• Graded • Two of a Kind

In which Doran and Oberan meet!

Atop a stony plateau overlooking the lands of central Idalos, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from the rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence; firm in its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the many factions set aside their conflicting agendas and see this through?

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Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:46 pm

The 37th of Saun 717


Truly, the city of Etzos was one of the many in just about all regards. Perhaps its citizens believed themselves to be different to others just by virtue of their distaste for the Immortals, but they really were not. Yes, not a whole lot of cities were openly against the divine creatures, Bran would give them that, however, in all other aspects it could just have been any other city or city-state. There were poor, there were rich. There were merchants and laborers and government officials and guardsmen. There were establishments where one could enjoy food and drink, there were establishments where one could enjoy women, or men, whatever you fancied. As with any city, there were also people who found themselves to be on a different level when compared to the rabble and the riffraff. Nobles, if you will. Stuck up stiffs with huge wallets, and even bigger egos. Where could those people be easily found? Why, the museum of course! Where else could they prove just how educated and cultured and civilized they were? Where else were they freed from those barbarians that made up the most of the populace?

Or so they had thought. But now one of those barbarians had waltzed in, looking even more out of place than a sheep among wolves. Unfortunately for them, Oberan was the wolf here. That said, he was not here to pick pockets. He doubted he had regained enough of his former skill to pull something like that off while all other patrons were keeping a close eye on him, not trusting him in the least. Or perhaps to them he was an ugly abomination they could just not look away from, no matter how hard they tried. Either way, they were watching him, and if anything was the bane of a pickpocket’s existence, it would be vigilance.

Not that he was planning on using this place as a stomping ground anytime soon. While he would be able to make a lot of coin in one go, he stood out too much. Perhaps if he dressed like the patrons he would blend in, but then he might still not get the chance to pick their pockets. Not with his current level of skill; his fingers felt as if he’d held them in a freezing lake for half a break. Ten arcs ago—well, no use dwelling on the past now. He had to admit that the degradation of his skill had made things quite interesting for him. If he’d gotten out as the same guy that went in, there really wouldn’t be a whole lot of challenge in this world anymore. He’d wanted a fresh start, and he’d gotten it. A fresh start from zero.

What he was here for was just entertainment really. Not in the form of the exhibits –though he had to admit that the statues and sculptures of the Immortals writhing in agony as they were slain by mighty warlords were quite amusing to see—but in the form of those stuck-up nobles being utterly helpless when faced with his ability. True, he was not immune either, and he had no control about the effects, but that was exactly what made it interesting and fun. If he could pick and choose what would happen, he’d be less thrilled. Granted, he would still have the (hopefully) resulting chaos and confusion to witness, but he’d be able to form an image in his mind of what might transpire. The anticipation would be great, however, now he had that and the thrill of going in blind.

“This here should be a good spot, I suppose,” he muttered, admiring a statue of twin Immortals pulling each other’s innards out in a very gory and detailed tug-of-war. The faces of both were twisted in agony and anguish. Bran had chosen this spot because it was just about a central point of the first floor, which would give his Sphere the opportunity to cover a large portion of the building. After all, the danger zone was twenty-five meters in radius, with Bran at the center. Though not large enough to cover the entire building, Bran was sure he’d be able to affect at least a large chunk of it. A zone of chaos and impossible things within the Pillar of Society. The thought alone was beautifully enticing. He wasted no further time; with but a thought the Mortalborn unleashed his ability, feeling the drain come to him as divine power exploded from within. It rushed through the entire area of effect as if it were a gust of wind, though not quite a physical phenomenon, it was felt all the same. Then, a couple trills passed. Trills during which nothing happened. No doubt everyone was on edge now, having experienced the energy washing over them. And then, its effect began to take hold.

Bran could feel his fingertips begin to itch, though it was not the skin that caused the sensation. The itch was felt within. The same held true for his gums. Then, it began to hurt, and slowly but surely, his nails began to grow. Longer, thicker, stronger. They became claws, growing from his fingers, looking dangerous and tough, and very much a part of him. Each claw seemed to be roughly three quarters the length of the finger they were attached to. At the same time, his teeth too had undergone a change, growing sharp and pointy, like those of a shark or crocodile. He could feel they had changed, not needing to see to know. He opened and closed his mouth experimentally a couple times, finding that he did not injure himself by doing so. It was a good thing then, he really wasn’t looking forward to walking around with his mouth open for a couple trials just because he would bite the inside of his mouth otherwise.

Feeling quite pleased with himself he started to look around to the monstrous people all around them, many already done with their transformation. They stared at their claws, gingerly touched their teeth, and stared in horror at the others around them. Some started to cry, others let out a wail of terror. Still others just stared into space, too confused to even begin to try and figure out what had happened. And Bran? He stood back and observed his handiwork, doing his utmost best not to laugh out loud, and to keep his poker face up. It was not an easy task.

Oh, he could picture the looks on the faces of those who would see those nobles out on the street, eyes as wide as saucers out of sheer shock. No doubt the nobles themselves would feel nothing but shame, reduced to such hideous creatures. They likely would lock themselves up in their houses, too hurt by the judgmental stares cast their way now they were circus curiosities. Maybe they would try to get the teeth and claws surgically removed… well, they’d be in for a surprise when the effect wore off and they were now left without teeth. Bran doubted they’d be able to remove the claws… maybe by axe? It did not matter, they would only harm themselves. His grin broke through for just a moment, then he forced the curled-up corner of his mouth back down. Poker face, Bran, poker face.
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Last edited by Oberan on Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1288
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Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:35 pm

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The Mortalborn had recently found out about a most interesting exhibit at the Etzos Museum of Art and History that was called “Treasures of the Arcane”. While he had no interest in becoming a mage himself in the foreseeable future – he considered magic to be a perversion of the soul and the mutations that came with pointless or even harmful – he could not help but wonder if it would be possible to replicate some of its effects with alchemy. If he wanted to succeed, if he wanted to triumph over his enemies, he needed more than his sword and more than the abilities that his Immortal blood afforded him. The artifacts that the museum had collected would likely provide him with some inspiration. Perhaps he would even be able to convince the Head Curator to give him a private tour.

With that thought in mind he made his way from his laboratory in the Tower to the Pillars of Society. He looked just like one of those stuck up stiffs with huge wallets and even bigger egos for the most part. He wore a tasteful dark suit and leather boots and generally appeared to be well put-together and walked with his head held high. Unlike them he knew how to handle the weapon that he often carried with him though. In fact he was one of the most skilled swordsmen in Central Idalos and, perhaps, even beyond.

He had initially assumed that the sculptures that were being exhibited on the first floor would also give him a few ideas as to what he could do to Xiur and those that supported him, but he found them to be exaggerated and unnecessarily gory and graphic – although he had to admit that they were comparatively well done. Edraim Thalkan, he decided, had been talented, but he could not help but question the man’s sanity.

He had just turned from a sculpture of Ilaren, the Immortal of Alcohol, that was apparently being poisoned by her own wine – she was writhing in agony – when the strangest of feelings came over him. His fingers began to itch as if his hands had come in contact with some sort of chemical – which could not be the case since he had not touched anything in the museum yet. No, he realized, it was not the skin that was the source of his current discomfort. The feeling seemed to come from somewhere within. In fact he could feel the same, peculiar itch inside his mouth.

While the people around him started to panic, the Mortalborn watched comparatively calmly as his nails turned into sharp claws. He was not scared, he did not cry, and he did not scream, but studied the changes that his body went through with some interest. The claws and those sharp teeth felt completely natural, and they did not cause him any pain, and thus he saw no point in being overly worried for the time being. In fact, the claws would come in handy every now and then. For a moment he wondered if perhaps Syroa had decided to give him a taste of things to come – some of her more powerful servants could grow wings and deadly claws - but the changes that came with being one of her Blessed could be controlled. The change that he had undergone on the other hand had been involuntarily.

That meant that what had happened was either the work of an alchemist who had managed to create a gas that transformed people, a mage – or one of his own kind, and it was likely that they were still somewhere nearby. His own abilities required him to at least be able to see his target. With that thought in mind he began to search the room. He wanted to talk to them. He wanted to know why they had done what they had done, how they had done it, if they could reversed – while having claws would be useful in a fight, they would probably get in his way when he was conducting one of his experiments – and if they could possibly be an ally. He didn’t appreciate being subjected to magic without his consent, but what they had done was a sign of great power nevertheless.

At first he wondered whether Oberan really was the right man. He didn’t fit the image he had formed of somebody powerful – he was short, his hair was unkempt, and he looked slightly dirty – but then again, appearances were deceiving. Besides, he was the only one besides him that did not seem to be on the verge of a mental breakdown. He studied him from across the room for a moment, appraising him, and then he quickly walked towards him lest he decided to flee the room. It was only as he had almost reached him that he noticed that Oberan sported the same claws as the rest of the people in the museum.

“It seems to me”, he spoke in a tone that was comparatively calm and cool. “That not everything has gone as planned. You have become a victim of your own magic – if that’s what it is.”
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Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:00 pm

It was no surprise that Oberan stood out. He stood among the chaos, among the people breaking down and crying, just watching. He did nothing out of the ordinary, and that was exactly what made him suspicious. Even he knew that. However, the mortalborn was not going to mimic the reactions of these bloated egomaniacs around him. They feared they would now be shunned by society, become outcast, be lower than the scum they had always believed they were superior to. It was quite the overreaction, Bran found. Not only had the transformation been painless, but now they had been given fangs and claws, giving them natural weapons, much like animals. No longer would they be weak and defenseless humanoids. Now they had a means of self-defense that was far more effective than a fist, and could not be dropped, like a dagger. Though monsterous in appearance, it was a bit of an overstatement to call themselves hideous. Maybe a bit different from the norm, yes, but you could hardly compare this form to that of a disformed child.

Though, Oberan did feel like the length of the nails was a little too much. These would get in the way for sure, which was a good thing if the museum guards caught in the ability began to realize who was responsible; they’d not be able to handle their weapons. That is if they caught on. No doubt they would be looking for someone not affected by the transformation, like most people did. Besides, even if they were extraordinarily clever for a security guard, there still were other people around who did not seem to be as distraught as the rest. That is to say, there was one such person he could see at the moment, and he was walking right Oberan’s way. Though surely there were more!

The man mentioned before approached quickly, his steps too determined and with a goal in mind to be a coincidence. Either he had surmised Bran’s involvement in this, or he wanted to discuss the events with someone who was able to stay calm. Maybe both. Whichever it was, it mattered not to the mortalborn, he was not planning on fleeing the scene. It being a suspicious act aside, he was curious what made this guy the only one in sight not despairing at his current condition, even though he too seemed to be cut from the same cloth as the rest of the stiffs. Or at least his suit was, the man himself was obviously not on the same level as the other fools. Yet, Bran decided not to relax just yet, just in case the man was not planning on being friendly. A mortal might not be a threat on their own, but in group… and if all of these people found out he had “ruined” their lives… well…

When the man spoke, he did so with a deep voice, commenting on the situation. It seemed he was curious, as well as completely off with his guess. Or was he? Oberan raised an eyebrow at the “if that’s what it is” added to the end of his sentence. That was … unexpected to say the least. In Oberan’s experience, most people would have labeled the power he’d unleashed as magic, not even considering it could have been something else. Some might have thought of Immortals, but as far as Bran knew, the deity-like beings did not usually cause such effects in random museums. As far as he was aware, they did but rarely interfere in such a dramatic way.

”It seems to me that you’re not most people,” Oberan replied, eyebrow still raised. ”Most would put a period after the magic part.” His eyes drifted over the tall man’s form, taking in his features one by one. Blue eyes, strong build, confident posture, sweet beard… Actually, the way he carried himself reminded Bran of himself. The body language he exuded, it spoke of confidence, strength, and … superiority? He narrowed his eyes just a little. A mage perhaps? One skilled enough to know the difference between what had happened, and what could be achieved with the power of Domain. This could be dangerous.
”What makes you think this is not magic? And –purely hypothetically speaking—if I had caused this, why would this be not something I had accounted for? You can hardly call this harmful--” he paused for a moment, letting his gaze wander for a brief while. He shrugged. ”Well, not harmful to anything but their self-image, I suppose. Anyone who actually lives in this world instead of ivory towers would see the benefits of this transformation.” The corners of his mouth curled upwards in a grin, which was now bound to look terrifying to any unsuspecting onlooker because of the crocodile teeth. ”Then again, that would defeat the purpose. Hypothetically, of course.”
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Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:43 pm

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Unlike the mortals around him that were growing more and more panicked with every passing trill Doran did not fear being shunned by society in the least. He did not care what other people thought of him as long as they did not get in the way of him accomplishing his mission. Half of Idalos probably already wanted him dead at this point and considered him to be a treacherous and truly despicable being. Being looked down on because of a physical attribute seemed like a minor issue to him and laughable in comparison, especially if said physical attribute could be of advantage under certain circumstances.

“No, I’m not”, he replied coolly as Oberan observed that he wasn’t most people. “And neither are you. Most people wouldn’t think anything of my comment. As for what makes me think that this is not simply magic …” He thought about what he should say for a few moments, and then he gestured for the other man to move further away from the crowd because he didn’t want anybody else to listen to their conversation and because people that were in a state of panic often didn’t think things through. While none of them would pose a serious danger – few mortals did these trials - spilling blood in a museum seemed inappropriate to him. Museums were places of learning and quiet contemplation.

“I have seen too much of this world to always go for the most obvious explanation. What you did to those people could also be the result of alchemy or maybe some sort of divine power. I know what the children of the Immortals are capable of, although I do not know why one of them would willingly enter a city that hates their kind, unless it was in order to serve some sort of higher goal. As for whether you accounted for being affected by your own magic, even the most capable people make mistakes or miss things sometimes. That is a part of human nature.”

He paused again and proceeded to listen to Oberan’s next words. He still had not figured out why the man had done what he had done and if it had maybe just been a bizarre form of entertainment, but he was intelligent, and he seemed to have a tendency to look below the surface which were qualities that he appreciated and which was enough for him, for now. There were too many people that were blind and deaf to the things that were happening in the world of Idalos.

“These people”, he said as Oberan spoke of those that lived in ivory towers. “Have never known real pain. They have never had to face real evil. They complain about issues that are inconsequential in the long run such as a waiter taking too long to bring them the food they have ordered. Of course they wouldn’t see the benefits of such a transformation. You mentioned ‘the purpose’ though. Is that it then? Is this your way of having fun – or some sort of strange psychological experiment?”

Oberan would notice that the tone of the Mortalborn’s voice was as calm as before. He was not judging him – at least not yet – he merely wanted to understand what had happened.
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Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:42 pm

The man before him oozed cool. His stare had something frosty, he observed the world around him coolly, he spoke coolly, and he seemed to always keep a cool head –at least for as far Bran knew. The man had remained rather stoic when his ability had activated, while everyone else had panicked. Though it wasn’t necessarily representable of any other situation, the fact that he either hadn’t freaked out at all or was just very good at hiding his emotions spoke of someone able to keep their cool in most situations. In his experience, those were the dangerous people. Hotheads could be triggered into making mistakes easily, but not these people.

He raised an eyebrow when the man returned the compliment. Oberan dipped his head a little in appreciation. It was not every trial that people acknowledged his mind. Mostly because the mortalborn did not always think things through, or because of the way he usually acted, which made people believe he was just a fool. If he wore his jester outfit on top of that, well, they dismissed him entirely. Obviously he wasn’t wearing it now though, but his worn looking clothes had had the same effect on the stiffs surrounding him. Well, after the initial double take to affirm that, indeed, a pleb had infiltrated the museum.

A few moment passed and the man gestured to follow him someplace else, most likely away from the crowd so they could talk in earnest, not needing to worry about eavesdroppers. A good idea for sure, if it wasn’t a plan to kill him quietly somewhere no-one would see, then that would be a bad idea. Bran wasn’t too worried though. With the long claws on their fingers, no person would be able to draw a blade, not until they got used to their improved digits at least. He could however stab him with the claws, but to avoid that Bran only needed to keep some distance between the two of them. It’d be fine, he believed, so he followed.

”I would be surprised if alchemy could replicate such an effect,” the mortalborn spoke, not denying the other option. Perhaps he would have tried if it did not seem pointless. Besides, he was rather proud of his work. It was a nice effect he’d manage to bring about. ”Why indeed?” Oberan responded to the man’s query of the reason he had come to Etzos specifically. ”Or more accurately, why not? The people of Etzos are too busy patting themselves on the back for hating Immortals that they could never imagine one of those creatures they so loathe walking among them. It’s an unexpected thing to do, don’t you think? Also I think it’s quite ironic.” He lifted his shoulders up in a shrug. ”Human nature? Mortal nature, I’d say. I’ve yet to come across a race that does not make mistakes. Actually, you could probably apply the statement to the Immortals as well.” Another shrug.

The man continued then, speaking of these people not knowing the hardships of this world, and Oberan agreed with what he said. How could he not? He stated facts! ”Indeed. You’re not mistaken, and that is exactly why having them see these--” he wriggled his fingers ”—as a benefit would defeat the purpose.” He grinned. ”I would not call it an experiment really. More… well, this amuses me. So, yes, it’s my way of having fun, I suppose.” He raised an eyebrow at the other man, looking him in the eye. His words had lacked a judgmental tone, but that did not mean a thing if he was able to keep his emotions under lock and key. ”Do you find that to be … how to put it?” He frowned, scratching his nostril with the claw on his index finger. ”Disagreeable?”

Oberan had no clue to what this man was thinking, really. If discovered, he’d always imagined that the people of Etzos would scream bloody murder, and perhaps if it had been one of the “upper crust” members who were currently crying on the floor to notice him, things might have ended up that way. Alas, they were too busy focusing on themselves and their great peril. Their vanity had robbed them of an opportunity. But they were not important. The tall man in front of him though… he was an odd one for sure. There was something about him that felt rather familiar, but he could not quite put his finger on it. He knew what the children of Immortals were capable of. He did sound experienced. Either he had met a couple of them in his life, which would be rather odd, considering the man did not look older than thirty, tops, and that Mortalborn were not always so open with their power. Bran would know, he’d lived a life of hiding. The other option though, was far more interesting, though not necessarily the truth of the matter. Still, he could try to find out.

”You sound like a person with a few lifetimes worth of experience,” Oberan probed, ”do you have a name? I’ll offer you mine in return.” Well, if the man did not attack right after introducing himself, that is.
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Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:11 pm

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“Alchemy can replicate the effects of divine magic as well as those of domain magic. With a few drops of blood I could make an item that allows me to raise the dead, turn the swords of my enemies to rust or protect my mind against those that seek to steal my thoughts“, Doran spoke in a matter-of-fact tone. He was not bragging about his power – he saw no need for that – he was simply correcting Oberan. He saw no harm in telling the man which trade he practiced. A lot of people in the city already knew that he was an alchemist, and thus the man would eventually have found out anyway. There were a few other things that he would keep to himself for now though, to ensure his own safety, such as the mark that Syroa had placed upon his skin.

“Hate can blind you sometimes”, he agreed as Oberan talked about how the Etzori could never imagine one of the creatures they hated walking among them. Was that what Oberan was then? An Immortal or a Mortalborn? He looked at him intently. A native of Etzos would likely have reached for his weapon now or at least spouted a bit of hate-filled propaganda, but he could not bring himself to acting in such a ridiculous manner. Even though he had attacked an Immortal and planned on doing so again, he was not some sort of aggressive zealot that lacked common sense. He was perfectly capable of interacting with those of Immortal blood in a civilized manner as long as they did the same.

Oberan’s mention of “mortal nature” confirmed his suspicion. He was currently facing another mortalborn. Had they been anywhere but in Etzos, he might have hinted at the fact that they had something in common – he had grown lonely during the previous four centuries – there were few that he could confide in - but there was no telling what Vuda and his men would do if they realized that he was not simply a mortal man that had decided to free himself from his Immortal oppressors. He still needed the Chief Adviser, at least for the time being. Revealing that he was a Mortalborn to anybody in Etzos was too risky.

“It’s an unexpected thing to do”, he agreed. “And brave – or foolish, depending on how you look at it. And you are right of course, even the Immortals make mistakes – especially the Immortals. They are much more limited in what they can and cannot do than we are and thus ignorant in a way that is hard for most mortals to fathom. They are tied to their domains and can never change or grow wiser.”

“It’s an unusual way of having fun”,
he remarked and then looked at his hands, flexing his fingers a little as he did so. The nails seemed to be quite sharp. A part of him almost began to enjoy that new, monstrous aspect of himself. “As for whether I find it disagreeable – I don’t think so. It’s not something that I would ever do, and I still don’t entirely see the point of it, but you would probably find some of the things that I do strange as well. As for my name …” He paused for a moment and furrowed his brow. Had they met in a secluded place, he might have lied about his name – but some of the people in the museum had likely already recognized him. That was the downside of being such a public figure. You could not easily hide who you were, at least not without resorting to magic – and it was already too late to make use of Syroa’s Blessing.

“I’m Doran.” He waited for a moment to see if Oberan recognized the name, sincerely hoping that the man would not try to attack him now, tremble in fear or do something equally ridiculous and pointless – he found the conversation far too interesting to have it end now - and then he asked, “And who might you be?”
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Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:50 pm

It did not take long before Oberan raised an eyebrow as the man before him gave a few examples of what alchemy could accomplish. ”Well then, consider me surprised,” he spoke, ”I stand corrected.” To be fair, he knew next to nothing about alchemy, and as far as he knew, this man might just be making things up. However, there was no boastful tone to his voice, he only spoke as if reciting facts. That alone made the Mortalborn unable to determine whether or not those things listed were possible. They could be. What else was it capable of then? Turning lead into gold –not that Oberan was interested in that, he’d merely heard lots of tales about alchemists attempting such a thing during his childhood—or creating a foldable sword? A cloak of wearable stone? A scarf made from rainbows?

The mortalborn grinned. ”There’s little brave about it.” For bravery had the prerequisite of fear. A soldier fearing death still standing tall when facing a powerful foe was brave. A mortalborn believing he could pull some pranks on the city of Etzos wasn’t. Foolish maybe, but certainly not brave. He didn’t mind, really. Oberan was going to live his life the way he wanted to, not going out of his way to hide the heritage he should be proud of. Not that he was going to scream it from the rooftops either, but he was no longer content with the life of a mortal man. He would do his own thing. That had been his decision, and if it did get him killed, well, he’d have no regrets. Or so he hoped.

”Can they not?” he questioned, tilting his head just a little. ”Who says they don’t change very slowly. One tiny bit at a time, too slow for anyone to realize it. Perhaps it takes hundreds of arcs. But maybe you are correct, maybe they don’t change, and never will.” Where did that leave him then? Or the others of his kin? They too were tied to domains, and Bran wasn’t so sure if the mortal half of them was enough to just undo those ties. At least, he had never been able to. Then again, had he tried? Really attempted to distance himself from his heritage? That was the question, wasn’t it.

Another pleasant surprise was that the tall man did not seem to condemn him for the reason of doing what he had. He raised his eyebrow again at his words, amused by the fact that the man seemed to have tried wrapping his head around the point of it, and had failed. ”The point,” Oberan said, ”is that it entertains me. Nothing more to it. There’s no complex reasoning behind the things I do. I do things for three reasons: because I want to, because I can, because I feel like it, or because I am bored.” He paused for a moment, looking at his hand. He’d been raising a finger for each reason listed as he spoke, and was currently seeing one more finger than he had claimed there would be. ”Make that four reasons.”

Finally then, the man introduced himself, sand after stating his name he paused for a moment, as if he expected the name ‘Doran’ would ring a bell. Oberan waited for a moment, frowning, then shrugged. ”Never heard of you,” he confessed, ”I haven’t been in the city for very long. I’m not very acquainted with the names of local celebrities yet.” And, of course, he hadn’t been very up to date anyway in his prison cell, having heard very little news during his arcs in there. He’d heard of some Rynmere related events, such as King Cassander Reynaud’s coronation, the fact that said King was just a boy, the formation of a resistance group plotting a coup, the subsequent civil war, and… well, that was it, really. Only when the guards chatted with each other had he ever found out something was going on in the outside world, basically.

”I am… well, I suppose Oberan will do for now,” he considered, still unsure of this Doran’s true identity, even though he had his suspicions. ”Which is one of my names, I did not just make it up.” Though, it seemed like Oberan would not mind too much if Doran thought it was anyway.

The mortalborn looked as if he was going to say something else, but in that moment a group of guards spilled into the museum, accompanied by a security guard from the museum. While the blackguards did not, the security guard sported the warped claws and teeth like every other person affected by Oberan’s ability. Some of the stiffs on the floor shrieked and curled up in a ball, others just covered their face with their arms. Others still appeared to beg the guards to solve their affliction. The corners of Bran’s mouth curled up in a lopsided grin which disappeared quickly as he registered a couple of the blackguard soldiers walking up to him and Doran.
word count: 866
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Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:23 pm

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“Maybe the Immortals change so slowly that we don’t notice it, although I consider that to be unlikely“, the Mortalborn conceded. In the nearly four-hundred arcs that he had been alive he had never noticed anything different about his father. Even after all the time Ziell still believed that world peace was possible, and he still used and abused others in the name of the so called greater good and called it ‘taking care of them’. This was one of the rare occasions when Doran did not see his mortal blood as a weakness, but as a blessing. He was capable of change. He saw the world for what it really was. He had stepped out of his father’s shadow and become his antithesis, a warrior rather than a hypocrite who watched others die for him from the safety of his hiding place.

Oberan was right, Doran had a problem wrapping his head around the point of it. Doing something just because you could and because you were bored was a bit of a foreign concept to him. He did everything that he did for a reason. It had been a while since he had done anything just for fun. The last time he had engaged in a thoroughly pointless venture had been when Beira, the mother of his student Sintih, had still been in Andaris and when he had thought that there was still a chance for them. He had loved the Yludih with an intensity that had bordered on madness, had loved her more than anybody else in the world. He would gladly have given up all his goals in order to be with her.

“Are you often bored?” he wanted to know, secretly thinking that Oberan might be wasting his power. There was no guessing what else he could accomplish if he was capable of transforming a room full of people seemingly effortlessly. Perhaps, he thought, the other Mortalborn needed a bit of guidance, a mentor who showed him the way. He had to admit, he missed Sintih who had been one of the last in a long row of students sometimes – and one of the most promising ones. Perhaps he ought to eventually take somebody else under his wing …

“I see”, he remarked as Oberan admitted that he had never heard of him. “That’s probably for the better. It will allow you to form your own opinion and realize that not everything they say is true, Oberan. I would like to know …” He was about to finally ask the other Mortalborn if the transformation was reversible or if he would have to adapt his fighting style and get used to practicing alchemy with claws – when he noticed that a couple of blackguards were walking their way. “It seems as if we are getting company”, he remarked to Oberan. “Let me do the talking if you don’t want to spend the next couple of decades doing slave labor – or hang from the gallows …”

Doran did not normally care about the wellbeing of others – especially when they were guilty – but Oberan would be more useful to him alive and free. He wanted to find out more about him – perhaps even who his Immortal parent was. He just hoped that Oberan did not suddenly decide that being in chains would be funny!

“It’s good that you are here”, he spoke, relying on the fact that the guards would recognize him as the Hero of Oscillus. “There seems to have been some sort of accident. We are fine for the most part, but these poor people over there seem to have lost their mind. We might need a doctor here, and their relatives need to be alerted so that they come and pick them up.”
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Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:14 am

The other man seemed to give in to the argument about the change taking place really, really slowly, but Bran found he did not sound too convinced. It seemed evident that Doran had his own reasons for his perspectives in life. How one saw the world and others was a result of their upbringing and experiences, after all. Oberan merely shrugged at the words, apparently not caring that he’d won the discussion, if it could be called a victory at all. It hadn’t been a competition to see who could change the other’s mind anyway.

”Am I?” he wondered, thinking mostly of his life in hiding, living like an ordinary mortal. No stealing, no shenanigans, not engaging in whatever he could to feel the thrill flow through his body. Just working, working, working, always working. Leaving the house in the morning, getting back in the evening. Too late to do anything, too drained from the monotony to want to do anything but sit down and go to sleep. And then there had been children… He made a face as if he’d just tasted something disgusting. ”I am, I suppose. At least I had been bored for ten arcs straight. Before that, well… there were good times, and bad times.” His thoughts drifted to those five odd years he’d lived the life of a married man. Bad times indeed.

The guards entered then, people swarming through the museum, checking for victims of the mysterious attack –if that was what the guard believed they were dealing with—and searching for the attacker. They would not find him, Bran though, unless Doran decided to stab him in the back. Not that he would blame the man too much; they barely knew each other, and despite Doran’s calm visage, he might be burning with rage internally.

Fortunately though, the alchemist did nothing of the sort, instead speaking with the guard coming up to him in a civilized manner, asking for a medic, and for transport for the affected people. Oberan did as he was told for once, and kept his mouth shut.

As to be expected, the guardsman who’d approached the two mortalborn had recognized Doran almost immediately. The hero of Oscillus’s appearance was well known, though a little exaggerated by those who wanted to brag about having passed him on the street. Despite having heard nothing but these blown-up descriptions, the man was still awed. It was the eyes that did it, and that made him recognizable. That cold stare, enough to stop a man dead in his tracks, the gaze of a man who had attempted to slay an Immortal. It was that that not many others had, and having it fixed upon him, the guardsman’s breath caught in his lungs for a moment.

He saluted the man upon reaching him, honored to be meeting a living legend. His hand seemed to tremble a little, and his breathing was fast. It was clear that he felt very excited. Bran could see it clearly, being the mortalborn of Thrill, he tended to notice such things. It was a curious thing to the mortalborn, not having realized just how famous Doran seemed to be before.

”Yes ser!” the guard responded, ”Right away ser!” His eyes drifted to Doran’s hip, where his sword rested. ”Is that the blade?” he questioned, eyes wide. ”Is that ‘Xiur’s Bane’?” Apparently, rumors about Doran had been told by many people, most telling their own version of the events which had led to his status as a hero. Myths and legends among the people of Etzos, and it seemed that they had taken the liberty of giving the sword a name too. After all, a hero’s sword couldn’t be nameless, could it? There were many different names, and though some argued which was real, some just agreed that the sword held many names. Most of them were in the same vein anyway; Hopeslayer, Xiur’s Bane, the End of Hope, et cetera.

He collected himself then, coughing into his fist in an attempt to regain his professionalism. ”I mean, is there anything I can do for you? Do you require transport for you and--” his eyes fell onto Bran then, noticing the smaller Mortalborn for the first time. ”—your companion?” Regardless of the answer, the man would salute again, heels slamming into each other. ”Understood ser!” Then he was off to do exactly what Doran had told him to.

Bran couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow. ”Xiur’s Bane?”
word count: 771
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Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:42 pm

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As the guard saluted him, the Mortalborn inclined his head, a sign that he had acknowledged the gesture and appreciated it. There were times when the Etzori’s behaviour grated on his nerves – those plays that had been performed during the Hot Season had been such a case – but most of the time he did not mind. He saw the advantages of being worshipped to such an extent. In fact a part of him enjoyed being in the spotlight and thought that he was at least as deserving of attention as his immortal father, if not more so for he had never been afraid to fight – and risk his life in the process.

Perhaps, he thought, he ought to perform another impressive feat soon though and step up his game in order to make sure that they never stopped thinking about him, but for now he focused his attention on the guard in front of him. The man was obviously nervous. His hand was trembling, and he was breathing quickly. Doran himself never showed that he was nervous in public, even when he was, but then this man was just a mortal.

“The very blade”, he replied in a calm tone, as if he were in fact trying to put the man at ease, as if he actually enjoyed conversing with him – and pulled the blade out of its sheath a bit so that the guard could take a closer look at it if he wanted to. Without a doubt he would tell his friends and his family all about how he had seen the sword that the Hero of Oscillus had stabbed Xiur with later on – and probably exaggerate his tale a fair bit.

“A means of transport for my companion and me would be appreciated”, he continued, sheathed his sword again and glanced at Oberan who would hopefully not disagree with him as far as leaving the museum was concerned. It would not be good if he stayed any longer than he had absolutely had to. “As you can probably understand I would like to return to my apartment in the Tower as quickly as possible. I trust that you will be able to take care of this problem here and make sure that order will be restored.” With that he turned back to Oberan, leaving the guard to do what he had asked of him.

“Apparently”, he remarked somewhat dryly as Oberan asked about “Xiur’s Bane”. “People feel the need to name things, as if that will make them better, more impressive, easier to remember. I brought him to his knees during the battle at Treid’s Tomb and lived to tell the tale. For that reason the people of Etzos call me a hero and treat me a certain way. You do not need to do the same of course. I don’t expect you to. In fact, I’d prefer if you judged the situation for yourself and came to your own conclusions.”
word count: 506
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