Zoe Baxter glanced over her fourth year theory class. Despair touched her heart as she scanned the vacant faces. Only two students looked happy to be in class. Most showed up out of routine or obligation.
At some point over the years, all the wonder of learning faded. The students found other things more important. Relationships, job searches, pressures from peers and parents, all contributed to the dampening of their yearning to learn.
Few things could be more tragic.
And these were only fourth years. There were still two years of older students currently in the school. Two more years to further remove the joy of learning.
“Magic is prevalent in our world. Even if more than ninety-nine percent of the world’s population cannot interact with or otherwise utilize magic, that does not mean it does not exist everywhere.
“There have been several items throughout the world, often weapons, that have become so infused with magic over the course of their history that they have taken on a legendary life of their own. How exactly that comes to pass is a topic for later in the year on which you will be writing several essays.”
That got several groans from her captive audience. At least they were listening.
“Hrunting, Gae Bulg, and, of course, Excalibur. Three very famous examples of these legendary items.”
Zoe moved across the room and reached into a closet. She pulled out a blood-red spear. After spinning it once, Zoe slammed the butt of the spear into the ground. A crack rang throughout the small room as chips of the broken tile scattered.
The custodial crew will be unhappy. Zoe smiled despite the monetary compensation that she’d have to pay. Her students sat up straight and their eyes focused on her.
Tossing lightning bolts around worked nicely on younger students. When half your students could create lightning on their own, it tended to lose its attention grabbing effect.
“This is a Gae Bulg. It was gifted to me–with the understanding that I would use it for educational purposes only–by a dear friend when he retired from the Vehmic Court. Specifically, their Forbidden Court subdivision.”
There was a quick gasp from one of the students. Someone recognized that name. Zoe felt her lips curl into a small smile as she spotted the student. Of course it would be Rachael Davis. Her father wasn’t supposed to mention his work, but she’d at least have heard of it.
The rest of the class gave Rachael a confused look or two before turning back to Zoe.
“I say a Gae Bulg for the simple fact that this is not the Gae Bulg.” Zoe spun the spear once again as she walked back to her lectern. She rested the butt once again against the tiled floor, though she set it down far softer.
Replacing tiles wasn’t cheap.
“It is a special type of replica. We call it a simulacrum. By taking the image of the original Gae Bulg, some of the original weapon’s power is passed down to the simulacrum. How much power depends on how close to the original the simulacrum is.
“How the simulacrum was forged, the materials used, and its physical image all contribute to the overall power. This,” Zoe motioned towards the spear in her hand, “is a very good replica. It is estimated to have approximately seven percent of the original Gae Bulg’s power.”
Some students grumbled at that. “That doesn’t sound like much,” one student said under his breath. Zoe caught it anyway.
“No, Mr. Ziranek, it doesn’t sound like much. That is because there is one thing that no simulacrum can properly replicate. That one thing contributes most of the abilities and power of the original. Can anyone guess what that is?”
Murmurs spread amongst the students until Rachael raised her hand. Zoe nodded in her direction.
“History, Professor Baxter. You said as much at the start.”
“Indeed, Miss Davis, very astute.” Zoe smiled at her pupil. At least someone was paying attention before she whipped out the spear. “History. Time continues and objects gain age and experience. This Gae Bulg simulacrum can never reach the age of the original. Even if you were to simulate every battle, every experience of the original, it would never match up.
“Part of that is by design. There are specific rituals a replica must undergo before it can be called a simulacrum. Part of that is leaching power from the original rather than creating its own power. It is possible to create a new spear and give it new experiences, but there is no guarantee it will achieve a legendary status.”
“What happens if the original is destroyed?” a bespectacled boy asked without raising his hand.
“Excellent question, Mr. Heath. All simulacra of that object lose their power. This spear is still a pointy object that would hurt if you were struck by it,” a few chuckles ran around the room, “but it would lose its homing, penetrative power, barbs, and any other special ability that the original Gae Bulg holds.”
“How does a weapon become legendary?”
“Another excellent question, Mr. Heath. One that has been puzzling mages for centuries. What we’ve found out is mostly that trying to make an object legendary tends to fail. Like the object knows it is being put through the motions. These things happen on their own and rarely at that. We will discuss legendary weapons more over the course of the week.
“I do wish to mention that it isn’t just weapons that can achieve legendary status. Trinkets can as well. Books that achieve a legendary state tend to be called by their own title: grimoire.”
There were a few murmurs at that. The term grimoire tended to evoke negative emotions in most people for some odd reason. There were plenty of grimoires that had perfectly good effects.
“Books are far more difficult to create simulacra of. How they are manufactured, the type of ink, the type of paper, the words, the strokes in every character, all of it adds up. Sometimes aspects of the original are difficult to discern, especially if the original is lost or otherwise unavailable.
“To find more in-depth information on simulacra and their creation, we will be opening our own books and turning to page three-seventy. Your homework will be finding a legendary object that interests you. You will then detail how you would create a simulacrum with the highest possible leach of ability. Keep this in mind as you read.”
With that, the light in her students eyes died. Their vacant expressions returned at the mere thought of homework and using their books.
They slowly complied and pulled out their books in the end.
Tragic, Zoe thought as she prepared her own book. Simply tragic.