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Chapter 1 : Useless

The Mage of the Millennium

Pithar walked up to the titanic gates that stood before him and looked towards The Impendium where the Magi Trials awaited him. His fate would be decided today. Whether he could as powerful as the Archmage, his father, or continue his life constantly bullied by his siblings and "friends" all depended on his performance today.

Pithar could feel worms squirming within his stomach. Practically his whole life, he'd been a failure - a disgrace to both his family and the bloodline of the great Pyreye While his older brothers loved to constantly their pyromancy and hydromancy, all that Pithar could show for himself was weakness.

If it were just his older brothers, Pithar may have been able to handle it, but even his tiny little brother had far higher magical capability while being half a decade younger. The shame he suffered from this didn't him. Instead, he was fueled by an even greater to make a name for himself. The library became his home, spending the majority of his days intensely studying magic in the silent corridors. Perhaps one day, even with his damaged mana, he would be able to something and be able to look his father in the eye once again.

Today was his only chance to show the fruits of his hours in the library. The countless hours he'd spent all of the kingdom's libraries researching spells and The arduous time he spent under the burning sun attempting to a fireball from his palms. The brutal training he took upon himself in the chilling winds, freezing and shivering in soaked clothes, continuously shouting chants to get the tiniest of ice shards to form. He had resolved himself that he would make proud the person who loved him most in the world - his mother. He knew he couldn't miss this opportunity. Perhaps his last.

His love for reading came from her reading him stories to him every night. Those tales were the highlights of every day for him, but in just one night everything changed. After that night, he would never be able to hear her reading to him again. With his father out of the kingdom on a diplomatic , the army that advances with the night, Nox Stratos, murdered his mother right in front of him. What had been his happiest moments became filled with dread and trauma that would haunt him every night.

~~~~~~

Pithar had worked hard to as strong as he could and the day to keep the promise he made to his mother had arrived. He would prove no matter what that he was strong. One day he had to stronger than his father and return the favor he had been granted by Nox Stratos.

*

Under his mother's embrace, he never had an opportunity for fear. She protected him from everything, even his older brothers. The night she was assassinated, he felt it for the first time, fear. He couldn't understand at that time why his mother was telling him to hide. He attempted to clutch onto her leg, but she grabbed him and put him onto the bed. Her face he remembered was peculiar. He had always seen her happy while with him, but he didn't this face. Instantly Pithar was afraid of the sudden change that had

Little Pithar had listened to his mother as she told him to hide and not come out no matter what. She told him they were going to a new game where he hid and she would find him. The little boy's happy face returned just as quickly as it had disappeared before. He ran into a hidden slit in the corridor he used to hide from his brothers. He was confident that even his mother wouldn't be able to find him.

*

The cascading gates finally opened and everyone was ushered into the building after the long wait. The Impendium's was marvelous, to say the least. The finest mages in the kingdom had worked together to create this masterpiece which was used as his father's but also doubled as the largest library in the kingdom. It had also been extremely costly, but for the magnificence, the building brought to the kingdom, his father had paid no heed to the cost.

He used to come here daily, not for his father, but to read. After his mother's death, his father neglected him completely. Pithar knew his father had quite a crude mind. He only cared for strength and his responsibilities as Archmage. After Pithar became a hopeless cripple, his father felt no need to tend to him. He let him do as he pleased and ignored him completely as if he didn't exist.

As he entered through, he noticed a massive statue, honoring the best healer the kingdom had ever known. Tears nearly came to Pithar's eyes, but he managed to hold it within.

*

Time passed very slowly. Pithar scratched the walls with his tiny fingers as he waited. After a while, he didn't know what it was, but he didn't like this game anymore. He wanted to be with his mother, not away from her. He got out of his hiding spot and ran around the corridors yelling for his mother. He thought that maybe she was the one hiding now and he had to look for her. He kept his happy face and sped through the corridors with his tiny feet looking everywhere, but he couldn't see her. He started to get upset, but just a moment later as he was running past a window with a view of the courtyard, he saw her surrounded by four men in robes.

He thought that she had just gone to meet visitors. Normally he wouldn't mind, but after being away from her for so long, he couldn't stand it anymore. He absolutely hated being alone. He yelled out of the window to get her several times until his voice was strained. He took another look out the window and ran to the staircase, hurriedly trying to get to the courtyard.

*

The awaiting group was directed to the Praetorium. The hall was very large capable of holding thousands of people. It was designed originally as a forum for the public, but soon came to be used for what it is today, to host the Magi Trials.

The light from the windows shone through onto the white granite walls that used. The room was brightly lit and increased the morale of everyone within. Light had the ability to enchant people and completely turn around negative Perhaps that's why his father held the greatest power within the kingdom.

A weird memory suddenly itself onto his head. He vividly recalled the day his older brother's horse, Scarlet attempted to run away. It took one leap forward and started sprinting. Then it leaped twice avoiding a fallen tree. Pithar remembered the he saw on his brother's face then. An eerie smile which unnerved him. The horse took a third leap and fell straight onto the ground. Pithar could see the horse lying there unmoving with and red streaks running along its body.

*

Little Pithar found himself on the face first against the floor. He stood up with his little arms and wiped away the red snot from his nose. He yelled something at the third step from the top that he fell from. His fear of being alone quickly overtook him again and he ran to the entrance to the courtyard. He could see the golden glow of the moonlight shining through the door.

*

He shook off the memory and found a seat close to him and awaited the announcer's appearance, which would signal the official start of the trials. From his expansive knowledge, he knew not only of magic and its theories, but most general matters regarding the kingdom, which of course included the trials.

He knew that every year an aptitude test was administered to determine the potential within the batch of mages every year. Only the top thousand mages that were selected were able to participate in the true trials. Although thousands came in with high hopes of being certified as an official mage, most had their dreams shattered before the first actual trial.

The majority of the citizens in the kingdom were able to perform some sort of magic, but without the official , they could not attend the magic academy and obtain special benefits. The third Archmage after the legendary founder Merlin, set up the system to avoid those with money simply paying their way into the school. This opportunity was what every peasant dreamed of to lift themselves of their wealth deficits.

*

As he reached the corner, a red liquid streaked his face. It looked a little bit like wine so Pithar didn't think too much of it. He ran towards his mother, with a excited look on his face. He found her. He'd won the game.

He hugged her as soon as he got there. He raised his arms in the air with a smile, wanting to be picked up and carried back to their room. She fell right through his arms, and then he saw it. There was a huge pool of wine next to his mother as she lay on the floor. He didn't know why there was so much wine on the floor. He looked at his mother for an , but her face was unusual. It was scrunched up and as he looked down her body, he noticed her arms falling to the side as a massive hole came into view.

*

Pithar recalled reading about the actual trials that after the of the thousand, but before he could continue a man appeared and stood up on the podium in the front.

", all to the Magi Trials. First, we will conduct an aptitude test from which only the top thousand will be selected to continue. This exam is only administered to those who have reached fifteen years of age exactly. No lower and no higher. We will know if you are attempting to retake the exam or attempting to do so at a younger age. I advise any such individuals to leave now or be prepared for the consequences."

Many grinned at the ones exiting the hall after being called out.

"Everyone has been sent a ticket to participate in the trials before the commencement of the exam. Please present the ticket to the room that is noted on the back. If your ticket does not have a room number, or you do not have a ticket, I advise you to leave immediately if these apply to you." the announcer continued.

Everyone frantically checked their tickets for Many sighed in relief while some had their faces frozen in shock. Pithar noticed that a few that were snickering before were now unable to move their mouth at all.

A few hundred walked out of the hall this time in total despair. Some refused to move even though Pithar could clearly see an empty backside on their tickets. Some attempted to hide their tickets and began talking about how they'd just go to a random room and deceive their way into the trials.

"We will now commence the aptitude test, please head to your respective rooms." the announcer's voice once again rang out.

The shocked near him were now smiling and stood up with everyone else to move. Before they could take a step, the announcer once spoke again, "Now we'll remove those that didn't heed the warnings."

With an unnerving smile on his face, he flicked his wrist at the kids and a few hundred were lifted up in the air with their hands and feet attempting to strike the air around them. The hidden mages appeared out of the shadows who Pithar as Aeromancers due to their white robes.

"Perhaps she's here?" Pithar thought to himself. He didn't let his mind waver too much and maintained his composure while heading to his room for the aptitude test. Since he already knew the whole layout of the structure, he knew where the room was, but recalled that he had never entered it before.

*

"Did you learn new magic?" Pithar asked her with a bright

She didn't respond. He asked her again. She didn't respond. He tried once again, but no response again.

Then it hit him. He had seen this face somewhere before. At the It was the face animals made the moment before the sword chopped off their head. The face represented only one thing, the fear of death.

*

He quickly made his way there and entered the room where a mage in red and gold robes awaited him. It didn't take Pithar long to this man as his father's right-hand man, the Grand Pyromancer Pyrus. He was also the head of the famous family which Pithar had quite an unfortunate with.

", son of Luminus. I will conduct your aptitude test. This won't take too long so just sit down at this chair over here as I await the arrival of two of my ;

Pithar was slightly confused. Usually, a single mage would administer the test to groups of people, but he was about to be observed alone, not only by one mage, but a whole panel of them. He didn't think he was that special, but perhaps his father still cared about him a little.

Pithar looked around the room while waiting for the test to begin. He saw banners hanging from the top of the room with quite common phrases Pithar had heard in the tales he enjoyed. "With great power comes great responsibility", a message their founder Merlin had said to his while developing this society.

Pithar then focused on what was in front of him. A wooden table in front of his chair and another that stood about 10 paces away. The tables were quite simple and had nothing on them. Pithar wondered where the tools were to actually perform the test. Though the aptitude test changed slightly every year,

The door opened once again as three new mages appeared. He saw the blue, brown, and purple robes on them and figured the group consisted of a hydromancer, terramancer, and a conjurer.

The conjurer which Pithar knew was a rare practice among magicians summoned a wooden stick with some engravings on it and a to his weight.

The man looked towards him with a seeming as if he could care less to be there. "Stand up." Pithar did as he was told and the stick was pressed against his back. He took out a journal and jotted down his size. Pithar was then instructed to step on the and the man once again jotted something into his journal.

"You're done." the man said as he walked away and whispered to Pyrus. Pyrus simply nodded his head and the conjurer left the room just as quietly as he had entered.

Pyrus looked towards the two other mages and gestured toward the empty table that Pithar assumed the aptitude test would focus on.

The water mage walked to the table and took out a bowl from within his robe and it on the desk which had been in front of Pithar. He then put his hand out and mouthed a simple spell as a stream of water flowed from the palm of the mage and filled the bowl nearly to the brim. He then added a few mana enhancing leaves and a golden powder, both of which Pithar as means to help channel mana better. The mage then returned by Pyrus's side. The Earth mage moved as the water mage returned and headed to the table opposite from Pithar.

He took out a simple looking wooden stick and it on the table. He then poised his hands towards the ground and two tendrils formed and entwined the stick, fastening it to the table. The mage then followed the example of the hydromancer and returned to Pyrus's side.

The elderly looking man walked forward to Pithar and once again instructed him to sit down.

" the hand you will not use for casting in the bowl of water. If you must use both hands to cast, plunge your foot inside instead, but the mana channeling effects will be of lesser value. Your sole goal is to move that stick on that table. Use whatever methods necessary." Pyrus informed him.

Pithar plunged his left hand into the water desiring to utilize the mana enhancing effects to the maximum. His skin tingled as his hand rested in the water. It was icy, but also searing. He felt stronger, but he couldn't quantify how much.

With his newfound confidence, he willed the pencil to move. "Hydrus", Pithar chanted, but a single water droplet generated from his hand and shot to the ground lacking any momentum. "Aerys", Pithar attempted, but the torrent of air Pithar wanted didn't appear. Not even a breeze formed.

*

The cheery smile vanished from young Pithar's face as he pushed his mother's body. She reached her hand out and touched his face. He was crying loudly truly afraid for the first time in his life. He saw her mouth open and close as if she was saying something. "It'll be fine. Be strong" Pithar was able to make out. This only prompted tears to stream down his face even faster.

After those words, her hand fell on the ground. Her eyes turned white and her breathing completely stopped. Her body was lifeless and no matter how much he shook, she didn't respond.

*

Pithar heard laughter in his head. He was desperate and cast numerous basic spells which even average mages and would be able to use, but not a single one left his palm. As he got more desperate and fear flushed his face, the laughter got louder inside his head.

He stopped chanting for a moment and attempted to locate the origin of the laughter. It was him. He was laughing at himself. For being such a failure. Getting stronger for his mother? Even his mother would be disappointed in how useless he was. stronger than his father? Is he kidding himself? the greatest mage in Kyriacus would require someone to cast better than children.

*

He didn't know what to do and cried for help, but no one would come since not a single soul had even heard his cries. The only thing other than Pithar's cries was silence. If Pithar had noticed the thin golden glow of the dome of sound that had been cast, perhaps it might've been different. He could have gone to a court mage for help, but he had no idea about any magic.

His mana channels vibrated as he wept, attempting to shoot out and help him let loose his Instead, with his damaged channels, he fell on the ground writhing in pain from the pressure on his body. He, lay there for hours, crying in pain until finally a servant saw him and called upon the closest court mage for help.

*

His thoughts were interrupted by even more laughter. This time his brothers had joined the fray. Pithar's rage slowly began to build up. His father's face soon appeared in his mind which showed him turning his back as he pointed towards a door. He felt sorrow since he's going to be disowned from the family. Finally, he saw his mother's disappointed face as she lay lifeless. Rage and sorrow mixed together forming something much worse. Hate. He hated not his brothers, not his father, but himself. He hated being so useless.

In sheer , Pithar yelled at the table. Cursed at it numerous times. A fire appeared in his eye as the table was enveloped in a dark shroud. The table then seemed to rot away and vanished before his eyes in an instant.

Pithar was about to cry out in joy for being able to use magic properly for the first time in his life, but he stopped himself. He remained calm and aimed to keep the facade of the powerful Archmage's son.

Pithar turned around to see the faces of the observing mage in shock, even Pyrus. The mage knew of the joke of a third son that the archmage had - at least he thought he did.

"Mons-" Before the mage in blue could yell out, Pyrus put his hand out and at the mage. The mage's mouth immediately shut closed intimidated by the figure before him.

"I'll handle this. You are not allowed to speak of this to anyone unless you wish to seek the wrath of the Archmage. Actually, if you dare say anything, I promise that your entire lineage will be burnt to a crisp by me personally." Pyrus warned the two mages.

Pithar saw them whispering and saw the shock in their faces, but he also noted something peculiar on the two mage's faces.

The same face that he had a decade ago.

Fear.

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