“Taryn Parker, welcome to the 8th Nome” Connery gave his new apprentice a studied glance. He was as yet unsure if she would work out, and wasn’t impressed by the service pulling another whirl wind on him. All too often recruits were identified from potential assets and then flipped into field agents without a full run of training, add to this one a tiny flicker of potential in the arcane arts and quickly he found himself saddled with an untrained unprepared apprentice with a brand new inflated ego all thanks to the Service.
“Let’s start with some history Parker, since that is your particular passion” he started, the girl quickly flipped open a ratty note book and pen, he had to work to stifle a laugh. “No notes Parker, too dangerous, keep it in your head or not at all” he smiled satisfied as she put away her book.
“Nomes are structures built on a confluence of magical ley lines” he looked up to see the all too familiar blank look from his ‘apprentice’, he’d have to go a bit slower “You have shown a talent for the arcane arts, almost always referred to as the craft or as the Americans simplify it, Magic, the service is going to train you how to control and use the craft to the befit of her majesties commonwealth, still with me Parker?” he watched her nod and then continued “the Craft travels the length and breadth of the multiverse and all worlds within, it travels on what is best thought of as magical highways or power lines that crisscross all around the world, these are called LEY LINES. LEY LINES are always slowly moving, not dissimilar to continental drift or orbital wobble, you may not notice it immediately but over some years you can measure a slight difference… still with me Parker?” again she nodded, “Good… when multiple Ley Lines cross in a confluence, it creates what is called a Place of Power, the more Ley Lines that cross, the more power that runs through it. If powerful wielders of the craft come together and create the right kind of structure they can lock that confluence into place keeping it from moving and maintaining it as a potent place of arcane energy… we refer to such places that we control as NOMES. So once again I welcome you to the 8th Nome Parker” it was hard to lie to himself, he could see the hundreds of question getting ready to erupt from the lips of his ‘apprentice’ and so was quick to cut them off, it was mildly sadistic, but then again his master had done the same to him, and so it seemed fitting.
“Britain is home to three different NOMES, all under the control of our own people her Majesties Secret Service, but here is where you must vigilant Parker, every NOME across the world is headed up by what is referred to as an Arch Magus, he or she sits on a council with the heads of each NOME and works to keep young practitioners of the Craft in line, this group as a whole is referred to as the Arcane Order, and although we work with them, and are in fact members, they have no such loyalty to Her Majesty or Her Common Wealth, which means other NOMEs although friendly to us, are not considered safe houses and their occupants cannot be trusted with our secrets… do you understand?” she nodded and looked about at Stone Hedge, Connery smiled to himself and started walking towards between a set of stones, with a wave of his hand and a mumbled word the air before them shimmered, he paused ushering the lady to pass through first she did and he promptly followed.
He waited for her to take it all in, larger by far on the inside it appeared as if they had shrank to the size of ants, the centre appeared to be open to the air but it was warmer here, and more business-like as many people rushed around, tables and offices were laid out as far as she could see with the sides nearest the stones having multiple floors and elevators, the complex appeared to be the size of a small city, but all contained within Stone Hedge.
“Wow” was all she managed to say, As Connery recalled it was more then he managed to stammer out on his first visit.
“You have a marvellous way of summing things up Parker, now let’s go meet the Arch Magus”
“The Arch Magus?” she replied suddenly worried “I thought you were the Arch Mugus” he barked out a laugh at that
“Yes, and I moon light as the Pope as well you bloody twit, do you really think that the Arch Magus would be training a raw recruit such as yourself?” she looked at her hard for a minute. She began to stammer but her cut her off “No, I am just a humble practitioner of the craft and your CO for MI6, I am no Arch Magus. Now come along, she will want to meet you, and see if you can be inducted into the Arcane Order” he led her across the floor past many cubicles, tables and offices towards a large elevator, the two entered together.
“But what will happen, what if I fail?” he turned placing his hands on her shoulders and looked her deeply in the eyes
“Listen carefully Parker, this is important, NO ONE alive today has failed the entrance test to the Arcane Order, you pass or you die, so don’t fail” the elevator dinged as it arrived at the top floor and opened into a large office room. “Taryn Parker, meet Arch Magus Väinämöinen of the 8th Nome, good luck to you and god bless”