Completed [Nitrozian Estate] Grave of the Fireflies

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

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[Nitrozian Estate] Grave of the Fireflies

Postby Evarista on September 17th, 2016, 3:22 pm

18th of Autumn, 516 A.V.

Evarista was in a slight predicament that night.

Having studied Archibald some more since the early days of summer, she had decided she was ready for an evolution of her silk-spinning craft. Her auristic revelations told her of the five different types of silk that the spider could spin. The types' main differences lied in how tough and stretchy they were, each fit for a specific purpose. With some tinkering, she could already tweak those factors in her own production, as they weren't all that structurally different from dragline silk, the type she had learned to make originally.

However, one type stood out from the rest. That was capture silk: the sticky portion of an orb weaver's web. As the girl had found out, not all of the threads produced by a spider were very sticky. In fact, most of them weren't sticky at all. A spider's web, the one used to capture prey, was made of repeating layers of sticky and non-sticky threads. Sticky ones to hold anything that flew into the web, and non-sticky ones for the spider to walk on. That made a lot of sense, as otherwise the spider would instantly get caught in its own web.

Which was the problem Evarista was currently experiencing.

"Urgh..." Stifling a roar of frustration, the young aristocrat yet again attempted to disentangle her hand from her experiment, one that could be called a mixed success. On the upside, she managed to produce an extremely sticky string, worthy of the best eight-legged trap-maker. On the downside, said string was now wrapped around her fingers, and it didn't look like it would come off without ripping out her skin along with it.

She was standing in the estate's hanging garden, having snuck out during the night to try out her new toy. Since building an immaculate orb web was pretty far out of her league, she was content with simply draping her sticky product all over the hanging vegetation in a somewhat random criss-cross pattern. The gardener wouldn't be pleased in the morning, but that would be his problem, not hers.

She had noticed the thread wrap around her fingers along the way, but the didn't pay it much attention, confident that she would be able to remove it later. She had slightly underestimated the potency of her own spider glue. In the generation of the thread, tiny pearls of the liquid had to be evenly spread out across the fiber, bursting and sticking to anything on contact. Nigh-permanently, at it turned out. Only after morphing her hand into slippery chitin and washing the thread with hot water and soap for over twenty chimes was the girl able to finally disentangle herself. Not without a lot of pain, but at least her bodyparts didn't come off together with the glue. Phew. Lesson learned, in any case.

Returning to the garden from her discrete trip to the bathing area, Evarista rubbed her sore hand gently. Slightly tired from the whole ordeal, she was about to call it a night. Hopefully the gardener wouldn't ruin all of her work tomorrow. Well, hopefully he wouldn't get tangled and injure himself, now that she thought about it. Booby-trapping her family's own garden was rather stupid of her.

That's when she saw it. Something was already caught in her shabbily built web. In the darkness of the garden, a glowing green dot, dangling right at eye level. The glowing dot looked like it was struggling, rocking back and forth, but it had no chance of freeing itself from the cement-like spider glue. Evarista approached cautiously and stopped a meter away, squinting at it intently. The dot's tiny aura appeared, almost indiscernible from the dot itself. It was a bug of some sort. Not a spider, that much she could tell. She couldn't see anything surrounding the glowing speck in the darkness, but the aura revealed a simple fact: the glow wasn't the whole creature. It was just the abdomen, half-covered by weakly trembling wings.

A firefly.
Last edited by Evarista on September 18th, 2016, 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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[Nitrozian Estate] Grave of the Fireflies

Postby Evarista on September 17th, 2016, 7:23 pm

Having made sure that the glowing dot wasn't anything terribly dangerous, Evarista allowed herself to relax and examine it more closely. This corner of the garden was completely dark, unreached by the strips of light seeping between the half-closed shutters of the mansion. The softest buzzing sound teased her ears as the unfortunate insect continued its futile attempts to regain its freedom. It would be her plaything tonight. A caged entertainer and an unwilling teller of stories.

Staring at the bright glow, the girl allowed herself to reminisce a little about her earlier encounters with it. When she was small, she used to keep many different bugs in jars. The other children at the estate found this habit disgusting for some strange reason. Except for the fireflies. Evarista's efforts to catch these pretty little fellows were met with some fascination, and she used this to impress her siblings whenever she needed favors from them.

Of course, those times were long past. She was no longer interested in collecting strange things. She was interested in becoming them. A maniacal grin spread across her face for no one to see. It was such a beautiful thing, but it simply did not do itself justice. Its short life was a waste of its brilliant glow. In her hands, it would gain permanence. Legacy, even. Stuck in her web, her very first prey. She wouldn't let it go to waste.

The self-styled predator prepared to pry into the auristic labyrinth of the peculiar insect before her. She already had some experience with working with small creatures, and felt rather comfortable in her approach to the firefly. It didn't take much effort to call forth its tiny astral corona, but the way it intermingled its the physical light was rather irritating, and made things unexpectedly difficult.

Careful not to get her hands stuck again, Evarista curled her fingers into cups and enveloped the shining bug loosely. a green-yellow sheen was cast on her palms, making the physical contours of the thorax more visible, and thus making it easier to discern the aura apart from it. The aspiring aurist wasn't proficient with reading emotion yet, but it was easy to tell that the firefly was distressed. Death was close, it must have thought. This didn't evoke much compassion; those sensations were just another layer of nonsense, just another obstacle to push away.

There. There were two layers. The fist produced light, the second refracted it. Great, now, all she wanted were the building blocks. Just as she had learned when investigating silk spinning, the secret behind anything had to be thought of as building blocks. With the right ones, in the right arrangement, there was nothing that could not be built.

The blocks of the inner layer, which produced light, had two types. One was air. Well, not exactly air, but the fancy part about it: oxygen. Evarista didn't know the word, but she sure knew what the concept meant. The second type of building block was the special one; with a decent aura reading, she could mimic this through her morphing ability. The third and secret component was the hammer that struck the two blocks together, a special catalyst; now that she saw it, she could also mimic this. That was it. Just two blocks and one hammer. Let the hammer drive one block into the other, and it all would come alight.

While scouring the astral emanations, Evarista noticed an amusing piece of trivia. The meaning of the lantern... it was a male specimen, and the purpose of the glow was to attract females. Haha. You sure scored today, buddy.
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[Nitrozian Estate] Grave of the Fireflies

Postby Evarista on September 17th, 2016, 9:27 pm

With that, Evarista had a decent grasp of the theory behind the fire of the firefly. She could already see the blocks falling into place, struck with the hammer, and casting the light, all laid out in her mind. Now she just had to try it.

Holding her hand close to the trapped insect, she repeated the block-laying process, this time for real. The change was confirmed by the sensation of her fingernails changing consistency. The hard surface was saturated with the material that would make the light come alive. Oxygen was streaming to her cuticles with her heartbeat. Now, she only had to introduce the hammer to spark the fire.

A weak, yellow-green sheen sprung from behind her fingernails. There were now six specks arranged in an arc before her; one foreign, and five of her own. However, she could not imitate the strong pulsation of the firefly's light organ. The glow at her fingertips was dull and continuous. There was something missing. Her grasp of auristic analysis could use some tightening, she'd admit that. There was no frustration, however. In fact, she was happy with being able to create a small glow on her first try.

Back to the firefly, beginning the search for the missing component. The aural rim sprang forth just a little faster than the first time. While most experienced with spiders, other bugs were similar enough in their astral composition. There was nothing amazing about it; perhaps the reason why she never got to study it at the Institute. Every lesson, every book, every exercise, everything was directed at reading sapient auras. Auras of beings no different from herself. How mind-numbingly boring. Her self-instruction in the garden at night was much more exciting that anything her venerable auristics teacher ever had to offer. Laughable.

Chasing the distracting thoughts away, the girl tried to focus on her task again. What was missing? What was this additional, hidden layer of properties? Yes, layers. That was her mistake. She stopped too early, forgetting to peel back the obvious and see what was under it. There was always something under it. And once the layer under it was reached, there was always something under that. Deeply embedded details, hardly visible, painfully tiny. This was no different than learning the spinning of silk. The details made the difference between making silk, and making a fancy string of drool, which was all she managed on her first night. Eventually, she could do things with this that not even the spider itself could, if only because she was much larger. The firefly was no different. Just as defenseless against the prying eyes of an aurist, and no less vulnerable to be surpassed in what it did best.

There, the outer layer of the astral corona was pulled back slightly. Immediately, Evarista was stunned. It didn't make sense. It was beyond her understanding. It seemed magical, even. Just as her previous examinations of humble lifeforms revealed, there were secrets crawling just beneath human feet, ignored by all. Secrets that would give pause to the most arrogant of sky-gazers, which so many wizards were.

There was a biological... clock. The glowing substance wasn't just an oxidizing pigment. There was an underside to the building block that controlled its emissions with the time of day. At daytime, it would be weak. At night, it would be strong. But the strongest effect would be given during twilight. So, what she was seeing now wasn't even the apex of a firefly's beauty. This was the missing component. Unfathomable, but she didn't need to fathom it. She only needed to mimic it. Become it. That, she could do.
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[Nitrozian Estate] Grave of the Fireflies

Postby Evarista on September 18th, 2016, 10:53 am

The searing yellow-green flash almost blinded her, forcing the girl to turn her head away before cancelling the transmutation. Her hand went numb, scaring her for a moment. A few moments of massage helped the blood circulation, restoring the suddenly lost oxygen. Once again, she surprised herself. The clock, the timer, was the missing piece indeed. Once all the pieces fell into place, the puzzle became more than the sum of its parts. It was amazing, but also... daunting. For the second time that night, Evarista was beset by the creeping thought that she was playing with powers far beyond her understanding, and even further beyond her control. There had to be a reason why humans didn't glow in the dark. Trying to step over that reason without knowing what it is was a game with fire. Cold fire, as it were, but fire none the less.

Purposefully limiting the scope this time, the nightly experimentalist set the reaction into motion again. Two bricks, one hammer, one clock; activate. Five pulsing lanterns lit up in an arc, indistinguishable from the real firefly next to them. Uncanny. It was as if her fingers were transformed into whole fireflies themselves, but they hadn't. She only took the light.

Stepping away for a moment, Evarista looked up at the moon. It was time to go to bed. It was exciting to have something caught in her web, and she didn't insult her prey by letting it rot unnoticed. The firefly was in its death throes, no longer buzzing. Wings moved slowly up and down, as if the wearer was in delirium, imagining itself to fly high up in the sky, somewhere far, far away from here. Only the lantern was still glowing defiantly. It would not be left to die here.

Evarista changed her fingers to miniature tweezers. Not trusting her limited vision and clumsy hands, she drew out the aural corona again, not because she was interested in the contents, but because it made it possible to see the physical outlines with no light. Nifty, now that she thought about it. Pinching the bug by its torso, she pulled. A barely audible crunch signaled the separation of the legs, tiny black twigs left forever attached to the deadly glue of her silk. Carrying the maimed insect with her, she went upstairs to her room, stepping quietly.

Being up at night was somewhat common for her. She didn't need to bother with a work schedule, so there was no problem with sleeping until late afternoon if need be. Most of the other residents of the estate didn't have that luxury, and so didn't appreciate being woken up in the middle of the night. Evarista has learned to move quietly through the halls, knowing how to avoid bumping into things, minimizing the rattle of doorknobs and the slamming of doors. It was her home, in the end, familiar enough to let her move around rather quietly even in near-complete darkness.

Finally, she was back in her room, firefly still mostly intact in her pincer. The pulsing light was weak now. Approaching the balcony, the girl checked up on her eight-legged companion and confidant. Archibald's dark silhouette was immobile. Lifting the lid of the jar slightly, the young aristocrat slipped in the firefly with a practiced motion, before closing the jar again. The fading speck of light bounced from the spider's head before falling onto the glass floor. Archibald's one leg twitched lazily in response. Maybe she needed to get him a bigger jar, he looked like he needed some exercise.
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[Nitrozian Estate] Grave of the Fireflies

Postby Evarista on September 18th, 2016, 12:40 pm

Looking out of the open window, Evarista chewed on her lip in pause. There was something else she wanted to try before retiring for the night. After a familiar rearrangement between her jaws, she put her fingers in her mouth, ready to pull out the silk string. But there was to be a modification. But not to the silk itself. The silk relied on a structure, exactly the way it was. That structure gave the silk its integrity, and tampering with it would most likely lead to a flop, this much she knew from experience. No, there was another solution, a much simpler one.

Simplicity. She loved it. Getting tangled up in the science made her head hurt quickly. Animals didn't do science, they just did what came naturally to them, without thought and without effort. She wanted to be like that. She had to stop looking at her body as if it was a cold and rigid structure, while her magic was a way to build extensions onto it. No! Mundanely foolish. Absolutely misguided. Categorically wrong.

Her body was the magic. From the very beginning and to the very end.

Evarista pulled the freshly created fiber out of her mouth. It emitted a steady green-yellow glow. Actually, it wasn't the fiber itself, it was her saliva. Now that she held the key to create the light, all she had to do was introduce it into any part of her body, this time the oral secretion. As the silk left the gland, it soaked in the fluid before being pulled out of her mouth, absorbing the liquid easily and bloating in radius as it did. An even coating of the glowing compound was spread across the string she held in her hand.

Sharpening a tooth as she learned to do, she severed the fiber letting it hang freely, dangling in the light breeze that swept in through the open window. Extending her arm out of the window, she let go, expecting the string to fall down into the water. Instead, the wind picked it up and carried it upwards, pinching it with its invisible fingers. The faintly glowing string was visible for a good while before it finally disappeared into the darkness of the night sky. Poetic.

Amused by this development, the young aristocrat spun more of her invention and released string after string to the mercy of the wind, watching dreamily as the many luminous strands were carried across the canal; some disappearing into the heavens, some into the water, some clinging to buildings, swaying gently in the breeze. The mysterious clock told them to glow. At dawn they would stop. The next night, maybe she'd see them again, although the modest amount of the glowing compound would probably have fizzled out by then. Perhaps tomorrow, she could get a handy slave to make a paper kite for her. Decorating it with a long, luminescent tail and letting it soar over the city could be quite beautiful.

Already smithing such plans in her head, the girl wiped the excess drool that covered her chin. A luciferous trail was left on her hand. She stared at it dumbly for what felt like a long time without getting bored. It was supernatural. She felt supernatural. And it was intoxicating. Incidentally, her gaze fell onto the jar on the windowsill. It was dark. She had the light now.

A light stolen from the grave of the fireflies.
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[Nitrozian Estate] Grave of the Fireflies

Postby Crow on October 3rd, 2016, 12:37 am

Image

Something cool to say here that may or may not be ominous.


 
Evarista
Skills
  • Biology +2
    Morphing +4
    Auristics +2
Lores
  • Lore:Biology: Spiders silk: Not all is sticky
    Morphing: Spinning spiders silk successfully
    Morphing: Spiders silk can booby trap
    Auristics: An insects aura
    Biology: A strange Rhythm
    Biology: A strange light generated by Bioluminescence
    Morphing: Bioluminescence
    Morphing: Tools of study: finger tweezers
    Morphing: Glowing silk
Miscellaneous

    Comments:Your character would not know the terms of circadian rhythm or luciferin. As such respectable lores were replaced
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    Crow
    Just a murder.
     
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