Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Microstory 1238: Madoc Raptis

While the tyrant, Smith always recognized the potential in the first newborn children of Durus, no one truly understood their power until they were much older. While in womb, they seemed to possess deflective capabilities when it came to the monsters, but this hardly extended beyond protecting their mothers from attack, and that was presumed to be mostly about protecting themselves. Once they were old enough, the people of what was formerly Springfield, Kansas discovered that the children had the ability to give other people time powers. Later, these gifts would be decided according to a formal competition known as the mage games, but the precursor to this tradition came in the form of smaller challenges, and the occasional personal favor. Shortly after Madoc Raptis first accidentally gave his cousin the ability to distort other people’s perception of the flow of time, the source mages found out that they could give each other powers as well. There was a limit to what powers they could possess, and the more they accumulated, the less effective they were at each one of them, but it still increased their social power in the new world. The source mages could exchange their powers for new ones at will, but they each had to work to see which power, or powers, they were best at using, and concentrate the most energy on nurturing those. None was luckier than Madoc, whose level of skill for any given power seemed almost irrelevant when it came to what he did with them. The kids liked to go against each other, not just to tailor their strengths, but to see who among them was the very best. Madoc won these contests frequently; a little too frequently, actually. It didn’t matter who he was competing against, or what time power they were using, he just kept winning.

His favorite game was called Air Gap; a variation of capture the flag, where there was only one flag in the center of the field. The object was to try to reach the target first, while simultaneously superimposing more and more space between one’s opponent, and the center. It was his favorite, because he never lost even once. Everyone else called it luck. Madoc also called it luck. He recognized that he wasn’t actually better than them, and if they ever wanted to win the war with the time monsters, he wouldn’t be able to do it alone. Mad Dog Raptis is what they called him, though he wasn’t mad, and he didn’t possess any canine qualities. It was really just a play on his name. But he couldn’t care less about his nickname. He just liked to wield his power, and test his limits. He didn’t care for the mage games either, though they were his twin sister, Yeong’s creation. He was pretty vocal with his opposition to the very concept, believing it unfair to require others to prove their worth when the source mages themselves hadn’t done anything to earn them. They were just conceived at the right time, in the right city, and he knew this could have happened to anybody. This argument was the biggest thing he ever lost, and he didn’t quite accept the outcome. Every year, whether the mage games were held or not, Madoc reserved the right to source an individual from anywhere in the world. They didn’t have to fight for the honor, or plead their case. They just had to exist, be of sufficient age, and of course, consent. These special selections sometimes went on to protect their respective towns, but others joined a special army of Madoc’s devising, which served as balance against the source mages’ power. Madoc placed no expectations on his personal selections, and though he ultimately sourced fewer people over the course of the Mage Protectorate than any of his peers, many came to be known as some of the most honorable, respected, contributive, fearless...and lucky mages in history.

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