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4 yrs ago
Current Going to a festival fellas! So for the coming week I won't be able to post.
4 yrs ago
When you marathon Rick & Morty S2 and expected laughs but the ending just slaps you in the face...
4 yrs ago
School's in full "consume all his time"-mode so no posts for just a lil longer. Sorry folks! I promise I'll make up for it in the weekend!
4 yrs ago
Going to take a small break on most of my RPs for maybe a week or so.
5 yrs ago
Not near an actual keyboard until 21/06

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Quartz-like eyes peeked into the dark corridor. The moontorches were extinguished this late at night in this wing. Night elves weren’t expected to come here. Cilantra clutched the leather-wrapped package close to her chest as she slowly stepped into the hallway. The boards underneath her foot creaked and she stopped to look around. There should be no-one here. No, that was wrong. Other things roamed these darkened halls they said. Human students that stalked the night were said to suddenly vanish in the shadows. Others only heard faint screams. The day later they were found in their bed. Fast asleep. Believing everything that happened the night before was just a horrible nightmare.

Cilantra wasn’t in the mood for nightmares. Though she had no idea how she got talked into this by Lakhmu. She smelled the air for a second just to be sure. Nothing. Good. Carefully she stalked through the hallway. She passed corner after corner. Moonlight illuminated some of them. As she approached the cobwebbed underground cellars see gave a small prayer of praise to the goddess of the moon who clearly had blessed her with some stealthy moves before going in. Oddly enough the cellars felt safer than the first floor above. One door here stood out due to its sheer lack of webs. Slowly she opened it as she entered it on the tips of her toes. Not that it mattered, as the old hinges gave off a horrible creak.

“Did you get it?” Asked a voice in the dark. Cilantra knew it was Lakhmu.

“Yes, yes. I’ve got it.” She said as she opened up the wraps. The pitch-black room suddenly lit up as if the sun fell through the ceiling. The light, however, came from a crystal that Cilantra was holding. “Is this strong enough?”

“It should be.” Lakhmu, his olive skin and dark hair now visible, said as he carefully picked it up. “Did the headmaster or Auriëlle catch you?” He asked.

Cilantra shook her head. “I was in and out. The headmaster was no-where to be seen, and I knew Auriëlle was still talking to Duxus.” The nelf student said. “They won’t know until tomorrow. Are you sure this will work?”

“Absolutely.” Lakhmu said full of confidence as he started to put some golden rings around the crystalline structure and then carefully lowered into a cage. “I’m going to be the first to defeat her.”

The other two, a human girl with paint on her skin and a small goblin looked on with fear in their eyes as they both handed Lakhmu some brass disks. “I think you’re going to lose.” Said the painted girl. “She’s been here for thirty years. Nobody won. She’s too strong.”

“That’s because nobody has fought her the way I will.” Lakhmu said as he attached the disk and then finally lowered the whole cylindrical cage into a sort of large, closed lantern. The second the cage was properly secure the light of the crystal within dimmed. Long shadows were cast upon the walls by the four students.
~

The young human mage marched through the hallowed halls of the Omniversity. Before him, the sea of students parted in front of him. He looked ready for war. Dressed in robes bound by leather. His belt carried a variety of stone runes, glass globes containing some liquid, and wooden, carved totems. In his hand he carried something covered by a piece of cloth. Wherever he passed, the tension was growing. Lakhmu didn’t see it but his march was spread through the purple-eyes their web. Rumor spread faster than he could walk. Before he stepped even foot in the gardens everyone knew what he was doing. Everyone, including the headmaster. Who waited for him just outside.

Lakhmu stopped in front of him. He looked defiant but didn’t say a thing.

The headmaster, for his turn, did not look very afraid. Instead he looked worried. “Are you sure?” He asked in that familiar, tranquil voice of his. “The lessons here might be painful from time to time but what you are setting for to do… it will hurt. Are you sure you are ready?”

The boy didn’t say anything. He didn’t move. He simply stared down the strange, alien-looking but friendly headmaster. He would defeat her and return home worthy of his parents’ name. If he didn’t, how else could he prove he had grown over the years?

Sad eyes watched him for a second longer before the headmaster stepped aside and allowed him to walk into the main section of the gardens. “She’s already waiting for you at the arena. May the gods watch over you.” He said. Lakhmu and his retinue marched on. Followed by a throng of interest children. The headmaster kept looking at the boy as he walked away. When the children were gone he finally added: “Because magic will not.”

They said she was over sixty now almost. That she had been at the Omniversity for thirty years. They said she was a princess of a faraway land that was cursed by the sun herself. They said she fought wars in faraway lands in the west. Lands only the fishy Akuans talked about. The rumors were endless about her. Lakhmu had no idea what was true except for two things. She was the strongest mage on the island. Maybe in Mydia. Nobody – not in the last thirty years – has bested her. The second fact was something he realized again when he saw her sitting in the sands of the arena: she could see no light.

Floating stepstones allowed people to sit in tree canopies woven into benches. Statues holding bowls surrounded the sands. Each contained a pristine, fist-sized pearl. Lakhmu stopped before he stepped through the magical barrier that protected everyone on the outside from the magical onslaught that could be released from inside.

The students all around were cheering and shouting but not necessarily for him. The crowd becomes a mass his father used to say. Warriors learn how to fight. Wizards learn the art of magic. Merchants the art of bartering. Leaders must learn how to sway and steer that mass. Right now that mass was untouched. Some rooted for him. Others rooted for Auriëlle who sat cross-legged in the sand in front of him. The vast majority were hollering for a spectacle and nothing else.

Standing now, in front of the barrier, Lakhmu felt something very dangerous: doubt. Auriëlle sat with her eyes closed. That didn’t mean anything. Everyone on the island knew she was blind. She could be seeing him right now or truly have pulled back her senses to meditate. There was no way of knowing.

“You can do this!” Cillantra said from behind him. “You said you could for months! Now get in there and prove it!”

The battle barely lasted a minute.

One could precisely see where the barrier ended. Pristine, green grass fell away into a deep, horrific crater. Fire-blackened stone jutted out everywhere within the circle. The ground itself was cracked and sundered. Lakhmu laid on the ground. Exhausted, defeated. Auriëlle was standing over him, holding the lantern he had made. The horns that curled from between her hair slowly vanished again, together with her shadowy and demonic appearance. The golden metal rapidly lost its hot, red glow. The fight had been fierce but from the onset it was clear that Lakhmu’s secret weapon wasn’t enough. Without giving him the dignity of her gaze Auriëlle walked out of the broken land with the lantern. Ice broke itself free from the huge spikes that stuck out of the earth. In the air they formed beautiful icy songbirds that followed the sorceress. Singing their soft, sweet, serene songs.
~

The Solar Crystal Lantern was put inside one of Auriëlle’s many storage closets in her office. To many, it would look like a terrible and bleak place. Buried deep within the Omniversity with not even a window to look out from. There weren’t even candles, though several stones were imbued to give off warmth whenever someone entered the room. Inside countless of closets with closed doors lined the walls. No cupboards or glass cases. Nothing here was put on display. Which only fed the rumors of what was all stored there. What lurked behind the copper locks in Auriëlle’s office? There was one bookshelf, but it was not filled with fragile paper but stone tablets.

“You could’ve gone easy on him.” She heard from behind her, though she had sensed the Headmaster approach her office long before.

“I’ve never gone easy on anyone. Neither have you on me.” She said over her shoulder before she walked to some cobwebbed corner and opened the closet down there with her magic. From it she took the old wooden bracer she hadn’t worn in thirty years. With a finger, she traced through the blackened grooves dug into it while saying: “The world won’t go easy on him either. Give it time, in a few years he’ll realize how important a lesson it was.”

For a second a dreadful silence fell upon the room. There was rarely silence between the Headmaster and Auriëlle. There was always something to be shared with pride or shouted in anger between them. There was not a subject too uncomfortable between the two. Until now, apparently. The strange, unique, fish-like creature that was the Headmaster took a step forward. “Thirty years ago you arrived here. You’ve grown since, in more ways than I thought. In magic… there is nothing left for me to teach you.”

Auriëlle surprised, turned around to face him. It was an old habit that just would die. She knew, for some years now, that the time of her return to Toraan was coming. Yet somehow she still felt surprised.

The Headmaster continued: “But before you go, I have promised the Three-As-One to show the Omniversity. In all of its glory. For that task I could not imagine a better guide than my oldest pupil.”



It was only a breeze that flowed over the sandy desert lands of the Wastes but it carried something more than just air. It carried an essence that was invisible to all. Like a seed, it fell down to the sand and sank through the ground. Under the sand, its heat spread. Melting the sand around it into glass and fusing it together to make something more. The heat spread like a virus. From above you could see the red glow break through from time to time. Like underground lightning. Then finally a limb burst forth from below. Grabbing the surface as it pulled its body up. Another limb reached out and pulled itself up. Sand flowed like water off its glassy body. Yellow-glowing beady eyes saw light for the first time in its existence.

The Glass Wastes were a paradise for it. The creature looked up at the sun and opened its split jaw to suck in the magical energies that hung in the air. Sparks traveled through it but were visible from the outside. The sunlight that traveled through it was fractured into a variety of moving colors that shone below it. Lowering its head again, it observed the land. The sand was like the greenest grass and the glass pools were like sapphire lakes to it. But it saw further out. It was born near the edge. There it saw strange things. Things that reached up, drenched in an ugly color. The closest were blackened from fire. They looked better yet still not perfect. Not like the utopia it was born in.

A mound of sand next to it flashed with red light a few times. The newborn wasn’t afraid though. It heard the faint calls of its brethren. Each of its brothers and sisters that were born around him looked different in some way. Yet all let out that soft, high pitched whine when they gazed up towards the scorching sun and consumed their first bite of magical energy. All of them cried out towards the ugliness they saw further out. They also felt that their unity brought forth something greater than the sum of them. As they came close a barely-visible shimmer flowed from their bodies.

The herd moved slowly at first. Letting the newborn that joined them get used to their limbs as they moved through the pleasant, warm sand. Sometimes a deep-frozen breeze flowed over them. Creatures of flesh and skin would’ve been frozen in a near-instant. The elementals just happily stopped for a small nip of the frozen magic and then continued on. Yet as they approached the end of their paradise, they felt as if the magic had grown thin. The sparks they had charged in their body would have to carry them further as they started to pass from sand into the blackened earth. But as they moved, the earth below them began to change. Fertile earth was broken down as its nutrients were sucked out of it. The herd was busy tearing down the burned trees as the ground underneath them very slowly turned to the same fine grain as the Glass Wastes.

One shrieked. The herd looked up to see what was happening. The ash of the burned tree it was trying to tear down was somehow attacking it. Blackened soot began to smear its glass face and sticky ashy began to fill its eyes. It cried and trashed. The rest of the herd flanked it as they desperately looked around to see what was attacking it. Ash billowed up from the ground. Painting their underbellies as they reared towards it. Afraid they slowly walked backward as stones began to fly through the air. Cracking their skin slightly. When they were near enough again, they turned and fled completely. When the moon fell, they were back in the safety of their paradise. Like all creatures, they would sleep but tomorrow was another day in their cherished burning sun. Their instinct told them to return and turn more of the cursed world into paradise.



Bug

“Eh, no worries. It’s not like it was hard to guess where I would hide.” Bug told HIRAM as she booted off the virtual machine she used to hack Nadia. It was worth a shot. Though something in the back of her lizard brain now wanted to know more than ever what was on Nadia’s phone. Top secret intel? Please, Bug could access some grandfather Congressman’s laptop and get all the classified intel she wanted. Perhaps not on Promenade itself directly but its affiliations. So what was Nadia trying to hide just now? Maybe it was something better… like selfies! Maybe Nadia didn’t want her selfies to be discovered! Or the fact that she’s using some dating app? Wait, maybe she didn’t want the texts to her husband found? There were so many possibilities. She just had to find out.

And then she heard a very loud bang coming from somewhere downstairs. She just grinned as she looked up. Bombs were fun to feel from a distance. It was even more fun to know that someone had tripped them. Though with Binx you could never know how powerful they were. It could’ve been a fairly strong one in the vents or the equivalent of a MOAB on the first floor. The only thing you could be sure of was that the explosives expert just didn’t do 'proportional'. Or at least so Bug thought.

She got an answer to that question soon enough when Carmen crawled out of the vents. The girl was drenched in paint. “Oh no! Carmen what happened?” Bug instantly said as she put her pad down next to her. But not before she pressed her special record button. If anything moved on a camera her tablet would detect it and record it. So she could watch it back and catch up again while she tended to Carmen.

“Binx got you good I see.” Bug said as she squatted next to Babel and tried to clean some of the paint off of her with some nearby cloth she found. Then curiosity got the better of her. She quickly felt in both of Babel’s paint-covered ears to feel for the earpiece. She found nothing though. “Oh, damn that’s a shame.” Bug said as she felt no earpiece. If she could hack into their comms the old-fashioned way she could’ve lured Warheit inside as well perhaps. Maybe in a second, she could look into the vents.

“So… I don’t actually have any zip ties.” Bug then said, realizing she was short on that particular equipment. “So… I’m sorry for this.” With a CAT5 cable she bound Carmen’s arms to her back. Though she left plenty of room so her prisoner wouldn’t be too uncomfortable. With that work done she grabbed the old Mac that was already booted up and put it in front of Carmen. “You want to practice some languages? I can set something up for you if you want to?” Meanwhile the tablet, turned away from both of them, showed many of the cameras Bug had taken over. One particular one, half-covered with paint, still managed to capture and record Binx and Ollie's interactions.

Interacting with: Carmen (@canaryrose)
Bug


“How was I supposed to know that they would work with something so ancient down there?” Emily said while she was focusing on her three screens in her darkened room. An echo-device with most of its electronics hanging out gently glowed with the light greenish color that HIRAM used to simply acknowledge her. Her room was a mess of half-gutted computers, several HDDs connected but otherwise sprawled on the floor, and other electronics. To the untrained eye, it would be chaos in its purest form. To Emily, there was a pattern with specific paths through the mess she could walk through without issue. With her rant to HIRAM over, she refocused on the code in front of her. On the screen, to her left, an AIM chatroom was bursting with activity but she ignored it. It didn’t feel as if she was just typing code like one typed a story. In her eyes she was creating a machine in her mind. Complete with cogs, gears, and conveyors. She didn’t know how much time paced. When she was in the zone she never did. It was very hard to draw her out.

"Good morning, agent. Mandatory training exercise at 1700 Coolidge Road in Swindon in exactly 29 minutes. Failure to attend will result in significant consequences."

Emily literally screamed when she heard HIRAM’s voice from the Echo device. Then she slapped it. Hard. The electronics jiggled a bit, but nothing stopped working. “HIRAM you scared me!” She yelled at him. “You know you can’t just- Oh wait you said mandatory?” Emily never turned off her computer. Instead, she just grabbed her tablet and bag containing her drones and toolbox that laid in the corner of her room. Then she rushed through the house. Which was a mess to say the least. Long CAT cables ran from her room downstairs. The 3D printer she had setup in her parents room was grinding away. Schoolbooks and letters laid as fallen towers around the living. From the fridge she grabbed a can or energy drink. It didn’t contain much in the likes of healthy food.

Some twenty-five minutes later she arrived at 1700 Coolidge Road, Swindow. Her hair was a mess and with the dark rings underneath her eyes she could pass for a badger from a distance. Yet she didn’t look even remotely tired. With her bag strapped to her back she quickly rushed over. Right in time to hear Nadia’s explanation. For the most part she ignored the admonishment for the Timbuktu operation. It wasn’t her fault after all. Then the subject switched to the training itself and Bug started paying a lot more attention. A slight smirk grew on her lips. She even snickered when Ben got shot in the chest. It looked like it would hurt. Well she wasn’t planning on getting hit. No, they’d never reach her.

When the briefing was over Bug quickly grabbed one of the bags holding a bomb and ran into the building. Inside she wasn’t about to rush through the building though. Instead she read HIRAM’s briefing of the area first. And then shot Static a quick message:

“Don’t die too quickly ;).”

With a smirk she send the message when she arrived at the IT room with a smaller generator already in tow. Of course she would be holing up in there. But knowing where she’d be and taking her out were two vastly different things. Inside she got to work. She wrestled with cables, managed to get the generator humming, had her fingers dance over her own keyboard and that of the Mac, screwed some antennas in and managed to get the cams up and running. In the end the IT room looked worse than when she got in. Wires laid sprawled around. In three corners laid the gutted remnants of a switch. Though each had their twin antennas up in the air. In the middle of all that Bug sat. As if she was the one connected to the cables she was sitting cross-legged on.

“I’ve got cams-“ She said through the comms. All around the building, the small box-cameras turned on with blinking red lights that made them far too easy to be seen. The antennas in the corners were her real trump card though. With pings and some triangulation, anything that could send a wireless signal could be tracked. As it happened, phones were particularly easy. “-and I’ll have them tracked the moment they walk into this building.” She followed up. Then with a smirk, she watched through the eyes of her little Beholder drones. Who sat motionless underneath chairs or in some dark corner on the ceiling of the third floor. Motionless and quiet. “Come on. Come inside. Step into my web you little-“ Bug’s self-hyping stopped when she noted an unfamiliar signal in the vicinity. It was a phone but with a hotspot on it.

Jackpot! “Get me in baby. I know you can.” She said while tapping her tablet. On it several snooping programs started running. Probing the digital defenses of Nadia’s phone. She just had to get in so she could send a message out. Just one message, that was all it would take. Just one port that was open. She’d fine it. She was sure of it!
Not a thing upon the mortal world nor the high heavens could’ve missed it. A continent shook. Divinity bled. The earth bore a scar. It was an awful thing. A sun-bleached hellscape where no life could ever survive. White, desolate sands. Dunes of glass. In the distance, Qael’Naath could see the petrified remnants of what would’ve been mortals. Their lives eternally sealed within their last expression. Yet the wind blew as tranquil and serene as it always had. Oblivious of what it swept over. The Winds of Magic had coalesced once more in a denser form. With enough imagination, one could imagine it looked like Kal. The Conduit was fast approaching atop his leon. Mortal eyes and mouth that may be much needed. Even though this hellscape was not suitable at all for him. That would have to be solved but only when the issue came up.

For now, the perceived immortal being that was Qael’s avatar floated forward. Into the dunes and white sands. Into the scorching heat. The god of magic registered it but nothing more. Heats continued to climb. Then, from the white sands came small things. Creatures that looked familiar. Dozens of them came to attack the Winds but could barely reach him. One found himself lifted up and floated in front of the Winds. “What are you?” Qael’Naath asked out loud. The question carried upon the air of Galbar as well. The creature in his magical hold twisted and turned. Its form was so very familiar. Though he quickly lost interest when he felt the cheer lack of magical affinity within the creature. He tossed it, and it crumbled instantly.

He carried on. Deeper into the oppressive heat. Far beyond what most mortal life could walk through and live. Then he passed into even hotter places. Where patches of the white sand were replaced by glassy ponds. Deeper in the ponds became lakes. And deeper still Qael felt the oppressive heat that could not and should not be upon Galbar. And there in the central crater, he found the first being not made out of glass and sand.

A tall and winged humanoid in the shape of a woman, with shimmering black and blue wings - reminiscent of the winged aiviri of the Luminant, but with long horns that set her apart from the mortals that dwelled in the south. Furthermore, she radiated divinity and the essence of one Qael had sensed many times in the past. The mother of the neiyari - the ‘love’ goddess. It was not hard to deduce that this being was a servant of the goddess, not to mention she appeared as undisturbed by heat and glass that Qael’s vaguely humanoid Wind-shape was. She bobbed up and down in the air with powerful beats of her wings, cutting and slicing through the occasional fragile being that came charging at her through whipping dusts and rising from old piles of glass.

To help her on this constant crusade was a long, golden blade - seemingly liquid and solid at the same time. It too radiated a blinding amount of divine essence, a considerably more familiar one. It felt angry, as if the blade itself was driven by an endless anguish and rage. The winged woman swept it briefly towards a small creature, and the mindless glass wraith disintegrated and melted from pure heat, despite already being native to an endless expanse of intolerable heat. The blade was unnatural to Galbar - to Antiquity - even to a deity’s own realm, and it didn’t seem like something she would have created. It seemed like something more. An echo of what had once been.

The god of magic stood stunned in his own realm as he watched the woman slaughter. Pieces in his mind fell in place. The crater he had found her in was awash with a particular divine essence he had felt before. It, however, was merely an echo of what had happened here. The blade she wielded though, was burning with the power of the sun itself. A realization came to him. Solus he was called. Something he had glimmered from Soleira’s mind. A protector. A guardian. An avatar of the sun itself.

“You!” He said. The air carried his voice through Galbar. Making it sound storm-like. The physical body of the Winds floated closer. “What have you done!?”

The woman righted herself in the air, turning to settle a gaze on Qael'Naath's avatar that seemed to carry nothing but aggressive disdain. After a long bout of silence, she pointed the long blade in his direction, and it dripped of slag metal as it lingered in the scalding air. He saw it seemed to have affected her as well, long golden cracks glowing down the skin of the hand and arm she used to hold the hilt. They pulsated with the blade itself, almost as if it was spreading to the rest of her. Her voice boomed in turn across the desolate landscape, arrogant and haughty. In it he could sense an attempt to twist his mind and sow fright - nothing that affected a divine being. "All I have done is finish what I started decades ago. Be happy that the tyrant of the Sun will never again leave his blighted stain on our world,” she spoke before pausing, regarding Qael’s avatar with renewed focus. Her eyes narrowed to slits, and the blade lifted ever so slightly. ”You stink of mana. Kneel before me now, and you may yet be made to serve your purpose."

Something crackled over the Winds body. Then it shifted, growing taller. Though clearly more evanescent. He outstretched his hand towards her. “Hand over your weapon.” The winds storm-like voice became booming like thunder. It was dangerous beyond belief. A weapon that could harm the sun’s divinity should simply not exist. Until they found a way to extract Solus’ essence and perhaps reshape him, it could not be destroyed either. But there was just no way Qael would allow it to exist within the divine realms. It had to remain on Galbar. In the sole place where it would be kept safe.

First, though, he would have to break through the megalomania of this other avatar. But he was a god. And in the end, all avatars would understand they stand no chance against the full powers of divinity. “Hand it over, and I will allow you to live.”

The winged avatar scoffed sharply, a cutting breath to go with her disgusted frown. "It is war, then." she declared with a malicious finality. Her wings shimmered and moved, and without further warning the divine woman dove straight towards Qael'Naath's tall form with no apparent regard for his imposing power and threats. The blade sung through the air, as molten metal seemed to heat the very particles in the dry atmosphere. The liquid blade swung in an arc as she charged, aimed straight in an attempt to decapitate, with swathes of slag launching in the aftermath as the blade passed. She attacked to kill, that much was clear.

The winds moved. Human instinct. The influence of Kal took over for a moment. In truth Qael’Naath did not expect to be hit. Not in such an ethereal form. It was that mortal aspect that he had bound with that was having at first assumed unfortunate effects on him now.

Then the blade bit.

It did not pass harmlessly through the Winds’ ethereal form. The slash tore through his avatar’s form. Separating divinity from its source. The ripped clouds spawning from the wound coalesced together. Turning into glistering purple and blue rain that fell upon the Glass Wastes.

At first, the god did not understand. The winds were incorporeal. Untouchable. Yet the blade, already dangerous enough, was stronger still. He even felt the sensation back in his own realm. He touched his chest. Luckily there was no wound. While on Galbar the Winds recoiled. Shifting and shattering like ice before reforming higher up. “I will say this one last time. Surrender the blade or perish.” His voice now a full-blown storm as the clouds were pulled by the ever-growing vortex of mana.

Aveira did not appear to listen; for the aggressive winged avatar, the time for talking was over save for a quick and furious "Die, cur!" Either mad, overconfident or truly fearless, she sneered at Qael'Naath's presence with a haughty, utter disdain unfitting for a lesser being. Giant wings beat again and flung the horned woman forward to drive the molten blade in a rushing attack straight for the vague humanoid shape's centre of mass. The air steamed and hissed as the blade singed and set fire to dust and oxygen, and the lethal golden tip shot forwards in a violent and confident stab.

Something flashed. Qael’Naath fell down to his knees in his own realm. The connection with the Winds severed. Down on Galbar Kal collapsed as well. On the ground he felt as if he could barely breathe. Both of them clutched their robes. Qael’s felt wet. He looked down to see the old wound from which he had carved out Qull was bleeding with raw divinity again.

The Winds pierced by Requiem raged and shrieked around the blade. Where it once looked controlled and humanoid it now looked animalistic and violent. Raging against everything around it. The piercing blade kept a hold of it. But it was fighting with the powers of a hurricane. Lashing at Aivera and the blade. Until it was finally free. Only to be shackled again by a desperate Qael’Naath. Who did not wait a second to get his mutilated avatar away.

Leaving the vortex of power he had summoned behind. Still coiling over the center lands of the Glass Wastes. The mana, uncontrolled and without purpose, lashed out in the air around it. In certain areas an all freezing wind blew and vanished again. Other places the natural light of the sun became a searing heat. The sand and stone moved and quaked on its own. Gale winds could whip up and appear out of nowhere, and be silenced just as quickly. It became an even more unpredictable, lethal land.

The winged woman gave chase behind Qael'Naath's avatar for a handful of moments, but even her massive wingspan was no match for the endless flexibility and speed of the Winds. She became a blur on the horizon that mixed with the heat waves boiling the air, and eventually could no longer be said to be giving chase. For better or worse, the horned avatar, and her lethal blade, remained somewhere in those hostile wastes. Slowed and kept occupied by worsening weather and growing volatility. Hopefully.







Color: a2d39c
Try 2, this one should be better (I hope).







Color: a2d39c

“Am I boring you, Auriëlle?” The Headmaster asked. The first words he spoke in class that Auriëlle could actually understand. She never even looked up. Her head was just resting on her desk. Almost as if she was asleep. Though she knew he had turned towards her. For the past hour he had just been talking in a language she didn’t understand. Probably about magic but how could she know?

“You are.” She said without even looking up. In one hand she raised the paper that was resting underneath her. “I wish you would make this a bit more interesting.” She said and then lit the paper up. It burned to ash in an instant. Several of her classmates, none of whom she could understand, gasped and leaned away from the flashfire. With her face still on the desk the sorceress grinned. She could sense them at their desks. Even the idiots that sat behind her that had tried to run a prank on her.

“Out. Now.” The headmaster said. Auriëlle didn’t even fight it. She just got up and walked out of the auditorium. Most of the students pulled their chair closer to their desk to let her pass, except one. Who seemed to be as lazy as her and hadn’t noticed she was leaving. At least not until she kicked the chair. The two hind-legs of the chair magically shattered upon impact. Sending the student and his chair down to the ground. Only for Auriëlle to step over him.

He yelled something.

Auriëlle turned to face him. Her blank stare focused down at him. Of course, she didn’t know what he had just yelled but she assumed it was an insult. An old habit boiled up again as she took a step towards him. Maybe she should teach him the same lesson she had taught so many during her raids.

“Auriëlle.” The Headmaster in front said. The mere mention of her name stopped her. She let out a deep sigh, turned around and walked away again.

“Whatever.” She said to herself as she closed the ornate carved door behind her. “It’s not like I could even understand what they were saying.” Talking to herself had become something of a habit lately. A few minutes later she was standing in Duxus’ plaza again.

“Welcome… little one.” The creature said with its gentle giant tone. For several days Auriëlle hadn’t dared visit him. Not after what happened last. Yet when she finally summoned the courage, Duxus never even mentioned the incident. The fact that there wasn’t even a scratch on him probably meant he didn’t really care. Which helped Auriëlle not care about it either.

“Hey there big guy!” She yelled with excitement. Duxus really was the one interesting thing to her still. “The classes are boring.” With that said she lazily sat down in front of him, basking in the sunlight. Several of the student around, having heard what had happened, started walking away again. “I just wished they taught me something useful.”

“Knowledge…requires…time. This… I was told.” Duxus answered. “You shouldn’t… forsake… your studies. Discipline… is what… you require.”

“I know, I Know.” Auriëlle said. “It’s just… I sat in a class full of weird people talking their funny language. What am I supposed to do there? Learn the damned sounds?” She looked away. Towards where she knew the horizon would be but couldn’t see it.

A few hours later and Auriëlle was in another class. This time alone at a bench. Students were spread out. Each having their own workbench filled with tools and simple stone. Auriëlle was toying with hers. Spinning it on the wood while the Headmaster was talking in front of the class in the funny language she didn’t want to learn. Until he started showing stones of his own. Through the sight Auriëlle could see in what shape they were carved. Then everyone went to work.

Including the sorceress. Though she didn’t really want to grab a hammer and chisel. She just traced the lines in the stone with her finger. The rock turned to gravel, then fine sand and eventually poured off the stone. Revealing a groove. Soon she had the shape of the rune exactly right and channeled her magic through it. Much like she did with sorcery.

Nothing happened.

She frowned, tossed the stone away again and took another. In the same way she traced the rune into it. This time a bit larger. Again she channeled her magic through it. Nothing happened. Again she tried it with another stone. The biggest she had. One she had to hold in both hands. She traced the rune exactly right and… nothing happened.

Out of pure frustration she slammed the rock down on the bench. It shattered in an instant. Rock and debris shot around everywhere except towards the sorceress. For a second she heard several screams in the class. The next thing she sensed were the students nearest to her. Leaning away again with shards floating in front of them. Their workbenches filled with pieces of stone.

“Auriëlle.” The Headmaster said. She sensed him now to channeling magic. When he released it, she heard the bits and pieces of stone fall from the air. “Out.”

“it’s not fair! I can’t even understand what he’s saying!” Auriëlle screamed in front of Duxus. He didn’t answer as she paced back and forth in front of him. She was alone in the plaza. “How am I supposed to learn spells if I can’t even understand him. And I already can’t cast spells! I never could! This was such a stupid idea. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! All that time wasted I could’ve used to build a raft or something to get out of here.”

“The waters… around… are dangerous. It would’ve been… unwise.” Said Duxus in his usual monotone voice.

Auriëlle just glared at him. “Well I’m getting off one way or the other.” She said. “Even if that means I’ll have to move this entire gods damned island.” With that said she stomped off again. Duxus was a good friend to talk to but not now. Not when she felt this frustrated. What she needed to do now was let of steam. Luckily whatever idiot had made this school had included a few places where you could actually throw lighting, rock and fire to your heart’s contend.

A rather sizeable boulder was careening through the air. It was heading straight for a floating mirror off in the distance. Yet when it touched the surface, it harmlessly passed through. Auriëlle saw it ripple like a vertical pond. Magic around it awakened and momentarily altered something about the mirror, she couldn’t say what, and then shifted back to its normal form. Behind the mirror laid an ever increasing heap of stone.

“Not a bad shot.” The Headmaster said from behind her. Auriëlle hadn’t noticed him approaching. She was far too focused on reaching far out towards the mirrors.

“You’re not here to appreciate my throwing skills. So what do you want?” An icy Auriëlle asked as she prepared another stone to throw towards another mirror. A second later it was whistling through the air.

“I am here… to teach you a lesson.”

Auriëlle turned to look at the Headmaster. Just in time to see him pull up his right sleeve. Around it the gaseous form suddenly took tight shape of circles around his arm. Lines of now glowing energy formed across his arm. A second later the deafening crack of a thunder could be heard. A whip of lightning had lashed out just beside Auriëlle. “What the hell!” She yelled. Surprised by the sudden attack. “You could’ve hit me!”

“Maybe I should’ve.” There was no malice in the Headmaster’s voice. The lines around his right arm were still seemingly flowing as he lashed out again.

The sorceress dodged and unleashed a wave of fire at the Headmaster.

He reached out with his hand and said something. Auriëlle could sense his lips moving. Yet couldn’t make out the words. Yet again she saw the fog around everything tighten and glow. Several hundred rivulets of it raced through the air towards the fire. Crawling through it like roots through earth and then split the fire. So it passed the headmaster harmlessly.

The headmaster retaliated immediately. The lightning whip combined with several other spells of rock, sand, fire and lightning kept Auriëlle on her toes. Forcing her to move around in an effort to dodge his attacks. Meanwhile the Headmaster stood firmly in his one spot. Stone was rendered to harmless sand half-way towards him. Lightning arched around him like it was afraid and finally fire just split itself in half every time.

For ten minutes they had been fighting. Auriëlle was out of breath. Again she saw the golden glowing rivulets splitting her fire. Wave after wave he had done so. She tried to throw some more rocks but she didn’t have the time. Her body had slowed down. She had just regained her footing when the crack of thunder roared far too close to her. The lightning whip barely touched her. But it was enough. She felt her entire body tense up. For but a second she saw the rivulets form something just between herself and the lightning.

Then she was pummeled through the air. Send flying by a force that should’ve been invisible. For a few seconds she was weightless. Yet pain coursed through her. Part of her hip was burned ugly by the lightning. She winced, until the inevitable fall to the ground force all the air from her lungs. Three coughs was all she could utter as her entire back felt as if it was broken. Something whooshed from high up. She rolled aside. Where she laid two seconds ago now laid a boulder that would’ve crushed her entire body.

Enraged she shot up again. The falling bolder had thrown up a lot of dust. A problem for the Headmaster, who stopped his assault for a second. Auriëlle’s sight focused on the rivulets around his arm and then turned her gaze towards her own right arm. Her sleeve was already tattered. With her other hand she tore the remnants of the cloth away. Akin to sorcery, she simply demanded the rivulets of mana to take the same shape.

She felt energy course across her arm. Though it was quite akin to when she threw lightning normally. Would it work? Auriëlle didn’t have the luxury to ask that question. She saw a golden drop-imbued wind come from high up. Blowing away the dust. A second later she saw the Headmaster summon the whip from his arm again. Ready to lash out towards her with it. Auriëlle mimicked his movement. Swinging her right arm around her head before letting it flail out.

Two whips of lightning met in the middle and like rope entwined. Auriêlle gripped hers firmly and yanked back. The Headmaster was pulled off his feet and pulled towards the stone she had already send his direction.

Yet suddenly the two whips disentangled. The stone turned to sand midflight. Every momentum was lost as it fell harmlessly down to the ground. The Headmaster landed back on his feet with a big smile on his face. Auriëlle still stood ready to attack at a moment’s notice. The golden glowing lines on her arm remained as well. Yet her breathing was ragged. Her knee would soon give in. She could feel the left side of her face already swelling up.

“Congratulations, Auriëlle.” The Headmaster said as he folded his arms. The smile he had never vanished. “You’ve just used your first real spell.” He had always been dismissive of the demonic summoning spell that Auriëlle had mastered before.

Sensing no more attacks Auriëlle fell backwards. Whincing in pain as she realized she had fallen on her back before. “By the gods.” She said with her eyes closed. She felt like she could sleep for a week. Yet a grin began to form on her lips as well. “It’s been years since I last fell so…exhilarated.”

“A worthy opponent can do that.” The Headmaster said as she sat down beside her. She sensed him looking up at the dusk night sky. It had to be dusk. The temperatures were starting to cool slightly and she couldn’t feel the warm light of the sun so much on her skin anymore.

“I… really did use a spell just then. Did I?” Auriëlle asked as she looked at her own arm. The golden lines were gone. Broken up. Only fog remained again. But for a moment she had seen something solid and firm in the magical substance that surrounded her.

“You did dear. I figured you wouldn’t learn a thing in a classroom. From everything you’ve told me I don’t think you’ll ever learn that way. But it seems like you’ve got a very interesting way of rising to the challenge.” Said the Headmaster. But then he got up. “Now I have to go back to actual teaching.”

“Wait!” Auriëlle shouted as her body tried to shoot up. Except she felt stiff and bruised all over. “When can we do this again? Maybe I can learn that spell you’ve used to split fire in two?” Pure excitement, something she hadn’t felt since Ketrefa, poured from her words.

“Soon. Soon. Rest now. You’ve taken quite a beating.” The Headmaster walked away. Leaving a worn out, severally bruised but happy Auriëlle laying in the scorched and blackened grass.



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