Closed Starry Eyes and Hunter Magic

Zach seeks out Madeira's help.

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Starry Eyes and Hunter Magic

Postby Zach Grasswind on November 2nd, 2019, 2:17 pm

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8th Fall, 519


The early morning sun slanted in through not-quite closed curtains and fell across the face of the Drykas hunter that slept within the room. Beneath closed lids, his eyes were flickering with dreams and a light sheen of sweat beaded on his forehead.

All of a sudden, eyes snapped open and Zach sat bolt upright in his bed, breathing heavily as though he had just run the length of the city. He roughly ran his hands over his forehead, pushing damp hair off his face.

Zach hadn't dreamed of the mountain in a long time. The memories of the pain and darkness had left him alone for seasons now. With a sigh, he fought his way out of the sheets tangled around his legs and padded over to the desk. He gripped the back of the chair tucked under it and stared for a moment at a highly polished piece of metal that sat atop the table surface.

Jaw tense, Zach reached out to pick up the metal and raised it to his eye level. The hunter used it as a crude mirror, and almost reluctantly, he met his own gaze in it. He had tried to leave his mountain misadventure in the mountains, but of course something had come back with him. A something he had been trying to hide and forget about since he'd gotten back.

The eyes that looked back at Zach were a bright, clear blue. But cutting through the blue was a golden-yellow sunburst that surrounded both pupils. He was still amazed that nobody had noticed it yet, though he had been actively placing himself in unfavourable light and keeping his gaze lowered whenever he was around others.

It wasn't so much the eyes that bothered Zach. If that was all it was, he could live with it, even if his own reflection did still catch him off-guard frequently. No, it was the thing - the ability - that came along with the eyes. It scared him. Magic had always been something that other people used, not simple hunters like himself. But now, he had magic. At least that was what he assumed it to be. There was no other explanation he knew of that would make any sense.

Zach hadn’t used it since that day on the mountain, and back then he hadn’t stopped to consider anything past that one day. He hadn’t had the time to. He had been hoping it would just go away if it wasn’t used anymore, but it had been seasons now, and the eyes had stayed. And now the dreams were back. Was it because he had been ignoring it?

Still holding his own gaze in the piece of metal, Zach took a deep breath and then concentrated his mind. He recalled the memories of what the world had looked like when he had ‘seen’ and willed himself to see it again. The yellow of his reflection’s eyes flashed, the colour growing more vivid. His gaze drifted down to his hand, and sure enough it was glowing, outlined in the golden light he remembered.

Zach shut his eyes, focusing hard to turn off the vision and make the colour disappear again. When he opened them again, the yellow in his pupils was no longer ‘alight’. He returned the makeshift mirror to the desk and turned his back on it. Just what had the fox done to him that day? Aside from the obvious colours he could see, the hunter had no idea what this ability actually was. It was time for him to find out. But where on Mizahar did one start?

Zach knew next to nothing about magic. Though he did know someone who knew a lot more than he. Grabbing the clothes closest to him, he pulled them on and was out the door within chimes, taking a route he now knew well across the Peak. Soon enough, the imposing structure of the Infinity Manor came into view. Pushing the gate open, he wound his way along the path and stepped up to the opulent front door.

The Drykas paused before knocking, though he was sure that the house and whoever may currently be home already knew that he was here. He wasn’t sure how, but previous forays into the Manor had led him to believe it could tell as such. When he finally did knock, he took a single step back, hoping that it would be the spiritist who opened the door to him. If it was, he would look her straight in the eyes, this time not hiding his own.
“I was hoping you could help me with something… I think, a magic something.”
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Starry Eyes and Hunter Magic

Postby Madeira Craven on November 3rd, 2019, 5:45 am

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Madeira was in her lab when she felt the Manor's attention shift to the front gate. The Spiritist pushed tendrils of her unraveling chingon off her damp forehead with her forearm. She wore no jewels, and her usual confection like dresses had been replaced with a modest blue cotton. With her sleeves pushed back and her gloves and many rings nowhere to be found, the gory mess of her hands, both varying wildly in colour, size and shape from the other, were on full display.

"Who is it?" she demanded of the empty room, not looking up from her work. A bizarre white feather was pinned to the table before her, beside a densely scribbled notebook and a pot of a unactivated resin that occasionally belched puffs of steam that just made the hot, sweaty room even hotter. Her eyes flicked from the clearly labeled plans in the book and back to the feather, and the hair-fine paintbrush in her hand dipped into the feather's fibers for another minute stroke. Even having removed all obstacles between her hands and the paintbrush, Madeira was finding the delicate work immensely frustrating. With one hand half paralyzed and the other left with no tactile senses, the fine motor control needed for such small, precise work was incredibly difficult.

But what made it so, so much worse, was that the feather was almost invisible.

Caught from Lhavit's native illusive Ghost Hawk population, the majority of the tail feather gradually tapered off into complete translucence. The edges were almost impossible to find even with her nose nearly pressed to the table. She was so absorbed in the intricacies of the project that she missed the house's answer as it buzzed in the back of her mind.

"Sorry, who?" She leaned away from the table, head tilting side to side to consider her work from all angles. The Malediction circle on the feather was outlined in read, and contained nothing but the word 'nothing' repeated in four different languages. Her goal being to somehow make an invisibility charm. Every ounce of her soul power was bending to this objective.

The hunter, Zach Grasswind, the house repeated patiently. This time Madeira did not miss that worrying note of breathy infatuation in it's silent voice.

"Zach?" she repeated, confused. "Did I ask him for something?"

He comes empty handed.

"Mmm, I didn't think so. Okay. Don't bother him. I'll be up in a moment."

The Spiritist took a quick moment to make herself presentable as she ascended the basement stairs; dabbing off her shiny face, retying her hair and pulling a pair of plain doeskin gloves over her hands. By the time he knocked on the door she was already there, pulling it open just as he took a step back.

"Za-!" she began with a bright, beaming smile, that quickly withered away as she met his intense stare. "-ch?"

Something was wrong with the hunter's eyes, she saw it immediately. Their familiar green had exploded into a bright starburst of colour that was in no way natural. The yellow was almost animal, but took a hard left into mystical the longer she looked at it.

“I was hoping you could help me with something…" the hunter began, looking uncomfortable. "I think, a magic something.”

Madeira stared at him for another long moment. "Why don't you come inside?", she finally offered, stepping aside to let the hunter pass. Inside the house had already begun its efforts to make the hunter comfortable. The gaslights were all alight, the window drapes were all open, a fire crackled merrily in the hearth and in the kitchen the kettle was rumbling to a boil. "Have a seat, I'll make some tea", Madeira motioned to the right side of the hexagonal room, which was the dedicated common room where a semicircle of opulent but mismatched couches and chairs faced the fireplace, the coffee table or each other. After a moment of fiddling around in the kitchen she returned with two cups of fine lahvitian tea and a puzzled frown.

"So..." She hummed, making an effort to sound conversational as she handed the hunter his steaming teacup. "How long have you had... um, that?"

She could feel the house leaning closer to listen, and she couldn't blame it for its curiosity. Neither of them had seen anything like this. But while the house was stewing in a tender concern for the hunter and his strange affliction, Madeira's thoughts were running in bit less of a compassionate direction. Above all she itched to investigate this strange and sudden phenomena. What did it mean? Was it just physical, or was it a symptom of a mental or magical shift? Zach seemed to think it was magical, but even then there were so many different types of magic. Was it personal magic, world magic, divine magic? What was its purpose, its application? What was the source of its fuel?

She sipped her tea and kept quiet for now. She wanted to hear what he had to say about this sudden development before she went all mad scientist on him. The fact that he came to her for help was very flattering. She took it to mean that he had respect for her abilities as a magic user, or at least considered her knowledgeable. And she had to make the effort to rein herself in before he began to regret the decision to come to her with this bizarre phenomena.

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Starry Eyes and Hunter Magic

Postby Zach Grasswind on November 4th, 2019, 12:14 pm

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Zach’s foot had barely touched the deck again when the door opened. He didn’t know how, but he was absolutely certain that the house knew who was around, and was somehow able to alert Madeira when visitors came knocking. Every single time he visited, the Drykas hardly had time to knock before he was greeted by somebody, and it couldn’t just be coincidence.

The Spiritist was dressed plainly for her, the hunter’s keen eyes noticing that even her many customary rings were not upon her hands. The moment her eyes met his her smile dropped, as he was expecting, the greeting she gave trailing into a question. Zach didn’t look away as she stared, simply standing upon her porch in silence. Madeira’s reaction led him to believe she hadn’t seen any eyes like his before, though he was certain it was magic, so there was still hope that she could help him.

The silence stretched between the pair for a moment, until Madeira moved aside for him. With a nod and a small smile, Zach stepped over the threshold and into the Manor. Though the room was spacious, it was cosy, the fire throwing a warm glow over the collection of chairs nearby. The hunter chose a seat at random, some sort of plush armchair, and sunk into it while listening to the chink of cups from the kitchen.

”Thank you.” Zach received the offered tea gratefully, not realising until now how thirsty he was after having made his way over in a hurry.
"How long have you had... um, that?"

Zach paused before answering, watching the steam curl upward from the dark liquid in his cup. ”A few seasons… Actually since before we met.” He glanced at Madeira, a wry smile on his mouth. ”I got good at hiding it.” He was always amazed that nobody had noticed yet, though in certain lights it was quite difficult to see, and he had been keenly aware of the light in recent seasons.

He blew on the tea before taking a sip. Zach had never been a drinker of the stuff before he had come to Lhavit, but it had slowly grown on him since. Madeira was quiet, presumably waiting for him to elaborate on what the eyes were, or where they had come from.

”A… a fox gave me the eyes.” He met the Spiritists gaze again, waiting for any look of surprise to pass before continuing. ”Do you remember my shoulder jarring after that mudslide? The season before I fell into a cave in the mountains and dislocated it. There was a Misty Fox in the cave too, that I guess had fallen through the same opening.”

Zach paused while he considered how much detail to go into. ”To cut a long story short, the fox led us out of the cave system. It always seemed to know exactly which tunnel to take, like it was following a trail. When we got out, I noticed it had eyes that lit up like sunbursts. It was injured worse than me, and while we were resting it… I don’t really know how, but it gave me the eyes, or the sight, or whatever you want to call it.”

Zach frowned, his brow furrowing as he considered the name of the unknown ability. ”I can see colours.” He peered at Madeira for a moment. ”That has to be magic right? Everyone has a colour, and I can see them. The fox was shining blue. I’m gold.” He trailed off, his words sounding ludicrous to his own ears, two-toned eyes fixed on the Spiritist opposite him.
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Starry Eyes and Hunter Magic

Postby Madeira Craven on November 4th, 2019, 7:49 pm

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Madeira sat opposite Zach in an armchair of her own, and listened to his story. She nodded along, a furrow of concentration between her brow and her gloved finger tap tap tapping away at the teacup in her lap. So, Zach found himself injured after falling into a cave in the Mist Mountains. A situation that would have meant certain death for most of the population. But he was saved by a little Misty Fox with the same starburst eyes, who led him to safety. In the end the fox gave him the eyes. Wait, gave him the eyes?

Madeira found it hard to be surprised by even the most outlandish situations anymore, not after living most of her life in Ionu's backyard. But that one fact made her pause mid tap.

Was he one hundred percent sure it was a fox? Could it have been a god? He was given mysterious powers after going through a trial by this creature literally branding him with a physical mark. That sounded exactly like something a god would do. Did this fox ever speak? Was there any divine light? Was there anything to suggest that this was more than some woodland critter handing out magic powers?

But then again... She was hardly an expert on gods and their wiles, but she had to assume that kind of omnipotence comes with a not insignificant amount of ego. Would a god really slap a piece of their own power onto a mortal without revealing who they are, what their power does and what they want of the said mortal?

Madeira stared into her teacup, the furrows of her brow only deepening. What a puzzle! Putting the larger picture aside for the moment she came back around to what Zach's new sight could actually do. He said he could see colours. Everybody had their own colour, including himself. But what could he really be seeing? Not an aura, surely. There was no one colour in anybody's aura.

"That sounds like quite the adventure", she finally spoke. "That kind of sight is certainly magic, you're right. But I can't even begin to tell you what it means. Which means..." Her glittering eyes met his multi-hued gaze, and her lips curved back into the kind of overexcited smile you only ever see on young children and the clinically insane. "If you want to know what this power is we'll have to science it! On your feet, come on!"

Abandoning her forgotten tea on an end table she pulled herself out of her armchair and made for the front door. If Zach tried to rise to follow her he would find the cushions deeper and softer than he had expected, and would not be able to escape without a struggle. It was a rather petulant effort by the Manor to keep him inside.

"There are three things we'll need to figure out before we can really get a grasp on what you have", she shouted over her shoulder, unconsciously switching to her Professor Voice, regardless of whether or not Zach was actually in earshot. "Origin, purpose, and mechanics. Where does it come from, what does it do and how does it do it, respectively." She stopped and staked herself in an empty patch of her land void of trees and the corpses of Infinity's fall gardening attempts. On her feet, with an in interesting puzzle before her and an investigation stretching ahead, a fire had sparked in her eyes. This was going to be fun.

Sticking her tongue between her teeth she whistled shrill and loud. After a moment a ghost of a little doe eyed girl blinked from between the trees and into the small clearing, her form shivering in the sunlight.

"Hi Maddy! Oh, hi Zach", Emma smiled brightly but shyly at her feet.

"We can do an experiment that will definitively answer each question", Madeira turned to face the hunter, barreling ahead. "I'd like you to choose which answer you want first, and then we can figure out what to do. But before that..." She shuffled over and planted herself beside the little ghost, reaching over to playfully ruffle her hair as she did. "Using those", she motioned to his starburst eyes, "can you see a difference between the qualities of my and Emma's colour?"

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Starry Eyes and Hunter Magic

Postby Zach Grasswind on November 6th, 2019, 11:15 am

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As he told his shortened story, Zach could practically see cogs turning in Madeira’s mind as she nodded along to his words. She was analytical, he knew that she must have a thousand questions she wanted to ask. The hunter was sure he would not have an answer for most of them.

Once again the silence stretched out between them, the Spiritist’s furrowed brow a match to his own. He wondered what she was thinking, what she made of his tale. Though surprise had not shown on her face, the pause in her tapping was not missed by him. She must have a theory already.

Eventually she met his gaze again, and he could see something glittering in her eyes. Zach huffed out a light laugh at her comment of adventure, and then nodded seriously when she confirmed his suspicion of magic. That kind of sight… Did that mean there were other magics like his?

Before Zach had a chance to ask, Madeira was on her feet, a wide smile plastered onto her face.
”On your feet, come on!”
The blonde’s rousing words were just missing a snap of the fingers, but all the same Zach found himself sitting up straighter, hastily placing his cup on the nearest table. Gripping the arms of the chair he made to push himself to his feet, though the chair felt as though it was pulling him back in, the plush cushions almost seeming to cling to him. After a brief struggle he extracted himself from the furniture and hurried over to the front door, still wide open from Madeira’s exit, her shouted words easily reaching his ears.

Where, what and how. Zach thought he had ideas regarding the first two, but clearly answers such as ‘a fox’ wouldn’t cut it here. The hunter trailed after Madeira stopping a few steps behind her, gaze flitting around the large, empty patch of lawn they had found themselves in. He couldn’t quite read the Spiritist’s expression, but he did know he had never seen her look quite so enthusiastic before.

His brow furrowed briefly at Madeira’s whistle, but his puzzlement was quickly blinked away as the form of a young girl appeared next to her. Her edges were fuzzy in the sunlight, but all the same, he recognised the form of Emma and offered the little ghost a smile.
”Hello Emma.”

Without preamble, Madeira launched into an ‘experiment’ that would in theory answer all their questions. Zach opened his mouth to ask how she could be sure, but quickly shut it again as she set his first task upon him. He flicked his gaze between the ghost and woman before nodding once. Zach had only used this ability twice in all the seasons he had possessed it, once on the day it was gifted, and then again this morning but he already, instinctively knew how to ‘turn it on’.

There was a pause, a silence as he focused. Zach met Madeira’s eyes and activated his sight. His eyes flashed, the golden sunbursts seeming to glow from within for a moment. The hunter looked repeatedly between the pair before him, a frown drawing over his brow. Eventually, he fixed his eyes on Madeira again before speaking.
”Emma doesn’t have a colour. Only you do.”

Madeira’s form was outlined in a deep inky blue light, the colour stretching away from her and back towards the entrance to the Manor. Zach could also see faint trails of various other colours winding their way across the lawn, no doubt left behind by the other Manor residents or animals that lived in the grounds.

Emma however, looked exactly as she had done before he had activated his sight. Her outline was still slightly fuzzy in the sun, and there was not even a hint of a colour around her, not even a white light. Zach’s eyes flashed again, a sign that he had returned his vision to normal.
”Perhaps… maybe it only works on the living…?”
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Starry Eyes and Hunter Magic

Postby Madeira Craven on November 8th, 2019, 11:26 pm

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Zach's sight activated with a burst of illumination. At the same time Madeira flexed the dijed stone mark imbedded in her left hand and activated her own, pushing dijed forward into her eyes and letting the hunter's aura bloom into her vision. He was definitely using magic, that she could sniff out right away. There was a pulsing pattern around his eyes, which at least told her where he was channeling it. But even as she sharpened her focus, overreaching herself until the first twinge of a headache reared behind her eyes, she could not infer much else. Perhaps Aldgare Dusk or another aura master could, but some selfish part of her was insisting she keep Zach and his unique abilities for herself. She didn't like to share.

Her un-augmented eyesight returned as she stopped feeding it dijed, and the world looked duller without the swirling miasma of colour that was Zach's aura. A tiny flash of brilliance in the hunter's eyes told her he was returning as well. Their look of puzzlement neatly mirrored each others.

”Emma doesn’t have a colour. Only you do.”

Well, wasn't that interesting. Madeira and Emma glanced at each other.

"My favourite colour is pink", the ghost supplied matter of factly, unsure what exactly the grown ups were talking about.

”Perhaps…" the hunter began with a thoughtful pause. "Maybe it only works on the living…?”

"That's too broad an assumption", Madeira corrected, slipping back into her teacher voice. "More accurately this means the ability allows you to see something that is present in living people, but not in the dead. This is good! This narrows things down quite a bit."

Finally things were tipping back into her area of expertise. What was missing from Emma that made her invisible to Zach's sight? She glanced between Emma and Zach, her gaze uncomfortably piercing, until Emma started to blush and fidget.

"Do these colours you see ever change?" She asked Zach suddenly. "Has your colour ever changed? Is it always gold?"

Many things are stripped from a person at the point of death. The most obvious was the body, but even the soul goes through a kind of metamorphosis. What she knew for a fact was that Zach wasn't seeing was anything to do with the mind, emotions or the structure of the soul, because those things are present in both the living and the dead.

"I'm guessing this magic has a sort of trickster application", Madeira hypothesized, pacing on the grass in a big circle. "You said the fox, who had your weird starburst eyes, looked to be 'following' something to get out of the cave, right? Maybe with this ability you learn to recognize the different colours, so you know who or what is safe, and who to avoid? I mean, if that fox ran you into any angry bears in that cave you wouldn't be here talking to me, right? Maybe you could even use it to recognize people who are hiding or otherwise magically disguising themselves?"

The idea of the fox still gave her the jitters. If that really was a god in disguise like she suspected then Zach was lucky he got away with only a cool set of eyes. That little encounter could have easily ended with a smiting if he wasn't careful. Actually, that was something she wanted to clear up right then.

"When you use that sight", she began carefully, stopping her pacing to give Zach all her attention. "How do you activate it? Does it... feel like the power comes from within you, or maybe it feels like the energy comes from outside yourself? Are you ever tired afterwards? Details, please." She was willing to guess the recent mage, having being taught by a fox, didn't know what dijed or the different field of magic were. But how he answered that question would tell her if his ability was personal magic, world magic or divine magic. All of which had to be treated differently to make sure he didn't hurt himself.

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Starry Eyes and Hunter Magic

Postby Zach Grasswind on December 10th, 2019, 2:03 pm

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The slight frown on the Spiritist's brow told Zach that whatever this magic was, it was puzzling to her as much as it was him. His gaze flicked from Madeira to Emma as the little ghost chimed in, and he smiled.
"Pink is a great colour."

The ghost was sweet - not something the hunter ever thought he would think about a being that wasn't living. But after spending so much time with the enigmatic Craven family, Zach had been slowly realising that not everyone and everything was as straightforward as he once believed, and that yes, even ghosts can be sweet.

"That's too broad an assumption..."
Madeira was quite clearly the scholar between the pair of them and Zach was certain he'd made the right decision in coming to her.

"This narrows things down quite a bit."
It did? The Drykas didn't understand how, but then again the blonde's work did involve the dead so she would know. Zach watched her as she thought, finally shaking his head in response to her question.

"No, not as far as I can tell. I've always been gold." The words sounded ridiculous to his ears. Magic was just so strange.

Zach shoved his hands into his pockets as he watched Madiera pace. He wished he could see her toughts, understand more about magic. Then perhaps he might not feel like it was something to be afraid of.

He nodded slowly as she spoke, confirming his earlier statement about the fox. Her next line made him pause, and he looked at her with an eyebrow raised, a wry smile pulling at the corners of his mouth.
"It did run me into an angry bear. A petching big one at that." The thought of the colossal beast still made him shudder with fear.

The hunter realised then that he had never fully explained the colours to the Spiritist. "It was definitely following a colour. They leave trails, kind of like people are unraveling a ribbon as they walk. I could see the path you took just now when you came out here - you left a line of the same blue that surronds you."

He paused as he considered Madeira's thoughts as a whole. "I guess it got some colours mixed up when we found the bear... They don't change, but it looks like they fade. Most of the colour lines I can see are faint, or really patchy. I don't know about finding people, but I guess it's possible if I know their colour..."

A frown wound over his brow as he considered the next question posed his way. "I... I just concentrate. It's easier if I'm not distracted. I guess... I think it comes from me. I can definitely feel something when I can see the colours. I don't know if it makes me tired... The only time I really used it I had fallen down a mountain!" He chuckled, though not lightly. "So I was pretty injured and exhausted already."

A memory flickered at the back of his mind. When he had first arrived in the city he had attended a talk about the wild magic that was wreaking havoc earlier in the year. The speaker had given it a name, something that everyone who used magic possessed.
"Is it... D... Am I using d...dejid?" The word sounded wrong, but he was sure it was close enough for Madeira to understand what he meant.

oocI had a whole 20 minutes to myself today, and I've been itching to reply to this thread! It's a bit rushed but hopefully okay.
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Starry Eyes and Hunter Magic

Postby Madeira Craven on December 29th, 2019, 12:48 am

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Madeira's mind was going around and around as Zach went into further detail about this phenomena. He was seeing trails of colours, like ribbons, that people seemed to leave behind. He had to activate it to use it, and the power seemed to come from within. This sense applied to the living and not the dead. It was given to him by a woodland critter. It may or may not have caused him to run straight into an angry bear. Madeira started to pace again.

But just as the spiritist was about to put her head in her hands and groan, frustrated by the mounting questions and lack of answers, Zach said something very interesting.

"Is it... D... Am I using d...dejid?"

Madeira halted in her tracks.

"Djed." She spoke slowly, rolling the word around her tongue like she was trying to figure out how it tastes. She looked between him and Emma, then towards the house. "Djed..." Then all at once her eyes lit up, and she turned to the hunter. With a shout of epiphany she grabbed him by the side of the head and pulled him down to kiss him hard on the mouth. "Djed! You're a genius!"

Beneath their feet the ground began to shake, the earth rumbling with a deep, dog like growl. A tree at the edge of their clearing toppled over with a very deliberate crunch like breaking bones. It's dry, brittle leaves blasted skyward like a handful of angry confetti.

Willfully ignoring the house's impending temper tantrum, Madeira was already hopping gleefully to the felled beech tree to snap off a suitable branch from its crown. She proceeded to scratch a human-shaped scribble into the dry earth with its broken point.

"Djed, what you're saying, is the word for the energy that exists in everything. It's not really that everything has djed, it's more accurate to say everything is djed. Everything except..." she whipped her stick at the startled Emma. "Ghosts."

Within the human shape she drew a circle, labelling it 'dijed' in prim cursive. Emma drifted tentatively forward to better see, and Madeira could feel even the sullen presence of the house pressing around them, until the very trees seemed to be leaning closer to listen.

"There are three different schools of magic: divine, world, and personal. They all use this universal energy, but the difference between them is where its sourced from. Divine borrows powers from a deity. World magic, my specialty, manipulates the djed found in things and the environment. But the purest, most potent form of djed comes from the soul; which is personal magic. You are using your power, your very soul, to activate this second sight of yours." She drew wavy lines upwards towards the eyes of the scribbled human shape. "You're using personal magic."

"But what if..." she continued more hesitantly, as she turned into more hypothetical territory. "What if you're using your djed to see other djed? This colour... I think you're seeing, really seeing, that person's life force."

She drew another human shape beside the first, with another circle within labelled dijed. But this one she drew with wavy lines that extended outside its body to illustrate.

"It makes sense, doesn't it? That's why you couldn't see Emma. See, when a body and soul are separated both of them rot. The body decays, but so does the soul's dijed. She has nothing to see. But me, a thinking, feeling, living human being? My soul is probably powerful enough to see extending from my body. If soulmist, that substance a ghost's shroud is made of, can be seen lingering on things they've touched, why cant a living soul?"
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Madeira Craven
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Starry Eyes and Hunter Magic

Postby Zach Grasswind on December 30th, 2019, 3:19 pm

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Zach watched Madeira intently as she thought, waiting for her face to light up with realisation as she finally worked out what exactly the Drykas had been ‘afflicted’ with. Instead of an epiphany though, she started to pace again. He supposed it was never going to be easy, after all, it did sound like something out of a folk story – a make believe tale he had spun.

And then, as startling to the hunter as it was to the Spiritist, Zach was the one to provide some shimmer of an answer. He had butchered the pronunciation of the thing he was trying to say, but the absolute dead stop Madeira came to told him that she had understood. She repeated the word – correctly – and he made a point of committing it to his memory. And then her face lit up. There was the moment he had been hoping for!

One blink and she was right in front of him, pulling his face down to hers.
"Djed! You're a genius!"
Zach took an involuntary step back as Madeira released him, the tips of his ears turning red with surprise as a rumbling from the earth drew his attention away from the Spiritist’s excitement. The sound around him was reminiscent of a landslide, and the loud cracking of a tree falling made the hunter jump. Zach shook his head roughly once. It was clearly not a landslide and besides, Madeira was utterly unfazed, almost dancing her way over to retrieve a fallen branch.

The Drykas peered up at the imposing structure of the Infinity Manor. Surely that wasn’t its doing. Zach frowned at himself. The Manor often gave him the feeling that there was a lot more to it than just providing a home for the Craven family. The feeling never led him anywhere of course, and besides, houses are not alive. It was probably ghosts…

His thoughts were cut short as Madeira returned, brandishing a stick. He watched as she began to draw in the earth with it, first a rough impression of a person. Zach listened intently as she spoke of djed. Djed was not a word for magic as he assumed, it was energy that made up a being. Eyes flicked to Emma as she drew closer. It was the lack of djed in the ghost that meant she didn’t leave a colour trail.

As Madeira went on to explain the schools of magic, the hunter’s eyes widened a fraction at the notion of borrowing power from the gods. He had heard of divine marked individuals before, but never realised they used the power from the gods themselves. And then -

"You're using personal magic."
That was what they had been working towards, that one piece of information. Zach was using his own energy to see the colours around him. “So… if I use this sight a lot, it’ll drain my energy? That’s why you wanted to know if it tired me out isn’t it? I barely made it to the city gates, but I put it down to my injuries. Though… my head killed and I definitely didn’t hit it.” The hunter frowned at his own words. “Is it possible to use… all of your energy by accident?” That seemed like important information to know.

Zach returned his attention to Madeira’s drawings as she continued to speak. Her words sunk in, and after a few moments to decipher them properly Zach nodded. “I suppose it makes sense... I don’t really know anything about ghosts, but if they don’t have djed then that works.” He paused briefly. “I guess that would be why the colours don’t change either. Souls don’t change right? Unless… I wonder if a sick person would have a colour as vivid as yours…” He glanced up at the Spiritsist again.

All of this was such alien knowledge to the hunter, things so far outside the realm of his normality that it still seemed absurd to be discussing it. But Madeira’s words did make sense to him. Zach took a few ticks to think back over it all again, a light furrow deepening his brow as something occurred to him.
“You said you use the djed that is in things. Do you mean objects? Like the bones, or my bow or…” Zach trailed off, gaze flitting over to the imposing structure of the Infinity Manor.
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Zach Grasswind
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Starry Eyes and Hunter Magic

Postby Madeira Craven on January 5th, 2020, 10:29 pm

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Zach seemed to be following along with her simplified explanation, nodding thoughtfully at the idea of dijed and the different realms of magic. And like every good student, he had questions.

“Is it possible to use… all of your energy by accident?”

Madeira's eye twitch, triggered by that simple query. The image of a loony old man with wild eyes and a flamboyant mustache popped into her head, laughing his wheezy laugh. Her uncle Frode had dabbled in his fair share of magic back in the day, and it had cost him his health and his mental stability. Ever since he had become an advocate for the awareness of overgiving and the safe practice of magic, which he had drilled into his niece's head even as he handed her knifes to hold in hostile possession training. Now there was a part of her mind that spoke only in his voice, and it flared up at the mere mention of overgiving or if she was ever about to do something dumb. She shook off the shivers and turned to Zach, giving him her complete attention as she addressed the question seriously.

"Remember how I said that personal magic is the most pure? That purity, that power, comes at a very, very dear cost. You're using your soul to exercise this magic, never forget that. That power is finite and can be overdrawn, which can lead to some very nasty physical and psychological consequences. It'll just be headaches and nosebleeds at first, but in ticks that will become hemorrhaging and psychosis. That's called Overgiving, and it's the most common cause of death among mages. And you are a mage now."

He mused on her hypothesis about why it wouldn't work on ghosts before crafting some ideas of his own.

“I guess that would be why the colours don’t change either", he mumbled, his brow furrowed. "Souls don’t change right? Unless… I wonder if a sick person would have a colour as vivid as yours…”

"Souls do change at the point of death", Madeira filled in, leaning on her stick as she thought. "But do living souls change? I'm not sure. I would guess not, but then again I've never seen my own dijed. I know there is a tangible way to see it, but only because I've seen Reimancers do it. They can pull it from their body and make it solid- and it can be a whole spectrum of colours, but none of those mages I've met have ever mentioned their colour changing. And I've never heard of someone following, or even seeing, someone's unmanifested djed. You'll have to do some experimenting. Maybe you will begin to recognize properties in the energy, like health or emotion or even race."

Her eyes were beginning to light up again at the thought. Oh, there was so much potential here. They were barely scratching the surface of what the hunter was capable of. This was a completely untapped magic she had a hold of!

That Zach Grasswind has a hold of, the house corrected her shortly.

Madeira scowled at the Manor behind her. You're one to talk.

Zach was watching the house too, but his expression was contemplative and wary.

“You said you use the djed that is in things", he began after a pause. "Do you mean objects? Like the bones, or my bow or…” his starburst eyes lingered on the house before turning their overwhelming focus back to her. There was a question in there that she supposed had been brewing for quite a while.

She never considered the strange magic of the Infinity Manor a secret. The house simply existed, just another family member. To a house full of Avalads and two children who had never known another home it was the new normal. But she also had to recognize that the number of people that knew the full scope of what it was could be counted on one hand.

"That's right", she turned back to the hunter and smiled, glad to see him putting the pieces together. She started with the easily explained magic. "It's called Malediction. I couldn't use your bow, because it has so little djed to be of any use. But the corpses you bring me? They are a wealth of djed. When a body is in contact with a soul for so long, some of that power gets burned into the vessel. It's this small space where the living and the dead intersect, and my study includes finding ways to harnessing it."

"But the house?" she motioned behind her. "The house isn't a fetish or a charm. It's a..." She waved her hands in the air, fighting to find a fitting word. "Person? It's magical, but I didn't craft it. Or... I suppose you can say I did, in the same sense that I crafted Amelie and Moritz... But not in the same way!" She jabbed her stick at Zach, flushed and offended by the connotation he didn't even voice.

Realizing she was just being confused and flustered, she took a moment to rally her thoughts and tried again.

"The house was born from a magic I had never heard of called Architectrix. There was this... shipwreck we came across on our journey here. Part of the flotsam was this strange birdhouse, and when I picked it up a sliver of it got under my skin and the magic... infected me, I suppose. Like your fox infected you. The birdhouse was from another Architectrix structure, from somewhere in the world. And this manor was just a manor when I moved here, but when I fixed that birdhouse to it, a part of me, and a part of that other structure, made this entirely new entity."

"Zach, it's alive", she spread her arms to indicate the space around them, her voice falling into a misty reverence. "It has thoughts and feelings, It can speak to me, and to the ghosts. It can control its grounds, make new structures. It protects us and watches over us, keeps us comfortable and safe."

"I've never heard of a magic like yours, and I doubt you've heard of a magic like mine. We might be the only people in the world that practice them. These must be some old, forgotten practices we've unearth basically by accident. You're not just a mage, you're a mage that has something no other mage on Miza possesses." Her eyes glittered, the blue sparking wildly with excitement. "You are so incredibly special, Zach."

And she was so very glad he belonged to her.
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Madeira Craven
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