Closed [Elysium Hall] A Fiery Situation (Alses)

Unable to deal with the curse of reimancy herself, Azira seeks the help of Alses

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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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[Elysium Hall] A Fiery Situation (Alses)

Postby Azira on May 8th, 2016, 10:27 pm

29th Spring 516AV, Night
Elysium Hall, apparently anyone on Tenten could direct her to it. The huntress didn't doubt that the Ethaefal's home would be a memorable one. It was impressive enough that Alses had her own home, at least in the Inarta's mind. She had no idea if it was common for people to own their own homes. Obviously the Solar Wind Apartments were rented accommodation, but the rooms available there seemed only for visitors to the city as far as she could tell. There appeared to be a number of cottage homes on the peak where the Okomo lived but she had no idea if they were provided by the city free of charge or not. A hall certainly sounded impressive enough and the young woman was somewhat worried about going to it. It sounded like it would be magnificent and a reflection of the woman who lived in it. Of course, the idea of visiting it made the girl quite nervous and if she had a choice, she wouldn't go there.

Azira had gotten in a day's hunt, luckily without any incident involving fire, but that didn't mean that she was safe. Today seemed to be an exception to what she'd experienced over the past few days. Magic had been leaking out of her at odd moments, things went on fire near her and it seemed to be tiring her out and making her head throb and everything. It felt great when it was happening, aside from the fact that she was using magic outside of her control and being a danger to herself and stuff around her. Feeling the magic trickle out of her was exhilarating, the more that left her heightening her pleasure, but also making the after effects all the worse. The redhead had tried to control it. She'd tried to stay calm and focus where the magic went, when it went on fire and when it stopped and started. All she'd gotten for her trouble was exhaustion, pain and frustration. She didn't have any arcane knowledge so it was unsurprising she'd failed to produce good results. Alses on the other hand, she knew something about magic. She'd said herself that she knew nothing about reimancy but surely there was something she could do for her, even if that only meant pointing her in the right direction.

The notion of approaching the woman was nerve-wracking. Azira had scrubbed her skin raw to make sure that there wasn't a speck of dirt anywhere on her body. She'd scorched her skin with boiling water to ensure that she was truly clean. The grubby Inarta clothing she'd worn during her hunt was exchanged for the more uncomfortable garb more typical to Lhavit. Well, the black trousers were normal but the blouse she'd chosen seemed to be an unusual colour for the natives. The dark green went well with her hair of course so she figured it must look good on her. There was nowhere near as much flesh visible as there would be if she was wearing her vinati but the huntress made do by undoing a few buttons at the top to expose the top of her breasts and at the bottom so that her midriff was exposed as well. It had taken quite awhile for her to determine that such a style might work for her and even then she was uncertain if wearing the blouse in such a way might be uncouth. The huntress decided to take the risk, finally settling on knotting the bottom of the garment above her belly button. She slipped her cloak on over the outfit, tying her scarf about her neck and pulling gloves on before leaving for Tenten.

En route, she considered purchasing some manner of gift for the Ethaefal, not wanting to arrive empty-handed to Elysium Hall to make demands of the woman. Halfway across the bridge to Tenten, she turned on her heel and headed back to Zintia. Her exploration of the peak had turned up some interesting things and she had spotted a little jewellery store nestled away. She stepped in to a place of shining metals and glittering gems, everything in it suggesting that her coin purse was going to be left a lot lighter when this was done. Azira browsed the various wares, unsure what she could buy that wouldn't be a bit presumptuous on her part. There were rings, earrings, armbands and necklaces. The huntress thought that a necklace might be a bit much but there were also some less popular pieces. While looking at a selection of brooches, a beautiful silver one caught her eye. She was sure that it would hurt her pocket but she couldn't let it go. It was an Okomo, the curving horns studded with tiny, clear gems, the eye of it a beautiful, violet stone and the etching on the gold giving the impression of the hairs of the animal's coat. It was stunning, each of the clear stones catching the light in such a way the brooch seemed to be aglow, a source of light itself. The craftsmanship was remarkable and she was appreciative of it. It was smaller than its kin, about an inch by an inch, but it was so exquisitely wrought that it more than made up for its small size. It was certainly eye-catching. She pointed to it, suppressing a wince as she heard the price but passing the money over just the same. If Alses didn't like this, or thought it was too fine a gift for a friendly visit then Azira would be in hot water.

Clutching her gift to her chest as she set off once again for Tenten, she was more than aware of the darkness that had enveloped the city. She'd wanted to visit Alses in the evening so that she had a chance to get some work done, but she'd also had a niggling curiosity ever since Halin'a had mentioned that Ethaefal had another form. She wanted to know how Alses appeared at night. It could have been a simple matter of asking her but instead, the young woman had decided to see her with her own eyes. That might not sit well with the other but the huntress had set her course and was sticking to it.

The girl followed the path to the library, remembering that Alses had said her home wasn't too far beyond it. Once she reached the Bharani library, she nabbed an exiting scholar to ask for directions.

"Apologies. Where is Elysium Hall?" she questioned the woman in slow Common. The other raised her brows but directed her to higher point on the peak, claiming that she couldn't miss it. Such a declaration only added to the knot of anxiety that was building in her stomach. It must be a spectacular place indeed! Following the kind woman's directions, the huntress soon realised what she had meant. Compared to her own meagre, rented quarters, Alses resided in a palace.

A low wall with open gates marked the boundary of the property, a winding path leading up to a sprawling one-storey building that could only be named a mansion. The path cut through a garden that later in the spring would no doubt look magnificent. The harsh winter had taken its toll, stripping the bright petals from the flowers and stripping them of their foliage but had already regained some of its glory since the snows had finally melted. There were the remnants of winter flowers, now dying off; new blooms were beginning to appear on the multitude of roses, the nighttime lighting only giving a hint at the array of colours present; trees carried the shiny greens of new foliage. It was startling and everything about the place screamed wealth. The girl walked up the path with slow, shaky steps, the urge to turn and run becoming more powerful the closer she got to the building.

You need her help. You have to do this, she urged herself, forcing herself onwards and doing her best to remain calm for fear that she would cause an accident; that would be a disastrous beginning. Walking up to the ornate double doors, she made her presence known and waited anxiously for a response. Her eyes took in the magnificent artwork that flanked each door, realising that Alses was a woman who enjoyed fine things. She looked down at her own minuscule gift in the face of all this richness and wondered if it would be appreciated, or even wanted. It was while she was looking down at the shining Okomo that the door was opened. Her eyes rose to meet an unexpected sight. There was a man standing at the door, a man who must be a servant. He had an imposing bearing, reflecting the majesty of the place and certainly seeming to suit his employer from his crown to his toes. In the face of this man, Azira had little knowledge of what decorum she was supposed to follow. In the face of her ignorance, the bluntness of her race came out, her Common clipped and to the point, if a little shaky.

"I am here to see Alses. She knows me. I need her help. I am Azira," she blurted out, unsure how her manner would be judged by the butler.
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[Elysium Hall] A Fiery Situation (Alses)

Postby Alses on May 11th, 2016, 11:49 am

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Silver raised his eyebrows at the diminutive figure standing uneasily in front of the doors, casting a practiced eye used to a certain standard over her even as he did so, noting the flaws and the inconsistences just as much as he read the body language and the whole mien of the unexpected visitor, an instant assessment honed and perfected over years of service.

Said visitor was small by any measure; Silver’s portly form towered over her, only enhanced by the imposing frame of the doors that flanked him. She had short red hair, falling in a haphazard sort of fashion about her ears, pale skin – with a generous dusting of freckles, even now in early Spring, and bright golden eyes, all factors which, to the butler, screamed Inarta.

That, in itself, was entirely unobjectionable. Her mode of dress, however, gave him pause for thought; the lower half was entirely unremarkable, but the top…the top had too many open buttons – enough that the swell of the girl’s breasts was clearly visible – and had been scandalously shortened to expose a taut, muscled stomach by the simple expedient of knotting it together. Which also, Silver observed, had the added effect of enhancing her cleavage, pushing them up and out against the tight green material. All in all, therefore, a fashion better suited to the more coquettish of the Red Lantern’s ladies rather than an upstanding citizen.

Internally, therefore, Silver was confused. He had been in Alses’ service long enough to know his mistress’ little proclivities, and the girl was ticking many of those selfsame mental boxes; Lhavit had no particular problem with the ladies and gentlemen of the night, nor with those who availed themselves of their – generally reasonably-priced – services. It was, however, past sunset, and wherever possible Alses preferred to arrange matters for the daylight hours, when she was – Silver carefully phrased the next thought, even in the privacy of his own head – comfortable in her own skin.

Which was not to say that Alses was entirely inflexible; Silver credited his mistress with a degree of impulse and whimsy, and it was still within the realms of possibility that she’d felt the need for some – better call it companionship – and to hell with the mortal form. Silver was Alses’ butler, however, the guardian of the gate, and she’d not indicated that she was expecting company for the evening. And that was something which could generally be relied upon; she was conscientious in that regard, observing with generally-scrupulous accuracy the unwritten covenant between staff and mistress.

All this flashed through his brain at the speed of thought, operating in parallel to his instant, initial assessment, and as his eyes dropped lower and caught sight of the glittering object in the girl’s hands, he re-evaluated slightly; a Red Lantern lady wouldn’t be bringing gifts – unless something had been prearranged, of course.

Better to just ask, rather than try and guess; Silver opened his mouth to do exactly that, just as Azira, in staccato, rapid-fire Common, laid out her request. Mentally, he reviewed it – no, none of the common coded phrases there. Just a bald request – almost a demand, really – from a girl, gift held like a protective talisman. On the other hand, Alses had mentioned something about having met an Inarta, although – as was entirely typical – she’d forgotten the name.

Good evening, miss,” he replied, his deep voice calm and reassuring. “I’m afraid her grace does not generally take visitors past sunset.” He paused for just a moment, considering. Alses gave him considerable liberty and leeway, and whilst the sunset rule was the nearest she’d ever come to an absolute standing order, it still held some flexibility.

That said, may I know your business with m’lady?” He smiled, encouragingly, noting the tenseness of the girl’s posture, the high set of her shoulders, the darting glances she gave the art that framed the doors and gave the Hall its flair and character.
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[Elysium Hall] A Fiery Situation (Alses)

Postby Azira on May 15th, 2016, 11:11 pm

The butler's gaze was highly uncomfortable. His eyes were penetrative as he examined every inch of her and she had a distinct feeling that he was looking down his nose at her. However, it was immensely difficult to read the man so it might well have been simple paranoia that made her come to such a conclusion. Given the location of their meeting, it wasn't too surprising that she felt somewhat beneath the man and imagined he'd view her as such. It was only after his gaze ran over her form that she realised how she must look from his point of view.

The huntress had grown overly warm in her walk, loosening her cloak a little to allow air to pass over her heated flesh to cool her down. However, she was still somewhat unfamiliar with the way the garment closed and tightened. What had only intended to allow air to circulate had instead revealed quite a bit about her mode of dress by gaping open at the front. Azira hadn't even considered what the extra draftiness had meant but had instead been enjoying the relief which the crisp breeze brought. The showing of so much flesh was in no way scandalous in Wind Reach but it seemed others did not adopt her mode of dress. She had thought that it was the winter weather that had deterred the wearing of more revealing clothing but she had discovered how wrong she was when she had gone to purchase her current outfit. Flesh was not something which Lhavitians wanted to be on display; at least, not as much as the Inarta did. The young woman wondered if she was being judged for how she was dressed, especially considering the drastic alteration she'd made to the upper garment. She found herself reddening under his scrutiny, covering herself with the cloak at a time that was already far too late.

He hadn't turned her away outright though. If he disapproved of her, he surely would have sent her on her way far away from this luxurious abode but he had not. In fact, he was smiling at her in such a way that she had hope for admittance in to the grand hall which she could glimpse behind him. However, she did her best not to gawp at the room behind him, instead looking up in to his face as she spoke to him. Azira knew she needed to convey the fact she was welcome here, that she had been invited and that she did indeed know his mistress.

"I understand. She is an Ethaefal of Syna. I understand that she is... not herself at night. She might not want visitors but... she invited me to see her. She didn't give me a day. If I wanted, I could come. I need help. With magic. I do not know others in the city. She might be only one who helps me," she explained, her voice becoming faster and gradually more hysterical as she spoke. The Inarta took deep breaths to calm herself before continuing in a calmer voice. "Please, I need help soon. I am danger. I have magic I cannot control. I do not know how I have it but I do. I don't know what to do. Please, I can come back tomorrow, in the day but it must be soon. I know she teaches in the day, I did not want to disturb. I am... scared. Please tell her. Will she see me now?"

The Inarta regarded him hopefully, knowing that she had given him ample to consider and had certainly answered his question. The girl had told him quite a bit, perhaps more than she had intended to do, but she doubted it would count against her. If anything, it might convince him that she was a serious visitor, one who would be worth the Ethaefal's time right now. He might be willing to go to Alses now and ask her if she could enter or perhaps he would simply let her in, deeming her business important enough that it couldn't be ignored. She certainly hoped that he would let her in so that she could get the aid she needed and provide the woman with the costly gift she'd brought. It would be both disappointing and a little terrifying to be sent away, especially as she couldn't be sure what would happen in the meantime. Maybe the oozing of magic would start again and burn her to death in her bed. She didn't seem to have control over it so the gods only knew what might happen when she was asleep.

Please, Syna, if you can hear me, let Alses take pity on me. I need her help and she must be here for a reason so please let her help me, she prayed silently, desperately as she awaited the butler's verdict.
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[Elysium Hall] A Fiery Situation (Alses)

Postby Alses on May 16th, 2016, 7:35 pm

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Silver watched with some small measure of wry amusement as redness marched its relentless way across the girl’s pale face at his scrutiny, a spectacular blush that showed up brilliantly. It was far too late for modesty now; he’d seen a great deal of what she had to offer already.

To say anything about it, though, would surely be inviting even more embarrassment, and if there was one thing that a servant did not do, it was cause embarrassment. Primarily on the part of the employer, of course, but secondarily in anyone else.

Thus, instead, he played the part of attentive servant to perfection, listening carefully to the girl and her explanation of why she was here now, of all times. It was still somewhat halting, he noted distractedly: short, clipped sentences and simple words. Poor education, then, or – given that she was Inarta – a lack of confidence with Common? It was a possibility; he’d have to enquire of Alses, later on.

The content of her little speech, however, that was alarming – and strangely similar to another incident, just a day or two before, something that saw a concerned and calculating look flicker in the depths of Silver’s eyes. “Ah. That, miss, is something that I think her grace will be concerned about, even given the late bell. Please, do come inside; I shall see if m’lady will receive you.” So saying, he drew his immaculately-tailored bulk back from the doorway, gesturing the girl inside and into a comfortable chair, sparing a quick moment – as he always did – to consider the first impression of the Hall on the guest.

The entrance hall was high and arched; there was space within its generous confines for sweeping staircases, in case Alses should ever decide to build skywards, and so for seasons it had echoed and reverberated with every whisper and footfall, chilly and unwelcoming despite the buttery marble and the cheery shine of the skyglass glowglobes. He had recently, however, managed to persuade his mistress to invest in rugs and draperies, and so now the place was far more appropriate. Still grand, of course, but a little more welcoming; the expansive rugs, all cream and gold, soaked up the sound of footfalls and broke up the monotony of the glittering floor, whilst swags of crimson draperies hung decoratively on the walls, shining richly in the light from the chandelier.

At the far end of the room, a cheery blaze was roaring in the fireplace – Alses was positively insistent on roaring fires throughout the colder seasons, and so the room was pleasantly warm, the air scented with fragrant cedarwood as it burned.

I should not be long, miss,” he murmured silkily, turning on one heel and gliding soundlessly across the floor, vanishing from view as a pair of polished double doors clicked shut behind him.


A



True to his word, Silver was not gone for long; he returned scant chimes later and shimmered up to where Azira was waiting. “
If you will follow me, miss? Her grace will see you as a matter of urgency.

He led her down the corridors of Elysium Hall at a respectable pace; quick enough that there was some alacrity to his gait, but not fast enough that Azira would have to run or jog uncomfortably to keep pace. “
Her grace finds her night-time form something of a trial,” he remarked quietly as they walked. “Indeed, she tries her best to keep it hidden, much as Aysel and Talora do.” He let the sentence hang in the air, and it was only as they approached another set of doors that he spoke again, his voice low and soft.

It would be a kindness if you could exercise tolerance,” he said cryptically, before opening the doors and announcing, in a far louder tone: “Miss Azira, your grace.

He ushered the Inarta forwards into the room proper; it was the cavernous Animation lab, almost bare save for a desk, a few of the ornate, overstuffed chairs that Alses favoured, and a table on which a small silver tea-set stood steaming.

Had Azira been privy to Alses’ thought processes, she would have known it was a purely practical choice; this room had a great deal of space in which she could work, and it was also relatively empty of treasured items and irreplaceables that uncontrolled magic could destroy – quite unlike the library, where she normally received visitors.

Even so, an unintentional side-effect was that it highlighted Alses herself, seated in one of those selfsame chairs that faced the door. If, the last time they had met, Alses had glowed like a rainbow under the abundant light of Syna, her fire-opal hide a mixing melange of vibrant colour, now she glittered like the heart of winter. It was as though all the rich shades that so characterised her daytime form had been sucked out of this night-time seeming, leaving a pale, glittering shell behind. The only spot of true colour was her eyes, a brilliant, hard green – two emeralds set in the snowy expanse of her face, with the barest hint of opalescence glimmering faintly from the almost-invisible scales which framed her face.

She didn’t bother to rise, her cold gaze sweeping up and down Azira and missing very little, lingering slightly on the vee of the girl’s cleavage, a barely-there smile curving up the corners of her bloodless lips. “Come in, Azira. Take a seat; there is tea if you’d like it.

Alses’ left arm rose in an imperious gesture, indicating a chair close to the desk. This room, by dint of its sheer size – and the large windows looking out at the blazing fairytale gem that was Lhavit at night – was cooler, despite the merry fire that burned here, too, and as a consequence Alses was draped in a white fur mantle that glimmered like a snowfield at dawn, drawn artfully around so that it hid most of her right arm from view.

What little of it was visible was swathed in bandages, a discordant note in the otherwise flawless presentation, but it seemed to be giving Alses little in the way of inconvenience and no pain. “Silver tells me you are suffering from bursts of magic which you cannot control. Correct?” Her voice was different, too – quieter and more measured, silvery and scalpel-precise with every word. “Sensible of you to seek expert help, even given the late bell. This is not what I had in mind when I invited you to my home, I should point out; my proper form is much more congenial, and my mood much improved as a consequence.

She drew out several sheets of paper from a desk drawer, inked her quill and then looked expectantly at Azira. “But. We must play the hand Kelwyn deals, I suppose. Tell me, precisely, what has been occurring, if you please. Leave nothing out; the tiniest detail may prove invaluable.
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[Elysium Hall] A Fiery Situation (Alses)

Postby Azira on May 19th, 2016, 8:51 pm

The butler listened to her with the greatest attention and if he was alarmed by what she'd said, he did a good job of hiding it. Azira had spotted a flicker of something in his gaze but he schooled his expression well. However, the man realised that what she'd said was of import and he knew his employer better than she so if he said Alses would want to know then the huntress believed him. She wondered vaguely if this was something servants were meant to be able to do, control their emotions so they didn't give anything away. She supposed you'd need to be able to do it if you didn't want your employer to see everything you thought of them and their guests.

As she was ushered in to the hall and in to a chair, she found herself gaping at her surroundings. It was hard to believe that someone lived in a place like this. This ridiculously expansive hall, while impressive, was too large and draughty and if it was any indication of the rest of the house, it certainly wasn't a home. If anything, it would be more fitting in a mausoleum. While it was truly beautiful and everything was finely wrought, it was too empty and cold for Azira's tastes. There had been attempts made to make it warmer and more inviting perhaps with the roaring fire, the fine rugs and tapestries, but if anything it only made the coldness of the place all the more apparent. She was used to large spaces at home of course, but they had always been warm. This place had the potential to be warm, but she felt there would have to be many people residing here. Obviously she should not judge the whole house on this single room, however, as first impressions went she wondered if Alses lived in this place alone. If she did then Azira was horrified by the amount of space she'd allowed herself when a smaller place would have been far more suitable. Perhaps this was a mark of the wealthy though, having more space than you could ever possibly need.

Once she was left alone, she found herself taking in every minute detail of the hall, breathing in the scent from the fire and trying to fit the woman she'd met in to this location. The colours seemed right for someone who delighted in the daylight hours, from the vibrancy of the reds to the warmth of the marble of the floor. The scheme certainly reflected an Ethaefal of Syna, but the wealth of the place was something that seemed at odds with the woman's personality. The huntress had determined that Alses was important and no doubt wealthy, but the woman she had spoken to had been approachable, somehow within reach during their conversation. She hadn't been this imposing despite the fact that she'd been tall and more beautiful than anyone she'd ever seen. It was making her nervous. Perhaps she would be different than she remembered in more than looks.

When the butler returned, she followed him anxiously, fiddling with the brooch in her hands. This level of ceremony was unknown to her and it was making her more and more edgy to be called 'miss', to be part of some sort of code that she didn't know. How could she give Alses her gift? If there was some procedure she was meant to follow that she failed to do, she would cause offence. She didn't want to cause offence! Thankfully, the outward signs of her panic would go unseen as the man who led her was more concerned with leading her to her destination rather than observing her. When he spoke to her, she made a noise to acknowledge that she'd heard him but she was too wrapped up in her own nerves to engage with him or her surroundings. How long they walked for was a mystery to her as the time seemed to pass too quickly. Already they were arriving at their destination and she was being ushered in, the butler's cryptic comment echoing in her ears.

The young woman's eyes darted about the room, an action that might remind one of a cornered animal, as she saw the size of the place she was in, the spartan furnishings, the arrangement that was set up for their meeting. She walked forward on legs that suddenly felt like jelly as this cold creature behind the desk looked her up and down. As at the door, she felt judged and she found herself unable to meet the woman's eye as she crossed to the offered seat. Rather than embarrassment, this time she felt terror, her face blanching as she trembled slightly under the gaze of the transformed Ethaefal. Once she was sitting, her golden eyes rose to meet those of the woman in front of her. She had no idea what Alses had become but it wasn't human. There was something alien about her, the slight shimmer on her face that she realised with a shock were scales. The boldness that had led her to question what Alses was on their first meeting had fled her now. Her tongue lay thick and heavy in her mouth, the huntress finding herself completely dumb until the woman had quill and paper ready and was looking at her, ready to record what she said. It was then that Azira broke.

She gazed in to the emerald eyes and then the image of the pale woman wobbled and blurred as water welled in her own eyes. The emotion caught her by surprise so she couldn't imagine how it must seem to the other as she began to sob, her shoulders shaking with them and something like a wail escaping from her throat. The brooch was abandoned on the desk as she tried to stifle the sound, to control herself but she couldn't seem to stop herself at first. Hands wiped away tears that were instantly replaced and she had to gulp in several desperate breaths before she could utter anything vaguely coherent.

"I'm sorry!" she cried, fanning a hand in front of her face as if hoping the stirred air would dry away her tears. "I... Crying, I don't know. I j-just... I don't know. Scared. I-I..." She trailed off in to incoherence, gasping and making hiccuping sounds as she tried to speak despite her sobs. Azira continued the frantic fanning, focusing on her breathing for a few moments rather than trying to talk before she hazarded a few more shaky words in Common.

"Fire! Reimancy! I don't know! From no place. I c-cannot control, it just... it just comes," she stammered, shining gold eyes staring pleadingly at Alses from her tear drenched and blotchy face. Her lips framed the word 'please' but no sound came out beyond a sob.
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[Elysium Hall] A Fiery Situation (Alses)

Postby Alses on July 7th, 2016, 11:31 am

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Alses was, to put it simply, stunned.

She had very little experience with crying people in general, and still less in comforting them; these, then, were dangerous waters indeed, and her composure was fractured and lying all around in glittering shards. “There, there,” she tried, keenly aware of the inadequacy; she might as well have said nothing, for all the good it did.

She waited a chime or so, trying to see if the tears and the sobs would dissipate on their own, but to no avail; there was obviously some intervention to be made, but what?

Feeling greatly daring, Alses leaned forward and lifted Azira’s chin with one bone-white finger, raising the girl’s face so they could look one another eye to streaming eye. “Hush now,” she commanded, as softly as she knew how, her voice a gentle surf of sound, rippling sonic wavelets that broke against Azira’s ears. She drew closer, a waterfall of white silk, until her lips were beside the girl’s ear and the heat of their bodies burnt across the tiny distance between them.

I know you’re scared and magic can be terrifying; I’ll listen to your troubles and travails,” Alses murmured, trying to ignore the close physicality of her guest and the physical reactions it was causing. “And you may tell me all about the terror of it later, too, because you are attractive.” She didn’t wait to let that settle in, that admission of weakness, that chink in the glittering diamond armour she donned as a matter of course in this hideous half-ruined and achingly mortal state.

But magic is also beautiful and wonderful, and you will burn so bright and glorious to my sight.” Her cold, precise voice took a little warmth with those words, curling around the sound. “I look forward to seeing it. For now, yes, I must know what has been occurring, and for how long. I cannot put right what I do not understand, and as you mentioned fire reimancy, I have no desire to burn to a crisp either.” A wry little smile, a quirk of bloodless lips, and Alses rummaged in a pocket, producing a carefully-folded square of absorbent cotton which she wordlessly handed to the girl.

The motion dislodged her carefully-arranged mantle, and the glittering white fur slid from her shoulders, exposing the bandages winding around her arm and hand. Alses frowned at that; it was a reminder of her own problems, and the new-forming skin under there was still tender, enough that the sliding weight caused her pain.

Probably not the best idea to show her guest, though; things were already fragile enough. Time for a bit more positive reinforcement, maybe? “I’m a fairly good Glypher,” she added, and then clarified, remembering who she was speaking to: “It’s a form of magic that specialises in changing and controlling other magic.

This wasn’t, strictly speaking, true, but it was close enough for her purposes. “I should be able to make something to help you, even in this half-ruined form. After all, you remembered the courtesies even in your fear and brought me something beautiful.

She tilted her head very slightly, towards the glittering brooch, perched at the edge of the sea of parchments which now covered her desk. “A fine gift, even if we were not already predisposed to help.
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[Elysium Hall] A Fiery Situation (Alses)

Postby Azira on July 18th, 2016, 11:05 pm

She was in a stranger's house, a very attractive stranger's house and here she was blubbering away. It wasn't typical for her to cry in front of anyone and so to do it now was beyond embarrassing, especially as she couldn't make herself stop. The tears just kept flowing. All the stress and fear of the last few days had sprung free and with them had come all of the emotions she'd bottled up from even before she'd come to Lhavit. All her fear, frustration, homesickness, every emotion she'd shoved beneath the surface was all bubbling up and out now. The discomfort that it must be causing Alses was far away in Azira's mind as she simply tried to quash her own feelings; she couldn't take others into account just yet.

Alses made a cool attempt to provide comfort, the lack of true sympathy in her voice doing nothing to stem her tears. If anything, the Ethaefal's tone made her feel worse. Not only was she a sobbing mess but she was also a sobbing unwanted mess. Alses didn't want her here. She didn't want to have to deal with an overemotional Inarta who might inadvertently set something on fire at any moment. She didn't want a visitor while she was in her mortal form, despite the fact that the huntress considered it beautiful all the same. It made her sob all the harder, crying out all her bitterness and feelings of rejection. If she got everything out of her system then she was sure she'd cry herself out. When that was likely to happen, the young woman had no idea.

When the other slipped a finger under her chin and raised it, Azira made a hiccuping sound in her throat, her tears coming to a gradual stop from surprise. Alses's tone brokered no disagreement and so she swallowed down the lump in her throat and bobbed her head up and down a little, mute. What had upset her seemed to drift from her mind as the other woman's behaviour distracted her. She was leaning ever closer, their eyes connected intensely over the shortening distance. The huntress gasped in little breaths, partly to replenish the supply lost with her tears but partly because the other's closeness was a bit much for her. She could feel the pulse of her heart every time she swallowed, fluttering wildly against her throat, yet somehow it could still pummel against her breast. The Ethaefal's lips moved to her ear, the tickling heat of her breath causing the Inarta to shiver a little with pleasure, aware of just how close the woman had come. The girl was aflame with desire, the inner fire flushing her blotchy cheeks, the tears now a thing of the past.

The admission that Alses returned her attraction made her face flush anew and she was suddenly tempted to kiss the curve of the other's pale throat. It would be so easy to do. She could plant her lips on the porcelain skin, trace its curve, taste it with her tongue, perhaps give the slightest of bites and she would be able to feel the quickening of the other's breath against her ear, hear every gasp and moan. The redhead remained frozen in place, locked in her fantasy and caught by indecision of whether to try to make it come true or not. Then the moment slipped away and was lost as the huntress was dragged back to the reality that had brought her here. Yes, the magic, the trouble of her reimancy.

A bit dazed, the girl leaned away a little and accepted the offered handkerchief. She avoided looking at the woman's face, afraid that she would see the disappointment in her eyes at the lost opportunity. Her gaze lighted on the winding bandages that had been seen recently concealed but she looked away, quickly realising that her stare wouldn't be appreciated. Instead, she made a show of dabbing the moisture from her face as the mage talked of glyphing and how she might help the huntress. Azira said nothing at first, carefully lining up her thoughts and doing her best not to get too distracted by the pale presence so near at hand.

"It started a few days ago. It was the 26th," she began hesitantly in the Common tongue, pausing as words were painstakingly strung together in her head. "I went hunting. The weather was dry so I went looking for animals rather than using traps. Something in me had felt wrong. All morning, I felt... empty, like something was missing. I had found a rabbit and I went to shoot it then... I filled up. What was missing came back but it grew. It's a little fuzzy but it got so big I thought I would burst. It moved, I can't... there are not words. It was much, so much and everything in me... crackled? No, not the right word. I don't know, it went all through me and I think I screamed. Then it went away, went down my arms. My hands were wet, stuck together, it came out there but I don't know. Bright, crackling, more and more and more until everything spun and then whoosh!"

She made fists in front of her, holding her hands together and as she made the final sound, they were opened and flung apart, thrown upwards to mimic the abruptness of rising flames.

"Fire started at the top, moved down. I could feel the heat, I thought my hands would burn so I tried to get it off. I tried to wipe it off on trees but it kept going so I tried to shake it off. I had fire in my hands so I tried to shake them! It is so stupid to hear me say now. It did go. I threw it. There was lots of smoke and fire but it didn't light well. The rain was heavy before so everything was wet, thank the gods. I didn't know what to do and it started coming out again and I could hear..." she hesitated, not wanting to sound mad but deciding that it might be important.

"I could hear me. Like talking but in my head, like thinking but... it wasn't me. It was me though. I wanted more, more magic to come, more fire, more... excitement. I don't know how much it happened. I thought I might set Okomo on fire trying to get to Lhavit. I thought you would kill me if I hurt Okomo but there was no more fire. I was so tired. I thought I would never get home. I slept and fell off Okomo. Such long time. I got home and fell asleep. Woke up hungry but still tired. Next day... I was scared but I went hunting and it happened again. Not as much. I tried to make it stop, tried but I couldn't. Last night, I tried to make it happen. I can't control it. I don't know how it works! I thought you had to learn magic. It doesn't just come but... I know someone who... sees magic. It came too. We drank from the... the falling water... the..."

The young woman gestured wildly, acting out the fall of water and its gathering in a pool. It was simply infuriating but she didn't have the word in Common. "Fountain!" she spouted in her own language, a shrill bird-like twitter. She twisted her hands in her lap, turning the handkerchief between her fingers in frustration although the look she shot Alses was one of apology. It wasn't her fault that she didn't know the right word but she felt guilty for inserting Nari into the conversation when the Syna worshipper didn't know the Inarta tongue at all. Her lips settled in a pout, her brow creasing in sullen thought.
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[Elysium Hall] A Fiery Situation (Alses)

Postby Alses on July 24th, 2016, 10:55 pm

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The hammering roar of Azira’s heart dinned in Alses’ ears even as she tried to focus on the girl’s description of events, the air wine-thick and heady, flashing and flaring with poorly-hidden desire that stroked her own reactions with every breath.

The impressions rolling off the Inarta in sticky, languorous waves were...distracting...to say the least, sparking within Alses the thought of hot, soft lips on her neck - always one her most sensitive places, even a touch could send waves of hot and cold fire racing up and down her spine - and the glorious possibility of pain-and-pleasure that biting brought.

Her tastes were not precisely usual by the standards of the city’s tribades; Alses preferred her partners boyish and fiery, taking muscles and shouting, the kind of debate that could just as easily end in knives as it could in sex, over the more sedate voluptuousness that some of the others favoured. Azira was surprisingly sedate and oddly fragile, at least at the moment, but in the set of her jaw and the fire of her eyes and the whipcord-leanness of her frame there was delicious potential.

Alses shook off those thoughts with an effort of will, struggling to recall the icy, glittering composure that hid the gaping wounds of a mortal-bound Ethaefal and let her function. Her quill provided a focus and a distraction both, and she focused on the elegant curves and swooping lines it cut through the air as she wrote, making as comprehensive-as-possible notes on the phenomenon and making a mental note to compare them with those she’d taken from Thomas, not two days prior.

A voice that’s you and yet not you?” that phrase caught at her ears and she looked up, breaking her resolute stare at the parchment and the elegant copperplate which flowed from her quill. Alses frowned - that sounded an awful lot like Sweet Whispers, the destructive siren’s call that reimancers struggled with, the seductive insinuations that just a little more, a little harder, a little faster...it would all be okay, and wouldn’t they feel so good when all their designs conjoined to glorious culmination?

Dangerous,” she murmured softly, as much to herself as to Azira. “Fire is normally a companion to you, yes? So you understand it can be both bringer of life and herald of death, all depending on circumstance. It is neither inherently good nor bad, it simply...is. The voice you heard, the feelings it brought...it might help you to think of that as the fire in its purest and most primal form, given voice by the magic within; it cares not who or what it burns, only that it does so. Give in, and the fuel will be you and yours in short order. I understand that reimancers, in particular, forever walk that tightrope; the magic is almost addictive, and casting brings an almost euphoric rush. Which, understandably, makes it so very hard to step back from the brink of overgiving.

Alses looked away, and then admitted, softly, “That is one of the reasons I am...afraid...to learn reimancy. I already find it - that is, being in the presence of it…” she shifted, and cleared her throat uncomfortably, “...stimulating. I do not know if I have the fortitude to resist the Sweet Whispers, as the phenomenon is called, and I’d rather not test it unless I have to.

She shook her head once, sharply, and then the final few words of Azira’s explanation hit home with considerable force. Bright green eyes burned, and both Alses’ hands - good and bad, the latter feeling oddly pliable, even through the bandages - seized Azira’s own in a powerful grip. Her voice was low and fast, and charged with urgency. “Whatever we do together here tonight, promise me this, Azira: get your friend here, or to the Dusk Tower. I don’t care which, but do your utmost in that regard, I implore. The sight is a glorious thing, and the unprepared can drown even in the shallows.” Alses sighed, and seemed to collapse in on herself slightly. It was evident she was tired - no, make that exhausted, and the strain of her previously-impervious poise was showing.

Under normal circumstances, you have to learn magic, you’re right, but...oh, who knows? So much was lost and damaged during the Valterrian...all manner of ancient things, buried under rock and rubble, might have failed or borne fruit and this...this...this wretched random flowering might be the result, or perhaps a side-effect, or an unforeseen interaction, or something else entirely - I simply do not know!” Alses was breathing heavily, and her voice had been a buzzsaw, cutting through the air. She looked...manic, for want of a better word, and as though she dearly wanted to throw something.

And I hate not knowing,” she continued, more quietly, the bright-burning madness snuffed as quickly as it had come. “But you did not come here to see me rage. Let me see now…” Alses rose in a waterfall of white and stalked over to one of the blackboards positioned around the room with short, energetic steps. “I want to try to drain off the magic the moment it starts to cause you problems,” she explained, already drawing preliminary designs with her chalks, tongue sticking absently out of the side of her mouth as she worked.

Elegant arcs of white scored across the boards, dancing and degenerating into intricate squiggles that, now Azira was initiated to the mysteries of djed - albeit by an outside agency and not of her own volition - whispered of containment and channelling, of the drawing off and dissipation of excess magic, every term crystal-clear, understanding perfect even though Alses thought in Common and Azira in Nari.

...now, if I barrier here and we shunt into a third-iteration recursive spiral for the initial overflow containment…” she muttered, glyphing furiously with narrowed eyes as though by glaring hard enough at the board she could force the design to spring, fully-formed, into existence before her.

There is a pot of black paint in the cupboard behind you,” she said presently, addressing Azira even as complex runes flowed forth from her racing chalk, large sigils interlocking with smaller ones as the spiderwebbing sprawl grew ever larger, the eye skipping and bending defensively over the thicket of symbols. “And there’s a clean knife in the topmost drawer. Blood - yours, that is - will make this much easier; if you’d mix a few drops with the paint it’d be a service.
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[Elysium Hall] A Fiery Situation (Alses)

Postby Azira on July 30th, 2016, 4:57 pm

The young woman worried that she wasn't making a lot of sense. She didn't have the vocabulary in her own language and so it was more difficult in Common. It wasn't helping that she was certain the air between them was sexually charged. She couldn't tell if it was her imagination or not, which made it worse for her. It simply added to her nervousness and discomfort. A small corner of her mind was still preoccupied with Alses-related fantasies, which made concentrating a little difficult. She'd said that Azira was attractive but was that the same thing as saying she was attracted to her? The huntress didn't know and it just kept eating away at her as she was trying to talk about more important things. She'd come here to deal with a serious problem, namely her uncontrollable magic, not to attempt the seduction of an Ethaefal! The other woman clearly wasn't being tortured by such thoughts as she was busily making notes on the parchment in front of her as she listened to the Inarta chatter on.

As soon as the Ethaefal settled on that single phrase, Azira became immediately self-conscious, feeling that she had said something incredibly stupid. She flushed and nodded mutely in response, not trusting herself to comment further on it in case she came out with more nonsense. Alses wasn't acting as if the redhead had said something ludicrous, there was neither skepticism nor derision in her voice. If anything, she appeared intrigued by what the Inarta had said. She listened to the other's explanation in a state of hopeful bewilderment before venturing to find out if she had understood her correctly.

"It's real? The voice, these Sweet Whispers are... I'm not going mad?" the huntress asked hesitantly. "What you say, it sounds like it yes. There is... something about the use of it that makes me feel wonderful." The girl found herself gazing at her hands, wiggling her fingers absentmindedly as she recalled the sensation that rose up inside her when she used reimancy. She continued her explanation with this in mind and so she didn't have any warning of the Ethaefal's excitement before she grasped her hands. The grip startled the Inarta immensely, amber eyes flashing wide as she met the other's burning gaze. Her gut reaction had been to pull her hands free and reach for her hunting knife as she perceived herself to be in danger but then the awareness of where she was struck her as their eyes met. She wasn't in danger here, Alses was just excited that was all. Well, excitement was a mild term.

"It is Auristics, the magic you use. You tried to explain it before but I couldn't understand," the huntress stated, finally grasping a full understanding of what was going on. What Khara could do, Alses could do except obviously, the Ethaefal had control over her magic whereas her fellow Inarta did not.

Azira shushed the woman gently as she worked herself into a state, hoping that she might be able to calm her a little but Alses was a woman on a mission. Besides, she seemed more than capable of regaining enough of her composure to function efficiently. Her frustration was channelled in a productive way as she began to draw energetically on a blackboard. The huntress followed her, the designs being scored onto the surface calling to her. She stood behind the mage and a little off to the side as she followed every mark the chalk made and grasped the overall picture as well as it grew in size and sprawled across the blackness. It was a fascinating process to witness and she had some difficulty tearing her eyes away from the board to fetch the paint and knife. She hadn't said anything about setting some of the paint aside to keep it clean so Azira merely took up the knife a little clumsily in her right hand, firmly pressing the edge against the skin of the smallest finger on her left hand. She needed her right hand for grasping the bow, she needed her other three fingers on her left hand to actually shoot and her thumb was frequently used so it seemed the wisest decision.

The knife edge bit into the flesh to a point where red started to well up around it. Once she'd drawn blood, she set the knife down and held her bleeding finger over the paint. The flesh was pinched and squeezed to wring a few drops from it before the huntress sucked on the small wound and carried the paint over to its owner.

"Here you are. The blood is in it. It's ready for whatever you want it for," Azira explained, holding out the paint in offering as her eyes locked once again on the glyphs that the woman was inscribing. "Do you need me to do anything else?"
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[Elysium Hall] A Fiery Situation (Alses)

Postby Alses on August 16th, 2016, 3:29 pm

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Alses wobbled one distracted hand at Azira. “Debatable,” she answered briefly. “Most people will tell you that all mages are a bit unhinged. But voices in your head telling you to cast more, to burn just a little more of yourself and so on are a known and recognized phenomenon, of reimancy in particular. They’re a sign you’ve overgiven - used too much magic - or are about to. And of course the wretched thing is, the more magic you use the more powerful those voices and the harder it is to resist at just the point where you need to stand firm the most.

She sighed, squinting at the sprawling design unfurled across one-and-a-half blackboards, standing out brightly against the background, evaluating it critically. One finger stabbed out and erased a section, and a spire of chalk in her other hand rose and scribbled a different notation after a split-second’s consideration. “Lots of magic feels good to use,” she observed absently, eyes scanning and chalk racing. “Although whether that’s a function of the magic or the power or the person themselves is also up for debate. That said, it’s still true that reimancers are more powerfully affected.

Alses turned to her companion and swallowed, hard, at the look in Azira’s eyes, at her impassioned plea. Such fire! “Yes, it is,” she confirmed. “All the obscured secrets of the world are mine for the knowing, with Auristics, if I choose to look. And I am very, very good at it.” Indeed, the problem was not looking, tearing oneself away from the artist unseen and the masterpieces which the discipline painted across the grandest canvas of them all - the world entire.

Small wonder that many masters of auristics were...distant.

I’m building on previous work, here,” she explained to the girl, taking the pot of blooded paint with a smile of thanks, hitching up the hem of her robes as she knelt on the floor and began to glyph in earnest, the paintbrush following the graceful arcs and sinuous lines already planned on her blackboards, but on a far larger scale.

I can’t snap my fingers and give you control just like that,” Alses continued after a while, scuttling crabwise in a wide curve that would - eventually - meet itself and form a large circle. “Personal magic is just that - personal. It comes from your soul.” Her eyes met Azira’s for a second and she smiled grimly, an icy knife-flash. “With enough effort I can read it, but I can’t change it. So!

A strident exclamation, but something of a pause as Alses’ paintbrush danced and whirled, laying down lines of all thicknesses, an interlocking, intermeshing lacework that fizzed and danced and whispered long sentences on a theme of capture and dissipation into the mind of any mage watching. “What I can do is dissipate its manifestations until you’re ready to attempt control, at a time and a place of your choosing.” One foot tapped the forming circle and its eye-teasing design for emphasis.

This is probably redundant; I’ve done this before and had good results. But! Prior success is not an absolute guarantee of future success, and I was attempting to control a different form of magic. Thus I am taking precautions, for your safety and mine, and we’re going step-by-step.” Alses was moving in on the close, now, paintbrush effortlessly switching between hands as curves and whorls and spirals and other, stranger sinuous shapes that tugged and teased at the mind were painted into existence on the rough tiles.

Step into the middle,” Alses instructed, “There’s a chair, if you’ve a need - and don’t disturb any of the glyphs!” She continued to glyph for several chimes, layering complexity on complexity until the floor was heavy with dark black paint in an intricate design.

The final glyph was, outwardly, an anticlimax, but Alses’ Sight perceived the vast arcane machine her magic had wrought on the world, quiescent for now and uncalled-upon, but its purpose was clear and its power there for all with the ability to see, an engine of pure possibility written into the world, thrumming along its warp and weft, strengthening the laws and forces of the mundane world from tick to tick, breath to breath.

Now, try to remember how it was when the flames first came, try to recreate it as best you can.” She kept her voice soothing and the possibility of failure far away. “The design on the floor will catch your power before it can do any damage and spin it into harmlessness.

The bright violet light that discharging magic tended to produce might hurt Azira’s eyes, it was true, but nothing more than that. No burns, no heat - the only damage would be to the design itself, and the amount thereof would let - as a side benefit - Alses assess, in a rough and ready sort of way, the amount of power the girl was capable of conjuring.
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