Fall Silently

A fantasy story by Itsasu Deauxnim

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Chapter 5

“How could we lose to these barbaric rebels!” King Francis of Lerciveu pounded his fist on the table and his eleven council members reflexively leaned backward.

“Well, my lord,” General Duzheny said, “As I’ve said, these peasant firearms are simply faster and much more efficient! Our soldiers fall like flies in their presence.”

“We have magic!” The King yelled. “Magic! The teachings of the gods! Why are we not razing their front with fire?”

“Once again, my lord, they are simply too fast and destructive! While the Fulrin mages prepare their rituals, the peasants blast through our ranks with guns and cannons. They are simply too fast.”

“Unritualized magic, you say?! Our magic is from the gods themselves! How could their magic stand up to ours?” He turned towards Lord Gibran, leader of the mages guild. “Explain this, Master Gibran!”

“I have nothing more to say, my lord, the General has told everything! Their tools are just too quick! Our magic just cannot compete with such firepower! Such speed!”

“You Fulrin mages are supposed to be the best in your field! How can your magic lose to the magic of those illiterate peasants?!”

Everyone looked at King Francis for a moment, all of them quiet and too afraid to speak.

“Well?” More quiet followed the uncomfortable meeting room.

“My lord,” Headmaster Teresa, head of the Anavale University spoke up and broke the silence. “General Duzheny bought me a gun he captured from an enemy musketeer…”

“Oh?” King Francis’ mood changed. “And how about it?”

“The scholars took it apart for research and well…”

“Well? Out with it then!”

“We have no idea, my lord. It may be hard to believe, but these weapons have no magic in them whatsoever!”

There was quiet again as the king—and everyone present processed this information in their heads.

 “I don’t understand,” King Francis said to Teresa. “Are you saying that our mages have been completely outdone by something completely nonmagical?”

“Aye, my lord,” headmaster Teresa said, carrying with her the musket she examined with her colleagues. “None of us can find a trace of magic in the thing.”

“But it shoots metals from its snout! It makes holes in armor! It blasts fire! How could you say that it is not magic?”

“We know, sir. But this is no sorcery! Rather, this seems to be the work of… well…”

“Of what, of what?!”

“This seems to be the work of a tinker, my lord.”

“A tinker!” King Francis’ eyes widened at the thought. A tool made by one of those dirty oil-slicked barbarians. Those who refuse to bow to the teachings of magic; teachings of the gods, and decide to live inside the cold, hollow world of steel and steam and fire. “How could our mages lose to dirty tinkers?!”

“I… well… it’s just…” Lord Gibran stammered.

“Answer, Gibran! You and your worthless guild…”

“My lord, I know the situation is dire, but you must not take this out on Master Gibran!” General Duzheny rose from his seat.

“Then what do you suggest we do, good general?”

“Well, if what Teresa says is correct then, well, we might need the help of other tinkers!”

“A tinker in the royal castle! Helping us?” The king laughed, but quickly straightened his face again. “Are you mad? No!”

“What other choice do we have, my lord?!” Teresa stood up. “We are losing the fight! We need the opinions of experts in this field!”

“They built these accursed machines! Why would they help us?”

“My lord, you’re being unreasonable.” Gibran even spoke up. “I’m sure not all of them…” he stopped talking as King Francis stared him down.

“Why are you all defending those heretics?” King Francis asked. “You all know what they did!”

“Just because of one event, my lord…”

“Their little accident killed dozens!”

“They didn’t…”

“They killed my son!”

Silence broke through the cracks again, after those feared words escaped the king’s mouth.

“They didn’t mean to, my lord.” Lord Gibran said, “Your son just loved those tinker creations… he was just… too close and…”

“Enough! Those tinkers have done enough damage in my empire! Duzheny!”


“Order the extermination of all tinkers in Lerciveu,” said the king, followed by the outraged yells of most council members.

 “My lord, be reasonable!”

“Why, lord Francis?”

“This isn’t like you, my lord, please reconsider!”

“This way no more of those accursed weapons will be made!” King Francis said again.

“That will not solve anything, my lord!”

“What about the weapons out now?”

“That’s right! We still need to find a way to stop the current wave of firearms!”

“If I know tinker creations,” said King Francis, “It’s that they need proper and constant maintenance. Who else but the tinkers?”

“King Francis, stop! Be reasonable!”

“This is needless cruelty, my lord!”

“Out!” King Francis yelled. “Out of the room! This meeting is over!”



Seconds later, all eleven of the council members stood up and walked through the door. Duzheny, Gibran, and Teresa stayed longer, but wordlessly decided to follow the other eight. After Duzheny, out last, closed the door, the king sat there alone.

They’d never understand, he thought. What has tinkers brought to us but destruction? Death? Explosions? Steam abominations, dirty smells, and now these guns?

He turned his chair back to look at the large painting of his great-great grandfather, King Farris, founder of Lerciveu, displayed with full royal regalia and a runic sword in his hand. He opened a locket that hung from his neck, showing his son’s picture. He scowled.

And just as swiftly, he left the room and closed the door.


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