“Good morning, class,” Castien said, his gaze icily drifting past every student. “Today we will be studying a new subject: silent magic. As is well known by any mage worth his robes, vocal magic is generally the most often-used type of magic. With vocal magic, without the aid of an additional device such as a wand or staff, one can achieve things like summoning weak ghosts to aid in tasks for some time, or moving objects across a room, making a light in the darkness, and even taking the life out of another person – the one and only type of magic which is strictly forbidden here in the college.
“When vocal magic is combined with a particular magical implement, such as a staff, you are modifying the attributes of that magic in some way or another. Any number of things may now occur: the power of the spell may be enhanced and the spell’s effects more concentrated – for example, your familiars may become less ethereal and last slightly longer, your light glows brighter, and so on; the spell may be altered in some way, potentially optimizing the results for a more specific purpose, like, for example, summoning combat-oriented ghosts; or your magic may simply be amplified, with the spells reaching further, having more effect, and multiplying the outcome – perhaps you summon ten familiars instead of just the one you wanted. The list of uses goes on and on.”
Without uttering a sound, and without ever moving, Castien flung a glass vase across the room, shattering it on contact with a wall, and then stopped the glass shards in midair, so that they still partially held the shape of the vase. He then slowly forced the glass to mold back together, the individual pieces growing back into a single, solid structure in seconds.
He looked at the students before him once again, taking his focus off of the object. “When the voice is absent, and you simply will the physical world into action, this opens up many new possibilities as far as ways to interact with the environment. No longer are you limited by the words you can say to describe your wish. You can now simply make things be as you want them to be. This allows for much more complex magic to be performed.”
The class remained silent.
Without saying anything more, Castien began to wordlessly weave a spell so complex that he was unaware of a vocal method of achieving the effect he wanted.
Upon the spell’s completion, the entire classroom melted away in its entirety, leaving just Castien and his students in a dark world where flames filled the sky, gigantic figures carrying huge blades lumbered about in the distance, and dragons flew back and forth in the burning skies.
The class went into a panic. Students began screaming, fleeing from the horrors, covering their eyes, telling themselves it was a bad dream and to wake up.
“Mene verbos nihila,” Castien muttered when he felt his demonstration was complete. These words are nothing. Instantly, the world returned to its previous state, and the students were back in their seats, still in varying states of panic. “You see my point about silent magic?” The students all nodded vigorously. “Good.”
“Professor,” a student in the back of the room asked, “was that – real? Did that actually just happen?”
“Of course not,” Castien replied. “I may be able to get away with quite a bit, but actually putting my students in danger like that would never be acceptable. I would be out in the marshes no later than this class ended. It was simply a warping of the senses – a way of altering what you perceived that caused you to believe, however briefly, in a world of my creation. That is the imagined world I chose for you, in which you were trapped only so long as I allowed the effects to continue.”
Students began to file out the door in the back of the room as Castien looked at a nearby clock and noted that the class was over.
As Castien’s last class of the day left, Lumen entered his room, followed close behind by a girl, looking to be about seventeen years old. Lumen was holding the tablet Castien had given to him, and looked excited; the girl looked somewhat confused. Castien couldn’t wait to hear the explanation behind this one.