Is Blood Thicker Than Water? [Antelokes]

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Is Blood Thicker Than Water? [Antelokes]

Postby Alric Lysane on June 11th, 2022, 10:41 am

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3rd Summer 522 AV – Various Syka Places

It was well into the day already and Alric had found himself somewhat at a loss. Usually he would be getting ready for work, grabbing Lys and making their way to the Scarlet Sanctum for the rest of the day. Yet now he had no job, nothing the form a routine around, and in some ways this made things difficult for him. He liked the freedom, was somewhat a casual spirit, but no structure at all was something he was learning was a difficult thing. He needed something to do, and magical or physical practise didn’t fill that gap enough for the sensation of listlessness to vanish completely. He needed a job, a task or something more than socialization and relaxation to fill his days.

Sighing to himself he felt Twilight nudge at his boot, and he leant down to scoop him up and let him busy himself with wrapping around his shoulders, there to enjoy both the heat of the day and Alric’s body heat. Leaning back in his chair he considered the two items upon the table next to him – the gifted Osere map from Croix and the book with the face upon it – the gagged face. It was clearly a magical item, that much was obvious just by giving a cursory glance, the eyes of the face were open and, if you watched carefully, you could see them shift and move, following you like a creepy stalker. Not to mention the expression changed every so often, in so far as that was possible with the gag in place.

For now, though, he was keeping it wrapped up in the skin covering it had bene found in, protected and safely tucked away until he was ready to deal with it. No, this time he decided it was time to properly inspect the map of the Nymkarta. As he pulled it from its leather case, unrolling it, he reflected that he should probably have tried to learn its secrets sooner – but time had bene short for the curses, and though he had played but a small part it had been more important at the time. Now though, he wanted to see just how many there were of them still left alive. He had no doubt that Croix was being honest, rather than being the trickster role, with the map – he had helped Alric quite a bit despite the initial kidnapping.

“Next time I’d suggest just chatting…but then where would be the fun in that for you then…mischief maker” he muttered to himself warmly, his attitude to the gods had softened slightly, though he doubted he would ever be as reverential as some seemed to be.

The situation hadn’t changed since he had been shown the giant, glowing version by Croix on that fateful day. He kept the map held open using a couple of his daggers and his finger traced the magical construct, seeking out the dots. It did remind him of Taz’s map, she had bene right to suspect they were the same at their core, though they clearly operated differently. There were precisely eighteen dots that he could easily find, most of them appeared to be in major cities. He was not true student of geography, so he was thankful that the continents and cites were labelled – none were in Eyktol…that was a confront, it meant Sran’tuka held none as prisoner, or for future possession purposes.

“Where are you…where are you” he mused to himself as he frowned in thought, seeking out his mother but not being able to find her, which troubled him, “though…Croix did say Serana and Kalas were being kept safe, hidden perhaps, having suffered enough. Maybe he found a way to…cover them in the map? Come on Croix, it’s not like I’d leave today and try to find them” he whispered in frustration.

Though deep down he knew he might have, his own rebellious streak was strong, and Croix had marked him at least in part because he could be as tricky as the best of them. There was a wavering in his heart, telling him that the god was wise, which made him wonder how often he interacted with Eyris. Did they speak together about him, for their own purposes, before they had marked him? Was that side of the family close enough for that? He had mentioned the goddess of memory, that wasn’t so far removed from knowledge in some ways. He found Leo, still in Sylrias, the only Nymkarta there at present. There were none in Sunberth now, a couple in Zeltiva and Alvadas…there were three in Syka.

“Wait…three?!” he said with an incredulous tone, frowning and narrowing his gaze as he tried to discern the dots. There he was, a bit further out that the other two. The ‘LW’ was Lys, she looked like she was around near the docks for some reason, probably having fun or she had found someone she could be useful for. The other one…it was just an ‘A’ which suggested only one name. That was strange, did the map adjust for how the person named themselves? Or was it that they had no family name…which would be strange. He checked it a dozen times and found no difference, and so he rolled it back up, slipped it back under the bed and set off for the Commons, where it had been showing this third dot.

“This I have to know, and so do they, if they seem amenable” he told himself as he checked he had everything about him, weapons and pouches with their contents mostly, and set off with a resolved spirit – he would not let another walk into a potential trap in ignorance as he had, if he could help it.

It wouldn’t be right. But, beneath that, there was a curiosity and a need to know. He had not had family for much of his life, Lys had come along recently to be an adoptive sister of sorts, and now there was another…he doubted it was coincidence. These things never were.


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Is Blood Thicker Than Water? [Antelokes]

Postby Antelokes on June 20th, 2022, 4:26 am

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Sweat beaded on Antelokes’ brow as he sat on a stool in the Community Forge, warmed from the twin sources of Syna overhead and the blazing furnace close beside him. The sun’s rays battered his skin with an uncomfortable intensity, but the flames themselves did not bother the young Azenth. Though he sat close enough to the fire for the odd spark or jumping flame to strike his flesh as he sat consumed by his task, he was not burned. In fact, his own skin was hot enough that many would call it feverish, though he paid it no mind and hadn’t for quite some time.

The blacksmith’s eyes were fixed on a sheet of paper he held pressed against his thigh. It was smudged grey with soot from his fingers, though the clear lines from the pen in his fingers were sharply defined. After several long moments considering the words he’d already written, Antelokes added another line to the page. His letters certainly weren’t those of a scribe, but they were neat and legible enough, at least to his own eyes, and in the end that was all that mattered. For this note at least.

The words Antelokes was writing weren’t meant for any mortal eyes other than his own. They were a message from him to his patron god. Antelokes added a few extra words, then set down the pen with a note of satisfaction. He stared at the page for a long minute, letting the ink dry in the baking heat of the sunlight and forge. Not that it mattered much.

Antelokes stood up, turned to the furnace, and waved the page over the ravenous flames. A bright flower of yellow and orange bloomed over the surface of the page, consuming it quickly. He let the prayer burn around his hand as he still stared at it with a piercing gaze.

This little gesture was not something he'd ever been taught, but he’d needed time to compose the thoughts of his prayer, and this seemed to him a fitting way of addressing the god of flame. As the final vestiges of the paper crumbled into ash, Antelokes brushed it away, letting it fall to the sandy floor of the open air forge.

“There it is then,” Antelokes said aloud, half to himself and half to the god. “I’m no poet, but that’s what I’ve got.” He sighed, running a hand through his hair. A moment later, he spoke again, this time just barely louder than a whisper.

“It’d be nice to hear your voice again, the real you that is.” Three days. Three days free from the torments of false visions led by the figurehead of some false twisted mocking image of the real Ivak. It was almost too sweet to seem real, after a season of torture. It seemed like a fitting occasion to praise the gods. Hence, the written prayer, now reduced to heat, smoke, and ash.

Satisfied with his little improvised ritual, Antelokes turned to his workbench, retrieving a few tools of his trade, a hammer and tongs. With the tongs, he pulled a thick piece of iron from the heat of the furnace, where it glowed a white yellow. He placed the metal against the firm surface of a nearby anvil, studying it with a critical eye, imagining the shape he wanted to give it and the steps he would take to get it there.

He mapped out the process in his mind, running mentally through a series of steps that had been drilled into him since he was a young apprentice. Then the first of these steps came to action as Antelokes lifted the hammer and brought in crashing down in a heavy strike. He followed it with another, then another, beating the thick bar thinner in the beginnings of a process that would hopefully end in the flat blade of a spade. Repeated strikes at the metal’s bulk drew the iron out, flattening it. He would give it a finer shape later, but there was brute work to be done now.

As he struck the metal again and again with great force, Antelokes recalled a conversation several Tendays back with Zayne. More than a conversation really. It had been a lesson, and a frustrating one at that for Antelokes. The former Constellation had shown him something, a way to manipulate the force of his body through the redirection of his djed.

Zayne had spoken of the practice in mostly combat terms and with an academic air, but Antelokes’ line of work there was always a practical application for the precise use of great force. The blacksmith ran his mind through the lesson, remembering what he’d done. He’d barely managed this flux once before, but he was hoping he could conjure that lightning in a bottle again.

He focused on his movements as he repeated them. The rising and falling of his arm, the rotation of his shoulders, his joints, his muscles, and his grip on the tool in his hand. He tried to feel the pathways that the djed would flow through, tried, to force them to come alight in the way he’d felt it before.

After quite some time of trying, he felt it—maybe—for just the blink of an eye. As he brought the hammer crashing down it was fast and powerful, but the blow glanced of the edge of the metal bar, casting a small shower of sparks into the air and jarring the blacksmith’s arm.

“Dira’s dogs!” He cursed under his breath, setting down the hammer and shaking his arm loose.
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