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The First Rune

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They had inherited together the craft of magic, through their mother’s line.  Although their mother was shunned by the people, their father loved her greatly and her magic assured him power with which he used to guide his people well.

Sumner combined the two in likeness.  In youth, he walked the realms, and he used the power of the runes to summon great servants and craft the realms to his liking.  With the aid of his summoned servants, he built his tower, and ever traded learning from travelers of lands near and far.

In the days when his brother came of age, Sumner began to take Garm with him on his journeys through that which he had wrought.  What his brother lacked in nuance, he possessed in raw magic.  Seeking ever to shape the world into something beautiful, Sumner appealed to his brother’s good, guiding Garm to master his talent in its most natural form.  Then Sumner would capture and shape it, once released.

They sat upon the crest of a mountain, one afternoon, watching the village far below.  Like all within Sumner’s realm, it had long benefited from the magic of their king and his brother.  Garm dug his fingers into the earth, cutting grooves into the stone, on the edge of a request that had been eating away at him for years.

“Teach me the runes,” he said.

Taking his eyes from the villagers harvesting in their fields, Sumner looked at him.  “Why?”

“Our people look to you as their savoir,” Garm said.  “They don’t see me at all, and when they do, it is in the same hushed whispers they speak of black magic.  To them, I am a dark force, lurking in shadows, born only for evil.”

“I do not see you thus.  But what would the power of the summoning stones grant you,” Sumner asked, “that they would see you differently?”

“They see you lead the beasts you summon, and see you change their lives for the better,” Garm told him.  “My magic is formless and frightening, too much for their small minds to bear.  Grant me something they can understand and that would put their fears to rest.”

Sumner stared at him as he spoke.  And with a sigh, he reached down to where Garm’s fingers had cut through stone.  Smoothing the rock over again, he traced a symbol between them.

“This,” he told his brother, “is the first of the runes of summoning.”