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Thread: [M] The Wizard Tower (Nymphadora and Headwrapper)

  1. #11
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    When his plate was finally empty, Shen decided to cast it aside for a while, placing it on one corner of his bed. He placed his elbow against one knee, allowing to him to rest his head against a balled up fist while he listened to Khaalida's points. His eyes seemed to stare past her as he listened, trying to envision the things she talked about. Even if most people did not earn his patience, he could still find the ability to sit and listen quietly for the sake of his friend, even if his body language reflected some annoyance.

    Of course it was easy to see that even within the walls of the tower, people still shared much of the same weaknesses. Fear, rejection, ignorance, no matter the circumstances, they still found a way to present themselves. What course was there to really change that? Has the damage not already been done, by the ancestors of mages and ordinary man alike? It was just not realistic to think that centuries of segregation and rejection could just be reversed. All that could be done is to have faith that some day the world will open itself up to mages, leaving behind the others who would not be able to keep up. And if that did not happen in your lifetime, where better to leave your legacy than in the tower, high above those that choose or could not ascend from the ground below?

    There was no real argument he could make to Khaalida that she would not just reject, and so Shen remained quiet during her brief rant. It would not be here, sitting around in his room, that he could convince her how much better life was up in the tower.

    His scowl gave way to a look of surprise when Khaalida suddenly motioned towards her lip. He hurriedly licked his lips and rubbed them with the back of his hand, making sure to eliminate the mess he had made on his face. He glanced back towards his guest as she sat down once more, shaking his head. "I don't eat that many sweets," he protested. "And even if I do, I've earned every morsel." He inched himself back to the edge of his bed, picking up the plate and reaching to set it down on his desk. When he pulled back, he placed his hands behind him, leaning back as he looked back towards Khaalida again. "You weren't planning on staying in here all morning, did you? Won't little Ally get anxious?"

    He let his head roll to one side as he made his jab about Alameth, and slowly swung his head round until a satisfying pop sounded from his neck. "Sorry, I shouldn't make fun of your friend. Not in front of you, anyway." He grinned cheekily as he let himself drop backwards in his bed, now looking up at the ceiling. "What is he up to now anyways? Still on the alchemy track or whatever?" His follow-up inquiry seemed to come reluctantly, almost forced. It just seemed like the right thing to do was ask about Khaalida's friend, even if Shen did not really care one way or another how he was doing.

    As for his other question about Khaalida's plans for that morning, he knew that in the grand scheme of things it would not be a loss if he lost his morning to keep her company. Most of his physical and written exams have been completed for his track to magehood. After a couple more, which he was already well prepared for, he was to be assigned a mentor until the year's end. They would help him learn about the proper rituals mages are sworn to keep. Finally, he would be granted his magehood, his grand ascension, granting him nearly complete access of the towers' greater libraries and what they might bare. Any questions he could possibly have can be answered, with time and careful study. Maybe even those about Khaalida's unique powers.

    The kings all hate the ace.

  2. #12
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    Khaalida hid her smile as Shen grumbled about his sweets consumption, resting her elbow on her knee and her chin in the palm of her hand, she used her sleeve to mask her lips. There was something about the way they could easily banter around with each other that set her mind at ease. She didn't understand why others were so intimidated by her friend. She thought back on many instances... Many, many instances... where he had showed anger or annoyance towards her, but even through those emotions, she could see they stemmed from good intentions. His harsh words never left her daunted. Even in past times when she'd steal one of his beloved pastries right off his plate. His threats always seemed more comical to her than anything.

    She watched as he put the now empty plate on the bedside with a dull clatter before he made himself comfortable again. Her eyebrows raised slightly at his next question and she narrowed her eyes playfully. She was slightly surprised, as she usually was whenever he apologized to her. She knew that her two friends didn't get along well... or, at all even, but that still hadn't diminished her friendship with either of them. It was true, Alameth would probably be jealous if she seemingly chose Shen's company over his own, but he'd get over it. Shen's cheeky smile made her want to retaliate more than the fact that he had made a jab at Alameth, after all, her other friend made jabs about Shen all the time... Not that she would announce that to Shen. There was a safe amount of dislike between the two, she didn't want it to escalate to full-on hostility or anything. She was pretty sure who would win that fight. Her eyes cast over Shen's form as he lay back on his bed. There wasn't a question in her mind, actually.

    "As droll as you find my company, I believe I might just decide to bore you a little longer," she jested, tilting her head slightly which was still resting on her palm. "And it's worse than just the alchemy stuff. In fact, he's starting to remind me of you a little, with the whole preaching thing." Khaalida shot Shen a playful glare and scrunched up her nose.

    She realized she was actually walking herself right into the possibility of a lecture so she backtracked real quick. Without other friends really to ask Shen about, she asked him about the one other thing she knew he would actually be interested in discussing. "So, you impressed the golem master. That's quite a feat. I've been told that's pretty hard to do because like the golems they control, they're usually pretty emotionless." She bit her lower lip and then continued in a quieter tone, "Which means, not too much longer and you'll ascend, right?" She forced herself to sound happy about this, which, she was, for him... But it also meant that he'd be a full mage, able to go wherever he wanted for the most part. Including other towers. A silly friendship with an apprentice wouldn't hold him back from becoming all he could. Nor did she want it to. But the thought of losing her friend...

    She bit her bottom lip harder, trying to remind herself that she was being ridiculous. She already had plans to leave. Probably before Shen would even ascend. She wouldn't be here to be left behind, so why worry about that? She smiled again, pushing away her inner babble.

    "You scream. I scream. We all scream 'cause we're terrified... Of what's around the corner."
    Spoiler: Yup yup 

  3. #13
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    Shen raised his head defiantly when Khaalida alluded to his tendency to "preach." His rebuttal to the woman's sentiment was on the edge of his lips before she cleverly changed the topic. Maybe the point was not one worth getting worked up over anyway. Before responding, he let his head drop back down onto his bed, returning to staring at the ceiling.

    "Yeah, it won't be too long, now," he said solemnly. "It's pretty much a guarantee that I will ascend at year's end. All that's left are mostly formalities, really." He paused for a while, unaware of Khaalida's inner dialogue. Eventually he sat back up on the edge of his bed, looking straight towards the door on the opposite side of the room. "What's funny is that I don't really feel like it's that close. I'm not even sure I will believe that I've truly ascended even after I've been hooded and cloaked. What does it even feel like to accomplish something like that after working so hard for so long? And what's left afterwards? There is so much I will want to do, but how would I even find where to start?"

    His gaze finally shifted back towards Khaalida, and he shook his head. "I'm probably not the first person to have ever felt that way, I guess. It's easy to get used to grinding yourself down to the bone and to forget what real accomplishment feels like." He stood, raising his arms as he rose and stretching. An audible sigh escaped his lips as he released his muscles and joints. It was about time he got to ridding himself of the sweat and dust from the morning's exam, now that he felt like he had the energy to bath.

    "I'm gonna go wash up and change," he announced flatly. "Don't make a mess. Or better yet, here." He stepped towards the desk and picked up a large book bound in a deep blue leather. He placed it on the corner of the desk nearest Khaalida. "The Ancient Artes of Pyromancy: Eastern Techniques. It's a good read. Has pictures too, I know you like those." Without giving Khaalida much time to protest, he began to retreat towards the door that lead to his lavatory. He knew she would never read the thing, and if even by some miracle she did, she would not have had the fundamental knowledge to understand it. He turned back towards her when he neared the door, chuckling softly at his own little joke. "If you decide to leave, make sure the door is locked." He paused, his eyes squinting mischievously. "And don't forget to bring the book back, I know it's easy to get carried away studying."

    Once he vanished into the bathroom, he kicked the door shut behind him and stripped away at his dirty clothes, tossing them into a corner. Similarly to how he lit the candles in the other room, a snap of his fingers urged a faucet to life, and warm water began to flow out of it and into the large basin in the center of the room. He peered over the edge of the bath as he watched it fill up. How complicated of a thing plumbing must have been without the help of magic, even just to set up the initial framework. It would be almost impossible to create a system that could force water up so high in a tower like this one. Did all humans who lived elsewhere have to live in low ground if they wanted running water? Were they reliant on only rivers as a water source if they did not live in such places? He let out a heavy sigh. Khaalida was right about one thing: magic would be so helpful to those on the outside. If they could ever learn to appreciate what it could give them.

    The kings all hate the ace.

  4. #14
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    Khaalida watched Shen as he honestly told her his feelings on the matter of his ascension and she nodded along with what he was saying. She had long since grown used to the fact that her friend was somewhat of a prodigy, but the reality of that still hit her differently every now and then. As she wasn't even near the point where she would have been ascended, she couldn't fully relate to how he was feeling, but she did her best to try. In fact, she found herself comparing what he was describing to her feelings of starting over once she left the tower. She tilted her head slightly as she studied his features, not realizing that he had fallen silent, as if he was allowing her to jump in with her opinion. He was looking for a set path among the mages where he could accomplish as much as he could with the abilities he'd come to learn and excel at. She respected his devotion and his tenacity towards getting where he wanted to go.

    When he stood and stretched, she shook her head slightly, shaking herself from her thoughts and smiled encouragingly at him. "Your mentor will be there for you for the next year. I'm sure with their help, you'll figure everything out," she said softly. At his next words though, she narrowed her eyes at him and crossed her arms as he mentioned the book and its "pictures." It was true she liked looking at pictures. He one ability relied heavily on her ability to picture something in her mind in order to conjure it. The more ideas she got elsewhere, the more unique her summoned weapons had become. She was still looking at the blue, leather-bound book when Shen spoke up again from the other side of the room, near his lavatory.

    Her eyes shot back to him as he mentioned locking the door if she left. When he mentioned getting lost in studies she rolled her eyes playfully, "Somehow, I don't feel that's going to be a problem for me." She muttered, leaning back in her chair as she watched Shen disappear behind the door. Once he was gone she took a deep breath and released it slowly, her hands covered her face and she slowly dragged them down, probably giving herself the appearance of a monster with its face melting off.

    Her hands moved away from her face and she jumped up out of the chair, her feet taking her directly to the desk where she picked up the book and then she plopped down onto Shen's bed. She opened to the middle of the book and flipped through the pages, only stopping when she saw a picture. But the first many pictures didn't hold any interest to her. It wasn't until she got to one of the end chapters that was talking about the ability of a pyromancer being able to infuse a weapon with fire that her search through the pages stopped. Her eyes took in every detail of the picture on the page and the words on the opposite side. She committed the sword's appearance to memory and did her best to decode all the words that she didn't recognize. After a few minutes had passed of her memorizing the picture and suddenly she was excited to try out her new idea. If a little apprehensive.

    She put the book down on the bed, still open, beside where she was sitting and then jumped up from the edge of the bed. She snatched up Shen's used plate on her way past, and gave a pause at the door. She had seen and studied Shen's key to his bedroom so many times, but she had found keys were exceptionally hard to replicate by memory. She opened his door and stepped out in the hall, turning to face the knob again. She focused as hard as she could on the image she had of the key and after she took a quick look down both sides of the hallway to ensure no one was watching her, she opened the palm on her right hand. She closed her eyes and willed the Mist forward from her mind. She opened her eyes and watched as the slightly blueish hue of the pale wisps encircled her palm, extending up her arm to her shoulder. She took a deep breath and in her mind she ordered the Mist to take form. The smokey tendrils all seemed to float together, to one set point in her palm, solidifying into opalescent key that to Khaalida looked identical to Shen's in shape.

    "Ok, here goes..." She whispered, gripping the key in her fingers as she placed it in the lock below the knob. She gave it a turn and... It wouldn't budge. "Ugh!" She grumbled, pulling the key back out and shooting it an accusatory look before throwing it away from her. As soon as it left her hand, the key disappeared into a cloud of the Mist she had manipulated and then evaporated. Leaving no sign of it behind. She couldn't even recall how many times she had tried that. If she was holding Shen's key and looking at it while she conjured the Mist, she knew she could replicate it, but she was determined to do it by memory. She sighed and turned away, heading off towards the kitchens. Fortunately, no one decided to bother her as she walked, so she made it to the kitchens where she dropped off Shen's plate and grabbed a couple fresh strawberries on her way out.

    From the dining halls, she headed down a few floors to the training room she spent most of her non-library time in. Alameth and she frequented this room so much that most other apprentices seemed to steer clear of it now. Khaalida pushed that thought out of her head, trying not to think about the way the others viewed her and her "kind." She half expected Alameth to be there when she walked through the doorway, but to her relief, he wasn't. She sort of wanted to practice on her own, as she usually did when trying new things. She didn't like messing up and feeling embarrassed around others. Probably the main reason she hadn't ever used her abilities in front of Shen. Maybe she was slightly intimidated by him. She knew her abilities were more useful than Alameth's, but they pretty much paled in comparison to Shen's.

    She walked to the center of the room and closed her eyes. She had conjured the daggers and the bow she used so well so many times, it didn't take her long at all to execute their forms. But whenever she tried anything new, it took time and concentration. "If pyromancers can imbue a weapon with fire... Why wouldn't I be able to do the same with the Veil?" She whispered quietly to herself. She wasn't entirely sure how much of her main ability she was going to have to call upon to do this, but she hoped it would only take as much out of her as summoning a weapon would. Though, she doubted it would be that easy. She wished briefly that there were a scroll or a tome or something she could go to in order to find the answers, but she was left to trial and error. She only wished that the error part wouldn't be so dangerous to her mind.

    She held out her hand, and with just a few moments of hesitation, she closed her eyes and pictured the sword she had seen in the book Shen had told her to read. She pictured every detail of it, the curve of the blade, its length, even paying attention to all the fancy designs that were melded into the handle. She willed the blade into existence and seconds later, she felt the weight of the blade settle in palm. She grasped it tightly as she looked down at it and a smile reached her lips. She twisted it over in her grasp, admiring its design and the way the light seemed to make it's see-through form glimmer.

    Khaalida took another deep breath, giving pause to admiring her work as she readied herself for the next move. She closed her eyes and pictured the sword she was holding in her mind as she prodded the barrier she always kept up in her mind from the Veil. She took a deep breath and slowly lowered the wall, keeping her guard up against strong emotions. As soon as the barrier was dropped, voices, thoughts and emotions assailed her, but she did her best to stay aware of each individual one as she sifted through them, looking for one that would be helpful. Anytime she felt a hostile spirit approaching, she would retreat until it lost interest. It wasn't until her fourth try that she found a spirit that she could clearly converse with.

    She had no need for words though, as the spirit could read her intentions and convey its own through emotions and when she pulled slightly on it, it didn't tug away from her. She pulled it beyond the barrier and then slammed the wall back up, closing off her emotions and the ones she could feel from the spirit she had brought with her.

    Ready to see what I can do? The voice in her head was clearly male as it asked her. She nodded her head, gripping tightly onto the sword as she readied herself in front of a practice dummy.

    Not like that. Like this. The voice said and she felt the way she needed to place her feet almost as if it was instinctual. Now, we begin. And with that, Khaalida found herself slashing and hacking at the dummy expertly, despite her having barely practiced with a sword before. She was grinning from ear to ear even through the physical exertion her body was being made to go through. She was making these moves herself, but it was as if the sword was telling her exactly how to move. By the time she had finished, her arms felt weak and her breathing was labored. She bent down, resting her free hand on her knee as she tried to return her breathing to normal.

    Could use some more stamina... The voice said as an afterthought and she shook her head.

    "Better than most other mages you would have worked with," she defended herself.

    Undoubtedly. Now, for my payment... The voice said and Khaalida smiled, shaking her head.

    "Of course." She dropped the sword, and for once it didn't disappear like her Mist conjured weapons always did. She knew it wouldn't disappear until the spirit was satisfied. She turned and walked back out of the room, heading back towards the kitchens.

    "You scream. I scream. We all scream 'cause we're terrified... Of what's around the corner."
    Spoiler: Yup yup 

  5. #15
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    After a while, Shen finally emerged from his bath, a towel wrapped around his waist. Starkly contrasting with his appearance before, he was almost sparkling clean. He had even treated himself to a shave, eliminating the stubbly hairs that prickled across his neck and face before. Once he stepped back into the main room in his chamber, he initially glanced towards the chair where Khaalida was sitting, and was quick to realize that she and the empty plate that sat on his desk were gone.

    He walked towards his bed. As he casually glided across the room, he raised one hand and slid his fingers through the longer hair on the top of his head. His knuckles all but vanished inside of his thick, dark hair, which extended a few inches passed his fingers as he stroked them through. When he reached the bed, he brought his hand back down to pick up the book that Khaalida had left behind. He paused as he eyed through the pages she had left bare, his attention immediately being brought to the sword that was pictured.

    "I wonder..." He gently lowered himself to the edge of the bed, careful not to drop his towel. Even in his own room, he did not want to risk the chance that Khaalida was still hiding somewhere in the room to try to pull a prank on him, and she catch him in the nude. He held the book in front of him as he continued to observe the illustrated sword. Khaalida had told him about her ability to summon weapons, but he had never witnessed her using it. Was it possible that she was inspired by the picture of the sword, and left to try creating it for herself?

    He let out a long hum as he considered the possibility, picturing other ways his friend could use such an ability. From what Shen could remember, even Khaalida's weapon summoning was not limited by extract, only herself, and the possibilities all relied on how much she could tolerate. Shen was not fully aware of the mechanics of the weapon summoning, but if Khaalida could somehow offer the weapons to another person to use... Well, she would be the ultimate weaponskeeper. Most people might not find such a role to be particularly attractive, but maybe Shen could hype it up to Khaalida the next time they spoke. They could go hunting as a pair. With his talent and the skills Khaalida has, they would always have the right tools to take down any beast. The apothecaries would have their fill of Torna teeth, razor fins, and demon hearts to go into their potions.

    A heavy sigh escaped his lips as he stood, closing the book and placing it back on his desk. Khaalida would never buy into something so silly. Still, maybe once Shen was more free to pursue what he pleased as a mage, he could find a way to help his friend find her place. From his new position, he could set the girl on a path to ascension, eliminate the distractions and doubt she suffered from the prejudice of others, and make her forget about this silly talk of using magic outside of the realms of mages.... Who better to do it than Shen?

    Hesitantly, Shen reached for an object hidden underneath a few scrolls in a corner of his desk. It was yet another book. The black leather that bound it was frayed, white strings exposed and peering out from the tears like germinating seeds. A Firsthand Account of Manifestations withing The Mind. The tome was more or less the author's reflection of his experience with visions, very much like the ones Alameth was known to suffer through. The read was... haunting, but Shen was determined to read the book from cover to cover. It was a difficult find after all... And if any of the mages knew that he had it it would be taken away.

    The apprentice shivered slightly as he pulled the book to the edge of the desk so he could observe the dulled leather. If he could stumble upon such a thing, then what else could he learn about magic that stemmed from the mind? Could there have been a wealth of knowledge about the subject, but the mages were too timid to pursue it further? Even if such a treasure did not exist, why had none of them stepped up to learn about it first hand? With all of the studying and experimenting the mages did, why did no one wish to study Khaalida or Alameth or the young girl that produced hallucinations?

    He pushed the book back into its hiding place. It felt foolish to bash on the mages that outranked him in the same light he did the other apprentices. Still, his thoughts offered some interesting possibilities, to be sure, and once he had finished reading the book he might pass it along to Khaalida. She might actually consider something as silly as joining him in the Battleseers then.

    After locking his door and double checking to make sure Khaalida was in fact not hiding within the room somewhere, Shen dropped his towel to the ground. He opened his wardrobe, considering the various garbs he owned. His eyes stopped on a neatly folded pile that rest on the bottom, consisting of a black tunic, white pants, and a brown sash not unlike the one he wore earlier. After deciding that would be his choice of clothes for the day, the man made haste getting dressed. Rather than tying the sash around his waist, he fastened it with a large brooch of sorts, which was in the likeness of a sea serpent's head. It was embroidered in white extract, as well as blue and red which were tuned to have an affinity for water and fire magic, respectively.

    A large rapping came from the door from the hallway outside. The newly bathed and freshly clothed apprentice let out a low grunt when it sounded through his chamber. He hardly could remember the last time someone knocked on his door...

    The kings all hate the ace.

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