In case you were wondering, yes, I drew my profile image. Do you like it? I think it has a depressing sort of beauty.
Disclaimer: I can sometimes be a little too honest, and my standards might be too high. People don't like that. But let it stand on record that I also view myself with the same light. I would not criticize others if I am not willing to take criticism myself. Be mature. Don't hold stupid grudges. If you've come here to scope me out, to find some shameful detail or quench some personal spite because my honesty upset you in some way, -- I'm sorry but there is nothing here for your desperate attempt at self-validation. I will settle the pettiness with an apology. Sorry. Happy?
The air, even despite being close by the sea, felt intense and musky, reeking of brine and sweat. Though perhaps it was just Ayer. Knowing he was no match, much like a defenseless rat, he silently stalked after the shadow looming above. With each step forward, he would glance out and instantly duck his head, hoping not to be seen. He moved like this until he reached the stairs back up towards the upper floors. The inventor flinched when he heard a quiet splash down the hallway and up the stairs he was crawling on, instantly turning that direction with his Ars aimed out.
His hands shook even though his eyes glared. Not much an intimidating force, he'd have to admit.
But the battle struck a different tide. Though he prepared himself for the worst, upon turning the corner he saw a savage shark burst out of the water and leap at his ally instead. Ayer could barely catch the fleeting form as 'Mop' darted across the room, like a predator in the tides. He pivoted, blade lowered and swung, all in one fluid motion. In a split moment, the jolly drunken that once was absently hollering sea shanties had transformed into a beast. He wanted to shout out to Paric but even his words wouldn't hope to reach him before the blade would. He wanted to pull the trigger too, but what if the man moved and he missed? If he was too slow and their opponent changed position, Pacis was directly in the line of fire.
He clenched his teeth and did the only thing that came to mind. He took aim and fired.
Squeezing the trigger, the Ars main chamber would suddenly emit a spark that traveled through the compressor and condenser units and down the handle an barrel in an instant. The whole alleyway would flash, followed by a soft low frequency. The many Ars cores sticking out the main unit would charge a bright rainbow-like spectrum, this higher intensity a result of using a higher mana charge, combined with a more unstable 'lightning' mana-elemental profile.
It would be obvious to Mop that he was being attacked from behind. In essence, he wanted it to be very obvious. Ayer figured the man was smart and wasn't some complete berserk maniac who had no interest in self-preseveration. In his mind, Mop had only two choices before the lightning would hit. He was in the middle of an attack, so his movements were already narrowed. Realistically, the shaggy-haired man can either let the swing rip to hit Paric, but tank the artificialized lightning bolt. Or do the more sensible thing and try to evade the lightning beam, thus moving the scenario back to neutral.
However, this action was nothing more than a bluff. He knew they had a losing hand and was calling all-in, hoping to get a fold.
Ayer purposely aimed the lightning spark slightly off center, towards the pool of water that Mop surely just ran over. He heard it, after all. The blast would spread enough to hit it. If Mop decided to dodge backwards back into the water, he'd go right into the trap. If he didn't, it wasn't a big issue. As a man of science, he didn't bank on pure luck anyways. He wanted to avoid getting his partner struck, more than anything. He wasn't entirely confident on Eldi physiology, but a direct hit from the beam at this level of intensity will stun even larger beasts of the wild. So fatality was almost guaranteed on smaller beings. Plus, if they were back at a neutral fighting position, their chances would be significantly better against Mop.
Ayer knew playing a trick was the only option he had, knowing how unfamiliar his technology was to practically everyone and how inept he was in straight combat.
"Drunk on the job, are we? Don't worry, this'll sober you right up!" he shouted over the air flux, just as the lightning charge fired.
Ayer breathed a grateful sigh when the guard showed signs of life after reciving the blast. Even if he was about to give their position away.
“Sorry, I really am...” he muttered, checking the pulse of the guard before turning to his device and flipping a panel at his hip open.
Still breathing, fantastic news. But are you, my little Ars...?
His eyes glanced over the messy rows of buttons, bulbs, and switches, stopping atop a metal meter split by crude welded bars that outlined five ticks. Attached to it was what appeared to be a re-fitted gauge pointer. The needle had move up the first tick half-way, all of which looking the same dull bronze except for one. The last tick had a bright red film and a doodle of a squiggly mushroom adorned the end. The was no questioning what that meant. This device used large amounts of power no matter what, sometimes even shooting multiple ticks on particularly straining charges. Luckily, he didn’t use that much mana for this task.
Good, still stable... Eyes flicking down at a faint blue light among all the wires and pipes. And there is still plenty of power left for my plan.
But his hopefulness did not last long. His pale eyes then glanced over at the shifting moonlight, the pale yellow disks widening as a very familiar, slurry, though suddenly menacing voice now called out.
The Nillium commanders were no jokes when it came to keeping law, no matter how casual or unassuming they acted normally. Ayer remembered just how nimble one of them flicked a blade to his neck, an odd wishy, pale fellow, who casually threatened him on his welcoming tour of their facilities. He didn’t even have time to react. If it wasn’t for the others intervening at that point, his snide comment would’ve cost him his life. He was then told that was normal, and was that one’s way of saying ‘hello’. So if that one was just playing around, Ayer would never be able to match someone of apparent equal rank in a straight fight. Especially not when he was so tired from all the running and snooping as it was.
Ayer’s head snapped to the left and he gazed up the platform where Paric stood. He wanted to yell, but stopped himself as his mouth went open. No, if they caused a commotion now, all of Nillium will come down on them.
They needed to deal with Mop. Now.
Before the shadow could make it any closer, he pointed the Ars and twisted the curved handle again, turning the dial to a spark synbol. Lightning. This time, he pumped up the force considerably. Ayer knew it would drain a lot of mana, but he also knew he only had one shot to incapacitate the man. Otherwise, things were going to get a whole lot rowdier than just a drunken brawl.
When Ayer saw the shadow of the guardsmen draw closer, his heart nearly skipped a beat. He held his breath and pushed himself closer behind the corner of the turn, finger on the trigger of Wax Jury. He had it all planned out, how to move, how to take out this man without a single moment to react. But something was wrong in his head. Though he told himself that he needed to do this, the thought of hurting another person made him feel horrible. His lips felt dry and chapped, despite all the moisture of the sea.
All his life, his work was always designed to help people. Though there was a bit of revenge and ego tied into the motivation, these long years spent adrift were fundamentally towards figuring out a way to make people's lives easier. These Ars were supposed to be his greatest revelation upon the world of magic and technology. And yet, he was using these very tools for inflicting pain and treason. But what choice did he really have? The Nillium will do with his Ars far worse than he possible can, if he allowed it. His brow furrowed just thinking of the act of destruction he had committed to his own prized work earlier today. All of those tools and crafts, meant to one day lead the revolution to advance the sentient races of Thoris, to perhaps rid them of the threat of the untamed wilds, gone and destroyed by the self-initiated meltdown. There were probably be bits left, he was sure. The jewel cores themselves were incredibly durable. But he was sure that was not enough to replicate the complexity of the Ars itself.
But his time to contemplation was over. The shadow was a few steps away now.
One for many... this is what you must accept, Ayer...
That drunken act he overheard earlier seemed to really work wonders. The young man didn't even look like he wanted to be bothered with the search anymore, disgruntled and carelessly walking down towards the lower floor where Ayer was. The second the man pulled the corner, Ayer stepped out and pointed the barrel at his chest and blasted him. He hoped the loud pop of condensed wind wouldn't draw too much attention. Though there was also a slight spark of mana influx from the crystal cores to worry about too, though much less noticeable.
Ayer simply hoped for the best. And hoped the man lived too. He lowered the power considerably, afraid to kill the unsuspecting innocent. Maybe a little too much, one might even say.
The moment his companion got the attention of the guard who had presumably seen them, Ayer immediately dropped low and scurried off to a drop in the rooftops. He winced as his arms landed on a sharp rock while he crawled, but he continued on, cursing to himself all along the way. Truly, the untamed outdoors was a curse set upon by cruel deities to foil his progress. Once he reached the ledge, Ayer clutched the edge and nudged himself off, dropping to the lower level like a dangling rag. He did so outstretched as he could, to avoid making unnecessary noise. He landed with a soft pattering of his muddy boots and continued further down in a silent strut until he was a good distance away from his Eldi savior above. He made sure to wave a signal before jumped around the corner into the shadows. He didn't really expect it to work out like this. He overheard that there were guards everywhere, so that got him a bit worried. But if this works out, at least there would be one less for them to deal with. Maybe.
As he hid in a crevice between buildings on the other side, he quickly armed his Ars, turning a dial on the circular disk above the handle to point to a swirling symbol on a diagram of various symbols. Wind.
Normally, his expertise about arcane science did not exactly translate to performing concussive combat blows, nor render him capable of rendering an unsuspecting soldier incapacitated. In fact, his reclusive life-style proved detrimental to such an endeavor. But Ayer can circumvent his physical weaknesses, just as any good scientist should, through the power of his trusted tools.
Ayer knew he didn't have many uses of this Ars, but he couldn't risk failure either.
He quickly modified the effective range of Wax Jury, turning the handle and tightening the mana flow that would pass through the pipes and tubes, alongside gating clearance through auxiliary exhausts with another valve on the main compressor unit. This would reduce the distance of expulsion drastically, thereby increasing the power without raising the intensity and potentially causing strain to the Core. Essentially, instead of a strong gust of wind, there would be a compact burst of air. Much like taking an invisible wrecking ball at point-blank range. It should be more than enough to blast someone hard enough into a wall and knocking them out clean, if not immediately. Ideally, without killing them. In fact, he lowered the intensity a bit, just to make sure. He knew just how drastic his devices were.
As Ayer did all of this, he began wondering something. Wait, did we perhaps overreact a bit...? I'm starting to think we hadn't gotten seen in the first place...
The scientist almost couldn't hear the Eldi over the racket of the fervent 'singing', the shouting scattered across the small city, and his own heaving breaths. He was absolutely worn out. All this running, he wasn't even sure he ran this much his entire life. Ayer felt like he could just curl up and die right there. So much for heroism right?
But he strode to listen, freezing still. His heart and body ached, but he didn't dare move.
He already knew a bit of the Five commanders of Nillium, but the Eldi didn't know that. He felt a little guilty having the man think he was just some random desperate soul. At this moment, however, they both needed to focus on getting out alive.
"Okay..." he said, inching a glance up. Ayer was out of breath, but he tried to make it quick. He was usually a fast speaker in general, but now it sounded like he was squeezing every little word out as fast as possible with each breath.
"I'm assuming fire is your only specialty... You being an Eldi an all. I've not much either. That means we don't have much at our disposal when it comes to distraction or subterfuge... If your suspicions are right, the natural reaction upon seeing something unusual is confirmation upon the unusual and dubious sighting. That means, he'll probably walk up to get a closer look. If he does, I want you to pretend you are one of them. Not everyone knows I've an accomplice, nor do they know you. Call out that you've found me and bait him in closer. Then we knock him out." he breathed, looking at the Eldi, "Use my name, 'Ayer', if you have to. Make it urgent, so he can't think to turn away. The others won't be able to hear over all this noise, I'm sure.
He almost shrugged his shoulders in acceptance, hand never having left the grip of Wax Jury. "If not, we've been found anyway, right? I'm ready to fight."
Ayer cracked a bitter smile, "Ha... A drunken fire-bending hero? I guess miracles come in all shapes and sizes. If we actually make it out this mess... how about a round of drinks on me?"
He jumped when fire blossomed again, turning to see the flames bellow down towards two upcoming pursuers heading up the stairs. They were knocked back down by the exploding heat, fumbling wayward in burning balls of fire. Ayer wanted to shout in victory, but the intensity of the moment picked up as he realized just how many were reaching them now, catching sight of a trio of shadowy figures scaling the rooftops ahead of them. That humorless, prude Henry sure was quick. He was able to outsmart the man once, under the guise of unpredictability and innocence. But his guise is long gone. A man like him wouldn't take any chances after such humiliation. No doubt there were others he wasn't able to see already moving to flank.
Ayer seemed to begin to suffer from a panic attack just thinking of how dire their situation was. A nasty combination of his over-active imagination and unnecessary calculation and overthinking. His whole body shook as these deadly thoughts gripped him with deep fear and uncertainty. The Nillium didn't want him dead. No. They wanted him alive. Without him, who knew how long it would take to decipher the Ars devices, if at all. His breathing become dangerous and vapid as his mind raced uncontrollably. His thoughts almost overwhelmed him, vivid lists and postulations on how they were going to beat him, maim him, bleed him dry until he complied with their heinous goals. So long as he was able to talk, Ayer was sure they wouldn't think twice about just leaving him with nubs for arms and legs. His eyes darted across the dark horizon without focus, as small lights began to point towards their direction.
What to do? What was the right choice? Is escape even possible?
But it seemed his savior was more level-headed than the finicky arcanist. Without hesitation, the last word the Eldi stranger left was 'shipyards' before darting the other direction. He looked at the Eldi with a gleam of inspiration and admiration. If this person was going to risk their life for him, he damn well can't stutter and fail to meet them half-way.
Snap out of it... Ayer, don't be so lame. Take it from your hero. Be brave! Yes! The world's greatest mind can't end up dead by the hands of some war-minded crooks! No way!
Truly, heading to the harbor where the Nillium kept their boats was a great idea. The best given their situation at least. The place surely was heavily guarded, as the Nillium valued them for their trading, not to mention those already on their heels. But given his condition, even if they were to get over the walls, somehow, they wouldn't be able to run too much farther without him railing the Eldi down and collapsing. A watery get-away would be the only possibility at this point. Difficult as it may be. But he had an idea...
Looks like the time for running is over...
Wiping his brow, combing his blonde-sweat dripped hair to the side, Ayer straightened himself out and pulled out a circular disc with an intricate curved handle and triggering mechanism. This piece was connected by a series of metallic pipes to the main unit, most of which appeared completely alien to those who knew nothing of his theory. One he entrusted to no one but himself. The scientist was wholly against violence to settle conflict, but he didn't think there was much choice. With a few swift clicks and turns of valves, popping one of the empty slots open, he inserted a small cylindrical crystal-tipped canister, then swapped a few, and moved others of different colors around. He didn't want to use Wax Jury just yet, knowing just how precious the few use charges would be for such a plan to succeed. But he simply primed the device, in case things got ugly.
Hearing footsteps hammer above, he quickly started after his newly paired companion towards the West Shipyard.
The winded tinkerer practically tripped over himself as a blaze blurred past him, letting out a less-than-graceful yelp as the alleyway lit up behind him. It didn't look like the pursuers really expected it either. One unfortunate soul was caught in the flare, letting out a shrill scream with his allies scrambling to to douse it out and recover their position. As he stumbled, Ayer held onto his precious Ars, spinning his body try and save it from impact. He'd rather die than lose it now. Of course, it wasn't that dramatic. A hand had already yanked the wimpy tinkerer and propped him up against a flight of stairs. Ayer was confused, blinking wildly. In the flash of the orange bloom, he saw a young man. Someone he's never met before. Was this person trying to help him? For what reason? But as he looked at the face, he realized something even more important. This wasn't just any man either, it was an Eldi.
"You're..." but before he could even finish, the mysterious savior was already leading the way. "T-to the roof? Wouldn't that...? Uh, ah, okay!" he said over the chaos below, following up the stairs after the fleeting shadow.
There was no time to question things now. He had no idea how to navigate this town. One way or another, he was bound to be stuck running endless circles in these binge-scented backstreets until they caught him. And with the commotion going on now, the rest of the search party was surely making their way here. Despite his hard-wired nature against making half-calculated decisions, heeding this stranger was his only chance to get out alive. Ayer tried to keep his breath stable as he tailed along, his feet stamping up the long path of stone steps. Each step, which grew only heavier and heavier, he realized just how unfit he was for all of this action. He wasn't built for this. Not at all.
At the top of the steps, Ayer bent over heaving as he tried to catch his wits, his breath, and to contain his growing need to vomit. His heartbeat pounded in his ears like war-drums, his face crunched in absolute pain.
"Sorry... I just, I just don't do this sort of thing often... haha..." he blurped, cursing to himself and spitting the iron-tinged saliva out of his mouth. What a shame. Fortune from the divine shows up to his aid, and this is how he presents himself. Truly, what will his name become if word of this gets out? If he even gets out?
"Quickly! Over there!" called a distant voice. A scramble of footsteps then diverged overhead.
Ayer could barely process the words as he crawled through the narrow space between the layered buildings composing the dock-yards, scurrying through the muck and refuse, hoping to anything, anyone that his current equipment didn't act up now. It was the last of it. His precious Ars, the last existing proof of his grand theorem. As he clung to this shamble of pipes, plating, and gems, he struggled to think of a way out. It was hard to focus. There were footsteps everywhere, commotion that stirred the sea-side town in the middle of the night. He managed to buy time, a regretful sacrifice, but they were getting closer. And he wasn't really getting anywhere. He cursed to himself for being so foolish to trust them. The Nilliums were well-spoken and tactfully prose, unlike the other families who ruled the region. They promised his ideas would benefit the estrange people of this region. But as it turns out, they were nothing more than beasts playing proper. They only wanted his grand inventions for brutal, animistic warfare. He couldn't allow his beautiful inventions to be abused like that. Not as a proud inventor, the great visionary of this generation.
The name 'Ayer Lecomte, the Arcane Theorist' shall be respected for all time! Or rather, that's what he'd like.
But despite his own brave betrayal and sacrifice, there was no one he could turn to. No one recognized him a hero. He was an outsider here. And no one would dare oppose the gangs that ruled this territory. Ayer was practically a fish caught out of water.
"It can't end like this... after all I've done... and yet to..."
He waited a moment of silence before poking his head back out. "Dieu'n Merci, they've missed me..." Accidentally slipping to his native tongue, "Now all I need to do is get down to the port... and I'll have more time... maybe steal a ship... No, that'd be to obvious... Maybe I could... Zute, zute, no time to think now! Let's go!"
And just as Ayer hauled himself out of the dirty crevice, in his adrenaline and fear fueled hurry, he overshot himself. The Ars device swung awkwardly at his shoulder and banged against the wall, the many components clattering noisily with themselves. He held his breath, hoping the noise reached nowhere important. But of course.
"Hey! I found the ratty runt! He's down there in the gutters!" called a voice high above.
Ayer looked up and saw a shadow start bolting down the canopy roof-top. Hearing shouts and footsteps coming from the west, the arcane inventor, in all his brilliance, thought of a plan. A flawless escape maneuver that would outwit these thuggish miscreants. Or at least, he wished something like that would happen. This wasn't a fairy tale. He was no god-hero that could take on a whole army alone. In his amazing escape plan, Ayer simply darted for dear life the other direction. Blindly, he pushed through this alleyway and that, even tearting down a hanging shop sign for misdirection. Though it was more like a few pitiful yanks with the in-built crow-bar on the Wax Jury. For human standards, Ayer was even lacking. Despite all these efforts, things were looking grim.
He was practically out of breath in just a minute or so of sprinting. Not to mention he was completely lost in the foreign town, the footsteps growing ever closer. As sweat drippled down his brow to his eyes, Ayer saw the glistening of the moonlight as he bounded over a puddle of water. He can practically see the gleam in their sabers now.
Name: Ayer Lecomte Age: 27 Appearance: Just linework. Too lazy to color.
Height: 5'11 Race: Human Home Nation: Arcadia
Ayer possesses a few 'devices', which emulate different node circuits that copy something of a mage's abilities. Simply put, with these tools, Ayer has a wide arsenal of spells, rudimentary as they are, that he would otherwise not have access to normally or are out of his expertise. These 'Ars' devices have a few uses before they need to be cooled off for a while and recharged through arcane sensitive conductors. Multiple uses from them in a short burst is highly dangerous and will probably destroy them entirely, causing indeterminable levels of extreme arcane meltdown.
Ars Core 'Alpha' - Mark 4.3 // “Wax Jury” - His most simple device, though bulky, complex, and crude as it may seem. A series of make-shift mana-lines, essence condensers, and coolants are connected and packaged with the main power unit to ensure full safety and functionality. Though not the most proud looking piece of equipment, Ayer had to work with what he had. Depending on the ‘core’ used, housing different selections and alignments of mana sensitive gems and jewels, the device will expel raw arcane power through a specialized barrel. The complexity of spell is rather simple, with elemental effects, such as water, wind, fire, and electricity being the most stable type of magic being emulated. Increased intensity will cause the arcane essence to be unstable, resulting in dangerous elemental explosions.
Ars Core Prototype 'Beta' - Mark 0.8 // "Callous John" - Recently lost. Ars Tool 'Gamma' - Mark 2.2 // "Jupiter Dawn" - Recently lost.
Aside from this, his talent as a mage is quite lacking. Despite possessing a library worth of technique and understanding across all manner of schools, though namely the Elemental, his actual ability is Novice at best. His arcane nodes had always been weak, no matter what he did.
Magic brought the onset of wonder and imagination of the sentient races to an overgrowing peak, a force of miracles, a display of the soul and will all at once. But Ayer knew the limitations of his own frail body. Still, he never stopped trying to disprove the impossible.
He was the type of boy to risk his life to prove a point, to satiate his wild curiosity. Ayer was always a troublemaker and odd-ball, often arguing with everyone in his village, even his parents, who thought his wild clockwork inventions and doo-dads were a waste of time. Once he was old enough, Ayer would take his savings, accumulated over his young life, and depart the dusky old hamlet he was born in. He would set off for the ivory capital of Arcadia, the center for intellectual and magical significance in the entire world.
As an 'arcane theorist', though purely self-claimed, his intention was to get rich quick by partitioning off his 'grand, revolutionary ideas'. But it was not so easy as the naively optimistic boy imagined. Naturally, because of his lack of social awareness and over-inflated ego, Ayer was the laughing stalk of every place he went. He may have been well-versed in his small village, but the mages and alchemists, who've spent their entire life studying and brooding over tombs, articles, and papers, there did not see the charm in his passion. It didn't help he always started off introductions by proclaiming himself a prodigy and genius of this generation, the 'next Frugel', followed by hair-brained theories that any rightful mage or alchemist would find ludicrous. Quickly, he earned himself a reputation. The 'Theoretical Arcanist' as those of the magic world would come to title him, openly mocking him for his original self-proclaimed title. It was not easy for the eccentric boy, who often slept in the cold of the streets as he would foolishly spend his money on futile, fruitless experiments, acquiring research materials, and collecting intellectual readings of 'rivals', purely to spiteful debate them in his loneliness. Luckily for Ayer, he was pretty talented when it came to fixing things and turning junk to working contraptions. And the fact that he actually shut up when he was focused on work, made him rather tolerable for a while. Otherwise he truly would've starved.
Although he would owe his survival to his job at a small workshop in the city, thanks to a misguided admirer, he always criticized the musk and pollution that steam technology would bring about.
As a year passed with no progress, for many this would be the end. But Ayer never gave up, despite all the remarks and comments and labels instilled upon him by his colleagues. He took their cruel beatings and continued to attend every conference, meeting, and talk, to expand his knowledge. One day, eventually, things changed for the wild dreamer. While attending a lecture by an acclaimed mage in the Arcadian Academy of the Arcane Sciences, of which he furiously debated with the professor mid-lecture, his greatest idea dawned upon Ayer while he was being dragged out of the building. Though, it could be argued that perhaps it was delirium from his head hitting the concrete. That being said, drawing mana was impossible from environment to body. That much was an agreed and establish arcane law, an irrefutable fact. But that was because of fear of self-destruction. However, what if we used a medium to circumvent the influx of energy, eliminating the chaotic imbalance and instability that rendered our blood and flesh to ash and muck... If one was able to circumvent the frailty of sentient form, perhaps then, Mana can be used for other purposes? It was far-fetched, indeed, but he has seen it work on a smaller scale. This idea was the same with heat and steam, generating kinetic force, was it not? The most difficult part of this theory was how to siphon and control mana from the environment, as mana was a volatile form of matter, and mages are only able to do so with the arcane nodes located in their body. But if these nodes can be artificialized and replicated, then that would lead to a revolution in science and magic.
With his new theory brimming in his mind, Ayer bade farewell to the ivory city of Arcadia. And for once, he received cheer as he walked out the academy after proclaiming his great venture. Though it was probably not for the reason he would like to think. The young arcanist would spend the remainder of his teen years dedicated to honing this theory, one he was convinced could work, seeking to understand the nature of these arcane nodes and the relation that mana had on the physical world. Mana existed in all things, and he believed sentience only aided us, while the ability to manipulate mana is a product of the restructuring of nodes that already exist. And nodes, though small, tiny, and insignificant surely must exist elsewhere. In fact, they already exist.‘Psy-Stones’ were physical objects that were able to transfer mana, similar to that of an arcane node. The main problem that many before him faced was how to hone that chaotic energy while removing the ‘mage’ from the equation entirely. And the fact that acquiring such things were beyond conceivable for his measly budget, meant getting any sort of proper data was very difficult. Ayer scoured the entire world, traveling to this dangerous spot to that, volcanic crags, icy tundras, and blistering deserts, hoping to find something others overlooked. This went on until he found himself nearly drowning in the eastern seas trying to observe the nature of massive spark-eels.
Maybe it was a stroke from the divine? Or the fortune of a luck-starved bastard. Though most likely, even the carnivorous eels didn't want any of the sour egg. Waking up in an underground cavern, was when Ayer discovered the breakthrough of his theory. There, in the cavern was a host of crystals that glimmered and sparked. Taking a shard back to his mobile laboratory for analysis, he discovered something. There was nothing special about these gems at all, aside from a striking harmonious mana reading. Analyzing various other types of gems and crystals, he discovered a common trait. That, due to their internal prismatic geometry, this allowed gems to contain an astonishing network of arcane nodes within them. At least, potentially. However, ordinarily, a large majority are dormant and inactive. With this new data of the glimmering sea-crystals, he realized that this innate potential can be unlocked through stimulation by a harmonious frequency and stable current of mana. This whole coastline was famous for one thing, the 'Festival of Glimmering Storm'. What made it unique was that this implied 'storm' was actually triggered by the mating rituals conducted by the looming, great spark-eels in seasons of heat. This was known to be quite the sight, as though the ocean before the coast would bloom like lights in the sky, stirred by the stormy electricity released by the eels. During this day-long ritual, the tides to rise and fall at regular intervals until the impassioned creatures tired out. The shores and seabed would be washed with enriched mana. Luckily, crystals contained the charge for a long time, as it would seem the nature of jewels physical construct appeared to easily trap mana.
Ayer had intended to make it on time too, but he was delayed a few days and thus, missed the event. However, that blunder proved to be the key to all of this. Truly, it was a stroke of mad coincidence.
Perhaps ‘frequency’ was the key? After acquiring a large number of varying gems, he would begin the heavy experimentation period of any proper theory. He soon discovered a few things, actually. Carving them into select-shaped jewels allowed further personalization and specialty, intensifying or waning the concentration of mana contained within. Similar to how a mage would practice and hone their own nodes for specific spells. Using both his knowledge of science, machines, and the arcane, he would develop a interconnected two-point charge that used multiple gems to mimic a network of nodes. Very similar to how Psy-Stones operated, except on a grander, more condensed scale. However, he would instead reverse the whole process. One would be dormant, while the other contained a charge, which when stimulated by a reverse charge, would begin to trigger an influx and absorb mana from a nearby source. Of course, that lead to a series of failures, until he was able to perfect the frequency to allow for steady influx flow. Ayer would create basic devices or 'Ars' that would be able to absorb and trigger a stored mana charge. Like a compact, activate-able 'spell' that required little to no mana usage from the user. Finally, after years of labor and frustration and ridicule, of eating the scraps of the wild and begging for left-overs, Ayer had something to show for it all. He would be able to return to those pompous, cowardly intellectuals and prove them he was worth something.
All that was left was to test and see the results. What he found, was troubling. This process was maybe a little too efficient.
In the end, while there was nothing really 'revolutionary' about these devices, more like glorified elemental payloads, they proved that the newly named 'Arcane Energy Conversion' theory was possible. Maybe it didn't break or contradict any arcane law, but perhaps it was the next big step in technological advancement. Just like the steam engines before him. Ayer knew he had something, but he refused to go back with a half-baked invention and data. Not until he can come back with a theory so great and so undeniable. One that will completely wipe the cheeky smirks off the stupid faces of his detractors. Bolstered by his spectacular failure, he set his eyes on the next step of improving his theory. First step? Probably to get funding to appropriate a new laboratory. Perhaps one that was more flame-proof this time.
And so, the inventor, the self-proven Arcane Theorist, would continue his journey to revolutionize the entire world.
Tink found herself sitting atop a nearby building once again, staring down at the chaos that continued beneath. It was almost as if she was right back where she started, fluttering like a lost flower above the metal complexes. But now a drooping flower. Tink was unable to hide her disappointment, her head hanging low and her arms clutched at her side. Her eyes gazed listlessly at all the flashing lights.
Though she kept her life, she was unable to finish her mission. Once she reached the VIP lounge, Tink discovered a huge commotion going on in the area. Apparently someone really important was shot and heavy Eurocorp forces were swarming everywhere. It made attaining any sort of information quite impossible. She couldn't even get a name either. There was no hearing past all of the noise. It felt like sloshing in her head. Even now, all the sounds and screaming ring like small bells being rung aside her ears. And the sight of red lingered like a pair of heavy lens behind her eyes. Maybe her calibrations were off again. Did she require another check-up again? Ah, but that would require her to deliver some sort of payment, does it not? Tink was still paying off the last one. Or was it two? Time and time again she has shown up to their doorsteps, with little to offer. Money came sporadically for someone like her. Yet they always choose to help. And though they always assured her that she was not a burden, Tink knew otherwise. She was tired of receiving their good will. She felt so shackled by this helpless feeling. How many more debts will she owe before she will be truly free? How many.
What an awful party. And she has been at a great number of awful parties.
Tink was happy to not be invited. She just wanted gone with it all already. Taking a deep breath, she can at least be grateful for the nightly air. The chilliness helped freshen her senses and cleanse her thoughts. So to speak. Her enjoyment was probably because she couldn't taste how awful it truly was.
But still, even accounting for all the positives, her mood did not improve. Her mind was still on the failure of the mission. The payment alone was not what worried her though. There will be more people seeking her services. There was not many like her, who liked to solve problems without a trace. Without a mess. Rather, she promised something special for the strays when she returned. Time is drawing close on all of them. She tried to move away from the subject, wishing not to ponder such things right now.
"Appears those pair of shoes were squandered..." she finally muttered, glancing down at her exposed, rusted arm, "What an absolute mess, really. How wolves follow blindly when there is blood..."
Tink stood up upon this note, turning back to her mysterious companion. A sweet looking girl, if not rough around the edges. Though they did not really share any words over this short venture, she enjoyed their presence through it all. It is not often she has someone following her who did not want to take her light away. She smiled openly, giving them a curtsy bow by lifting up the folds of her remaining dress and arching her back in an overly elegant manner. Despite what she felt inside, she wanted to give off a good impression to this kind(?) stranger. Well, kind enough not to try and kill her at the very least.
"I do not know your intentions, little one, but I appreciate not being alone in this dark moment. And though I would like to get to know you better, I'm afraid I must say farewell. I must make it back across the city tonight. I must make a report, lest my reputation be stained. More than it already has... I hope you have a safe trip home."
And with that she turned around, hopping down the rooftops like steps and stepping back into the hazy smoke.
Hello, there really isn't much to see here. :^D
In case you were wondering, yes, I drew my profile image. Do you like it? I think it has a depressing sort of beauty.
[b]Disclaimer:[/b] I can sometimes be a little too honest, and my standards might be too high. People don't like that. But let it stand on record that I also view myself with the same light. I would not criticize others if I am not willing to take criticism myself. Be mature. Don't hold stupid grudges. If you've come here to scope me out, to find some shameful detail or quench some personal spite because my honesty upset you in some way, -- I'm sorry but there is nothing here for your desperate attempt at self-validation. I will settle the pettiness with an apology. Sorry. Happy?
I can't do anything more than that.
<div style="white-space:pre-wrap;">Hello, there really isn't much to see here. :^D<br><br>In case you were wondering, yes, I drew my profile image. Do you like it? I think it has a depressing sort of beauty. <br><br><span class="bb-b">Disclaimer:</span> I can sometimes be a little too honest, and my standards might be too high. People don't like that. But let it stand on record that I also view myself with the same light. I would not criticize others if I am not willing to take criticism myself. Be mature. Don't hold stupid grudges. If you've come here to scope me out, to find some shameful detail or quench some personal spite because my honesty upset you in some way, -- I'm sorry but there is nothing here for your desperate attempt at self-validation. I will settle the pettiness with an apology. Sorry. Happy? <br><br>I can't do anything more than that. </div>