Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down [Sephira]

Once an isolated and dying township, an influx of academics, adventurers and thrill seekers have made Scalvoris Town their home. From scholars' tea shops to a new satellite campus for Viden Academy, this is an exciting place to visit or make your home!

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Joseph Meier
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Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down [Sephira]


15th of Saun

The entire world could go to hell as far as Joseph was concerned. No one was honest enough to just punch someone in the face anymore; it all had to be done with lies, knives in the spine, backdoor dealings. He was surprised courts even existed anymore, when it was all theatre. Oh, there were guards in Scalvoris but did they honestly know what in hell they were doing? It was a town founded by pirates desperate to civilize itself. As far as Joseph could see it wasn't succeeding very well. He'd made his way into town with as little fanfare as possible when one was the size of a pre-teen. Mostly he'd used the old gelding he owned as a shield against people pressing around him. Now he was doing his level best to set himself up somewhere. Inns were out of the question, especially since he'd become an Aberrant. They were noisy, the food was lousy, and they usually involved stairs. His mortal enemy was not something he wanted to fuss with when going to bed.

The only thing Joseph boarded was the horse. The cart he was small enough to curl up in, but the damn horse wouldn't brook being holed up in an alleyway. It drew attention, it needed feeding, and Joseph simply didn't want to deal with it. Now, of course, he faced a different challenge. Making the damn alleyway home. This one seemed to be clean, out of the way of the street, with no one's back doors on either side of it. It was surprisingly clean, and when Joseph glanced up he could see the remnants of an old canvas stretched out between the buildings, just a few feet over his head. Had someone had this idea before him? Either way, they'd forgotten their canvas and now he was benefiting. The cart was backed in backwards, so the board front of the cart faced the street and provided a small privacy wall for him.

A blanket completed his makeshift home, and he settled into it with his back against the cart. He sighed, leaning his head on the wood and looking up at the canvas. He wasn't particularly surprised to see two heads peeking over the rim of it. The Lamplights grinned at him. He had a strange Harvester, and the adjustment period was...longer than he'd like. While he wasn't expecting them to be friends instantly, he didn't think he'd have to deal with relentless curiosity.

'This will be interesting.'
'Bathing in the ocean.'
'Hunting for food.'
'A man cannot live on rats alone.'


Joseph ran a hand down his face. "I haven't lived on my own before. I just wanted out of that house." he muttered. "I'll find some carpentry work here. I guarantee you there will be as many rich captains looking to add stupid filigree to their boats as much here as anywhere. I'll keep my rates low to start with. I'll be alright."

'Maybe.'
'You need to advance your skills.'
'Death is around every corner.'


"I know." Joseph said under his breath. This would be good enough for the night. He could even light a fire here, if he found some scrap wood. For now, curling up with a blanket seemed to be about the long and short of it. He was tired from the journey, and his leg hurt. He took a deep breath and decided to focus on something else. The Lamplights dematerialized, he could feel them getting bored and wandering away in whatever world they stayed in. What brought them back was the tiny little flicker of ether streaming from Joseph's palms. He'd been initiated into Abrogation, but he'd never really toyed with it yet. He'd been told it had the power to protect him. From what, Praksha hadn't specified. He'd only made shields thus far....small, tiny barriers with glass- thin sheets of ether he expelled forth from his palms. He was keeping this one small, for now. Just messing with blocking dust motes from landing on his skin. It would increase his reflexes. He'd wait until one of the tiny little specks was milimeters from his skin, and attempt to call forth the shield fast enough to make it bounce off.

'Interesting.'
'Maybe it will help keep you alive.'


"If you would shut up for five minutes, maybe I'd get better at it." Joseph growled.

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Sephira
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Re: Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down [Sephira]

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Hunger, loneliness, murder, death, confusion, stress, and impatience reverberated around the Attuner and were echoed within her Spark. These were all individual notes that she had learned over the last few seasons. It was interesting to Sephira that she had chosen these Notes to focus on and to remember. There were no Notes of Happiness of Laughter in her memory, she hadn’t cared to sample those from the world around her.

What good were they? She was a soldier and investigator; far better that she had the ability to hunt down those reverberating with the Notes she had learned such as Murder and Death. It allowed her to do her job and locate those that had committed terrible crimes.

However, to-trial Sephira was focused on a new Note that was dancing just at the edge of her perception. It was somehow both alien and familiar. It tasted bright and almost acidic, flowing through the Attunement Spark like liquid quicksilver. The woman stood silently on the side of a bustling Scalvoris Town street with her eyes narrowed to slits. She was on guard for the next half break and it took the boredom out of her duties if she took the time to mull over her skill with Attunement.

Frequencies reverberated all around her, and none of them possessed that bright silvery Note that she had detected to the west of her position down a nearby alley. It wasn’t until Sephira looked inward and listened to her own Frequency that she realized what she was detecting.

It was magic...or at least the Note associated with magic. Her acuity in detecting new Frequencies had been increasing of late and now she could finally truly taste magic with her Attunement Spark. A self-satisfied gleam glittered in her crimson hued irises as she opened her eyes and slowly turned toward the source of the Note she was detecting.

There was a mage there. She knew it in her heart of hearts that she was listening to the distant Frequency of another mage.

There was almost a relief to this. Now with a moment’s concentration she could literally ‘feel’ the remote presence of other mages within the city. There wasn’t very much precision with this ability, but it allowed the solider to feel the general direction of the Note she was listening to.

With a half glance toward Ethan, the other Flame Element on guard duty across the street, the Special Assistant stepped away from her post. She could surely spend a few minutes trying to discover the source.
Her pace was hurried and her heels clicked lightly on the cobblestones as alleyways and side streets passed quickly by her on the left and right. The silvery Note glistened in her mind as she drew nearer and nearer to its source. It rang out like the sharp plucking of a harp string.

Suddenly the Flame Element was standing in the mouth of a somewhat familiar alleyway. Her memory was clouded but it was triggered faintly by the sight at the end. There was a man who had made camp just below an old weathered tarp.

He was a slight fellow, clearly much smaller than the tall thin woman standing some fifteen feet away from him. Sephira stood there in her black armor and leather coat. Her Flame Element and Onyx Special Assistant’s pin glinting on the collar of her coat. At her waist was her saber and a half dozen steel throwing knives. It was likely startling image to what was likely a homeless mage. An Element soldier arriving on his doorstep and armed to the teeth.
Sephira stared at the man, and hesitated, her eyes flaring through a rush of colors as she struggled to find the right words. She didn’t know how to rightly explain how she had found him without frightening the man.

“Sorry.” She said hesitantly.

“I...didn’t mean to intrude, I only...” Her voice petered off to nothing before she looked at him curiously.
Her gaze narrowed as she took a step toward him, her eyes intense as she examined the man. He had a brace on his leg marking him as a cripple. It was immediately clear that he’d had a very hard life.
“Are you alright?” The woman asked, eyeing his leg warily, choosing instead to gloss over her rather awkward entrance.
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Joseph Meier
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Re: Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down [Sephira]


Once Joseph had settled down and was able to focus, it felt better in his hands. The shield came easier. His world narrowed down, and his ether responded a little better to his touch. It was different than interacting with the Harvester. There was a certain silvery strength about the tiny, palm-sized shields that stretched out over his palm. They were woven, like fabric. Tiny tendrils of his ether knitted together tightly, and holding fast against the dust motes. The game was interesting, but he could see it serving him well. Those reflexes needed to be stretched, like new muscles. He expanded it, slowly, tenuously, until he had a silvery dish of protective ether over his palm. He could feel the Harvesters watching. Curiously, hungrily. They were intrigued by the armor that Joseph was slowly weaving. It was difficult to maintain anything larger than a dinner plate, but he'd work on it.

He was so focused he didn't notice the sound of armored boots. The Harvester giggled and vanished, but Joseph shook off the horrible little noise buzzing in his deaf ear. He sat up to examine the shield in his hand, and the clanking of metal caught his good ear. He startled, throwing up both hands. A silvery shield extended from both of his hands. It was small, the edges of the plate-sized shields on each palm barely touching, but it was more protection than the typical layman got from an assailant. He glared at her, viciously, like a cornered animal. "Don't take another goddamn step." he growled. He didn't like this. The woman was armed to the teeth, and even worse, she had pity in her eyes. He tucked his bad leg behind himself awkwardly. He hated her staring at it. "I'm not a fucking charity case. I was fine until you snuck up on me."

To be fair, she hadn't exactly been sneaking. His deaf ear just hadn't picked her up, and he'd been entirely too focused on the shield in his hand. Come to think of it, holding up both shields was getting tiring. He could feel it, not in his muscles, but that other sense of him. That tiny spider of a spark that wove steel cables of ether. He dropped the shield with a frustrated noise. He couldn't keep it up that long. "What in hell do you want? I don't have anything of value." he said coldly. As far as being alright, there was only so much right he could be. Without any sort of mitigation to the poor healing his leg had undergone, he was in a perpetual poor mood. She didn't seem to be surprised by the shields, either. Those eyes. He'd caught a few of the color flashes. "...Are you...what I think you are?" he said, guardedly.

'Another mage.'
'Might explain how she found you.'
'How, though?'


He shook his head, ducking his left ear down to his shoulder like something was buzzing around it. Without any normal sound heard out of that ear, it was like having the Harvester yelling into it.
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Sephira
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Re: Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down [Sephira]

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The woman hesitated, pausing before she approached any closer. Sephira held out her gloved hand as if to reassure the man that she was not a threat to him. However it was his final question that made her freeze all motions and relax her stance. The woman looked at him somberly, taking in his appearance and where he was camped. He was a mage and he was utterly alone. Being one herself was hard enough and she not only had a warm place to sleep but the Elements at her back when she needed them...not to mention Liam. The thought of the other Rupturer made her take further pause before she replied.

“Yes.” she said simply, her eyes glinting with motes of crimson light as she focused on the man at the end of the alleyway. “And so are you.” she added somberly.

“I could hear it in your Frequency. The Spark.....magic...it has it has an unmistakable flavor that sets it apart.” The Attuner didn’t know if he would understand her words. More than likely he hadn’t met an Attuner before but perhaps in being a mage he would accept her statement at face value. She could clearly detect what he was, perhaps that was enough.

Sephira was not very talented when it came to make introductions or leading a conversation, but she tried her best all the same.

“I’m Sephira.” she added before moving to slowly walk toward the crippled man. She walked as though she was approaching a cornered animal rather than approaching a human. The Element had seen how dangerous people could be when they were afraid, and mages were likely even worse.

Her black leather coat brushed against her legs as she moved further into the alleyway. On her collar Joseph would be able to spy her Flame Element pin along with a black onyx pin that marked her a rank above the normal soldier. She wasn’t some common city guard after all.

The mage knelt down to his level when she was roughly ten feet away. She inclined her head toward his hands where the shields made of silvery light had appeared. The woman had seen something like this before in Element Rey’na.

“You’re an Abrogator.” she said while feeding another tendril of ether into her Attunement Spark. Spreading out her awareness she began inspecting his Frequency in more detail The Note of Magic reverberated outwards toward her, ringing out like a string plucked on a harp. But behind it she could sense the Note of Abrogation, specific to his Spark. It was harsh and stalwart which made sense when considering that it was a shielding magic. However there was another Spark hidden behind the blazing bright magic she was inspecting. It was dark and hungry...and ever so familiar.

“But what else are you?” Sephira asked with a knowing gleam in her eye. Her stomach fell, and her throat tightened. She knew this magic because she had seen it at work before. But she wanted to hear it from his lips first.
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Joseph Meier
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Re: Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down [Sephira]


Joseph allowed himself to relax slightly. Ever so slightly. His jaw was still clenched and he was tense. He hadn't yet had to defend himself, but he was wary of letting any other mage near him. The uniform was making him nervous, but the way she was holding out her hand made him think that perhaps, she wasn't immediately hostile. He settled down slightly, glaring at her. That leather coat and enamel pin marked her as something other than a guard. He sat up properly, then stood up and got off the cart to regard her properly. He was astoundingly short; under five feet even when drawing himself up to his full height like he was now. Judging by the near-skeletal condition of his body, it was less a twisted hand of genetics and more mistreatment.

"I am." he said calmly. "I'm new to it. Can't hide it from you, that's for damn certain. Which means that you could probably turn me into a smear on the cobblestones even without the armory you've got strapped to you." He folded his arms across his chest. She recognized the Aberration spark. As much as he could try and shield it with his Abrogation, to attempt to mute himself and protect it, her ether was far stronger than his. She could tear open that thin shield he'd constructed and worm cautiously around it. "So if you think you know what I am...other than an Abrogator...why haven't you?"

It was a dangerous question to be asking and he knew it. Aberration was hated. Ari and Oav had told him so. The Harvester had only had him as a mage, but even they weren't so stupid as to think he would be accepted. Neither did Joseph. He also couldn't see a way out of the situation when a much stronger mage was blocking the path to escape. The only escape. He sighed, looking at her. "So what's your next step here then, hm? Hanging, or are you the type to drag someone through a court they don't have a prayer of leaving alive? I can be much more useful to you alive than dead."

That remained to be seen, but he wasn't ignorant to the potential here. Abrogators made shields. If he could train himself properly, he could be of use to society. The Harvester was something unique he needed time and resarch to figure out. Even though he sensed that too many of them had been killed before they'd been studied to actually merit anything written down.

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