Of Gods and Mages

“Be quiet, or a mage will come for you!”  His eldest stopped fidgeting in his chair and turned pale.

His daughter, though, looked puzzled.  “Papa?  What is a mage?”

“Someone who uses magic against the King’s commands.  They are evil and punish children who misbehave.”  He aimed that last squarely at his eldest.

The girl, on the other hand, looked mystified.  “Why does the King not want them to use magic?”

She looked at him with expectant eyes.  His wife merely shrugged, refusing to participate.  He turned back to his daughter.  “The gods do not want any but their chosen to use magic.  The King enforces their will.”

“How does the King know what the gods want?”

“Because he is the King.”  The girl always asked a lot of questions, but this time was particularly exasperating.  Could she not understand the role of the King?

“Does the King talks to the gods?”

“I suppose so.”

“And they do not like magic?”

“Well, they do not like magic practiced by mages.”

“Why not?”

“Enough!  We do not question the commands of the gods!”  His wife’s disapproving look told him to control his temper.  “I am sorry for yelling.  But it is forbidden to question the will of the gods or their King.  We must accept what they say.  Do you understand?”

She nodded silently, obviously afraid to anger him again.

He sighed.  “Do not be afraid.  Behave, do as you are told, mind the gods, and nothing bad will happen.  Do you understand?”

She nodded again, a little more life in it this time.

“Good.  Now let us finish the meal.”

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