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Introduction to Arcane & Metaphysical Theory 1000
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Atticus DArcstorm
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"By way of discussion with Ms. Storm, it occurred to me that I might make mention to you that the world you see around you, where our classroom is now situated, the sky, the ocean, the mountains - are all the result of waking dreams. Not daydreams as we might usually think of them, but more substantively developed fantasies. They have all the same mutability as aspects in Dream developed from sleepers dreams, should one exercise conscious effort or," he glanced at Felicity when he added, "when your control slips towards your passions." He continued to speak, his voice audible by the entire class.

"It is said that power is only ever an articulation of it's wielder; no where else is this more true than in Dream, yet for a magic user the power that one has in Dream extends out to the world they walk when waking as well. Your passions here are your power, the power to change the land and what you see and hear and feel, and to change reality itself; in the waking world it differs slightly in that we are not only subject to the limitations of our own self-control, which is often subverted by fear and uncertainty to encourage us not to reach, not to change things, but we are also limited by the control of others. I am certain you all remember, to some degree at least, the idea of Consensus, which is what I refer to now." Now the fingers at his temples massaged slightly, he had skewed slightly off course and needed to bring everything back together.

"Often the control, Consensus, imposed by others results in wild talents forming what are called 'blocks'. These are essentially regulations that we place upon ourselves for our own well being; they limit what we can do while not conscious of the way we use magic, or perhaps even the fact that we're using it at all. Interestingly, they all manifest as something with which we have facility; it is easier to accept that we might be able to manipulate fire or water or ice, or that we have unnaturally good luck, or can influence the luck of others. Or perhaps there is one other person who we can communicate with as though we read each others thoughts. Because this puts us, some would say, at an advantage, we often don't question how far these abilities can be pushed and simply accept them as they are. However, these abilities are the key to breaking through these self imposed mental blocks; they are the tiny stream through solid rock, wearing slowly away at the channel which it flows through." With his free hand he gestured to the world around them before he concluded, a broad sweeping stroke, as he he were trying to encompass all of Dream in the gesture.

"What you, what we, can do here is a taste of what the world is like, can be like, when you have opened yourself fully to the arcane, when you have eroded the blocks which you set upon yourselves." His voice quieted some, but he maintained, "Some do this for power, not the power of being able to manipulate reality, but the power of subjugating others. This, to me, is desecration; to use a tool of ultimate freedom to deny others freedom is no less than evil, and worse than evil - the despair which leads to nihilism and Oblivion. And while I do not promote violence, nor must it be fought with violence, this," he paused, his voice had been growing ever softer, though still audible, in some way fraternally intimate perhaps, with the listeners, "but it must be fought."

His hand dropped from his face to his side and he took another deep breath, the remainder of his thoughts finishing in myriad ways within his mind's eye. 'We're exhausting ourselves, fighting alone; we need help. Please.'

Although it turned to a warm, dewy mist by the time it reached the students, somewhere above them, it had begun to rain.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:57 pm    Post subject: Worse Than Evil Reply with quote

While Fliss and their instructor debated morals and ethics, something Layla genuinely had no interest in, Layla was fixated on the De-light she had caught.

It revealed to her a blonde performer, singing and dancing happily on stage. Once she finished her routine, the infinite audience before her erupted into applause, hollering its adoration upon her. Smiling, waving, blowing kisses to her fans, the performer bowed several times before making her way to the curtain to go back stage. The cheers from the audiences slowly faded, muffled as she let the curtain close behind her, revealing only an empty backstage room. No cheering ‘backstage pass’ fans. No supportive band mates. No loving friends or family. She turned around and quickly threw open the curtain hoping to see her adoring audience again, only to find the expansive space empty as if no one was ever there.

Layla released the dream, allowing the De-light to follow the others floating around her in their unseen current through the air. She understood what the Professor meant when he described them as ‘small fragments of dreams that exist only for a moment before the dreamer realizes that they dream’. She imagined the poor woman would jolt awake at the end, not being as lucky as Layla had been to easily cast it off. Although she had sympathy for the performer, Layla could not relate as well to her plight. She wished above all else to stay out of the spotlight.

Venturing out a little further, she caught another De-light. Within this one, a red headed woman appeared to be lost within a hallway with no windows. Several doors surrounded her, though each time she spun around to see behind her, there seemed to be more doors than before. Trying desperately to get out, the woman threw open one of the doors and was temporarily blinded by a white hot light that seared her skin as if she was standing next to the sun. Slamming the door closed, she turned and went to the door behind her. Quickly rushing to open it and find her freedom, she was instead greeted by a shadow filled darkness that seemed to engulf whatever was beyond the door, even rising into the air. Before she had a chance to close the door, the dense cloud of shadow began to leech into the hallway with her. Long ribbons of blackened violet began to reach out. As they grabbed her, wrapping around her arms, she opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out. She continued to scream in silence as she was pulled into the doorway of darkness.

In a similarly jarring manner as when she was interruptedly pulled from the first De-light, Layla found herself back in the field, just as their instructor began speaking to them. She continued to hold onto the speck in her dreamcatcher. “Oh, no,” she began whispering to it, “I’m not letting you go. You’re perfect.” The Professor instructed them to ‘find a dream that speaks to you’. This one spoke to her, but not because she related to the woman in the dream. She related to the shadows. Layla loved the darkness and everything that it symbolized: power, fear, mystery. It symbolized everything in her life, which was just the way she wanted it. Satisfied with her catch, she made her way back to the classroom while she listened to Professor D’Arcstorm continue his lesson.

As the humidity collected on her skin, she began to wonder just how far they could go in this plane of existence. Could she turn it as dark as she wanted, as dark as it was in the woman’s nightmare that she now held onto? Maybe she shouldn’t even try. What if that was what Professor D’Arcstorm referred to as ‘desecration’, a fate ‘worse than evil’?

On her way back to her desk, Layla had a scowl on her face. While it would have been in keeping with her previous demeanor, this time it was due to her quiet contemplation and confusion over this malleable environment. As she walked through the field, it may have been merely a trick of the light shining through the dew, but it almost seemed as though her shadow was a little darker than it should have been and lingered just a little too long along the blades of grass it covered.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ammy listened to dialogue play on between Professor D'Arcstorm and Fliss as she sat on the log watching the waves lap on that beach. So the world here they were seeing was a construct from each consensus of their own minds. Fluid, changeable depending on what they went through. This had her struggle deep within as to why her eyes were drawn to beauty and the calm of sea and sand. She surmised, at a haphazard guess, that out of all of the student on the field trip, her own consensus would be tantamount to playing with Pandora's Box. Yet, she'd found the peaceful sand, the lapping waters and the De-Light of Ruby Spiritor, her daughter as she dreams.

The topic of ethics and dreams had her flinch some on the bone white drift wood. More than a few times she'd been on the wrong end of a power hungry mage or dictator wanting her to obey, sinking cold, psionic fingers to root around in her mind, twisting, warping and rearranging memories and turning dreams against her. That was a case she understood where ethics buried the meter on the moral meter heavily into the vile zone. Yet, she gazed at Ruby's De-Light snagged in the Dream Catcher. Was she, as a mother, being morally irresponsible to take privacy from her daughter by seeing that dream? A dream that gave her much heart ache but a better gauge to understand Ruby and why she was often sad during play times.

A glance back to the classroom indicated that it was perhaps time she ventured back. She took a small measured breath and stood, the weight of her daughters dream still heavy and making her strides leaden. What would the world be like for herself as she was yet without sound? Had she taken so much for granted that she'd not given her daughters deafness enough weight to correct or attempt to fix? Had she become someone that her daughter may no longer look up to?

As she considered these ramifications, her faculties ensnared by a deeper synopsis of her relationship with her daughter, her mood drifted into a cooling state of despair. The sunny beach she was returning from was turning shades of deep reds and golds as the sun in just that dreamscape portion seemed to darken and set. As Ammy walked, by her side, where paw prints were left in the sand, a set of armored boot prints were now walking by here as air began to darken and thicken just slightly next to the Lupe. An occurrence easily seen through with the naked eye or thought of as a trick, something that if blinked, would clear, but something was walking with Ammy.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there was one thing that Bastion seemed designed for, it was to be a stumbling, bumbling, affable source of paradox - in the contradictory sense, not the magical sense. He'd noted the tension rising on Felicity's face as the field trip had progressed, but as soon as the wonders of the Dreamscape unveiled themselves to the senses of the students, he'd been rapt. No effort or attempt was made for pencils, pens, or papers; his eyes had been on the scenery as they'd descended from the clouds, only had they returned to Professor D'Arcstorm as the classroom had again settled into a somewhat more natural environment, except for the De-lights of course.

Like Felicity, he had lagged behind the rest of his classmates, but unlike her it had nothing to do with moral reservation. Although he hadn't reached for the implements of his art, he had been keeping a keen on on everything and everyone, trying hard to memorize what he could; he ached to sketch them now, but the only way to do so would result in him passing up the opportunity to explore this strange place. He'd paused again in proceeding in his exploration as he heard Atticus address the class. While hearing the professor but not listening, he began to experiment with the 'mutability' of the realm by manipulating the tether that rode his wrist. As the professor talked, his tether began to writhe and shift as though it had a mind of it's own, the the dreamcatcher which was in it's line snaked into the air like the head of a cobra and wove back and forth; it ceased as soon as it had begun, and changed into something more resembling a lasso - still with the dreamcatcher element intact.

Finally the professor stopped talking, and not hearing an admonishment to stay within the bounds of the classroom, he finally ventured outside and began the task of examining the dream fragments, the De-lights.

The first De-light that he 'caught', though not the first he paid attention to by far, was of a mother cuddling with her two children as she told them stories; the children seemed to be similar in age, and both had their mothers characteristics at least - dark hair and blue eyes. The three of them continued to cuddle, until a new character entered the scene - tall, blonde hair, and the same blue eyes as the rest of them, and the lines around his eyes and mouth - though slight - were wrinkles which could only be caused by perpetual good humor. 'A family,' he thought, 'Whatever, good for them.' There was something familiar about the man though, he was sure he'd seen him somewhere before. Around the campus, perhaps.

He suddenly felt like Peter Pan peering in windows, and full of jealousy and self pity. He bid the dreamcatcher release the De-light - failing to notice the benign pulse of light that travelled the length of his tether when he did so. He looked elsewhere, and found another.

A red headed woman sat on the lap of a seated statue which was shaped to resemble a medieval knight. Her arms were looped around it's neck, and her head lay against his chest. Suddenly the statues fingers flexed, and though his face was shrouded in some sort of pseudo dream induced darkness, Bastion was sure the thing - the man - had yawned. The woman, whoever she was, seemed to jump in his arms, looking up into the veiled face with a smile that managed excitement despite the fact she was obviously half asleep. Tiredly the woman looked up into it's - his - face, and asked if he were coming to bed yet. The statue seemed to nod and it rose to it's feet - the woman still in it's arms as she relaxed back into sleep against his chest. As the statue-man took a step forward, his face moved into the light and... the Dreamer must have woken. The image wavered and vanished, leaving only the remnant energy of the De-light caught in the dreamcatcher, which Bastion again released and moved on.

There were thousands more De-lights flitting about in the air, some floating, some moving as though they had a mind of their own. He'd find one that spoke to him enough to return to the professor with it, of that he was sure.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Despite her reservations still, Fliss accepted the professor's explanation with a slow nod, trying to clear her expression. She was well aware that she had disrupted his plan for the lesson, and was trying not to be embarrassed by the fact that her disruption had caused him to draw attention to her objections.

Turning away, she drew in a slow breath, the way her father had taught her, closing her eyes as she reached for the happy memory Johnny had shown her how to harness to calm her emotions and get herself back on a rational track. She barely felt the dewy rain falling on her as she concentrated, listening to the sound of her own breath as she slowly detached her mind from what she was feeling, wrapping those emotions up and letting them go. It had taken weeks of hard work to learn how to do this, and she was more than a little ashamed of herself for working up to the point where she needed it in front of so many people. Her father would be proud of her for doing it, though, in spite of her embarrassment at her lack of control. As her mood calmed, the itchiness in her palms faded, and she felt the familiar relief flood through her veins at the acknowledgement that she was not about to set fire to anyone or anything.

As she opened her eyes, she was startled to find a De-light right in front of her, a dancing light that flickered invitingly. In spite of herself, she tilted her head, her curiosity reaching out to it, and was granted a glimpse of what it held inside. It was one of her own dreams, a dream she had woken from not so very long ago, and the contents were more than enough to make her giggle and blush. She reached out with her bracelet to catch it, not particularly wanting to risk anyone else seeing what that one held inside it. Plus, it was her own dream. There was no violation of privacy there.

Hugging the glowing sphere to her chest, she returned to her seat, biting her lip as she bit down deeply embarrassed giggles at the knowledge of what that dream had contained. Either the homework this week was going to be horrendously embarrassing for her, or she was about to embarrass herself in front of the whole class. Either way, supreme humiliation was on the horizon, and for once, she didn't really care.
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Atticus DArcstorm
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Atticus ventured to the edge of the classroom, hand again rising to the side of his face. He didn't use his mundane senses to perceive his students, and he didn't need to – not here. The sight and sound of them was as near to him as he willed it to be, his subtle manipulation of the Dreamworld imperceptible to the senses of others, as it only effected himself; it was important that the students bear in mind that the world around them was fluid to their will. If they felt the iron rigidity that he imposed upon the chaos of Dream to maintain it in a state that gave them the sense of normalcy with which they now experienced it, it might feel that much less mutable to them.

The tethers which connected all the students pulsed with a myriad of colours as their dreamcatchers snared errant De-lights, with the intensity of the pulse's light having a corresponding intensity to the intensity of the De-lights which the students experienced. Atticus was aware of every pulse, through every tether, from every student. Some things he deliberately waited to explain, having a firm belief that there must be an imposition of law in the form of linear learning; to explain to them the dual nature of the tethers would detract from what they focused on now, and there was nothing sinister in it. The chaotic energy of Dream threw off energy in the same way that a fire throws heat and light, with the notable exception of it being a far more inexhaustible energy; like a fire, though, the whether the light was used to see, or the heat used to cook, would not determine if the energy itself was emitted and transformed into something else, continuing on in it's endless cycle.

It was a lesson he longed to give, but it's relevance would have seemed questionable at the moment: the necessity of the creation of Dreamfire, of having to explain it was the only fire capable of working Worldstone. Literally a lesson for another time. But he couldn't help but be aware of it as the class progressed, as each pulse of light made it's way along the tether.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Dream, no matter how mundane a person was in the outside world, inside they were a power. Some of the students who were with him now were powers in their own right already in the waking world, and others were on their way there, in some fashion or another. He thought he had lost the ability to be filled with wonder; he hoped that his students, upon realizing their ability here, would feel it in his stead.

“Very well, I see each of you have encountered at least a couple of De-lights with which you find interest. We're ready for the next phase of our project here – making your will manifest in the plane. Each of you choose something from within one of the De-lights you've caught. It can be anything at all, but something tangible is the best place to start; trying to fabricate something like an emotion, to manifest here, is difficult, complex. Fashioning something like a table, a book, even an entire room or a building, or an entire land,” he gestured with his free hand to the world around them, around the spot where the classroom had touched down in Dream. “Is relatively easy. Even fashioning a simulacrum of a creature, or a person – that's simulacrum of a person,” he added again, “Is relatively easy because it's relatively easy to manipulate the five senses rather than directly manipulate higher emotional function.” He began to turn in a circle, taking in all of the students as he spoke, no matter their location.

“I want each of you to focus,” his voice took on an almost droning, hypnotic quality, done intentionally to help induce a meditative state. “Focus on one thing in each of your De-lights. Can you see it? What colour or colours is it? Is it shiny, or flat, or something else? Can you hear it? If it's not making a noise, could it? What would it sound like? Don't rush, breathe, think, focus.” He came to the end of his near mantra, and started again, slightly different.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“What does it feel like? Is it rough? Smooth? Is it dry, rough, sharp, soft, or wet? Reach out with your mind, don't say the answer out loud. Feel it in your mind. Now, what about smell? Is it new or musty, fresh or old? Perhaps sharp, or simply sterile? Perceive it with all your senses, go slowly, time doesn't matter here, there's no rush. Now, I want each of you to focus,” he began again, going over his entire mantra again a second time, and then a third, each succession becoming more hypnotic, encouraging the students to delve deeper into their De-light.

“Feel each of your senses taking in the thing you've chosen, and when you've absorbed as much of it as you can manage, when it fills you so much that you know it as well as you know yourself, pause,” he took a breath, and paused as well in his speech. “Then exhale, exhale through all of your senses, let your eyes and ears project into Dream the shape of your focus, let your sense of touch give it texture – reach out and mold the thing as it takes form, if you must; the very air around us here is modelling clay of the mind. Even if it should be sterile and have no smell, instead let your exhalation breath your focus into existence.” The entirety of the last message was as a whisper to each student, sounding as though he were close to them, quietly encouraging each of them in turn – though he never left the spot he stood.

“Though I may strive to teach you to know thyself, I will never teach you to doubt thyself. I know you are capable, each of you, even if you stumble, you will succeed.” His voice was soft, but firm, and sounded just within earshot of each student. “Now, we will begin with,” he paused, but only for a moment, before the first student was called upon, “Yes, you're more than ready; go ahead, feel it manifest, show us what you've focused on.” The idea of 'us' was subjective, as he was the only one not deeply focusing on a De-light, at least until some of the students completed the task.


((OOC: Just a note to everyone, there's no one in particular I was thinking of when I had him indicate someone to begin – it will simply indicate whoever actually posts first. ))
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:00 am    Post subject: Limbo and Dreams Reply with quote

Andu blinks, and gives his head a small shake, his attention returning to the class and what is passing for the here and now as the last of the De-lights he has chosen settles about his wrist. He takes a moment to review what his ears had heard, but his mind had been too busy to do more than "save" for when attention could be spared for it. Nodding, he turns his attention to the still free De-lights, and carefully snags one that is hovering nearby.

Peering into it, listening and experiencing the dream with in, he smiles, and then nods to the Professor with a...is that a SMIRK on Andu's face?!? Surely not! The possible smirk fades to be replaced by a look of intense concentration as Andu closes his eyes and holds out one massive hand.

Slowly, starting with the base that rests on his hand a figure builds. A long curved spine with three branches protruding from it at different levels forms first. From the top of each branch forms a shelf made up alternating clear and translucent blue squares form. From two of the corners on each of the top most and lower most shelf form a small verticle pole upon which forms a shelf like the larger ones, but much smaller, each having only 4 squares total upon them. after a quick glance and nod, Andu closes his eyes once again in concentration, and small figurines start to form on many of the squares. It would take a while at the pace he has set, but soon the entire 3d chess set is complete, and Andu looks up to the Professor with a raised eyebrow... and maybe that IS a bit of a smirk he has going on.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:40 pm    Post subject: The Wooden Door Reply with quote

As Layla made her way back towards the classroom area, she thought about the Professor’s instructions to focus on something tangible in the dream. She thought that was a little awkward, given that her focus of the dream was darkness, and that probably wouldn’t be able to be created in their setting very well. There was the redheaded woman, but Layla really had no interest in her. But, there was one other thing of note in the dream. Just as she got to the row where her seat was, she paused and looked around, making sure she’d have enough room. She took a few steps back and closed her eyes, beginning to concentrate on the door that the woman opened to the darkness.

From inside its thick wooden frame, the door was a good six feet tall and a few feet wide, though it seemed slightly wider than the standard doors she had become accustomed to using. Despite it being inside a hallway, Layla could have sworn it had been exposed to the elements for decades. She was unsure of what type of wood it was, especially considering its coloring seemed like it had been long lost to the sun, giving it an almost gray hue, but it did not have many striations or knots on it. It was just a simple, solid, wooden door.

Taking a small step, Layla leaned in a little closer to inspect it up close. Some of the jagged wooden fibers were warping out slightly, giving a rough texture to the door. She held up her hand, feeling encouraged to touch the door in order to get a better to build on its creation, but thought better of it, not wanting to get some imaginary splinter stuck in her hand. She’d be feeling the pain of that for a long time, assuming that if you get a splinter in a dream, you get the pain in real life.

Layla focused back on the assignment. After letting her hand fall back down to her side, she leaned forward with her eyes still closed, continuing to visualize the door in the dream. After inhaling deeply, she did not smell much on the old worn door, except for a faint scent of staleness that reminded her of opening a door to a room or closet that hadn’t been opened in years.

‘Can you hear it? If it’s not making a noise, could it? What would it sound like?’

When the red-haired woman opened the door in the dream, it didn’t make a sound. But, by looking at it, it definitely appeared to Layla to be one of those eerily loud creaking doors, where every fiber seemed to bend, break, and crack as it swung on its groaning, rusty hinges. Even its door knob seemed like it would cause a grating sound as it turned on its spindle. The dark, almost blackened knob contrasted against the gray wood. Only the light hints of copper tones on its faded engraved designs revealed it must be bronze. The engraved designs carried over onto its matching plate. She smiled to herself, only now noticing the small skeleton key hole hidden in the scrolling designs.

She reached out to touch it and was startled to feel something smooth and cold on her fingertips. While recoiling her hand quickly, her eyes shot open, looking down to see the antique bronze knob. Much to her amazement, the door from the dream was standing in its frame a little more than a foot from her, next to one of the classroom desks. Staring at it up and down, she walked around it cautiously. The back was a mirror image.

Layla looked around to her peers and the instructor, half proud of her creation, and half embarrassed that others might have seen her do it.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To say Fliss was amazed was a bit of an understatement. She sat there, clutching her little De-light, trying not to burn with embarrassment over trying to make something real from it, and watched in absolute fascination as first Andu, and then Layla, did just that. And listened to the way her mind worked with each of them.

A chess set needed at least one other person to play, so Andu's chosen dream was clearly a social one. Perhaps a little competitive, but filled with the complex ins and outs of a game that required a good grasp on strategy and logic. Maybe the kind of dream you have when you're trying to work out what happens next in the real world while you sleep.

Layla's door, though ... Fliss stared at it. For a start, it was huge. And it reminded her of the doors she sometimes saw in her nightmares; doors she didn't dare to open for fear of what was on the other side. But she could just be projecting her thoughts there. Just because she found Layla a little creepy, it didn't mean there was anything sinister about her chosen dream, or the object she chose to manifest from it. It might just be a door, with nothing unpleasant on the other side at all.

Biting her lip, Fliss looked down at the De-light in her hand, trying to focus her mind. The last thing she wanted to do was manifest a fully naked clone of her boyfriend in the classroom, but there wasn't a lot else to work with in there. Unless ...

Smiling in relief as a way out presented itself to her, she concentrated fiercely, holding out one hand, palm up, as she closed her eyes. The shape formed in her mind; she knew exactly what it looked like, exactly what it felt like, how heavy, how textured, how big. Here in Dream, she didn't need to fear that it would be a replica made of flame. Here, it would be as real as she could make it.

And there it was. She opened her eyes, her bright smile reflecting her delight at finding a fully formed feather on her palm. Long and white, the quill was sharp, the pointed end coated in down that became straighter and harder along the length of the feather. It wasn't curved, as most people would expect from a bird's feather, but then, this feather didn't come from a bird. This feather came from Lucas, one of his primaries, and she sincerely hoped he never found out about this entire experience.
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Ammy Spiritor
Just An Alchemist
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 08 Jun 2008
Posts: 1105
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Can Be Found: Alchemist's Fire Complex and around Rhy'Din
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ammy had rejoined the class, the voice of Proffessor D'Arcstorm a whisper in her ears as it was with the other students, instructing, explaining and encouraging the next step of the lesson during the field trip. The slightly dense field of air dogging her steps and hovering behind her, soft thumps of booted feet as it followed her on to the classroom floor. She missed the sound of the thumps as her golden eyes drank in the 3D chess set of Andu, enjoying the details of each piece and the three tiered board. Layla's door begged for Ammy to open it and go inside to explore the unknown, take up the old mantle of the weapon she once was, throw caution and parenthood to the wind and revel in glory of hot young blood and adrenaline. The feather Fliss held drew curiosity from Ammy as if she were the fabled cat in the story about curiosity and demise. Ammy took her turn and hoped that fashioning something simple from a child wouldn't be looked down upon as naive.

Ammy closed her eyes and took a slow centering breath. Her minds eye settled on the frozen scene before her, decisions being made and discarded on what to bring from the dream until she had her answer. The strongest thing that stood out to her senses the most besides her daughter was the blanket. How could she not recall it?

Five days of walking 5 months pregnant, through stores with Fleety to find the right hue of dark orchid purple to go with the deep pink in a yarn weight that was warm but soft like my own fur to comfort Ruby on cold days. The feel of the yarn kept me company through the long nights of discomfort when Jake, Mabel and Ruby wouldn't settle down for a week in my belly and all I could do was lay around and crochet that blanket for my sweet little daughter to come. The first day seeing such warm, living colors swaddling my human child for warmth while her siblings fought to be cool with their natural born fur. A blanket that had mamma's weight and smell to it, the right kind of weight that let her know mother held you and feeling of softness like fur. The whispery rustle of it as it moved over wood floor or carpet, the little crinkle cracks as it made tiny pops of static electricity. The smell of my daughter on it no matter how many times it was washed and the well frayed and fringed look it was now getting from being her princess cape.

As Ammy recalled, dialed in and relieved memories from her senses just by the sight of that blanket, the orchid purple and deep pink striped yarn blanket was soon draping over her shoulders, neck and outstretched forearms that she held out as if holding the blanket. Her muzzle twitched a bit as her eyes remained closed.

The smell of mud, grass, weeds and endless days of sand and beach mingled among the smells of Ruby and the blanket. The scent of bird feathers with a light, almost ticklish yet sneezy like haze to it floated over her nose. The smell of cinnamon candy, clove soda, and a hint of stolen perfume from her own closet tied things together in her minds eye and she looked in that De Light from the blanket, a gift from mother to daughter to the very worn and well loved stuffed toy dog Ruby held. So well loved that it was a solid shade of gray no longer a two tone husky that was once named Tin-Tin. A gift from her eldest daughter to her youngest daughter, the scents on the toy bring sharply to mind Myrlene. Her eldest child, wild, strong, stubborn like her mother, proud and successful. Always dogged by chaos as well, the stalwart companion of the little winged hellion was Tin-Tin. Any adventure she was on, the poor thing was drug through, dropped, tossed, rolled in or lost once, maybe twice but always recovered. A decent weight for a stuffed animal, enough to let a child feel they owned a real puppy but never enough to grow too tired from carrying but more than enough to sock a sibling in the muzzle if annoyed. The curly tail was extra curly, having thirty extra stitches to sew it back on after a mishap with a pretend pirate raid while someone was trying to hide mamma's fabric scissors. Tin-Tin had been washed so many times little of the original faux fur was left, and yet the smell of fire, ash, metal and leather oil pervaded. The little thing had seen it all in the family, from happy days to dark nights. Myrlene believed nothing could harm the person who held Tin-Tin. Tin-Tin the Brave, last seen with her grandson Calcifer Spiritor. That was the sand and the ocean she smelled, she remembered that day. He had dropped it in the water the day ...

In her held out hands, a very worn out, well loved on Siberian Husky stuffed toy about two feet long and bare of most fur, very gray from a hard life of being loved on, appeared. It's scratched up clear blue eyes gazed into eternity in a forever look of friendship and happiness. It's tail curled unnaturally tight as the the seams from repair showed quite well with the fur mostly rubbed away. Behind her though, that slightly thickened air began to solidify behind her into something towering and darkly armored.

... the Ebony Knight ambushed us during our family vacation and took Calcifer as a shield and hostage, to force me to watch the cruel Champion of Chaos to just walk away while I could do nothing. The sun couldn't shine at all on that black armor, it just seemed to be soaked in like a black hole letting nothing out that struck that surface. The air around the being was winter in the middle of a sunny summer beach. Glowering violet eyes that felt like a wall slamming into me thrown by a tornado. His voice echoing and rattling from the armor like a bag of bricks shoved into a washing machine. Armor that was smooth but burned hot then cold to the touch when I came to blows with him and the tail he had, tipped with that ceremonial dagger shaped like a silver scorpion stinger that filled the body with ice cold venom. I got too close to him and gagged on the stench of the rotting lich king he had defeated and unceremoniously took up residence in the tainted dead city. A palpable, spine crawling hum and pressure to the air whenever he gazed or walked me way. The white hot pain of his thorn like lance picking apart muscle and bone of my shoulder the day we met again ...

Behind Ammy now stood the Ebony Knight in full, unnerving detail. Clad in black armor from head to toe that soaked up light, reflected nothing and held metal work long lost to the ancients before man lived. A long, feline tail flowed behind the Knight, armored in jointed masterwork marvel, tipped by an ornate silver scorpion stinger that dripped a viscous liquid of amber color. Violet eyes burned with intense intelligence and malice at it looked down from it's 7 foot height upon the diminutive 5'7" height of Ammy. A long, wickedly sharp, thorn like lance was held fast in one hand that seemed to tug on the mythical and wondrous if it got too close. The Ebony Knight said not a word as it shot a gauntleted hand forward and wrapped fingers around Ammy's neck lifting her off the ground. Ammy opened her eyes in a moment of startled panic, the stuffed toy and blanket fell to the ground as she twisted like a snake, grabbing onto the armored fore arm in pain as she felt the hot burn from the arm to face the person holding her. She saw the Ebony Knight, her eyes went wide in fear and surprise. The Ebony Knight tightened his grip on her neck making her grunt and choke. She gave his check plate a few kicks as she pulled her mind under control from the panic like a tug of war game.

You cannot be here. I see you. I feel you. But you cannot be here. I know the real you. The real you is not here. Not now, not ever. No longer more will you be either. You're dead, shadow. Dead. Dead. You will hold no more power over me or my dreams. Come, face who you really are ...

The Ebony Knight squeezed harder, creaking of bones being heard from her neck. Ammy forced in a breath and shoved a burned hand out to touch the face plate of the Ebony Knight's helmet. Her eyes half closed from the pain and mostly from her trying to focus on something in her mind.

Before her was her alchemy laboratory in the Alchemist's Fire. Shelves arranged neatly and with care, showing a categorical masterpiece any one suffering OCD would kill for. Among the vials, bottles, potions and canisters of reagents was a space cleared. Sat squarely between vials of Dragon's Bane, Wolf's Bane and Eldrich Nettle sat a cube of clear crystal. 2 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet cubed, it sat and captured the light perfectly, refracting it into rainbows in her workshop, save where light struck the suspended severed head within. Delicate bone structures would say it was a Lupinossai of a desert species, used to hot weather and prone to losing weight often from consumption by magic or disease. The skin was dark grey, gaunt, frail as if the person had once been a promising youth but had thrown away life and vitality for something powerful and draining. A lifeless grimace of acceptance or perhaps a sneer of unanticipated defeat was slit along the muzzle showing white, young teeth. Black hair, long, showed leaching of stress in the white that flowed from the crest of the head to the still black tips of the hair strands. Long, delicate canine ears, notched and scarred from a life of being bullied all framed the staring, lifeless amethyst eyes that seemed to look into the soul and mock it for every flaw it had. This is the Ebony Knight she knew, the pathetic thing that had reached too far, done too much and had brought the doom of her upon him as she held his head free from his body as it toppled from the 200 foot balcony with her only remaining arm. He took her arm, she took his head. Fair trade.

Ammy's hand, seared onto that visor, flipped it up to reveal the suspended head in that cube of crystal, proving that the death of the Ebony Knight was the reality that she remembered. The Ebony Knight crumbled to dark, iron sand, dropping her and the crystal cube to the floor to join the blanket and the stuffed dog toy. Ammy gasped for air and rubbed her throat as her blistered hands began to slowly heal. She didn't look up at anyone. How could she? How should face anyone eye to eye flat on butt, with a child's blanket, a kids toy and the dead eyes of a grizzly war trophy she'd only told her wife and husband about staring at them all. Perhaps it was time she got rid of the head.
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~Catalyst:
Noun
-a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.
-a person or thing that precipitates an event.~
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