[The Midnight Gem] Darkness And Light (Kynier)

Kelski lays in wait of Kynier. It's time they sat down and had some meaningful one on one time.

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[The Midnight Gem] Darkness And Light (Kynier)

Postby Kelski on September 2nd, 2018, 5:13 am

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Timestamp: 2nd of Fall, 518 A.V.


The Jeweler laid the groundwork carefully. First and foremost she swore everyone off the newly finished study and laid a thoughtful fire in the hearth that connected the study and the master suite. She brought up extra wood so they wouldn't have to interrupt their conversation to restock if the fire burned low. Pulling out her candles, Kelski filled sconces and lit the wicks, bathing the room in faint but beautiful light. Kelski had a work table on one end of the study installed for Kynier and before the fire was a pair of wing-backed chairs and a small round table between them. Kelski had filled the little table with a plate of snacks - fruit and cheese and some fresh baked bread with a knife suited to cut it. There was a decanter of juice - apple - resting with a pair of glasses.

She hoped the provisions and the juice would be enough to sustain a lengthy conversation and that they woudln't get distracted. Along her bond with The Gem the building stirred, curious, and Kelski felt it come alive through her link. She'd taken to talking to it - to thin air it seemed at times - in order to keep her sanity because The Midnight Gem was a constant itch at the back of her mind - one she had started to really love - but also something that bothered her as well... somewhat deeply.

She hadn't showed Kynier the book on Architectrix. Eventually she would, but she was still coming to terms with what her family had gifted her with and understanding The Gem as it awoke. And she was afraid if it had a real mage, someone like Kynier, that it would somehow reject her in favor of him because Kelski often saw him as superior in all the ways that maybe the building would find important... like magic.

But she had to show him Aer'wyn's legacy. And that's what she explained to the building. "I've made him so many promises...." She said, moving around and poking at the fire. "But I'm on the verge of breaking every one of them. I don't understand all of this between us, but its growing stronger and you are so very smart. You understood immediately what the contractors were doing, and I asked the ones you didn't like to leave and Rodgers and Rodgers were okay with that even though I didn't tell them why. But there is only so much I can keep from him. I'm not willing to keep secrets. This book... Aer'wyn's journal... is just one more secret I won't hold close. He deserves honesty from me. You understand that. I don't lie to you either. Not like humans can and often will. But not telling him is a lot like lying and I promised not to do anything without his guidance or at least not without keeping him in those loops he talks about." Kelski said, pacing the room.

The Kelvic looked extra young today... her hair down and loose, her feet bare, wearing a colorful skirt and a short tunic that only covered enough of her stomach to be decent. There was a wrap over one chair if she got cold. She'd taken, sometimes in the recent past since that first day at the Bolt Hole, to wearing her eyelids shaded and sometimes her lips painted a muted vaguely feminine color that made her look more human. If she wore khol around her eyes, it just made her look more exotic, more alien, though no one had been unkind enough to point it out. Someone, probably Ren, had braided a few loose feathers in her hair - silver and grey most likely from her Kelvic form.

And as she spoke she paced, her steps lithe and healthy. She was a far cry from the thin half starved slave that Kynier had first met. Her body was corded with feminine muscle now, her breasts fuller, her hips rounded in a healthy way that still left her stomach flat. Since her absence in the middle of Summer, Kelski had gradually gotten better, stronger, more determined to train and be ready.

Vigilant, she wasn't even caught unaware as The Gem nudged at her awareness and sent an image of Kynier climbing the stairs. " Thank you." She said aloud and forced herself to relax, to stop her pacing, and to settle into one of the wing-backed chairs. He'd have to pass this way to drop his gear off in the wardrobe, and especially that was true if he wanted a bath or at least to clean up before dinner.

She always flushed at the thought of seeing him again, even if she'd seen him only a few bells ago. He was hers... but in a way that Kelski never restricted his comings and goings and rarely asked him where he'd been. She respected his work and if he wanted to talk about it, he would. She had ways of asking him how his day was going or had went... looks and certain touches that invited him to open up if he was burdened or wanted to discuss things with her. Unfortunately Kelski's mate had spent years of his life isolated and alone, pushing everyone away or holding them at arms length. So Kelski always tread cautiously with him, giving him space and not crowding him. She was attentive but not smothering, and even now, though they lived together and spent most nights in each others arms.. she still left him gifts and things to let him know she was thinking of him.

The warm inviting glow of his study and all the lit candles would clue him in that she needed his time tonight. The location was her way of saying 'talking' not 'loving'. And the food laid out and the Kelvic already curled in her wing-backed chair would indicate length and seriousness. Kelski laid her invitation carefully at his feet, speaking volumes without having to explain a thing to her clever mate that she wanted his time.

When he came into the room, she was quietly watching him... expectantly. And before he could say anything she carefully and quietly said... "You've time to gear down and wash up. There's no urgency other than things need to be said." She offered, studying him, gauging his reaction. Knowing him, he expected this.. probably long before now because the Sea Eagle had a tendency to put things off or do things in her own way and in her own time.

And that time was now...
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[The Midnight Gem] Darkness And Light (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on September 2nd, 2018, 9:05 pm

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“Nightstalker,” Zavath said just loud enough to get his attention. Kynier turned to the old shadow with an aged voice. “It would be best, if you went upstairs. The Favored…” The shadow moved away without elaborating. Zavath seemed to be more accepting of him recently. Perhaps it was because of the nature of this project. Or maybe Kelski had asked him to be.

Stopping didn’t seem like a bad idea. Kynier couldn’t tell what bell it was from down here, but knew it had been a long time since he had eaten. So he wiped the sweat off his brow and started to depart. From there, Kynier traversed to the third floor and headed for the master’s suite. Walking past the newly designed Great Room he rounded the corner to his study. Before fully coming around he heard the gentle tune of a fire then noticed the comfortable lighting of the sconces.

Kynier really loved the study she had designed for him. It offered him a consistent place to work without being in other people’s way, and allowed him to witness her comings and goings during the early morning and late nights. What caught his eye was the spread of fruits, cheese, and bread on the round table by the heart. And then Kelski’s silver gaze peering at him from one of the wing-back chairs. At the sight of her, he smiled by reflex.

Both eyes and body language openly displayed that she needed to talk. Dinner was still a few bells away, yet food had been placed and a decanter was resting between a pair of glasses. Kelski wanted to talk, and she expected that it would be a long talk.

As he opened his mouth, she spoke. The mage was sweaty and a bath did have an appealing sound to it. With still half a smile on his face he nodded. “Okay. Allow me a chime,” he said acceptingly. Kynier took to the master suit. In there he unfastened both his short swords and his dagger from his belt. From the wardrobe he retrieved a fresh shirt and removed the one he wore. Before redressing he fetched a towel from the bath chamber and patted himself with the material, starting at his brow. It made a path down the back of his neck and across his chest as he wandered back out to the study. Towel in one hand, and a fresh shirt in the other, the mage sat down in the unoccupied chair. He draped the shirt over the arm for later if he got too chilled.

The towel continued to remove the glisten from is back and arms as he got situated. Then he set it over a knee and began to fill both glasses with juice. “What is it, my Feather?” he asked with soft curiosity as he handed her a glass. Kynier took a shallow drink from his own as he watched her and leaned back into the chair.

Boxcode credit goes to Gossamer!
Last edited by Kynier on October 17th, 2018, 3:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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[The Midnight Gem] Darkness And Light (Kynier)

Postby Kelski on September 6th, 2018, 2:44 am

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With her feet kicked up in the chair and her chin resting on the top of her knees, Kelski watched as Kynier settled in the unoccupied chair. He poured her a glass of juice and she took it, thanking him and turning it over and over in her thin black-tipped hands. Nails clinked on the glass as she tapped it nervously, then glanced up at him.

“I want to talk about magic. I made you promises, Kynier, and I feel like they are now hanging around my head like a collar. I will not break them willingly, but there are things I know and things I keep learning accidentally and purposely and its making me uncomfortable not talking to you about them.” She said thoughtfully.

“You are a mage. I understand that. I am not. I understand that as well. But there is magic all around us and I cannot avoid it. I understand auristics and a bit about shielding and I want to start using them more, especially in my work, but you have said I should not without you talking to me or supervising me.” She started out, feeling completely inadequate about communicating what she wanted from him or wanted to actually tell him.

The Gem reached out, drawing energy down her link to it, and infused her with warm… almost comfort mixed with what Kelski could feel was the beginnings of acute concern. Kelski drew in a deep breath and pushed reassurance down the link back towards the building. Everything is okay. Everything is more than okay. It’s just a talk. It’s just Kynier. He gets weird about magic, protective, and overly concerned… maybe rightfully concerned. I don’t know. We will talk it out. She thought at it, opening her link wider, so the building could be a part of it and could understand the interaction and communication. Foreign curiosity filled her. Kelski felt like she’d made the right decision instead of shutting the building out.

“You are so … protective of magic. You… get weird when we discuss it. Like you think it is a living thing that will hurt people that use it. Almost like you are a father with a very sharp dagger that you do not want me to touch because it might cut me. But it is in the end just a sharp dagger. Teaching a child to hold it properly to not get hurt is always better than not letting them touch it at all. I’ve not wanted to have this talk because you get so …. Concerned… about it. Like magic is a living thing, not a tool, but I think it is just a tool and I am cautious with it. I want to expand my knowledge of it. I want to learn more. But I promised you this talk if that time came.” She said gently, reaching out to set her glass on the table between them. Kelski felt like she might break the stem if she wasn’t careful.

Then she reached behind her to pull something she had hidden at her back tucked into the chair. It was a journal. Aer’wyn’s handwriting was all over it, along with a smaller more delicate handwriting, as she flipped through it for his benefit. “Then there’s this. Aer’wyn, when he left, forgot this. When I cleaned his room I found it. It has extensive notes on the magic he knew… it transforms one’s appearance. I want to learn it, because it can change my looks and make me look more human… even give me normal clear nails. It was how he grew his arm back that was missing.” She said gently. “Morphing. And just flipping through it I know I can do it. It just requires meditation and the study of forms.” She said simply, waiting for his reaction as she rested the book against her stomach, her knees still drawn up with her heels resting on the seat of the chair.

Kelski carefully surveyed Kynier and waited. The Gem waited too, curious, a question vibrating down their connection. Why? Why didn’t she consider herself a mage? Didn’t she teach it and caretake it? Didn’t she oil its hinges, arrange for remodels and expansions, and patch The Gem’s leaking roof when it wanted her too? The Kelvic didn’t know how to answer it… not in a way that wouldn’t confuse the building or make it fully aware of her own insecurities. So she offered it a carrot… a promise of a long explanation later… later after she could figure out what to say that was the truth but didn’t reveal too much.
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[The Midnight Gem] Darkness And Light (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on September 6th, 2018, 8:55 pm

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At first he had only taken sips from his glass. But once she started talking, Kynier drank the rest of the contents all at once. This was a conversation that he had been expected. One that should’ve already happened actually. With the expansion, his learning a new discipline, and his own secret project in the basement it had been overlooked. That wasn’t fair to her, and he knew that. Kelski had wanted to learn. So badly that she made a bold decision that turned out to be reckless enough for her to admit it without him having a chance to ask. Why was it that things of importance where drawn out to a critical point before they would discuss them? Another characteristic they both seemed to share.

When Kelski spoke of magic as a tool he wanted so badly to interject. Instead he clamped down on his jaw and reached over to snare some fruit from the small table. Kynier popped it into his mouth mostly for the sake of keeping it busy. He wanted to hear what it was that she needed to say and not interrupt her flow of thought. And when she procured the book from behind her body, Kynier arched an eyebrow in curiosity. Aer’wyn’s journal? Kynier never knew the akalak kept one, let alone write down the knowledge of the only discipline that he knew. Aer’wyn had kept the pieces of his life so close to his chest it made Kynier seem rather open by comparison.

Kynier’s eyes softened with sadness when Keslki explained the purpose to why she wanted to learn Morphing. The mage understood from a logical standpoint. Kelski’s features were exotic and betrayed her inhumanity. Kelvics were preyed upon by humans, even apex predators like the sea eagle before him. So it made sense. But it also made him sad. When Ember arrived the young kelvic had been teaching Kelski more about feminine care and aesthetics. Adding cosmetics around the eyes and lips, how to make her hair take many different forms, and other things probably. Kynier had kept his thoughts on it quiet. When she had her lips painted red and the dark framing of her eyes had been added, the mage found it very alluring.

Yet she added a more human pink color to her lips. Kelski hadn’t said anything but he knew she was trying to disguise herself. Her kelvic qualities had never bothered him. Kynier honestly preferred the natural dark color of her lips over that of a human’s. It was who she was. And he could easily guess what she would do with Morphing. Change her lip color would be first. Next, the dark intensity of her nails. After that… her hair? Changing the strands so that instead of ombre it would be a solid stream of black strands? Kynier looked at her thoughtfully. Would she even change the color of her eyes?

His eyes turned to the fire in the hearth as he swallowed the fruit. Since Ember’s teachings he suspected Kelski had been uncomfortable with her appearance. But he hadn’t expected it to be that intense. Though she didn’t say those exact words, he suspected she would make all those changes. Was that how she was seeing things? Magic was a tool and she just discovered how to make herself feel better with it? Vel’s words were right. Morphing suddenly sounded like a very selfish discipline. And though Kynier was her mate, it didn’t feel like his place to even suggest that she not use Morphing in that way. Ultimately, their lives were their own, until they resolved the bonding enigma.

A heavy sigh escaped him as his eyes remained on the fire. Kynier moved to the edge of his seat and refilled his glass. Before Kelski, he had taught some magic. But it was to other mages. People who already had an understanding of the basics, and where just interested in a new discipline. Kelski was going to be his first true student. Sure, she had read a book on Auristics. Asked Savatar about shielding. Initiated a magic he had never heard of before to bring their very home to life. Now she was looking through Aer’wyn’s journal and found something else she desperately wanted to learn. Kelski was becoming a fire that was burning out of control due to his own inactivity. She may not appreciate it at first, but Kynier may need to start imposing more restrictions on what she can do. But she wasn’t a child like he was.

Kelski was trying to run, trying to fly, when she didn’t know how to crawl yet. The promise she made only slowed her to a walk. Perhaps all his other projects, even the one downstairs, had to be placed on the shelf so that he could provide the instruction that she really needed. The thought of being responsible for another person’s outcome as a mage scared him though. Kynier never asked Bourin about his other students. Now he wish that he had. But a child doesn’t think of such things when being taught how to perceive auras or conjure fire from within.

Half the contents of the glass disappeared down his throat. Then he set the glass down, rested his elbows on his knees, and interlaced his fingers while forming a steeple his two pointers to press against his lips. A temperament needed to be established. So strongly did he disagree with what she just said, but she didn’t truly understand what she was engrossing herself in. If he was to be an instructor he didn’t want to be overbearing and demeaning. Magic is life. And she needed to see that as he had.

The mage’s lips broke away from their perch as his head turned to look at her again. No smile was offered, and no confrontation rested in his eyes. An expression of complete neutrality was given to her. “Thank you for talking to me about this,” he said with sincerity. Hazel eyes fell on the journal in her grasp. What was he to do with that? It would be a lie to say he wasn’t interested in learning it himself, just so that he could have an understanding. Kelski probably saw it as another source of freedom. Freedom from prejudice. But magic wasn’t like a knife in a child’s hands. It was more dangerous than that to an ignorant practitioner.

“I owe you an apology my love. Over twenty days ago I made you promise to not use magic without my guidance. And I’ve not provided that. That changes now. But we’re going to start with setting a foundation for your understanding.” Kynier raised a hand in a gesture to give her pause from any urge she may have to proclaim any understanding of magic. “What you’ve learned so far has no foundation. And you’ve managed to make it work, but it isn’t efficient. And magic not used efficiently is,” Kynier nodded an acknowledgement that he was merely repeating what he’d said so many times since he met her, “dangerous.”

He stood up and carefully moved the small round table several feet to the side, making sure to not spill or drop anything on its surface. When it was out of the way he sat down on the ground cross-legged and gestured for her to join him on the floor in front of him, with the fire at their side. Kynier waited until she was situated before talking. “Meditation isn’t necessary, but it proves to be immensely useful in the use of magic. Not just for Morphing, but for all forms of it. We’re going to do a little meditation right now my Feather. The purpose, is for you to really… and truly… discover your djed.”

“First,” he held out his hand, “I want you to give me Aer’wyn’s journal. Auristics and Shielding are safe and don’t require much finesse to use. But I don’t suspect that Morphing is the same by any standard. So, I want you to give me the journal. And I will hold onto it, and read it so that I can understand what you need to know first. And when I think you’re ready, I swear to give it back to you.” If she gave him the journal, he would set it on the chair he had been sitting on. If she didn’t, he wouldn’t push but would ask her to not try Morphing without him present.

From there, he continued. “There are four layers to a person’s soul, Kelski. The outer most is the Aura, which we perceive with Auristics. This is an energy that radiates from the soul. Then the Astral Body. This is what binds the soul with the physical body, and what Projection learns to manipulate. Below that is something referred to as the Persona. That is where consciousness and the essence of what makes each individual who they are. Their memories, feelings, and natural talents are all generated from there.”

“Finally, the Soulcore. A soul is made from djed and generates an excess amount that mages learn to use. This extra djed lingers at the Soulcore. With meditation, it is easier to find your Soulcore, and to actually feel your djed before you try and summon any of it for magic.” Kynier softened his voice and spoke a little quieter. “Now then. Relax and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing. Banish all thoughts and emotions from your mind, so you can reach a sort of tranquility. When you’ve done that, reach inward with your mind. Deep in to your body to a place that doesn’t physically exist. There, you should feel the collection of your djed.”

“Don’t try to use it just yet. Just feel it with your mind. If you’re relaxed it should be a calm energy.”

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[The Midnight Gem] Darkness And Light (Kynier)

Postby Kelski on September 7th, 2018, 3:18 am

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Kelski had avoided this conversation because she could all but predict what was about to happen and did. She saw Kynier’s jaw go hard, and he grab some fruit to probably stuff in his mouth instead of speaking words he didn’t want to exactly say. More emotions crossed his face as she further explained the journal and watched as his eyes drew conclusions on things she wasn’t even talking about.

The Kelvic felt her heart sink as the heavy sigh escaped his lips and he gazed into the fire. Even then, she could see he didn’t consider her in the same caliber as someone else wanting teaching. She’d never talked about her time with Savatar in depth or what the Shadow had taught her specifically, and she hadn’t showed him the book on Architectrix though she’d told him about it. The truth was Kynier knew very little about her foundations besides what she’d told him. She’d actually learned quite a bit about magic since that time she’d confessed she hadn’t even understood djed. But studying him, she could tell that no matter what she did or however many books she read, he would never consider her a mage. And she saw it in his eyes that he would restrict or prevent her magic if he could.

Kelski took a deep breath, exhaled, and drew in another one. Kynier was still thinking, still studying her as if she were some sort of problem he had to deal with and not his mate. She watched him fold his hands after he set his glass down and noted the arrogant curve of his spine as he sat up and almost leaned on his interlaced fingers. Kynier actually surprised her as he thanked her for bringing this up. She blinked in surprise, wondering why he was thanking her for causing him yet more stress… for she could see it clearly all over his form and posture.

The Kelvic might not have had any business playing at being a mage, but that didn’t stop her from knowing and doing things. She concentrated, quieting her mind, and reached for her sight, pooling djed out before her like a pulsating wave, reading his aura without using her eyes. It took her a while, caused her to calm, and distracted her from her immediate anger when he apologized for making her wait, for stifling her ability to learn and grow, and not allowing her to take a single step without his guidance.

Kynier’s aura was a bright purple threaded through with various shades in that color family, much like an amethyst. She ignored the dark spot that trailed around his core. She could taste and sense traces of emotion when he assigned all the negative traits to her. She broke off the contact when he used the word dangerous. By the time he moved to the floor, she had stopped sensing it with any accuracy because she could not concentrate once he said what he said and he moved.

He got critical, almost to the point of being mean, and she simply stared at him. Kelski considered herself clever, smart… perhaps more driven than most humans her age. Hadn’t she won her own freedom? Hadn’t she survived things that had happened to her out of her control? Did he give her no credit and called her…. her actions inefficient? DANGEROUS?!?

She watched him settle to the floor and shook her head. Kelski rose then, not to join him, but to cut off looking over his aura and finally speak. She’d worked so hard last season… spent hours and hours in her workshop to make The Midnight Gem work and to provide for all of them. Yet there was no respect here, no give or softening. There was certainly no understanding. When it came to magic, Kynier was arrogant to the point of being haughty. And he certainly showed no trust of her ability to exhibit control and not be something like Farris. Even The Midnight Gem itself seemed to tense at Kelski’s anger. She didn’t even try to sooth it, instead, she opened up to it and shared with it her frustration.

“I have always respected you, Kynier. And I have always done a great deal to make you feel welcome and comfortable. But this…. is too much. I am not dangerous. I am not careless. And while I might be inefficient and poorly trained in your eyes, I’m sure there was a time people more skilled than you felt the same way about you. I’ve never had the benefit of a teacher like you have. I have always taught myself what I know. I am going to rectify that. But it’s not fair for me to have to sit around and wait for you to get the time or inclination to judge me and then try to educate this stupid animal.” She said, pacing back and forth for a moment, before she turned again, the building around her shuddered slightly in reaction to her anger.

“No, you cannot have Aer’wyn’s journal because I want to read it and it’s not up to you to keep it from me like I am a child for you to judge what is fit for me to read and not to read.” Her anger was rising now, and The Gems was picking up on it. It sent queries down the link between them, curious and concerned, all at once. It distracted Kelski momentarily as she sent it love and reassurances that everything was alright.

She didn’t want to know about the layers of a person’s soul. Didn’t he realize Kelvics were created and probably didn’t even have them? Astral Bodies? Projection? None of the words he spoke made sense, nor did the thing he described as something referred to as Persona. He wasn’t a teacher. He was a judge and jury and some incredibly put upon mage that didn’t want magic out in the world and certainly not the stuff that was out of his control.

“That stuff is what makes you what you are. I am a Kelvic. I was made. I have none of that stuff. I don’t even have a soul.” She said, hissing angerly and shaking her head. “Everyone knows that. Maybe that’s why there’s this… this between us. I’m sorry I brought this up and pushed you into this talk. I know where I stand with this and I don’t need this teaching from you. I will find my own way.” She said with her teeth clenched, not offering to join him on the floor. Hadn’t she set the room up comfortably enough for them? It was never right. It was never good enough.

Kelski turned on her heel and walked out. When she passed from his view and into the main room, she tossed the journal into the kitchen/great room fire and watched it light up. Then she stood there staring at it as it went up in flames, the dry paper catching and burning down to almost nothing quickly. She left Kynier in the study, cursing herself and knowing better than to even ask him about this. She was done with the arrogance, the judgmental looks, and the disapproval. And she stood there until there was nothing left of that journal but ashes.
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[The Midnight Gem] Darkness And Light (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on September 7th, 2018, 5:14 pm

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When she stood from her seat it he nearly foresaw what was coming. The confrontational tells in her body language as she distanced herself from him and paced the room. Her words echoed in the room and struck him with a terrible weight. He was trying to help her to be better than she was. Did Kelski not see that? Kynier wasn’t ungrateful for what she had provided for him this summer. And he was trying to return that kindness the only way he knew how. With his knowledge. And his delivery came off as judgmental?

At the mention of the implied insult, of being a “stupid animal”, Kynier opened his mouth deny that being how he saw her. But the building shuddered and groaned around them and stole his attention away. Kynier’s eyes took in the walls and ceiling around them as the Midnight Gem seemed to stop. It too seemed to give Kelski pause. The fire in her eyes diminished and he could see her mind was somewhere else for an instant. He didn’t speak but watched. Kynier knew nothing of Architectrix beyond what she told him. It was clear that that form of magic was occurring before him now.

When her gaze came back to the present there was something that looked to be resentment for him filling those eyes. Changing them from the beautiful silvers he had always seen, to a harsh steel grey. Through clenched teeth she spoke and stormed out. Kynier quickly snatched his shirt from the chair and stood up to follow her. Slipping into the shirt he rounded the corner to the Great Room. To his utter surprise, the book had been thrown into the fire. Kynier stopped and stared, completely perplexed by her actions. Kelski stood there watching the journal burn. He took a few steps towards the fire and moved past her. It was far too damaged to salvage. If he’d been able to save it, he wasn’t sure that he would’ve.

Watching the small piece of Aer’wyn’s life turn to ash, Kynier pondered over the ordeal. Why had she decided to burn it after claiming to want to read it? Kelski had said she started reading it. Perhaps she knew enough and didn’t want it lying around. Or maybe she changed her perspective again and decided against Morphing. The second possibility seemed unlikely to have happened in the last chime though. Kynier slowly turned to face her, setting his hands on his hips. His eyes filled with questions and sadness. Kelski had said a lot in a short time. Many things he disagreed with. He hated seeing her this upset, even worse was that it was directed at him.

“So then… Ebon… Ember… and Ren… they don’t have souls either?” he asked softly yet rhetorically. Kynier glanced back at the fire before lowering his gaze to her hips. “I don’t consider you to be a ‘stupid animal’, Kelski.” Kynier met her eyes. “You’re headstrong and have accomplished many things that many people… humans and kelvics… will never achieve in their life. All in a very short time.” Putting his feet into action, he slowly crossed in front of her and circled around to be just under an arm’s length behind her. His eyes stared at her back for an instant before he reached out with a hand.

Gently, he pressed the palm against her double gnosis and spread his fingers out. Through her hair and through her clothes he felt the raised skin of their goddess in her flesh. “I want to help you. To help you better than all the other self-made mages in the world.” He took his had away from her and walked back towards the study. Though he stopped at the corner and half turned back to look at her again. In his eyes expressed how she had just stung him.

“But I don’t know what it is you want from me anymore, Kelski. At your invitation to come here, to the Gem, you said that I would be needed. Needed to lead. That you needed me. Needed my caution to outweigh your need for action at times. And then you ask me to teach you what I know of magic.” Kynier shook his head sadly. “Yet when I try to do those things for you…” he indicated the fire and the ashes of a lost friend’s past life. “To insult you wasn’t my intention. I felt that it was time to act rather than just talk more. To show you how to be an even better mage. It feels that the only thing I have to offer you Kelski, is my knowledge. Because you are so capable at everything else. And if you don’t want that…”

The unfinished thought echoed in his mind. What did she need him for if she didn’t want this from him? Kynier set his hands on his hips again. “I just wanted to protect you from the mistakes I made. And to show you the way while doing so.” After a few moments he stepped back into the study. In the deep recesses of his mind he felt the other one’s stirring. Mentally he pushed against it, not wanting to hear any of what He would say. Kynier moved the small table back to where it had been before. Taking his glass he sat back down and lost his gaze to the fire before him.

The half full contents of the glass swirled from an absentminded motion of his hand. Words and smiles from their collective past coursed through his mind. How she had looked up to him so much. Had Kelski placed him so high up on a pedestal, that now, any advice he tried to give would only seem like he was talking down at her? It seemed now that unless she asked anything of him, the only thing he could do for her… was to leave her alone.

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[The Midnight Gem] Darkness And Light (Kynier)

Postby Kelski on September 8th, 2018, 2:11 am

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The Kelvic was so furious she was shaking.

The entire building had its newly formed awareness focused on her, confused by the mother figure that always showed it love and understanding. Rage was a foreign emotion to it… one it didn’t like. It was concerned and it sent that confused concern washing over Kelski. She took a deep breath, closing her eyes, as Kynier joined her in the Great Room. When one was as angry as she was, it was hard to feel love directed towards one. Kelski didn’t know what to think as the confused concern changed to love and it washed over her, repeatedly, in much the same manner Kelski had been lavishing the building with her appreciation and admiration of how well it sheltered them all… how well it had taken the remodel… on how well it was doing learning and growing.

When those familiar feelings were turned back on her, she shuddered and didn’t know how to deal with them. Before here and now, in this place, the Kelvic had never known love. Before Kynier had joined her in The Midnight Gem, she’d always been alone even in crowds. And though they had no bond, they had plenty of connections bringing them together. His touch had been the first who’d stroked her flesh with gentle love, and though he was not one to let his guard down too often, it felt wrong somehow that they were having this conversation this way with The Gem washing its sense of love through her over and over again, as if it sought to comfort her.

“They are good Kelvics… but no… they are not as humans or even Akalaks are. None of us are the same as your kind. Ebon can’t even have much of a happy life without a bondmate. He has no peace.” She said. “I think he borrowed her soul and then she died, taking it from him.” Kelski whispered softly, fear laced through her words along with the fading anger.

Kelski felt Kynier approach, move past her and stare into the fire. She tired to continue to be angry, but it was hard with what the building was actively doing. She shook her head as if to rid herself of the unwanted sensation. But it didn’t help. The connection had grown stronger and The Gem was not letting up. She watched impassively as Kynier turned, faced her, and set his hands on his hips. Her eyes glanced down at his hands, noting they weren’t fisted. She expected fisted palms from angry humans, but he didn’t seem angry. He seemed puzzled and … sad?

He spoke, moved, and stood behind her. Having nothing else to watch, her gaze drifted back into the flames. She heard his words, but if he were being honest, he was probably the only human in Sunberth that felt that way. Headstrong? What did that even mean? She tensed when she felt his palm between her shoulder blades, covering her Favored Marks. It was their special gesture, one that spoke volumes, and she closed her eyes.

When he broke the connection and walked away, she lifted her eyes and half turned to follow his path. He paused and spoke again and she listened this time, the anger draining out of her. She turned when he spoke and then vanished. Reluctantly she followed, lingering at the door though far enough into the room that she could be heard. He was staring into the fire. Fights seemed to cultivate such gestures.

The love washing through her from The Gem turned to encouragement. The structure wanted her to speak to him, to not leave or turn away with so many things unsaid. Hadn’t she explained this to The Gem so many times when they were alone? Talking… saying what was in ones heart… and here it was urging that back at her.

“I do need you. We all do. You have such a mind, Kynier… such a mind as I have never met. And gifted… you are incredibly gifted. But you have none of the caution in your own actions you demand from me. What happened to you the first time you visited the slab proved that much. What happened when you visited the second time was another example. You’ve burned down crops, Kynier… taken foolish risks. And you let this Daggerhand own you.” Kelski said, her words were more tempered now. “Tell me, Kynier, how is that leadership and caution? If I followed your teachings right now, the lessons I would take away would not be what you are saying because your actions do not match your words. They would be what you are actually doing instead.” She said softly, being brutally honest, and wanting him to really hear her.

“You have knowledge that I need, but I am not willing to yoke myself and wear collars you invent anymore to gain it. I am not a trick dog that will jump through your hoops hoping for a treat of information if I behave. It is an utter insult when you stare at me like I am a problem… like I am going to make the mistakes you’ve made because I am not you. You say I am capable and accomplished, but yet you do this to me… its insulting… its degrading… you said I couldn’t even practice without you watching me to make sure I didn’t mess up or hurt myself. I trust you Kynier, but its hurtful beyond measure that you don’t trust me.” She said, refusing to believe as he did that magic was life and that the magic would control her. It wouldn’t. It was a tool and she’d always looked at it like a tool.

“You give your magic too much power. You give it life and death and control over your existence. You are so much more than that, Kynier. I see it every day. But you are too busy being this person’s spy or that person’s instrument of destruction. I can’t understand it. I honestly can’t. You wear chains you willingly take on, and you tell yourself it is to keep each of us safe… but there’s no safety in what you do.” She said simply, no anger in her words, but only frustration and resolve.

“Akajia called us together because I suspect she knew things I am only just learning about you. You are incredibly powerful, gifted, and growing moreso every day… but you are blinded to so much about yourself and what you do. You have goals, and they are noble ones, but integrity calls for doing things in a way that upholds your values and not destroys them. You can’t be like them, Kynier… these gangsters and power mongers… and still change the city. The end result can’t make the way accomplishing it be okay.” She added, meaning every word she said.

“And you can’t keep me safe by draping me in chains and restrictions and rules that choke me and change me into a burdened broken thing… and that is what you are trying to do.” She said passionately, her voice still soft.

“I don’t want to learn from someone that gives so much of their own power away to a force that is their core to begin with…. to something that isn’t sentient and doesn’t ever need to be. I don’t want those lessons. And I won’t let you teach me like that… even if I have to never use it again. I’d rather destroy it than be owned by it.” Kelski said firmly, knowing the decision she was making was the right one.

“I will no longer honor any promises to you about magic because when I made them I didn’t realize any of this would happen… that you’d be like this. I don’t even think we should discuss magic anymore. It brings out something in you that I don’t understand… that scares me and tries to control me.” She said softly, cocking a hip and leaning up against the nearest wall. She folded her arms across her chest and studied him as he stared into the fire. She wondered how much he heard or if he could understand her position at all.

She hadn’t anticipated this discussion going this way. Kelski had somehow thought she could talk to him about magic and ask him a few questions and he’d answer them without all this other stuff and certainly without treating her the way he’d been treating her. She’d been a slave to long to become one willingly again. And as much as she loved him, she wouldn’t bow down to him in that way ever.
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[The Midnight Gem] Darkness And Light (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on September 9th, 2018, 3:16 am

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Staring into the fire, Kynier allowed himself to be swallowed by the silence. Moments of quiet were rare at the Midnight Gem. Some days he really missed living alone. To have the seclusion to think without his thoughts being interrupted by a curious kelvic or four. In very rare moments, he missed not having the ability to hear the shadows. The darkness of the study was thicker than it should’ve been with the heart filled with the gentle blaze. Though he couldn’t sense Zavath, it seemed that the rest of them had come to observe the argument.

It was short lived and over. Or at least he thought it was. That was before he heard her soft steps enter the study. Kynier didn’t turn to see her. He didn’t wish to see that look in her eyes. One that he had only seen that first night that they had met. When he was just a stranger. Another human to be hated. Eyes of steel rather than silver. But when she spoke, the words were soft despite the heavy weight they carried. Half turning his head to indicate he was listening to her, his gaze focused on nothing in particular.

Kelski spoke the brutal honest truth about him. Each thing she mentioned was something he wanted to deny, but knew to be true. Caution was no longer as accurate of a description as it had been. Kynier had thrown himself at some point into the turbulent power struggle over the city. It had battered, broken, and nearly killed him for he had no support and claimed no side but his own. Kynier couldn’t even say when it had happened. The years prior had provided less information and more personal safety.

Yet what really bothered him was how his actions affected her. How Kelski had tried to suffer through it, only to find it failed to provide what she thought it would. That they were actions that spoke of a lack of trust coming from his end. Thoughts retreated deep within himself at that. Why had he done that? Kynier trusted her with his life. He had done so from their first meeting, granting a slave a secret with the value of his life held within. The answer to why he had chosen those actions came with what she said next. About the value he placed in magic.

Kynier shifted his head to the other side, to hide the snarl he had for himself from her. It had happened. Something he had sworn wouldn’t happen, had indeed come to pass. Worse, he had done it to her. Silently he listened to the rest of what she had to say. The soft sound of her body leaning against the wall could clearly be heard between her words. When Kelski finished speaking a long moment of silence passed between them. Shadows were holding their breath for the next act of the spectacle. He didn’t like having this conversation be a display for their entertainment. But the rest of his life already had been. Why should now be any different because he was finally aware of it?

“No… no you shouldn’t,” he said loud enough to be heard with defeated realization. Kynier set the glass in his hand down on the table and stood to face her. Placing himself a few steps away from where he had been, he crossed his arms as he looked at her feet and exposed shins. “It wasn’t fair to have you make those promises. And I won’t hold you to them anymore either. And… my actions did display a lack of trust in you. But that’s not…” Kynier raised his eyes to hers. They were somewhere in between steel and silver.

“I trust you with my life.” His words were soft and came from his heart. An arm broke away from the cross in front of his chest only to have the fingertips tap against his heart. “And I’m more scared of losing you, than I am of losing myself. I’ve seen what magic can do to the one wielding it. The pains it has caused me has been minor to what others have suffered.” Kynier suddenly raised a finger pointedly at Kelski. “And in my defense, the second occurrence with the slab wasn’t from a lack of caution. That slab harmed me for looking at it too long and that time it was surrounding you, with its power. And I tried to shield you from it. I didn’t know what it was doing and couldn’t just stand there as it did it. As futile as my efforts were, I don’t regret them.”

Kynier lowered his hands to his sides. There was so much that he could tell her of magic. But he needed to convince her now that it was worth listening to. She thought he was blinded by it and gave it too much value. Value. Kynier shook his head once at the concept. An ex-slave would probably understand though he had never told her. It hadn’t crossed his mind that she wouldn’t give it the same reverence that he had before now. Having said that she didn’t understand it, why he “gave” it so much power over him. Kynier crossed his arms again and shifted his weight a little, looking off to the side.

His eyes fell on shadows. Not those of the night, born of the fire. But those of his past. “After that day, the day they were gone,” his voice took a detached tone. One of recollection of something he didn’t wish to relive. “I wandered… for days… with no knowledge of how to forage for food, and contending with animals for water. When I accepted I was going to die… he found me. Bourin. He took me with him to Syliras. The eypharian was already old and didn’t plan to have any more students. But he took me despite how I didn’t ask.” Kynier let out a heavy sigh. “And… he showed me magic. For the first time in my life.”

Slowly his gaze shifted back to Kelski. Eyes rimmed with the sad emptiness of memories long past. “I had nothing any more. No family. No friends. No home. Not even the ability to take care of myself.” A moment of silence passed as he recalled the first time he watched Bourin use magic. “But then I had magic. And for the next ten years, that’s the only thing I had to claim as my own.” Once he had told her how magic was a part of him, but not all consuming to his efforts like Farris. Kynier knew that still remained true, though it failed to explain its importance to him.

The veil of recollection fell from his eyes, as their focus came back to the woman before him. “It was arrogant of me to think I could convince you to hold the same level of esteem for magic as I do. But for you… it’s just a… tool.” Kynier just couldn’t see it as something that simple. He just couldn’t. “Magic gave me… life again.” Some passion spilled into his words. “It… distracted me from my own pain. And I threw myself into it until years had passed and I could acknowledge the pain, because it wasn’t so fresh.”

Kynier looked to her with an expression hoping that now she understood. Understood why he held it in such high regard and acted so critically with its use. Kynier forced his body to relax. It had been tensing from his unexpected passion and the pain of the past. Then his eyes fell away. “I’ve never tried to teach a student before. And the only example of what I have for teaching, is from my own instructor. It was very strict, and… lacking of trust from the student. And it worked so well for me, that it felt like it had to be the best method of teaching. So that’s what I was trying to use.”

Again he returned his gaze to her. His eyes apologetic. “But you’re not me Kelski. And you’re not a child like I was. You can see and reason and are able to understand without acting against what you’re told in order to do so. I swore I would never become my instructor. He was detached and cold even to his students. Condescending, and distrusting. I didn’t realize it until shortly before I left his teaching. I failed in doing that, and failed you in the process. For that I’m sorry.”

He turned and began to pace. A hand rubbed the back of his neck as he thought. The methods he knew of magic, were more than likely superior to what Kelski knew based off what she told him. Kynier was at the end of a long line of tutelage that had passed through each generation for the last four hundred years. All those generations made mistakes and learned from them before passing on that information to the next. Kelski was seeking to be self-made. The start of her own line of tutelage. Shadows held knowledge, but not experience.

“I love you,” he said looking to her again. “And I want to pass onto you the wisdom of my experience. To accelerate your learning. But without being demeaning to you and harming your feelings. To show you new ways to use it, even if you feel you’d never need them.” In the silence that followed his words, he approached her and set his hands on her shoulders. Standing close but not smothering. “Magic will always be an important aspect of my life. But it doesn’t have to have the same importance in yours. That is something that I need to accept.”

He sighed and affectionately squeezed her shoulders as he did so. “I would prefer that we didn’t choose to never speak of magic again. And that you’d still be willing to at least hear the answers I could provide. Yet if you still feel that way… then that is something I’ll also have to learn to accept.”

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[The Midnight Gem] Darkness And Light (Kynier)

Postby Kelski on September 10th, 2018, 3:17 am

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She was surprised he heard her out without speaking. Kynier tended to take the lead in all things magical and drive home his points. She’d expected more of a fight, a counter argument, and maybe anger because he approached magic so passionately. When he shifted, she looked for the blow up but it didn’t happen. His features were obscured from her and she kept talking, letting out the things in her heart encouraged by the link to the home that surrounded her and kept filing her head with calm love. The Gem soothed away her anger and in return it received her gratitude because she understood inherently what it was doing for her and how important that guidance was for her in that moment.

It was a pivotal moment for their relationship, that much was for sure, and it was as if their future hinged on the decisions made here tonight. Maybe The Gem saw the bigger picture, maybe it was just concerned with the moment, but Kelski could sense she stood at the edge of some sort of precipice with Kynier and with just one push from either of them… someone might tumble over.

She finished and he didn’t even pause a moment before he answered her. If she hadn’t been certain he was truly listening, his response completely convinced her he had actually heard her. But it caused her to blink in surprise, open her mouth to argue with him, and then shut it again in shock when she realized he was agreeing with her.

What?

The Kelvic stared as if she didn’t know the stranger before her as Kynier. When he sat his glass down she jumped slightly, forcing herself to calm as he rose and approached. On the outside she was stoic, calm, more than willing to defend her stance. On the inside she was terrified she’d loose him over this conversation and it would drive him from her because they simply didn’t share the same views.

She’d been so painfully honest with him. And she hadn’t done so to hurt him nor to be cruel or to win the argument. Kelski had simply said what was in her heart about his actions and his words not matching which to her was a very human flaw. Only humans never saw themselves as flawed just as Kelvics often forgot their place in life to the humans that created them.

She met his gaze as he spoke further, her expression softening almost in disbelief. Her eyes drifted to his hand that tapped his heart matching the words slipping from his lips. When he voiced his fear, about magic taking her away. She nodded to his defense of his actions on the second visit to the slab, understanding finally that he had tried to shield her and not somehow harm the slab when she had touched it of her own free will wanting to comfort it.

Kynier had his thinking face on, retreating inward as he seemed to debate with himself or walk the inner corridors of his own mind. He almost looked like he was remembering something… maybe his whole history… and his words reinforced what she thought she saw as he spoke. Kynier had told her once how he had been alone in Nyka and how people vanished and so he resolved to care for nothing and no one. But he hadn’t filled in the other part of the equation. He did that now. Magic had become his everything from the day Bourin rescued him and began to teach him.

Kelski listened, her breath caught in her throat, as the missing information made so much more sense than Kynier’s views had before. Ten years was a lifetime to Kelski and she marveled again how old he was and how slowly humans lived. When he repeated what she said… about magic being a just a tool.. she felt the pain that word caused him. Magic truly was his life. Magic had saved him. Kelski was grateful beyond belief that this had happened, but she hadn’t truly understood his journey until he spelled it out clearly for her.

He continued on, talking of how he was taught and how he had tried to use that with her. She didn’t interrupt him but she wanted to say he never actually taught her more than what djed was and clarified a few questions they’d discussed in the dark lying in each other’s arms. He’d just piled on restrictions and made her make promises. She didn’t resent him for it, not anymore, but she realized suddenly that she was… and had been… in a very powerful way.

She always melted when he told her he loved her. Kelski had never put much thought into such sentiments before she met Kynier. She’d heard plenty of men on the streets call up to whores hanging out windows professing their love, but somehow with him it was different. When Jaren bedded women he often called out he loved them just before he finished with them, kissing and cuddling them like they meant the whole word to him in that moment. But the chime they climbed out of his bed, he was indifferent completely. Empty things, those words had always been to her. But with Kynier, things were different. It was always different with Kynier, no matter what the actual subject was. The words were never spoken absently or without a fire in his eyes that told her how much he really meant it when he said it. He did so sparingly, so each time he said it, she remembered the moments clearly and could recite them if not by the exact chime, certainly by the date.

She closed the distance then, when he told her simply that he preferred they keep speaking of magic, not insisting anything and certainly not laying down any rules. She wrapped her hands around his waist, then her whole arms, bringing him close and laying her head against his shoulder. Kelski simply held him tight for a long while, as if he were the most precious beautiful thing she’d ever seen in the whole of the world…. even with them standing in a building that was full of priceless glittering gemstones. Her hands splayed across his clavicals, reaching for his Akajia’s mark.

The Sea Eagle breathed in and out multiple times, slowly, drawing in his scent and the warmth of his body before she finally spoke. “I had parts of your history… your loneliness in Nyka and how you lost your parents and only had the mage. I remember how you said people vanished and you didn’t get close. But I didn’t understand how alone you were and empty inside. And how you desperately needed something to fill that emptiness. I didn’t know…. I didn’t understand. I’ve always been alone and never knew any other way until you taught me about all of this… about being part of something other than myself. This has been driving a huge wedge between us. I don’t think either of us realized how big of a wedge because it started out small and grew large somehow… in a way I don’t understand. I see now that what you did wasn’t coming from a bad place. I am … very expectant of humans doing bad things and that’s wrong of me. I… you were doing something you felt was right. I’m sorry I said such … harsh things. I don’t regret saying them, just how… angry I was. There was… no need for it and I don’t understand where it came from. Fear I think… maybe? Fear of you not wanting me to have an opinion different than yours and walking away…” She said honestly, muttering into his chest more than she was actually speaking to him.

Kelski did that sometimes, working through things in her mind verbally out loud when she didn’t exactly understand them the way they should be understood. “I don’t know how to be me without you around. And just thinking of you not being here, us together, makes me understand and fear how you must have felt growing up. Because I would be empty… so empty. Like when I stay up waiting when you don’t come home, worried, because I know you are doing something dangerous. It’s your work and your business, but I still wait. You will always have someone waiting at home for you, Kynier, no matter how difficult things are. We should have talked about this long before now… before it was such a weight. But I didn’t know how to start. I didn’t realize we needed to have this talk before we could talk about magic. I… “ She seemed at a loss for words then, taking a deep breath and refocusing.

“Of course I will ask you questions and we can talk about things. I would like to hear more about your work and how you advance sometimes. I know you are getting better, more powerful. The Gem has been keeping secrets for you, as annoyed as I am by it, and I think it has to do with magic. Every time I start down to see what you are up too downstairs, it has a problem with a shingle loose on the roof or a window is squeaking or leaking air… the first time it happened I didn’t think anything of it, but now it is happening every time I actively think of going to see what you are up too.” Kynier had long since learned Kelski was affectionate and would sometimes take breaks when he was home to deliberately seek him out and enjoy him if he was in the mood. If he was tired or cranky she’d feed and fuss over him taking breaks from her workshop. Sometimes she’d just come settle near him and watch him doing whatever it was he was doing… a lot of times just working out when he seemed to give off a mood that he needed to work off some frustration or slight.

“I have so many questions about magic… so much I want to ask you. But there is one question that is unrelated that I want to ask you about first…. and if you don’t want to answer me about it, I understand. But I have noticed and want to help if I can. I… I noticed you aren’t sleeping well at night, Kynier… not like you used too. And sometimes you cry out in your sleep, tensing up and it wakes me. And sometimes… sometimes you clench your eyes shut but I still see tears. Nightmares I think? Maybe dreams? Will you tell me why?” She asked softly, finally lifting her head from his chest and looking directly up at him. The molten silver was back in her gaze as she quietly slipped that into their conversation. He was being open, honest, and she wondered if he would finally tell her what was wrong.
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[The Midnight Gem] Darkness And Light (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on September 11th, 2018, 3:04 am

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Physical interaction with another person had never had an appeal before he met her. With others it made him uncomfortable if it lasted longer than a tick. Yet the feeling of her touch, even just the pressure of it through his clothing, was something Kynier often found himself longing for. It gave an assurance of some kind that settled deep within his being and a sense of happiness. It was more significant in moments like this than perhaps any other time short of extreme intimacy. When both tension and emotions were running at high intensity. So when she wrapped her arms around her waist, and set her head against his chest, everything almost felt alright again.

He did have to strain his hearing at times to catch the words she said. While Kelski spoke some boldly, others were reduced to mumbles that burrowed into his chest. The wedge she spoke of he could acknowledge and admit that he had been ignorant to it. Kynier would even be willing to admit that it was likely his doing, and all the fault rested on him. That often he could be unapproachable and deter people, even the others living in the Midnight Gem, with but a glance. How many times had he seen Ebon approach only to turn away suddenly when Kynier turned to acknowledge him? Or even Ember. Ren never seemed bothered though.

While Kelski never demonstrated hesitation or a sudden change in physically approaching him, she wasn’t truly immune to his tendencies to be standoffish. Her beautiful mind was filled with questions at all times. And yet, the ones that seemed most important would only be asked when the situation seemed critical. Even though he promised to always answer her questions honestly Kelski would sometimes delay too much.

As she apologized for how she had said things earlier, his hands slid down her shoulders and cupped both shoulder blades to pull her more into him. Kynier rested his nose against her hair and took a long deep breath. Kelskis scent was always calming. So much that he still carried the locket of her hair she gave him during the late spring, and would pause in his work, just to smell her scent. Moments like this when they were embraced it felt as though they were completely separate from the world. That nothing else could exist without their acknowledgement.

Kynier smiled at the mention of the Midnight Gem holding the secret, and redirecting Kelski’s attention when she tried to come downstairs. So it was developed enough to understand, and to even strategize. It was terrifying and amazing at the same time. The sea eagle’s power had to have been substantial to be able to fuel such development in such a short time. In a way that made him jealous. Jealous at how she could be so naturally great at so many different things. As though there was no trade that she couldn’t master. Whereas he hand his niches.

Then she asked a question, one she prefaced with being unrelated to magic, which peaked his intrigue. That is until he heard the long drawn question and all its build up. The subconscious affectionate stroking of his fingers across her back ceased suddenly as she raised her gaze to him. The molten silver had returned to her eyes as she looked up at him expectantly. The surface tension of his skin rose as he took a half step away from her, hands sliding to rest on her triceps. His eyes would betray how he wished she wouldn’t ask him this. Though he gave no words to add enforcement to his feeling.

Nightmares had betrayed him, by making him shows signs of being distraught in his sleep. Kynier didn’t want her to know this about him. Afraid that it would forever change the way she looked at him. That he was just as much of a monster as she saw in the rest of humanity. But now she hand asked. And an oath had been given, to always answer honestly, even if not immediately, though there was no valid reason to delay. Waiting until later wouldn’t make it any better than answering now regardless. So he let an hand fall to his side, and the other ran down the length of her arm to take her hand.

“It… it isn’t… completely… unrelated,” he said slowly with a very quiet whisper. Kynier took a step towards the master suite and gave her hand a gentle pull of invitation. “Come with me,” his words still meek. Kynier led her by the hand to their bedroom. His body language didn’t portray any carnal intent or passion. Once in the bedroom he veered over to the desk that was positioned by the window with the book shelf next to it. Halfway there Kynier released his hold of her hand as he approached the shelves. The mage removed the bottom book from a stack of three and brushed off the dust it had been collecting.

When he turned around, Kelski would see it was the silver painted book he had brought from his old home. Though she would easily recall never seeing him reading its contents. The silver had been stained red with drops of blood in the upper right corner of the cover. The spine had no lettering and the front cover carried no title. Kynier held it in both hands tightly. “There was a night… before we went to the ship with Kreig and Ren, but after I had met Kreig… I was restless and couldn’t sleep. For some reason I had decided to take a late night walk through the city to try and calm my nerves.”

Kynier’s gaze rose to meet Kelski’s. “I… heard a commotion. And despite the shadows urging me to run from it… I ran towards it. Curious to know what was happening so late in the night. Eventually, I came across several dozen people wandering the streets with torches and improvised weapons in their grasp. They… they were…” Kynier broke his gaze away and turned to the desk, setting the silver book down before bracing himself with both hands on the desk’s surface. For a long moment he was silent, hoping she would leave it alone. Retract her question and leave him to keep at least one secret.

She wouldn’t though. It clearly bothered him and Kelski wouldn’t just let that be. So he stood and half turned to face her. His eyes closed and his teeth biting on his lower lip. “It was a lynching mob. And they were hunting a mage.” Kynier opened his eyes but he didn’t look at her as he recounted the night’s events. “They noticed me and told me about the mage they were hunting. And…” His eyes rose to the ceiling as he silently sighed. Tears burning at his eyes yet refusing to fall. “You’ve heard of the hatred for mages, Kelski. But have you ever actually seen it before? Everyone… every citizen… is expected to hate mages. It is the one thing everyone one agrees on. Sun’s Birth, Daggerhand, Night Eyes, farmers, whores, and even beggars… they all put their differences aside and unite for one thing… to kill a mage.”

“So when they noticed me and told me of what they were doing, I had a choice. Leave and arouse their suspicions, or join their hunt. But when I joined them… they all looked at me… expectantly. For some reason… they assumed I would take charge of the lynching.” Kynier lowered his eyes and looked to her. “So I did,” he said sadly. “I took charge and gave them commands. None of them realized it, but I was directing them in a way to give the mage an opportunity to escape. I managed to separate myself from the rest of them, and found their mage. The sheer terror in his eyes… he only stopped sobbing and managed to speak after I told him that I was also a mage.”

“I led him towards the opening I had managed to create. But something went wrong, and he was seen running into the alley I was standing in. Members of the mob were coming from both ends and there was no way out. He was already dead and standing beside me when they came. And I… I… killed him. I drove my blade between his ribs. And before he bled out he was being carried away to Execution Square. And all of it… by my directive.”

A burning tear finally fell from his eye as he looked around the room and clenched his fists, snarling his teeth at nothing. “His name was Aidren,” he said through clenched teeth. “He was a practitioner of Hypnotism, and I killed him.” Water filled hazels turned to engage Kelski’s silver. “I killed a man I was trying to save! And I keep thinking… that there had to have been something else! Something we could’ve done! Even then! That maybe there was time for him to cast a magic to aid us. Instead… I panicked.” His voice broke and his chest began to tremble. “I panicked for my own safety… and killed him… to avoid suspicion.”

It became too much to bear and his legs lost their strength. Kynier fell against the edge of the bookshelf and slid to the ground as sobs bellowed out from his chest in shame. Both hands worked to conceal and cradle his head from sight. For over a chime he tried to speak but words were cut off by sobs. “The… the… the book… was his… It fell… from his hand… as he looked at me… full of confusion…” The image of Aidren’s brown eyes were burned into his memory. An image that emerged in his dreams of late as the dead Hypnotist questioned him, pleaded to him, and condemned him for his actions that night.

Chimes later, his sobbing began to wane. His face wet with tears. Kynier’s eyes were closed, not wanting to see her expression. Words she had expressed to him the night before echoed through his surface thoughts. “I am a monster,” he admitted quietly. “What else would deliberately kill something they were trying to save?” The silver book on the desk contained information on a goddess. Eyris and the power of her gnosis. The first half was written in calligraphy and the second half with a scholar’s hand. Pages that were well cared for except for the stain of blood on the cover.

Boxcode credit goes to Gossamer!
Sometimes the only way to win is by relinquishing a superior position.

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Kynier
Delves in Darkness
 
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