To be a Mage
Ared was nervous, He hated coming into the city. The people, the guards, all of them pressing in. Any of them could notice something off about the tall boy with dark hair and purple eyes. Of course, he wouldn't have come here at all if it weren't for…
“Ared! Ared!”, he sighed and turned towards the two young voices calling his name. Josie and Diania his little sister and her best friend were running across the square towards him.
“Come on Ared! The puppet shows about to start!” They grabbed his hands and pulled him back across the square to the large booth where the puppeteers plied their trade. The puppet show was the real reason that they were in the city today Ared reflected as they found somewhere to sit. Of course, his parents had said that he was “Showing the girls the wonders of Demacia” but he knew that they just didn't want to take the time to come to the puppet show. Not that he could blame them, business had been good lately and the puppet show was deathly boring. The part that Ared hated the most, however, was the story the show always told. It was the founding of Demacia, how his people had escaped from the magical cataclysm known as the Rune Wars and come to their current land where they are protected from the evil magic by the special trees that absorbs all magic. Every time he heard it Ared felt worse. How would people react if they found out his secret? What would his family think? These questions, normally buried deep, surfaced as he watched the puppet show. Suddenly he noticed a blond haired girl watching him from the edge of the crowd. She smiled at him, he smiled back. Suddenly she looked confused than concerned. He looked down at his hands and saw tendrils of darkness leaking from them. He shoved his hands inside his cloak and looked back to the girl, she had seen. He grabbed the girls, “Were leaving.” he pulled them along with him as he moved across the square to the gates of the city. He could feel the girls gaze boring into him and he knew his life would never be the same.
Once Ared had dropped the girls off at home and evaded his parent's questions about why they were home so early he headed to his hideout. His hideout was a place that he had found years ago a place where he could let his secret out. It was a small cave deep in a cliffside, it was only accessible through a small hole in the cliff that was covered by some bushes. Once inside, a maze of tunnels led to the room-sized chamber that was Areds personal heaven. When he arrived he let his pent-up emotions release and with them came the magic. Magic, the word Ared wouldn't even think unless he was in his hideout. Afraid that just the word would somehow awaken the power he kept deep within himself. As he relaxed tendrils of darkness spread from him to fill the room. Ared looked at them with distaste, they seemed to confirm his worst fears, that he was exactly what his people feared. A mage emanating darkness and destruction. In his mind, he asked himself the same question that he had been asking himself since he first discovered his magic, “Why Me?” It was the thought that had plagued him, every night and day, he never had an answer. He thought about the blond haired girl. What had she thought when she had seen the magic within him? Whom had she told? Surely she had reported him to the authorities by now. They would be coming for him he knew he couldn't go back to his family. Either he would have to leave Demacia or the authorities would catch him, drain his magic from him, and banish him to live in the slums outside of the city walls. That was a fate he feared more than any other. He knew that he had to leave Demacia. He sat alone in the darkness and wept. He wept for himself, that this curse had been placed on him. He wept for Demacia, the land he so loved that he could never return to. But most of all he wept for his family, this would crush them, things had finally been looking up for them. His parents were saving for a house in the city and his sister was about to start at the military academy. The knowledge that their oldest child was a mage would put a huge hole in the happiness that had been pervading the household in recent months. Once Ared calmed down he began to collect his things. Over the years he had stashed supplies in his hideout just in case he needed a prolonged stay there, “Or,” he thought to himself “if I needed to run away”. It was an eventuality that he had hoped would never come to pass. But he knew it was his fault, he had lost focus in the square, just for a second, but it had been enough, and now he had to run.
Ared was moving through the forest, he used no lights and shrouded himself in darkness. He knew he was being pursued but by who he did not know. Ared knew the fastest way out of the country was by the Eastern road. It would lead him straight out of the country and into the enemy territory of Noxus. In Noxus his magic would not be rejected but celebrated. But Ared couldn't bring himself to abandon Demacia just to join the ranks of its mightiest enemy. So he was headed south through the forest, through which he could get to the coast and perhaps escape through one of the many coastal towns that dotted the shoreline. The detour had cost him though and he had to resort to the use of magic to hide as he went. Though he didn't know who his pursuers were they knew him, several times throughout the night he had heard his name called from behind. Sometimes near sometimes far but always clear and distinct. Then after a particularly close call, he saw a light. It didn't seem like any light he had seen before. It wasn't the soft flickering of a lantern, nor was it the rough flame of a torch, this light seemed to glitter. It was pure white with flickers of colors at the edges. The most curious thing about it was its glow. It seemed to pulse and move as if it had a life of its own. Despite the warnings, he told himself over and over he began to move towards it. When he came to the edge of the clearing where the light was coming from he gasped aloud. The source of the wondrous light was nothing. There was just a floating orb of light in the center of the clearing with no obvious origin or source. But Ared wasn't alone in the clearing. His gasp alerted the person on the other side of the clearing, It was the blond haired girl from the square. When she caught sight of him she whirled.
“Ared?” she exclaimed, moving across the clearing to him “Is that you?” Hurridly Ared began to retreat, pulling the shadows deeper around himself as he tried to leave the clearing.
“No! Don't go!” the girl was running now. In his haste to get away, Ared tripped backward and fell hard his shadows scattering. Then the girl was there helping him to his feet. “Thank goodness I found you we've been looking everywhere”. Ared hung his head he knew what was coming next. She would arrest him and the fate he feared most would come to pass. She noticed his saddened expression. “What's wrong?
“Arnt you going to arrest me?” he asked resignedly “Because of my magic?”.
“Arrest you? Arrest you? Ared, we want to recruit you!”, the girl laughed and the whole clearing seemed to light up at the sound. Then she reached out to the ball of light. It twisted and streamed towards her outstretched hand before reforming above it. “Arresting you for your magic would be a bit hypocritical. Don't you think?”, she smiled. Ared was at a loss for words “you're... you're a….”
“I'm a mage” she finished. “Most of us are actually”. Then as if by magic the clearing was suddenly full of people.
“Let's start again.” The girl held out her hand, “Hi, I'm Lux, and this is Kahina” she said as a powerful looking woman appeared out of the crowd. Kahina held out her hand and smiled. “Hello, Ared, I'm here to officially offer you a place in the illuminators”.
“The Illuminators?”, Ared was astounded.
“We are the secret group devoted to the defense of Demacia through the use of magic!” Lux said brightly.
“But I thought magic was... You know, bad”. Ared felt lost, his whole world was being flipped upside down and he had not gotten a warning first.
“Magic is a tool,” Kahina said, “and like any other tool, it can be used for both good and evil. You seem to have an aptitude for shadows, but that does not define you. Will your shadows be the soft black that lulls an infant to sleep? Or the harsh darkness that makes grown men scream in terror? It is all up to you”. She held out her hand again. Lux looked hopefully at Ared “So, will you join us? For Demacia?” Ared looked back and forth between them. Slowly a feeling built within him. A hope he had not felt since he discovered his magic. A hope that he could have a place in the country he loved.
“For Demacia,” he said and shook Kahinas hand.