Volume I : The Flood
Chapter 35 – Divination[3160 words]
A joke that circulated among the common people on this continent was that, when the dear mages launched magics, they were not only showing how good they were at using the divine power they owned, but also showing how good they were at throwing away money. Even the cheapest staff demanded a standard parangon atop. The amount of coins a precious or rare staff was worth could definitely bury any rival of its owner.
Amon didn’t hand the staff to Lynk right away. He was going to keep it until Lynk became a third-level mage, so he could give it to him as a farewell gift.If you love this novel, please support the translation team at : http://radianttranslations.com/pivot-of-the-sky/pots-chapter-035/ A simple refresh with adblock disabled will help us carry on happily!
The storm lasted for seven days and seven nights. The water level had been just a few feet lower than the shortest section of the ramparts of Syah City. When the rain stopped and the first shaft of sunlight shone on the ramparts, the floodwater started to recede. Syah City was saved! Tens of thousands of people’s long-lasting cheers could be heard and even broke through the clouds.
Holding his staff, Golier walked down from the ramparts. He was completely exhausted. His shivering knuckles and nails were chalk-white, having been clenching the staff for far too long. Even a child could’ve pushed him down with a finger. Tottering, he refused all attempts of help, and walked back to the shrine alone with a firm stance.
The cheering crowd spontaneously cleared a way when seeing Golier coming. The crowd separated like waves split by a ship. Everyone was crying, “Thank the dear God! Thanks for Enlil’s blessing! Thanks for our dear great mage Golier!”
The cheerings were rising everywhere, like the thunder and flood of the previous days. It was a habit engraved in their souls to thank deity for everything, like a grammatical prefix. Everyone shouted it out without thinking. But people were indeed consciously thanking Golier. That was their true collective feelings.
Before today, Golier was respected by the citizens because of his social status and his achievement in magic. But now, for the first time in his life, he was received as a true deity not because of his nobility or his official position, but because of what he had done. People couldn’t know if the deities had actually been blessing them. What they saw by their own eyes was that Syah City was saved because of Golier.
Golier showed a benign grin to the citizens, like a modest noble would do. Slow but determined, his figure ascended through the long stairs before the splendid shrine of Enlil, and eventually disappeared in the shadow behind the half-open gate.
Golier reeled to one side right after he entered the inner door of the shrine. He told Warret who immediately supported him with his arms, “Help me to my chapel and form a [Cure]. I need to take a rest… Then go help Schmul to take care of the victims and the afflicted, and the other affairs. I now appoint you to interim high priest. I will request the King to deliver the official order when this is over.”
Apart from the oracle and chief priest, which was Golier, there were three high priests in the Enlil Shrine of Syah, occupied by Cosman, Jeremiah and Schmul. Jeremias was killed by Gabriel when ambushing Rod Drick’s caravans. Cosman was executed by Golier for abandoning his people at the moment of disaster. If Golier was not able to fulfill his duty, then there would be no one in charge of the shrine except Schmul, the symbolic high priest. Hence, Golier ordered Warret, his student, to temporarily take charge of the shrine.
The high priest was the highest position next to the oracle and the governor of the state. It should be appointed by the King. So Golier could only appoint Warret as an interim high priest. Nevertheless, if Warret could handle the situation after the disaster well, it would be natural that he accede to the position with Golier and Schmul’s joint recommendation. Warret would be meteorically rising from an ordinary mage to one of the most esteemed lords in the state.
Warret had won the respect from the people of Syah and the other mages for hosting the colossal formation and helping Golier save the city. It was logical that he replaced Cosman who had fled the field and abandoned his office. So Golier would give him this chance. For Warret, it was also a big challenge to take the responsibility at such a critical time, for there were still a lot of work to do once the delirious jubilation in the city had faded.
The calamity-afflicted people who had swarmed into the city seeking refuge had to be properly arranged and helped to return their ruined homestread. They must have enough food and seeds to get through the whole year before the coming of next autumn’s harvest. The shrines of Syah had to apply for relief supplies from the Kingdom and neighboring states, count casualties and losses as well as undertake the other restoration works.
The relief materials were mainly supplied by the Kingdom and the other states. Some of the supplies were to be paid back in the future which needed to be well accounted for. Some of the relief were lendings from other shrines. The restoration was a difficult project, but it could also be a lucrative business. A corrupt and incompetent official could largely profit from this opportunity while probably provoking massive discontent and even riots. Thus it was time Warret proved his administrative ability to Golier.
Though the flood had swept across more than half of the state, fortunately the most severely affected regions were mainly deserts and forests. The only exception was the town of Duc which had been wiped out completely. Along with Duc, what had also disappeared were the craftsmen who could produce the best refined iron and extract parangons for the Kingdom. It was a great loss to the Syah state and even to Hittite, but to others who had survived the flood, it was not their concern. In actuality there was not a great amount of victims for the shrine to take care of.
But even with this positive factor, the work to do after the disaster had made Warret exhausted. Morton, the quaestor, had been complaining in private about Warret’s excessive demands of the most trivial of things, portraying him as “superior and immune to mundane distress” and as “having no concept of money”. No one knew if he was talking about Warret spending too much or looking too much into details of the budget. In the end, Morton could only at most grumble in the corner. Compared to his past fellow Cosman, he suffered far more under Warret’s baton.
Golier didn’t pay any attention to these affairs. He disappeared into the shrine, living like a recluse, and did not concern himself with anything that happened in the state. Even the regular ceremonies were all hosted by Warret. Normally, an oracle who absented himself from regular ceremonies might be considered as unfaithful and disrespectful to the deity. However no one would reproach Golier now in Syah City.
It was until three months later that Golier first showed up in a public worshipping ceremony, performing his duty as oracle in a symbolic way. His face was pale. His wrinkles deepened. But his eyes were more limpid and profound. Meanwhile, Raphael had accomplished his mission and returned from the capital. With the restoration works almost finished, Golier asked Raphael if he wanted to stay in Syah and take up the post of the high priest.If you love this novel, please support the translation team at : http://radianttranslations.com/pivot-of-the-sky/pots-chapter-035/ A simple refresh with adblock disabled will help us carry on happily!
Raphael was young. He was only a fourth-level mage, not holding any public office. But he was not just an ordinary nobleman. His father was the former chancellor of the Hittite Kingdom. He belonged to the younger generation of a very powerful clan. He could have had a prominent life in the capital if he wanted to pursue political power. However that wasn’t what he was seeking. Growing up in such a powerful family and having seen too much ugly intrigues and schemes, he was tired of political strife and deeply engrossed in practicing magic.
As a member of a brilliant family, it was easy for him to find a supreme mage like Golier to be his tutor, becoming the youngest apprentice of this Elder of Hittite’s Magic Senate. The high priest of the Syah state was a post that many could only dream of, but Raphael didn’t want it. When asked by Golier, he seemed to be hesitant, since he wanted to refuse but didn’t want to confront his tutor.
Golier could easily read his mind from his face. He smiled and said, “You are my youngest apprentice. Of all whom I have taught, you are the only one I have been taking care of all the way from the power’s awakening. I know you well. You are not interested in mundane power and influences. You want to avoid the scramble for power and interests by learning magic with me.”
“But one has to make some changes in this world. Magic practicing was not seeking imaginary achievements. Even if you simply want to achieve the superior level of magic, it was necessary to experience this world and the hardship in it. Otherwise there will be too many things you won’t understand. Syah needs a high priest and you need to get yourself involved in this world. Do as Warret did. Help this city and this state to go through the misery of rebuilding after the flood.”
Raphael listened to his tutor’s advice. A fourth-level mage being the high priest of the Syah state was definitely premature at first look. But when Golier’s recommendation for Warret and Raphael arrived at the capital, it was soon approved without any doubt and long discussion. Obviously, Raphael’s clan played a major role behind this.
Warret and Raphael replaced Cosman and Jeremiah. The first mission Golier asked Raphael to do, was to do delve into the marshes and fields created by the flood, observe and collect the information about these places, including changes in the reliefs and landforms. He was to record them faithfully and thoroughly using the magic artifacts, then hand them back to Golier.
The work was difficult and dangerous. He had to go deep into some of the most inaccessible desert areas, muddy after the water, with landslides and debris flows happening everywhere and into places with starving wild animals that frequented them. For this, Golier had given Raphael some pieces of his collection of magic artifacts and scrolls so that his youngest apprentice could have better chance to survive.
Still, what Golier wanted was that he could learn and become stronger from the ordeal, he certainly wasn’t sending him to die. He had to limit the difficulty to a bearable level for a fourth-level mage. Raphael came back four months later, with worn boots and clothes. But he had hardly used his tutor’s gifts except for some supreme air magic scrolls that he had used to fly. He returned the rest to Golier. The latter shook his head and told him, “You have done well, better than I have thought. You can keep these artifacts. You may need them in the future. I’m going back to the Academy next month. It will be a good while before I return to Syah again. I’m counting on you.”
Golier took all the information that Raphael had recorded with his magic artifact. Then he went back to his secluded life. The Syah people didn’t see him the next month. Their chief priest was doing a very special thing. He copied all the information into the Terroculus on his staff, then activated it using message magic. A globe of light appeared in the air in front of him. In the light was a whole picture of the state of Syah after the flood.
The scene looked like the sand table that the generals used when commanding a battle. But it was not made of sand. Instead, since it was projected by magic, every part of it could be enlarged and the relevant details would appear. Even the wind in the high air, the water flow in the rivers, and the torrents through the valleys were faithfully recorded.
Every day, Golier repeated one thing with his staff. If someone was standing beside him, they would find that the scene in the globe of light changed with time, like real rivers and mountains evolving in nature, but at a much faster pace. Golier was actually performing an uncommon magic — the Divination.
Divination was a kind of foreseeing magic, and foreseeing magic is nothing but detection magic and message magic combined and pushed to its limit. In any of its nature, it was not a supreme magic. In the legends, only the deities mastered this magic, but actually even a normal advanced mage could perform it. The difference lay in its accuracy. It was meaningless for an advanced mage to perform a Divination, because either his magic power wasn’t enough to support the long-lasting process, or the result was too vague and too far from reality.
The foreseeing magic relied on the detailed information of the target. The performer needed to collect as more information as possible about what he wanted to foresee, and learn more about how it evolved or developed. Then he could start to deduce its coming trend under some preset conditions in a visual way. Priest Cosman, who had abandoned his duties when the disaster was coming, had tried to perform a Divination, and the result he had deduced was proven to be wrong.
Judging from the overwhelming flood and the poor conditions of the ramparts, Cosman had concluded that the city was definitely going to be destroyed. Hence he escaped. But what he hadn’t foreseen was that Golier had ordered him to be killed without any hesitation and he had managed to save Syah City. One’s knowledge could also be too limited to foresee the real future.
Although an advanced mage was able to perform the Divination, but to perform it effectively, the requirements were extremely high. Even most supreme mages could not guarantee to perform it successfully. The key was to build a realistic and reasonable model from the vast amount of information, which demanded an excellent level of information filtering and integrating skills. Only some ninth-level mages could handle the subtlety and display a small part of the marvel of this magic.
Golier was an eighth-level mage, but he was now performing the Divination. His target wouldn’t have many disturbances, but needed a great amount of information to describe, thus a great amount of magic power and a great deal of time. Golier had been exhausted during the fight against the flood, but he had completely recovered after three months’ rest. His magic power had even grown significantly compared to three months earlier, which was something he hadn’t expected.
After a month’s derivations in his vault, Golier came to the conclusion. What he foresaw was the geographical and climatic change that was going to occur to the flooded region, including Duc and the surrounding areas. He finally understood why Enlil said that the flood would be his blessing to this world.
The most direct impact of the flood was that it temporarily cut the land traffic among Hittite, Ejypt and Bablon. The northern part of Syah had become a vast marsh that blocked all caravans and travellers from passing. Hittite could only trade and exchange with Ejypt by the sea, which could last for years.
The economy of Syah state could be under impact. But on the other point of view, it would be absolutely safe from military attacks. Syah was on the border to Ejypt and Bablon. But if the latters attacked Hittite by the sea, Syah would be the last affected state.
The damage to the economy and trades would be overly compensated, since in the future, the geography and climate in Duc and its surrounding areas would be totally changed. The flood had created vast marshes in the low lying lands. A branch of the Euphrate River was intercepted and broke the valleys in its southwest, pouring through the Charcoal Forest, forming a giant lake in the low lands to the east of the Syah Desert.
The enormous sludge had filled up the Charcoal Forest, which would become the most fertile soil. The northern part of the Syah Desert would also become a vast grassland. Most importantly, the change would be permanent. The flood had drastically changed the geography of the region so that the local climate would also be completely changed forever. The lake would have an influence on the range of temperature and the humidity, resulting in a significant increase in the precipitation of the region to the east of the Charcoal Forest.
A stable circulation would be established. The new river would also irrigate the lands on its borders. A vast expanse of fertile land centered at where Duc used to be would emerge in several years. It would be a region of about two hundred miles from west to east and three hundred miles from north to south. It contained hills, plains, lakes and grasslands suitable for farming. Before the flood, Duc’s natural resources could barely support two thousand people, but the new land could sustain a much larger population.
Though the craftsmen of Duc were gone, the mines remained. They were still at the foot of the mountains to the north of the new fertile land. These were the high quality iron and parangon mines that every country on the continent would contend for. Simply the parangons would make this land a sanguinary battlefield.
It was a common law in most countries that slaves couldn’t touch the parangons. In most places, the extraction of parangons had to be done by the primary mages. But Duc was so remote and barren that no mage could bear the hardship to work there. So the existence of the Ducians as craftsmen that opened the parangons had been tolerated.
In the future, the land would be able to sustain a large city with a population of hundreds of thousands of people. A good governor could even found a country of a million people on this land. It would be a new and powerful country, despite its size.
However, the possibility that a new country would be founded was quite low. The neighboring countries would certainly not let this fertile land slip away from their greedy mouths. This unmanned land was mostly the territory of the Kingdom of Hittite, governed by the Syah State. But its position was unique, like a gem wedged into the heart of the continent. In the near future, wars would occur on this area of high strategic importance, its eventual prosperity would be built on countless bodies and rivers of blood.