[Venora] Dying Young, Playing Hard

The seven Duchies of Central Rynmere and their respective baronies, cities, towns, villages, and landmarks each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families and ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.

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Alistair
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Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:08 am

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18th of Saun, Arc 716

"There is little more I can teach you," said Father Damien. "You have become an exceptional Necromancer under my tutelage, and quite honestly your progression has been phenomenal. You were hardly even a novice when I first met you - barely capable of casting corrosion. The Seekers failed to harness your potential. Now, but a few years later, you are exceptionally skilled, and can seamlessly manipulate the dead to your will. There are stretches that we must cross before you can call yourself a true master, but this all lays merely in refining what you already know. The only portion of Necromancy unknown by you is perhaps the one you deigned to pursue initially: Lichdom." The man stood up and guided Alistair's eyes to a large parchment pinned to a board. On it was a symbol - like a glyph of sorts, a circular drawing with intricacies within it and surrounding it. It looked much like the symbol that Damien had tattooed to his back, something he'd demonstrated to Alistair before.

He traced over the symbol with his fingers and grinned. "This is the symbol I ascribe to Lichdom. It was drawn for me in variance by Ellasin herself, and while this symbol reveals nothing of Lichdom, it also reveals everything. Think of it as a projection of what a lich really is. In a way, this is almost an encrypted way of describing to mankind what separates them from a Lich." With his little 'wand' he'd always waved around to point Alistair's mind in particular directions, the Lich poked at the symbol of fire in the center of the circular drawing. Alistair readied his quill to draw notes.

"This is what you consider to be energy, or mana, while I consider this to be my heart. The heart of a Lich is a conduit, as you well know, and the 'blood' that flows within it is energy. If the heart is torn asunder, the energy flows outwards, and the Lich is consumed; they are lost to death, and no man can save them. Due to the energy becoming the life-blood of Liches, they are often more attuned to their connection to mana, and often find it easier to cast spells and expend energy. Additionally, due to their state of what is essentially immortality, many burning effects have minimal effects on Liches. Physical damage itself is not necessarily recorded in the same way - the conduit is our heart and our brain in many ways, and unless you can destroy that, you cannot truly kill us. Even if you were to lob off my arms and legs and carve into my chest, if you could not break through my conduit, I would survive. It would be difficult to weave myself back together, but possible. If not, my conduit - phylactery as some call it - could inhabit another body and use this as my vessel. However, I have never had to resort to this before."

Alistair marveled in how strong it seemed the Liches were. Ageless, more attuned to mana, and significantly harder to kill than others. Not to mention there were theories regarding enhancing their physical prowess as they did their minions. In exchange for actual life, one could become this thing - this powerful vampire of a creature that did not know even a decimal of the sufferings of regular mortals. Lichdom was admirable. Their lack of relying on their physical body made them the pinnacle of what a mage ought to be. The question was: how could Alistair emulate this possibility without losing his life? He had been obsessed with the idea of making liches alive, of incorporating their immortality and self-preserving biology into regular mortals. An immortal being who still hosted within them warm blood. How would he manage this?

He was lost in his thoughts, but when Damien raised new points he made sure to listen. The next idea was the concept of 'the body' as a Lich, something that had made Alistair highly curious.
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Last edited by Alistair on Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Alistair
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Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:13 am

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"The body of the Lich is alive. The phylactery brings it life; it brings it the ability to act as other bodies can. I can gain and lose muscle mass, though I don't need to eat. I don't need to eat, indeed, nor must I sleep, breathe or breed." He said that almost as if a rhyme. Alistair laughed, resulting in Damien's awkward blush. "It's a stupid rhyme Ellasin told me a long time ago. Shut up." The Lich cleared his throat and continued.

"If I want to make alterations to my physical form, I can very well do so. It's not difficult, as Necromancers can - as we have seen - manipulate bodies. In reality, my body is not truly 'my body' anymore - rather, my phylactery is my body and my previous form is now a vessel instead. If I desired, I could take on a new vessel as long as the body I wish to take over is one that is deceased." Alistair looked at him very strangely in that moment. That . . . was huge. It was hugely important, and Damien would perhaps understand why. The apprentice immediately stopped him there.

"You can move from vessel to vessel?" He asked. The man nodded. "Can you have sex?" A frank question, though the Lich didn't shy from the answer. "Yes. Liches can do what mortals can, though we usually don't. Why bother? In a way, we lose our desire to operate as you do, as there is no necessity of it. As I was saying, we can't procreate, so we rarely have sex, even if merely for pleasure. Eating is just a terrible idea. Sleeping . . . I can't remember the last time I actually slept. Additionally the body is not the focal point of our energy, so we are nigh-immune to the physical consequences of burning. A Lich is a powerful mage, inherently."

As Damien went on about what Liches could and couldn't do - which was a point he swore the man had covered just a second ago - Alistair thought about this very strongly. Liches can take on vessels. Whatever vessel they desire . . . as long as they are dead. This immediately triggered a feeling of utter discomfort in Alistair. Somehow . . . he felt as if he had come to a great revelation.

"Ellasin," he said. "Ellasin must want to kill me."

Damien raised an eyebrow and asked: "What?" He wasn't quite sure how the nobleman had gone from point A to Q so quickly. Surely Ellasin wanted a lot of people dead, but if Alistair were one of them, she would have done him in already. And as far as Damien was aware, she had not even come close to discovering the coalition against her in the Coven.

"Think about it - I was recruited when I was barely a novice at Necromancy. Most of the other recruits were far more skilled than I. Even so, she took me in and treated me with exceptional . . . grace. I was made to believe I was a prodigy," he said. Damien stopped him there. "Alistair, you are a prodigy. I've lived four times longer and you're almost as good a Necromancer as I am," he said. But the man wasn't convinced. She couldn't have known. Alistair was barely recognizable back then as compared to now; he identified himself as merely a spoiled brat seeking power in the wrong avenues. But now he understood. This was merely a theory, but it made a great deal of sense.

"Damien, just listen to me. Think about this for a moment. If Ellasin were to kill me, she could take over my body and become Duke in my place. She could bring about something horrible - perhaps using my influence to kill off the people of Sabaissant, or some other Venoran city. She could turn the Duchy of three million into millions of undead. You know how she operates. She is scheming something. What if I'm to be her scheme?"
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Alistair
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Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:19 am

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Alistair looked visibly discomforted. Although Damien doubted at first, this idea actually sounded plausible based on what he knew of Ellasin. She was highly cunning and she was searching for a way to gain power. If she could turn the population of Rynmere into a vast undead army - harvesting the bodies of millions for her aims - she could conquer the planet with ease. She could slay immortals. Necromancy was feared because it was a magic of boundless power, as well as one that benefit the most from times of great catastrophe.

All he had to do was think of the logistics. If she could kill off Sabaissant and turn every inhabitant into a minion, she could have them murder towns of individuals and reanimate them as well. This collective could slaughter armies, and they too could be reanimated. Armies and armies and armies could rise and rise, and eventually she could harbor a force of hundreds of thousands that could overrun the entirety of Rynmere. From the ashes of the Kingdom, millions of soldiers could easily destroy the population of the Eastern Continent. It was far-fetched and extremely difficult to pull off, but it was a wager that had possibility. Nothing was outside of the realm of possibility when it came to the Original Schemer, as Damien liked to call her. Also Lady Bitchface.

"You're right," admitted the Lich. "She may want you to become Duke and then kill you. It's possible. I won't say the chance is particularly high, but it's still a possibility and thus it's dangerous. You get what you paid for, Alistair. You knew from the beginning that Ellasin cannot be trusted. And now you see the sorts of ideas she spins together." Still, the possibility was low. It would have to be a perfect situation. Likely if she did enact this goal she'd use him to incite civil war in Rynmere, then animate the armies of the clashing dead. This meant that there was yet another possibility however, and it was that she could use Alistair's nobility to infiltrate Rynmere without taking his essence. Either way, Rynmere was a large and populous Kingdom with a severe lack of mages. That made it vulnerable to the schemes of Necromancers, as without many attuners there were not many who could flesh out the dark arts.

Additionally, the fact that a somewhat small and isolated island held an eighth of the world's population was beneficial to an aspiring Lich Queen. No one would be able to run if she made the country her plaything. The lack of mages also meant a very weak fighting force; undead were resilient foes. It required a lot to kill them. The plague of undeath could spread quickly throughout the country, and that could be the end of Rynmere. He only now began to realize the dangers of the coven approaching on this place.

"Would you participate in her schemes if she desired your assistance?" Damien asked. Alistair could hardly imagine that question being actually asked. "Of course not," he said very clearly. "Because you know empathy. Not as pure of a sociopath as you describe yourself, I suppose," he said. Damien had made sure to beat Alistair like a dead horse with this point. Everything these days was 'because you know empathy,' persistently. He understood. But was this empathy, or something else? Letting Ellasin become the Queen of Idalos wasn't something he really wanted, regardless of who suffered and died. And he would lose Andras, Theo, Zvez, Tristan and perhaps even Damien in the process. It wasn't so much about the commoners as it was about them.

Even so, this was an unlikely possibility. It was merely something . . . to think about. Not to dwell on or even necessarily to act against, but merely to think about and maintain wariness over. The Necromancer lowered his head and sighed. "I think I'm done with the lesson on Lichdom. I don't want to think of any more Liches today. Not even you," he said sarcastically. His instructor rolled his eyes. "Alright. Wanna do some field training?" Alistair nodded. Best to focus on improving rather than indulging in conspiracy theories. He wouldn't damn himself with the fear of falsehoods.
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Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:07 pm

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The Necromancer and his apprentice gathered in a field far removed from the village they came from. Damien lived primarily in Tou-la-Ford, and so it was on the outskirts of this small village that he and Alistair often practiced in both theory and actuality. Today, they were to engage in a very important lesson: the usage of corrosion in a heated combat situation.

"At your current development, corrosion can be used to quickly burn away flesh on physical contact. Right now if you were to attempt to strangle someone, you could lay the effects of corrosion onto their throat and quickly burn away at their flesh. Straight through the jugular, almost anyone would die. However this is all on contact, and with your palms, directly. The greatest stage of Corrosion comes in its usage from a distance." The man demonstrated for Alistair. He focused his mind, and pointed his palm at a pig carcass he'd propped up from the ground. It was one who'd escaped its enclosure in the farms around Tou-la-Ford, and since then it had been slaughtered by mountain lions that lurked the rolling hills and grass plains.

With Damien's palm pointed at the pig from what must have been twenty meters, the pig's flesh quickly began to recede and be diminished. It was burnt away as if scalded or razed, and the speed and effectiveness was honestly quite masterful. Alistair was impressed.

"Okay," he said. Using corrosion from afar - how hard could that be, really? Alistair pointed the center of his palm at the rather jovial looking pig, relaxing himself. From a distance, he repeated in his thoughts. In his mind, he pictured his hand upon the flesh of the animal. How did it feel to touch another and burn through them? It was like being a great brazier bound to the flesh like oil. He could see this vision when he closed his eyes; the power of corrosion was that of melting another, destroying their exterior and interior alike.

But it was always done by direct contact. How could he change it to indirect? Project energy, he thought. "Think about it like you do with attunement," Damien interjected. "You project your energy to observe the usage of surrounding energy. With Necromancy, this is done as well. You are linked to your minion by means of the wells, but even without wells you can project your energy. Did you know that you can even control undead bodies without a well imbued into them, albeit for a short time? This is because your energy is the source of Necromancy, and contact, wells, these things are merely augments. So, think of it how you do when your hand is directly contacting a thing's flesh, but with expanded range between you and them."

Alistair imagined it. He was no longer an inch away from the pig in his mind, but rather two dozen feet. Yet he could feel the energy of the creature's carcass regardless, and he could latch onto it with his own. Corruption from afar felt almost as it did close up; like latching onto something and rending the life from them. Before he knew it, his eyes were open, and the flesh of the beast was being melted off rapidly. Alistair was surprised in his quickness of learning this technique, though shortly after he began his aim went astray and he began dismantling blades of grass near to the left. He couldn't be mad.

"This is an effective combat technique. Corrosion from afar is much more useful to a Necromancer, as we tend not to stick close. I don't know about you, but I'm not quite a master of strength or steel, so I'd rather not be forced to touch someone's elbow to weaken their grasp on their blade. I'd rather weaken their grasp from afar by corroding them from two dozen yards, or perhaps I'd rather corrode their jugular and imperil them with impending death. This will be helpful for you in defending yourself, so practice consistently." The Lich and Alistair were still an effective duo when it came to learning. Alistair nodded his head and smiled faintly to his instructor. The Bishop moved to his apprentice and messed up his hair, grinning.

"So - what next?" He asked.

Alistair responded, "Reanimating our first monster. Let's say... Volareon." The Lich practically reeled his head back. "Aren't you daring?"
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Point Bank Thread

Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:29 pm

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Peer Reviewed: Rewards!
Alistair


Points!:

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 0/ 5 (solo thread)
Structure: 5/ 5
Knowledge:

Basic
Damien: Has no more to teach you
Damien: Impressed with you
Necromancy: Lich Symbol
Lich: Killed when their heart is destroyed (conduit)
Lich: Energy is their life blood
Lich: Conduit is like their heart and their brain
Lich: Very resistant to death
Lich: Alive but not (Ellasin's rhyme)
Ellasin: Up to something
Damien: Didn't quite say "I told you so" but nearly
Damien: Can corrode a pig from a distance
Corrosion: Can be used to burn away flesh on physical contact
Corrosion from a distance: needs practice

Specialised

Lich Symbol: Created by Ellasin
Lich Symbol: Symbolises the true nature of a lich
Lich Symbol: Center is mana or the heart of the lich
Lich: Because mana is their life blood, they can often cast spells easier.
Lich: Burning has limited effects on them.
Lich: Can move from body to body as the phylactory holds the essence
Necromancy: corrosion can be achieved from a distance
Ellasin: Seeking to become the eternal duke in your body?
Andraska: You are going to need your brothers help in this, as in all your endeavours. He is key



Loot:
- you gain one corroded pig corpse.


Fame:
Act of Magic-2,


Overview:


General comments. This was a technical thread and I learnt a lot. Nice dynamic, as always, between Alistair and Damien and I look forward to finding out if Ellasin's plot is that devious!
Story Good, made clear and logical sense and was cohesive all the way through.
Structure No issues. Nice use of the NPC

Please remember to mark this thread as "Reviewed" in the request for review thread.
Please record these in the "Skill Point Ledger" you have in your CS.
PM me if you've got any questions at all!
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"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

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