Solo Cloaks of Black and Blue

Estrellir meditates and practices magic with a flowery aura.

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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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Cloaks of Black and Blue

Postby Estrellir Konrath on September 18th, 2016, 7:27 pm

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Fall 3, 516 AV
Grading noteI'm not entirely sure if my portrayal of Auristics is correct in this. If something isn't right, just let me know and I'll do my best to edit. Also, Est knows nothing about plants, but I figured calling them by name would help the reading flow at least.


Estrellir stretched and yawned as she stepped outside. It felt good to walk down the street carrying nothing but the clothes on her back, a few necessities and an apple in her pockets. She was wearing her usual black attire, hair pulled back into a tiny ponytail, boots supple around her feet. Her cloak billowed in a chilly breeze, she pulled it tighter. Fall had arrived, the mountain air felt colder in her lungs every day.

Few people were outside just after noon rest. Soon she came to the gates and turned towards the famous Trail of Waterfalls, a good path for strolls to Farpoint and back. Most importantly, it was supposed to be safe.

As she followed the wooden planks leading through high forest, Estrellir felt her body relax. First her limbs warmed from constant movement, then her heart grew lighter and fresh air cooled her mind. She’d been busy with plans and calculations recently. If all went well, that initial idea would manifest under her hands later in the season. She’d been planning and waiting for a while, so she could hardly resist the excitement of building her own business and workplace. She’d done a lot of investigation and analysis, to be able to do it properly, among other things. Get to know the market, culture, society, everything.

Lhavit still had its odd moments. She’d never truly understand why the three ancient families offered to train civilians in magic. For next to nothing. Estrellir had grown up in a place where every family honed skill and knowledge in secret. They never shared, and if they did, they loved to haggle. Most learned what objects and artefacts could sell for at an early age – by the time they were adults, they knew the game inside out.

Offering something as rare and valuable as magic for a few kina a season seemed suicidal. As long as she could benefit from that, Estrellir would be the last to criticize the system. Still, she wondered. Was it trust? Overwhelming self-confidence? A strategy to win the public’s favor?

Half a bell of walking brought her to a narrow bridge across a deep gorge in the landscape. A faint trickle hinted at the mountain stream carving its way down the stone far beneath. Next to the path, a bench and table beckoned. The top of it could be opened to reveal a box of smooth river stones and white ink. As the Konti was in no hurry, she sat on the table with a stone and a brush. After a moment or two of contemplation, she painted a single word on the stone in her chicken scratch handwriting: Capability.

The bridge, of course, was the famous Wishing Bridge. Estrellir leaned over the side as the stone tumbled down into the ravine, listening for the distant crack that told her it had landed. Yes, capability. Avalis, or perhaps the shadows had whispered it to her. As true as anything she’d ever uttered.
Last edited by Estrellir Konrath on September 21st, 2016, 10:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Estrellir Konrath
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Cloaks of Black and Blue

Postby Estrellir Konrath on September 18th, 2016, 7:29 pm

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A few chimes past the bridge, Estrellir spotted a small pond through the foliage. As she stepped through a pair of trees, avoiding thick bushes to one side, she noted the grassy bank on her side of the pond. It was free of trees and weed, a perfect spot for sitting and relaxing. Tiny ripples spread over the water as she sat close to it, accidentally shoving bits of dirt into it. On the other side, a bird fluttered up from a tree, warning others with a shrill cry.

The Konti was no threat though. She merely perched on the ledge, dipping her fingers into the cool water and watching the sunlight reflected on its surface. Then she continued on the bank, looking. Close to where the trees met the water and the path narrowed, she found a small cluster of brilliant blue gentian. They were blooming towards the sun, swaying gently in the breeze. One flower had grown a little apart from the others, near the water and just in front of a little hill. It looked like a cushion, inviting.

It was exactly what Estrellir had been hoping for: seat and object of practice. Sitting down cross-legged, she rested her hands on her knees and closed her eyes. It had been one season and she’d seen more than enough of dumb pebbles. She wanted more, she desperately needed to practice.

So she lowered herself into the quiet meditative calm that preceded that magical tingle. First she focused on breathing; in and out, in and out… in and out. The sun warmed the black fabric of her cloak. She paused to shrug it off – it was only early afternoon, the sun would warm her for several bells to come. Breathing, once again. Rustling behind, a bird cry from the left. Ignore it. Once she focused on her breathing, she willed her body to slow down. Take deeper breaths, hold each one… then release. In… and out. In… and out. Her mind whispered the words along with air traveling through her throat, her lungs. After a while, it started to feel like a door, swinging open and shut with every word. In, out. Open, close.

Estrellir knew it took time, however good she started out. So she waited. Time stretched and stuttered when her mind and body slowed down, she couldn’t trust it. Someone told her long ago, she couldn’t remember who. Like that, her thoughts drifted off. Focus, again. She breathed and observed every little move her body made to pump air, every rustle within her lungs, the way air brushed against the roof of her mouth.

Eventually she reached for that elusive little tingle. Every time she touched it, roused and coaxed it to the surface, it felt different. Granted, she hadn’t done it often, not yet. The process still fascinated her. And she still wasn’t sure how she did it, but she was getting better. Opening her eyes was a big part, opening her primary sense to that specific type of sensation. So she looked. At the gentian. The gentian shuddered a little (a breeze). It was so blue.

And then it was more than blue.
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Cloaks of Black and Blue

Postby Estrellir Konrath on September 21st, 2016, 9:23 am

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Brilliant color erupted from the small flower and Estrellir squeezed her eyes shut instinctively. She’d already experienced the aftermath of too much too fast once and wasn’t keen on reliving it. A moment later, she peeked. The color was still bright, but if she kept her eyes half-closed, it didn’t sear her eyeballs. Better than nothing.

Steadying her breathing, settling into meditative calm once again, she began breaking up the little ball of color. It was pulsing slightly, probably because the plant was alive. Stones had no business pulsing like that. But the colors. The green hue that permeated all was the pure plantness of it, the part that revealed how it grew, bloomed, produced and spread seeds. There were sandy yellow spots within the green, clustered around the trumpet-shaped blue petals, they spoke of a bitter taste. Wafting around and slightly above it was a faint pink and violet mist, its sweet scent. Estrellir looked, fascinated by the colors she instinctively understood, by how they taught her everything about the plant. The hues that stuck out the most described sensations, she noticed, things she would’ve seen, smelled, tasted or felt anyway. With Auristics, she could tell all those things without ever touching the plant itself.

The harder she looked, the more her eyes began to burn. Estrellir figured she still lacked the stamina to look at living things for long, so she closed her eyes again. Took a few deep breaths, rolled her shoulders to relax her neck muscles and sank deep into that core of calm. It was important not to lose control, she’d learned that during her first glimpse at auras. That first time had been beautiful and terrible. It had taught her caution. Sometimes she longed to progress faster, do and see more to understand better, but she never listened to those whispers. Burning herself down wouldn’t do, so flickers here and there it was.

After about five chimes, Estrellir focused on the plant once again. Physical properties seemed to be the foremost and easiest she could recognize at her basic level. She assessed those colors again, mentally cataloguing and committing to memory. Green: plant, living thing. Sandy yellow spots: bitter taste. Pink or violet haze: sweet scent.

As she looked more closely, she noticed the green darkened and deepened towards the stem while it paled around the leaves and flower petals. The Konti was no gardener, but she knew that trees and plants had some kind of sap running through them that kept them alive. Perhaps the shade of green hinted at the amount of sap running through the gentian, nourishing it with whatever its roots harvested from the earth. Yes, that had to be it. Fascinated, Estrellir watched the color vibrate and move slightly, perfectly in tune with its tiny living owner.

Her teacher had been right, it was beautiful. The aura was beautiful.
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Cloaks of Black and Blue

Postby Estrellir Konrath on September 21st, 2016, 9:27 am

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It flickered.

Estrellir blinked, hoping that it was only her eyes announcing exhaustion, but the strange sensation didn’t shift. Listening to her own body, she didn’t notice any immediate side effects, so she cautiously leaned into it, aware that it was probably a bad idea, that she could easily overgive again. Out in the forest, alone. Instead it took her away, into what she instinctively understood as the past: something damp and milky white, then a steady trickling noise, a wet and shuddering sensation.

The Konti surfaced panting and wide-eyed, leaping up and rubbing her eyes to get away from it all. The vibrant colors vanished as if she’d rubbed them away as well. Good. Taking her cloak, she started pacing. What she’d just seen and felt, she’d experienced it often enough that she recognized it for what it was. A vision. No, her magic assuming the shape of a vision to communicate glimpses of the object she’d studied. Glimpses of its past. She hadn’t known auras could depict the past too, but it was a reasonable assumption. Hadn’t Thomas mentioned it? Impressions stuck to people, things they’d done or touched stayed with them for bells or even days. As a matter of fact, it had rained the day before, first signs of fall weather. The plant remembered the rain. And so it had shown its memory to her.

A pounding had set in behind her eyes, unpleasant. Estrellir rubbed them again as she digested the knowledge. Somehow she doubted a novice could dig into the past of objects that quickly and easily, but she hadn’t exactly been looking for it. Possibly it had reacted with her gnosis, mortal magic mixing with its divine counterpart, and spat out the rain memory. Another side of that coin labelled too much too fast. A chill came over her, she rubbed her arms frantically and stomped back towards the path, to the other side of the grassy clearing. Where people passing by could see her, should anything happen again.

She found the apple in her cloak and ate it, tossing the core into the underbrush. Looking for a good spot to sit and calm down, she spotted something blue. Another plant, this one solitary, with several deep blue flowers shaped like little hoods. Like the hood of her cloak when she wore it, only slightly elongated. It was taller and its leaves were different from the gentian, but it was similar in that it grew and bloomed.

One more, something whispered inside her. Just one.
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Cloaks of Black and Blue

Postby Estrellir Konrath on September 21st, 2016, 9:45 am

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Estrellir debated for a while, weighing curiosity against tired eyes and mental exhaustion. Eventually she sat down, crossed her legs and concentrated. Slipping into that calm and peaceful core was easier, probably because little time had passed. As soon as her breathing was deep and even, she opened her eyes and saw the colors. There was green, for the growing and blooming and living pulse, then pale yellow spots, a slightly different shade. What she hadn’t expected, however, was the third shade of yellow she saw, a mix between green and yellow to be exact, that seemed to bite and sting her just from looking at it. Everything inside her screamed caution at the sight of that color, but still it took her a moment to figure out what it meant. Poison. The plant was poisonous.

With that, she took a step back, amazed at how useful Auristics turned out to be. She didn’t know much, but if she concentrated, she could detect which plants were toxic and which were safe to eat. As a born and bred Kenashian, Estrellir had never learned wilderness survival nor felt the need to, but even a city girl like herself could appreciate what the magic taught her. It was a start, a glimpse of what Auristics could do. And how magnificent it’d be, when she got to reading human and other sentient auras!

The colors had paled a little, but they were still present, so she took another careful look to memorize. Her eyes were stinging, the pounding had intensified, but she held out just a little longer. Shades of green, again, pale yellow bitterness and greenish yellow poison. The scent seemed more pink than violet, but not much. She noted how the aura was shaped around the plant, how it moved lazily.

When her eyes protested again, she let go. It felt as if she’d spent an entire night reading by weak candlelight. Possibly worse. Enough looking for the day, she decided. Getting up, she stretched a little, relaxed her neck muscles and rubbed her temples. It didn’t help, but then again, she might’ve gone just a step too far. Again. She had to do something about those whispers, Estrellir mused as she stood on her toes and stretched her arms towards the clear sky. For the time being, however, she’d practiced, improved and learned a lot, and that could definitely be called a success. One step, then another.
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Cloaks of Black and Blue

Postby Estrellir Konrath on September 21st, 2016, 9:46 am

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Why hadn’t she brought another apple, anything to replace the energy she’d burned through? Then again, she hadn’t expected it to be quite so exhausting. After that disastrous first time at the restaurant, Estrellir and Thomas had looked at nothing but the pebble together. That had been easy, carefully controlled and utterly boring. While she understood the importance of starting small, especially after that light overgiving experience, she also believed in the wondrous quality, the excitement of discovery, that came with learning magic. She had to want it to advance. She had not wanted to look at a pebble day in, day out.

But that, what she’d just seen and learned about plant auras, it was exciting. Besides, she’d been able to pull back from the edge before it was too late. Nothing had happened. Proof: She could practice on her own.

The experience still reverberated in her bones and knees though, she wasn’t ready to go back yet. Instead she lay down on the grass, scooting around until the ground cushioned her back comfortably. Shifting her head, she allowed the earth to cool her aching temples and, by extension, her eyes. The blue sky above stung, so she closed them. Once again, almost automatically, she started listening to her breathing. In out, in out. It came fast and ragged, took longer to calm down.

No wonder, excitement still lingered. But slowly, her breathing evened out, a reward for patience. It felt different, lying down, the lifting and sinking of her chest more pronounced. As if battling an invisible force that was stronger vertically. Air, possibly. Air had weight, you just had to ask the wind. Not as much as water though. The thought of water calmed her down further, so Estrellir conjured up a memory of Glass Beach in her mind. The sound of the waves. Sand under her feet, crusting between webbed toes. The pleasant tickle of warm wetness on her skin, her scales.

When she surfaced from her little beach fantasy, Estrellir felt as calm and peaceful as the ocean. Another way to meditate, she supposed, by invoking the image of something beautiful and soothing. It felt like something out of Mura, perhaps a sister had mentioned it during her years there. It had definitely helped more than just sitting and focusing on breathing.

The side effect: She almost fell asleep. Yet as she got up, she felt a little rested and more than ready to return to Lhavit. The path, the surrounding alpine forest were so beautiful it hurt (like everything about the famed Star of Kalea), something she hadn’t even noticed before.
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Cloaks of Black and Blue

Postby Izuyanai on September 23rd, 2016, 9:40 am

Grades :
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Grades


Name: Estrellir

XP:
Observation +3
Philosophy +1
Painting +1
Meditation +4
Auristics +4
Botany +1

Lores:
Location: The Amaranthine Gate
Location: Trail of Waterfalls
Location: The Wishing Bridge
Lhavit: Loose Policy on Magic
Goddess: Avalis
Meditation: Breathing Techniques
Auristics: Reaching For the Magic
Auristics: Danger of Blinding Colors
Auristics: Ability to Gain Information Without Physical Touch
Auristics: Plant Life Shows a Unique Pulsing
Auristics: Green Indicates Sap
Auristics: Auras Hold Memories
Auristics: Certain Shade of Yellow Signifies Poison
Philosophy: Auristic Ability May React to Gnosis
Herbalism: Poisonous Blue Flowering Plant

Penalty: Estrellir will have strained eyes and therefore a slight headache. A good night’s rest, especially with a warm cloth over the eyes will be enough to recover.

Notes: Great magic thread. It was calming, but still with bright colors from Auristics. I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong with the magic. It’s very creative and I especially liked how you elaborated on plant life and the appearance of its life energy. As long as you don’t overpower yourself or contradict the lore, I think interpretation is part of the fun. Lastly, I didn’t give the poison skill because you weren’t necessarily using it or creating it. Estrellir will just know to be cautious around that plant. Let me know if you think I’ve missed something.
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