The Sorcerers' Cycle
The world of Avalon lives under an unyielding prophecy. As long as intelligent beings can sense and wield the magical powers of the aether, the miraculous energy of the gods that grant mortal beings a mere sliver of their power, then the cycle will continue.
As long as the aether flows, there will rise a congregation of sorcerers taken by the dark powers, united in vision and purpose to upheave and reshape civilization. With their rise, dynasties end.
-- Lord Cairn Christian
King Friedrich Vahlen, third of his name, has stopped at nothing to see the recurrent devastation come to a close. Yet his people resent him. The once-great elven kingdoms of the forests and plains were savagely annihilated half a century ago at the dawn of Johann Vahlen’s reign, and his sights settled on the dwarven people’s of the Siegfried Mountains soon after when the cut off his supply of war gear in protest. They eventually sealed themselves away within their mountain fortresses to avoid a similar fate. The cost of that war was placed squarely on the shoulders of the citizenry as it was a war “for their protection.” Taxes and high demands on the tradesmen of the Vahlens’ kingdom that have not subsided. Now they pay for the tyrannical hunt for any man, woman, or child brave or foolish enough to explore the mystical powers of the aether that are soon to be a relic of a bygone age. Friedrich’s Royal Inquisition listens around every corner and pounces without mercy on those caught.
Now the fifth incarnation of the Sorcerers’ Cycle is upon the world. The Kingdom of Man is poised to finally crush the sorcerers’ rise once and for all. The only obstacle remaining is to find them among the populous. But a rumor is spreading throughout the kingdom: This incarnation of the cycle could undo much of what the Vahlen family has done in its long and bloody tenure; that the races of Avalon long thought extinguished would return to save humanity from its grim fate, whether they deserved it or not. But first the aspiring sorcerers would have to escape the insidious talons of the Royal Inquisition.Who are you?
You are no one. A commoner, a tradesman perhaps, no one the kingdom would ever really care about as an individual, for now. By a convenient happenstance, dumb luck, or maybe fate, you found something from the sacred library of the old mage’s academy. Most people would rip it to pieces, burn it even. The possession of just a page from an old spellcraft text would have a mere commoner staring down an Inquisitor’s blade. Yet you keep it hidden instead of doing the sensible thing and destroying it. Perhaps given time, you can learn something from it. Prophecy works in mysterious ways, and it is nothing if not relentless. You are now a part of the Sorcerers’ Cycle.What can you do?
It takes months of study, practice, discipline, and a clear and focused mind to practice even the simplest techniques when conjuring aetheric power in its purest, cleanest form. It takes less than ten minutes and some frustration for a desperate soul to summon power beyond description. The power of the aether is bent and shaped by the willpower of the wielder, but is attracted to and colored by the emotions of its host. This is the danger of the aether’s multifaceted nature. Even an amateur will realize that strong emotion seemingly amplifies their power, and that power feels good. Without formal training, most self-taught magic wielders fall into the trap that is the darker form of aetheric energy, and everyone who wields it is invariably twisted and consumed by the emotions they feed it with, by unrelenting powerlust, or are destroyed by the raw power they cannot hope to contain.
The magical possibilities of channeling the aether are as limitless as the imagination of the wielder. Given enough willpower and aetherial energy to make it so, anything is possible. A great and powerful fighter can defeat dozens of opponents and slay any beast living or undead, but a great and powerful mage can level whole cities in seconds. The capability of a wouldbe sorcerer is limited only by what they can will to happen, and how much power they can channel and contain within themself without being ripped apart.What happens now?
It is only a matter of time before Vahlen’s inquisitors find you. They seemingly smell the magic emanating from those who channel aetherial power. Some believe the ancient knowledge of the old academy has been given to the Royal Inquisition to aid in their hunt. Some even believe the mage academy is not shut down but instead trains inquisitors in the ways of magic for themselves. No one dares speak such heresies aloud.
You must avoid the bloodhounds for as long as you can. Whether with dangerously intoxicating power, or with steel of your choice, you must prepare yourself to fight for your life. Sooner or later, you will need to. It will take all of your practiced skills, and no small amount of luck to survive and escape. How far are you willing to go when everything is on the line? Where will you draw the line?