• Solo • Evolution: Chrysalis Pt. 2

21st of Cylus 720

With the escalation of hostilities between Etzos and Rhakros, a series of small walled towns is being established as a network of early warnings and defenses against Rhakros' reprisals. Only the very bravest and most formidable of characters should risk themselves on the Witches' Wilds frontier.

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Aylune
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Evolution: Chrysalis Pt. 2

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Continued from Evolution: Chrysalis Pt. 1

21st of Cylus, 720

That morning, thoughts swirled in Aylune’s mind, so focused, so set on the idea that he needed to heal or find a way to get that Shift he’d heard about. A massive wolf-like creature, made of animated gemstone, such a fancy couldn’t have been possible.

If only Aylune’s leg wasn’t broken. A real pity. There was no chance to go after it, not until he healed, and that was going to take much of the Cycle.

”What do you think I should do, Needle?” Aylune asked his familiar as amber eyes stared daggers up into the ceiling of the inn. ”It’s such a puzzle.”

”Perhaps I can help you,” said Needle, hopping up onto the bed and staring down at him. ”I’ll join you in your world, and we’ll travel together, as one.”

Aylune blinked. ”Is that a thing we can really do?”

”I suspect so,” replied Needle.

Shifting up, Aylune started stacking pillows to prop up his back, not wanting to attempt this laying down. “So how?” asked Aylune.

“I don’t know, it’s a feeling,” said Needle.

Running a hand through his hair, the mage sighed. “Of course you don’t.” Taking a moment to relax, he looked over the palms of his hands, and then back at his Familiar, thinking about all he’d done, and his connection to the Sparks in his body. Touching his bond mark, he shut his eyes and breathed in and out to clear his mind, letting that thought become the sole focus.

Was there something more to this bond? He’d heard stories growing up, that he could... but weren’t they just stories? “Needle, come closer,” said Aylune with a hand stretched out to receive the Familiar’s muzzle. It wasn’t something he could outright touch, but he could sense the creature’s presence through his mark.

“I think it’s working,” said Needle with shut eyes through their connection. “I can feel you.”

Aylune began to focus on Needle’s presence, the connection to that part of his soul a link by which the pair were inextricably bound. His palm to the bond mark, he could feel his mind drifting towards the other. Something strange began to happen; Aylune could feel the presence tugging more openly, like rushing water, and as he mentally dipped into the connection his mind spun with dizzying intensities.

Everything began to feel different, yet familiar. A wolf-like nose twitched at the air, picking up on the many scents of the room. Eyes opened, peering down at a colorblind world all around him, and at the upsetting presence of his own body laying across the bedframe. “I did it,” said Aylune with an incomprehensible growl, the tail on Needle’s body beginning to flop back and forth with brewing excitement.

Familiar with being a wolf, as he’d taken the form many times, Aylune stepped over his own body and down to the floor, trotting to the center of the room before the mirror. At first he strutted his stuff, turning his head, admiring the horns his friend possessed. “Can you hear me, Needle?” Aylune asked.

”...Yes,” came a delayed response. ”This is strange, but I can feel everything, and the way you step; it’s different from how I walk,” replied the kindred Diri Aylune’s soul was hijacking.

“Your body looks so pretty, seeing it through your eyes.” Looking back over his shoulder, he was drawn back to his body, hopping back up onto the bed and nosing into his own palm, breathing in his own scent. ”Is that what I smell like to other wolves? It’s nice.

”I can’t smell you from the Beneath, but I can when we go to your Dreamscape,” replied Needle fondly. ”We’re both at such peace in the glade of a quiet forest, until the flightiness in your heart tears you away.

”Those dreams are the best, my dear friend,” said Aylune, shutting his eyes and focusing again on their connection, finding that pull to his body and allowing himself to fall back within it. Sitting up abruptly, he clenched his palms where he still felt the cool residue of the other’s wet nose, locking eyes with Needle and smiling with a certain warmth. When he next spoke, it was with his own voice, just to hear it and get reacquainted with his own body. “It’s nice to know we can do that, and I want to explore that more with you, but we’re in the middle of Relay, and I don’t feel it’s the right move to leave my body behind.”

”You inside me was one of the best feelings-” began Needle.

”No, don’t say it like that, please, Needle,” interrupted Aylune with a palm over his face.

”What do you mean?” asked Needle, head cocked.

”Nevermind, forget I said anything,” said Aylune.

”You speak in tongues, tongue-speaking tongue-speaker,” teased the Familiar, but Aylune just shrugged it off, turning onto his side and grasping the wolf totem around his neck.

Looking for them in his mind, he found his Sparks, their presence like a noise you never notice until you pay attention. “The worlds of Emea and the Beneath are all so complicated, but then so is Idalos,” said Aylune. “Each needs a different train of thought, more of my attention and caution. I’m no know-it-all, Needle, even if I wish I was.”

”Your instincts have gotten you far,” said Needle.

”I know, but I can’t help but feel there’s something missing. I’m so humbled to have you, and I respect the power of the Sparks I was given, but there’s got to be a way to tether it all together in a way that makes sense. I’m sick of being weak, of being broken.” Aylune rubbed his thumb over the wolf totem, its presence already calling to him in his mind. It felt so whole, like a separate, living being.

So whole...

Aylune’s eyes opened. Wide, pupils unfocused. It all seemed so utterly, terribly simple to him now. ”Needle,” thought Aylune to his companion, shifting upright. ”I know what I must do now.”

”If your Sparks put you up to it, you’d do well to be careful. The last thing you need now while you’re healing is to Overstep,” replied Needle with concern, but Aylune was already carefully shifting from bed, grunting from the pain-wracked nerves in his broken leg.

”I’m doing it. There’s no sense in waiting. My body may be a cripple, but my soul is raring and rested. It can take the punishment.” Beyond little cantrips here or there, Aylune had hardly utilized his Sparks in recent Trials. It was now or never.

”Whatever happens, I’ll be there for you,” said Needle.

”I’ll be fine,” said Aylune.

As his bare feet touched the floor, cool water spread from his toes, and he lifted the shirt from his body, throwing it aside. Then came everything else.

Aylune rolled his shoulders before shaking his arms out and holding his hands aloft at naked nipple-height like an experienced mage about to cast ought to. Those fingers wriggled, and Aylune began to relax with a deep inhale, exhaling on the thought of the complete, pure form of not his wolf persona, but the totem of self, his own body, imagining it free of injury. “By the Anak of Renewal, of Rebirth, of Flesh, and Bone. If a single one can hear me as I utter these words: begone, maladies of my body,” chanted the mage before leaning into that idealized conception in his mind’s eye, bringing it together with the Spark and asking it to realize that vision.

Shocks of familiar pain ran through Aylune’s body, muscle spasms as his bones creaked, and he doubled over forward from the bed to his knees. “Mmn-hmph!” Shoulders popped from their sockets and pulled back in, ears splayed against his skull from the pain. Then came the leg, an intense numbness spreading through the entire limb as he hissed through the transformation until he could speak no more under the power of his Spark.

Needle stared over him in worry, their eyes meeting on occasion during this grotesque ritual. Like a cocooning insect, his body began to piece itself together, set back into place, made whole again. After a good bit of time, the transformation began to wind down, leaving him hot and panting there on the floor, he pulled himself up to the bed covered in a thin veneer of his own sweat. “I think it worked,” panted Aylune.

Using the once broken leg to prop himself up, he found it completely painless, and sturdy as if new. Dangling his legs off the side of the bed, he wriggled his toes and ran his hand up and down the shin, finding it completely healed without so much as a scar. “Huh,” marveled Aylune, “it worked really well. Do you know how many soldiers would give their firstborn child to mend a wound whenever they wished? I feel blessed by Myrkvior herself.”

Then his eyes caught the other change. When Aylune first began his journey as a mage, he’d paid a price. Now, after all these Arcs, what he paid had been returned to him. Aylune’s breath stilled in his lungs. “Haa...”

“Aylune?” said Needle with concern, and then they saw it too. “Your toe!” gasped the Familiar. “You got your toe back!”

Aylune stood upon his feet and rubbed that digit back and forth against the floorboards, smearing the wooden planks with water as his face lit up with childish elation. ”Whatever your aims, thank you, Spark!” thought Aylune before jumping on the bed and just holding on to that once-amputated digit with his fingers, the other hand going to his totem just to make sure the original thumb toe was still there. It was, and so all was well.

”I’ll need to take care using that part of my power again. Overstepping seems easy, and if I used it in battle or tried to force it through an Unleash, I’d be boned. It’s a dangerous gift, as wonderful as it is.” Rolling onto his front, he came nose-to-nose with that colorful, glimmering apparition. “Am I humble enough for you, yet?” asked Aylune, drunk on joy.

“Not in the slightest,” replied Needle.

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Re: Evolution: Chrysalis Pt. 2

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Aylune

Experience: 10 Becoming xp (must be listed as Becoming xp in your CS.)

Knowledge:

Meditation: Melding With Familiar Via Connection
Becoming: Chrysalis
Becoming: Chrysalis Can Be Easy to Overstep With
Becoming: Chrysalis to Renew Very Old Injuries
Becoming: Chrysalis to Renew Broken Bones
Becoming: Chrysalis to Renew Amputated Appendages

Renown: I don't think anyone witnessed what happened there. So none.

Skill Usage: Appropriate to level.

Loot/Losses: none

Injuries/Conditions: Healed amputated toe and broken skin, you won't be able to cast chrysalis for a while, and your ether is a bit drained until you give yourself time to rest/meditate.

Consequences: none

Comments: I enjoyed this continuation of your previous story. Aylune's relationship, connection, and interractions with Needle are quite endearing. I especially enjoyed this line:

”You inside me was one of the best feelings-” began Needle.

”No, don’t say it like that, please, Needle,” interrupted Aylune with a palm over his face.

Very amusing :D

I wasn't sure if Chrysalis was able to heal damage that had been incurred before forming a totem, but couldn't find anything about it in the current write-up so I'll allow it.

Overall, good little solo story. Yay for pc development.

If you have any concerns about this review, please PM me about them.

Note to player: You need to fix your cs, and list the specific magics that were awarded in your ledger. Magic is specific to the type used, and there is no generic magic xp pool. Please correct that.
word count: 257
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