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Just as humans grow and change with time, interests change as well. I wish I had the urge to roleplay like I used to...

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Despite the sweltering heat within the chamber, Berenice's mind was near empty. She had cast aside unnecessary thoughts and emotions; searching for a meaning to the mushroom as well as sensing the flow of magic in her surroundings were the only things she strived for at that moment. One of the first things she had learned back when she started studying magic was to put herself in this kind of trance, for it was one of the most important thing a magus needed to learn in order to succeed in the long, arduous road of the arcane. Berenice did not think of herself as having mastered this particular skill, but she believed she had attained enough experience in it to help her solve this riddle.

And what riddle it was. Magus Nevrakis had given them no clues; with only luck and their wits about them, the trio had one by one sat down and meditated for what seemed to be hours for them. Then, just as Berenice's will was beginning to wane, a faint sound, akin to a whisper, was heard from somewhere within the chamber, catching her off guard. She immediately opened her eyes to look around for whoever had spoken, but found equally quizzical looks being given to her by the other two.

She was about to ask if any of them had spoken when she noticed some minute changes on the walls of the chamber. Amidst the cracks and uneven surface, now strange patterns started slowly emerging. The faint, ethereal glow about them almost mesmerized Berenice and she had to withdraw her attention lest she forgot herself entirely.

And then she heard it again, not a simple whisper this time. It was clear in her ears, and yet it struck her as gibberish. She felt as if she could understand it, but at the same time she could not. This split and diverging feeling threatened to overwhelm her, but she could not shake the voice off for it echoed in her mind. She felt her body react to the sound of voice, attuning itself with a wavelength wholly unfamiliar. She found her sensitivity had skyrocketed; everything from the tiny follicles of her hair to the blood vessels in her body, to the pores of her skin, Berenice could feel everything 'moving' with the rhythm of her heartbeat. She could feel the sloshing of liquid inside her skull, muscles all over her body relaxing and contracting.

All the while she was experiencing these newfound sensations, the voice was talking. It's droning did not go unnoticed by Berenice, but with the sheer sensory overload threatening to overwhelm her, she could not spare much attention to what it was saying, However, there was one thing she did pick up among the words that were spoken, something akin to her being afraid.

Her scrunched up face revealed a smile as the thought entered her mind. If the voice thought she was afraid of what was happening, then it was definitely not an omnipotent being conversing to them, for she was anything but. No, instead of being afraid, she was more so excited by the sheer uniqueness of the experience. Somewhere on the back of her mind, she held the belief that Nevrakis would not put their lives in danger on their very first lesson, so despite the weirdness of the situation she felt that with perseverance she would eventually overcome it.

But then it hit her, and she saw. Her eyes glossed over as if a door was pulled open for her to peer at the unknown. She found herself short of breath as tears started flowing profusely while at the same time, her mind felt connected to a well of knowledge; within that well resided an existence beyond any scope comprehension.

Then she felt the door slowly closing, and the voice slowly reverted back to a faint whisper. With its last words, Berenice felt as if a giant weight slipped off her, leaving behind only a massive headache. She held her head in her hands, trying but failing to stay lucid. With a final, blurred up look at the pedestal where the mushroom was situated, Berenice fell to the side with a thump. There was but only one thought in her mind.

"What an interesting little mushroom..."
@Dead Cruiser I added the aura. I'm gonna be writing a response post on the mushroom very soon.
Serpent Trio: First Lesson

Sarahi wasn't sure if the shared cluelessness was comforting or concerning. Nervakis had said to 'meditate on it' with no other sort of clue or further instruction, so obviously she wanted them to figure out the next step. As to what it was, Sarahi had no idea, though the sweltering heat of this place vaguely brought a grim idea that this was just some sort of elaborate plan to rid herself of her noviates. For all that talk of wanting to cultivate them, the 'master' sure went out of her way to be weird about it.

Letting out a scoff, Sarahi released the clasp holding her white cloak together, letting it slip off of her. She was probably going to pass out from a heatstroke before anything else. The many butterflies of Diadem scattered around, fluttering nearby as she draped the cloak across one arm. As one of Diadem's smaller forms landed on the butterfly, an idea came to mind. A stupid one, but seeing as how the other two were equally as lost, it was a place to start.

"Maybe we're supposed to split it into pieces to consume it and then meditate," She suggested, finding herself hating the idea as soon as the words left her mouth.

"Split it? That's an interesting take on the matter..." Berenice replied after a moment of consideration. "There's only one, and seeing as this is the only thing of note in this chamber, I doubt it's supposed to be destroyed. Maybe It's something magical in nature? An alchemic ingredient perhaps?" Berenice offered her thoughts as she walked towards the pot with the mushroom.

"I agree with Berenice, I do not think we are supposed to destroy or consume it". Sirvan had a hard look at the mushroom and looked around the chamber. "But, if it is a alchemic ingredient then what do we do with it? Gesturing to empty room, "There is no equipment or anything here that we use to can mess with it." Sirvan cocked his head to the side and shrugged. "Maybe it is as simple as what Nevrakis said. We... just meditate to it". Not sounding sure of what he is saying however. When Berenice walked torward the mushroom, Sirvan followed. "Maybe a closer look can help".

What a pain. Sarahi let out a sigh, placing her cloak on the ground in a makeshift sort of pillow. Taking a seat on it, she perched herself on her legs before taking in a less-than-satisfying breath. "Fine. Meditate it is," She replied, placing her hands on her lap as she closed her eyes. "If you come up with anything better, feel free to bring it up." She was still convinced this magus was a hack and they were probably going to pass out from heatstroke before figuring it out.

Berenice glanced at the sitting Sarahi before turning her attention back at the mushroom. "Let's be realistic here. We are inside a pyramid of the Cult of the Serpent, right? What is the signature magic of the Serpents?" Berenice asked before quickly continuing, answering her own question, "Biomancy. So, could this have something to do with Biomancy? Are we supposed to use magic on it? Maybe we are supposed to forcefully grow it further?"

"Maybe but, all she said was meditate and that does not offer a lot of clues or hints if this was some kind of a test". Sirvan looked closely at the mushroom and then took a step back. "I am really not sure of what to do here other then to... well meditate unless you want to try growing it". So this is the first lesson from Nevrakis, actually mediating to a mushroom? If this is simply it then what are the rest of her lessons going to be. Seemingly pointless and confusing?

Sirvan audibly sighed as he sat down where he stood and got into a meditative stance. They will have their answer though, if it was this simple of a lesson or a hard test when Nevrakis comes back. Whenever she does come back that is; if the first lesson is to simply mediate to a mushroom then what would the rest of their time in the Cult be like?

After a moment of consideration, Berenice also took a few steps back and sat down, her back against the sturdy chamber wall. With the mushroom in front of her and the other novitiates in the vicinity, she too closed her eyes and focused on meditating, emptying her mind of stray thoughts.

She had one other guess: If there anything to be gained from meditating, it would be the knowledge of how magic interacted with the mushroom, so Berenice concentrated on that - seeking to find or sense any disturbances in the flow of magic around the plant.
@Theyra@Hero Do you guys want to do a collab for the mushroom?

“You're not my servant, my underling, or even my apprentice. My purpose is to put you on the right track to make sure you aren't stuck wearing that white cloak for the rest of your life.”

Hearing Nevrakis’ response to Sarahi’s remarks gave Berenice a much-needed affirmation of her previous assumptions; this magus’ personality was different than others. At first glance, she might seem aloof to the point of arrogance, but she is not one to judge just off of her appearance. Of course, Berenice had been taught to never do that by her father but her youthful mind couldn’t help but do it subconsciously.

“It seems I lucked out this time around, little friend,” she thought with a slight smile as she patted her chest; the tutelary underneath her cloak hissing back in a happy, affirmative manner.

Berenice continued walking behind the group, glancing at the guards once as they opened the door for them to pass through, before walking into the pyramid itself. She had heard about the rank differentiation between magi back at the academy; the acolytes were the ones dealing with most of the day to day activities of the Cults anyway, leaving the magi to their machinations. She thought about asking how long it would take for them to take the mantle of an acolyte, but decided against it for the time being; Nevrakis seemed to be rather keen on getting straight into their training so Berenice needn’t be in a hurry, she would get answers to her questions soon enough. Or so she hoped.

The moment the group was inside the pyramid itself, Nevrakis seemed to pick up the pace even more; even with her trained body, Berenice found it hard to keep up. They whizzed through the place, passing through corridors and chambers that grew seemingly more and more bizarre the deeper they delved into the pyramid. She became increasingly weary of her surroundings after they entered one especially strange place, a chamber filled with corpses of all kinds of creatures; humans could be considered a rare specimen should one consider the selection of corpses that were on display.

At some point, Atum peeked his head from underneath he cloak only to jump right back inside in a hurry. Berenice could feel the discomfort stemming from his soul through their link; she could not say that she felt otherwise.

As they made their way deeper into the pyramid, Berenice kept tabs on her fellow novitiates and their reactions to everything they had been witnessing. From their facial expressions, curiosity, discomfort, surprise, frustration, eagerness, and everything in between, Berenice’s thoughts pretty much mirrored theirs. Ultimately, when they came into the dusty chamber housing the mushroom and were promptly locked in it, with only getting a few words of advice and not so much as a hint of what they were looking for, Berenice could not help but sigh at the magus’ teaching methods.

After looking at the mushroom for a few seconds, Berenice turned to the others with a question. “Any ideas?”

Getting berated for good manners was a first for Berenice to say the least. Taken aback by the sudden response of the Magus to her greeting, she was stuck in a daze for a few seconds and didn’t catch the rest of her teacher’s words.

"Ugh, is this not acceptable?" As this thought flashed through her mind, she felt something jabbing at her ribs, snapping her out of her confusion. She quickly looked around for the trio that had vanished amidst the crowd of people. Then, a small, scaly tail slithered out of her robe and pointed to a direction before tucking back in, as if nothing had happened.

With a chuckle and a nod, Berenice followed her tutelary’s directions while trying to keep her head high, trying to pinpoint Nevrakis. Her new mentor was quite eye-catching, even among so many people. It didn’t take long for Berenice to find the violet of her gown and lock on her, picking up the pace and eventually catching up to them.

She glanced at the Magus, and for a moment had the urge to apologize, but decided to reign herself in. "Seems like this Magus is not as uptight as people make them out to be." The young novitiate thought as she slowly pieced together the clues, doing a rough, first sketch of her new mentor's personality.

"Calm, with an air of aloofness when faced with trivial things. Excited at the prospect of helpers? Well she certainly seemed eager to put Sarahi through her paces..." A shiver shot through Berenice's spine at the thought of finally managing to join a Cult of Heka, only to be reduced to an errand girl. "No, it couldn't possibly be the case... or could it?"

It didn't take them long to traverse most of the Dijat, what with the pace they were walking, soon finding themselves at the foot of a large pyramid. Berenice's eyes noticed the scaly, emerald serpent icon on the edifice and couldn't help but feel nervous for what was to come.
Berenice Eldri

Berenice was quite eager to finally talk to the magus in charge of her, and the urgency in her step as she walked around, searching for her attested to the young Novitiate’s mixed feelings. On the one hand, she was excited to finally start her real journey through the unknown and mysterious, that which only official Magi of the Cults were privy to. On the other hand, there was a feeling of nervousness deep within her, mainly due to some abject fear of not doing well in her studies, as well as the unknown environment of the Cult of the Serpent.

She had caught glimpses of their members once or twice, mainly whenever her father had a meeting with some of them for official things and she happened to be at the house. At the time she had been around 12 years old, barely having started learning about magic. Her father had summoned her over to their main house in order to check up on her progress. Unfortunately for her, he had failed to tell her that he had also invited two certified Magi, close friends of his, one of them being of the Cult of the Serpent.

Her first impression of the man was quite normal; with a smile on his face, the Magus had done some simple tests on her that she would later come to know were for her aptitude in Biomancy. During one of the tests he had shown her several papyruses with strange, distorted shapes drawn on them. Every time he pulled up a new picture, he would ask her to shout the first thing that came to her mind. Berenice still remembered the look on his face when she’d shouted “YOU!” right in front of his face after he’d shown her one particular picture. The man had gone from puzzled, to embarrassed and to angry in a matter of seconds. To her defense, however, the picture really looked like the man’s face, bald with a stubble and recessed eye sockets, and a nose as big as her little finger.


She chuckled at the memory, and the snake tutelary shifted under her Novitiate robe in faint agreement. Atum peeked his little head outside, surveying the surrounding space. His black, forked tongue slithered out of his mouth occasionally, taking in the strange scents of food, drink and general merriment. After a while he turned around and looked at Berenice, and she knew immediately what he wanted.

“Look, I know you are hungry, but you really should’ve eaten back at the table. I brought the food off the table for you, but you refused to budge.” Berenice’s retorts immediately dampened the little snake’s mood and he made his dissatisfaction known to her by the usual way – smacking the end of his tail on her calf. Not too hard, for it would leave a mark, but not too soft either, for it would not count as a protest.

It was not the first or the last time Atum had behaved like that. Berenice quickly came to realize her tutelary’s peculiar personality after she had summoned and bound it to herself: needy, picky, arrogant and clingy are a few of the personality traits that she especially was not fond of. Whenever she refused to do something for him, Atum would protest in this passive aggressive way of smacking the end of his tail on her calf. At first it had been funny, but Berenice very quickly grew bored, and even annoyed of it. Alas, no matter how many times she’d tell him to stop, he would always start again after a while, with the same beat and cadence as previously. Eventually she grew numb to it, but that didn’t stop him from using it as a means to show dissatisfaction.

“No, I need to find the Magus and greet her. Help me look for her and I’ll get you an extra big portion of meat to eat later.” The snake looked at her for a few seconds before deciding to believe her words. His tail movements slowly came to a stop as his head picked up the pace, peeking out of the cloak and searching for the Magus himself.


It took some time for the two, novitiate and tutelary, to find Magus Nevrakis as she had quickly removed herself from the dais after the short ceremony, mingling with the rest of the crowd and partaking in the celebrations. Berenice found the Magus seated by a table filled with people unknown to the young novitiate. After coming a little closer, she noticed a familiar figure attending to the Magus’ needs.

“Sarahi? That’s an interesting way of currying favor, I didn’t have you for a person that cared about those sorts of things…” Berenice thought with an odd look on her face but chose to abstain from commenting for the moment. Instead, she went ahead and introduced herself.

“Greetings esteemed Magus. My name is Berenice Eldri. It’s my honor to be under your tutelage.” Berenice gave the Magus a slight bow, her hand in a fist and over her left chest in the usual greeting of the Order Sekhmet.

Greeting and getting greeted by @Dead Cruiser. Misunderstandings ensue @Hero

@Dead Cruiser If you post for the magi, assume that Berenice found Magus Nevrakis after some search.
Berenice Eldri

The sarcasm in the girl’s voice was evident to Berenice. “Ah, it seems that the Serpents were not your ideal destination,” she said, understanding instantly dawning on her. “It should be fine though. From what I gather, you can still study other magic practices even if you ended up chosen by a Cult unsuitable to your aptitude. Maybe inform our mentor of the situation?” Berenice offered some advice to Sarahi, who seemed much more interested in playing with what seemed to be her tutelary. “I’d heard tutelaries can take any form, but iridescent butterflies? Fascinating!”

As she ended her comment, a hand landed on her shoulder, squeezing it tightly. All of her previous excitement vanished as Berenice visibly deflated. She straightened her back as a heavy voice was heard from behind her.

“Sorry for intruding. I’m sure you two had a pleasant conversation, but I need to borrow my daughter for a few moments,” Anak said, the smile on his face as fake as ever.

“Ah, sorry, but I have to go. I’m sure we will meet later, once our mentor summons us. Goodbye!” Berenice said with an apologetic look on her face before turning around and walking away with her father.


“Quite presumptuous of you to not come straight back to me after the ceremony. I’ll personally oversee your training upon our return.” A veiled threat was the first thing that came out of Anak’s mouth after some time of walking in silence. His daughter had just been formally accepted into one of the most prestigious institutions in Photep, and the first thing he did was berate her for wanting to meet her fellow Novitiates.

“Yes father,” Berenice mouthed out dryly. She had gotten used to this level of abuse by now, causing her to not even flinch at the thought of the grueling workload that was in front of her. Inwardly, she also scolded herself, however. She could have been smarter; first return to Anak for debriefing and then go meet the others. At least that way she could’ve met the other Novitiate, Sirvan.

They soon arrived at a table clearly occupied by the Edri family and friends. Berenice could see a lot of familiar faces sitting and chatting, partaking in the delicacies brought over by the Cults in order to entertain their guests. A commencement into the Cults was always a momentous occasion for Photep as new blood and ideas were being injected into the city’s arguably most important foundational block.

“Ah! Berenice, my child!” A middle-aged woman immediately shot up from her seat and literally bolted into a hug, crushing the 16-year old girl into her embrace. “M-mom, mom, MOM! Relax!” Berenice posed a token resistance at first before surrendering and hugging back. Her mother’s infectious happiness rubbed off to her, alleviating her spirits somewhat after the more-than cold reception she had received from her Anak.

“Sit, sit! Tell us what happened! What did the Vizier tell you? Oh, actually don’t tell us, I bet it’s something important that only Sorcerers should know!” Anak visibly cringed at the sound of his wife’s words, but he remained silent instead of commenting on it and proceeded to sit down beside her. “Yes, my daughter, tell us what you thought of the ceremony,” he said instead, that same fake smile returning once again.

With a sigh, Berenice joined them in the table and started narrating her experience.


After a while, Anak stood up once again. “Let this be a toast to the future of the Eldri family and our beloved Berenice, who is joining the Cults as a Novitiate! This is indeed a sign by the gods that our family still has their favor! Cheers!”

Everyone held up their cups in agreement as well and cheered. With a hearty laugh, Anak placed his cup down and walked over to where Berenice was seated. “Now, I think it’s time for my lovely daughter to finally meet her new sorcery guide, let’s not keep her here any longer.”

“Yeah... thank you all for coming to my commencement!” She told everyone, waved goodbye to her mother and turned around to leave. “I’ll be waiting for you back at the house. Don’t be late!” Anak’s voice was heard from behind as she walked, a constant reminder of what awaited her upon her return.

“...” A warm feeling suffused her being once again, and a slight smile donned Berenice’s face. Her hands moved below her cloak to pet her tutelary, thanking him for comforting her. “At least I know your feelings will always be genuine…”

With her spirits somewhat risen, Berenice decided to look for her new mentor. No matter how much she despised it, she agreed with her father that meeting and introducing herself to her future tutor was important. First impressions mattered after all, and she had delayed hers for quite some time. What if Magus Nevrakis was the type of person that detested tardiness? Berenice did not want to get on the Magus’ bad side from the get go, if she could help it.
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