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Fiona ONeill
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:48 pm    Post subject: An Exercise Reply with quote

Even great leaders were capable of feeling foolish, and from his point of view regardless of what others thought, he was just a man. And on his knees before a woman telling her what she already knew. He seemed to laugh and cough at the same time, thinking that the position of men was likely always thus. He changed the subject as he hands continued their surveillance of her legs.

"What about the Construct? Can you summon it now without difficulty, at least?" That was their basic training exercise. Even if she told him a dozen times what she was capable of, he still asked as though he didn't know. In his own way, he was like Vicks. He would make her repeat and repeat and repeat, until that which she repeated was second nature to her. "If you can, we can work on a resonance exercise."

She couldn’t help but notice his eyes lingering on hers and his unfading smile, though she told herself she only saw what she wanted to see. He was only there to help her learn, she reminded herself. She knew he could not possibly be interested in anything more with her, especially when it was her fault that they were there, due to the Disavowal that she delivered to him casting him out from the Empire, which had ultimately caused them to be like the refugees they were supposed to be helping.

“Yes,” she answered, awkwardly taking a slow step backwards. The pitch of the tent caused her to bow her head slightly in order to continue standing. She thought that the more they worked together, the easier their interactions would become, but she was wrong. She just couldn’t allow him to be that close to her anymore, not when she wanted him to be so much closer. The cuts through her worn leather pants would have to heal on their own, she decided. “Yes,” she said while looking off to the side of the tent, trying to maintain some semblance of dedication to the craft, “I think an exercise would be best.”

"An exercise," he sighed as she withdrew, and cleared his throat. "Stand here, in the middle where you'll be unencumbered." He gestured towards the center of the tent where it was tall enough neither of them had to bend or bow to walk. He moved slightly adjacent and stood slightly stooped, just enough that he was at eye level.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:51 pm    Post subject: Awaken Reply with quote

"Stand between the two uprights and, closing your eyes, face the east." He always instructed to face the east during lessons that focused more on developing familiarity with the Construct, rather than lessons that taught how to shape the Doorways power into magical effects. "I want you to form the Construct in your mind, the long hallway, three doors to either side, and a seventh at the far end. Just like we've practiced before." His lessons always seemed simple, and perhaps they were. The repetition of simple things over and over, until you could do combinations of simple things quickly and without erring.

"It's interesting," he spoke softly, "Or perhaps less so to you, even though it's going to be important shortly - Resonances are the heart of being able to develop and set a Ward." One of his bad habits as an instructor, he had a tendency to keep talking after having given instruction - which usually only served to distract the pupil.

Fiona was distracted, though not from his talking. Under normal circumstances, she would have been able to easily form the Construct, but listening to his instruction helped her to concentrate. Even in her time between training with him or Vicks, she would form the hallway and doors in her mind, hoping that the more she practiced visualizing it, the easier it would be to call upon. She faced east, and closed her eyes. As she brought each door into focus, she slowly lifted her head and breathed deeply. ‘…the heart…’ she repeated in her mind, attempting to stay on task. “Yes,” she said stoically, “I have the Construct.”

"Keep it in your mind; don't concentrate, just let it exist." He was moving around her now, his movement able to be felt in the close quarters. "Let your body awaken to the Construct, it's not just in your mind - you can feel it now, your body is the doorway for their energy." A hand lightly touched against her knees, right then left. "Time and Space, how far and how fast." He was listing the Doorways, but waking her body to the energy within them. To feel Resonance, you had to feel it; stoicism had it's place, but now it was time to reach further. "Life and Death, one hand gives, and the other takes away," he touched each of her hands in turn, right then left. "Light and Dark," he offered no other explanation for those, but lightly touched each side of her face, brushing over her closed eyes.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:52 pm    Post subject: Space Reply with quote

"And the Seventh door is represented," he paused before placing his thumb just between and above her eyes, imprinting lightly. "Here." Every light touch caused a tingle which radiated from its contact point through her entirely, as though the body were waking up from being long numb.

"I want you to choose one of the Doors, feel the power behind it, call it towards you, to the frame and let it build - but do not attempt to shape it, just let it exist." He was still moving slowly around her, though his contact had lessened save for those used to 'awaken' her.

Fiona was torn, she wanted to follow his instruction, but she knew if she didn’t concentrate that she would lose the Construct. The sensory deprivation of her eyes being closed caused his touch to feel even more powerful, like little bolts of electricity. With his touch eroding her ability to concentrate, she allowed herself to feel the Construct around her.

“Space,” she answered, more to herself, as if speaking its name would grant her more power.

“Speak it if you must,” he added softly as he continued to move about her, “But more importantly, you need to feel it, consider the power behind the Doorway, and feel what it is, open yourself to it. It's power is represented in the distance between all things, be they near or far.” As he moved slowly about her, he placed a hand on her shoulder and kept it in contact with her as he spoke and moved about. The hand settled on her left shoulder and he moved about her in clockwise fashion, letting it glide over her back and shoulders, parting company only for a moment when he moved before her, then allowing either his palm or the back of his hand to press against her neck.

Within the Construct, everything was both heightened and dulled; the feel of his hands upon her became acute, but to both of them it was as if they were witnessing the perception of someone else, rather than feeling it themselves. As he had been moving around her, he too had formed the Construct, and had opened the Door which matched hers – though he did so by feeling the emanations from the one she'd chosen, rather than by her words. He stopped behind her, both his hands lifting to, and settling on, her shoulders.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:55 pm    Post subject: Proximity Reply with quote

“Space is one of the powers to which all things must subscribe,” he intoned, voice hushed. “Proximity is relative, but the power which governs proximity, the power which is represented by proximity all stems from the same source, so there is a like resonance.” His voice was calm, explanatory, and relaxing all at the same time. “Like the resonance between two people,” his voice remained the same as it had been, but he added a hushed, almost conspiring tone, “Trust me,” and with that stepped close to her just as he gently pulled her shoulders back against him. There was no way she could have fallen with the slight distance between them, but it was enough that she was drawn to lean against his chest while his hands moved from her shoulders, down her arms and hands to hold her firmly by the hips. He waited a moment for what would assuredly be a gasp of a breath, then proceeded to breath with her, so that both inside and outside the Construct, a resonance formed between them.

Outside the Construct, in the physical world, their bodies began to sync to one another, breathing and heartbeats falling into the same cadence. Within the Construct, the sense of power flowing to and through each of them also found a similar cadence. They were both tapped into the same source of power, that which flowed from Space, and their close physical distance allowed their limited minds to better perceive their resonance of their power to each other; each breath of their bodies was accompanied by a rhythmic sense of waves crashing against a beach, or the sound of two voices singing in harmony – except they weren't heard as much as felt.

Fiona trusted him, and she allowed herself to relax back against his chest. She gasped, and her heart raced as he placed his hands on her hips, though they soon followed in time with his breath and pulse. Distracted and focused at the same time, every thought she had turned to Space: the relatively small but comforting Space in the tent, the vast and empty Space she could see just beyond the door in her Construct, and even the lack of Space between them, yet she still felt so far away from him in all the ways that mattered most to her. Slowly, she could feel her hands hover over his, feeling the Space between them, before lightly laying them on top.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:58 pm    Post subject: Synergy Reply with quote

A surge of warmth suffused his face as her hands laid atop his, and he paused in the lesson for a moment – and hoped it went unnoticed with her absorbed in the lesson. He silently chastised himself, and sought to forge ahead.

“This is what's called, synergistic resonance,” he spread his fingers slightly, letting hers fall between them before he curled them again, giving her hands a light squeeze before his hands moved from her hips to her abdomen. He inhaled, breathing in sync with her and feeling the rise and fall of her breath with his own. He kept his voice as level as he could, though his face dropped slightly so that his forehead rested against her hair; his every breath now was now filled with her scent.

“And we,” he paused, and inhaled again, “And we, uh, we... it's representative of the similarities found between powers, when you detect a synergistic resonance, you can tell the power being used against – or with you, is the same as that which you are holding. That's why we, why,” he paused, yet again. “The reason for our closeness.” The last came out softer than he intended, perhaps, and he took one more deep breath, in tune with hers. “The more similar the mind, emotion, and conviction of the casters, which can be influenced by their, uh, physical... stimuli... the easier resonance is to detect.”

With her eyes still closed, she couldn’t help but smile as she felt his fingers interlace with hers before giving her hands a slight squeeze. As his hands moved to her stomach, she kept hers on his, moving with him, refusing to let go. With his first ‘uh’, her concentration on Space in terms of the Construct had waned, and her focus on the space the two of them shared had increased. With his second, her eyes had shot open. All this time she told herself that she created this one-sided relationship in her mind, but his breathing, his tone, his hesitations, all began to offer the possibility that it wasn’t something she just made up. She had to know. Slowly, she let go of his hands and began to turn her body to one side until she could turn her head enough to look at him. Her own eyes were filled with a look of excited nervousness and, mostly, hope.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:04 pm    Post subject: Wyrm Spawn Reply with quote

Kristoph's eyes met hers as she turned, and his gaze moved in a seeming daze down to her lips before he felt himself stooping lower to meet them, the already minuscule space between them further diminishing. Everything else around them seemed to fall away almost to nothing, leaving only the growing resonance between them. His arms had loosened enough to allow her to turn towards him and they could each taste the others breath when the still intimacy of the moment was suddenly interrupted.

Shrill, fading, whistles permeated the air not just around their tent, but the entire encampment. The noises seemed to fall from the sky all around them, and Kristoph's eyes flared open upon hearing them, his embrace of her turning suddenly rigid. “Those are Ronin's wards,” he blurted, louder than he intended, before reducing his voice to a hushed, intent whisper. “He uses that pitch because they can't hear it,” his head raised from hers for a moment, glancing around the tent as though his eyes could pierce it's veil and see the camp around them. He began to crouch, casting a glance towards their weapons and pulling her down with him as he did so. “The only thing that trips it are-” his words were suddenly interrupted as something large impacted the ground less than twenty feet from the tent, causing the ground to tremor throughout the campsite.

The silence of the camp following the impact was broken by a great, ragged inhalation, followed by an earsplitting, almost metallic shriek. A silhouette of the intruder was cast by the moon upon the canvas of the tent. A long, sinuous body supported by four relatively shorter legs, bent backwards at the knee. From it's back sprouted a pair of what must have been massive, bat-like wings; the shadow of it's wings dwarfed that of the body. It was impossible to tell if the ratio was to scale, or if there were mere tricks being played on the senses by the light; but the creature must have been huge, for it felt like something huge had struck the ground when it landed.

Kristoph finally finished his sentence. “Wyrm-spawn.”
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:33 pm    Post subject: Feeling the Strain Reply with quote

Between the whistling outside and his explanations, here panicked eyes darted between his and the shrill sounds outside. She had completed her turn to face him and quickly followed his cue to crouch down. Once the beast’s shadow fell on the tent, her eyes stayed glued to its menacing figure. All this time, she thought their biggest concern was the Second Sword. Now there was a much more immediate danger threatening them. She leaned to his ear and asked in a hushed whisper. “What can we do?”

Kristoph's hand reached out to steady her, as they dropped down together. “Wait, Ronin Wards us for sound, so it cannot hear us, but his Ward can only bear so much strain,” his voice was a warm whisper against her ear. “Surely that landing will rouse the children, if they become aware, afraid, begin to scream,” his eyes told the rest. The louder the group was, the harder it was for the Ward to hide them, and if they were too loud the Ward would break. The silhouette turned quickly, it's tail lashing out to the side before rising into the air and falling with a sharp, almost whip like, retort, perilously close to their tent. Earth and lines were torn free, along with the poles along one side. The tent sagged, the loosed side falling in against them. A nearer blow would have torn the tent free, and possibly crushed them in the process. He held the sagging tent away from her as best he could, while at the same time drawing her closer in an attempt to make them a physically smaller target.

More shrill whistles filled the air, and the creature loosed another metallic roar before lashing out horizontally with it's tail – this time further away from their tent. Close to them, a woman cursed softly in the moonlit dark. Further away more murmuring came from other tents. No children had screamed, yet. More whistles pierced the air.

The creature listened for the whistles, gurgled deep in it's throat, but did not roar. The whistles seemed to be coming from outside of camp, and the creature seemed divided between this new intrusion, and the overwhelming sense that it had missed something.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:34 pm    Post subject: Rearranging the Construct Reply with quote

After their eyes met, and he spoke of the children, her eyes closed, and she tried to concentrate. She quickly pulled up the Construct and found the door to Space. As she opened it, a rush of air to flowed over her, its waves causing small rippling vibrations to hit her and build up inside her. She pulled her focus back out of the Construct, she held onto Kristoph tightly to ground her. Just as she had been hit with the pulses in the Construct, she began to allow every sound she heard and every minor disturbance in the air to absorb into her, slowly creating a growing field of silence around her.

As she did so, the sound of everything within the camp seemed to fade away – including the ambient sounds of the creature. As silence descended the creature paused and seemed to tense, as if it were extending it's senses outward, to feel the source of the disturbance which caused the sound to vanish. It's whip-like tail lashed out horizontally again as it turned, and it's long, sinuous neck sailed over the top of the tents. The view of the stars overhead was replaced by the sight of a green-brown, leathery, gesticulating gullet; saliva dripped to the ground, and breath with the heavy smell of chlorine permeated the air with a caustically clean smell.

Before it had reached over Fiona, Kristoph he had done what he could to partially cover her body with his own, screening her view so that the close proximity of the creature wouldn't distract her concentration. His hand tightened on her arm and his eyes grew distant as he too sought out the Construct, and seizing upon it channeled energy through it against the energy she was already channeling. The resonance of what he was doing could be felt by her, through the Construct; it was complex, and he took hold of her energy as a weaver would with a loom, delicately re-arranging the string as it filtered both away from, and back into her. Ambient sound slowly filtered back into the air around them; the creature, the wind, the forest: only the sound of the camp itself was muted, now.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:35 pm    Post subject: Close Encounter Reply with quote

Another sudden whistling split the air to the north west, and the camp was bathed with a bright, golden light, as a pulse of crackling golden energy pulsed into the sky from the same direction as the whistling.

Ronin.

The beasts head jerked again, towards the light and sound. It took two bounding leaps and sprung into the air, wings snapped outwards and pushing downwards, carrying itself aloft. Another pulse of light split the air, this one slightly further away, and the beast corrected it's course, pushing it's wings harder to follow. A throaty, gurgling roar split the air in the distance – showing how far and fast the beast had travelled away, and the camp seemed to give a collective sigh, as the sudden terror of the beasts presence was just as quickly removed.

“That was brave. And foolish.” Kristoph's hand perched lightly on Fiona's cheek. He had released the Construct and was studying her. His pulse was drumming in his ears, his heart still racing from the closeness of that encounter. “What would you have done if you'd drawn it's attention? What would -I- have done?” His questions left him breathless, but not out of anger or annoyance. They were almost rhetorical, and he couldn't help but stare at her in the dim, almost non-existent light.

Finally allowing herself to breath more than shallow, silent breaths, she took several deep breaths, almost gasping for air, as if they may be her last. When she opened her eyes, she couldn’t help but to continue looking around. Still anxious, her eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness. Under normal circumstances, she would have been just as uneasy in the dark, but with a much more realistic fear that had been just outside their tent, she was at ease with it.

Turning her glance to Kristoph, she felt he was also a factor for her calm. She had felt his added power as he had touched her, channeled it through her, growing it, controlling it. She still had so much to learn, not just for her power, but also what to do in tense situations. She would have never thought to restore the ambient sounds around them to ease suspicion.

“Thank you…” she said, her breath only starting to steady, though her heart was still racing as she looked at him.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:37 pm    Post subject: Situation Normal, All F'd Up Reply with quote

A sound came from a nearby tent, a voice raised just loud enough that it could be heard throughout the camp. Brend.

“S'alright?” The call was followed by a quick 'Oof', as though something had struck him in the stomach, knocking the wind from him. Nevertheless, soft answers sounded out from elsewhere around the camp. No one was hurt, a few of the tents had been loosened from their moorings. Ronin was still out there somewhere with the beast, doing his job and leading it away from them. “Kristoph, Fiona?” Brend's voice called again, not having heard response from either of them yet.

“We're fine, just the tent,” Kristoph called, his hand not having left her face, his thumb lightly stroking her cheek. “Nothing that can't be fixed at first light when we break camp again.” He'd turned his face from her to speak into the darkness so he wasn't quite so loud to her. In doing so, he spied his side of the tent. It was more or less a ruin, the poles which had held it together either bent or snapped, all of them laying at strange, odd angles. He spoke more softly to her, finding his face closer to hers than before when he returned his eyes to her. “Is there room for me on this side,” he shot her a rueful smile, halfway but not entirely apologetic, “We might have to share blankets.” At least part of his were gone, strung into the trees somewhere in the dark.

Her gaze relaxed and Fiona smiled with a nod. She paused, as if second guessing what to say, but then said with a shameless smile, “I think we can make you fit.”

Kristoph gaped in the darkness, and almost laughed, but held it back long enough to lean forward and kiss her. Fiona could still feel the smile of his lips against hers as they fell somewhat haphazardly towards her bedroll. Together, they became immune to any other intrusion of the night.

As Brend and Livia came back towards their tent after having performed their required tasks of checking on the wards directly under them, not magical wards, but those they were directly in charge of protecting, their heard soft sounds coming from the tent which Kristoph and Fiona shared.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:39 pm    Post subject: Professionals Reply with quote

Livia eyed the somewhat mangled, half hanging construct with disdain, an eyebrow arching in silent judgement. Brend noticed it.

“How is that any different from what we do, anyway?” Brend asked, his voice was soft, playful, even as he made the motion to slip his arm around her – which was met with a light slap to his chest.

“That's different,” she retorted just as soft as he had been speaking, as though despite her reservations about the actions of those in leadership positions above her, she would allow them their own moment of respite.

“I don't see how,” Brend paced ahead of her easily, his longer strides putting him closer to their tent than Livia was. He was casually shedding clothing as he went. “You'll have to show me.”

“Because you and I aren't supposed to be acting professional!” She hissed the retort after him. Her own strides towards their tent hastened, and she started working on her own buckles as well, as though she were suddenly driven. Brend cast a look back at her just as he was about to enter the flap of their tent, and instead held it open for her.

“That's true,” he said softly before continuing, “But if we're not professionals,” Brend raised his eyebrows as he spoke, as though his 'we' was more a 'you', “Why is it I have to pay for it?” He smirked triumphantly, as though he'd finally caught her. She casually passed by him into their tent with a smirk of her own.

“I never asked you to pay for it,” Livia replied, as she pulled him into the tent, letting the flap of a doorway fall closed. “You're the jerk that though that was appropriate – so I never saw why I shouldn't just keep taking your money,” their silhouette was cast briefly against the tent's walls by a lantern before she reached to turn it down – then out. “Besides,” the smaller silhouette pushed the larger onto it's back, then made move to straddle it, just before the light guttered out. “I'm worth it, and you know it.”

For once, Brend had nothing smart to say.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:05 pm    Post subject: Exarch Reply with quote

Exarch Camp. Lygian Range. Inner Arc.

The corpse of the wyrm which had accosted the First Sword the night before lay in the camp of their pursuers - the Second Sword. An Exarch lead them, the Second Sword unit which was now hunting the first. He had member of the First Sword, once, and in a display of intimidating power, he had summoned the creature back to them after Ronin had driven it away from the First Sword's encampment. Once he had summoned it there, he had killed it with tendrils of black, enervating energy that seemed to manifest from all around the beast. The tendrils reached out and seemingly through it, with the Exarchs arcane power silencing any sound which might have emanated from the creature as well.

Another officer, Kitarlin of the Fenns, had approached the Exarch while his troops in particular fed on the flesh of the beast. Under normal circumstances, Kitarlin would never have approached an Exarch - they were too high above him, and weren't to be questioned.

"Ye proved yer point," Kitarlin's voice was gruff, and had a slight growl to it. He spent more time with animals than he did with people, and his entire troop took after him, each and every one of them a skin-changer that could take the form of some kind of canine - and Kitarlin the alpha wolf that lead them. "Sh'they eat all that?" He jerked with his head towards his men, his Dogs. They had been eating the wyrm's corpse, and it wasn't the first time they had done so. Months ago, meat had been rationed to them by the same Exarch which now lead them, and the rations had seemed to amplify not only their bestial nature, but their abilities. Even when fully human now, their hair tended to be shaggy, oily, and wild, and their canine teeth were slightly longer than normal. They had also taken to eating meat without noticing if it were cooked.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:08 pm    Post subject: Bestial Reply with quote

"They will endure," the Exarch murmured with a slight tone of amusement, "Just as you endure, Fenn." There was no way of telling, but the Exarch's words emanated a sense of perverse pleasure. "You are worried about the mages which await them at Extalyon? I have already dealt with him." He gestured sundry to Kitarlin, as if dismissing him.

Kitarlin was perhaps less a man and more an animal than he had once been, but he wasn't stupid. He took particular note of how the Exarch had said the other mages awaited 'them', specifically Kitarlin's troops. They didn't await the Exarch - he wouldn't be there. As if reading Kitarlin's mind, the Exarch spoke again. This time is voice sounded altogether different than before, more feminine, perhaps? Or was it more nasal? It was hard to tell, and the more bestial qualities Kitarlin inherited, the more those small changes seemed to stand out when they happened - and they happened quite often, sometimes within the course of a single sentence.

"Jareth, Lord Tain, will be awaiting with the main body of the Second Sword, Kitarlin," he eschewed calling Kitarlin 'Lord', because he already knew the man disdained attempts to give him title. "All you need to do is chase them against Extalyon's walls, and flush them out. The city is close to all, they have no other recourse than to turn, or to spread themselves thinly along the barrier and risk being picked off. They will sue for peace, and we will take them." Kitarlin eyed him with suspicion for a moment, then finally nodded and walked off, issuing a shrill whistle as he did. The attention of all his troops turned on him, raising their blood streaked faces from the body of the wyrm; cleaning blood from their hands and faces with their mouths, they gathered themselves together and eventually half loped after him.

Another man, also an officer, approached the Exarch.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:13 pm    Post subject: Black Humor Reply with quote

"Jareth Tain," came a sibilant voice which somehow matched the way the Exarch dressed, all clad in black including a cloak and hood which hid his face. "You know your duty. You have been warned what the price of failure is, as well." Jareth's eyes were hard in their regard.

"You're not the only one who turned from the First Sword, you know," he sneered at the Exarch, who seemed completely unfazed by his tone. He was quick to answer Jareth, though, and as usual his words too closely mimicked what were in Jareth's mind.

"I know, Lord Tain. But you couldn't abide them anymore, could you? Because there is no First, in the First Sword, is there? No way for you to advance, no way to become something more - and you knew about me, and came looking. I didn't have to persuade you at all, I only had to offer-" the Exarch went quiet, as he suddenly found himself eye to eye with a clearly enraged Jareth.

Instead of instigating anything with his superior, Jareth turned on a heel and walked away with the distinct impression that the Exarch was laughing at him, though he heard nothing of the sort in the Exarch's words as he called to Jareth's back.

"Prepare your troops, Lord Tain. Their time is nigh. I have every confidence you will win the day, and with it the recognition you so crave, by crushing these rebels against the Empire!" The Exarch was loud enough that any in around them heard his words, not that there were many others who would challenge him. The volume of the Exarch's voice dropped considerably as he saw Jareth taking out his frustrations on some of the officers under him, and he added, "I understand Jareth, you felt stymied. They left you feeling incomplete, like you couldn't fulfill your true potential. Jareth, they left you feeling like half a man."

And the Exarch laughed.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:15 pm    Post subject: Let there be... Reply with quote

Part IV: Mage, Mind, Spell

~ ~ ~

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”
― Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2


~ ~ ~

Mid Morning. Caravan Camp. Lygian Range. Inner Arc.

An old man sat perched between two fairly distant tents, looking up halfway between the empty open sky and the horizon. He'd been there for a while, but no one but him could testify to that. The sun had waited on the cusp of the horizon for hours and hadn't moved an inch, and the old man was the only animate thing in the camp. It was as if the muting effect used against the wyrm were still in place, so quiet was the camp. The man wore a humble, if mysterious smile as his gaze shifted from the horizon to each of the two tents.

"Seems a shame to disturb you, but we've gotta start sometime, I guess." He stretched as he stood, his body making a series of odd pops and cracks, even more so as he brought his gnarled fingers together and cracked each of his knuckles in turn. It was as if he were preparing, bracing himself, against some great feat he was about to set his back to. He sighed and turned back towards the horizon. "Let there be," his voice dwindled and he turned to walk away from the tents, back towards the refugees as he finished. "Light."

The dawn suddenly broke over the camp and people bustled about, many having woken up well before the sun touched the treetops overhead. Wood smoke wafted into the tents, and one of the two which the old man had watched spilled forth it's occupants, a tall blonde man and a dark haired, deadly beauty. He made to move towards the other tent, but she caught his arm and spun him back towards her and shook her head with a smirk. He shot her a confused frown which she answered with a roll of her eyes.

"Give them a few more minutes," it was hard to say how Livia finished the sentence as she gave Brend a jerk towards the main camp, but he could have sworn she'd called him an idiot.

The tent he'd been about to approach was half in tatters, and admitted more of the cool morning air than either of it's occupants would have preferred.
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