|The Steampunk Adventures of Sorcerer's Apprentices' Chapters|
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Prologue is the first track of The Steampunk Adventures of Sorcerer's Apprentices.
The tale about the Prime Merlinean begins in medieval times, started from the war between sorcerers that led to creation of CrossMages, a main intergovernmental organization that was founded with the intention of preservation of magical law as well as ensuring peace between mankind and other magical beings. Veronica Gorloisen, strongest of 3 most powerful of Merlin's apprentices, sacrificed herself to sealed Morgana Le Fay's dark soul inside her body with a forbidden enchantment known as the Human Fusion Spell to save her love Balthazar and weakened Morganian forces so he can succeed in his quest for a child that destined to inherited Merlin's powers.
Camelot, Britain. 740 AD.
“I can't, Veronica! Why are you doing this? Why you use the spell that will allow Morgana to control you?”
Her eyes said it all. Trapped in a battle that can neither be won nor lost, and unwilling to let their said battle caused more damage, Veronica resorted to use a forbidden form of magic known as the Fusion Spell to trap Morgana's soul within her own body, temporarily stopped the battle between them. She then implored her love Balthazar to trap them both in a device called The Grimdisk, an inescapable prison for sorcerers and the first Grimhold, so when Morgana started to control her from the inside, their continued battle will not inflict more damage in their surroundings.
Since the beginning of the time, forces of good trying to defeat the forces of evil. But no one denied that good and evil are the opposite sides of the coin. Where there is good, there is evil, and vice versa. From that, there comes war. This includes the war of sorcery, which started from within the shadows and later, mankind stood between two opposing forces. And when humanity either interfered or become victim from one of the opposing forces, everything changed.
Ever since Vortigern the Warlock's failed invasion on Camelot that killed his wife Igraine and forced him to send his son Arthur to Merlin's care, Uther Pendragon, ruler of Camelot at that time, grew to despising people and beings gifted with magic, the art to shape reality through harnessing Mana in nature. His hatred drove him to instigate the "Great Purge", a brutal reformation against sorcerers and creatures gifted with the said energy. Many sorcerers and other magical creatures killed as result, including innocent children. Not surprisingly, this resulting humanity and magically gifted entities in Avalon become wary with one and another.
18 years after Vortigern the Warlock's invasion, Arthur, who has proved himself to be the heir of Camelot by pulling a mighty sword from the stone, Excalibur, returned to his home kingdom. He was accompanied by Morgana, one of Merlin’s most powerful apprentices whom also revealed to be his half-sister through Uther's previous marriage with a Gorlois before marrying the late Igraine. Upon their arrival at their kingdom, both of them were horrified with Uther’s destructive reformation against magically gifted beings. Realizing horrific consequences that will fall to the kingdom had this madness not stopped, Arthur and Morgana immediately returned to Merlin’s stronghold to ask the just and powerful master sorcerer himself for help. Merlin, who was aware with horrific consequences of Uther’s actions as much as Arthur and how Uther despised magic in the first place, granted his request to solve the dilemma. To put an end of the king’s destructive reformation against magic, Merlin appointed his three most trusted apprentices, Balthazar Blake, Veronica Gorloisen, and Maxim Horvath to aid him in reasoning with the king in peaceful ways. But in this dark time, he should have trusted only two of them.
Morgana disagreed with Merlin’s proposal, stating that he and his legions of good sorcerers, Merlineans, have more than enough power to stop Uther by force. Furthermore, Uther’s lack of remorse in killing innocent sorcerers and other magically gifted beings, which more than enough to convinced the sorceress that reasoning with Uther is both suicide and futile endeavor. But Merlin and Arthur refused to use aggressive force against the monarch, as if they did, they were no better than the king himself. Merlin’s refusal to use aggressive force against Uther, combined with Arthur’s love with his father in spite of how monstrous he became, led Morgana become disillusioned and questioned the Merlineans’ purpose.
Upon hearing that Uther wiped out Horvath’s family and leaving him and his magically enhanced pet wolf Ravage as sole survivors, Morgana become enraged that she formed her own legion of sorcerers named Morganians and rebelled against her fellow Merlineans, aiming to find their own way to stop Uther's tyranny against magic. By this point, they met new allies, the mysterious Heralds of Ancient Religion. Leader of the group, the Priestess of Ancient Religion, instructed Morgana to find Vortigern the Warlock’s legion and killed their leader Vortigern to sway his underlings to their cause. With that, the Morganians had more than enough power to destroy Camelot. Horvath and Ravage also joined forces with newly formed Morganians, leaving Veronica and Balthazar to accompany Merlin and Arthur.
Though vengeance was Morgana's original intentions, she was later seduced by dark magic, which made her ideals became more sinister: Believed that sorcerers were more important than humans, she also plotted to enslave the human race by preparing to cast a dark and powerful spell called The Rising that would bent them to her will with the aid of the souls of past conjurors who practiced dark magic. But before that, she sought to destroy both Camelot and Merlineans first so no one can oppose them and prevent her to cast the spell.
By this moment, Arthur brought Merlin, Veronica, and Balthazar to Uther Pendragon to try to reasoned with the king. King Uther become infuriated with Merlin and his apprentices’ presence, believing that Arthur plotted to betray him for allying with the magically gifted beings he despised and even feared that he would usurp him. Arthur argued that he did not meant to betray his father and Camelot, but instead trying to prevent Uther causing his own and Camelot’s destruction: The king’s brutal reformation against magically gifted beings will only brought torment, sorrow, death, and destruction upon the land instead of peace, as his actions in killing innocent sorcerers and magical beings will provoke hatred and rage from their loved ones. Merlin also said that magic is not as evil as Uther think, but rather neutral and It is what was in the hearts of sorcerers who used it no matter what their intent is. As their arguments become tense, Horvath suddenly appeared and killed Uther in cold blood with aid of Morgana Le Fay.
As Uther’s blood spilled over the throne room, the Morganians launched their assault to Camelot, intending to level it to the ground. Knights of Camelot were no match for the invading sorcerers, but fortunately, Veronica evened the odds by summon the Merlineans’ dragon guardian, Corinth the Gentle, to save the kingdom. As the battle broke out in the kingdom with Merlin also summoned the rest of his Merlineans to fend off their enemies, Balthazar fought Horvath to keep him from harming Arthur and Merlin. He managed to mortally wound his former friend that forces Ravage to took his master away for safety, but was no match for Morgana’s immense magical powers. As Morgana was about to finish off Balthazar, Veronica interfered, and she battled her.
The brave sorceress and the dark witch wage a fierce sorcerer warfare, mixing spells culled from all seven alchemical feats of the Merlin Circle. Fighting Morgana is all more difficult for Veronica because they spent their training together under Merlin's titulege and their close relationship that made them sisters-in-arms. But that did not stop any of them from fighting each other. Merlin, Arthur, and Balthazar helplessly watch the most epic and destructive sorcerer warfare, and through it all, one thing is clear: The were locked in seemingly everlasting battle that can neither be won nor lost. Because of their equal powers, neither Veronica nor Morgana can overpower another.
Desperate and horrified with destruction resulted from their battle, combined with the fact that their said battle also something that can neither be won nor lost, Veronica took a drastic measure to put an end of their destructive battle. The young witch conjures a powerful gust of wind to stagger Morgana, before moved her hand back and forth between her face and Morgana's. A jolt of pain shocked the dark sorceress as her soul painfully ripped out of her body and materialized in a flowing image comprised of electron dust before flowing into her body. As Morgana’s lifeless body fells and turns into dust that blown away in the breeze, Veronica feels an excruciating pain in her body and soul that causing her to fall to her knees. This horrified both Merlin and Balthazar, as they realized that Veronica used the Human Fusion Spell on Morgana to defeat her.
"Forgive me for what i did, Balthazar, Master Merlin", Veronica said as she tossed Balthazar a stone disc with black orb embedded on its center. As she fought back the pain and looked into Balthazar's eyes, she pleaded, "Balthazar, you have to seal me in that disc! If you don't, our battle will cause more destruction and death around us. Once I and Morgana inside that disc, I will keep Morgana at bay until you find Master Merlin's heir! No one is better than you in using that Grimdisk, Balthazar."
"No! No, I can't! I won't lock you in Grimdisk!", Balthazar said with tears in his eyes. He tried to reach out to her but she moved just out of his reach.
"Just because I cast a spell that keep you and Balthazar from aging until both of you found my heir, the Prime Merlinean, it doesn't mean you will use it to keep Morgana at bay! We'll find another way to keep her at bay but this", Merlin pleaded. "We'll fight her together!".
"Our battle is something you cannot survive nor stopped!", Veronica begged before one of her eyes warped into green evil glow. "What i did to Morgana only to delay her long enough so you can seal us in the disk! You only have one chance to stop us from causing more damage around us!"
“But—”, Balthazar argued before interrupted by Arthur who places his hand on his shoulder.
“Have faith, Balthazar”, Arthur said. “She did what was right to stop Morgana, and you had to do the same. Prime Merlinean is our only hope to destroy Morgana and to free Veronica. It’s not just you and your fellow Merlineans, I and my family and kingdom will take responsibility for damages that Uther inflicted upon the magical which turned Morgana to the dark side in the first place. But by now, you had to locked them both in the Grimdisk.”
“I don’t like this at all, but Arthur is right; while Morgana and Veronica are my best and most powerful apprentices, they were different in so many ways in spite of share same potential and power. But I… no, not just me. I and Weronica know, even from the beginning, Morgana was dangerous”, Merlin nodded. “She had planned to do this had this happened, and now it’s up to us to help her.”
"I can't hold her much longer!", Veronica pleaded to Balthazar.
Veronica’s pain, and both Arthur and Merlin’s words convinced Balthazar to activate the Grimdisk. He channeled his Mana to the stone disc, causing its orb to split into six and revealing hollowed seam as runes on the disk’s surface began to glow.
“I’ll promise I will save you, Veronica”, Balthazar said tearfully as the disk’s hollowed orb emits a blinding light that swells into a vortex of light.
The vortex caused Veronica's body to dissolves into glowing dust that started to suck into the Grimdisk's orb. Before she and Morgana inside her sucked completely, Veronica tearfully whispered, "Thank you, Balthazar. And I love you."
With that, Veronica and Morgana disappeared into the disk as its orb locked itself. Merlin then approach Balthazar and gave him a small carved metal dragon figurine with large green gem embedded on its back. “The quest to find my heir will not an easy endeavor. This figurine will help you to identify a Prime Merlinean.”
“Master, this figurine?”, Balthazar asked before noticing that Merlin’s dragon ring missing on his fingers.
“That figurine is another form of his dragon ring”, Arthur explained. “Just because I can’t cast magic, it doesn’t mean I know nothing about it. Remember why Master Merlin said that a sorcerer will be helpless without his ring? It’s not because they can’t cast magic without one. All sorcerers actually capable to cast magic without a catalyst, but such effort will strain them and will left them helpless after cast a spell or two. That's why they had dragons forged objects that imbued with Mana to allow them to take the strain they cannot as they cast magic. Master Merlin was gifted with ability to cast magic without a catalyst and even absorb other sorcerers' magic to turned it against them, and that gift passed onto his son, grandsons, and his future descendant. But because my father's brutal reformation against magic, his children went to the other side of the world we yet to explore.”
“And this figurine is the only item that can guide you for my children and descendants”, Merlin added. “Guard it and Grimdisk with your life. You must go now. This battle is just the beginning of the worse war that will come.”
“Wil you come with me, Master?”, Balthazar asked.
“I’m afraid I can’t”, Merlin denied. “I and Arthur had a duty to unite mankind and being gifted with magic to fight our common enemy and to build a new era where we will life in harmony. This is your and Corinth’s journey alone. You can’t trust anyone else nor passed the duty to someone else in your journey. The world will never safe until my heir destroyed her.”
“I understand”, Balthazar nodded. “I don’t know how long the journey will take me until I find your heir or whether we will meet again, but I will not give up even if it takes centuries. I will complete this quest and free Veronica from Morgana’s grasp.”
And with that, Balthazar, accompanied by his dragon friend and guardian of Merlineans, Corinth the Gentle, set out for the Prime Merlinean, leaving Camelot behind. After they left, united forces of the Merlineans and of Camelot engaged in war against the Morganians in an event known as the Albion Great War, the most memorable war in history. In the end, Morganian forces were defeated and left scattered in the war’s final battle, the Battle of Camlann. Although Arthur was killed in the battle, his dream for the world where magically gifted beings and mankind live in peaceful coexistence in Albion came true, and union between Merlineans and Camelot led the rise of an organization called CrossMages.
Over the years Corinth and Balthazar would search the world for the child, to no avail. It is said that never would they deviate from their quest, even the odds from remnants of Morganians that they confronted along the way, and locked them in more improvised version of Grimdisks called Grimholds which entrusted to generations of Councils of CrossMages. But they have not yet to seal Ravage whom remain at large, and once the sorcerer and the dragon found the child, the real battle begins there...