Solo A Measure of Protection

Aster learns the bare bones of shielding.

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A Measure of Protection

Postby Asterope on April 2nd, 2020, 4:21 am

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42nd of spring, 520 AV

Aster was lounging on her bed, head hanging off the side as she chatted with Kihala, who sat on the desk across from her, swinging her stone feet. "I'm sorry I haven't been talking with you more," Aster said, blinking up at the statuette. "It's been...a lot, adjusting to things."

Kihala waved a hand, shaking her head. Her horns and hair had changed with the season, Aster noticed, just like her own; but unlike her, the little statuette never seemed to shift forms, forever with her carved horns and slightly shimmering stone skin.

"There's no need to apologize. I can imagine it has been quite a lot to adjust to. But I'm so very glad you've gotten away, and that you're safe. I'm proud of you for taking the risk," Kihala smiled gently, and Aster felt warmth bloom in her chest.

Before she could respond, Kihala continued. "You need to be cautious, though. I imagine Alard will still be looking for you. I think you should stay away from Sunberth for awhile."

Aster let out a sigh. She knew Kihala was right, and she agreed, but it didn't make it any less frustrating. She wouldn't be free until Alard was dead and gone, she could feel it like a stone in her stomach. But how was she supposed to do that?

"I don't want to go back any time soon. If I need to, though, at least I have another form I can take that he's never seen before. I'll just have to go at night," Aster frowned; that came with its own set of dangers. With another sigh, Aster sat up, the blood rushing from her head and leaving her light-headed for a moment.

"I think you're better off just staying away, but if you do go, please be careful. Keep yourself safe." There was a gentle chiding but resigned tone to Kihala, like a loving but exasperated mother. It almost reminded Aster of Nara.

"Of course," Aster nodded, standing and crossing over to sit at the desk, propping her elbow on the table and her chin in her hand. "Hey, Kihala. Speaking of keeping myself safe..." Aster trailed off, thinking back to when she had met the little statuette some seasons ago.

"You said back when we met you could teach me a little bit about shielding. Is that still something you can do?" Aster asked, tapping a sea glass pink nail idly on the desk.

"Of course. I don't know much, to be honest, but I should be able to show you the very basics." Kihala stood from the edge of the desk, looking around thoughtfully as she tucked a strand of stone hair behind her ear.

"Here, bring me a vial of ink," she motioned to where Aster kept her writing supplies in the corner of the desk. Obediently, Aster picked up one of the vials of ink and placed it down near the statuette.

"Give me your hand," she instructed, and Aster held her hand out, palm up. Kihala reached out, and Aster saw her close her eyes, her brow furrowed in concentration as she began to sweep her hands over Aster's palm. Aster watched, curious, as a faint shimmering of green began to slowly appear over the surface of her palm.

"Give me a drop of ink," Kihala said, without looking up, and held out one of her hands.

Aster used her free hand to unstop the vial, and as carefully as she could, let a drop of dark ink fall into Kihala's palm. The statuette then pressed her palm to the shimmering green surface, and Aster watched as the ink drop was absorbed, seeming to vanish, and then the shimmering field vanished as Kihala withdrew her hands.

"Pour some ink on your hand," Kihala instructed, as Aster turned her hand this way and that, but she couldn't see or even really feel a difference. Still holding the vial, she held her hand out and let a few drops fall onto her palm; her mouth fell open slightly into a small 'o' shape of surprise as she watched the ink drops make contact with a surface just above her palm, rolling off with a faint green shimmer.

"That's amazing," Aster murmured, twisting her clean hand over to examine her palm. If she focused just hard enough, she thought she could feel the glimmer of something covering her palm.

Kihala looked pleased. "Shields need to be tasked with something to keep out. That can be anything, but it has to be specific. If you get better at it you can do more complex tasks, and possibly layer shields, but that's beyond my expertise. You can block physical things, people, senses, djed...anything you want. I've seen some complex shields in the Temple of the Unknown," the statue explained.

Aster listened carefully, then hesitated. "What's djed?" She asked, uncertain. Kihala exhaled a breath, looking uncertain.

"The best I can explain it is that it makes up everything. Everything has djed, and it's what drives magic," Kihala explained. Aster nodded, but she wasn't sure she really understood.

"You need to use your djed to create shields. Take some time to breathe deeply, meditate for a moment if you can. Search inside yourself; you have it, you just need to find it so that you can use it," Kihala said, sitting crossed-legged on the desk. "Feel my shield if you need to, feel the djed in it."

Aster recapped the vial of ink and set it aside for the moment, and did as Kihala said, closing her eyes and inhaling deeply. She had djed; everything did, apparently. She just needed to find it. She skated her fingers over her shielded palm, focusing on it. She didn't feel anything physically, but if she focused, she could feel a slight tingle of something almost like energy in her mind, stretching across her palm.
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A Measure of Protection

Postby Asterope on April 2nd, 2020, 9:27 am

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"Take your time," came Kihala's quiet murmur. "Look over mine. Feel it. Then just start by finding your own djed and pulling it up. When you have it, just focus on spreading it over your hand; do it however feels natural. Some people weave it, some spread it; I like to paint it across what I'm shielding."

Aster nodded slightly, breathing in deeply as she focused, feeling the expanse of energy; no, not energy, djed that stretched across her palm. She could almost feel the brushstrokes of it, the way Kihala had painted it across her palm with her hands.

She could feel the slight tension in it, the slight barrier, and she recalled the translucent green barrier that Kihala had created. With the feeling in mind, Aster turned her inspection inwards, delving deep down into herself.

Now that she sort of knew what she was looking for, she could feel it; thrumming through her veins, curling in her lungs and weaving between her bones. It was faint but there, a buzzing energy. Djed. Aster reached down into her chest, feeling for it, calling it to her, and nearly lost her concentration when it came easily, curling into a ball in her chest where she had beckoned it. Inhaling deeply, she pulled it up, drawing it out, down through her arms and to her hands and fingertips.

Opening her eyes, Aster looked down at her hands; they didn't look any different that she could see, not yet, anyway. Kihala nodded encouragingly. "Just start by weaving it over your other hand. Get a feel for how you make it, for covering a surface. Go on."

She was focusing, holding the flowing djed in her hands. Turning her unshielded hand palm up, Aster brought the fingers of her other hand over it, then hesitated. She could feel it there, ready to be used, but she wasn't quite sure how. Whatever feels natural, Aster reminded herself, glancing up as she inhaled deeply; on the wall to the right of her, sunlight streamed in through the window, dust motes swirling and dancing through the sunbeams, and it clicked.

Aster turned back to her hand, and began to pass her fingertips over her palm, focusing on the djed she'd built up and coaxing it out. It was like sunlight slowly leaking in through a window, or spreading across the land with sunrise; a somewhat translucent, faintly glowing golden colour, glittering faintly with pink sparkles began to spread across Aster's hand as she focused, spreading the djed across her palm. It was almost warm but not quite, shifting and shimmering like sunlight, but slightly more tangible.

It was surprisingly difficult to cover her whole palm. "Focus," Kihala encouraged. "Take your time. Make it as even as possible."

Aster furrowed her brow, watching the golden, sparkling shield that was forming over her palm, trailing after her fingers. She wasn't sure if she physically needed to touch where she wanted to shield, but it helped her visualize it, so she continued. The djed trailed after her fingers slowly, spreading across her palm as Aster focused on spreading it evenly, covering the crevices and slopes of her hand.

"Good," Kihala exclaimed, nudging the ink vial towards her. "That's exactly it. Now, that would keep out just basic djed, because it's untasked. But if you task it to shield against this ink, like I did with my mine by adding some into it before you finish, it will stop the ink from passing through."

Aster nodded, squinting as she focused on the shield, keeping it active since she wasn't done with it; she suddenly felt tired, which was a surprise considering how rarely she felt that during the day. Magic was tiring, it seemed. Blinking hard to try and keep her focus, Aster reached for the vial of ink.
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A Measure of Protection

Postby Asterope on April 3rd, 2020, 5:23 am

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"All you need is a drop," Kihala explained, as Aster unstopped the vial again. "And put the intent into it as you add it. Tell your djed what to block."

Aster nodded without looking up, her eyes focused on the shimmering shield across her palm, almost all of her concentration in keeping it up. Carefully with her other hand, Aster let a single drop of ink fall from the vial onto the shield, watching the black liquid splatter across the gleaming shield of djed.

As she did so, Aster's brow furrowed as she sent out another small wave of djed into the shield with her focus and intent. Shield against the ink, block it out, she thought, willing the intent of the task with her mind and djed as well as her thoughts.

Before her eyes, Aster watched the drop of ink fade as it was absorbed into the shield. She felt it when it was done, like a click of satisfaction, and Aster released the energy she had gathered, loosening the tension holding her djed in her palms and letting it flow back to where it naturally coursed through her.

Aster was surprised to realize she could still see the shield. "I thought shields were invisible?" She asked Kihala, glancing over. The statuette shook her head.

"It depends. They usually are, but the better you are, the more clearly you can see others shields, it seems. I don't know much, but I do know more than you, and I can see your sield," Kihala motioned to Aster's palm. "But you can't seem to see mine unless it's active. Yours is the first I've ever seen clearly. The ones in the temple were all expertly crafted."

"Regardless, look yours over, see how you did. Compare it to mine," Kihala encouraged. Aster nodded thoughtfully, casting out to feel at her shield, tentatively poking at it. She hadn't had much of a chance to examine the shield she'd encountered in the temple, but it had felt thick and sturdy; hers was thin and weaker, and Aster could feel spots that were dangerously thin and even the occasional gap in hers, despite how careful she'd been and how small it was. Feeling out Kihala's on her other palm, it was similar in thickness, but slightly more uniform as a whole.

"You'll get better with practice," Kihala said. "This was good for your first one. It can be tricky to cover things perfectly at first, even small surface areas," she explained.

"So these shields can be used for protection?" Aster asked, and Kihala nodded.

"In theory. It will take practice and work for it to be feasible, but it certainly doesn't hurt and can be useful. You could shield yourself from ink stains, if you plan on writing a lot," Kihala motioned to the ink vial they'd been using that Aster had set aside.

"It seems like it might have more practical uses than combat," Aster mused, thoughtfully, then stifled a yawn. "Is it always so exhausting?"

Kihala laughed. "No, not always. You get used to it. The more you practice, the more you'll be able to do before you start feeling tired or ill. You have to be careful not to use more djed than you can comfortably give, though." There was a warning in Kihala's voice. "It can have dangerous consequences."

Aster wanted to ask what consequences, but she was tired and excited all at once, everything she'd learned turning over in her mind as she peered at the shield she'd made. Standing from her chair, Aster stretched. It was late afternoon by now; she hadn't realized how long she'd spent sitting there practicing.

Walking over the window, Aster perched on the sill, closing her eyes as she tilted her head back and basked in the sunbeams cascading in through the window, feeling the warmth sink into her skin all the way down to her bones, easing some of the tiredness she felt.
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
User avatar
Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 519
Words: 529979
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)
Power Fork (1)


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