“Do you suggest, Jadon, that we build our own army to combat the Magnus Moira?” Lord Gawain asked, only just audible above the miserly rain pattering against the huge window.
Jadon hesitated, and another voice spoke.
“If this is your suggestion, I hope that you have considered the implications,” Lady Miranda said, though not unkindly. “Who would fight for our cause? Very few sorcerers would be willing to put their lives on the line – there’s not been a war among our people for centuries past. Our laws prevent our people from even forming a militant force. As from laws passed in 1637, 1952, 1958 and 1984, and those amendments made since, sorcerers are not able to use duelling magic, privately or publicly, in any part of the world, except in extreme circumstances.”
“I am not suggesting we start a war with Lisandro,” Jadon said. “He has already declared war on us and anyone who opposes him. I make no mention of duelling magic, tools or techniques anywhere within this proposal.” He waved the thickest document yet in the air before passing it to Teresa. “What I am suggesting is to arm our most talented youth – those young sorcerers whose names would come up for consideration when selecting new members of the White Elm, and who will be sought after by Lisandro for their giftedness – with the skills and knowledge they will need to defend themselves, their families and their communities from Magnus Moira. Once educated, these students could easily be dispersed back into our society, either back into their own towns and cities or, if they are willing, into other vulnerable and undefended communities to protect and lead in the event of a crisis.”
There was a few moments of very heavy, tense silence while the rest of White Elm thought this proposal over, considering the implications, the advantages and disadvantages.
Lord Gawain was, altogether, quite impressed with Jadon’s idea. There was a lot that needed to be thought through and worked out, but overall, the general idea was an excellent one. Training the young (those gifted, impressionable targets of Lisandro’s) to defend themselves and their communities where the White Elm, with the restriction of having so few members, could not, would kill several birds with one stone, so to speak. They would be increasing public awareness, protecting those most at risk of Lisandro’s trickery and making progress towards protecting the wider magical community.
Tian spoke up, smashing the thick silence.
“If you managed to collect an army numerous enough to challenge Lisandro’s ever-increasing forces, how and where would you train them in the defensive arts? And, how do you plan on disguising this war you speak of from the mortal public? They must be kept oblivious, as they are with our every movement, but a war? No one is stupid enough to miss that, not even mortals.”
“I agree,” Teresa offered. Aubrey and a few others nodded. Jadon frowned.
“I agree,” said Glen, “with Jadon. A dangerous era faces us and we cannot fail to act duly. We must protect the magical community, no matter the personal or short-term cost. Why is it so impossible to think that people would sign up? According to that survey, the people want to know more about what we’re doing, what measures we are taking to protect them. We’d be offering to educate them in the finest arts. We serve a society of good people – they want to know what they can do to help. As a father, I would hate to be powerless to protect my daughter if the need arose. Our people are the same. They want to protect their families and their way of life. They would fight to defend what they love, like anyone.”
“I propose that we establish a school of magic, dedicated to the education of elite spell casters – an extension of our council,” Jadon said now, speaking mainly to Lord Gawain, who listened intently. “This cohort would report directly to the White Elm. We would be their teachers. We should begin with the young people. We must educate the young people properly, not only for our own purposes but also for their own safety. Lisandro is amassing his own force even now, drawing in talented witches from everywhere. We must educate the public against him.”