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Thomas and Estrellir meet for another Auristics lesson.

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Postby Estrellir Konrath on April 21st, 2016, 9:36 am

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Spring 29, 516 AV


Estrellir took the hand out of her pocket as she ascended the steps and headed towards their usual classroom. She knew the pebble was in the right front pocket of her pants without having to check. After several days spent meditating on it, she knew it like the back of her hand (gnosis mark or not) and almost felt like it was part of her body. Thomas had warned her that would happen, but it was still a mildly unsettling feeling to carry around day and night.

Upon knocking and entering, she found the classroom empty. Once again, the Konti was the first to arrive, but instead of sitting down, she leaned her hips against a desk and produced a small hand mirror from another pocket. Her skin was still green, had been ever since she’d drunk from that wretched fountain. For luck! It wasn’t even pastel or opalescent green that would’ve gone well with her scales and overall pale appearance, no, it was vivid grass green, close to emerald or the color of poison. Impossible to miss. With a sigh, she put the mirror away and folded her arms in front of her chest. What were the odds that Thomas had tasted that cursed water too? Mages tended to be curious, inquisitive folk.

Either way, she wouldn’t let it stop her efforts to get a first glimpse of auras. Others had apparently developed stranger talents like extraordinary charisma or even volatile magical powers. Estrellir supposed she should be grateful to be stuck with altered appearance and nothing worse… but she didn’t quite feel it. While she was waiting, she put the pebble on the desk next to her and began humming a Konti lullaby to herself. Surely a small break would only do her good before she resumed to bend her mind into impossible knots and twists.

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Postby Thomas Cosa on April 30th, 2016, 8:52 am

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Thomas hadn't been sleeping the past few days.

Each time he'd slipped into sleep, never willingingly, he'd been plagued with nightmares. Always the same, him lost in a detail-less pastoral scenery, calm and easy. Then, a portal opened. It mirrored the emptiness of it's real world counterpart, a clear darkness that hinted at the vast world behind; it was only then, wet with sweat and fear, he woke.

Needless to say, he'd looked better. Thomas walked determinedly, fighting his body in a losing battle to stay awake. He wore the dark rings around his eyes as proudly as he could, his body seemingly even more thin - he wasn't eating, he hadn't the time. More and more of his life was being spent away in the library, searching for anything that could help him control his new magic. The idea that reality could just rip around him was frightening enough, but his dreams hinted at the possibility of him casting while asleep. The wizard was worried he was beginning to lose control of his magic, was far worse than anything he'd ever experienced before.

Thomas stumbled into the classroom, confused because that door hadn't been locked. He was even more confused to find his student was now green.

"Oh. You drank from the fountain, too, then?" he shrugged, uncharacteristically blunt. He was too tired to pretend he was alright, and that nothing unusual was happening with Estrellir either.

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Postby Estrellir Konrath on May 1st, 2016, 3:33 pm

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Estrellir stopped humming when the door was opened and someone stumbled in with considerably less grace than expected. Next came a surprisingly blunt remark. After pushing herself away from the desk, she took a hesitant step into his direction. If Thomas fell, she wanted to be close enough to help. Then she inspected his appearance, noting the dark bags under his eyes and tired expression. “Yes, I have, although it seems to have hit you harder, no? You don’t look well, sit down and rest for a chime.”

Contrary to many of her sisters, the Konti was no healer and didn’t even pretend to possess the slightest bit of medical knowledge. But it was her Auristics lesson Thomas was supposed to conduct, a lesson she had paid and prepared for. What use would he be if he dozed off during her meditation? Considering all that, it wasn’t hard to see why she sounded a little stricter, a little less playful than last time.

All the meditating and mental stunts had taken its toll, however, as Estrellir felt less playful in general, not only towards Thomas. After days of all work and no success, her patience was dwindling and the strain had worn away the pleasant façade until her core shone through, determined and driven.

When she was sure Thomas wouldn’t fall or stumble again, she leaned back and crossed her arms in front of her chest. “Since I still haven’t seen anything resembling an aura, I intend to work hard and, with your guidance, make some progress today. I hope you’re up for it.”

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Postby Thomas Cosa on May 3rd, 2016, 1:02 pm

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"Apparently," Thomas mumbled, annoyed at his own fatigue. The wizard sighed as he eased into the hard wood of his chair, blinking away sleep as the classroom blurred and sharpened in and out of his vision. Today, despite the obvious difficulties, would be a fight against his own magic. Casting recently, only seemed to expiate the random splits in reality, and he wasn't willing to risk himself or Estrellir.

"Anyway, let's not focus on the, eh, unpleasantness of the fountain," Thomas suggested, obviously uninterested and uncomfortable with the topic. Green skin and the cold void of nothing that stalked didn't seem appropriate for the classroom. "And good for not being so discouraged. Magic isn't for those who wouldn't fight for it" He added, an obvious swell of pride warming his voice. Whether that pride was directed at his student, or at himself, well, that could be debated.

"Tell me then: how did you prepare for today? And the pebble?" Thomas asked, tapping on Estrellir's desk, hinting he wanted the pebble in plain view. "Just how well do you think you know it?"

He was tiptoeing the line separating delusion from sanity, but teaching had never exactly been a skill for him; perhaps a little crazy might do them both a favor today.

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Postby Estrellir Konrath on May 5th, 2016, 9:23 pm

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Estrellir watched as her instructor sat down and tried to blink fatigue from his eyes. She was reluctant to admit it, but focusing on something other than the stupid pebble did wonders for her mood and overall state of mind. Although she gladly would’ve discussed the effects of the fountain, perhaps traded theories, Thomas was obviously less inclined to dwell on the curse. That told her that his had to be worse than mere cosmetics. He didn’t look any different and somehow she doubted he was merely suffering from insomnia. No, that seemed to be a side effect, not the problem itself.

As he didn’t give her anything else to go on, Estrellir was stuck. The hint of pride, however faint it had been in his tone, didn’t exactly help too. For a moment, she merely gazed at him with bright violet eyes as one would at a rare animal, but of course, that didn’t prompt any revelations.

So, the pebble. She had half a mind to flick it into his face, punishment for bringing it up, but then again, it was what they were here for. Taking care not to flinch, she picked it up and held it carefully between both hands like a living thing. As if it could fly away… “I meditated on it whenever I had time. Considering that I’m still unemployed, that really meant most of the time. Bells and bells. I tried to imagine what it would look, smell and feel like in every possible situation. Some impossible situations too.” She proceeded to describe her imaginings in great detail, listing every feature, every angle, everything the pebble had gained through it. “I’ve held it in my hands during every session too, looked at it and tried to connect those sensations to the actual object. It’s hard to link daydreams and reality though. That… that fundamental difference, might be part of the reason why nothing has happened yet. How does one bridge that gap anyway? As mages, do we really just imagine something, stacking detail on top of detail, so that when it finally feels real, it becomes so?”

At that point, she crossed her arms in front of her chest, closing a fist around the pebble. It was clean and almost polished from constant handling, all remains of road dust long gone. She had even licked it, quite reluctantly, but nothing had come of it. Perhaps their short tempers, for both teacher and student seemed rather tight, would inspire some progress.

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Postby Thomas Cosa on May 7th, 2016, 3:03 am

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Thomas' face scrunched up, thought made visible, as he considered Estrellir's question. Mostly, he was thinking about ways to excuse himself from the lesson; true enough, it had been a distraction, as well as any, from his exhaustion, but it was becoming quickly apparent he would have to cast over her soon. It was hard enough teaching with magic, but without? Unable to see her breach past the mundane, watch as the sparkles of magic scarred her aura? He wondered if he'd even be capable, to work her through her first spell unable to ward her off from overgiving.

"As irritating as it'll sound, 'bridging the gap' is something incredibly individual," he sighed, his eyes closed in thought. He was tempted to leave himself there, to simply fall asleep and hope for a dreamless nap, but the fear of what might happen was enough to open his eyes again, "I starved myself, didn't sleep for days. The button became my world, my reality, everything. I think it finally happened when there wasn't anything left for me, I almost broke, mentally, if I'm being honest," he shrugged, a spark of clarity catching the coal of his eyes. The memories were anything but pleasant, but they fed him when he lagged, when he lazed. Magic and power demanded work and sacrifice, and if he wasn't always prepared to give his all, he might as well pack his bags and go join his father in whatever tavern he'd locked himself in.

"That's not to say that every initiation will be as difficulty. Some, I've met, seem to simply glide through their magical beginnings," Thomas paused, momentairly grateful Estrellir hadn't been this way; he would have found it difficult to mask his jealously. "Talent is found in all skills, after all."

"And, I suppose, yes, that's what wizards do. We make our own realities," He started, emboldened by his fatigue. Why pretend wizards were anything less? Auristics would show her what the world hid from the more mundane populations, anyway. "With world magics, what I usually practice, it's more obvious. We create what we desire - in personal magics, I'm beginning to understand the slight difference," he hesitated, a finger lingering on his lip as he thought. "But I think you understand the gist, with Auristics especially, you have to understand what you're seeing. Auras are delicious, tempting, and preternaturally beautiful. You can waste your life away just watching without really understanding, and that's why this activity is so important. The more you understand of the pebble now, the less shocked you'll be when it finally happens, you see?"

Thomas only just realized he wasn't entirely sure he answered the question. "Do you understand? Did I answer your question satisfactorily?"

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Postby Estrellir Konrath on May 8th, 2016, 9:02 pm

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Estrellir watched him think, waiting patiently, amusement showing only in the corners of her mouth. When he finally replied, that vanished too as if it had never existed. So his initiation had been incredibly hard, almost suicidal. However, what if it had only worked for him because someone had told him so? Thomas must’ve had a teacher too, he’d mentioned as much, after all. What if he’d only done what his teacher had known? And his teacher before that? At the same time, initiation was supposed to be highly individual.

Of course, she wouldn’t expect anything else. They were creatures of habit, after all, destined to take the path of least resistance unless some higher motive demanded otherwise. Morale, for instance, or pride. Annoying things, emotions. The longer she thought about it, the more Estrellir suspected a different approach might be in order. If Thomas didn’t mind starving himself for days and days, that was his problem. As for the Konti, she was already green and more bothered by it than expected. If she added stick figure to her physical properties, she’d give up more than she cared to.

Thoughts and ideas swirled around in the back of her head while Thomas was speaking. She almost smiled at his description, an ode to the beauty of auras. It was worth it, no doubt, yet something irked her. “But there has to be price, no? There always is.” And the difference between personal and world magic… she hadn’t taken much time to study how exactly they differed and why magic had been categorized like that, but his comparison contained some hints. Opposites, or two sides of the same coin.

The fact that he was actually a world mage came as a surprise. Information, tucked away for later use, perhaps analysis.

And while thoughts and ideas continued swirling around in her head, Estrellir stood silent for a while. She even momentarily forgot the question he’d asked, instead thinking about her endless bells of meditation and the (profoundly disappointing) absence of auras she’d gotten in return. Assuming their approach had been wrong after all, a different tactic was in order. When the Konti spoke up, she did so slowly and carefully, gaining momentum as her thoughts shifted into correct order. “Yes… I see. At the same time, I couldn’t imagine any more scenarios for a pebble, no matter how hard I tried. Perhaps I’m guilty of logical thinking. I’ve been called headstrong before.” By more than one person, in fact, but he didn’t need to know that. “Couldn’t it be possible that this is the wrong way to go about initiation? During meditation I’m still thinking, after all, consciously trying to connect the images in my head to the real object. That’s not how it works, isn’t it? It’s a feeling, it should be unexpected.”

She pushed off the desk, pacing the classroom as if it was her old detective bureau. In fact she almost forgot it was a young wizard, not her assistant Mell listening to her. “Considering I’m about to get a headache and you’re obviously exhausted, a break might be in order. Not a break from our lesson, but a change in scenery. I wouldn’t presume to be the expert here, but what do you say? Does this make any sense so far?”

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Postby Thomas Cosa on May 13th, 2016, 2:03 pm

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"A price? I mean, obviously, but --," Thomas started, only to have his words swallowed by a yawn. It was sudden, but not unexpected; he was tired, and he was more surprised his body hadn't protested his fatigue earlier. "You'll forgive me," his tone cold with a polite formality, "The past few days haven't been easy, but as to your question, yes, there is a price," the wizard paused, a hand resting thoughtfully against his chin, as well an effort to keep his face from falling flat on the desk.

"I'd thought we'd already discussed the risks of magic, but it isn't so unbelievable that I would have skimmed past overgiving. Auristics is, in comparison to what I know of other magics, incredibly low risk," he said, confident in his knowledge, despite some very obvious gasps that could become even moreso should Estrellir care to question him, "Headaches, blurred vision, irritably, hallucinations, sweet whispers," Thomas continued, listing symptoms as like he was reading a grocery list. "Eventually, though, this magic will change you, like any other use of Djed. Some in this Tower might try and convince you that with a wary mindset and a memorized techniques of risk assessment and managements, you can stave off overgiving forever," Thomas rolled his eyes, clearly unimpressed with this idea, "This, obviously, is a lie. Unless of course you plan to only dally in this magic, in which case, I would prefer to recommend you to another professor would might be better suited to suggest such a temperament," he offered, his voice dangerously cold and sharp, and for the first time, Estrellir might see evidence to the rumors of a heavily prejudiced teacher had she heard anything at all.

"Of course, I don't believe that is why you choose to learn magic - but you should know that pursuing this, or any other, magic, that it will change you. It's your decision, your will alone, that will decide if this change destroys you or lifts you to the lofty highs of a celebrated greatness," he smiled, clearly believing everything he said. And why shouldn't he? Sahova had been many things, but it shown magic to be the great equalizer - he'd gone from a no one, to someone, all because of his talent and ability. The mainland might be more conservative about wizards, but it's not like they would have much of choice when he brought himself to his full extent of his talent.

Thomas nodded in agreement with his student, impressed with her insight. "Perhaps. Initiation is incredibly individualistic after all, or so I believe. Besides, we share the same religion, so I understand and appreciate the value of intuition - if you think we should try something else, I welcome any suggestions." Let it not be said that he wasn't flexible, at least some of the time.

"We have the Tower gardens, and we aren't far from some restaurants and bars. What do you think the best atmosphere?"

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Postby Estrellir Konrath on May 14th, 2016, 12:47 pm

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Estrellir didn’t comment on the yawn, but she observed each sign of fatigue carefully, waiting for a hint (in vain, to her disappointment). Overgiving, yes. “You’ve mentioned it before, but didn’t elaborate,” she supplied before falling silent for a while, then piping up again. “Sweet whispers?” The effects he described didn’t sound much different from a hangover or echoes of a drug high. Not that she was an expert, but mind-altering substances were readily available in Kenash. She had seen with her own eyes what addiction did to people. No further explanation necessary.

When Thomas smiled, Estrellir couldn’t help but join. Yes, she knew that hunger for greatness all too well. Despite the initial shock and feeling of alienation, she didn’t actually mind having outrun her family’s sphere of influence. Here she was merely a Konti among many (or few, both Mura and Riverfall weren’t exactly next door). She could build her own reputation, could paint the picture she displayed in public herself. More importantly, the power that magic lent was inherent, not granted. Unlike favors or promises, it couldn’t be taken away. Not ever, she thought.

When her idea was acknowledged, Estrellir slipped the pebble back into her pocket, half daring Thomas to reprimand her for it. “No physical activity, I suppose. Let’s head to where all the fun takes place for now. Do you have a favorite hangout or shall we improvise?” If Thomas allowed, she would exit the classroom first and lead the way out of the tower. Once outside, she’d take out a badly worn and scratched wooden pipe and proceed to fill it with fresh tobacco. “I used to head for a glass of something strong when I was stuck at work. That way, inspiration will sneak up on you before it hits which tends to be most effective. Of course, everyone has their own methods, depending on what’s available too.”

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Postby Thomas Cosa on May 14th, 2016, 2:07 pm

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"Sweet whispers, yes," Thomas nodded "I haven't ever experienced that particular bit of overgiving, but I hear it can be quite nasty. Apparently, you start to hear a voice urging you to cast more and more and more until you finally break," he shrugged, the idea too abstract to cause him much worry. While he'd felt the pressure to keep feeding a spell, he'd never thought something that wasn't his own. "There are some interesting theories, I'd imagine, about the origins of those voices, but I can't think of any. Perhaps something you might write about in a later theory class? He mused, more to himself than Estrellir. Homework wasn't something he'd ever considered for his classes, but it seemed like something teachers would normally assign.

"You'll be disappointed to find Lhavit lacks what most people would consider something strong," he sighed, considering their options. "Mostly dry wines and teas; they don't seem to be fond of anything particularly sweet from what I've found, but then again, I haven't actively explored the city as well as I've should," Thomas confessed, although he didn't seem too embarrassed by his lack of interest. Lhavit was convenient now, and certainly pretty, but he never considered it his home. Getting to know the starry city hadn't seemed that important.

"So, we're on Zintia peak. That means," he paused, pointing his finger in the air at some imagined map, "We're close enough to the Starry Inn...or is it the Shooting Start?Thomas asked himself, sounding each title as he decided which was best, "The Shooting Star, I think. Anyway, it's an inn. They're decently priced, and drawn an interesting crowd. We could head there?"

If she agreed, he would lead; if she didn't, he would wait for Estrellir to pick and lead him.

Should they decide on the Shooting Star:

Thomas would lead them outside through the gardens. The lush green of summer was blooming around, rich and soft grasses overtaking the delicate flowers, fruits only just beginning to dot the trees and bushes. They would follow along one of the many cobbled paths down the mountain, eventually arriving to the inn.

OOCSorry about the weird format! I wanted to make sure Estrellir has the option of taking them somewhere else if you have a better idea! I'll go with whatever!

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