Chapter 95: Duel of Sorceries

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We have seen some religions, usually those built on a decentralized structure -most of which are the pagan religions one sees in Alberion and some parts of the Circle- adopt the Eight as demonic figures, devil-icons if you will. They enter the world and corrupt it with their particular sins. Lust, gluttony, avarice... the qualities that the Eight embody are ones that are nigh-universally despised, and as such, perfect for the creation of  evil figures.

-The Necromancer's Notes, Vol 33, Observation Wing

***

If there was one thing Aoife hated, Maioran soon learned, it was druids. 

He didn't know this at first, couldn't gleam it by looking at her. Druidic religions dominated the northern part of Castillera, and for every church of the Luminous Doctrine he saw in a town, the gilded sun displayed proudly, there was a sacred grove walled off, with the symbol of the Great World Tree burnt into the door. Aoife hadn't scoffed at these. 

But there was something about today that was different. 

"Magnus, you awake?" Tieoran asked. His younger brother sat on Maioran's bed in the early hours of dawn, his tail thumping over Maioran's legs, filling the inn room with a haphazard beat. 

"Yes, Tieoran, I'm awake." Magnus, at the moment, was staring up at the ceiling, exasperated and annoyed. And for good reason. Everyone was trying to sleep, but Tieoran was talking at a hundred miles an hour, not giving a hoot about anyone else's energy levels, and generally being overly energetic and frenzied. Magnus, like Finn and Callan and Aoife and Invidia, was trying to sleep. And Magnus, like the rest of them, wasn't able to sleep, mostly because of Maioran's little brother's incessant chatting. 

"What are all those people in robes doing outside?" Tieoran asked. 

Magnus groaned. "This is the last question I'll answer, Tieo. I need to get some sleep." 

"But it's light out!" 

"Barely," Magnus snapped. "Anyway, what kind of robes do you see? Hood shape, anything. I need some more details." 

"Well, hoods are pointed, and they looked like they were covered with feathers," Tieoran said. 

Aoife groaned. "Great," she grumbled under her breath. "We have to deal with those idiots again."

"What idiots?" Tieoran asked.

Magnus half sat up and fixed a glare on Callan. "You know, this is your fault we can't sleep. If you hadn't decided to get him all riled up on a midnight run, we wouldn't have to deal with him!" he snarled in a semi-soft whisper. Callan had taken Tieoran out for a midnight run around the city, and Maioran had decided to tag along. However, instead of ending up like Maioran and Callan, with some sore muscles and a desire to find the nearest bed and collapse into it, Tieoran was full of energy, bursting with it. Just bloody fantastic. 

"Druids," Aoife said. She spat the word out like a curse. Even in the dim light, Maioran could see the sorceress's normally serene face twist into an ugly sneer. "Stupid druids." 

"What do you have against druids?" Tieoran asked. 

"They're idiots. And they're so idiotic that they think they're geniuses. Do you know how many times I've been lectured on magic from these imbeciles? 'You need a circle of ash and rowan to cast your spells, and you need to burn these herbs to cleanse your powers, and you have to make these offerings to the Goddess in order to get what you want.' Give me a break!" Aoife let out a long sigh. "They're taking pagan rituals and saying they do magic with them. And they don't. None of their magic works. At least, it's not sorcery." 

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