his hand, “Don’t think of me as doubting the skills your people have. I have seen examples of your expert magical engineering. If I were to more carefully choose my words… dwarves can’t use external magic, magic relying on free mana?”
The dwarf nodded, “Elven magic.”
“Except it is also used by humans and gevai, making dwarves somewhat unique in that case.” William leaned closer to the dwarf.
The dwarf leaned back, turning his eyes away. “Umm…”
“Sorry. I was just trying to see if there was something different about your eyes.” William stroked his chin, muttering, “Or maybe brains or quite possibly souls…” After a few moments William looked up, “You’re still here? Thank you for your time. You may go now.”
“Uh… it has been an honor… your majesty.”
William didn’t feel strong sincerity in the dwarves parting words. They were at least a little bit more than just politeness for the sake of not getting killed, which was better than open hostility.
William made his way to the communications center. Along the way several guards scrutinized him as he approached. They knew the face of their king- but they also knew anyone could appear to have his face. If they didn’t look closely, someone skilled in subtle magic might be able to hide the mana making such an appearance. “Good afternoon,” William nodded. Voice was harder to replicate. Using magic to replicate a voice was extremely difficult, because sound was needed to use magic in the first place. It could be maintained for brief periods without chanting or other sound… but only by very skilled people. William’s voice and face and hair movements helped assure the guards of his authenticity- and of course the lack of mana being used.
If he was sending an important message like orders to the army, he had some code phrases that would be included, but those weren’t necessary. He was going to be talking to people who knew his voice and speech habits well. Lorelei, Theo, and Lila would want to know about dwarves not using or even being able to see free mana. Jordan would also want to know, but would either be inside the communications center or nearby for the convenience of coordinating things. William didn’t know if it would be critical information to any of them, but it was certainly interesting and quite possibly useful.