Tenzo Malus and his Magis Parvum

Mavis brought a cup of tea on a tray into her master's study.  The oddities that littered every shelf of the large room seemed to fall outside of the servant's ability or want to notice.  

Her master sat at his large mahogany desk, he feet propped up, with a large tome propped on his chest.

"Your tea."

Tenzo looked up from his reading, as if startled by the interruption.  "Oh...yes...thank you, Mavis."  The wizard lifted the cup, allowed the steam to rise into his face, and then took a large sip.  He grimaced a bit  "Mmmm.  That's an odd choice, Mavis.  Sparto tea from Ghent?  Did we run out of the..."

"No...no...I thought you might be in a mood for sparto."

"When would I ever be in a mood for sparto tea?  A bit working class, by any measure."

Mavis sneered.  "Well, now that your involved in the war effort, and working for that...that...metal pretender to the throne, I thought it was appropriate."  Mavis turned, and walked briskly from the room.

Tenzo Malus in his Study

Tenzo watched her as she left, and shook his head.  He placed the cup of tea on the tray, and pushed it farther away from him.

Little Tom walked awkwardly into the room.  The boy, aged twelve, was tall and gangley, and seemed not quite adjusted to his latest growth spurt.  "Master."

Tenzo smiled.  "Mavis is of a mood."

Tom laughed.  "Nothing strange about that."

Tenzo shook his head.  "I suppose she keeps me humble.  I was thinking, Tom.  I think we should visit the Schola dux Magum, and see how things are progressing.  Have my carriage brought around."


Tenzo Malus and Little Tom walked down the wood paneled walls of the large school.  The sound of their foot falls on the marble floors echoed against the high carved ceilings.  

Headmaster Dorian exited his rooms and walked down the hall toward the two visitors.  "We were not expecting a visit."

Tenzo ignored the Headmaster's tone.  "How are they doing?"

Headmaster Dorian answered briskly.  "As well as can be expected...or more specifically, not very well.  But what can one expect of street urchins and the homeless."

Tenzo extended a long finger, and poked the Headmaster in the chest.  "The real question, is what can be expected of you?  What can be expected of the esteemed Schola dux Magum?  What can be expected of the greatest teachers of magic on all the World of Kempin?"

The Headmaster rubbed the spot on his chest where Tenzo had poked him.  The old man was thin, with a shock of thick gray hair, and light blue eyes that seemed to be the eyes of a man much younger.  "Yes...well...this is a difficult task.  Yes...an impossible task.  Thousands of subjects to weed through, just to find a few with a modicum of latent talent and intelligence."

Tenzo's brow furrowed, and it was clear to Tom he was working very hard to contain his anger.  "A few thousand."

The Headmaster was confused.  "What?"

Tenzo took a deep breath.  "You said a few with a modicum of talent.  What I demand of you...what your Emperor demands of you...is a few thousand with a modicum of talent."

The Headmaster stammered.  "But...its..."

Tenzo finished the Headmaster's sentence in a way completely unexpected to him.  "....its your life on the line.  The task is not impossible.  I would not even deem it a difficult task.  Imperial troops have rounded up subjects from cities and towns across the Empire.  Based on the figures reported to me, you've been provided with ten times the number of subjects that you are expected to successfully shape and train.  TEN FUCKING TIMES!"

Tenzo turned away from the Headmaster, his fists clenched.  For his part, the Headmaster stood frozen in place, his head bowed, and Little Tom could see the Headmaster was quivering from fear.

Little Tom was unsure the Headmaster would survive the next several minutes.  His Master was kind to those that were useful...those of use...those who produced results.  He was much less patient with those he saw as standing in his way.

Tenzo turned back around.  His tone had softened.  "Its one spell.  One damned spell.  At this very moment an army of workers are building hundreds of miles of trenches, traps, and defenses along the Western Coast.  Soldiers are conscripting tens of thousands of able men to fight this war.  Massive amounts of food and water are being stockpiled to support this effort.  Do you understand?."

The Headmaster seemed scared to speak, and simply nodded.

Tenzo took a step forward, so that the two men's noses almost touched.  "And all I want from you, and your teachers, and your fucking school is that you teach one damned spell to as many subjects as possible.  Subjects utterly and completely under your control."

The Headmaster screwed up his courage, and answered.  "I understand."

Tenzo smiled a wolf's smile.  "But, please do let me know if you are not up to the task.  It is of crucial importance that I know as soon as possible if I need to choose a new Headmaster."

"No, no...no, no...it is one spell.  It can be done...I will double their instruction time..."

Tenzo interrupted.  "Triple it.  Quadruple it.  They should be either studying or sleeping, and sleeping is something they can do after the war."

"Yes, yes...it shall be done.  You will have what you have asked for.  I promise you."

Tenzo's smiled faded.  "That is a promise sealed with your very life...I assure you."

The Headmaster refused to make eye contact with Tenzo.  "It shall be done."

Tenzo turned and walked away briskly from the older man.  "Come Tom, let's see if we can't scare up a decent steak in this shithole of a city."

Tom chased after his Master, glancing back only briefly at the terrified Headmaster Dorian.


Billowing clouds of fire and smoke rose from beyond the palisade wall.  Tenzo stood before one of his Magis Parvum groups.  It was a motley bunch.  Boys and girls, who looked to be between the ages of 12 and 17.  A hundred in number, and each one eyes-wide and terrified.  

Tenzo spoke loud enough for them to hear him over the distant flames and explosions.  "Months ago...you were street trash.  Abandoned.  Unloved.  Forgotten.  Scavenging for food and sleeping in gutters.  Today.  Today you are all the Emperor's Chidren!  You are loved.  You are worthy.  And today, you will save the Motherland!"

"I know you are scared.  I know you worry for your future!  Some of you will die.  But you will die knowing you have died for your Emperor.  Many of you will live, and you will never know want again in your life.  You are the Emperor's Children.  And the Emperor will not forget what you have done this day!  You will have a home, food, and coin to spend for the rest of your days! Today you earn a glorious death...or survive and earn a life worthy of royalty!  Stand fast, my children!"

Tenzo looked to the score of soldier escorts on the perimeter of the 100 youths.  They knew what to do if any of the children ran.  If Tenzo's words did not convince them to stand fast, then the death of one of two cowards might bring bravery to the rest.

A dragon flew over the palisade wall, and strafed the legion of soldiers between the wall and the Magis Parvum group.  Tenzo raised his hand high above his head, so that all could see it.  "NOW!"

The youths began muttering incantations, and gesturing with their hands, and 300 magic missles streaked skyward, striking the dragon with immense power.  The scaly monster writhed in pain, and then went stiff, the leather of his wings fluttering as he fell.  The dragon impacted the ground just in front of the Magis Parvum, driving a great gout of dirt into the air.  Dirt rained down on the children.  

Tenzo Malus smiled.  There were 15 Magis Parvum groups deployed along the coastline.  His plan had worked.  "Get ready to go again, my Children.  There will be more!!!"


All was darkness.  First came pain.  Then a sense of being.  And finally, his eyes opened and he saw the devastation around him.  Tenzo lifted himself onto one elbow, and took an assessment.  He was alive.  No mortal wounds.  His arms and legs still worked.

Then the memories came flooding back.  Undead soldiers had risen from the field of battle.  His Magis Parvum had expended all of their magic taking down a second dragon.  Flame had sprung in great fans from Tenzo's hands, burning the undead to his left and his right.  Then chain lightning had boomed with thunderous cracks as it jumped from one corpse to another.  He had glanced over his shoulder, in time to see the undead tearing and rending the large group of children.

The screams assaulted him.  The children would fall...and then rise again.  Tenzo threw one fireball into the Magis Parvum group, and then another.  Then a great wave of force had struck him from behind, and the darkness came.

Tenzo sat up, clutching his knees.  Fallen corpses covered the ground in every direction.  Savior.  The Nameless Emperor had used Savior.  Had they lost the battle?  Had they won?  Did it even matter anymore?  The Carrion King had been quite clear about his intentions.  Death had come to Kempin, and the Gods had fallen. The world was broken.  Tears streamed down Tenzo's face.

Minutes passed, the only sound a soft wind, blowing in from the ocean and the sound of Tenzo's sobbing.  Then he stood.  Little Tom...and Mavis.  He had to get home.  Protect them.  If the world was to end, he wanted to stand with them when it did.


    • Bert Godding

      Mark had created a wizard named Tenzo to attack the party years ago when we were at sea.  I created a wizard named Malus to attack the Warhawk in "Blood and Fire on the High Seas."  Then we decided that they were probably the same person, so Tenzo Malus was born.