Closed [The Midnight Gem] A Curious Svefra (Kynier)

Kailani heads to The Midnight Gem for an Auristics lesson with Kynier.

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[The Midnight Gem] A Curious Svefra (Kynier)

Postby Kailani on November 17th, 2018, 5:34 am

68th Day of Fall, 518 AV


The sweet scent of flowers tickled her nose as Kailani approached The Midnight Gem, seafoam eyes taking in the beautiful storefront with an air of appreciation. The jewelry shop was certainly appealing to the eye, which helped calm her somewhat frazzled nerves. Glancing up toward the sign hanging over the door, she nodded with a sigh of relief. She was in the right place.

Kailani took a deep breath to settle herself, laying a gentle hand on Kona’s head. It felt like ages since she had taken Kynier out on one of the most exciting trips of her life, and she was admittedly apprehensive over seeing him again. Not that she disliked him, no, quite the opposite, but that the nature of their first meeting had been so chaotic. Was trouble something that followed him around or was everything that occurred that day mere coincidence? For that matter, with everything that had happened to her since… Perhaps she was the magnet for trouble. Though I’ve always known that. At least it made life interesting!

What had finally brought her here today? After weeks of toying with the idea and trashing it, why had she at last decided to come? The woman had finally made the difficult decision to stay in Sunberth, even if only for the time being, and she had to lay down some roots. There was no way she could survive here alone and friendless, even with the embrace of a new pod. They didn’t really know her, not yet, and who was to say they were any different from the rest of the city’s denizens? The Svefra were known to be a family-oriented people, yes, but many of them had grown up in the lawless city, same as the thieves and thugs. Who knew what lengths they might go to? How could she know they wouldn’t turn on her, same as anyone else?

That day with Kynier, however, she’d felt something different from the man. Like her, he wasn’t a native of the city, and seemed to lack the characteristic harshness of Sunberth’s average citizen. He was mysterious and perhaps even a little crazy, but Kailani could sense no malice in the mage, at least not toward her. He’d revealed to her one of his secrets and after she’d shown more fascination than fear, he even offered to teach her a new magic. That was what she came for today. Perhaps with enough time, he could become more than just a teacher. A comrade, an ally. Maybe even a friend.

“Come on, boy,” the Svefra encouraged the Akinva Deerstalker at her side, scratching between his ears and encouraging him forward. Opening the door and stepping inside, Kona was close at her heels, the muscled dog on high alert for potential danger. The animal had been a good protector from the start, but their relationship had truly started to deepen within the past couple tendays. He was responding better to commands, and running off far less. He hadn’t stolen a rabbit for at least a fortnight. Kailani considered that a drastic improvement from when she’d first brought him back to her ship. The real treat, however, was the amount of trust building between the pair. There was no reward like seeing the love blossom in a creature’s eyes who’s known such a harsh life. She was grateful to be able to make his days just a little bit brighter, a little bit easier. As long as he was in her care, he would never know hunger again. She’d make sure of it.

The Svefra looked around The Midnight Gem’s interior with an air of wonderment—the location seemed far too beautiful for the grimy streets of Sunberth, especially right next to a place such as The Drunken Fish. When Kynier had told her of where he lived, she hadn’t realized its proximity to the tavern, nor how close it was to her customary pier. She’d crept by The Drunken Fish with a suspicious eye, the hood of her cloak drawn up tight to avoid recognition. Kailani was sure if Father Manowar spotted her, he’d tan her hide after what she’d done to his room. She had no wish to lay eyes on the old proprietor again any time soon. Preferably never.

Glittering jewels and adornments of all shapes and sizes filled the room, Kailani’s blue eyes wide as she took in the sparkling jewelry. “Beautiful,” she whispered as leaned closer to a display containing a sapphire necklace and matching eardrops, scrutinizing the multifaceted stones. So absorbed she was in her examination of the various baubles, she hardly even noticed when she was approached by a pleasant looking man with a polite smile.

“Hello there,” the clerk greeted Kailani. “Welcome to The Midnight Gem. My name is Ebon. Is there anything I can help you with today? Interested in the sapphires, perhaps?”

Kailani cast a wistful smile toward the shiny trinkets, but she shook her head. “As beautiful as they are, I’m afraid I’ll have to pass for now.” Clearing her throat, she turned to face him more fully. “I’m actually looking for Kynier. He told me I might find him here. Do you know if he’s around?”

She could hardly get the question out before Kona was backed up against her legs, hackles raised as he let out a whine. His dark gaze was trained on Ebon, a growl rumbling deep in his chest. “Kona!” she admonished him, brows drawing together in a frown. The Svefra took hold of her dog’s collar, holding him back in case he decided to do more. “What’s gotten into you?” She looked at the man apologetically, Kona practically vibrating beneath her hand. “I’m sorry, his job is protection. He takes it a little too seriously sometimes.”

Ebon bared his teeth at the canine with his own growl, Kona’s ears laying flat as he let out another whine. “It’s all right, miss,” he told Kailani, eyes flicking toward her before fixing the animal with a glare. “Dogs don’t always seem to like me much.” His eyes held Kona’s for another moment longer before the dog submitted, laying down to briefly expose his belly before creeping behind his mistress with a sullen stare. It reminded her of his interaction with Ixzo, Kailani glancing suspiciously between the two but saying nothing.

“I’m fairly certain Kynier is hanging around here somewhere,” the man answered her question after Kona retreated, looking back at the Svefra. In spite of her dog, she didn’t seem to be here with ill intent, and her inquiry had seemed genuine. “What’s your name? I’ll track him down and tell him you’re looking for him.”

“Kailani,” she replied with a smile. “And thank you.”

Ebon’s response was a quick nod, disappearing from the room as he went to go seek out the mage. In the meantime, Kailani continued her examination of the various displays, Kona walking stiff-legged at her back. She couldn’t help but laugh at his reaction to Ebon putting him in his place, offering him a conciliatory pat on the rump. He briefly curled his lip at her, which only made her laugh harder. “Oh, you’ll be all right,” she told him fondly. “It’s better than staying back and guarding the ship, right?”

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[The Midnight Gem] A Curious Svefra (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on November 17th, 2018, 7:08 pm

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Ebon had taken the stairs from the show room up to the living area. While he had not seen Kynier leave for the day, that did not necessarily mean that he was here. The human was secretive and tended to disappear as well as reappear at random. While the humans of Sunberth were difficult to trust after the death of his bondmate, Ebon had been trying to be friendly and welcoming. Some days, being the clerk of the Midnight Gem was a terrible challenge and really tested his patience. The night lion was grateful to have the presence of the other Kelvics around. Though he had known the Isurian for less time, Duncan and he had more meaningful conversations than he and Kynier had. Kynier had given the effort in the beginning, but Ebon suspected that it was he that had done some irreparable damage to their relationship.

Since their conversation late last Summer, the two of them had been courteous towards each other, and never denied the help that the other requested, but there was something unseen between them that caused tension on the subtlest level. Kynier had closed himself off rather suddenly, but since the human and Kelski finally bonded, the human seemed more open. Ebon hoped that eventually they could have more conversation and establish a better friendship. For now, he was left to remain curious to what the mage was doing. No one had ever come to the Midnight Gem calling on him before. What did the Svefra want with the other human?

At the top of the stairs, Ebon gave the Great Room a quick glance to see that no one was present in the room. Then he walked straight to the corner that led into the study that had the master bedroom suite beyond that. There was no door that separated the study from the rest of the upper floor, but Ebon paused there and peeked around carefully. The human liked his privacy and did not like having anyone other than the Sea Eagle just walk in on him unannounced. There was a fire burning in the hearth of the study and the mage was sitting on the floor in front of it. The human was not wearing a shirt, and the night lion could see the raised flesh of the man’s gnosis on his back. The crescent moon and triangle of Akajia.

Kynier’s eyes were partially open and cast down as to not look directly into the fire before him. The warmth of it radiated over his body in a relaxing way. It was not cool enough for him to need its comfort, so he sat a fair distance from it. He was taking deep slow breathes as he kept his mind clear of thoughts. Meditation had proven to be more useful this season. And since the sky rock that Leth had sent down, Kynier had taken to practicing it more frequently. In his stoic silence he was reflecting on the changes he had undergone since his bonding. There were things he had done that normally would not have done, or vice versa. With the connection of their souls ever present, Kynier felt more conscious about every decision he made. Thinking beyond the implications it had on him, but on others as well.

There was a soft knock on the wall behind him that brought him out of his inner reflections with a couple of wide-eyed blinks and an deep inhale. Looking over his shoulder he saw Ebon lingering at the corner. “Kynier,” the night lion said softly, “Sorry to bother you, but there’s a woman downstairs that says she’s here to see you.” For an instant, Kynier’s heart froze as he thought of which woman it could be that would come to see him. The first one to come to mind was one he never wanted to hear from, and hadn’t heard from for nearly thirty days.

“Did she say what her name was? Or why she wants to see me?” He asked the night lion, trying to keep his tone level and conceal his apprehension.

“Her name’s Kailani, and she did not say why it was she’s here,” Ebon said nervously, as though he were disappointed in himself for not asking something that should have been an obvious question to ask. Kynier sighed in relief to hear that it was not The Viper. The woman had never come to the Midnight Gem and he hoped that that would continue to remain true. Then his curiosity perked up again. Kailani was here? It had been long enough he was feeling certain that she had refused his offer for supper. It was not his night to cook, but there were some ingredients that he could use to make something that wasn’t truly repulsive. Hopefully.

“Thank you Ebon, I’ll be down in just a chime,” he said as he got to his feet. The night lion turned and left as Kynier went back into the master suite. The mage dressed himself in dark cotton pants and a picked out a long-sleeved white silk shirt to wear. Being a host was something that he’d never done before and wasn’t sure how comfortably he was supposed to dress when doing so. He also wasn’t aware of how the captain of The Sunset Tide was dressed either and decided to go above his usual comfort level. The silk shirt was pleasant to feel against his skin but was more expensive than he thought regular clothing should be, so he didn’t wear it much. Then, he wore a black silk vest overtop. With a quick look in the mirror, he straightened his hair to check and make sure it wasn’t in a mess like it sometimes took to. “Alright then,” he sighed before making his way to the stairs.

Descending into the show room, his footsteps were silent upon the stairs. Kailani was observing some of his bondmate’s work. To his surprise, there was a dog at her side. One whose head whipped around to look at him when he was at the bottom of the stairs. The Akinva Deerstalker let out a low growl to announce his presence, but Kynier was not deterred by it and approached the Svefra. “Kailani,” he said with a smile, “It is good to see you.” He held out a hand to offer in a pleasant greeting. But the dog stepped between the two of them and bore his teeth at the mage. Kynier looked down at the beast a little startled. “Hello to you too,” he said with half the same pleasantry.

Dogs were something that the mage had always liked the idea of, but never had the right situation to indulge in. Cats were unfavorable, which was ironic considering the types of Kelvics he had come to know were mostly felines. They were pleasant though, which had to have come from the human side of their being. Kynier lowered his hand to his side, palm facing the dog, and held it out for the animal to inspect. “Rather protective, aren’t you?” Kynier turned his eyes up to his guest. “Girl or a boy?” he asked. The dog sniffed his hand curiously. Very curiously. Something about the mage had a scent that the animal had not experienced before.

“Come one upstairs,” he invited before turning to make the climb back up to the Great Room. At the top of the stairs, the Midnight Gem ignited the fire in the heart across from the two sofas that formed an “L” shape around it. To the right in the lounging area was a large piano that was developing a thin coat of dust. To the left was the long dinner table, capable of sitting all seven of the residents of the Midnight Gem and several extras. Beyond the dinner table was the hearth and wall that cordoned off the kitchen. “Have a seat,” he said as he gestured to the couches.

There was rapid patter of little paws on the wooden floor as two puppies came scurrying out of Anja’s room. The two cross-breeds of Jivalti Ghost and Bozderon shadow dogs came out to inspect Kailani and her Akinva Deerstalker. The puppies were still young and the female was much more outgoing and curious than her brother, who was reserved and cautious. “I’ll take your cloak if you’d like” he offered so that he could hang it up by the hearth to dry and be warm. “Would you like something to drink? Or your dog?” If she said yes to either offer, he’d go to the kitchen and get some fresh water from the pump. Then he settled down on the couch that faced the fire, so that Kailani could have a seat closer to the hearth if she preferred.

“It has been a while, Kailani,” he reflected. “For a few days I have been convinced that you were not interested in coming by for a meal.” Then he remembered what else he had proposed aboard The Sunset Tide. After an instant’s silence he glanced over his shoulder to check if anyone else was present. “Or… have you come for the other offer?”



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[The Midnight Gem] A Curious Svefra (Kynier)

Postby Kailani on November 18th, 2018, 5:42 am

Kailani looked up with a smile as Kynier approached, her posture straightening as she stepped away from the display and reached out to take his hand. “The pleasure’s all mine,” she responded warmly before Kona decided to insert himself between them. Just as he’d done with Ebon before, his lips curled and a growl vibrated his throat, but his reaction wasn’t quite so extreme with the mage. He seemed to calm rather quickly, sniffing Kynier’s hand thoroughly before his tail gave a little wag of approval. “He’s a boy,” she told her host, scratching the back of the dog’s brindled neck with a sigh of relief. She was glad the dog hadn’t decided on a more extreme reaction. That certainly would have cut her visit short. “His name is Kona, and aye, he is very protective.” She chuckled, shaking her head. “Luckily. That’s exactly what I bought him to be. And here I am, still alive, so he’s done his job well.”

The Svefra took in Kynier’s far nicer attire with a hidden smirk. She hadn’t really pegged him for the silk shirt type. In contrast, Kailani wore only a simple blue wool gown, one dyed in a hue similar to her vibrant eyes. A darker blue fur-trimmed cloak draped her shoulders, while low-slung leather boots adorned her feet. The sailor had never seen the point of investing in more expensive fabrics that were only bound to get ruined by sea and salt, and therefore opted for whatever would keep her warm until it fell apart. The extravagant shell and sea glass adornment that had once lined her throat was conspicuously absent, fingertips idly brushing her chest where its familiar weight had once rested. She still carried the cracked abalone shell she’d managed to recover tucked in the pocket of her cloak, but she missed the necklace, and its loss still pained her. “Well, don’t you clean up nice?” was all she said, eyes sparkling with mirth as she followed him up the stairs.

The living area of The Midnight Gem was just as beautiful as the storefront and retail area, Kailani looking around her with visible appreciation. It truly did seem like a little oasis, an idyllic place of peace in such a harsh, violent setting. She, surprisingly, felt a small pang of envy at the warm atmosphere, even if there was nothing anyone could ever say to convince her to take up residence on dry land.

Tiny paws tapping the floor interrupted her inspection of the room, Kailani holding her breath nervously as the puppies approached Kona. She wasn’t entirely sure how the Deerstalker would react to the little ones; he hadn’t shown much of a fondness for other dogs in the time she’d had him. She amazed to see his entire demeanor gentle as the pups sniffed him, the sailor’s heart softening at the sight. He sniffed at the younger animals with as much eagerness as they greeted him, his tail wagging so fast, it was nothing more than a chaotic blur. A broad grin split her face before the pups came to greet her next, the Svefra kneeling to accept their wet little kisses. Even if she was more accustomed to the creatures of fin and scale, she could never deny the appeal of a dog, especially a puppy. She was convinced that only the soulless could.

Rising back to her feet, she walked over to the pair of couches and extended her cloak at Kynier’s offer. “Thank you. Water would be delightful. I’m sure Kona would appreciate it, as well.” Kailani flashed a smile before she took a seat on the couch closer to the fire, smoothing her skirt as Kona came to lay at her feet. Leaning over, she patted his head and giggled as the puppies came to sit with them, too. “Better watch out, or one of you might be sneaking out in my pack with me,” she told them in Fratava, leaning down to give the girl a scratch under her chin. “Too cute for your own good, the pair of you.”

Kailani looked up as Kynier returned, gratefully accepting the water for her and her dog alike. She set the bowl out in front of Kona, watching indulgently as all three of the dogs started lapping at its contents. Another laugh bubbled past her lips before she took a sip of her own drink and turned her attention back to the mage.

“In truth, even I wasn’t sure if I was going to come,” she told him, voice unwontedly quiet. “I… I hadn’t truly expected to stay in Sunberth, not for very long. But recent events have—well, that doesn’t seem to be the case any more.” Her smile this time was tired, almost sad, and it didn’t quite reach her eyes. After learning of Azcan’s departure, Kailani had found even less reason to stay in the godsforsaken city. She’d been ready to leave that very night. But her recent meeting with Coraline Pearltide had been… enlightening. The Sunberth pod’s Lia had made it rather clear Kailani had no real home to return to.

“I’m not going anywhere for a while,” Kailani continued, pushing aside her melancholia. “So, yes. I’m here for your other offer.” A half smiled tugged at the corner of her mouth. “If I’m going to be living in Sunberth, I want to have as many skills as I can to protect myself. I want to live here, not die here.” And I can’t isolate myself to the pod. Not this time. What if I get stranded again?

“So what do you say?” she asked, her expression cautiously hopeful and almost nervous. “Does your offer still stand?”

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[The Midnight Gem] A Curious Svefra (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on November 20th, 2018, 3:30 am

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As he climbed the stairs a small chuckle escaped him in response to her comment. “It’s important for me to show many sides within the city.” He looked over his shoulder to see the mirth in her eyes, mirth that he matched with an amused smile. “And on occasion I get to show a side that’s actually clean,” he jested. His eyes were attracted the subconscious motion of her fingers tracing the bare portion of her chest. For a moment, something struck him as odd. Didn’t she wear a necklace when last he saw her? Perhaps not. While the encounter had been memorable, his focus had not been what she was wearing during that encounter. “You look very nice as well,” he said to compliment her attire. The gown may have been simple in design and material, but the Svefra wore it well. Each of the various hues complimented her eyes in a way that made the intensity of their shade subtler.

At the sound of the puppies coming to investigate the sounds and smells of their guests, Kynier paused to watch. Battle came right up to Kona with her small tail wagging so hard it looked more like her backside was constantly spasming. Sayeth was trying to sniff from a distance and recoiled each time Kona turned his attention on him. Once Kailani’s cloak was hung by the fire, Kynier went into the kitchen and procured two glasses and a bowl from the cupboard. As he worked the pump, he heard Kailani saying something with a light-hearted voice in a language he did not recognize. When he came back out, he held a glass in one hand, the bowl of water in the other, and had his own glass pressed against his ribs with he crook of his arm. Kailani was a woman with easy smiles that were infectious. Each time she performed the expression he felt himself smiling in response. It was refreshing to find someone with such a pleasant demeanor, even if they could change direction more easily than the wind. The incident that led her to shoving him to the deck of her ship was still an amusing thought after all this time.

The mage settled himself down on the other couch which faced the fire. He took a sip from his glass as she quietly admitted her uncertainty about coming at all. He watched her body language more than her sapphire eyes and lips as she spoke. It was more introverted than when he last saw her. Tension formed in her uncovered shoulders. Whether that was just a Svefra’s discomfort from not being close to the sea they came from, or from a sadness he was unaware of, the mage could not tell. Kailani remarked about recent events, and Kynier knew what she was talking about. “You mean, since you’ve decided to join the Pearltide Pod?” he asked in a soft yet rhetorical way before sipping his water again.

It was more of a guess based on the facts that he had been told. Street urchins had been keeping an eye on her for him since they spent a whole day and night watching Lodestar Isle. Kynier was aware that eight days ago, she went to see the Lia of the Sunberth based pod. But it was Old Wayd that had to explain to him the significance of that meeting. Old Wayd had been a sailor for a long time, apparently, and knew many Svefra pods. Kailani had been living in Sunberth on her own while working for another pod. And it wasn’t until she had just admitted that she was going to be staying in Sunberth for longer than she intended.

He gave her a small smirk to try and ease the shock she probably had from him knowing of that meeting. “Not many people catch my interest, Kailani, and I try to be aware of the activities of those that do.” Gods, was this what it felt like on Doler’s end? The ego of his inner spy was swelling and Kynier quickly tried to get that back under control. Kailani was a woman that was part of a ferry service. It wasn’t as though she were Stilleto, the Warmarshal, or the mysterious Crow of the Night Eyes. Kynier did not know much of her personal history. Only that she had recently lost her mother. The rest of it was something he intended to find out slowly. Kailani adopted a fragile state when the topics of their past had been brought up before. Kynier did not wish to push too hard to find out.

She seemed to brush off the developing depression as she admitted to coming for the lessons that he had offered. Her reasoning was sound enough for it. The capabilities one had, the better their chances of survival. Auristics was excellent for sensing and understanding things directly from the source. While the use of the discipline had never saved his life in any specific instance, Kynier could not imagine not having the ability to perceive the world through his “mage” sense. For what Kailani did for a living, Auristics could prove invaluable to her.

Kynier was leaning back against the couch with one arm laying across the backrest as the other held his glass on his knee. At her last question, he smiled and drank the last of his glass’ contents. “Yes, the offer still stands.” He leaned over to set the glass on the side table by both couches. When he settled again, both his arms were spread wide on the top of the backrest of the couch and one ankle rested on top of the other knee. “Know this first, Kailani, I can be a difficult man to deal with. Often, I have been accused of being tight-lipped and cryptic. Hazards of being a mage, I suppose.”

“I have shared information with other mages. So most of my experience at ‘teaching’ has been with someone that understands most if not all the core concepts. Only once before have I tried to teach someone that knew very little of the fundamentals.” Kynier’s eyes broke away from Kailani and settled on his legs. A hand moved to fidget with a wrinkle at his knee as he thought of his failure when trying to teach his bondmate. "And... it did not go well, unfortunately." He sighed before taking the emotions associated with the failure and stowing them away. It was hard to be objective with Kelski, and while Kailani seemed to be a nice woman, Kynier was not half as emotionally attached to her and would likely not suffer the same problem.

“This… is probably a conversation best continued with more privacy,” he said as he stood up. He started walking past Kailani and Kona towards the corner of the room that led to the study. While it was not specifically forbidden from the other residents, there was a silent understanding that that was Kelski and Kynier’s private area. “Come with me, please,” he invited as he went to the corner of the Great Room and disappeared into the study.

Upon entering, the Midnight Gem once again lit the fire in the hearth by itself. A desk and small set of shelves, that was mostly vacant, rested against the wall on the right-hand side. By the hearth were two lounging chairs and a small table. Against the left wall was an easel and several canvases. Some where blank while others were partially done. Kynier’s downtime projects that had been receiving less attention since he had started the other project in the basement. The mage shifted the two lounging chairs to face each other a little more while still having comfortable exposure to the fire.

Kynier indicated the seats, “We can continue talking here,” he said as he walked back to the corner that led to the Great Room. With a deep breath he calmed his mind, pushing out the thoughts that would distract him from what he was about to attempt. As the mage called upon his Djed he drew a small assassin’s dagger from his pocket. After a few chimes of silently standing there, the shield weave had been made to cover the entire entryway to the study. Kynier took the dagger and cut the side of a finger just enough to draw a drop of blood. He willed it to join the weave as he concentrated on the concept of silence. The blood drop floated away from his hand and disappeared into the translucent weave as it adopted the task.

Mentally, he released it and the translucent energy settled and become completely transparent. “There,” he said as he turned back to the chairs to take the seat that Kailani had not. “That will prevent others from overhearing our conversation unless they completely entire the room with us,” he explained. “Everyone else at the Midnight Gem knows that I’m a mage, Kailani. That is my secret that I have shared with them. And if you are absolutely serious about learning Auristics, then that is your secret that I will keep. It will be your decision to who knows that you possess the ability.”

Then he leaned back into the chair and rested his elbows on the armrests as his fingers interlaced together. “What I will need to know about you Kailani, is everything that you know and understand about magic. Your brother was a Shielder, if I recall correctly. Shielding is an excellent discipline to know and would be very useful on a ship. But I would like to know what it is that your brother may have told you about regarding magic. I ask this because there is a lot to know before you start trying to cast magic. And I’d like to help you form a solid foundation of understanding first.”



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[The Midnight Gem] A Curious Svefra (Kynier)

Postby Kailani on November 21st, 2018, 5:39 am

You mean, since you’ve decided to join the Pearltide Pod? Kailani’s blood went cold, her spine stiffening as she sat up a little straighter. Kona seemed to sense his mistress’s tension, a low growl rumbling from the canine at her feet. She wanted to growl herself; the Svefra wasn’t sure how she felt about the man having such knowledge about her that she hadn’t given freely. Blue eyes were leveled at him in a long stare, remaining silent as he offered his brief explanation. “You’ve been spying on me?” she clarified, her voice almost too even. She could feel her temper sizzling beneath the surface, but for the moment, she held it in check.

Objectively, she could understand why the mage, a man she’d already known was a spy, might employ his skills to keep an eye on her. During their first encounter, Kynier had revealed to her a very dangerous secret, one that could get him killed living in Sunberth. He had no reason to trust her; after all, he’d only met her just the once. Who was to say she would keep her word? In his position, she might even have done the same. At least now she had an explanation for all those odd moments over the past several weeks where she’d felt eyes on her, only to turn around to nothing; it was a relief to know she wasn’t crazy. Well, at least in regards to that.

But Kailani wasn’t always a very objective person, and she couldn’t help the flash of resentment that crossed her face. The seafarer wasn’t necessarily a very private woman—after all, she’d grown up in a very communal environment. There were very few secrets in such tight quarters. However, Kynier wasn’t part of her pod; he wasn’t even Svefra. It unnerved her that he knew what was going on in her life. At some point, they would have to have a conversation about boundaries. When Kailani gave her word, she meant it. He didn’t need to spy on her to make sure she kept it.

The awkward moment passed soon enough, Kailani slowly relaxing as the conversation moved past the topic of her new familial ties. Her anger even turned to laughter at Kynier’s comment that he could be a difficult man to deal with. At this point, she’d already been inclined to agree with him. While, overall, she liked the mage, both of their encounters had given her cause for some unease. “Not like I’m any less difficult,” she commented aloud instead, snorting. “Or do you not remember when I lost my temper at you over a question you didn’t even ask?” She grinned. “But now we’re on land at least, eh? Your feet will be steadier than mine here.”

Her mirth sobered as she continued, “I’m a fast learner, Kynier. I always have been. So long as you can explain the topic with even a shred of clarity, I should be able to pick it up.” Her grin returned, adding, “You’ll just have to forgive me if I snap at you a few times along the way. It will just be a matter of getting used to each other, aye?”

Kailani followed without protest as the mage advocated privacy and led them to a different room, Kona close behind. The Svefra understood the gravity of practicing magic in Sunberth and certainly wouldn’t object to even more secrecy. She watched with a sort of mild awe as the fire inside lit itself. She’d been too distracted to notice the first time in the common room, glancing over at Kynier with an inquiring look. More of his magic?

Turning her attention away from the hearth, she looked around the rest of the room while the mage performed his magic over the doorway. Oceanic eyes roamed over the desk and bookshelves with mild interest before settling on the paintings in various stages of completion. She remembered Kynier saying he was an artist in their previous meeting; here, it would seem, was the evidence of that claim. They were beautifully rendered, even if they weren’t quite finished, and she smiled in admiration. The sailor had never shown much of a talent for the arts, but she could appreciate it in those who did.

At last, she took the offered seat, settling across from Kynier with her hands in her lap. The fire crackled pleasantly to the side, her Deerstalker walking over to curl up in front of it. The mage continued their conversation as if they’d never halted it, explaining that the rest of the residents of The Midnight Gem knew his secret, but they didn’t have to know hers. She deeply appreciated the sentiment and relaxed a little more at his words. While she was sure a man like Kynier didn’t misplace his trust in others, she still had no reason to share that trust. For the moment, their lessons would remain between the two of them.

When he asked her to explain to him what she knew of magic, Kailani’s response was a sheepish look. “My brother was a Shielder, aye, but uh… In truth, I never took the time to learn much about it. He was not a very close brother, and at the time, I felt I had… more important things to worry about.” Up until recently, the Svefra had flitted through life with hardly a care in the world. Sailing, drinking, petching, fighting—that was what she knew, and all she truly cared about. What else mattered but indulgence? Life was short, and she wanted to enjoy it. Who had time for aught else?

“I know magic comes from something called djed, and that it can be pulled from inside you. But how or why?” Her shoulders lifted in a shrug. “I never cared to ask until now. Maybe I should have, but most Svefra are almost as superstitious as the people of Sunberth. Not everyone liked what my brother was doing, but they dealt with it or at least ignored it since it seemed to help us. It didn’t bother me, though—like I said before, more important things. I just didn’t care.”

The corner of her lips lifted in a smirk. “So I guess we’re starting from the ground up, Kynier. Hopefully we don’t lose our patience with each other, eh? Looks like I’ve got a lot to learn.”

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[The Midnight Gem] A Curious Svefra (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on November 22nd, 2018, 3:29 am

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It was a bit of a familiar tale as Kailani described it. Even among people that were more accepting of magic, being an open mage was a life of seclusion. Her brother practiced the safest discipline of magic and was shunned by his own family. Though he was young at the time, Kynier recalled both he and his instructor, Bourin, having isolated lives in Syliras. Even though they had interactions with other mages. As he grew older, Kynier wondered if it was more because it was Bourin or if it was just that mages were difficult people to socialize with. There was a twinge of sympathy for her brother. Being surrounded and yet not feeling included must have been painful.

Kynier reflected her smile. “There’s always going to be more to learn. Magic seems to provide an itch to people with a curious mind. One that they just can’t help but scratch. At least… that’s how it is for me.” Kynier settled in his chair and propped an ankle up on the other knee as he interlaced the fingers of his hands and rested them in his lap. “Starting from the ground up is actually very good. There will be less confusion and fewer assumptions to what you may or may not know. And before we begin, there is one thing I feel that I need to clarify for you. Perhaps you already know, but just to be certain I’m going to explain it anyway.”

“The people of Sunberth are not superstitious regarding magic. They are terrified of it because of what mages have done in the past. Half a century ago, a collective of mages came to Sunberth; and with their magic they completely eradicated the gangs that existed at that time. A few dozen mages had enslaved the entire city and treated the whole populace as slaves. They performed horrific deeds on people with magic with no real justification. And that lasted for fourteen years before the people of Sunberth rebelled and slew the leader of the mage cult. Not all the mages were killed, but they were driven out. It is a scar that the city still carries.”

“Because of that, practicing magic in Sunberth is done with greater secrecy than anywhere else in the world. One person that see magic will cry out ‘mage’ as loud as they can to form a lynch mob in an instant.” Kynier looked to the fire in the heart for a moment and shook his head with a slight smirk. “Magic, it’s the one thing that can unite all the citizens of Sunberth together, regardless of their affiliations. And only because they all share an equal hatred for it.” Kynier turned his eyes back onto… his student.

He smiled at the thought. Kailani would potentially be the first person he could speak freely with about magic. His bondmate would listen intently when he spoke on the subject, but since early that season it was never really a conversation. Just him rambling. When the Svefra was more developed with magic, he could possibly have a friend to exchange ideas with. Perhaps, if it all went well. “So then, from the beginning,” he said as he looked upon the Svefra intently. As he spoke, he evoked his Djed to the rise to just under the surface of his skin. With it he pushed on the astral form of his right arm to separate it from his physical body. The process of a painless separation took several chimes to perform.

“Djed is the ‘educated’ word for magic. It comes from the Ancient Tongue, also known as Nader-canoch. The translation roughly means ‘backbone’ or ‘spine’. This is because Djed resides in everything. You, Kona, these chairs,” Kynier nodded at the flames in the hearth, “even the fire has Djed in it. The most potent sources of Djed come from the souls of living creatures. Making every living person a font of power. Most never learn how to harness that power. And without Djed, there would be no life to speak of.”

His right hand went limp in his lap as the astral form of it was fully desynchronized from his body. The invisible limb reached past Kailani to the desk drawer. With some difficulty, the drawer slid open. While his astral limbs were growing stronger with each usage, certain basic functions were still proving difficult. The astral hand reached into the drawer and retrieved three items. A vial of ink, a sheet of parchment, and a quill. The arm shrank in length as the astral hand came back to set the items down on the small table between the chairs. The three items would appear to be hovering in the air close together until they were all set down.

The astral hand uncorked the vial of ink and then dipped the quill into it. “There are a few key concepts about Djed that need to be understood,” he said as the quill drew a large square on the parchment. “Djed has made this square. Not because magic was used to guide the quill, but because Djed is at the core of everything. This square was formed by Djed by the construction of its lines. And yet, this square, is also Djed.” Kynier looked up at Kailani. “Understand?” When he had been given this lesson, he had not understood at first. But he was a child at the time. Young, ignorant, and stupid. Kailani claimed to be a fast learner, but he wanted to see how quickly she was grasping everything before he moved onto explaining the Laws of Djed.



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[The Midnight Gem] A Curious Svefra (Kynier)

Postby Kailani on November 23rd, 2018, 10:15 pm

Kailani was somber as she listened to him relay the history of Sunberth’s hatred for mages, a story she actually didn’t know. She was well aware of the city’s visceral hatred for magic users, but she’d never bothered to learn the reasons behind it. Sunberth was never a place she meant to reside with any permanency, nor was it previously a location of particular interest to her; why bother to learn its history? Suppose I’ll have to remedy that now, she thought to herself, nodding to show she understood. Don’t want to seem like some ignorant foreigner. “I will be careful,” she said aloud, just as much to reassure herself as him.

When Kynier went on to explain what djed really was, the Svefra listened intently. It was present in everything, and it could be manipulated. Living creatures were the most potent sources of djed, which made Kailani wonder if mages manipulated their own life force when they used magic. Could they use the djed of other people? Or did it have to come from within? Before she could ask these questions, however, she heard a noise that sounded suspiciously like a drawer opening behind her. Whipping around, she watched it happen with wide eyes. Was Kynier doing that? She glanced back at his face, which didn’t seem too perturbed, so she figured it must be. How was this even possible?

She watched with fascination as the quill, ink, and parchment came to rest on the table before them. The quill dipped itself in the ink and started drawing on the parchment, Kailani leaning in as close as she could to watch the process unfold. A tentative finger reached out to the touch the feathery tip of the quill before jerking her hand back with a nervous little giggle. She’d never seen anything move of its own accord before.

It took Kailani a moment to realize Kynier had asked her question, so enthralled she was by the self-drawing quill. The blue-eyed seafarer rapidly recalled the words she’d half-heard her tutor speak, offering him a sheepish look. “Sorry, I was a bit, uh… distracted.” The same fingertip reached out to gently touch the magically drawn square, coming away darkened with ink. “But I think I understand,” she said with a smile, leaning back and looking at him.

“Everything has djed, even things just created, yes?” she repeated, tapping the parchment. “Even things that aren’t alive, but especially things that are. And the djed within everything can be manipulated and used to our own ends.” Her look was thoughtful, head tilted to the side. “Does that mean it’s tied to our life force? Without djed, would someone die? Would something not alive just cease to be? Does it work that way?” She leaned in close again, picking up the pot of ink and examining it closely. “Can an object be drained of its djed? And if it is, does it just disappear?” She set the pot down and continued unabashedly with her barrage of questions, “Can you use the djed in objects? Or can it only be used from people? Can you use it from other people, or just yourself? And if you can… should you? Is something like that frowned upon?”

Seeming to abruptly realize how she was bombarding him, she stopped and blushed with a laugh. “Sorry, I get ahead of myself sometimes. Feel free to tell me to shut up and listen. It won’t hurt my feelings any.” Kailani chuckled, rubbing self-consciously at the back of her neck. “You wouldn’t be the first, and I doubt you’ll be the last.”

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[The Midnight Gem] A Curious Svefra (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on November 23rd, 2018, 11:09 pm

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Though his use of Projection had distracted her for a moment, Kailani had seemingly understood everything that he had explained. Or at least, had listened intently enough to be able to repeat it back to him. The more she practiced with magic the more she would understand the principles that he was explaining to her. What he had not expected was the barrage of questions that she had unleashed. But with each question asked the wider his smile grew. It was half amusement and half appreciation. Every question she made was not an irrelevant one, and he was thankful that he knew the answers to each one that she had asked.

“So, some of these questions are a little beyond where I intended to finish tonight, but I will answer each on in turn.” What he had learned from his failure as a teacher was to not listen and answer the questions his student had. “Yes, and no. Djed is our life force. When a person dies of old age, it is because their body no longer is able to absorb the Djed that their soul emanates. The souls of living creatures are pure Djed. Our bodies consume Djed whether we’re using magic or not. Food and rest are what allow our souls to replenish Djed.”

“Can objects be drained of their Djed. Yes, they can. There are disciplines known as World Magic. World Magic uses Djed from sources that are not the mage to accomplish things. The alternative is call Personal Magic, where the mage uses the Djed from their own soul to power their spells. And no, an object won’t just disappear when its Djed has been fully sapped. It may break down, become brittle, but it won’t just vanish. And that ties into what I was going to say next.” With his still usable hand, he indicated the quill and parchment. His astral hand lifted the quill up to allow the square on the parchment to be clearly visible.

“The First Law of Djed: Djed cannot be created, nor destroyed, only transformed.” Kynier shifted to the edge of his seat and set his left hand down to rest on the parchment. “The Djed of the ink transformed into this square. And this square can be transformed as well.” His astral hand brought the quill over and set the tip down in the corner of the square. It was then dragged to the opposite corner, creating a straight line that split the square into two triangles. “Now, it is different. The Djed of the square has changed because it is now more than just a square.”

“This leads to the Second Law of Djed: Some forms of Djed are purer than others. Sentient souls are the most powerful form of Djed. Because, we have free will. We can freely change ourselves without external influence. Unlike this square, which has no free will and can only change by external pressure. And then, there is only one other law of the Djed. The Third Law,” Kynier’s astral hand set the quill down on the table, and during the following silence, it grasped the parchment violently. Crumpling it in the astral fingers before tossing it into the fire of the hearth. “Some Transformations are Irreversible.”

Kynier sat back into his set again as he shortened the length of his astral limb to match that of his corporeal body. As he spoke, he began the process of reattaching his two forms slowly, so that he did not agitate the nerves with reconnection. “You asked if it is possible to use Djed from another person,” he said without mirth. “The answer is yes. There is a discipline that teaches a mage how to do that. But it is a discipline that I have sworn myself that I will never learn, so that I may never use it. Because there is nothing that can stop you from using another person’s Djed with this discipline. At least, nothing that I’m aware of. It’s called Leeching.”

“Leeching is not without cost. When too much Djed is used the physical body begins to be damaged. Push it further and the mind suffers next. In situations of true desperation, or madness, where even more Djed is required… permanent changes begin to occur to a person. Even death. Many mages think that Leeching is a way to accomplish even more while avoiding such dangers. But the truth is Kailani, once Djed leaves the soul, it is no longer as pure as it was. To harness another person’s Djed, or even the Djed from the environment, with Leeching poisons the body. Long time practitioners of Leeching have a frail constitution. So, yes you can. And nothing says you shouldn’t, though I doubt your power source would appreciate it. But in my opinion, it’s not worth it. It’s a method of power lust for the mad.”

By then, his right arm was resynchronized. Kynier lifted and flexed his fingers to test for signs of stiffness. “Do you have any other questions before I continue?”



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[The Midnight Gem] A Curious Svefra (Kynier)

Postby Kailani on November 25th, 2018, 9:20 pm

Kailani listened intently to his words of transformation and destruction, watching as the quill split the square into triangles before the parchment was tossed on the flame. It cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed. She supposed that made sense, though the paper seemed fairly destroyed to her. Then again, what really constituted destruction? When the parchment went into the flames, it was a drawing of two triangles. Coming out of the fire, it would be ash. Destroyed from one point of view, but changed from another. It still existed, just not as it once was. And some transformations are irreversible. Aye, that made even more sense. Ash could never be made into parchment again. “I think I understand,” she said with a nod. “But I never would have thought of it that way.”

When he then went on to answer her other questions and explain leeching, she sobered. It did not seem like a discipline she was eager to try, either. To take someone else’s life force to feed your own? She couldn’t imagine doing such a thing, especially not with the consequences he described. What could ever be worth it, to pay such a price? Nothing she could imagine. Then again, she was not some power hungry wizard. She could never even conceive of such a life.

“You say with leeching, there’s nothing to stop someone from using another’s djed. Are there no defenses against such a thing?” Kailani inquired, golden brows drawing together in an indignant frown. “Are you truly saying there’s nothing to stop someone from just tugging on my djed whenever they please? Is there no discipline to protect yourself? Would you even know if someone was doing it to you? Or does the source have to be willing? I can’t imagine many that would volunteer for that.” She shook her head with an offended snort. “Just seems rather rude to me.” The Svefra had a way with understatements. Such a thing seemed far more than rude; it seemed downright evil.

Do you have any other questions before I continue? A smile tugged at the corner of Kailani’s lips as she looked at Kynier, holding up her finger. “Just one more. And one that’s not entirely related to this conversation, but it’s something I’ve been wondering for a while now.” Laughing, she continued, “You know, it’s the funniest thing. Ever since you slept in my cabin, my bed doesn’t get wet any more. The first few times sleeping in it, I didn’t notice anything different; nothing really struck me as odd. But then I started to notice… No matter how soaked I was, if I touched the bedclothes, they were dry.” She cocked an eyebrow in his direction, her smirk never fading. “Living on the water means everything in your life is vaguely damp most of the time, so you get pretty used to it. Even when this big lug here,” she reached down to give Kona an affectionate pat on the back, “climbed into it a sopping mess, it was like the water just disappeared.”

Another laugh as she went on, “I even dumped a pitcher of water over it, just to see. It just rolled right off. Didn’t even leave it the tiniest bit damp. I started to wonder how such a thing was possible, then I remembered I had a magician under my tiny roof for a night.” Her finger wiggled in Kynier’s direction. “Any of this sound familiar, my magely friend?”

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[The Midnight Gem] A Curious Svefra (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on November 27th, 2018, 8:40 pm

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Years ago, Kynier had thought about it as a Leecher’s Advocate. There was a purpose to knowing the discipline. Even people with good morals, like Kailani, could use the discipline well without taking actions that would seem unjust. On the other hand, Kynier had seen a colleague of his instructor’s giving into the thirst for power and used the knowledge of Leeching to act upon it. Apart from the benefits of maintaining his physical health, Kynier did not want to even have that sort of temptation. No matter how much his instructor said that it was a necessary discipline to learn. Leeching wasn’t the only way to solve certain problems.

Kailani obviously had similar thoughts about the wrongs of Leeching. But as a person that had never even touched her personal Djed resources, she couldn’t understand the original purpose behind the discipline’s creation. The avoidance of overgiving. “Leeching is meant to take Djed from other sources, no matter how pure that source is. As far as I’m aware, there is no discipline that can protect you from being Leeched. Lots of knowledge was lost during the Valterrian. Perhaps during the reign of the empires, there was a way for a mage to defend themselves against being Leeched. Now a days,” he said with a defeated shrug, “The only defense I could think of requires the use of a weapon. And no, the subject does not need to be willing. Trust me, Kailani, you would know that you’re being Leeched.”

The Svefra’s question was not one that he would have suspected to have ever been asked. Kynier had forgotten about doing that little bit of Shielding until she had brought it up. “Oh,” he said chuckling as she wiggled her finger at him. “That,” he scratched at the back of his neck to calm his nerves. Kailani had not seemed offended, more amused than anything, but he had done something to her bed without her permission. The Sunset Tide was her home, and he wouldn’t appreciate a stranger coming into his home and casting magic without his knowledge. “I’m accustomed to having a dry bed to sleep in,” he said apologetically. “After all, who doesn’t like a warm dry bed? Well, that was a small Shield that I had cast. Depending on your brother’s skills and understanding, he could do the same thing. The one I had set down should last,” he rolled his eyes up as he gave it a thought, “oh, a couple of years perhaps.”

With the conversation about Leeching, they had almost begun to talk about overgiving. Something that Kynier had always stressed about. Whether it was his own overgiving or that of others. But that was where his mistake had been with his last attempt of being a teacher. Too much forewarning and not enough encouragement to practice. Kynier supposed that he could try Bourin’s approach. Talk about it After the signs begin to show. Something about experiencing the fear helped to convince the student to exercise caution. Maybe. Or perhaps some people were just too headstrong to tolerate a slow and safe approach.

“I think I’ve done enough ‘telling’ about magic. Time for the first bit of practice.” Kynier moved to the edge of his seat and rested his forearms on his knees. Djed flowed through his body and was directed to his eyes by his will. With his power, his Sight was opened with Auristics. Kailani’s lapis lazuli aura slowly formed around her body in his vision. “Make yourself comfortable Kailani. Relax your mind as well as your body,” he said lowering his voice to a soothing tone. “Meditate. Meditation is not necessary, but with it a mage is able to have better control over their Djed. So, relax your mind. Banish out all thoughts until your mind feels completely clear.”

The silence that followed was only disturbed by a few things. One was the soft cracking of fire in the hearth. The second was Kona’s occasional huffs and adjustments. Kynier’s focus was then placed upon the Svefra’s aura. Kailani’s feelings and emotions would ripple over his skin as she experienced them. As he waited for her to reach a state of calm clarity, he silently stood up from his seat. Kona’s head perked up as he did. With slow soft steps, he made his way over to the small stack of wood by the hearth and added another log to the fire. Still standing by the fire, he turned to look upon the Svefra. When he could feel that she had reached a calm enough state, he spoke softly. “Now, reach inward with your mind. Feel your heart and the way it beats in your chest. There is a place deeper within you. A place that doesn’t physically exist, but you can still feel it. Reach there, Kailani. And you’ll feel your Djed.”

“Take just a small piece of it and have it flow through your body. Get used to the sensation of your power moving around inside of you.” Kynier watched carefully with his Sight. If Kailani managed to touch her power and harness it, he would see the alterations it would make in her aura.



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