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24th of Ashan 719

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[The Gleam] Unlikely Apprentice

24th of Ashan 719

It had been two entire trials since the Protean collided with the Runewright. Most of which were just for recovery purposes. After all, both he and Rhostus had gone flat out on one another. Totem guardians had been let loose, portals thrown, lightning pelted. The Arena ended up in a state of disrepair with various holes and craters all over the fighting grounds, broken stands and cracked walls. Fridgar's payment for their services was hopefully enough to repair the damage. Now though, he was waiting in the Woodstock Hall's courtyard. It was the most greenery he'd seen since he'd left Gauthrel, even if it were just meager grass and shrubbery. Loque was around somewhere, the Ithecal had barely left his side since he'd bought her, and while he was sure she meant well, this wasn't something that he really wanted her to interrupt or ask about.

The Protean didn't know how the initiation went, but most were life-threatening, it seemed. So, he'd left his totems in the Ashvane estate. If he'd brought them, they might try to manifest on his form and mess up the initiation, and ultimately kill him. He didn't quite trust Rhostus either, what if the man just wanted revenge for putting him to shame? Or he was secretly a mage hunter? So many 'what ifs' and risks, why did he bother? Twice he'd been beaten by a Runewright, the first time was in Andaris, Rynmere some two or three arcs ago. He'd taken up some dirty work for two criminals and they ended up needing to dispose of him. Warren and Valyeria were their names. Warren was a Runewright that used his power to break Fridgar's skull, ribs, and skin. If Valyeria hadn't had second thoughts and turned on Warren, he wouldn't be alive this trial. It was his very first brush with death and took him a whole season to fully recover. Even to this trial, he struggled with those memories.

And the very next time he met a Runewright, they knocked him out without him landing a single hit. It was powerful magic that both threatened his life and would prove to be an effective means of protecting himself. He'd agreed with himself to try and obtain the magic no matter what. So there he waited, almost completely defenseless in an empty building, for someone capable of killing him. If it came to it, he could try to escape with his proficiency in rupturing. He'd proven that it was an effective means to countering Rhostus' insane speed. Perhaps he was safer than he thought? Only time would tell.

Caught in the middle of his thoughts, the older Lotharro stepped into the courtyard and watched Fridgar from afar while he approached. A wave of the old man's hand caught the Protean's attention and drew Fridgar from his thoughts with a deep breath. Rhostus was early, to the Protean's surprise. Perhaps he was just as eager to take on Fridgar as Fridgar was to learn the new discipline? "Hail." Fridgar spoke as he rose to his feet, wearing nothing but his loincloth again. "How long have you been here, kid?" Rhostus asked in Haltunga. That was how they'd spoke when he first met the old man, in their native tongue. It was more comfortable to speak to someone in haltunga, it flowed from his Lotharen tongue with ease and felt a lot like home.

"A few breaks, maybe." He replied in the tongue. "I miss the green of Gauthrel sometimes and this is the most I can see within Quacia's walls." It was a fair enough reason for a becomer to visit somewhere so natural for such a long time, and Rhostus understood. "Mhm. You've got quite the talent with becoming, I can see that much." The old man looked the Lothar up and down, then furrowed his brow. "...Is that why you don't like clothes, then?" He asked with a chuckle. Fridgar nodded. "Becoming isn't a magic discipline, it's a way of life. It rules me as much as I command its power." The Protean's words weren't far from the truth, just as he commanded his Guardians to attack and kill, so did his spark command him with his eyes. Rhostus asked for more of an explanation, and Fridgar explained how his mutations made it almost impossible for him to exist in society. The old man nodded in understanding. "Well, maybe we can figure some way around that? You're gonna need better self-control if you're going to be a Runewright."

Fridgar nodded and sighed. But what could they do about his eyes? He couldn't even gouge them out and be done with it, they'd just regrow the next time he transformed. "Yeah... So how do we do this anyway?" The Protean changed the subject, but Rhostus maintained his thoughtful gaze. With a shake of his head, Rhostus returned to the task at hand. "Right, initiation." He rolled his shoulders then clapped his hands as though limbering up. "There's a sacred law when it comes to Hone, and that's that 'the body can only handle six runes before it scorches the soul and body and gives out to the weight of the power that's running through it'." Fridgar nodded in understanding, taking mental notes. "I'm going to need to put six runes on your body... then a seventh rune on your forehead." The old man tapped at the spot above his brow, where his rune of naming rested. Fridgar furrowed his brow. "Didn't you just say that would kill me?"

Rhostus laughed in response and shook his head, finding some humor in the Protean's simplicity. "Yeah, well. That's the catch." He offered the other Lothar a smile. "You've gotta endure the flow of ether and accept the rune of naming that I place on your forehead... I've fought you, I know you can take a hell of a punch, but this will be nothing like a smack in the jaw, it's going to tear you apart if you let it. Keep strong and hold the ether, let it run its course." Fridgar took a deep breath and clenched and unfurled his fists over and over. It sounded like an intense process, it really was a good thing that he hadn't brought his totems with him. "...Alright, let's do it." Fridgar spoke with an uneasy acceptance and straightened his back. Rhostus nodded, then began to draw his golden runes on Fridgar's body.

One on his chest, one on his back, one on his left arm and one on his right, then one on his left leg and one on his right. The runes remained dormant as Rhostus had built them with a specific sound trigger. Then, he drew the rune of naming on Fridgar's forehead. Nothing happened just yet and Rhostus took a step back. The protean looked about his form, then to Rhostus. The old man bared an assuring smile, then nodded carefully. "Are you ready, Fridgar?" he asked, then lifted his hand with his fingers poised to snap. Fridgar gave a single nod and lidded his eyes, waiting for the surge. Rhostus snapped his fingers and at once, all the runes of the Protean's body flared with intense glowing light. The rune of naming on his head glowed intensely, almost blinding with the light that poured from it. All of a sudden, there was a massive amount of ether in his body. His whole form went tense as he felt all of his senses and his physical prowess heighten. Even from walking in the paws on various animals, he'd never been able to... feel... this much. All of a sudden, all the sounds of the city were loud in his ears, he felt the subtlest changes in the air all around him. He was strong, fast, durable, and what is more, he saw the future unfolding underneath his eyelids.

A future where he opened his eyes and burst into flame, the rune on his head broke in two. Then he realized that the ether in his body was getting the better of him. It was all so much, but the Protean had a lot of fight to give. He pushed back with all his strength and the ether funneled to his head. The protean growled at the intense pain of something... etching... into the skin of his forehead, as though he was being carved or whittled. Then, it was over. All of his heightened strength left him and he felt weak, deaf... Everything was so quiet and numb in the absence of those Runes. He fell to one knee and opened his eyes. He looked to Rhostus, then to his hands. They weren't black or scorched... had it worked? "Congrats, Fridgar. You're a Runewright now." Rhostus' voice broke the silence, and his senses returned to him. Fridgar took a deep breath through his nose, then carefully rose to his feet with a stumble. "I feel... Strange." The protean replied then Rhostus closed the gap between the two to help support the newly made Runewright.

"It'll clear up, don't worry." The old man patted his bare back gently, then helped him sit on the bench Fridgar had been waiting for Rhostus on. "Here." The master said as he fished about in his pocket before withdrawing a small book. "This is your grimoire, you can record all the runes you learn in here." Fridgar looked to the book with confusion, then to Rhostus. The old man, who understood fridgar's difficulty with eye contact, looked away promptly. The protean accepted the small book and flicked through the pages one by one. They were all empty, like a blank slate. "There are three runic alphabets in the art of hone. There are the core runes, which everyone with the spark can use, then there's Lucis, which I am proficient in and Umbral... Lucis focuses on channeling the best of your intentions through your spark and makes people stronger, regenerates wounds and such... Umbral is the opposite." Rhostus explains with a hard swallow, perhaps he found the mention of Umbral Hone uncomfortable?

"I used some Lucis runes in your initiation, which means you'll probably end up using Lucis Runes, as I do." The Runewright patted the Protean's shoulder again as he looked to the pool in the courtyard. "Why don't you go and have a look at your witchmark?" The old man offered, then let go of the larger male. Fridgar took a deep breath and nodded. Carefully, he got up off the bench and stretched, then wandered over to the pool. While he walked, he noticed that his head felt... Strangely lighter, less clouded by stray thought than it had for a while. It was almost serene. He lowered his knees to the grass and peered over the edge of the pool. He saw his own eyes peering back up at him, and the stark, red glow of a twisting, jagged rune on his forehead. It glowed a little, radiating the same crimson hue that the rune held. Perhaps with time, it would ease to a more brilliant gold like Rhostus' runes? Who knew what this new magic held for him.
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word count: 1927
Whenever one finds oneself inclined to bitterness, it is a sign of emotional failure.
-- Bertrand Russell
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Re: [The Gleam] Unlikely Apprentice



Hone: Initiation involves placing seven runes on the Initiate's body including a rune of naming.
Hone: Three Runic Alphabets, Core, Lucis and Umbral.
Hone: Lucis: Grants buffs and boons to whoever the runewright draws on.
Hone: Umbral: The opposite of Lucis.
Hone: The runewright magic that can bestow a variety of effects by drawing runes.
Disicipline: arriving early for a scheduled meeting

NPC: Rhostus: Initiated you into Hone.
NPC: Rhostus: Your teacher.
NPC: Rhostus: A Lucis Runewright.
NPC: Rhostus: Doesn't like Umbral Hone.
NPC: Rhostus: Wants you to be a Lucis Runewright,

Loot: +1 Spark of Hone, Empty Grimoire
Injuries: N/A
Renown: N/A

Points 10 - These may be used for Hone.

Comments: don't break up with Ali


Code: Select all

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