Guns vs. Magic
"What do you mean you don't know how to make any magical shields or healing auras?! You said you were ready for battle!" The general, red in the face, yelled at the strangely garbed man in front of him. His hands slammed down on the table he was standing over, sending an intricately drawn map toppling to the ground. "I can't waste time on some fledgling mage who can't even support my troops! If you don't have anything to offer the army, get out!" With that he pointed toward the door. A nearby soldier opened it and stood there silently.
The wizard stood confidently, unaffected by the angry general's words. He was adorned in a long flowing red robe with a matching wide brimmed hat that came to a jagged point. In his left hand he carried a black staff with a gem at its top. The gem was bright red, with an almost fiery hue to it. The wizard looked the general in the eye, "Nothing to offer? You think that your guns and cannons can replace magic? Give me a chance to show you what I can do; your tone will shift from one of dismissal to one of desperation as you realize just how much of an asset I truly am." The general looked the wizard up and down and scoffed, "The red robes and gem, the angry tone and idle threats; you think I haven't seen a fire mage before? I know what you can do. Your fireballs are useless next to the weapons our engineers can create. Get out of my office."
A smile spread across the wizard's face, partially hidden under the shadows cast by his hat. "General Hau, I am no mere fire mage..." As he spoke, the gem on the wizard's staff began to glow. Suddenly a burst of light filled the room, blinding everyone inside. As the light faded away, gasps were heard from the soldiers. The wizard's robe and hat were now a deep purple. The gem on his staff had a similar color, but rather than looking fiery, it now caused onlookers to feel a strange pressure in their heads if they stared into it for too long. The wizard pointed his staff at the general. As the gem grew dark, the general's hands went to his head, clutching it as he slowly sank to his knees. "Still not enough proof? Here, let me provide more." The gem became such a deep shade of purple that it almost appeared black. The soldiers in the room also grabbed their heads. Shouts could be heard from outside the room. The general struggled to speak, "What's going on?!" The wizard pressed his staff to the man's temple, "I'll show you." The general's eyes grew wide, as his consciousness was sent through the entire facility, showing him that all of his soldiers now bore his fate. His thoughts returned to his head once more as the wizard raised his staff. The gem's color lightened and the soldiers picked themselves up off the ground as the spell was released.
General Hau extended a trembling hand toward the wizard, "Please, join our ranks. I'll give you whatever title you want." The wizard smiled and pushed the hand aside with his staff. "I don't need a title," he said with great hubris, "I need land and resources. I help you and you help me. Deal?" Hau shook his head vigorously, "Of course, how much land? What are you planning to build there?" The wizard stared deeply into the gem on his staff, a forlorn look on his face, "A school." He looked up and locked eyes with Hau, his expression suddenly solemn, "I will not see combat magic die." The wizard straightened out his robes and turned to leave, "Call on me when I am to go to battle." As he was nearly out the door, Hau called out, "Wait! What is your name?" The wizard paused, "My name? I have been given so many that I honestly don't remember what my first name was. But for this task, I think I shall go by... Merlin." Hau looked confused, "Like the Merlin from legend?" Smiling, Merlin simply said, "Exactly, for I shall be a legend in your land for centuries to come," as he left.
Visions of the past flashed through Merlin's mind as he tossed in his sleep. Memories of his training, of the questionable things he did to reach his level of mastery so quickly. Days spent under different names. Ignis, Ysing, Langlin, some he couldn't even remember. He pictured the masters whose powers he'd stolen. It would have taken far too long to learn the various magical forms properly. Besides, the masters refused to use their magic offensively. Merlin did what he had to. That's what he tried to tell himself, anyway. Surely killing them would be justified in the end... When he was teaching the next group of wizards; when he restored his people to their former glory. Yes, this was would had to be done.
Merlin was awoken by an arrow lodged in the wall above his head. He sprang up and removed the scroll from around the arrow's shaft. He quickly skimmed the note and smiled as he reached its end, dropping it to the floor. Grabbing his staff and throwing on his robe and hat, Merlin pushed open his large window and stood at the edge. Cloth and gem turned white, and soon the wizard was propelling himself through the air, flying toward the location indicated in the scroll.
It took only a handful of minutes for the wizard to arrive at the battlefield. The fight had already begun. Bodies littered the ground, and the sounds of guns firing across the field filled the air. Merlin's colors switch to an earthy brown as he began falling toward the earth below him. He came crashing down, sending a rippling shockwave out from the point of impact. Soldiers around him shouted as they fell, getting dragged along with the shifting ground. Merlin rose up and cracked his knuckles, "Good luck hitting me..."
His colors shifting to a light yellow, Merlin raised his staff into the air. The gem shone brightly, almost as if absorbing energy directly from the sun. Yet nothing happened. The soldiers stopped and stared, confused as to what would happen next. Finally their leader shouted, "Fire you idiots!" Guns were raised and soon deadly flecks of metal sped toward Merlin. As the first bullet reached the wizard, the soldiers realized their folly, but it was too late. A barrier of energy revealed itself around Merlin. It buckled inward slightly with the bullet, before pushing back outward, sending the bullet in the exact opposite direction. Hundreds of bullets followed suit, all returning whence they came: straight into the soldiers who fired them.
"Arm the cannons, now!" The leader of the enemy soldiers barked out orders, apparently undeterred by the vast quantity of men he'd just lost. Merlin's colors melted into a pure black. He looked out at where the cannons sat on the field, too far for him to reach before they would be fired. "Let's end this..." Merlin's staff rose once more, this time being spun around him slowly. The area grew dark. Soldiers began to yell for one another, trying to find each other in the darkness that had fallen over them. A blood curdling cry was heard for a moment and then suddenly silence. This was shortly followed by many more screams, all silenced just as quickly. Then, there was nothing. A minute passed, with the field still enshrouded in darkness. Finally, the seemingly impenetrable blackness began to dissipate as a bright light shot out of it. As it disappeared completely, Merlin was revealed, now clothed in white. He stood triumphant, having successfully cleared the battlefield of his kingdom's foes. A large grin sat on his face, "And they said guns would replace battle wizards."