• Memory • Spider Among the Snakes (Basilisk)

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Qaerris
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Spider Among the Snakes (Basilisk)

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Qaerris wondered to himself if this woman ever had trouble convincing anyone of anything. Ellasin, as she'd called herself, was truly a force to be reckoned with, though the Mortalborn had truly yet to figure just how true the statement was. When she informed him that they would be exiting the city to continue this conversation, the Mortalborn acquiesced, at this point now fully enthralled, hooked into needing to know exactly what it was she could offer that no academy could teach him. Ellasin exuded a confidence from her person that matched the curiosity the man was now beginning to feel in its full measure. Little by little, Ellasin had convinced him, that one way or another, he needed to hear her out.

She doesn't seem the type to need to bluff. Chances are, there's way more to Ellasin that I haven't seen yet.

It was with that, the utterance of his agreement following after, that Qaerris had risen from his seat to meet her outside. When at last she joined him, all the Mortalborn could do was follow her. The city of Ivorian was a mess, curving roads beginning to truly infuriate the Mortalborn. It was an amusing coincidence that the Naerrik brought up the matter mere moments later. A chuckle escaped Qaerris' lips as he nodded, letting out a 'tch' by clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth before he replied,

"I know the feeling... I must've navigated the city four times this morning in an attempt to find a place to pass out by the end of it all. I couldn't miss the chance to try out a new breed of ale before hitting it, though."

In an effort to make conversation on the way out, it seemed that both had taken to talking about the irrelevant journey that both had been through. It was chatty, easy. Ellasin was certainly an easy woman to talk to, not that Qaerris was one to ever feel tongue-tied. When, at last, the two had passed through the city gates and were able to see the island of Yithiral in its entirety, Qaerris was quite taken with what he could see, the ever-night of Cylus also accentuating the peaceful quiet that fell upon the place.

"The way you speak of this place," the Mortalborn started, piecing together some of what the Webspinner was saying to him in context, "It makes it seem like you've been before. Has your pursuits in history brought you to Ivorian again? Or is there another purpose to your visit?" The Mortalborn couldn't help but feel, as time went on, that the meeting between Ellasin and himself fell too easily into place. Not that in retrospect, he really cared, but he wanted to closely study the Naerrik's reaction when he voiced his questions.

"And Viden, too... Have your wanderings led you to hear about the city from afar? Or have you visited it in person?"

This is fun, he thought to himself, concealing a smirk behind an expression alight with curiosity.

"What took you away from Augiery? From my experience, the Naer oft stay in their homeland unless a very good reason compels them to leave."
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Ellasin looked back at Qaerris as he asked if she'd been to Ivorian before, then shrugged. "Sort of. I've been on the island for several weeks, exploring the country. Ivorian's the capital and has the library, so I keep coming back to check dates and records. I was actually planning on leaving soon, though." she said quietly. She enjoyed the island, but it was time to move on and find someplace else to search for fractures.

His question about Viden brought a sigh from the necromancer though. "Viden is...I couldn't go there, even if it was safe. They hate the Naerrik there, for what Audrae did to Tried. But I've a few friends who went there, learned what they could. They're the ones who told me about Viden's experimentation." she said, grimacing. Not exactly true, that statement. There were Webspinners in the FRA who reported what went on there, but she couldn't exactly say that. "As for why I left Augiery...well, I've only been there once, when my parents died. I'm not that fond of the place to be honest. I was raised in Ne'haer, after all, and the values I learned growing up clash badly with the ones they hold dear in Augiery." she said, as they approached the forest.

Once they got far enough into the forest that she felt safe showing her magic, Ellasin stepped away from Qaerris and pointed at a large, loose rock. "Here's what I want to show you. And let me make something clear first. I don't have any divine powers." she said, gathering mana into her Gravitation Conduit, a ring on her left her hand and releasing it, aimed at the rock. The gravitation spell was simple, if draining, but it had the desired effect. The rock didn't quite fly back, but it was knocked back a noticeable distance back. "See, I'm not just a historian. I'm an arcanist. And there's more I can teach you than just simple application of force, if you wish to learn."
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Qaerris
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By the time Ellasin had unleashed her spell, she had Qaerris' rapt attention. As she called the mana to her person, the Mortalborn could not help but feel a sense of dawning discomfort. It was not the spell itself but the movement of mana, an unconscious, yet undeniable presence of a bitter foe welling about the sorceress as she made her practice into reality. As Qaerris watched the rock shift forward, the man as utterly astonished. She had rebelled against gravity itself, forcing an object to move with no physical work performed upon the object. It had simply been tossed forward, and because of it, she most definitely had the Mortalborn's interest.

"I'm not a historian... And there's more I can teach you, if you wish to learn..."

Is Ellasin a Seeker? I've never met one of the scarlet robed mages in person, but you can't deny their presence. I've seen that flying castle in the horizon more than once... They're a new fad, everyone says.

And she wants to teach me? Fuck yeah I'm interested.


Of course, it was not Qaerris' place to speak his intentions in such a way. As Ellasin offered her knowledge to him, it was her last sentence that drew the most attention.

More than simple application of force? What else does she know?

The Mortalborn couldn't even begin to fathom the extent that Ellasin's teachings would come to shape him, nor could he begin to imagine what path she may be setting him on as a byproduct of her tutelage.

But anything's better than the status quo.

It wouldn't do, however, to let her know just how much he needed the change.

"Do you mean to take me on as a student...? Are there any terms to your tutelage, Ms. Ellasin?"

It was now time for the pleasantries and etiquette. Respect was due when it was given to Qaerris in return, and the position the Mortalborn in now would require him to, at the very least, bend his knee slightly. Qaerris had heard of the power of arcana, but had never been given the chance to learn it himself. Now, as if fate painted in wide strokes of luck, he had his chance.

She's right, going to Viden is entirely unnecessary.

Once she answered him, Qaerris parted his lips to speak, "Yes, I accept."
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Ellasin smiled as Qaerris asked what the terms of his apprenticeship would be, the sort of smile a teacher would give a student who just asked a clever question. "Nothing particularly strenuous. We don't advertise what we are, not publicly. We keep our secrets within the seekers. Outside of that, devote yourself to your studies, listen and learn well. Listen to me as your teacher and guide. Much the same as most apprenticeships." she said, smiling slightly. She had been a surgeon before she had joined with the other Founders, and she had actually enjoyed her initial apprenticeship to an old webspinner whose hands had gotten too shaky for surgery.

When Qaerris accepted her terms, Ellasin smiled again, this time concealing a surge of triumph. She had not only accomplished the mission her mother had given her, but she had found herself another apprentice in the bargain. "Then know me in truth, Qaerris. I am Ellasin Amaranthine, Archmage, Necromantress, and Third Founder of the Seekers, and until you either finish your training or prove unfit, you are my apprentice." she said, mana surging around her as she funneled it into her Gravitation Conduit again, this time pulling the loose stones and even the rock she had previously moved towards her.

Loosing the spell she had cast, Ellasin ignored the drain the second use of the spell put on her, the cost still being well outside where she would begin to allow any physical signs to show. Smiling warmly at her new student, Ellasin gestured back towards the city. "Come. We're shy a few things before I can begin your training, Qaerris. Besides, it's cold out here." she said, laughing slightly as she started to walk back to Ivorian, trying to pick out which of the common Conduits she had brought would work best for Qaerris, as well as which discipline would suit him best. Besides Attunement, obviously, but Attunement was almost useless on its own.
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Qaerris
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It was truly a marvel, to watch the magic that Ellasin wove. To an outsider, the spellwork that the woman crafted was magnificent, terrifying to behold. Qaerris imagined, for a moment, that he was in the place of the rocks, whipped about the sorceress and prone to her bidding in utter dismissal of the laws of gravity. And to the Mortalborn, it was a terrifying idea. Truly, a being capable of such a thing was one of great power.

Yet she had called it simple.

What does it mean to be an 'arcanist?' A practitioner of magic... I'm due to find out, it seems.

Despite the fear that rolled as shivers down Qaerris' spine, he felt a rush of excitement overwhelm him. With this woman, this Ellasin, he seemed to find a second wind. A drive that he had believed long gone in his life. A chuckle parted the Mortalborn's lips as he listened to his new teacher.

Ellasin is a founding member of the Seekers? She looks so young! Incredible...

Now, it was Qaerris' place to be obedient. He was never one to suck up to his superiors, and thus, he remained in quiet awe of the woman's abilities, heeding her instructions without question as she began to make her way towards the city of Ivorian.

Of course, there were more things that Qaerris wanted to know. He wondered what sort of power that she wielded. He was curious as to how she could manipulate it. And of course, he wondered how he was to learn it. Countless questions began to mould themselves into the Mortalborn's mind, working gears that had not shifted in nearly a century as the machinery of Qaerris' thoughts began to whirl in earnest. Truly, he felt alive, by the mere premise of learning something so... potent. Was this a desire for power?

No, it's a yearning for meaning. I live outside of time, yet I find myself as no more than an ordinary soul. I defy my parentage by denying myself the exploration of Zanik's blood within my veins. This is the way I was meant to go. Another route to the meaning I desire so much.

Was it? Qaerris couldn't know for sure, but it was his best bet thus far.

But first, "Shy a few things? What do you mean, mistress?" The Mortalborn figured that Ellasin would enjoy the bestowed title, and Qaerris was by no means ashamed to bestow it upon, for once, a woman who actually deserved it.
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At Qaerris' question, Ellasin turned and smiled at him over her shoulder. "Well, you can't use most Arcane disciplines without something to help you channel mana. Otherwise, it wouldn't have taken us so long to discover it." she said, grinning slightly. Taliesin Galline's first dragon heart Conduits had seemed so amazing at the time, but they had been dwarfed in both marvel and capability when Sect Prasem and Ellasin herself had found the first Wells, deep in the Fractures. Now Taliesin's first Conduits were a relic of Arcana's beginnings, so soon after they had first been created. It was astounding, even to one who had been at the very heart of it all, how quickly they had progressed since first discovering how to manipulate Mana.

"But don't worry, I've got everything you'll need to start learning. As a rule, we tend to carry spare supplies with us in case we come across a likely apprentice or something breaks." she said, wincing slightly at a memory. She had broken her first Well-based Conduit a mere three days after it had been made, having used a staff initially that had broken in two when she'd accidentally stepped on it.

"Ah, but that reminds me. You'll want to pick a starting discipline. What I was using in the forest to move things around is called Gravitation, basically a raw exertion of force. I can also teach you Illusionism, ways to fool the senses and emotions of those around you, and Necromancy, a way to re-animate the dead to...somewhat limited use, actually. It's useful in it's way, but it's one of the more complex disciplines and one we're still researching to get the most use out of." she said, sounding a bit rueful at the end. "So, which one of those sounds the most interesting to you, Qaerris?" she asked, her tone curious.
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Qaerris
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Qaerris needed to make a decision.

With little to go on but an introduction, the Mortalborn wondered to himself exactly what he wanted to do. Was Gravitation what he wished to learn? This discipline he had seen firsthand. The power to throw objects without touching them, and more so, control their trajectory as he'd seen Ellasin do, was surely a spectacle. Yet, it seemed too obvious to be useful to the Mortalborn, who preferred to live with a modicum of anonymity. He'd done a good job of doing to up until this point, and he had no intention of making himself a target. An obvious ringer for a being of power, and those sorts of individual always attracted the worst sort of attention.

No, I'd rather let myself slip into the background, and relish the accolades that come with being 'second best.'

It seemed, that for the sake of his own personality, he was better suited to the discipline of Illusionism. From the short description that Ellasin provided him, it insinuated games of the mind, something that Qaerris already enjoyed playing. It only made sense to further delve into that pastime.

"Tell me more, my lady. Illusionism sounds fascinating to me. Surely, it'd be most suited for me to learn that."

Was this truly his induction? The Mortalborn couldn't help but wonder why he was selected. He continued to wonder if Ellasin saw what it was about him that was more. He wondered to himself whether or not she'd make a point of announcing this awareness if it existed. But, for now, Qaerris was perfectly satisfied with the lot he was in for now.

When Ellasin provided her answer, the Mortalborn stood assured, and both would make their way back to their rooms in Ivorian, a night of rest and reflection given to Qaerris before his new life as a Seeker began.
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