• Solo • Studying the Arcane, Part 1

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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Studying the Arcane, Part 1

Vhalar 18, Arc 719

“Good morning, Professor“, Hadrian, the Eidisi male that guarded the Prime Atheneum spoke. “Are you looking for something in particular today? It’s quite early, even for you, if you don’t mind me saying so”, he remarked and gestured towards the windows in order to let the Mortalborn know what he meant. While the moon and the stars had already disappeared, it was still dark outside, and the sun wouldn’t rise for another while. The only light came from the bright white snow that covered everything and the occasional streetlamp. This early in the trial, the streets of Viden were as good as empty.

The Mortalborn who was garbed in a thick, black cloak trimmed with silver fur in order to fend off the cold, among other things, stopped for a moment, wondering if he should deign to answer before he curtly informed the mortal, “I need to check the arcane section today. I want to research Empathy. I’ve decided to run a series of experiments as part of my thesis.” He’d begun to look into Blood Magic more seriously this arc – and come to the decision that a solid theoretical knowledge of domain magic was fundamental, at least if he wanted the items that he planned on making to work as intended.

Hadrian raised an eyebrow – he looked both curious and impressed at the same time, the Mortalborn observed. For a moment, it seemed as if the mortal wanted to ask him something, but then he just inclined his head and remarked, “I wish you good luck with your research, Professor! You know where you can find me if you ever need my help.”


A moment later, the Mortalborn was already sitting at an empty table, a stack of books in front of him and a few sheets of paper, a quill and a vial of ink next to him so that he would be able to take notes. There had been a time when he had refused to have anything to do with magic. A part of him still considered magic to be a disease and the Spark to be a parasite, but another part of him couldn’t help but think about the potential of magic and wonder what it would be like to be under the influence of the Spark.

Apart from Transmutation, Empathy was probably the domain that interested him the most, due to the fact that it allowed you to manipulate the emotions of others and protect your mind. During his time in Etzos, he had come into the possession of two items that were imbued with Empathy abilities, and he wanted to know if he’d be able to make more – or at least improve the items that he already owned before he considered the future of his soul and its possible corruption further.

The first book that he opened, a thick volume bound in red leather, was titled “An Introduction to Empathy”. In the foreword, the author, one Angelica Aquila, claimed to be a famous Empath – and she also stated that she had acquired a Diploma in Magical Theory which supposedly made her uniquely qualified to explain Empathy to the mundane.

The Mortalborn sneered a bit as he read that, but he leafed to the first chapter nevertheless – he wold not dismiss the book just because of the author’s unbecoming arrogance (Angelica could not be that famous, in all of his four centuries he had never heard of her).


Empathy, he read, furrowing his brow fractionally as he did so. Manifests as the Tangle. Empaths use the term “Tangle” to describe people’s emotional makeup which is much more complicated and confusing than we tend to think. People normally don’t only feel one emotion at a time. Instead, their minds are a mire of knots and interwoven strands. Empathy is the ability to grasp these knots and strands and influence the Tangle. Empaths can influence their own Tangle as well as the Tangles of others.

He wrote the word “Tangle” as well as a short summary of the first page down and moved on to the next chapter, an overview of some of the less complicated Empathy abilities.

Strum, he continued. Is one of the first techniques that a new Empath tends to learn, and it is essential as far as the manipulation of emotions is concerned. Strum vibrates a single emotional strand, in either the Empath or their target, and enables the Empath to temporarily bring it to the top of the Tangle.

This technique essentially makes an emotion stronger. Mild fear can be turned into absolute terror, vague attraction into a humming lust, boredom into utter apathy and sadness into despair.

It is important to note that the aforementioned emotions are suggestions rather than imperatives and can be dismissed by both the Empath and their target if the situation doesn’t merit them. For that reason, it is important that the Empath sets the stage to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Even though Strum seems to be a simple technique at first, it can be quite powerful in the hands of a Master Empath. Strum is the opposite of Knot, a technique that enables the Empath to temporarily hide an emotion so deep in the Tangle that their target or they cannot feel it.

He furrowed his brow a bit before he moved on to the next chapter that described the technique called Knot in more detail, momentarily wondering if the first Empath had been a tailor of some kind. It would explain why this book was full of threads, knot and tangles at least.


Trills turned into bits, and bits eventually turned into breaks as the Mortalborn sat there, going through book after book, comparing his sources in order to get as complete a picture of Empathy as possible. He was quite aware that there were some things that he would never understand, not unless he decided to get initiated after all, but at the same time, not being a mage made him see all those things in a slightly different light.

From time to time, being an outsider could be an advantage.

The sun already stood high in the sky when he finally returned the books to their rightful shelves, took his things, put his cloak back on and made his way back to the entrance, just as Hadrian returned from what he assumed had been his lunch break. The Eidisi hastily stuffed the last piece of what looked like a sandwich into his mouth before he returned to his post by the staircase that led up to the arcane section. Hadrian’s job consisted of making sure that nobody that didn’t have permission entered it.

“Finished, Professor?” the Eidisi asked politely. He stood completely straight, with his head held high, as if he were some sort of statue and as if that small breach of protocol had never happened.

The Mortalborn inclined his head sharply. He was about to move past him, towards the door, but abruptly changed his mind. “You talked about my needing your help earlier today”, he remarked in a fairly cool and neutral tone, noticing how the Eidisi’s eyes almost immediately widened with curiosity.

“I did, Professor”, Hadrian confirmed. “Is there a particular reason why you mention that?”

“There is”,
the Mortalborn admitted. “You meet a lot of mages here, don’t you, Hadrian? Could you ask around, see if any of them might be interested in helping me with my research? I’m looking for Empaths and Transmuters in particular, but I won’t turn Defiers and Rupturers away either. Tell them that I’m willing to compensate them – and mention their names in my thesis. Tell them that it’s for Doran, the alchemist.”

“I’ll ask around”,
Hadrian promised him. “Do you plan on making a potion, Professor?” he wanted to know.

“Among other things, yes”, the Mortalborn replied somewhat vaguely. “I also wish to educate myself on matters of the arcane further and learn more about how magic works. Thank you, Hadrian.”

He hesitated for a moment before he added, “If there is anything that you ever need from me, such as medical treatment or some sort of potion, let me know.” He liked the Eidisi, to some extent at least – he was somewhat less annoying than mortals normally tended to be - besides, if he promised him some sort of reward, he would probably work harder than he would have if he had had to find volunteers for him for free.

“I will”, the Eidisi said, smiling slightly, before he remarked, “Good luck with your research, Professor!”

With that, he turned around in order to watch the entrance to the arcane section once more while the Mortalborn walked out of the door and back to the Academy. He had to teach a class and conduct a few experiments that afternoon – Blood Magic was currently his main project, but far from his only one. On top of trying to create magic items, he was also working on antidotes for several poisons as well as researching divine reagents.

word count: 1527





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Re: Studying the Arcane, Part 1




Alchemy: Empathy: Strum: Temporarily brings an emotion to the top of the Tangle
Alchemy: Empathy: Strum: Fairly easily dispelled
Alchemy: Empathy: Strum: Works on the Empath as well as on others
Alchemy: Empathy: Strum: More like a suggestion than an imperative
Alchemy: Empathy: Strum: Can be incredibly powerful in the hands of a Master Empath
Research: Familiarizing yourself with your research topic




Wow, having access to all this information must be super useful! Who needs to do all that self experimentation when there is literature on the subject? You promised a boring thread but I didn’t get that impression. It showed how Doran processed information and what a typical day of study might look like. I find that day in the life threads are a good way of describing the setting and showing that not every day has to be a grand adventure. I would think that the knowledges would be more appropriate for Research, but if Maltruism says otherwise I'll let it slide. Enjoy the rewards!

word count: 180
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