• Solo • Shared Inheritance

22nd of Cylus 721

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Shared Inheritance


22nd of Cylus 721

Their clawed feet crunched against the snow-laden earth, and layers of old-growth and leaves that had fallen over the arcs, providing a crisp and easily followed trail. More than once, it occurred to Rakvald that they would be easy to follow, from miles out even. Followed by predators, followed by the pupils of Master Long, followed by enterprising hunters, or even slavers from Athart. Their footprints left deep impressions upon the ground, and they were anything but sneaky or adequate at covering a trail.

Rakvald, for his part, stumbled much along the way. He wasn’t used to walking about with a long, powerful, and whip-like tail trailing out behind him, through the slit in his lower robes. Every once in a while, the tail would wave and whip against the bark of a nearby tree, causing leaves and snow to fall from it, annoying Ash-Flaw with its cold flakes.

Rakvald had promised Ash-Flaw a gift, in exchange for the acquisition of his totem. But they had to find a place that was relatively safe, cordoned off from the elements, and secret in order for the mage to concentrate on what would be a very delicate process of grafting a new ability onto his new ally. He’d considered what he wanted Ash-Flaw to receive, or perhaps what Ash-Flaw himself desired.

So as they walked along, heedless of their sticking out like a pair of sore thumbs, Rakvald questioned his companion, ”What sort of gifts, do you seek of the art of flesh-making?” Rakvald asked, craning his neck and testing the air with his forked tongue. ”There are but a few gifts which I could grant you, but I would need an idea which would appeal to one such as yourself.”

Ash-Flaw said nothing for a few moments, but stalked ahead of Rakvald, uncovering a rock, and grabbing several bugs from beneath it. Here, he cupped them in hands and offered a few to Rakvald. The Mage took it gratefully and munched on the little insects. Their texture was crunchy, but juicy as well. Not a bad snack. But then, Rakvald was getting hungry. He felt his strength rising from the Swine King’s Buckle, as his appetite began peaking. He could probably wrestle a more substantial meal, if only he had more hunting skill.

But alas, experienced woodsmen they were not, although survivors for sure. Rakvald would learn to hunt one of these days. He could feel the potential of his current totem for such an activity, a hidden reserve of endurance that he could use to close the distance between himself and his prey. And sharpened claws, deadly when wielded in violence, the better to take down his quarry.

Ash-Flaw finally answered him when they had finished with the bugs and were on their way again. ”I’d wish to breathe as the fishes do. There are many riches to find in these rivers and streams. I would dive into them, and be able to breathe the water… Find the treasures of the deep such as pearls, coral, and food.”

Rakvald sighed in relief. This he could do, being well familiar with the amphibious water-breathing of the mer. His gestalt totem actually possessed this trait, so it was fresh on the memory of his arcana. He would be very easily capable of imparting such a trait upon his pupil. And he was confident that they could do so with maximum efficiency.

As they walked along, Rakvald considered the possibility, after granting him what he could through graft and his other arcane arts, that he might take this Ithecal as an apprentice. An arcane apprentice. He’d never had a student before, not a proper one anyway. His own mentor had left him high and dry, although they were still on friendly terms. He didn’t wish to enter a strange being's life, to impart magic, only to disappear afterward. Such an approach to magic, while it was characteristic of Rakvald’s generally positive and blithe attitude toward the use of magic, seemed rather callous and careless.

They continued for some distance to the east, trying to find their way back to civilization when they found a large carven statue, a maw leading into a deeper cavern. Here, Rakvald and Ash-Flaw were given pause. It might be safe, just inside, enough to grant Ash-Flaw his chosen boon. Rakvald answered his desire as they investigated the area around the Maw. ”I can grant you such an ability. However, you must be sure, because it is difficult to remove once applied…”

”I’m sure, Mast…”

Rakvald cut him off at that, ”Never call me Master. Kin or Father will do.” The Spark of the All-Father, his becoming persona prompted him to this title. Although he did come to think of those who fell under his protection as children in need of guidance. Even Ildred. Especially given that Rakvald had lived for centuries now, in previous lives. It was only fitting that he saw these younger folk in that way.

Ash-Flaw seemed to hesitate, and then nodded, ”Very well, Father then.”

Rakvald’s reptilian lips curled upward at that, and he sniffed the air in pleasure. It felt good to have someone to look after again.

Thus, they entered the first strata of the caverns inside the Maw. Before long, they were able to find a safe sort of culvert in which to perform the rites of gifting. Rakvald would pass his inheritance down to this new follower. He would become the first of Rakvald’s disciples.

Rakvald reached out with his left and right arm, tracing the flesh and scales that stood out from the front of Ash-Flaw’s torso. This was where the mer gills usually took form, and they worked in tandem with the same lungs that breathed fresh air as well as water. It was a trait that allowed the Mer to breathe wherever they happened to find themselves. A highly underrated ability, yet one that he was pleased with Ash-Flaw for choosing. This meant they could have many more shared adventures, as Rakvald himself was no stranger to swimming through the deep places.

As he felt the depressions that delineated the gap in the ribs, where the lungs were just behind, Rakvald began transferring his knowledge of the gills, corrupting the flesh there and introducing to it a new function. He furrowed the ridges of his brow as he concentrated. Bits followed bits until large open wounds began opening on Ash-Flaw’s torso. He sucked in the air sharply but was resilient. Rakvald could dull the pain, but he could not eliminate all discomfort. The area he worked with was too large, right now.

As he channelled the ether, tasking it with the transformative properties that would imbue Ash-Flaw with his gift, Rakvald himself meditated on the nature of the mers amphibious water-breathing. He decided it was something he wished to keep, even in this form, and so willed it as he worked on Ash-Flaw’s flesh to become a permanent Echo, regardless of what totem he inhabited.

The dual transformations took place simultaneously, with the gills appearing on Rakvald’s flesh as well as Ash-Flaw’s. Before the break was done, they had acquired their Inheritance, by the grace of flesh-craft and strange arcana.

Rakvald willed the ether to retask itself to his soul, trying to conserve what little he could of that monumental technique. He stepped back, sliding to his haunches as he admired his handiwork, that he’d wrought upon Ash-Flaw. The creature was magnificent, with several large slitted gills on either side of his torso. Rakvald could hardly wait to test out the efficacy of these new organs, as well as his own new Permanent Echo.

”Come…” Rakvald bid Ash-Flaw to rise, and join him in exploring the caverns and galleries below where they stood. ”Let’s see what we can find in this strange new place!” Rakvald had to admit some excitement at having discovered such an interesting structure outside and was curious as to what had built it, and what now lurked within. Perhaps they’d even find some treasure?

Ash-Flaw nodded, falling in step behind Rakvald, as they both sauntered down the stepping stones to the deeper levels of the Maw. Rakvald, for his part, wished to be alert, and so channeled a temporary echo of the Dubaebo’s sense of smell. He would not be taken by surprise, though he trundled through the passages with all the grace and discretion of an elephant.

Nevertheless, descended they did, heedless of the flight of bats that came withering out of the darkness to surround them. Rakvald thought to acquire one of them for a totem, but time was short. They would need to get back to Desnind before long, but not before giving this new place a thorough exploration…
word count: 1509

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Re: Shared Inheritance


Review Rewards

Name: Rak

Points awarded: 10
Magic xp: 10 (5 for Graft, 5 for Becoming)

Becoming: Echo (Permanent): Mer gills: can breathe both fresh air as well as water.
Detection: Sensing a safe place in a dark cavern.
Graft: Corruption: Duplication: Grafting amphibious mer gills to a Ithecal’s ribs.
Graft: Corruption: Familiarity with the form of a mer can grant advantage in applying its physiology.
Intimidation: Tell your disciple how to address you.
Intimidation: Bringing your disciple into certain danger.

Grafted Mer Gills for a Ash-Flaw NPC.
Becoming: Permanent Echo defined as Mer Gills (Amphibious Waterbreathing).

Skill Review: All Skills used appropriate to level

Becoming is not a discipline I've read about much so I had to do some digging (Thank you for that!) and familiarize myself with it. Handy little magic!

Rak is a great character and I'm enjoying his arc with Ash-Flaw (I got it right this time!). This piece had a very specific goal and as a reader, I was very aware of that goal...which allowed me to feel a bit invested in whether Rak was successful or not with his ambitions.

I love that you describe how Rak knows how to do what he does, and acknowledges where the information comes from, like in the case of the gills. It's really important sometimes to include those details. I feel that it deepens the story and makes it multi-dimensional. Well done!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding this review, feel free to PM. Enjoy your rewards!


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