• Mature • Manifest Midnight [Obsidian Prism]

Doran, please.

Stronghold of education and learning, this fortress is in one of the coldest areas of Idalos and home to many knowledge seekers in a variety of disciplines. However, unknown to most, below the city are those who suffer for the sake of science. While all are welcome, not everyone will be treated as they expect.

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Llyr Llywelyn
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Re: Manifest Midnight [Obsidian Prism]

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“Please, don’t apologize to me,” replied Llyr as soon as he heard the offer in regard to the misunderstanding between them. He felt slight annoyance that the man still didn’t understand, but he wasn’t sure what to say or what not to say in explanation for what he had meant when he brought up the Ring of Paradigm’s uses. Would Doran even be able to understand? He clearly had the view of someone without a spark, someone who saw mages as the other. No matter how they talked about theory, or sought to study the arcane, the distinction between them set them in different groups. If the next day, sparkless decided to round up the mages – as had been done in Rynmere – Doran would not have to personally worry about it. Llyr would.

Still, his annoyance and his seriousness hadn’t been caused by the idea of people using devices against mages. It was frustration for himself; that he hadn’t explained himself well enough to be understood, and yet he struggled to figure out how he wanted to explain without sharing too much.

He sighed and let go of his emotions, or tried to. Llyr eased and then blushed when Doran offered approval of the form of his unique mutations. The young mage tried to shrug it off and mentioned that he only saw part of the mutations that he had.

“Then show me – or at least tell me,” said Doran. “I cannot make a definite decision without knowing about all of them. You already know what I’m hiding under my clothes”

“Doctor Thetys,” laughed Llyr, sincerely though shortly. He teased the older man, “You’ll have to try harder than that. You haven’t even offered me a drink!”

He focused on the conversation, but his mood had obviously lifted by the flirtation. Where he’d been annoyed and serious, he turned thoughtful and playful instead. Perhaps it might have appeared flighty or sudden to those who weren’t within his mind, but for Llyr, it followed a distinct predictable logic. Even given the turn of their conversation as they spoke further about mutations, then subsequently revelation, he had eased back into a casual mindset.

Llyr nodded and once again, he felt an overwhelm of different things to potentially say, but he settled on the simpler choice. “Merely because someone looks like they used to, doesn’t mean they are the same person anymore. Possession can occur. You know of Yludih, people can take forms.”

“Deception has no bounds regarding this, and Revelation is no different. Some sparks likely find advantage in pretending to be the same as its mage. Does that not make sense? Seeing the mage as who you knew before… would it not encourage you to lower your guard around them, doctor? This Visitant of yours… how much did you allow them into your life after revelation due to this? That which seems harmless can sometimes prove to be the most dangerous.”

When Doran asked about the relation of the sparks, in the midst of their conversation after Llyr theorized aloud on the nature of why mutations took the form and shape they did. He looked up at the ceiling and didn’t answer immediately. Instead, the young mage thought over the question. He set his free hand over his chest. Llyr started to answer in slow consideration. “Sparks are intimate. They can be understood, I believe, similar to how the body can be understood. Over time, through gradual listening. There is much to be heard in their silence.”

His fingers tapped against his jacket. He glanced at Doran. “I find it difficult to describe properly. Perhaps symbiotic, some mages believe that, yes. Others view the spark like an enemy or a tool. It is complicated, there is much involved. I do not want to discuss this for our entire time together. I suspect it would take up the entire night and then some!” A quiet laugh escaped him, nervous somewhat in sound, and he shook his head.

Doran’s request about initiation and mutations caused him to avert his gaze once more. He ran his fingertips along the edge of a shelf, as if to dust it.

“Teacher…” he scoffed. He answered curtly, “That is a far too generous word to use for the pollinators. No. My mutations do not resemble either of them.”

Llyr shrugged, then turned the conversation to the item instead. He made mention of threat, perhaps to distract from the previous topic as well as to see whether Doran had considered the consequences of such research. His mood fluctuated, as he struggled to maintain the various emotions that made their way through him. He’d gotten so much better regarding his composure, but he still felt such things. Llyr was not an emotionless, apathetic sort of person in any regard.

“At what point does research become not worth it? When do risks become too much?” he asked, sincerely wondering what the other man thought. He patiently waited for an answer.

Their layered conversation continued onto the subject of mortalborn. Upon noticing Doran’s smile, Llyr canted his head to the side. At first, he found the answer lacking. Not being a mage didn’t mean an automatic interest in the arcane. That much was obvious. He fixed his posture, straightening his spine and drawing his shoulders back when he heard the rest of the remarks. His dark brows furrowed in a frown. What it feels like to have a spark inside of you… those words repeated in his thoughts, what it is like to change irrevocably and inevitably…

Llyr remained quiet while he listened. He forced his expression to maintain a neutral look when he heard the confession from the older man. A Mortalborn?

A Mortalborn…

In that moment, Llyr’s thoughts ran through every conversation he’d had with his initiate. Certain things made more sense, now.

“I’d rather some people didn’t find out that I’m not human.”

“…of what Immortal?” asked Llyr. He stared at Doran, though not from shock despite the emotions he felt underneath the surface of his composure. A quiet hum sounded from him, then he said, “Thank you for telling me.”

Guilt twisted at his stomach. Doran offering such honesty when he knew he’d lied about similarly important details about his magic. He felt nauseous and leaned against his staff slightly. His face paled. He said in a careful choice of words, “And… how old are you then?”

word count: 1093
Please — consider me a dream.
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Re: Manifest Midnight [Obsidian Prism]

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“Then I won’t apologize anymore”, the alchemist replied, briefly furrowing his brow as he wondered what the reason for their latest misunderstanding had been. He had the distinct feeling that there was something that stood between them, that might always stand between them, some sort of barrier that he found exceedingly hard to break down. He thought about it for a moment, thought about the differences between them, before he ultimately decided to leave the matter be and went back to observing the young mage.

As Llyr remarked that he hadn’t even offered him a drink – in a tone that was unmistakeably flirtatious - he laughed briefly, for the first time since they had met, a few trials earlier in his dreamscape. After a moment, the laughter turned into a small, bemused smile, and he remarked, “If a drink is all that is necessary to persuade you, I have wine in my salon, from Rynmere as well as from Viden. You only have to tell me which vintage you would like, Mister Magpie.”

“Of course”,
he agreed, growing more serious again as the conversation turned to the matter of deception. For a moment, he couldn’t help but think of Beira again. They had spent the entirety of their time together deceiving each other. She had claimed to be an Eidisi, and he had tried so hard to pretend to be human and hide the fact that he didn’t age. He had pretended to be less than he was. What would have happened if they had been honest with each other instead?

He decided not to think about it. There was no point in wondering what might have happened if things had gone differently. Instead, his thoughts went back to the Rupturer he had known - the Visitant as Llyr had called him. He momentarily furrowed his brow before he replied, “It takes a lot for me to lower my guard, Mister Magpie. As for how much I allowed him into my life after he revealed, I met him once more, sometime last arc.” That was all that he said. As far as he was concerned, there was no point in sharing the details of their last meeting with the etherist and telling him that a distraught Rupturer had shown up on his doorstep late at night, only to disappear forever a little while later.

“That is the problem, isn’t it?” he asked as Llyr spoke of understanding the sparks and hearing something in their silence. There was a hint of bitterness in his voice for a moment. “That I cannot hear anything because I have no connection to the spark. Whatever I do, no matter how much I research, even if amass more knowledge than anybody else, in the end it will always be second-hand.” He didn’t laugh with Llyr, but looked exceedingly serious for a moment as he considered that realization.

Upon noticing the tone in which Llyr spoke of his teacher, he raised an eyebrow fractionally, but he did not say anything. It seemed as if Llyr had not had much of a relationship with whoever had initiated him – or at least not a particularly good relationship.

“That’s the question, isn’t it?” he remarked as Llyr wondered at what point research became not worth it. “Some would say that it’s time to stop when you or when others get hurt or when the disadvantages of your research start to outweigh the advantages. Research ethics is a topic that we could probably debate the entire night – or longer. There are people that dedicate their entire life to it”, he remarked. “What do you think, Mister Magpie? When should you stop your research?” he asked. The other man’s views on what was a complex matter interested him.

“Change”, he elaborated upon noticing Llyr’s frown. “That is what fascinates me about magic, the way that the spark affects one’s body and soul – and the way that mages affect change in themselves as well as in their environment. I became an alchemist for some of the same reasons”, he admitted. Change was one of his domains, and it was something that he craved and that fascinated him, almost beyond measure. At the same time, he was wary of it sometimes. How was he supposed to explain something like Mortalborn domains to somebody like Llyr though, to somebody that would likely always be an outsider in some way?

“Ziell”, he replied curtly. He didn’t mention that Ziell was the Immortal of Peace, among other things, while he was a warrior; Llyr was likely already aware of his father’s domains. Neither did he point out that Lady Yvithia was his aunt. Llyr likely realized that; besides, it could be seen as bragging, and he considered bragging to be inappropriate, even though Yvithia was one of the more tolerable Immortals in his opinion.

“I am”, he continued, pausing momentarily. “I am older than the daughter of Ymiden that you told me about. I am over three-hundred arcs old, Mister Magpie. You seem to be unwell all of a sudden though”, he calmly remarked, having noticed how pale the other man had become and cocked his head a little to the side. “Why’s that?”
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Re: Manifest Midnight [Obsidian Prism]

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Over three-hundred arcs old…

Not three-hundred arcs old. Over! Llyr felt the air escape his lungs in a heavy exhale. He had done so well to keep his composure, but his body had started to betray him. His perfectly smooth skin paled. He felt a slight tremor in his hands. Tiny pinpricks dappled over his palms and fingers. He felt flushed hot, and yet cold in his limbs. He held onto the staff, looked down, and waited for the familiar nausea to fade. He did not want to vomit in Doran’s laboratory… that would be unfortunate.

Ziell… Ziell… what did he know of that Immortal. Not as much as he wanted to, now.

He realized, somewhat delayed, that Doran had inquired as to why he seemed unwell. Llyr supposed while he could hide emotion, he couldn’t hide actual waves of sickness so easily. It didn’t matter that the sickness had been caused by those very same emotions. His ability to mask his thoughts only extended so far.

“I… I’m sorry,” he apologized. He considered simply vanishing at that moment. To leave through Emea, but he had all those items in Doran’s bedroom that he needed to examine and then bring a few with him to Etzos. Llyr looked at the Tanner Mantis’ leg and said, “There must be something you have in here that is affecting me poorly.”

It was a terribly obvious lie. Not because he didn’t sound sincere but because the pale of his skin and tightened grip of his staff had aligned with Doran’s admittance of being a mortalborn.

Llyr forced himself to stand tall again. He swallowed the nausea down. Without waiting for Doran’s permission on the matter, the young mage left the alchemy laboratory. He retraced the path to where they’d been before. As he walked, he focused on his breath and his steps.

When Llyr reached the room, the mage decided to try and explain some. He turned to face Doran and said, “I wasn’t aware. I didn’t know that about you… three-hundred arcs… wow.”

“Wow, wow, wow,” he repeated in whispers. He shook his head, then found a nearby place to sit. Llyr didn’t pay much attention if it was a chair, or couch, or otherwise. He settled the staff to lay over his lap and stared forward. Lost in thought, he murmured, “How much you must have seen. Do you have other names then? Should I know you by something else? By something you’ve done or created in the far past?”

“I must seem terribly naïve to you.” He looked at the son of Ziell. The pale in his face had faded, allowing the silvery-blue of his blood back in. His heartbeat quickened though. He felt the pinpricks in his hands again. He took off the shoulder-bag and set it aside along with his staff.

“Doran… I… I need a moment of quiet,” requested Llyr. He turned away again, rested his forehead on his hand, and closed his eyes. The nausea had started to return. He focused on his breath, as his thoughts and emotions rushed through. Everything he’d said to the man, everything since he’d brought him into the Veil, it both made sense but overwhelmed him. He processed it gradually and though he could speak, he knew that any more he said would likely cause himself even more embarrassment.

Llyr kept his eyes shut. He drifted in his mind, finding a place of stillness and rest while the deluge of emotional thoughts flooded him. Soft breaths escaped him, each a little gasp on its own.

Finally, unless Doran pressed matters, Llyr’s eyelashes fluttered and he opened eyes of marbled black. Where he looked exactly, it was impossible to tell for the pupil was lost in the sea of darkness. He stood, leaving his staff and satchel behind. The biqaj started to pace the room, the motion of walking to help his thoughts along. He folded his hands behind him.

“Are you entertaining me?” he asked, more in a mused tone than accusatory. He looked forward with his pitch-black eyes, while he paced in a circle around the room. “Can you not have whatever you want? If you wanted to study mages, would it not be within your grasp to acquire them for such research?”

“You asked me what I considered about the limit of research… and I didn’t answer then, but I will do so now.” He found his voice again, easing somewhat as he focused on the choice of his words. “The reason why is because… I do not know. What seems like limits to others, are not so for me. I can assess the concept of threat, but if it came to my own research? I am reckless.”

“I feel as if I will never have enough time to accomplish all that is possible,” he confessed. He paused in his walk and turned his head to look at Doran. A glint of colorful light showed in the marble black of his eyes. His halo flickered and dimmed. “You don’t understand. No fault of your own. You couldn’t. You’re over three-hundred arcs! What am I compared to that? I have not even reached my twentieth arc! How many are like you? How many are so old in this world? Have the Immortals propagated among the populations to…”

He stopped himself from finishing the line of thought aloud. Llyr walked over to the table where the scrolls of knowledge and books of information laid in wait for him to read them. He covered his face with his hand. His shoulders slumped forward. He heavily sighed. “I enjoy talking with you, Doctor Thetys. There is no one else who I can talk about so much, to the extent that we have, regardless if we barely met. I do not have the luxury of time like you. These things I speak about, magic, the spark, Emea, the world around us... I do not explore for the sake of mere theory or curiosity.”

Llyr lowered his hand, but he kept faced away while he focused on what he wanted to say. His gossamer wings adjusted in a flutter before folding along his backside. “Yet now, I feel as if it must seem like speaking to a child for you. I am not learned. I have neither the formal academic training nor the upbringing of the wealthy. But I could look past that and continue, understanding that what I might say will be inaccurate or foolish at times, but now…”

The etherist looked at Doran. A sad sort of expression showed on his youthful features. “The prospect of humiliation is so great; I do not know if I could bring myself to say another word in your presence.”

word count: 1152
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Re: Manifest Midnight [Obsidian Prism]

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Llyr still looked pale, the alchemist observed, and what more, his hands had begun to tremble slightly. He didn’t comment on those things though but watched him calmly and gave him time to recover, and, perhaps, answer his question. A part of him was somewhat disappointed by the younger man’s reaction. He had thought that someone with his experience when it came to Emea and the arcane, someone who had kissed an Immortal’s daughter once, would have an easier time coming to terms with the fact that one of his initiates was a Mortalborn. Apparently, this wasn’t the case though. Of course, he didn’t let his disappointment show – such would not serve any purpose in his opinion.

“Is that so?” he asked and raised an eyebrow as Llyr claimed that there was something that was affecting him poorly. It was obvious that the etherist was lying. They had been in the laboratory for a while, and he’d been completely fine and not shown any signs of being unwell. He didn’t call him out on his lie though and ask him what was really going on, but simply followed him to the study where they had been at the beginning of the evening. While Llyr found a place to sit, the alchemist removed a bottle of brandy and two glasses from a nearby cupboard and set them down on the table in front of the other man.

“This might help”, he remarked before he poured some of the caramel-coloured liquid into his glass. He didn’t drink alcohol very often, being rather ambivalent towards the way it affected one’s mind and body, but the situation at hand almost seemed to call for it.

“I have seen the best and worst that Idalos had to offer”, he spoke as he took a seat opposite of Llyr. The tone of his voice was thoughtful now, just like the etherist’s. “I travelled the world extensively when I was younger. Sometimes, I went by a different name. I made some discoveries in the field of chemistry, but in other ways I was largely without direction, just like the woman that you told me about. Perhaps, this is a phase that all of my kind go through before they finally find their calling”, he mused.

While Llyr still seemed nervous, the alchemist was completely calm again, even though he had been so ambivalent towards revealing his Mortalborn status before. As Llyr remarked that he must seem terribly naïve, he shook his head, perhaps slightly bemused. “You are one of the least naïve people I met, Mister Magpie”, he remarked. “The things you say, the things you do, the way you view the world, I find them quite impressive.” It was not a compliment, but the statement of a fact. Llyr looked young, he didn’t appear to be any older than some of his students, but he couldn’t be any more different from them.

They were but children. They were weak and inexperienced. They had never seen what went on behind the scenes, they had never experienced Emea, and none of them had been touched by the Spark. He was about to tell Llyr all that, but then the other man informed him that he needed a moment of quiet, and he nodded and simply watched him as he sat there, with his eyes closed. When Llyr finally stood, the Mortalborn remained seated.

“I told you that I have begun to meet mages and study them”, he informed him. “I told you about my acquaintance and about the Visitant I once knew. I could talk to them all I want, and I would still be lacking personal experience. I wold just have an approximation of the real thing. I would still not hear”, he pointed out, momentarily wondering why it had taken him so long to figure out what the problem with what he did was and what the consequences of that realization would have to be.

As Llyr claimed that he was reckless when it came to his own research, a smile flickered across the alchemist’s face for the briefest of moments. It was an attitude that he mostly approved of.

“I don’t know how many are like me”, he admitted somewhat reluctantly and finally stood in order to follow Llyr to where the books he had collected for him were. “But I know that I’m not the oldest Mortalborn, by far. Tell me why you research all those things though, Mister Magpie”, he asked in a somewhat softer tone as he stood next to the other man, looking at his face. The etherist seemed to be somewhat sad now, he observed.

“You are not a child, and I do not think of you as such”, he continued in a matter-of-fact tone. “Age is only one factor among many. You may not have any formal academic training, but the things you told me about … most of my colleagues at the Academy only know a fraction of what you do. I didn’t know some of the things you told me, about Emea and the Spark. You haven’t humiliated yourself so far, and I doubt that you will do so anytime soon”, he remarked dryly. “Stop thinking like that.”
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Re: Manifest Midnight [Obsidian Prism]

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Of the patience that Doran granted him, the calm remarks accompanied by the offer of brandy, Llyr could only feel more overwhelmed. In those moments as he listened to the thoughtful musings of the much older man, his mind ran through every single exchange of words he’d had with the mortalborn so far… only now he tried to view the conversations through the lens of someone who was over 300 arcs old.

This escaped him in the remark of how naïve he must seem to the professor… only to be assured that this was not the case. Llyr wanted to be comforted by such words, but he couldn’t find such sensation. Worry only dug its claws deeper into his insecure heart. Was Doran telling the truth? Llyr didn’t understand why the other man saw him, or his views, as impressive. Because he was a mage?, theorized the young biqaj.

He requested silence to calm and sort through the torrent of retrospective thoughts. Llyr settled in the moment as he was given it, though he kept his eyes shut and he felt the mortalborn watching him…

Upon standing, with eyes of black, he inquired as to his theory that it was because of him being a mage that Doran amused him. Surely, they were not on equal standing… not in the slightest. He had hoped the initiation into the Veil would have balanced things somewhat, but that had been applied to a professor of means and alchemical knowledge. Not… this. It was completely different than Eliza. The daughter of Ymiden had already been a dreamwalker and he’d had no interest in teaching her anything.

The answer that Doran gave struck him again, as had the previous words. He suspected he understood what the man implied.

When requested to share about his motivations for research, Llyr hesitated. He didn’t know if he could bring himself to talk to the mortalborn again. The very idea nearly made him pale and go nauseous again.

Thus, it was that when Doran spoke again, that the young mage listened from a most vulnerable position in the world. Did he truly know that much more than others? Llyr assumed that what he knew about Emea, about sparks, about magic were commonplace, even if it was difficult to find the same mentioned in books… but he figured it meant he simply hadn’t read enough books.

Llyr stared at Doran. The black of his eyes gradually receded, into irises to show the whites of the elfin shape again. He hadn’t touched the brandy, not even once, but he felt dizzy all the same. The blond dryly swallowed. A slow nod and he hesitantly agreed, “Yes… if you… if you say so.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me.” He forced a small, apologetic smile. Llyr looked away. He ran his fingertips along the table’s edge and observed the horde of his requested knowledge. His smile turned a little more genuine, though shy. He gradually found his way back to conversation. “I… the… research. My research. Yes. All these things, these subjects, some are for different reasons. Through it all, I aspire to influence Idalos. This world of our’s, it is wonderful, yet it could be even more so. I want to… create. I want to build. I want to help the people of this world. Help the world itself, even.”

The black of his eyes switched over in an array of light as his eyes turned white, instead. A flip of emotion. He looked at Doran again. His voice turned softer. “I aim to help Idalos. All my research goes into this, inevitably. Yet there is so much to learn still…”

He frowned slightly, still looking at Doran. “You desire to be a mage, don’t you?”

“Is that why? Why you listen to me and why you treat me so politely? You don’t have to.” Llyr shook his head. His blond hair drifted into a perfect styling of bangs, coaxed by the Edashan magic within the strands. “If you wish for a spark, all you have to do is find yourself a mage and plainly ask… many cannot deny the need to propagate their magic. For some, it seems akin to creating offspring to further their bloodlines.”

“I would warn you of this path, but… I cannot imagine a way to do so that might not insult you, given your centuries of experience.” A bemused smile twitched on Llyr’s lips. He quietly laughed and added, “Fates know, it only took me a trial to make the decision myself and that was with no experience at all.”

word count: 784
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Re: Manifest Midnight [Obsidian Prism]

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While Llyr never touched his drink, the Mortalborn took a sip every now and then. The drink helped him relax, to some extent. He had realized that he was becoming slightly tense, almost against his will as he considered the implications of what he had learned since he had returned to Viden again and what would logically have to happen next. He was more or less thinking about letting himself get infected with what a lot of people considered to be a parasite.

For a while, he didn’t speak, but simply stood there, still holding the glass in his hand. He was deep in thought, besides, Llyr seemed to be quite overwhelmed. He didn’t want to be the cause of a mental breakdown which was something that might happen considering the way Llyr acted. He only raised his voice again after the etherist had begun to speak and seemingly recovered from his shock somewhat. “I do not exaggerate, and I do not say such things if someone doesn’t deserve it”, he remarked in a matter-of-fact tone as Llyr seemed to struggle with what he had said about him.

“I have some of the same goals”, he admitted and set the glass down on the table before he looked at Llyr again. “I already told you why I became an alchemist. I wish to create, just like you. I wish to affect the world and change it, if I can. It is the reason for everything that I do and plan on doing.” It had been the reason for his actions during the battle at Treid’s Tomb, for his research, even the reason why he had returned to Viden after all those arcs and decided to live under his immortal aunt’s rule, even though Idalos might already be doomed. Contrary to what his enemies claimed, he wasn’t bent on destruction, even though he didn’t care particularly for some of Idalos’ mortal inhabitants.

He didn’t answer the etherist’s next question immediately, but glanced at the glass that still contained a bit of brandy as if he were looking for something, something that wasn’t really there. Finally, he spoke, somewhat slowly, a tone that was exceedingly serious, even for him, “Desire – and need. I realized something in the time since I began my research of the arcane. Our conversations only made it clearer. I want to understand this world and what moves it, but I’m still blind and deaf to certain parts of it. I do not really know, and I can barely see in spite of everything I have accomplished so far. In order to move forward, I will have to change.”

“I am aware of the consequences of walking such a path”,
he added.

“That’s not why I treat you like that though”, he continued, furrowing his brow slightly before he spoke, “I treat you like that because I consider it to be justified, and I listen to you because you have something to say. I do not want to have your magic, Mister Magpie. I have no interest in Mirage and little interest in Attunement besides the one thing that we talked about. These two domains would be of little use to me as an alchemist. I wish to shape and to create, as I told you. I want to affect the real world and not conjure illusions. I do not want a spark simply for the sake of having a spark.”

He laughed briefly as he said that.

“If I give myself to the spark, I want more than just an insight into the arcane that I do not have now. Transmutation is the domain that interests me the most, although Dustforge has some potential as well”, he spoke. It was the conclusion that he had come to after familiarizing himself with all the domains that existed. Some domains were pointless in his opinion, and yet others would likely do more harm than they would do good.

“I could without a doubt find myself a mage”, he agreed and inclined his head. “I could ask around – there are some people in Viden that would likely be willing to accommodate me considering my position at the Academy and my wealth. Initiation forges a close bond between the mage and the one they initiate though, does it not?” he asked and raised an eyebrow slightly, waiting for Llyr to confirm that.

“I do not wish to tie myself to someone that I know nothing about and may not be able to trust”, he informed Llyr in no uncertain terms. “Of course, I could try to get to know the mage in question better beforehand and try to gauge their reaction, but if they react negatively or suspect who and what I am and do not approve, I cannot erase their memories.”

“Do you understand my dilemma, Mister Magpie? My position is somewhat more complicated than that of the average mortal man that wishes to become a mage.”

“I’m not entirely sure how am I supposed to proceed now. Even a man of my age and background can be at a loss from time to time”,
he admitted somewhat reluctantly.
word count: 873

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Re: Manifest Midnight [Obsidian Prism]



Llyr listened, and he held his tongue. As with anything between the two of them, he already felt so much to potentially say. Especially while he listened to the reasoning behind Doran’s admitted desire – or as he put it need – to harbor a spark. Was Doran truly aware of the consequences? He said so, but Llyr did not feel as if this were the case. Yet, the biqaj said nothing about it.

Instead, he continued to listen. Doran expressed little interest in attunement, despite claiming to want to understand the world… Llyr immediately noticed the contradiction between this. Attunement, after all, was a magic that brought the world and everything within it to greater degrees of understanding. Yet it was a gentle spark, with an energy that didn’t push or prod but instead showed patience and encouraged harmony. For Llyr, this was the case. At that moment, he wished he understood more about his softer, quieter spark that seemed to function only to mitigate the other two within his soul.

He watched the mortalborn's short laughter, more than listened, when Doran continued. The contradiction was addressed, in that not only did the mortalborn want to understand the world but he also wanted to influence it, impact it… Llyr frowned, his prior wave of emotional insecurity all but forgotten due to the importance of what was being said. He listened to the rush of blood in his pointed ears as his heartbeat skipped a beat.

Doran sought a spark of Transmutation?

The young mage thought of what had been said earlier: about magical weapons. Was this what Doran aimed for? Weapons? He realized, a trill later, that he’d been asked a question about initiation. “Huh? Oh. Yes, it can create a bond.”

Llyr went quiet again, to listen more as Doran had more to say. The increasingly familiar look of thought showed on his youthful features; a slight furrow in the dark brows and an occasional squint of his colorful eyes that held mostly blue tints of light in the irises while he listened. He wetted his lips with the tip of his tongue, then nodded slowly.

For a bit, he looked to be at a loss of what to say. Rather, he sorted through all the questions and comments he could share. Llyr looked down at the table. He gradually said in a quiet voice, “…okay.”

Llyr unbuttoned his jacket. The lanky man walked to the couch in long-sweeping strides. He removed the jacket and hung it over the back of the furniture. The blond slicked his hair back, so the bangs weren’t in his face anymore. He retrieved the glass of brandy that Doran had poured for him earlier.

The biqaj walked back to the mortalborn. He held up the glass, then pressed it in offer for Doran to take. “Drink.”

“My sparks are not only in attunement,” he told the other man.

“I could not be certain what your intentions with alchemy were, for you use mage’s blood in your research. So, I lied.” Llyr didn’t apologize for it, nor did he look apologetic for it. Instead, he stared rather sternly at the dark-haired man. He continued, “I am not an illusionist. I do not have a mirage spark within me.”

Whether Doran took the glass, and if not Llyr set it aside on the table, he turned away. His wings spread out in dragonfly-shape behind him. He outstretched his arms as well and he walked a few steps to gain distance from both the alchemist and the table, before facing the centuries-old mortalborn again. “I told you what I am. I am an etherist! My sparks serve as council of my soul.”

“My first spark was of Transmutation,” he confided. Around his shoulders and waist, from his spine, thin insectile legs lengthened. Dark with bounded shadows, the ethereal limbs slid past the clothing as if it were not there and continued to form until spear-like points pressed into the expensive floor of the apartment. The main three pairs were similar to the Tanner Mantis’ leg in shape, while the top pair were far more delicate and skittered like antenna against his shoulders. “My second spark was of Becoming. And my third of Attunement.”

“They reside within me; they grant power and insight. The change they bring is great and terrifying, and they must be controlled.” His eyes had intensified in what seemed white, yet as the light broke the bounds to glow around his eyelashes and trail along his temples, it became obvious that this was not white but of all colors, shimmered in changing hues. The points of his insectoid legs dug further into the floor. He lifted from his feet, levitated in the air by the mutated ether.

“Doran Thetys, son of Ziell, Sesser, man of over three-hundred arcs on this physical world, and my brilliant initiate in the world of dreams,” he said in a smooth and Edasha-perfected voice. The deep tremor of his natural pitch rumbled in his chest, no longer hindered by his attempts to soften and gentle it into something more affable. “You desire. You need. So you have confessed to me. So you are presented with fortune beyond fate.”

“Remove your clothes,” instructed Llyr without a hint of hesitation about it. He pointed below him. “Kneel before me, without doubt. Prove your intention for this your desire and need, now, and I shall grant you that of my spark. You will be my one and my only initiate to the blissfully intense pain that is the acceptance of Transmutation inside of you. You will see Emea and Idalos as you never have before. You shall discover yourself beyond that which you thought of your existence. You will learn what it means to connect with a spark through your very soul.”

“Or deny yourself. Keep your body and mind sheltered, soul untouched...

...and I will never offer initiation again.”


word count: 1002
Please — consider me a dream.
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Re: Manifest Midnight [Obsidian Prism]

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For a few trills, the expression on the alchemist’s face mirrored Llyr’s own. He was at a loss and didn’t know what he was supposed to say. That was something that rarely happened. Llyr’s reaction to his admission that he didn’t seek a spark of Attunement, or Mirage was unexpected and exceedingly strange though. He’d expected the younger man to shrug his shoulders or, perhaps, comment on what some might consider to be a kind of paranoia – or even warn him that he had no idea what he was getting himself into. Instead, he only said one word though. Okay. He didn’t know what he meant by that.

When Llyr took his jacket off, the Mortalborn watched him, raising an eyebrow questioningly. He didn’t say anything though, but simply took the offered glass and drank as the situation warranted it. By the time the glass was empty, he had his facial features mostly under control again. “I see”, he remarked in a relatively neutral tone as Llyr told him that he had lied to him – and why he had done so. “Collecting the blood of an unwilling mage is a risky venture at the best of times though, besides, the blood needs to be collected while the mage is casting a spell”, he pointed out as it seemed as if Llyr had not been aware of that minor detail yet. It had not come up when they had made their potion.

Again, the alchemist didn’t move as Llyr walked away from him, but simply watched him. As Llyr admitted that his first spark had actually been Transmutation, his eyes widened slightly as this was another thing that was surprising, in a pleasant way. A moment later, his gaze went to the shadowy limbs that had begun to sprout from Llyr’s body though. He was not repulsed by them, he didn’t find them off-putting; instead, he looked at them with something akin to interest and, perhaps, even fascination as he wondered about their potential.

That the floor might get damaged didn’t occur to him. Besides, it could easily be replaced.

“A Transmutation mutation?” he wondered, his tone of voice tinged with a hint curiosity – Llyr revealing his Becoming mutations to him when they had been talking about Transmutation wouldn’t make any sense. As he said that, he couldn’t help but wonder how Llyr had managed to hide such an extreme mutation the entire time. Were those legs retractable? Could he conjure them at will? Had he possessed just a little less self-control, he might have attempted to touch them and study them in order to find out how tangible they were – and if Llyr could feel anything in those strange, insectoid limbs.

As it was, he only said a single word though. “Remarkable.”

A moment later, Llyr suddenly started to levitate. A few bits earlier, the etherist had wondered what he was compared to him, a man of divine blood that had been alive for centuries. As far as the alchemist was concerned, that question could be answered with one word: extraordinary. Unlike most, he wasn’t frightened by the sight in front of him, and he was not intimidated either. Instead, he was impressed, perhaps slightly against his will. Llyr had more or less implied that he was of human blood – he had insisted that he was not even twenty yet – but he was as different from most of the men that walked the world of Idalos as he was.

There was something about him that made him think of his own kind. The etherist was not inferior to him; he was, most likely, his equal. He had met few people like that so far.

He looked up at him – he had not had to look up at someone in a long time – and met his gaze, seemingly calm once more, even though his heart was beating a hint faster as he considered the unexpected turn the evening had taken. Syroa’s Blessing allowed him to control his emotions, but he couldn’t control his body’s reactions. He did not back down though, even though magic was something that he had abhorred once. He was not someone that was prone to indecision or hesitation – he had not even hesitated when he had stepped out of a portal and onto a battlefield where several Immortals had gathered.

He had simply done what he had considered to be necessary at the time.

He did briefly wonder what kind of effect the spark would have on him and his body though, and if he would change more than Llyr or less. Had any Mortalborn before him ever been subjected to such a thing – and what had happened to them? The inevitable mutations didn’t frighten him though. He had allied himself with the Immortal of Transformation after all. Instead, that aspect of magic was the source of some curiosity to him.

When Llyr ordered him to remove his clothes, the alchemist raised an eyebrow fractionally – there was nothing about initiation that required you to take your clothes off, from what he had read and heard – before he calmly began to disrobe. Unlike most of the inhabitants of Viden, he had no problems when it came to taking off his clothes; as a Blessed of Syroa he considered such inhibitions to be fairly pointless. For a moment following that, he stood there, considering the etherist’s second request.

He had only ever knelt before one being, Syroa, the Immortal that had marked him, but he would never kneel before a mere mortal. But then again, Llyr was no mere mortal. He possessed powers that were far greater than those of most other men and near perfect control over a world that he still knew very little about – and he had offered even more. A moment passed before he did as he had been told, his gaze firmly trained on the etherist and his face nearly expressionless.

He was ready.
word count: 1012

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Re: Manifest Midnight [Obsidian Prism]


Llyr did not answer the remarks or the hint of wonder that sounded in Doran’s words upon witness of the ethereal mutation. He focused on the offer made. He readied himself for either acceptance or denial, both of which would require a detachment from his more menial emotions. There was much to both possibilities, but Llyr felt a slight hope that Doran would deny him. That the Mortalborn would be intimidated and shy away from such drastic potential for change.

Yet as he felt the ether rush through his soul, into his spine, and to shape the legs, the mage felt a similar hope that Doran might accept. Already he had great investment to the other man as a colleague and associate. If he were to initiate Doran, beyond the walking of Emea, but also of his first spark into his soul… it would further their bond, strengthen it to balance the vast differences in their ages and thus, experiences. Moments ago, he had concerned himself with no longer being able to present himself to someone who was not only an academic but also centuries old. Now, he saw a way to move past this discovery. He could guide Doran’s relation to the spark, not through detached discussion, but actual connection of their ether between one another.

So it was, Llyr steeled himself for the emotions that Doran’s decision of either option would cause. He could not be certain which he preferred, but he did not try to sway any longer through words.

Doran wasn’t a stupid man. He’d been studying the arcane. He knew the risks ahead. He didn’t need someone to explain to him, not anymore. Llyr trusted that the mortalborn had considered the potential for death, and the inevitable mutations, and the change that would rend his soul so utterly that his mind would likely morph to suit the spark.

Llyr observed while Doran followed the instructions without complaint or resistance. It was a simple challenge he had set forth, but it was most necessary. Even with the advantages such a bond offered, he needed to be certain that Doran had the capability to set aside posh dignity and excessive pride, in order to receive that which he desired. If only for a moment.

Exposed and kneeling, Doran looked up at him with such emotionless readiness that Llyr observed this supplication for a bit. He didn’t smile. His eyes kept their prismatic light.

In a glide, Llyr returned to his feet. He stood in front of Doran and nodded. His insectoid legs lifted. He took a short breath.

The limbs retracted into his spine, vanished from sight. He reached out and set a hand against Doran – palm to forehead. Llyr said, “Doran, you have chosen the way of magic, of the arcane mysteries, and of the invitation and acceptance of a spark into your soul. From this point, you will start on a path to the man who you will be, not who you are.”

His hand slid down to gently caress the other man's bearded cheek. Llyr leaned down to look into the kneeling man’s eyes. His deep voice lowered. “I promise that once you return from the lure of Emea, from the pain that will transcend you, I will be here. I shall guide you and help you, whenever and however you may require it of me. Until my dying breath and you live on to influence this world of our’s, this Idalos in which we seek to impact, you will have me as your counselor.”

Llyr kissed the mortalborn’s forehead. His touch lingered, then slid away as he stepped around. He went to the table, lifted the black fur blanket, then unfolded it. He spread the blanket on the floor behind the alchemist and instructed, “Lay down, on your back.”

He watched while Doran followed the direction like the rest. Llyr stepped to stand above, boots on either side of the muscular man’s waist. The distinction of his full attire of black and gray, except for his jacket, contrasted with the human's bare skin underneath. The blond biqaj lifted his hands. A heavy scent of ether gathered. Iridescent light broke through to be seen, weaving and mingling around his palms. He brought it together, shaping the ether into a sphere of crystalline light.

The etherist knelt, lightly straddling the other man’s stomach. He gradually hovered the slivered essence of his spark above the center of the alchemist's chest. He looked down, one last pause to allow the son of Ziell to change his mind…

“Stay with me,” Llyr told Doran.

…he forced the Transmutation spark, encased with ether, into Doran’s heart.

word count: 793
Please — consider me a dream.
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Re: Manifest Midnight [Obsidian Prism]

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The alchemist realized that there was a chance that he might die – initiation was a risky venture – but the prospect of his life ending there and then didn’t deter him, at least not particularly. Sometimes, taking a risk was unavoidable if you wanted to evolve. There was also a chance that he might survive. For a moment, he had thought that he would die in Oscillus; someone had closed the portal that he had planned on using to escape, and only a single person had chosen to take his side. He had lived though, he had survived the battle, the journey to Augiery and all the hardships that had come after it.

Some would likely have felt exposed and vulnerable, kneeling in front of a mage of extraordinary skill and power, naked, but he did not. Even without his weapons, even without the artefacts that he had managed to acquire over the course of time, he was stronger and more durable than most others. He had been in a great amount of pain before, and he was convinced that he’d be able to handle whatever happened, easily – a somewhat faulty assumption, as it would turn out.

For the time being, he simply met the etherist’s eyes as he placed a palm against his forehead though, pondering the kiss. He did not move, but he did wonder what kind of man he would become, in a few bits, a few trials or maybe an arc’s time when the spark had firmly taken control of his mind, body and soul. It would likely be better than this, better than blindness and deafness, better than remaining stagnant, a man who still lived like a mortal more or less, despite his divine blood, because he’d scoffed at those that had given themselves to the spark.

As Llyr retrieved the fur blanket, he raised an eyebrow fractionally. Was that why the etherist had requested it? Had he planned for this to happen all along? Had he anticipated his wish somehow? He opened his mouth in order to inform the younger man in no uncertain terms that he would not lie down, that he wished to remain where he was – he was not a weak mortal – but then he decided to swallow his pride, if only for a moment, and did as he had been told. He still looked at the etherist who was directly above him now.

He did not move, and he did not change his mind and tell the etherist to stop, that he’d rather his soul remained intact after all, not even when the sphere of light hovered directly above his chest, so close that he could almost feel it. His heart began to beat even faster than before though, so fast that it was almost unpleasant as the sphere entered his body.

For a moment after that, there was utter calm though. The Mortalborn raised his head slightly in order to gaze at the spot where the sphere had struck. He moved a hand and let his fingers run across the spot on his chest that looked and felt just like before, gently, puzzled, before he looked at the etherist again questioningly, wondering about his strange warning. It didn’t seem to be that bad. It hadn’t even really hurt. There had been none of the unpleasant side-effects that he had thought that he would have to endure.

A moment later, the pain started, without a warning. At first, it seemed to be centred around the spot where the ether missile had pierced his chest, but within trills it spread throughout his body. He had thought that Oscillus had prepared him for it, but this was not just pain. It was utter agony. Every fibre of his being seemed to be on fire. He tried to breathe, slowly and steadily, but he didn’t seem to be able to get enough air into his lungs. He gasped. He tried to force himself to lie still – even now a part of him didn’t want to appear weak - but he could not. He clenched his fists. A moment later, he desperately clawed at the fur that he was lying on. He closed his eyes, as if that would make it easier to bear.

It did not.

It took all his self-control for him to not just crawl into a corner in a futile attempt to escape what was happening or curl up into a ball and start to whimper like a little child. He couldn’t keep himself from trembling though. He felt as if his entire body were being dissolved, or as if something were tearing at his insides and trying to rip him apart, into a million pieces. He couldn’t hide, and there was no escape. After a while, he could barely even think. Whatever arrogance he had possessed before, was completely gone.

The pain was too great.

He screamed.

He felt as if he were falling, upwards, towards the sky, as impossible as that was, fading away from Idalos, back into that strange dreamworld where Llyr and he had first met, where he had branded him with another kiss, where he had taken the first step towards his ascension three arcs earlier. He saw things that he had never seen before and that he had never thought possible. There were a million sights and sounds, some so beautiful that they almost brought tears to his eyes, and unspeakable horrors, seeking to devour him.

He saw the stars, a million worlds, a million possible futures, his daughter, his only child, that had died in infancy, a grown woman, Beira lying next to him, smiling at him – she was so beautiful – the man because of whom he had challenged the Immortals, two centuries before he had attacked Xiur at Treid’s Tomb, young again and healthy, instead of old and being ravaged by a disease that no doctor seemed to be able to cure.

For a moment, for the fraction of a trill, he was tempted to lose himself, but then he turned away from them, furious at them. They were not real. If he joined them, his life would end, and he could not allow that to happen. The world that he saw was not real. It was only a dream, and he wanted more than that, more than just illusions conjured by his mind. He wanted the world and everything that it had to offer, he wanted to explore every aspect of it. If he died now, he would never know who he could have become.

He would never know true greatness.

He began to feel his body again, but he did not try to fight the pain that seemed to be even greater than before anymore. Instead, he accepted it and embraced it and allowed the spark to meld with his soul, that strange thing that he had never felt or heard before, no matter which consequences such an act would have. It still did not stop though.

An eternity passed before the pain finally began to fade, gradually at first, from his limbs to his heart and finally his brain. After what felt like arcs, but had only been bits, he could hear his own thoughts again. He realized that he was lying on his side now. His throat felt raw and dry and painful, and his body felt heavy, due to how exhausted he was. For a moment, he could only lie there and stare before he started to move, slowly, as if he did not trust his body entirely yet.

For a moment, he felt the weight of all his centuries.

He touched his chest as he sat up, checked his body, touched his face, as if he almost expected to have turned into something similar to the etherist before him. He was still himself though, he realized with a mixture of disappointment and near-relief. There were no wings, no halo, no bizarre shadowy limbs and no transmuted and twisted body parts.

He was still who he had been before.

Except that he wasn’t.

He blinked as he considered that peculiar new sensation. It felt different from what he had thought that it would. He had thought that his studies of the arcane had given him a good idea of what it would be like, but they had not. He had thought that he had known enough, but he had not. He had been wrong on several accounts which was a humbling realization. What he felt now was more beautiful and more terrifying than he had imagined at the same time, and it was unlike anything that he had ever experienced before.

It would always be there, for better or for worse.

“I can feel it”, he said, his voice hoarse, and shook his head before he finally stood. The pain was gone now – he felt almost more alive than he had before - but a part of him would always remember it. He looked at Llyr who was still close, wondering what he had seen and thought – but not embarrassed because of how he had acted in the throes of pain, when he had thought that he was being ripped apart. He had survived, and that was all that really mattered.

A moment later, he asked, his voice filled with awe,

“I can feel you, in a way that is more than just physical … or is it your ether?”
word count: 1586

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