|The Diary of Lymia O'Deil
Author: child-dragon PM
A brilliant tactician, Lymia finds herself general of a mage army simply because there is no one else who can keep them alive.Rated: Fiction T - English - Words: 4,232 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 01-31-06 - id: 2103061
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Javae 14, 1382
As I write this, I cannot help but think of my professor of all things ethereal from my school days. He would be gloating his fat ass off right now, informing me that this was why I should pull my nose out my books and history and start broadening my mind to the things that are beyond the physical realm. After all, magic is all about the insubstantial, the things hidden inside our souls, and far-sight is merely an extension of this. Besides, with all the subtleties of ethereal magic, I should be good at it, having boobs and all.
Course, I'd still just as readily knee him in the balls with my very physical knee now as I would then.
I must admit though (and only will I admit this here, in my dairy, where its protected by various wards and never leaves my person) that I really do wish I had a bit of far-sight to me. Just enough to have seen this coming. Or hell, just enough to know to pay attention to the bad feeling I was getting in my gut. Instead, I went on my day-to-day business like nothing was wrong until the damned royal guard came banging down my door.
Bastards. I'm not kidding about the banging down part either. It's going to be expensive to fix, if indeed I ever get to see my home again.
The room they've put me in is magically shielded. Not too shabby looking – all the best for the distinguished prisoner – but I'm a bit unnerved by the inability to use my magic. I have no doubt that's intentional. I'm renowned as being a tactical genius, both on and off a battlefield, so anything to throw me off kilter is going to be used. Nighttime abduction (can't call it an arrest as I've done nothing wrong), magical wards against me, and now this tiresome waiting with an armed guard outside. Well, whoever they send to speak with me is going to get a big surprise. I'm not thrown off-balance. And if worse comes to worse I know martial arts – those stupid nobles think we mages are weak from cooping ourselves up all day studying. We can't afford that; magic takes enough of a toll already. I'd best keep violence as a last resort though. For now, play the part of the weak, defenseless, scholarly woman and find out what they want.
Someone is at the door, talking with the guards. I'd best wrap this up.
Javae 14, 1382
"If you won't cooperate, than we have no choice but to consider you our enemy and treat you as such." What nonsense! What idiocy! What nation ever did well when they started treating their citizens like a foreign power to be conquered and subdued? None! Do nobility not read history books, or is playing pocketbook politics all they teach in their pathetic excuses for schools? I swear, I rue the day we ever let them in on the governing council. Like I've said countless times (in those essays that are probably the reason I'm imprisoned here) the governing council does not represent the interests of the people. And especially not my people. It's been nearly a hundred years since a mage sat in a position of political power and now we're about to pay for it.
A war against the mages. Honestly. What nonsense. We act sovereign because our goals surpass national borders. Just because the school happens to be on your land doesn't mean you control us – we serve to enrich our art, educate those with the talent, monitor our ranks for abuses, and from there just make an honest living in whatever way we prefer.
This would make a good essay topic, if it weren't for the fact that I am considered a traitor now. I've always wanted that title. One of my life-long goals, it was. Hah.
Well, my brothers and sisters aren't going to stand for this. I am the tactical genius of our age; they could use my help. I just have to get out of here first.
Javae 15, 1382
The guards outside the door are well armed. They are also good at subduing prisoners – none of this inept 'drops with a well-placed kick' nonsense. A pity. The hallway my room is in is well guarded and magically shielded. I'm starting to wonder if the entire wing of the castle is magically shielded. Wouldn't surprise me. Makes me wonder who did it though – if it's someone I know I am making him – or her – suffer. Horribly.
I'll have to think of an alternate plan for escape here once I heal. Honestly, who gives guards permission to subdue a prisoner like that? I hate knife wounds.
Javae 17, 1382
They weren't given permission to hurt me more than required. Heard the guards outside talking – bet they don't know I'm able to get up and walk again. Apparently those two are now stuck on the worst watches for now and eternity. Serves them right. But still, worries me a bit. If they were just going to keep me out of trouble they would have tossed me into the actual dungeon by now and left me to rot. They have plans and knowing how corrupt my dear nation is they aren't going to be good. It may be beneficial that I'm laid up wounded right now.
I don't like pondering my future. Might be why I did so poorly with ethereal magic.
Javae 25, 1382
They've been lacing my food with emin herbs. I've been tired lately and having strange dreams, which is a dead-giveaway for my kind. I'm sure they're getting ready to move me and with enough of that stuff built up in my bloodstream I won't be able to use magic. Time to go on a fast, I suppose. Hopefully it won't be too much longer now.
Nevis 3, 1382
My entries are starting to come more sporadically. Well, I've been busy. They were indeed preparing to move me, from the regional palace in my home city to the imperial palace where the bulk of the bureaucracy is. I know this because I inspected all the documents they sent with my captors after I killed the escort.
Horrible business. I may be brilliant at it, but I really do not like war. There were ten guards, all trained for dealing with mages, but they all thought I was drugged out of my mind. Granted, I was half-starved, but I was most certainly not drugged and desperation gives an edge to magical powers.
I'm hiding out in the woods right now with one of the horses that didn't get killed by my spells. I must admit, I got a bit carried away and used some of the more destructive ones. From me, who values restraint and precision? I'm scared. That's it. Strange to admit it, but I am. I wish I weren't so alone, but I hope none of my friends back home got mixed up with this. In fact, I hope they found my house broken into, realized what was happening, and got the hell out. I truly do.
Ah, maybe I shouldn't have worked so hard in school. If I weren't quite so smart I wouldn't be such a target.
Nevis 7, 1382
It's been raining the past few days and I'm tired of being soaked. I don't dare use magic, not with the current situation, and so I must be wet like the rest of the common people. I purchased a cloak at the last town and cut my hair. It's barely touching my ears now. The back of my neck feels so exposed and I hate the feel of rain sliding down it. But I look very different now and it might come in handy. There's a long ways to go before I can reach the school, which will surely be a rallying point for us. They've already shut down the jump points so the mages are being forced to travel on foot. I hear rumors at the taverns I've stopped at that checkpoints are even being instituted. And apparently, I'm not the only mage that's been arrested. Several have been killed while resisting, others have just vanished. No word about a search for myself. I'm not surprised, it would look bad if people knew Lymia O'Diel had escaped their clutches.
Nevis 15, 1382
I found an old colleague of mine. Brannis O'Sain. Scented him out at the outskirts of one of the cities. He'd just fled, apparently hours before the guards came to arrest him. Nice person, good solar mage, but a little bit of a stick in the mud. Too married to tradition. We didn't get along in school very well and I can remember more than once throwing his books out the nearest window. Course, he'd do the same to mine. Come to think of it, my entire class had a fascination with doing horrible things to classmate's books. Odd. Anyways, he's asleep right now. We're camping outside as it's finally stopped raining and it would be wise to avoid towns. He brought some of his mage items with him and is insisting that he hangs on to them. I keep trying to tell him that he's going to attract attention, but no, he just has to have them.
He IS asleep. Maybe I should burn them.
Nevis 17, 1382
I swear, I'm going to go insane. I'm not a solar mage for a reason and one of those includes having to listen to lectures about the cultural significance of the ancient solar deities and what impacts they still have on our artistic community.
I'm not burning his magical artifacts. I'm burning his notes.
Nevis 18, 1382
I'd rather be traveling alone.
Nevis 31, 1382
What can I say? I've been avoiding writing in here. I can't bear to. Things have changed. Drastically changed. I truly have left my academic life behind, those beautiful days of lounging in my expensive home with my books and notes and esteemed publications being the talk of the intellectual community. Even my days as a strategist for a very successful mercenary group was better than this. Then, I had money, and never got to know the people I was devising battle plans for. And goodness, certainly never got involved in any of the fighting myself. The captain knew better.
But it seems everything has changed and I can't go back to that. I think, in the days that come, a lot of the students here at the school are going to experience the same thing. A lot of innocence is going to be lost.
I want to tear out the previous entry and pretend I never wrote it. What a horrible thing to say! Three days after that we tried to get past a checkpoint and were recognized. I'm not sure what clued them off. Could have been me, for all I know. It was so chaotic. They tried to subdue us and we fought back and Brannis was struck with a crossbow bolt. It happens to the best of us. We can only hold a shield for so long and even then, things can slip through. It just happens. But he was dead before he hit the ground and I snatched up his staff. There were a few charges left in it and although I am not a solar mage, I unleashed all those charges at once until the ground was scorched clean and nothing living save myself survived.
I think I passed out after that. Thankfully, someone sympathetic to our cause found me, and I woke four days later in the back of a wagon. I spent the rest of the trip asleep and recovering strength. They took me to the school and now here I am.
We're making a stand here. I have been instated as general. Since I no longer have my mage uniform – it's at my old house – they are making me a new one with some embellishments to fit my new rank. I hope it looks better than the normal basic mage uniform. Those things are so boring compared to other mages. But what a silly thing to worry about.
We have a very small force. The older mages are being given positions of rank within the army. Each one is leading a unit of mages of similar type so that everyone knows what each other can do. The basic mages are being split up evenly so that everyone has at least one generalist on hand. It is not ideal, but mages of different disciplines don't work well together.
The youngest students are being held in the school where they will be away from the fighting. Everyone sixteen and older is being put to the ranks. And me? I'm huddled away, working on strategy, and hoping we survive this. The spirit mages tell me the army is four days away. Four days to somehow save all our lives. Things are not good, I must say. I can't write anymore. It's very depressing.
Enio 2, 1832
Hell. We just found out how the guards had known it was me at that checkpoint. There is a traitor in our midst. None of us know how he got the information or even who it is but the ethereal mages are positive that betrayal is the cause. I asked them and they assured me it was not Brannis. That, at least, brings some peace. I've brought in the best spirit mages we have, one at a time, and given them the task of searching out this traitor. They are to trust no one, not even other spirit mages. Especially not other spirit mages.
I'm having trouble sleeping. Tomorrow the army arrives within range of our own small force. I suppose I should put this aside and walk among the troops, raise morale. What a funny thing to call them. These are my colleagues, my brother and sister mages, my fellow classmates, and even some would be students of mine, had I elected to remain at the school as a professor. And yet I am calling them my troops, my soldiers, and soon they will go out there to die.
Far too depressing. Why do I even keep this thing anymore?
Enio 3, 1832
Their army is as big as we scryed. Well-equipped and in possession of magical artifacts, sadly. I'm sure we made most of those. Magic against men is never a fair fight but they have the strength of numbers. Enough arrows will bring a mage down, no matter how good they are, and they have a lot of archers. And we tire faster than they do. I suppose we can only hope that I am as brilliant as everyone says I am.
Enio 3, 1832 (evening)
The commander of the opposing force did give me a chance to surrender. I went out to meet him, under the white flag of truce, and we talked out there in the middle of what would be the battlefield tomorrow. He knew who I was and I knew him. One of my contemporaries. We had even been on a panel together and I remember him being quite well versed in methods for opposing magic. Being honorable, he gave us a chance to surrender. Our charges of treason would be dropped; save for a couple ringleaders (no doubt I would be considered one of those, as well as the head of the school itself), and most of all our students would not be harmed. Otherwise they were prepared to use whatever means necessary to quell the mage threat within their beloved nation.
I, being the rational individual I was, took stock of the situation. We were severely outnumbered, the vast majority of our force was untrained, and there was a traitor in our midst that the spirit mages had not yet rooted out. With all these factors in mind, I did the only thing I could. I told him to take his offer and go to hell. In fact, I added, if he had trouble finding it, my mages would be all too willing to assist.
Negotiations broke down from there.
Enio 7, 1832
I've been so tired. Too tired to write. I don't want to even talk about the battle, but I suppose I should, if nothing else but for the future's sake. I read countless journals by famous generals and if I am to join their ranks (for I am positive that I shall) I must join in the tradition of inflicting my thoughts and musings on future generations. Go on, curse my name; poor souls stuck in academia, and maybe you'll learn something while you're at it.
I've enclosed a copy of my battle plans with this dairy. They will remain tucked in the front flap with my other important documents. As for how they performed, well, we almost lost. My plan was to minimize the loss of life on our side, as this is nothing more than a delaying tactic. We can't win this war. There are too many of them and too few of us and we are not soldiers. They are. That being said, I set up a series of points we would hold. As each one threatened to become too costly to hold, we would break to the next one where more reinforcements were waiting. We were down to the last holding point, the walls surrounding the school itself, and that was the one I had ordered to defend no matter the cost.
Thankfully, my battle plans had not been stolen by our traitor at any point. So although I'm sure the army was expecting us to utilize the river that ran past the school, I'm sure they weren't expecting how we used it. A team of water and fire mages – it took some work to get those two groups to work together, I will tell you. Main reason I am a basic mage. But it worked beautifully. Water mages used the river to transport the fire mages down to the very flank of the enemy without being seen and then the fire mages did what their kind do best. Blow stuff up.
In the end, we lost everyone from that team. Cut off like that they were surrounded and destroyed. But not before they caused enough chaos in the enemy ranks that we were able to press our advantage, drive a wedge in their ranks with a unit of mounted mages I'd held back for just that occurrence, and then pick the two sides off separately. The battle went to us.
No healers were allowed in the actual fighting. They are precious right now and I believe several of them have collapsed from exhaustion. As, as my aide is saying at this moment, I am about to do if I don't put this quill down and sleep. I'm not sure if I can, but I shall at least make an attempt.
Enio 8, 1832
The spirit mages found the traitor. I executed him personally at sundown, in full view of the army.
Enio 10, 1832
As a strategist I hate surprises. They usually aren't pleasant ones. So when I was woken this morning with the cry that an army was approaching I about had a nervous breakdown. But I donned my uniform – yes, have I mentioned that? It looks superb, the skirt is lengthened to my knees and I have a cloak now. Anyways, I donned my uniform and rode out under the flag of truce to meet them.
It was my old employer, back when I was working for that mercenary troupe. I couldn't believe it. He gave me a slap on the back and I wound up facedown in the dirt rolling and clutching my ribs. Did I mention that I was part of the fighting and was injured during the battle? I am proud to state that I held up for the rest of the battle, even while wounded. Not that Captain Agerick knew that. Ah well. He had always made fun of me for being fragile when I was in his employ.
Turns out that he doesn't like what's being done to the mages either. That and he knows we are all rich, being mages and all, and are probably desperate. He was right on all points, but I couldn't let him know that, at least not until a price had been agreed on.
My one condition is that I retain status of general. I have taken a liking to being the one to order everyone else around.
Enio 11, 1832
Evacuation of the school has begun. My plan was never to hold this, just to hold it long enough. A building is a building and there are plenty of those, in countries that aren't so hostile to my kind. People used to say I had no loyalty, due to the scathing essays I would write, and right now they are correct. It wasn't always this way and that saddens me.
I'm leaving everything behind, as is everyone else. We're starting over. Going north, where I have heard favorable reports from other mages about how we are treated. Might even get a say in the government, with a big influx of refugees coming in and all. We'll rebuild there, start the school over – even if it isn't as grand as this ancient building – and I will start over myself. Write some more books. Maybe even work with the mercenaries for a little while again, although I'm not sure if I can stomach more war after this. Either way, I'll get myself a nice house in the city again and spend my time doing what I love.
I'm just daydreaming. We're still stuck here and I'm sure we'll see more fighting before this is over. We have wounded, children, and countless artifacts and an entire library to bring. No, we're not leaving our materials. Of course we aren't. Besides, with enough mages, we can pack it all up into a couple wagons, given enough time.
That's the thing that's precious. Time. I'm sure another force is being sent to reinforce the one we demolished and they shall try again. Hopefully we will be gone from the school by then, but we might wind up fighting a running battle all the way to the border. At least now we have experienced fighters – albeit non-mages – by our side. I am thankful for them.
Enio 20, 1832
We leave tomorrow, before the sun. There have been some skirmishes, mostly small forces sent to test our strength. I have divided both my army and the mercenaries so that there is a mix of mages and normal soldiers. I have drilled those not involved in the evacuation effort. I have done all I can.
There will be fighting along the way. I have no doubt of this. It will be difficult and we will lose more mages. I myself will be in danger. Already, we have had one attempt on my life. I have doubled my personal guard.
I may not be able to write very often after this. At least, not until we reach the north. If this is to be my last entry in this diary, know this. I have tried my best, have wept over those lost, and fear failure most of all. May history remember me well.
Laudes 31, 1832
I never really liked snow. But right now, it is the most beautiful sight, as are the uniforms of the northern nation's guard that are coming out to meet us.
Lymia O'Deil went on to help rebuild the school near the capital city of Giemas, on land provided by the nobles in a gesture of friendship to the magekind. Shortly after its completion, she married Captain Agerick of a mercenary troupe and traveled with him for many years, writing strategy for his troops and contributing several books that are regarded as the greatest works ever written in the realm of military thought. She eventually settled down in the city of Maderic where she spent the rest of her days devoted to her studies, her husband, and "replenishing the ranks of mages and inflicting her progeny upon her old professors." In all, she had seven girls and eight boys, a third of which were mages. Lymia died in 1894, at the age of 92, eleven years after her husband, and with the reputation as the greatest general to ever live.