The Return of Magic:
Act 1 - An Intro
It has been millenniums since magic graced the mortal realm with her presence. What was once a driving force behind the advancement of humanity has become a thing of myth and legends. There are no books, no information, and most importantly, no mention of the world that once was. When people think of a mage, they think of magic in a game, a cauldron, and a black cat. When people think about humanity's past, they see the achievements alone, not those who pushed them forward. This is by design. Humankind is filled with fear of those who are different, of those who could wield powers that rivaled the gods. Those without powers hunted those who had them, and before long the last mage died. The hunters thought they had killed off the last of magic, and they figured it would never return.
They were wrong.
Magic has returned to the mortal realm. Her presence is weak but present all the same. This has brought forth a new generation of witches and warlocks. Their powers are weak, their knowledge of their history is non-existent, and their options for advancing their abilities are limited. A question hangs in the air over the heads of each mage. What will they do with their newfound powers?
The answer will be revealed soon enough. Each mage has received an invitation to learn. A mysterious benefactor has offered each one the means to journey to an old mansion tucked away from civilization. It is up to them to decide what to make of this opportunity.
One already has.
A single mage inside a lonely car barrels down the road to her future. And she is having a mental breakdown.
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"In one mile, your destination will be on the left," the GPS shouted, breaking the silence that Alora had grown accustomed to. Her car screamed to a stop as she slammed her foot down on the brake. Her hands gripped the steering wheel with enough force to cause the rubber to squeak in pain. The grip would subside, return, and lose its strength rapidly. Her left hand shot off the wheel, found her right one wrapped around it, and rubbed them together. The car seemed to echo with each breath she took, with each one faster and shallower than the last. She could feel her thoughts follow the rabbit hole into her dark spaces. Was this a scheme to kill her? Would this be someone who sought to hurt her? Could it be her family plotting to permanently cut her out of their lives? Who else would get her to leave her life behind and travel across the country on a whim?
Alora pressed her back into her seat and looked up at the top of her car. After a few tense moments, her breathing started to relax, as did her hands. They flew off the wheel and onto her face, covering her eyes. She rubbed them a few times before she dragged her hands down her face as she let out a muffled "fuck".
"The card worked for a first-class ticket, a hotel, and this fancy car rental," Alora spoke as she rationalized the situation. The invitation that she had received had come with a prepaid card. It was a semi-gloss silver color, with "the benefactor" etched onto the front. It felt fancy, at least it felt fancy to Alora. "I was able to buy breakfast, a coffee, and pay for tolls." She paused as she sat thoughtless for a moment. "If this was my mind going crazy, would the card have worked? Would I be all the way across the country?" Alora pulled her eyes off the roof and looked at the map on her phone. Before continuing her train of thought, a sensation outside the vehicle drew her attention.
A single, brightly colored leaf was floating through the air. It wasn't the first to fall, but it was the first that caught Alora's attention. Alora took a deep breath and reached out to the leaf. She concentrated, closing her eyes as she did, and tried to feel it fall through the air. She could feel a slight, cool rush of air as it floated downwards. Exhaling, she opened her eyes and watched it touch down on the road's asphalt. Alora could feel the rough texture of the pavement beneath as if touching it herself. A quick smile broke and then faded from her face.
Alora knew what she felt. She could feel nature all around her, and her connection to it had only grown stronger since her powers first appeared. This was not some trick that her mind played on her, this was something she could feel, and this was something that she could do. She could not quantify what she was doing nor explain how she could do it, but it was true to her nonetheless.
Above, she could even feel the weakness between the leaves and the branches they were connected to. It would take a slight breeze to dislodge them and bring them down. Or a tug. Alora rolled down the car window and crossed her arms on the door. She pushed her head out while her attention shot skyward. She focused on the connection between the leaves and the trees and pulled. At first, the leaves did not move; they stood their ground and refused her command. Alora, unphased, raised one hand palm open and slowly began to close it to form a fist. She took a deep breath and slowly pulled her hand down. Above, the branches and leaves attached began to obey. In a quick motion, Alora ripped her hand down, and with it, the canopy gave way.
A torrent of color descended from above. While the pull motion was sudden and powerful, the fall was gentle and peaceful. Alora could feel the sensation of the descent all around her. She felt the cold and brisk air rushing alongside the leaves in front, behind, and to her side. It was intoxicating. The rough texture of the ground was the only thing to break her free from staying in that moment.
"This is real," Anora whispered. Alora pulled herself into the driver's seat and placed a hand on her shifter. In a quick motion, she was back in drive, and her foot was on the gas. As the car lurched forward, the radio began to play a fitting but an oddly specific song.
She had questions that needed answers. She eventually turned into a long, windy driveway. The driveway was lined with trees and bushes that had long since died. It took five minutes of driving before she arrived at the decrepit mansion. Her eyes darted from the ruined roof to the desecrated porch and back to a massive dead tree resting on the house's side. To Alora, this indicated that this place had not been inhabited for a long time. Alora could not help but shake that someone, or something, was watching her from the house. The more she thought, the more it felt like the house was watching her.
Against her better judgment, Alora exited her vehicle and headed toward the door. She did not know what was ahead of her or her future. She knew that she had these powers, and someone was going to explain what they were and why she had them.
As the rest of the new mages arrive, they will notice many of the same things Alora did. From the broken house to the tree on the side and the unnerving presence that beckons them inside. Whoever this mysterious benefactor is, he certainly has an affinity for horror. The location itself indicates this. However, what he has in store for this group is anything but known. Will this benefactor keep up his end of the bargain and offer to train these wielders of magic? Or does he have some nefarious plan in store for the party?
The party is at a crossroads, and they must choose which direction to go. Shall they travel down the road less traveled and head towards a more magical future? Or will they follow the path they have always traveled and forgo their destiny? Will they even have a choice?