Cristov Why me? I’d think Arinda or Nathan or Jahx would be a better place to start.
Well, everything began with you. You are at the heart of the Circle of Mages.
I think you’re being too modest.
Cristov I don’t.
Why don’t you tell me how the Circle began? You are the founder of the Circle, correct?
Cristov ***sigh*** Sort of… I guess. Actually, the Circle wasn’t founded. It simply came to be. When I was ‘maged’, many, many years ago, there were no other mages. I was the first. A wretched student of mine somehow set the Coubirigh loose – he would keep playing with dark magick, like it was a toy or something. As if nothing bad would ever happen to him, perish the thought! Dafnit! In any case, we never knew how he did it, and he was killed, so…
Cristov Many innocents were attacked and killed that day, so I have a hard time feeling anything for the little brat but annoyance. How many times did I tell him?!?
So you were attacked and survived?
Cristov Yes. Yes, I was. The sickness that comes with maging, it truly makes you long for death. Once that passed, however, it was as if nothing had happened... at first. Then all the strangeness overtakes you, the fits of rage that end with fangs shooting out of your mouth. The enormous power you have no idea how to control, and the overwhelming fear that people will find out about it, for no one likes he who is vastly different, do they?
At first, folks thought I was fortunate. Then there came grumblings, wanting to know why I had survived and no one else. I suppose it was inevitable that they would find out what I'd become and turn on me. They claimed I’d had something to do with it, and I was tried and executed.
Cristov More than once. That’s when I realized how profound the change had been.
That must have horrible!
Cristov Well, it wasn’t fun. I finally escaped to the deep woods. The woods were dangerous, dark and creepy, wild animals and the like - few were brave enough to venture that far in. I really didn’t expect to survive, however, I quickly found that the wildest of animals considered me more intimidating than they were. So I built a hut and settled in to live out my days on my own. That is where Stone Circle Keep stands now.
The Keep began as a single hut? How did it come to be a thriving community?
Cristov One by one. Jasper was the first to arrive. His father was afraid for his safety and had heard of me, so he braved the woods to bring his son out to me and begged me to look after him. Fiaryn knows I tried to turn him away, but… well, in the end, I just couldn’t let the boy face the same torture I had endured. Then another came, and another. Soon, the hut became a home and we had to keep building on to it.
It became a virtual dumping ground for mages nobody wanted. Some had good families who really didn’t want their children in harm’s way, others were driven into the woods by hordes of angry people. It angered me, it truly did. It was wrong to just dispose of people like that.
Finally, we built a common building with small, sort of, dormitories surrounding it. The dormitories became homes, then we added guilds as we gained enough magickers of different types, and we just kept growing. Before long, we were large enough to need a governing influence, so we developed the Council of Mages to settle disputes.
Strange that it began that way, when the Circle of Mages is so respected now.
Cristov In a manner of speaking, I suppose we are. I think we are seen more as intimidating than respectable.
But doesn’t the Council of Mages administer the Magicker Master’s Exam?
Cristov Yes, we do. That discourages most who would aspire to the position for the wrong reasons and we’re pretty fair at weeding out the rest.
How long has the Circle been administering the exam?
Cristov Only since Nathan acceded the throne. There wasn’t an exam at all prior to that. In fact, it is only since Nathan’s reign began that we were allowed to come out of the woods and start living within society.
Is that why you made him take the throne?
Cristov He likes to bluster about that, but the truth is, I only sped him to a conclusion he would inevitably have drawn himself. Nathan is immensely obstinate, and we simply didn’t have time for him to work it out on his own. He was the only rightful heir, and the only one who could prevent the chaos that would have surely followed his abstention.
So tell me more about you, Cristov?
Cristov There isn’t much to tell. My life revolves around the Circle. That’s all I have time for.
You were a teacher before, right?
Cristov For awhile. Clearly, I wasn’t a very good one, or I might have had better control of my students.
Were your parents teachers, too?
Cristov … … …
I’m sorry. Is that a sore subject?
Cristov I didn’t know my parents. I was very young when they died, and no, I don’t believe they were teachers. I was raised in an orphanage, and was fortunate enough to become a teacher when I left. You know the rest.
Surely there’s more to your life than that?
Cristov Surely, there is. However, it’s not important enough to discuss.
Okay. What are your goals, then?
Cristov My goals are goals for the Circle. Full integration into society, mainly. The ability to co-exist peacefully with non-mages and have the fact that we are mages not matter at all. To have a way for the boys to walk about without needing to know if there are any girl magickers in the area. That would be an enormous relief for all of us. The whole mating/binding process is cumbersome… disruptive, and the women are spiteful and noisy. I don’t mind the boys falling in love and taking wives and whatnot – it’s to be expected. I just wish they had the choice, instead of having these caterwauling females thrust upon them.
That’s a tad harsh, isn’t it?
Cristov No, in fact, it’s not! Like any sensible lad, their usual response to the situation is to want to get away from it. As a result, we have to nag, bully and discipline them to stick with her and make it work until they settle down into a life. It’s hard on the woman, it’s hard on the mage, and it’s devilishly difficult for the Council! I wish there were another way.
Once again, my time is running short, so I’ll have to leave you here.
Thank you for your time Cristov. As always, we appreciate it!
Cristov Not at all.