Arcane Academy, Eastern Plains
-What a stupid looking chandelier.-
Hell. I am thinking this for the tenth time! The director should stop his stupid speech and hand out our diploma!
I have way too much time to look around and think about this cursed world. Right now I am in the Eastern Plains which belong to noone in particular. It's just deserted region that consists of rocks, sand and more rocks. No interesting minerals, no people and almost no living organisms.
So it is the perfect place for the most esteemed magical academy in this world. It's a multinational institute with the financial backup of several countries. Everyone is sending their most talented magicians to this place.
There are five big nations which are mostly at peace with each other.
First is the Mislow Kingdom to the west. It's a striving country with good access to all needed resources. Not that there is much that's needed anyway.... but I will explain that point later. Mislow is feared for their mind magicians. They are masters of illusion and trickery.
Once they were invaded by one of the other powers and trapped the biggest enemy army in a self repeating loop of its environment while marching though a big open field. The whole enemy army started to walk in circles for weeks until they died of thirst right next to a big lake. The Mislow military didn't draw a single sword.
Then there is Norfolk in the north. It consists of mountain ranges and from what I heard they have an everlasting winter up there. They mostly trade food in exchange for ores and other materials they mine in their mountains. It's a loose conglomerate of tiny nations, kingdoms and principalities.
They don't have any military power compared to other nations. That's because they have no real unity. But they are left alone because of the harsh environment up there. It's much easier to trade than to subjugate them. Their only central governing power is the Jarl. He is something like a king, though he has less power.
It's much more likely that any army that's sent to Norfolk would die of hunger and cold than in a fight. Even though it's true that Norfolk has a weak military, their territory is huge! You need weeks or months to march an army from one city to the next. On top come the mountains which just add to the problems.
The Jamaian Union is to the south. It's another big thriving country which is the most similar to a democracy in this world. They are renowned for their fire magicians. It's said that their mightiest arcane wizard created the Eastern Plains by burning a whole country to cinders during the last big war.
That was a few hundred years ago, so no way to tell if the story is true or not.
Then we have the Island Nation of Mist. They are strange people with long ears and a high build. They are very different from the humans on the main-continent. They control almost all islands on the great sea and are very xenophobic people.
Even though they control the trade on the ocean, they don't interact much with anyone else. Their ships moor in a port to sell and buy goods and then they disappear on the great Sea again.
Last but not least the is the great Phenex Empire. They completely control a whole continent which is five weeks to the south by ship. Admittedly, the Phenex Empire has just the size of a third of the main continent. They are still bigger than any other nation.
And they are ruled by a supposedly immortal Queen since a few hundred years.
Now for something that's shared by all nations. They despise technology! Everything has to be done by magic. And therefore, being able to use magic in this world is equivalent to having power.
People who are able to use a reasonable amount of magic are nobility by default. Someone without it is a peasant and treated accordingly.
The big noble families consist only of the most powerful magicians. Of course it's in the interest of nobility to suppress any technology and knowledge about science. It keeps the untalented worker class at bay.
Something which I really despise. Not that I would care for anyone besides myself. But I love technology and machines. It's my hobby! Yet I am forbidden from following my interests in this world. It's infuriating!
If it wouldn't have serious side effects I would slit my throat right here and now to start my next life. That's because I am someone who remembers his previous lifes. I am quite old actually. From what I remember I have lived a few thousand different lives so far.
But there is a problem with reincarnation. If you die too early, you lose memories. That's not exactly pleasant and it already happened quite a few times to me already. Sometimes you are just unfortunate and die as an infant for example. That's the worst case. It blows a serious hole into your memories. Mostly you lose your oldest memories. But if you are unlucky you can also lose some recent ones. And that's really unpleasant!
So I will never commit suicide for a pathetic reason like that. Even if the reincarnation is really shitty like my current one.
I am the third son of high nobility from the Mislow Kingdom. Even though I was born into nobility I really hate this world. The biggest reason is the ban on technology. The second biggest reason is that I hate my family.
My father and my mother don't give a shit about their children and see us just as resources. When I was old enough to walk, they threw me out of the house and locked me up in an educational facility. The people there knew just two things. Training and sleeping! So I never really learned to know my parents until I was ten.
That was when I was taken back home to be -introduced- to the people which should be called my family. But what followed were just brutal and inhumane training lessons. It didn't matter how good I was. If I managed to achieve something, my father simply made it harder the next time.
Maybe he was annoyed that his third son is more capable than his first son who should inherit the house. Mother was always indifferent towards me. But I have to admit that she kept me alive during my infant stage.
It actually is very bad for a noble house to have multiple capable heirs. The nations laws are very strict in that regard and are designed to protect the magical heritage. If there are multiple capable heirs, the noble house has to be split between them in order to ensure that both bloodlines are kept alive.
That's something my father doesn't want to happen under any circumstances. Having a big and powerful noble family split up would result in two smaller noble houses which aren't under his control any more.
For short. My family is the worst I can remember through all my reincarnations.
It was a blessing that I managed to sneak out of the house when I was twelve. I went directly to a testing faculty which belonged to the Arcane Academy. There I took a test for the Arcane Academy and got a sponsorship.
So the brutal training had at least some worth. When the letter from the Arcane Academy arrived, my father fumed and beat me half to death. I may have had knowledge above my age but that doesn't mean that I could put up a fight against someone who was in the prime of his time.
In any case, it was worth the beating. After my potential was officially acknowledged by the Academy, my father had no other choice than to let me go. Magic ability equals power in this world. And hindering his own son in climbing the ladder of power would have looked very bad for him.
His house would have looked weak. And that's something that cannot be allowed in a world where all powerful bloodlines are eyeing each other with daggers behind their backs.
While there are no wars, it is far from peaceful. The climb and fall of a noble house can be decided by a single weak family member.
A few years have passed since then. And as long as I was protected by the Arcane Academy, I could live my life in relative freedom.
Though it should be a place that seeks knowledge, the Academy isn't any different in its pursuit of the status quo. You are allowed to seek any knowledge that's in line with the general world-view. But should you be found to dabble in technology or science, you can be sure to face dire and most likely final consequences.
Someone elbows me into the side. “It's your turn in any second now! Don't zone out while looking at that creepy chandelier. Seriously!”
“Ahaha... sorry. What would I do without you mom!” I smirk at Kane who is the only person who is friendly with me. Because of the whole house splitting issue, it's uncommon for a noble family to sent someone else besides their first son to the Academy.
Everyone tried to hold their distance from me during my time here. They don't want to be involved in any trouble by being associated with me. Kane is the only one who didn't care.
He is the son of a merchant house and filthy rich. He isn't very talented in magic but his family sent him here with money despite that. It gives a lot of prestige to have someone graduating from here.
Kane has short brown hair and dark brown eyes. He could be called a little chubby if you take just a fast look at him. But I know that he is just build very sturdy.
“Ascathon Arenzien!” The headmaster calls for me and I stand up. I walk with long measured steps through the rows of chairs with students. It's a big hall and there are about two hundred graduates.
When I arrive at the podium, the headmaster hands me a certificate, which acknowledges my successful graduation from the Arcane Academy.
“You managed to graduate with flying colours. Seven perfect scores on your seven main fields of study. That's remarkable! By the Academy's tradition, it will fulfil a wish for a student who managed five perfect scores. So what do you wish for Ascathon?”
The Headmaster looks at me with inquiring eyes.
I smile at him. That's the moment I was working for. The Academy should have the power. “I wish to cut all ties with my family. I want a new family name of my own. Never again I want to be mentioned together with the house of Arenzien.”
A murmur rises throughout the students and the director screams them down. “SILENCE!” Then he looks back towards me. “You realize that you throw away a name with history and power? Life will be much harder without it. It can also be seen as a serious insult towards the house of Arenzien.”
“I don't care.” I grab the certificate out of the directors hand and press my thumb onto it while infusing my mana into it. This acknowledges the document from my side.
The headmaster waves his hand and another document appears in it. It starts to glow while he sets up another document. “Then so be it. The Academy will change your name into....?”
“Ascathon Asceron. You are a free noble mage from now on. No family ties. No ties to any other noble household.” He hands the second document to me and I sign it in the same manner.
I bow slightly and turn around to leave with a grin on my face. This life belongs to me from now on! Just one thing left to do before I can start to build up a place for myself.
After a few steps I am back at my seat and sit down again.
“The Fuck!? You really did it! I can't believe it! I know you told me but I still didn't believe it! Fuck! They will kill you! You know that? You just insulted one of the mightiest families of Mislow! They will send assassins in scores after you! Fuck!” Kane starts a tirade while whispering.
“Friend? Could you deposit all my money divided by three in three magical pouches and bring them to me after this event.”
“Of course I can. You should be fast and try to hook up with another nation though. You aren't safe in Mislow any more! Stop that stupid grin! Gods, Fuck. I still can't believe that one of my best friends just committed suicide.” Kane straightens his robe with a concerned face.
Kane made quite some money with my help during the years at the Academy. With his family ties and my knowledge, I managed create quite a fortune. That happened through the selling of new magical techniques and spells, which I remembered from my earlier reincarnations.
If you manage to create a completely new spell, you can sell the knowledge for quite some money. Of course the sum is dependent on its usefulness. If the spell has considerable military value for example.... it's easily worth a principality or two.
The time flies by without further big commotions. At the end of the ceremony I get up and walk outside to get some fresh air. It's easy to leave the big auditorium in which the ceremony was held.
Just walking outside and down the hallway is enough. The campus outside is neat and clean like a park. There are many students here and it is buzzing with life. Considering that the Arcane Academy has students from all over the world its size is huge. It's actually a small city with everything you can imagine. From stores to restaurants and offices.
I fold the acquired papers which document my freedom neatly and place them inside a holder with other important documents. Ascathon Asceron.... the name has a nice ring to it. And this stupid world will start to ~fear~ it soon enough!
“Look who we have here. The stupid Arenzien who gave up his family's protection. What do you intend to do now, idiot?”
My expression drops. I can't help it. That voice is a serious mood killer. I turn around to the rude person with the name of Celestial Jasmine. She is the only person who interacted with me on an almost daily basis besides Kane.
Dark black hair and metal blue eyes. A nice face and good figure. If she wouldn't poison the air with her words as soon as her cute lips part I would have a crush on her.
But where my relationship with Kane is one of friendship, Celestial is my worst enemy. She belongs to a very high social standing within the Jasmine House from the Mislow Kingdom like me.
As for her problem with me. I have no idea. She never lowered herself to the point of telling me the reason. Her family has some issues with mine from what I heard. So it's likely that she was indoctrinated by her parents to despise everything with the name Arenzien.
“I don't know what you are talking about. I see nobody with the name Arenzien here.” I give her a smug grin while I scratch my chest. Ah, good. I didn't forget to put on my amulet. It's a little artefact which grants me passive protection against curses.
Carrying around something like this is a risk. But it's worth it. Celestial cursed me more than once with stomach aches and diarrhoea until I created the amulet. I am not sure how the nobility would react towards someone who can create artefacts like my amulet. Better for them to know nothing about it.
“You still belong to those bastards. The change of your name doesn't make a difference! Just make sure to hide in the deepest hole you can find. If I ever catch you outside the protection of the academy ….” She leaves her sentence unfinished with a smug grin and turns to walk away.
That was a murder threat! Not possible to interpret it in any other way! Haah. Why has this life to be this troublesome. It did nothing bad in this world. I just belong to a family of assholes.
*Sigh*... I just tried to wait here and enjoy the sun until Kane arrives with my money. And why do those idiots who have personal problems with me always approach from behind?
I turn around again and see my father with my two older brothers. They are coming my way and mother is with a little sister behind them. A whole trolley of guards is following them.
Do they want to start a war?
“What do you think you are doing!? Throwing away your family name like that in public! It's like the name of our house isn't worth a damn! Do you know what you just did!” The guy who is supposed to be my father stands in front of me while screaming for everyone to hear.
The ten guards formed a circle around me during the tirade.
“I perfectly understand my situation. I cut my ties with you guys. Goodbye and have a nice life. I will walk my own path from now on.” I wave my hand to father who turns red like a tomato. Ah, what a sight. I waited about twenty years for that moment.
“IF you are that willing to disgrace our family, then you have to be able to deal with the consequences! Right now you are just some small noble with no house and no reputation! So I will show you what our name is capable of! Guards take him! We are going!” Father gestures into my direction and the guards start to move.
Aaahhh.... so that's what the name of Arenzien is capable of? Abducting someone in broad daylight against his will to have him disappear in a dark corner? But I am disappointed. Father always rambled about the worthlessness of commoners in war.
Yet he sends normal guards against me. I wave my hand at the six guards who are approaching from behind to attract their attention towards it and then a flash of light blinds them. Being unable to see anything they stop. All of them are armed with spears.
After a few seconds the first one recovers and blinks while looking at his comrade. “AAAAAAA!” He starts to scream and rams his spear into the side of his neighbour.
Another one recovers and storms like a mad bull into another guard which was forming the circle earlier.
The first retracts his spear and starts to search for another prey.
Then the four guards in front of me change their direction in an attempt to stop their six hallucinating comrades from killing themselves. A wild close combat fight is the consequence.
The conclusion is that after a few moments none of the guards is standing any more. Well. One of them is uninjured, but he is on his knees and crying like a little kid.
I never broke eye contact with my father during the entire time. I just felt what was going on behind me by sensing the disturbances in the mana flow.
Never again old bastard. I am no twelve year old child any more.
Suddenly my second oldest brother raises his hand and a ball of fire flies towards me. Cheap! A little concentration and a cushion of air tightens around my hand. With a smack of my hand the fireball is returned towards its caster who howls up as his left foot is hit and catches fire.
My oldest brother summons a water ball and stops the fire. Then he turns towards me and hisses. “I really hope you know what you are doing!”
“I am defending my rights against a group of people who are weaker than me.” It's a matter of fact. They are weak compared to me.
Then father raises his hand towards me and I feel something like an illusion spell forming around me. But it doesn't matter. It's very similar to a curse, so my amulet starts to act and automatically shatters the forming bonds of mana.
I show him my tongue and the middle finger while his expression darkens. I don't know why but that gesture is universal to all worlds I ever lived in. “Hahahaha. The great mind magician. Head of the Arenzien family failed his magic spell.”
After clapping by hands I start a little provoking dance, but father just turns around walks away.
“How boring! Is that all the Arenzien can do? Guards, a fireball and a failed attempt at illusion magic?” I call after my previous family but they don't let themselves be provoked.
It's for the better. I guess the personal police of the Arcane Academy is already on its way.
“You are surely trying really hard to get assassinated Ascathon.” Kane advances towards me from the side with three small pouches. He arrived earlier, but it looks like he hid in the crowd. “Here is your money. I hope you use at least half of it to hire an army of capable guards. I don't want to lose a good friend..... and a treasure box.”
“That's all I am to you in the end?” I grab the pouches and store them away in my coat.
“What will you do now?” Kane looks after my family with a distressed face. “They are still your blood relatives you know? Was it really okay?”
I shrug my shoulders. “It was bound to happen sooner or later. It's good that it happened here. I had to show them that they need to start a full blown fight in order to drag me off. A few buildings would have suffered and that's something father wouldn't be able to sweep under the carpet. I just wonder how they got here so fast? I guess they were already waiting for me in order to drag me home.”
Then I start to smile over the whole face. “And for my plans. I will go and buy my own principality!”
“Hahaha... it should be enough for a small one.” Kane looks at the dead guards and the crying guy. “So you are trying to tell me that your father can sweep something like that under the carpet!?” He waves at the scene. “What did you even do to them?”
I shrug. “I just showed them a few truths about themselves. Their greatest enemy? Their greatest hope? That which they hate the most? And their greatest fear?”