• Closed • Blood Aurora

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Re: Blood Aurora

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“Thank you“, the alchemist replied as Llyr told him that he would write him of the theory before he turned to inspect the other man’s solution once more, cocking his head a little to the side as he did so. “Interesting”, he murmured as Llyr explained what he was making. While most would have scoffed and thought Llyr’s experiment simple and pointless, he didn’t. In his opinion, a substance that essentially absorbed other substances would be quite useful. “How did you come up with this?” he wanted to know.

Unlike some of his colleagues, the son of Ziell was not only interested in the finished products, but in the process that led up to them as well as in the thoughts behind a certain research.

Llyr, the alchemist observed, seemed to be somewhat prone to blushing, when he was embarrassed, when he was uncomfortable and when he was being praised. It was a kind of behaviour that he found slightly amusing as well as peculiar, but he didn’t say anything, considering such to be unnecessary and, perhaps, even harmful. Instead he inclined his head. “Feel free to stay here as long as you want”, he remarked. The hint of a smile flickered across his face for a moment.

It was testament to how enjoyable he considered the situation at hand to be.

“They do”, he informed as Llyr asked if the libraries organized their shelves by topics. “I’ll acquire those books for you as soon as possible”, he assured him, momentarily furrowing his brow as Llyr stated that he would leave the list by his bedside. The thought that someone might stand next to him while he was asleep made him somewhat uneasy, even though Llyr had turned out to be quite trustworthy so far. Besides that, he also couldn’t help but wonder what kind of books the younger man wanted from him.

He considered asking him about what would be on the list, when Llyr suddenly wanted to know if he possessed blood. He turned to face the other man rather abruptly and met his gaze for a moment, considering him, before he replied, “Of course I possess blood. Most living beings possess blood, apart from the Yludih, but I’m not one of them, I assure you. If it is human blood that you need though, Mister Magpie …” He paused briefly, searching Llyr’s face for any signs that he might know more than he let on.

When they had first met, he had briefly wondered if the other man already knew that he was a Mortalborn, if that was in fact one of the reasons that he had entered his dreamscape and offered to initiate him. It seemed as if he did at least suspect something, he decided, otherwise he would probably not have asked such a strange question.

“… I’m afraid that I cannot help you. I’m no more human than you are, probably less, in fact. Understand that I do not want to talk about this further in Emea though, although I might be willing to share my story once we meet in the waking world”, he spoke. The tone of his voice remained relatively calm, but his heart beat a bit faster for a moment, against his will – his body’s reactions were something he had not learned to control entirely yet.

He had told a few people what he was recently, Sintih, his former apprentice, and Caius Gawyne, his nephew, among them. He was more open about what he was these trials – and excessively proud of that which elevated him above mortalkind – but he would not reveal his divine nature to a man whose real face he had never seen. That would be rather … foolish.

“I’m afraid that this blood here”, he finished, gesturing towards the vial whose contents he had been purifying. “Is all that you have, for now. Who knows, it might still be of some use.”
word count: 664

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Re: Blood Aurora

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When asked how he came up with the solution, Llyr averted his gaze. He looked at the vials, then above at the ceiling, then down at the floor while he considered how exactly he wanted to answer what seemed like such a straight-forward question. He finally decided on, “Necessity. It was important to my work at the time.”

It was all he said on that matter, and if inquired, he didn’t elaborate as to what work he meant or why it would need such a solution.

He noticed the flicker of a smile when Doran agreed that he could stay in the dreamscape for as long as he wanted. Llyr returned the expression with a slight smile of his own, though his face still felt warm. How was it that he still couldn’t maintain perfect expressionless while in his emean form? Llyr rarely had been one for suppressing emotions, so much so that they made up his very being and soul. The times he’d tried to burrow himself down to not allow such expressions of what he felt inside, led him to miserable states of mind that he believed to hinder him from life itself.

Llyr had no desire to reject or suffocate his feelings, no matter how confusing or inconvenient they sometimes proved to be.

A nod when Doran agreed to acquire the books as soon as possible. He mentioned, “Then I will visit again soon, to see what you have found. Would… three trials be enough time for you, or would you like more?”

Once that settled into an agreed future date for the professor to give him the books, Llyr requested Doran’s blood in the politest way he thought of. He tilted his head to one side in a curious incline, upon hearing the older man’s answer, then he set the fingertips of his right hand against his lower lip. Doran looked at him in a searching way but Llyr didn’t know what he was looking for… did he find it odd to request blood? But the doctor’s research was in blood magic. That certainly couldn’t be it.

Llyr tapped his fingers against his lips, then he lowered his hand. He wondered when the man claimed to be as inhuman as he was, but the biqaj took this to mean something far different than what Doran knew it to be.

“Oh, I see…” He said in a drift of his silvery voice. Llyr looked back at the set of vials. He said in a mused confirmation, “So, it is common for Sessers to replace their blood then… s-sorry, we won’t talk about it anymore here.”

He picked up the vial and shook it to see that almost all the blue powder had settled at the top of the sticky green gel-like substance. Llyr raised it up between them so Doran could observe it as well. “Unfortunately, this only works with red blood from my experience. It will not work with my own blood, and this is my guess, because it does not have color. Thus, the blue is bright enough that the green realizes to separate and then grab hold of it.”

“It’s very useful for blood spills, as I'm sure you can imagine. You sprinkle the powder over the spill, then pour a small amount of water or clear liquid onto it and it not only pauses the blood from spreading further outward, but then can be grabbed, peeled, rolled, or scooped up with ease to clean it off with barely a stain left behind. I’m surprised to have found it in your laboratory, but then… I am visiting, which might be the reason as to why it is here.”

“Yet I do not need to test it. I was simply curious. Perhaps I might be able to assist you in whatever you’re trying to accomplish instead, Doctor Thetys.” Llyr set the vial back in the wooden rack. The young mage looked over at Doran, with eyes of icy blue, and fixed the jacket of his white suit. The foxish smile teased at his pale lips and he mentioned, “You might find me exceptional at following directions from a man who knows what he’s doing.”

The smile faded, and the hint of a blush returned to his cheekbones. He asked, “What is a… Yludih? I’ve heard the word in passing once or twice but why don’t they possess blood?”
word count: 752
Please — consider me a dream.
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Re: Blood Aurora

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“Three trials should be more than sufficient”, the alchemist replied.

Had he been a less disciplined man, he would likely have laughed out loud at the other man’s comment about Sessers replacing their blood because it was just too ludicrous. Even as it was, he couldn’t help but shake his head before he remarked, “It’s not exactly common. As I said, we can talk about it more in the waking world.” As he said that, he wondered where Llyr had gotten that idea from. Did the man take him for some sort of vampire?

“The Infirmary might be benefit from such a solution”, he decided and peered at the vial that Llyr had raised, noticing that most of the blue power had settled on top of the green substance. “As you can imagine, things can get somewhat … messy sometimes. It would make cleaning up after a surgery so much less bothersome.”

He paused for a moment before he asked, “Do you have any experience in the medical field, Mister Magpie?” The other man had mentioned that such had been important to his work at the time which made him wonder if he was, perhaps, a nurse of some sort. But then again, it was entirely possible that he was involved in less mainstream and more violent activities, such as the ones that he engaged in every now and then.

“The blood that I just purified”, he spoke, enjoying Llyr’s obvious curiosity about his work and his enthusiasm. “Comes from a Blessed of Ymiden, the Immortal of Forgiveness, if what the label on the vial said is true. My aim is to create a potion that surrounds the one who drinks it with an aura that inspires compassion in those that they interact with. I don’t think that I need to tell you how useful such a potion would be”, he remarked, momentarily looking at Llyr in order to watch his reaction and see if he understood.

“What I need now is a liquid to mix the blood with”, he continued. “You said that you wanted to assist me. Find me something that you think would make a good base for a potion”, he told him. “It would ideally be something that is pleasant or at least neutral in taste.” While he didn’t care how bad a potion tasted as long as it had the desired effect, he knew that a lot of his customers had reservations in that regard. He didn’t understand that kind of attitude, but had decided to accommodate it regardless, for the time being.

“As for Yludih”, he told Llyr. “They are a race of shapeshifters. In their natural form, they are beings made of pure crystal, but they can emulate any race that they want. Unlike us, they don’t die, but simply move on to Uleuda which is a place that I haven’t been able to reach so far in spite of everything that I tried. I was rather close to an Yludih once”, he explained in an unusually wistful tone, but he said nothing more as the memories were exceedingly painful.

He hadn’t only been close to an Yludih, he had loved an Yludih. He had loved Beira, one of his colleagues at the University of Rynmere with an intensity that had bordered on madness. She had eventually married a man of her own race though and given birth to a son, Sintih. Her husband had persuaded her, one of the most promising scientists of her generation, to move to a farm.

She had become a mother and a housewife, she had wasted her potential and died shortly after they had finally reconnected. To that trial, he wondered if he should have forced her come with him. In time, she would likely have realized that he had saved her – she had never really been happy on that farm. If he had taken her with him, she might still be alive.

Her last wish had been for him to protect her only child, and he had always honoured that wish even though he had barely been able to look at the boy at first because he had reminded him too much of his father - and of the life he could have had if things had gone differently.

But then again, Beira would never have born him a son. Yludih could only have children with their own kind.
word count: 741

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Re: Blood Aurora

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“Do you have any experience in the medical field, Mister Magpie?”

“No, not exactly,” answered the blond. He glanced aside and didn’t elaborate his answer. Instead, he waited for the conversation to move on. Perhaps one trial he would tell Doran why he had many techniques for handling the mess of bodies and especially blood… perhaps not. But just as the doctor didn’t want to speak of certain things in Emea, Llyr realized that he also could restrain himself from such exposure. He knew that he could cloak within dreams, so there was no guarantee that other dreamers couldn't do the same. The thought caused him to glance around the laboratory in a survey. What if someone was right there with them? Listening to everything they said?

A shiver went through his emean form. He crossed his arms and focused on something a great deal more worthwhile to concentrate on: Doran’s work.

He listened about the blood, the purple of his eyes brightening from the cool lavender to a warm violet. The irises dissolved once more, the vivid color consuming the orbs and the mage’s inner light glowing on display. His interest proved obvious on his youthful features while he watched Doran speak about the Blessed blood. He wanted to say something, but he also didn’t want to interrupt so he placed his fingertips over his mouth to keep himself quiet. He nodded when Doran mentioned the usefulness of such a potion as one for compassion…

…and he couldn’t keep quiet. Instead, he spoke past his fingers and avidly interjected, “That’s an amazing idea!”

Then he settled himself to listen to the rest that Doran had to say. When put to a task, to find a base for such a potion, he grinned and lowered his hand. He nodded and agreed, “Okay, I shall!”

Llyr hurried over to one of the tall cabinets where he’d seen liquids kept. While he searched through the vials and jars, he listened to the explanation about Yludih. It seemed mostly straightforward, if not fascinating that he hadn’t known about shapeshifting crystal creatures before now. So that’s what those people in Quacia had been talking about, that one trial at the parlor he’d overheard a group muttering about Yludih.

He caught the wistful tone, if only because it was so out of place from the usual neutral cadence of the doctor’s voice. The biqaj leaned away from the cabinet and looked over at him. He hummed lowly then said, “Thank you for explaining. I uh… I’d say I’ve never met one, but then I wouldn’t know, would I? If they can shapeshift that is. I wonder if the Becoming domain originated from their kind.”

Llyr had said it as a casual idea. He turned back to the cabinet and continued to sift through the various items. He grabbed a few, settled in his arms, then swiftly walked back to set them on the counter beside Doran. The blond pointed at each vial and jar respectively and said, “So… if these labels are correct. There’s prunelle juice, and I’m rather surprised there is a fair amount I recognize from Quacia here, but again, I think that might be due to my presence.”

“Tea, of course, can be both sweet or bitter but would require brewing with powder and… thus wouldn’t be considered a base, yes?” he asked the professor, uncertain if he fully knew what a base liquid even was. He understood it by context, but not by academic definition. “I found cave grape syrup, which is used in Quacia for all sorts of things. It’s naturally thin so it can be easily swallowed, and if the grapes were harvested in the warm seasons, then it is sweet by comparison. Especially like this…”

He pressed a jar of pale amber liquid toward Doran. “I haven’t tried it myself, but it is called pyment. Mostly honey with grapes. Many people in Quacia would trade a lot for bottles of this. Though it isn’t as powerful as say…” he picked up a pear-shaped potion bottle of clear liquid and pointed at the label that said mezcal.

“I don’t think you’d want people to get drunk as well as compassionate?” Llyr shook his head, then pressed the jar closer and said, “This is weak enough that for something as simple as a single dose… it would work fine?”

“Otherwise, yes, it’s tea, but…” he lifted a small container of leaves. “This is a particular herb blend that can mask other things when brewed together. It doesn’t taste sweet, but instead it is powerful enough that other flavors can’t be recognized underneath it.”

Llyr waited for Doran’s response to his suggestions, ready to go back to the cabinet if needed and look for something else. Eager to adjust his understanding to whatever the doctor told him; he lightly swayed his lean weight side to side. His wings fluttered behind him.

“Why did you choose Ymiden?” he asked the older man after a moment. “I’ve… I’ve been to his dreamscape. I met…”

He bit his lower lip, uncertain if he should share or not. Llyr wanted to, but was it his to share? He wasn’t sure. His gaze darted around, between Doran and the laboratory around them, then he finally made a choice in a flurried emotional decision – for who else was he going to tell about it? He wanted someone to know – “I kissed his daughter.”

Llyr blushed, not having meant to say it like that but the words had tumbled out his mouth all the same. The young man felt embarrassed by his sudden desire to brag. This wasn't something to be ashamed of, he believed, as it was something he considered rather positive. But he'd never participated in the sharing of such exploits before. Not like he'd heard others converse about in the smoking parlors of Quacia. He clarified, “I mean, uh, I met her in the dreamscape. Like I did you, but also not like you. It was different. She’s a very nice woman. I guess that makes sense, given she’s… well… yes.”

“S-sorry, Doctor Thetys. What else do you require of me?”

word count: 1064
Please — consider me a dream.
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Re: Blood Aurora

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Llyr, the alchemist observed, seemed to be quite enthusiastic about helping him which came as a pleasant surprise to him. Most of his apprentices would probably have complained about being asked to carry out such seemingly simple tasks as finding a bottle with a liquid and wondered when they would finally get to practice some real alchemy - and what more, Llyr seemed to realize exactly how powerful the potion that he had in mind would be.

He watched the other man for a moment as he searched through the vials and jars, before he turned back to the table in order to prepare everything for the next step of the experiment. As he did that, he explained, “A good base is essential. It can make or break a potion. Besides, certain alchemical reagents interact negatively with certain liquids. We don’t have to worry about that in our case, of course, but I thought you might want to know, nevertheless.”

As the conversation turned to the topic of Yludih again, he met Llyr’s gaze for a moment before he pulled it away abruptly and remarked in a matter-of-fact tone, “You’ve probably already met several Yludih without knowing it. They tend to keep their real nature a secret and try to blend in. Yludih are often met with suspicion and even hatred.”

“I only found out that the person I mentioned was an Yludih after several arcs”,
he added. He was still somewhat wistful, but not as much. He’d managed to force most of those unwanted feelings back where they belonged – deep inside his heart and soul.

He didn’t mention how he had found out about Beira being an Yludih, of course, that he had used one of his divine abilities and seen the truth inside her son’s mind. Instead, he simply told Llyr dryly, “I doubt that Becoming originates from their kind. Becomers create totems to work their magic while shapeshifting comes naturally to their kind.”

His gaze shot back towards Llyr, and he furrowed his brow somewhat. “You never told me what kind of magic you practice, only that you are an etherist”, he remarked. Was Llyr a Rupturer, like Alistair and Sintih - or a Defier like the human Balthazar that he had first met the trial before in the waking world and that had agreed to volunteering as a test subject?

The nature of Llyr’s magic mattered little here, in Emea, where using any kind of magic was dangerous, of course, but he was quite curious, nevertheless. Llyr seemed to be far less mutated than most of the mages he had met so far, with the exception of Balthazar maybe.

“Impressive”, he remarked as Llyr didn’t only set one vial, but several vials and chairs down on the counter. He was not being sarcastic. He was surprised that the man had managed to find several liquids that he thought might work. But then again, this was a dream. It was entirely possible that Emea had recognized their need somehow and decided to give them several different substances to experiment with.

“You misunderstood something”, he corrected Llyr. “The one who drinks the potion will exude an aura that makes others treat them with compassion, if everything goes as planned, at least. But making the person that drinks the potion drunk wouldn’t be a good idea, nevertheless. In fact, it would be quite a bad idea.”

Having said that, he turned to inspect the vials and jars that Llyr had brought some more before he decided, “We will use the tea. If what you said is true, it might mask the taste of blood somewhat. Some people seem to have an aversion to blood”, he remarked.

“As for why I chose Ymiden”,
he continued. “His domains lend themselves especially well to a potion, besides, forgiveness can be quite powerful, especially if you can control it.” He wanted to say more, when Llyr suddenly blurted out that he had …

“You kissed Ymiden’s daughter?” he asked incredulously. That had been … unexpected. For a moment, the alchemist that almost always knew how to react to a given situation was at a loss for words – and then he wondered why Llyr had decided to tell him something as private.

A mortal man, especially a younger man, would likely have wanted to know what it had been like to kiss a Mortalborn now, the alchemist realized, but he couldn’t care less about that due to his own divine nature. Instead, he remarked, “You seem to have more experience with the Immortals and their offspring than most people I have met so far. Tell me, Mister Magpie, was she a dreamwalker, just like you, and did she resemble her Immortal father?”

As he posed that question, he wondered if Llyr expected him to talk about the people he had kissed as well now and if this would turn from an impromptu alchemy lesson into some sort of bizarre dream in which two relative strangers talked about their respective conquests.

He hoped not!

“There’s no need to be sorry”, he remarked dryly. “Hearing about your acquaintance was … interesting. As for what else I require of you, I set up a burner while you were searching for our base”, he spoke and gestured towards the table. “I want you to pour exactly three cups of tea into the pot that you can see on the burner now and stir it evenly while I add the first two reagents – a primer to prepare the tea for the blood and a binder so that various reagents don’t negate each other.”

“The third step will be adding the blood. I might also add an accelerant so that the potion takes effect faster”,
he decided. There might, he realized, be situations when your life might depend on your enemies being favourably inclined towards you and treating you with compassion rather than running you through with one of their swords.

Time would be of the essence then.
word count: 1008

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Re: Blood Aurora

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Llyr felt a slight prickle of annoyance when he heard the dry dismissal of his theory that Becoming might originate from Yludih. How would the professor know? His research wasn’t in that! It was in creating potions from blood. Yludih didn't even have blood, as he had just learned. Mostly, he wasn’t convinced by the simple explanation that Doran gave as to why not… and unconsciously, his spark insisted that shapeshifting came just as naturally to Becomers! Totems didn’t mean it wasn’t natural! Why would anyone say such a thing?!

The biqaj shook his head to rid himself of the impulse to argue. He focused on the jars and vials while he read through the labels. A question about magic followed up, and Llyr could feel the older man looking at him. Before this moment, Llyr had never felt that the question of domains was a private one. He’d always been open-minded to sharing his disciplines and what sparks he had, what he was initiated in, and even his mutations… but every time he shared, he became less and less so. People didn’t react like he expected them to, unable to predict whether it would fall on the positive side or the extremely negative side.

He tapped the lid of a jar, considered the remark. It hadn’t been a direct question. Just a remark. Maybe the doctor wasn’t actually asking… just… seeing if he wanted to say. He lowered to look at the bottom shelf of the cabinet and murmured, “You haven’t asked.”

If Doran wanted to know the specifics of his magic, the man would have to ask him directly rather than simply remark on it – decided Llyr.

Llyr collected the jars and vials he thought would work, then brought them over to sort through and explain to Doran what he’d grabbed.

The simple word that Doran said caused Llyr to lift his posture and almost beam with the momentary approval.

It vanished in the next words: You misunderstood something.

Llyr’s eyes widened, and what had seemed like happiness quickly turned to worry. He glanced over the jars, already trying to figure out what he’d messed up on. The blond eased somewhat when Doran explained about the purpose of the potion. He nodded slowly, then said, “Ohh… so then why does it need to be sweet though? If the person drinking it knows the aura will make people treat them better, then what does it matter what it tastes like? It’ll be down within trills. I thought the sweetness would make the most sense if given to someone who doesn’t want to be compassionate and are unaware that the drink they are given is a potion.”

A blush dusted over his cheeks when Doran explained that a potion getting someone drunk was also a bad idea. He folded his hands in front of him and fidgeted with his nails. Llyr realized he didn’t do a very good job at picking things out. Or maybe it was simply the doctor engaging him in a way that pressed him to think of things in a way that wasn’t already intuitive for him.

“Tea, yes,” he moved to start grinding the leaves with a new mortar and pestle. As he got the items, he inquired, “You don’t have an aversion to blood, yourself, Doctor Thetys?”

Llyr asked about the choice of Ymiden next, while he settled the tea leaves in the stone bowl. He nodded in agreement to the explanation, but felt the welling of his desire to share… more than share, to brag… and he blurted out the fact about Ymiden’s daughter, only to blush and regret it in the next trill.

Especially when the older man repeated it with a tone of disbelief. His blush heated, the silvery-blue covered his otherwise pale face. He stammered to try and recover or make it something other than a youthful need for someone to know. Doran lived in Viden, after all. Who would he tell about it, and why? It seemed safe enough for something so simple… but… he still felt odd about what he’d said.

He focused on the leaves while he mashed them into a powder and he lowly answered, “Y-yes, she’s a dreamwalker, not exactly like me but… and, uh… I… I don’t know what…” he considered the imagery he’d seen of Ymiden in the catacombs under his house. “…Yes? I suppose she does? But… she looks like herself too. She had shiny hair and lovely eyes. And… a firm handshake. Didn’t look her age at all. A-and…”

Llyr’s gaze flitted between the leaves and Doran’s expression. He cleared his throat and apologized again. He didn’t feel that he should share anymore than he already had. The young mage focused on the work instead, still embarrassed.

“A burner,” he repeated the word to help focus more. “Three cups. Yes, sir.”

Llyr searched for a container and found what looked like a cup… but it was made from glass rather than stone. He noticed etches and symbols but didn’t know what they meant… except for a pillar of numbers, which he could figure out by context that maybe he could fill it to the 3 and that would do it? He gnawed on his lower lip, wanting to ask, to make sure… but also not wanting to. How foolish would he seem if he couldn’t figure out what three cups were? But Llyr had always measured everything by the palm of his hand, his fingers, and the little cupped scoop he had in his father’s kitchen. Numbers were for business; they were for counting money and tracking the seasons… but he recalled what he’d seen in the underground laboratory of Rhakros. The researchers had used numbers for other things, to track liquids and such. He suspected this was the same and tried to recall the few notes he’d read on that trial.

He gathered water from a small pump to the side of the room, familiar with cisterns rather than readied flowing water from taps. Then he walked over with the small bucket and dipped the glass cup into it. After some collecting, then pouring out, then collecting, he held the glass cup up and tried to figure out if the water line was close to the 3 or not. His gaze flitted to Doran, another sense that maybe he should ask… but he didn’t. He still felt embarrassed from his sudden sharing about Eliza and that he hadn’t understood the purpose of the potion perfectly from the start.

Llyr hesitated, however, giving time for Doran to notice him… to notice the water… to notice that he was about to pour it into the pot. His expression was unmistakable: he silently asked for approval of whether he was doing it correctly.

The young mage slowly poured the water into the pot, then he followed with the ground leaves. He picked up a large wooden spoon from a shelf underneath the table and started to carefully stir the tea a few times before letting it be. He set a tiny covered lid, allowed it to brew, and mentioned quietly to try and ease back into a casual mood, “I… I’ve never made tea in Emea before.”

He lifted the lid, then stirred some more. Evenly, the doctor had said… he methodically kept his pace as balanced as he could. Llyr glanced at Doran to discern whether he was in error or following what was needed. He asked, “Wh-what sort of things are good accelerants?”

word count: 1292
Please — consider me a dream.
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Re: Blood Aurora

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“I wasn’t sure if you wanted to talk about your magic”, the alchemist replied. “In Rynmere where I spent a considerable amount of time mages tend not to be particularly open about what they are, for obvious reasons.” When he had served as the ambassador of Etzos in Rynmere, about two arcs prior, the boy king had ordered all mages to be burnt at the stake, a decision that he considered to be foolish at best. He wasn’t sure what the situation was like now, with Cassander in hiding and more than half of the population dead, but he doubted that things had changed for the better.

Mages were likely still considered to be the enemy.

He paused for a moment, considering Llyr and taking note of the tone of his voice, before he asked in a fairly calm and neutral tone, “What kind of magic do you practice then, Mister Magpie, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Llyr seemed to be rather worried because he had misunderstood him, the alchemist observed. He found that kind of behaviour strange, to say the least. It didn’t fit with the image he had initially formed in his mind, that of a supremely confident and powerful man. A part of him had been wondering if Llyr was like him the entire time, if he was close to his own, actual age, but he seemed so young and vulnerable now. Was he more like a mortal man after all?

“Why do we often add sugar to medicines?” he asked, a largely rhetoric question. “Most people care about things such as taste and smell even though the effect of the potion should be what really matters. Potions that taste good tend to sell better and faster. As for giving the potion to someone rather than drinking it yourself …” He paused for a moment, furrowing his brow. “… that idea might actually be worth further consideration”, he decided. “It would only require a few small tweaks here and there.”

As Llyr asked him if he had an aversion to blood, the alchemist couldn’t help but shake his head in relative amusement. “No, I don’t”, he replied. “I spent so much time on the battlefield and in the operating room that I became rather indifferent towards it. What about you, Mister Magpie? Do you have a problem when it comes to blood?”

Llyr seemed to be rather nervous when he talked about Ymiden’s daughter, he observed. In fact, something about the woman seemed to temporarily render him incapable of speaking properly. Was he … he didn’t have feelings for the woman, did he?

“The children of the Immortals rarely look their age”, he told Llyr in a matter-of-fact tone, momentarily wondering if he was giving away too much, but then again, he had no interest in feigning complete ignorance. “Most of them stop aging sometime in their twenties. How old was she though?” he wanted to know. “I have to admit, I’m somewhat curious.” He also wondered what kind of abilities the woman had. Did they resemble her father’s – or was she the polar opposite of her sire, just like he was Ziell’s polar opposite?

He watched Llyr closely as he filled the cup with water and noticed that the younger man seemed to be hesitating. He furrowed his brow as he wondered what he was waiting for and met his gaze before he inclined his head sharply. “Go ahead”, he told him. “You are doing well so far”, he added – which was not a compliment, but rather the statement of a fact. Despite their brief misunderstanding, Llyr had handled himself surprisingly well so far – especially for someone that supposedly didn’t have any prior training in alchemy.

Teaching Sintih and Finn had been far more … problematic.

“As for accelerants”, he continued and added exactly thirty drops of primer and binder – ten drops for every cup – to the tea. “One of my favourite accelerants is Naf-rush. It is a powder that is derived from the Nafinju, a bird-like creature that is native to Southern Idalos, from its spinal fluid, to be exact. Some of my colleagues also use Ignis Beans and even a type of pepper though. They work almost as well.”

“I will add the blood now”,
he informed Llyr. “Keep on stirring. This is the critical phase.”
word count: 735

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Re: Blood Aurora

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“I’m aware about the state of Rynmere,” mentioned Llyr when Doran brought it up. He tucked away the bit of information that not only had Doran spent time in Etzos, but in Rynmere as well. He hesitated, then he asked, “Where about in Rynmere did you spend your time?”

As he continued to search for base liquids, he heard the calm insistence to inquire about his domain magic. Llyr stood, arms full of the jars and vials, and he turned to look at Doran. His wings spread out, then disappeared in glittered vapor. He said, “Proper magic.”

It seemed for a few trills that he might leave his answer there. As he walked over to set the collected items down, he exhaled lowly and gave in, “I told you my studies are in ether, so… I practice what is known as…” he hesitated.

He glanced at Doran, then averted his gaze when he said, “Attunement and… Mirage.”

It was the first, and by his recollection, only lie he’d spoken to the older man. He considered that good odds then. There were a few reasons as to why he had. He considered that Doran had said his research was in the blood of Blessed, but he didn’t discount the prior conversation about the use of mage blood for potions. Attunement was far too gentle to be needed for most potions, he figured, and mirage was hardly something anyone understood, and it didn’t affect anything real in the waking world. Not like Becoming did. Not like Transmutation…

After the exchange, he listened to the reasoning as for the sugar to the medicine… only it wasn’t medicine, it was a potion. He furrowed his dark brows also, in concentration of what the professor said. Their conversation went from there, and Doran returned the question of blood to him.

“No, I don’t,” he responded directly about whether he had an aversion to blood. “I’ve spent far too much of my life cleaning blood or similar… but I wouldn’t say I’m indifferent about it. The blood of others interests me sometimes. Understand, I do not have the same, being biqaj, and the red to brown to black colorations are quite something by comparison.”

The conversation turned to Ymiden, and the immortal’s daughter, and he looked over when Doran made mention of mortalborn like it was nothing. His eyes widened slightly. Before he’d met Eliza, he hadn’t even known such a thing was truly possible and still he wondered if she’d lied to him about it. “How do you know that?” he blurted out about mortalborn and aging, then he followed up, “Because of your research?”

“It took me by surprise,” he mentioned. “She claimed to be 236 arcs old! Two hundred… and thirty six!”

The irises of his eyes had gone vivid copper brown. He made a wild, undirected gesture to the side and repeated himself, “Two hundred and thirty six arcs! Can you imagine that, Doctor Thetys? I’ve known liches and creatures of magic to be long-lived, but someone who is not seemingly a mage and… 236! It’s fascinating. Think of all the research you could get done in that time, all the things… why, you could build an entire city in your name – an entire species or two!”

His tongue ran away with him somewhat, as he found himself inclined to share his thoughts on the matter. Again, who else was he going to tell? Doran seemed to believe the idea of a mortalborn daughter. He didn’t think the doctor could use the information in any untoward ways, but also, he didn’t believe that Doran would. The man was his newest initiate after all, and thus Llyr naturally lent trust to him.

“236…” he tapped at his fingertips as if counting. “You could have like five whole families in that time! You could rule alongside your great-great-great grandson. You could… fates, what is she doing being a mere painter? She could be a queen if she wanted! No… the ruler of all Idalos!”

Llyr smiled and shook his head, bemused. He thought of the Leviathan, who’d also seemingly wasted such a long life – to swim around the ocean and eat sailors? It didn’t make sense to the young mage. He assumed if he got to live for such a long time, then anything and everything he’d ever want would be obtainable in his grasp. Unfortunately, Llyr only had the expectation of a good forty more arcs to his own life unless he figured out whether revelation could extend that time.

He focused on the potion, of brewing the tea and following the instructions given to him. The little statement that he was doing well served to give him a boost of confidence – and even more keen focus. Llyr counted in his head how long the tea steeped, before he started to stir it and wait for whatever Doran needed to add.

Cautious and aware, he kept his arm from getting in the way of the droplets. He didn’t know what was being added, but he assumed it was something important. Ten drops for every cup, he counted the thirty to himself while he listened to the explanation about accelerants.

“Oh, Ignis Beans,” he exclaimed in recognition. He nodded and glanced aside with a slanted thin smile. His attention quickly returned when the doctor informed that the blood would be added next. Llyr watched the rhythm of his stirs, counted in his head to keep it mostly even, and said, “Okay. Stirring…”

Llyr didn’t ask anything more, though he thought of a few different things. They could all wait though, until a better time for discussion. He almost glared at the pot, concentrated on his role in the potion as if he were performing surgery… though he only stirred a wooden spoon. He kept quiet, not wanting to unintentionally distract Doran from the work at hand.

word count: 1007
Please — consider me a dream.
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Re: Blood Aurora

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“As you may know, I served as the ambassador of Etzos for a while”, the alchemist replied. “I had a house close to The Crown, but I spent a lot of time travelling the different duchies and forging treaties with their leaders. Etzos was in need of a navy at the time. Fortunately, I have some familial ties to the Duke of Gawyne”, he said. He saw no harm in admitting that the two of them were related. Of course, he didn’t mention how exactly, that the Duke of Gawyne was in fact his half-brother and another Mortalborn of Ziell.

“I was there until early last arc, when the political situation slowly started to get out of control”, he continued. Sentencing all mages in Rynmere to death had only been the last in a number of questionable decisions that the boy king had made. He had also decided to marry the Empress, the religious leader of Rynmere, a move that might have found his approval if he hadn’t had the distinct feeling that there had been something wrong with the woman.

Prior to marrying Cassander, Emerson had always worn a veil. There had been rumours that any man who looked upon her face lost his mind and became obsessed with her – which made him wonder if Cassander, who was many arcs her junior, had fallen under her spell and was being manipulated.

“I am familiar with Attunement”, he spoke, finding it strange that the other man averted his eyes. Was he hiding something – or was he afraid of being judged for the choices that he had made? He had assumed that the man would speak about his magic with pride.

He had seemed quite proud before.

“I have to admit, my knowledge of Mirage is somewhat lacking though”, he said. “I only know that is has something to do with illusions. Tell me, Mister Magpie, why did you choose such a highly unusual domain? Most mages I met were Rupturers or Defiers.” He had to admit, he was surprised and even slightly fascinated.

“Do you know why a Biqaj’s blood is different?” he idly wondered. He had never been particularly interested in what gave Biqaj blood its color – or lack of color - before but he couldn’t help but wonder about it now. On the outside, Biqaj and humans looked quite similar, apart from their ears and their color-changing eyes, and they had the same internal organs in the same places. So why were they so different in that regard?

Llyr’s excitement when he spoke of the woman’s age brought a smile to his face, at least for a moment, before he informed him dryly, “I met Mortalborn who are far older than her. 236 is actually quite young, at least as far as the children of the Immortals are concerned. As for why Ymiden’s daughter is a painter …” He paused for a moment, and his face darkened fractionally because the woman’s lack of ambition reminded him of his own shortcomings.

For most of his long life, he had been perfectly content living like a mortal, over and over again, burning all the bridges behind him every time it was becoming obvious that he didn’t age. He had been a doctor and sometimes a teacher, he had saved lives, and sometimes he had killed someone, but he had never done more than that. There had even been a time when he had resented his Immortal blood that kept him from aging alongside his companions.

Syroa had opened his eyes though. Since she had entered his life, he saw things in a different light. He didn’t want to be human anymore, but enjoyed the things that set him apart and elevated him above mortalkind – and he wanted more than what he had, always more, even though he already was one of the richest men in Viden – and beyond.

Unlike the daughter of Ymiden, he wouldn’t waste the remainder of his existence on mundane activities.

He would rule, and he would ascend one trial.

“I’ve found that many Mortalborn unfortunately lack ambition. They seek to emulate mortalkind rather than focusing on the abilities that their divine blood affords them. Perhaps, she’ll eventually change her mind though”, he remarked. Maybe Ymiden’s daughter would eventually be different from Oberan and all the others he had met.

Jesine, Valtharn and he couldn’t be the only ones that focused more on their Immortal side …

The potion needed to be finished though, and thus he stopped thinking about his past mistakes – the past couldn’t be changed anyway – and added the blood, ten drops for every cup of tea.

“You can stop stirring now”, he informed Llyr. “We need to wait for the potion to cool down now, and then it’s ready. I’m not sure how exactly drinking a potion that has been made in Emea, with reagents that only exist in Emea, will affect you though”, he admitted, stepped away from the burner and looked at Llyr somewhat questioningly.

He knew far more about this place, and the alchemist was not too proud to turn to him …
word count: 869

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Re: Blood Aurora

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Llyr took note that the older man didn’t only know a lot but he also had such lofty connections – not only being familiar and a colleague of Lord Vuda, but also related to the Duke of Gawyne in the kingdom of Rynmere. He considered this new information, in the back of his mind, but he said nothing of it beyond simple nods to acknowledge he’d heard Doran’s reply to him. Part of him wondered if Doran knew his mentor, Lucretia, who’d been a resident of Gawyne before it no longer was safe for mages in the kingdom; but he didn’t ask. It would remain another conversation, for another time.

He lied about his magic domains. Only a slight nervousness in response, but he didn’t feel guilty about it… least not that he could recognize. His eyes nearly flashed, however, in how quickly he looked at Doran when the doctor mentioned Rupturers and Defiers. Ah, there was that pride from before. Plain as the points on the tip of his ears, his expression was undeniable. It only evolved to be more so when he made a quiet hmph noise along with a haughty turn of his head to refuse any more eye contact with the older man.

Most mages are myopic,” he didn’t entirely know what the word meant but he’d read it a few times in books, heard it mentioned by others, and felt it suited what he wanted to say adequately. He spoke it with confidence regardless. Llyr's hand went to his hip as he held a jar in the other, a momentary pause from his search for the liquids to answer the older man’s comment about magic. “They treat magic like a weapon. Like a sword they can pick up, if they just practice swinging it around enough. They treat it like a trade, as if polishing a beam of wood is the same as casting spells!”

His voice rose in a disdainful tone: “Most mages are as plain, ordinary, and dim-witted as the peasants tossing slop into the streets. I understand why King Cassander took the stance he did, though I would not wish to subject myself to such a thing obviously. And for many of those mages who are a cut above the rest, in their pursuits, they simply break and go mad at some point, such as is common with necromancers or becomers.”

He glanced over at Doran again. His haughty attitude eased somewhat. The blond lowered his hand from his hip and sighed.

“S-sorry. I… uh…” he tried to figure out how to answer the actual question. What was one more lie to add to the other? There was a grain of truth, though only in the worst round-about way. He turned to face the cabinet so his expression couldn’t be easily watched. He said, “I didn’t choose my domains. The mage who decided to initiate me did.”

Llyr was more than happy to have the conversation, about his magic, end there. He worried that if it continued, he might lie more… and he’d only meant it to be the one. But now it’d added already, and that guilt he hadn’t felt before, wiggled its way into the back of his mind. Maybe he should have just shared his actual domains with the other man and trusted that he wouldn’t have been at risk for use of alchemical research.

At first, when Llyr heard the inquiry about biqaj blood, he thought that maybe it was rhetorical, and Doran held the answer. He looked over, but when none came, he hummed in quiet contemplation. After a moment, he said, “It is said that the blood of the first biqaj were taken from the night sky by U’frek when he created reflections in water. That he bound up the moonlight and stole the shimmer of stars, then infused the light on the water into the blood of our ancestors. ”

“This is how we came to be connected to certain stars, by their reflections, so that we might know which way to sail… because we have the blood of the constellations within our veins… and why we can recognize the flow of currents, because we have moonlight woven into our flesh. Our eyes came from the frost lights that continually dance in the north… and our ears point upward so that we are always reminding each other to look up at the sky whenever we feel lost.”

The biqaj shrugged. A faint silvery-blue blush rose to his cheeks and he said, “My mother used to tell me that when I was young. She would say that our ancestors looked very different, that their skin glistened like ice in moonlight and the aurora that is now only in our eyes used to encase their entire bodies with changing colors. Their hair as light and weightless like the foam of ocean waves.”

“Yet over time, our kind paired with humans enough that much of it was lost, but the silver of the night’s lights remains in our veins still… but that is why you might recognize so many biqaj with similar colorations to human. Their ancestors paired with humans and others. Some biqaj families have gone so far that they only have a few human colors to their eyes and even blush red!”

Llyr shook his head in a casual dismissal of this, then he smiled slightly. “Probably not the answer you were looking for, Doctor Thetys, no?”

Their conversation turned to mortalborn and Llyr’s excitement turned to astonishment when Doran admitted he’d met even older mortalborn. Llyr moved slightly closer to the other man and his eyes brightened with violet colors. “You’ve met other mortalborn!?”

“Tell me!” he demanded enthusiastically, too eager to notice the unusual pause matched with a darkened expression on Doran’s features. Instead, he reached over and lightly set his free hand on the professor's forearm. “Which mortalborn have you met? Older than 236? You consider that young?! Oh, you can’t tease me like that, you must tell me who... please, Doran?”

He lifted his touch away, as the potion seemed about done and he was subsequently told to stop stirring. Llyr paused, then lightly tapped the spoon against the edge of the pot. He gingerly set it down on the table to make as least mess possible in doing so. The young mage considered what Doran said about drinking in Emea.

“I can’t say I’ve taken a drink of many things in Emea… and those that I have…” he thought of the tea in Kata’s domain – or… the slime, more accurately. He shook his head. “I wouldn’t recommend it.”

“Given that we’re both aware, if something has gone wrong, it has the potential to harm our actual bodies. How do you test such potions in the waking world? Surely you don’t just drink them yourself? Do you not have test subjects who are expendable for such things?” inquired Llyr, albeit naively, and he even smiled in a sincere manner. “Why not create a construct? You can try to do so… I don’t believe that your abilities have progressed that far, but it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try anyway. See if you can conjure someone from your mind, to give the potion to.”

word count: 1246
Please — consider me a dream.
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