Rook

Rook

Rook

Unbelievable, she thought as she entered the chamber. The elder Arcanists had to leave for an emergency mission to the far corners of the world, and she was left to defend their remote outpost by herself.

“Hello dear, what’s your name?” the old man asked as she walked toward his bed. Okay, not exactly alone. I have Greary here, since apparently we’re a convalescent home as well as stronghold against the forces of darkness. She bit her lip at that. It wasn’t like her to have such cruel thoughts, but she secretly wished she had be one of the ones invited to go on the mission.

“Same name as the one I told you yesterday, and the day before that.” The man’s brow wrinkled, and his eyes darted left to right, as if trying – and failing – to find the memory. She sighed. Be nice, she thought, it’s not his fault. “Sorry, Greary. You can just call me K. Here, I brought you some dinner.” She set down the tray and suddenly a haunting chime rang throughout the room. It felt as if the floor itself was vibrating with the sound. Wait, that means…an attack? She had been quite confident that the Reachers would not make any move on the outpost, and that they would instead be focused on the rifts.

She quickly turned to leave so she could ready her spells, but the old Arcanist grabbed her wrist and held fast. She spun around, bewildered by the frail man’s sudden strength. He looked at her, his eyes almost pleading. “The citadel will defend,” he said in a hoarse whisper. He let go and fell back onto the bed.

She turned and bolted from the room. What was that? No matter. She ran down the hallway as fast as she could. She had to get to her spells before the outpost was breached. She stopped dead in her tracks when she reached the grand foyer. The flame from the hearth in the expansive foyer was no larger than the size of a matchstick. I just put fresh wood on that not ten minutes ago. “Dammit,” she said out loud. They were already in. She’d been caught unawares because she had let her guard down. Now she would pay for it with her life. Her spell book was in the room beyond the foyer, and there was no way to sneak past Reachers. They can sense you. And they could definitely sense her Implement. She pulled out Rook. If only I had some paper. She looked around, frantic. I could retreat back to… Her eyes locked onto the large tapestry next to her. It was an old tapestry, and she never much cared for it, so she hadn’t really considered it too closely. On the tapestry there was a large cliff jutting out over the ocean, and upon it loomed a great citadel. As she looked closer, she noticed the ornate fillagree border around the artwork was not fillagree…not quite, at least. They were glyphs, just very small. Any casual observer would likely not notice.

Casting a glance back to the foyer, she could see that the fire was now completely extinguished and the hallway itself began to grow cold. She remembered the old man’s strange words from earlier: The citadel will defend.

She took a deep breath and took the cap off Rook. She signed the tapestry, casting…well, she had no idea.

Here goes nothing.

Material: Box Elder Burl

Copyright © Encoded Press

Tyche

Tyche

Tyche

The small charter plane hummed along, and the Arcanist had little to do than think about the operation ahead. One shot was all they really had. Of all the types of magic, there were none that could manipulate time. A good thing, to be sure, as it would be far too tempting to use it for the wrong reasons. But it meant no second chances.

He could feel the plane begin to descend. He furrowed his brow. “Hey, are we there?” he called out to the pilot. No answer. Concerned, he unbuckled from the seat, and made his way to the cockpit. The pilot was missing. The doors remained secured. A Reacher, on a plane? he thought. That would be the only explanation, but… He began to feel a cold chill envelop him, and the roar of the engines dulled in his ears. A Reacher was here, and it was coming for him.

The plane pitched forward, throwing him off balance. He reached out and grabbed hold of the pilot’s chair, nearly ripping his arm from his shoulder. He grunted but managed to pull himself into the seat and buckle the harness. The console was dead, but it didn’t matter much – he had no idea how to fly a plane. The cold around him began to close in, and the very sunlight in the windows began to dim. Dammit, not much time.

He did not have his book of spells, but he always kept a spell around, just in case. From his shirt pocket he pulled out a small, folded piece of paper. Reacher containment spell. He could write this spell in his sleep. You needed to know this one if you liked living. His hand began to grow even colder, and he held fast to his Implement, Tyche. If he dropped it now, he was dead. His hand was practically a claw now, and he could feel the Reacher already trying to feed upon him. It felt like a part of him was being pulled away, like some type of siphon. It made him oddly sleepy, despite the adrenaline coursing through him. Focus, he thought.  Cast the spell and you live. With considerable effort, he managed to scratch out his name upon the bottom of the page.

In an instant, the spell flashed in a burst of sparks, and the warmth rushed back into his body. He gasped as if he had been holding his breath and his returning senses let him know that the plane was in free fall. He frantically scanned the interior, and saw a parachute secured next to the emergency exit.

He took a deep breath, unbuckled the restraint, and urged himself up. No second chances.

Material: Honduran Rosewood Burl

Copyright © Encoded Press

Thymos

Thymos

Thymos

Most Arcanists spend time focusing on the reagents surrounding the magic they use. The most important are the inks, the paper, and of course, the Implements themselves. But they lose sight of where the soul of the magic comes from. The soul comes from the Arcanist itself. Everything else is just equipment. But the magic must be cast by an Arcanist, or else the rest of it is meaningless. Trap makers have for years tried to automate spell casting, but to no avail.

But there is more to it than that, and I have spent the last decade trying to understand how we can use it to our advantage. He held Thymos in his hand and inspected it. While most of the Implements used for this Operation had been locked away in the Arcana vault, this was one of the few that had seen active field duty since it was forged. Its proclivity, the magic it resonated with, was containment. The essence of countless Reachers had been trapped by this Implement. Containment comes with a price, however. It attracts the Reachers, as if they can sense their trapped brethren.

And that’s not all. One of the mysteries of this Implement is that it has become stronger with every successful containment. Thymos’ power has become so greatly exaggerated by its innumerable containments, that even a humble spell to light a torch would create an inferno the size of a house.

But is there a limit to this power? What happens if no more can be contained by a single Implement? This rift he was headed to in Jestaria was supposed to the largest one ever discovered.

The thoughts made him uneasy. There was nothing to be done for it, though. The wheels were in motion and their chance was slim. He slipped Thymos back into his vest pocket and patted it. He thought he could feel the magic it contained, begging to be unleashed, but it was probably a trick of the imagination. Please hold once more.

Material: Honduran Rosewood Burl

Copyright © Encoded Press

Telos

Telos

Telos

All her life, people would give her trouble about her plans. Either they were “too complex”, or that a plan wasn’t needed for something so “simple”. And if their endeavors failed? It was always something or someone else’s fault – not the fact that they had ignored her plans.

And her plans weren’t complex. They were quite simple. They just had layers. Each layer helped support the base layer – the ultimate goal. It was for this reason that she specialized in trap magic. A good trap also needed layers – one trap was not sufficient for larger operations. And Meridian? This was the largest coordinated operation she had ever been a part of.

Not that she’d been asked. She found out about the operation through another Arcanist and managed to negotiate her way onto the team. Everyone likes to keep trap makers at the headquarters and outposts to bolster defenses, but rarely do we get to travel on operations. She was excited – this was a golden opportunity to prove that trap makers were essential to special ops.

A powerful wind kicked up near the location of the rift some 40 yards ahead of her. It was somehow originating from the rift. She turned to one of her traps. The spell did not trigger. Impossible. She rushed over to it but could see that it was trying to cast. The paper already disintegrating, but only one small fragment at a time.

She smiled. Magic suppression. Clever. She was not used to Reachers being clever. That was new. But she didn’t mind, because the one thing she liked more than plans was a challenge. And for once in all her isolated monotonous tenure as an Arcanist, she finally had one. She hurried over to her suitcase, which she had almost regretted hauling 20 miles to this location and pulled out Grimoire #27: Energy Systems. She turned the book over to the back and flipped it. This was how she stored her dark magic spells. Technically, dark magic was a no-no if you were a strict rule-follower. But she dealt in magic. Magic itself doesn’t follow rules so well, so why should she?

She found the spell she had been searching for. She glanced over the glyphs and made some edits. A little tweak and she could network this spell with the others. She signed the spell. It cast instantly, energized by the dark magic carried upon the gale that was swooping around the clearing.

Like clockwork, the other spells and layers of traps she had set began to trigger and come to life, now feeding ravenously upon the influx of dark magic. It began to amplify and soon the storm became nothing more than a gentle breeze.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Material: Honduran Rosewood Burl

Copyright © Encoded Press

Sophos

Sophos

Sophos

The first rule of teleportation magic is that you should never use teleportation magic. Teleportation looks great in movies, but unfortunately reality isn’t as neat and tidy. Phasing yourself one from place to another by skipping through an alternative plane of existence is dangerous. For starters, the destination has to be calculated such that you don’t teleport inside a something like a tree or a rock. And second, there’s no telling what exists in that alternate plane when you phase out. There is a record in the Archives of a man who teleported and showed up at his destination nearly two years later. No recollection of where he had been, or that any time had passed at all.

She craned her neck and looked up at the rift she had found. It was at least a quarter mile up in the air. She had already surveyed the landscape, and there was nothing she could make use of to get anywhere close.

All right. One spell to get up there. Nothing for me to get stuck in, so that’s one less variable. Get up there, cast the containment spell, and shift out before I hit the ground.

“No sweat,” she said out loud, shaking her head. She just hoped that the alternate plane was having an uneventful day.

Material: Honduran Rosewood Burl

Copyright © Encoded Press

Phos

Phos

Phos

You have been cleared to use S-Class containment spells for rift closures and Reacher suppression at rift sites using Phos. Due to the usage of forbidden glyphs in high-level containment, these spells are not suitable for city-scale or smaller threats.

While powerful enough to seal away energy of substantial threats, there is an element of documented instability in these spells. Records indicate this is triggered with the introduction of parallel dark magic activity. Dark magic has shown exponential energy growth when cast alongside complementary spells. Should an S-Class containment spell experience an overlap of this nature, it will likely bolster the effects of the containment and envelop a much larger area than anticipated. Worst-case scenario is obliteration of a rift zone within our world, causing a subtraction effect as the surrounding landmass is extracted. The wall between worlds will be weakened by this event, however, meaning that increased patrols for the subtraction zone will be required. This risk has been deemed acceptable for Project Meridian.

– Excerpt from Supplementary Operation Briefing, Project Meridian

Material: Honduran Rosewood Burl

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