March 13, 2018 at 4:47 pm #25460
The elf slowly lifts herself up into sitting, her eyes wide- she can hardly comprehend what has happened to this place that she had called home. They finally did it. They had finished the city. Finished it completely. Only one landmark, the indelberg known as the Mount Of Kings still stood, but any structures that were atop it had been turned also to dust. It rose as majestic as ever, but what was crowded around it had returned to desert.
Shoulders sag and she feels as though her world was ending. But her world had ended the minute she had arrived on this Hellish planet but the rest of her just needed a chance to catch up. She was done. It was over. The will to continue was a palpable sensation as she felt it leave her body. Ar’Elis reflected what she felt inside. There was nothing left. She and it, had been reduced from a vibrant entity filled with joy and vitality and hope- to dust.
“You did it, your crazy bastards!” she breathes through lips that were as arid as the landscape. “You blew it up!” A sob before she screams “Gods damn you! Damn you all to Hell!”. The whistle of the wind across a newly formed landscape was her only reply.
A minute passes, perhaps it was an hour. Or a day. Time had ground to a halt and was meaningless. After what feels like an eternity, she hauls herself wearily to her feet. Nothing, no one, nowhere was safe from the influence of Siclides or the ravages of war. Her body feels hot with the astonishment of seeing the once proud city reduced to nothing. She grips the flesh of her arms and hugs herself as the tremors of shock take hold, flesh crawls.
“I need to get out of here” she mutters to herself, fingers dancing through the air, crafting another portal to Gods knows where. Her mind was blank, so the fact that a portal had formed at all before her was remarkable but it did, and remains hanging in the air like some great unseeing eye. “Away from this place” before stepping through the aperture, not knowing where she might end up, or looking back at the devastation behind her.
The first thing to notice was the air. It was fresh and clean and rarified with oxygen. It felt cool in her nostrils as she inhaled deeply, filling her lungs as though it was her first ever breath. Next was the birdsong. Bright and clear and treating her ears to a delight. The scent of grass, and indeed it was what was tickling her nose. The elf is lay face down upon the ground, spat out once more from a portal, but with no clue of where she would land. She had taken a big chance. It could have been the bottom of an ocean or the heart of a mountain.
There was movement close by, the sound of footsteps scrunching the lush grass and the scent of chlorophyll that was released like perfume with the bruising. A harsh prod as with a pole in between her shoulders, which made her yelp with surprise and a strange voice “We got another one, ‘ere!”
Slowly, she opens her hands to show she is unarmed and with tentative movements, raises her head and tilts so that she can look up at the one who assaults her. First, she sees large bare feet with pronounced webbing between the toes, toes that were spread wide apart. Bare ankles and calves, a robe which covered a pendulous belly. She dared not look any further, for to do so would probably give her more than she needed to see as the creature towered over her.
“Get up” said the voice and she did so, quickly and was shown a strange sight indeed. Two beings, more toad than human though could have been a bit of both, dressed in what appeared to be militaria of ill fitting helmets and clutching spears that were both trained upon her. They were of a type, their faces appeared to wear doleful expressions, though the sag of jowl and the prominent thick and slack lips appeared more frog-like the more she studied them. Wide watery eyes and one who was troubled by his overly large helmet and kept sliding it back from his face.
She wanted to laugh. She did not. Instead, the elf raised her hands, palms open and took a moment to scan the horizon.
Lawns of a brilliant green, punctuated with ancient, mighty trees and formal flower beds that provided riotous colour. Beyond that, between more trees was a grand building the like of which she had never seen. Towering turrets, magnificent spires that stretched up into the clouds, architecture that was not familiar but appeared to the untrained eye to be a multitude of differing styles almost haphazardly put together, wing onto wing, storey upon storey. The sometimes guards must have observed her expression.
“It’s quite something- isn’t it?” said the prodder who was smiling proudly and reviewing the scene as though it too was the first time he had seen such grandiosity.
She asks the obvious question. “Where am I?” still confused, and wondering if she had indeed ported to the bottom of an ocean and this was all just a dream gifted from a dying brainstem.
“Why..” said the same toad creature. “You are at Kili Toda and that-” he says pointing to the towering building “..Is the Universite Magnifique!” with a flourish of a hand, before once more pointing the spear in her direction. “And you need to come with us. The Arch Chancellor want’s to meet you”
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March 15, 2018 at 6:51 am #25467
As she was marched up the lawn towards this great structure, she could not help but feel a sense of peace, of harmony. There was not a trace of chaos that at least, did not deserve to be there. Reaching out, she felt only good will and an overriding sense of purpose among the many energies that she could discern. Many, many energies. Others appeared, creatures of all types, milling in the grounds. Here a group of people sat under a tree, before an ancient woman who had a glowing ball of light spinning above her hand. Perhaps a lesson was taking place. Another group of mainly reptilian creatures, all of them speaking in a guttural language that she could not understand but it appeared to be quite the debate.
Beings of many races and cultures coming together, and seemingly operating in peace. The elf must have looked a sight to the guards, gawping at every new sight, with a slow smile forming on lips that for so long had no reason to. It was only when her feet touched the gravel of what appeared to be a kind of driveway to the magnificent set of doors that graced this edifice that she felt them.
Of course the elf was allowing herself to be open for a while, scanning the mutitude of different energies that she could feel. There were thousands! It was while doing this as she walked that she felt something- a jolt- a resonance. The singularly distinctive Ki that was like a long drawn out note from a horn above the melodic harmonies of strings. This flash of brilliance in the colorful background of the natural matrix that these energies formed that resonated with her above all else.
But where? As she suddenly stopped to try and concentrate on the source, the guards gently moved her on, quite friendly in their approach.
“Come on” said the one who had done all the talking so far. He had a smile on his amphibious features and was quite polite. “There will be time enough for that.” Although she felt no arcanery from either of them it was clear they could recognize it when they saw it.
“The Arch Chacellor” the guard insisted gently. “No use of magic until you have been accepting”. They have come to the doors. Easily 15 feet high and clad in bronze that appeared ancient and worked into sigils and runes of such arcane power that she almost had to turn away from the brilliance that formed in her mind. Again, these guards nudged her along with the speaker insightfully commenting with a chuckle.
“You will get used to it”
They seemed so heavy and old and yet swung open silently and with nary a creak or a squeal. The elf felt a little tremor in her guts, as though she was about to do something so life changing that she just needed a moment to recognize and hold space with it. A pause while she did this.
What had her time in Hellifyno brought her but pain and suffering and charged with witnessing the suffering of others? It had been unrelenting for months and months. In her heart of hearts, she knew she had been sent here for more than this, that it wasn’t just some cosmological accident for as any person of wisdom knows- there are no accidents. Every negative experience, every painful event- either physical or mental suddenly seemed to make sense to her.
Her life on Tinnulîn, a planet in a system so far away that it might as well be in another Verse completely, was so very sheltered and protected. She had never ever experienced pain, or sadness, or loss and was completely naieve to these emotions. In a way, it made her only half a sentient being, to have such a charmed life, to be highly empathic and containing such power, such unlimited power. Her father had detected it- and despite ever frustrating attempts to access these wells, had not released them.
The lover who appeared one day and gone the next- as insubstantial as a cloud. Siclides- whose torment had been for a while as morphia. The agonies of trekking to Ar’Elis and watching as the city she fell in love with was reduced to nothing- it’s people dead, dying and displaced and Silrien experiencing every emotion as though she was a raw nerve, exposed and open to all that pain. The friends she had made, she loved each one. Their ultimate helplessness when she needed them most. They were more human than they gave themselves credit for. The healing she had cast. Those that she had been able to help filled her with love for them all and made it all worth while. So many new experiences and all culminating into one singularity.
It became clear weeks back that with each sleight, every hurt and painful experience, the latency of her arcane power had become potent. With each new assault or offence, parts of her power became unlocked. This then, was the purpose of her time in Hellifyno. To hurt. To experience the very real agonies of life and grow because of them. Perhaps she had much to thank the planet for, but perhaps would have to wait to be in a space to do that, because without it, she could not become a being with such arcane potential that she needed to be in a place such as this to temper it.
And here she was.
A smile as she knew this to be the truth.
“It is time” she murmurs to herself and with that, steps over the threshold.
April 1, 2018 at 5:45 am #26242
Behind those doors, contained a vast space, a tower of winding stairs that spiraled about the interior and the sound of a number of people moving about that space, their footfalls and voices echoing about it. It appeared a hive of industry and a place that she wished to be.
The guards escort her through corridors crafted from ancient rock where the sounds of others lessened into silence and it was only their movements that could be heard. She could not help gawking at every new wonder as it presented itself, like a tourist visiting a strange city and wide eyed at each strange sight and was eventually led into an ante chamber and gestured to a wooden bench against a wall while they entered the room beyond.
She had a moment then to contemplate exactly what was about to happen. Would there be trouble? She had not mean’t to appear so suddenly and without invitation or preamble. It had just happened. Her thoughts immediately became colored with anxiety as though automatically expecting punishment for what else had there been in her life in Hellifyno? Every glimmer of hope, every chance at creating something good had been taken from her, quashed by chance, circumstance or the selfish disregard of others.
When the guards emerged from the room, one jerked his head to indicate she should enter. There was palpable fear now as she worked herself up into a frenzy but as with all elves, there was nothing externally that would communicate this, her face remains in restful repose. Only two spots of color high upon her cheeks, a flush caused by a fast beating heart.
Timidly she entered the room, to be greeted by an ancient man who seemed so old she was surprised he was still living but who leaped from his chair and made away about the desk to greet her with the sprightly vitality of a youth a fraction of his age.
The sudden movement caused her to involuntarily flinch, noted by the mage who moderated his movements accordingly.
“Welcome welcome my dear!” he said with a kindly enthusiasm.
He was a man of middling height and of portly build, who appeared to enjoy his meals rather too much, but still, he did not heft as many would, but seemed to not notice the rotund nature of his girth or at least, it did not seem to effect him.
The man wore rather splendid robes of sunshine yellow, trimmed with purple velvet, lined with crimson, a flash of which caught her eye as the wide sleeves gaped at his spindly wrists . His face was as wrinkled as a walnut shell and crinkled into a smile that she felt was both warm and genuine, with eyes of a brilliant blue that sparkled with bright intelligence behind crescent shaped pince-nez perched upon his nose, which he removed as soon as he approached.
Upon his shoulder, was a bird, one that she had never seen before. A tiny creature of finch like qualities, feathered in dowdy brown but for the highlight of red upon it’s breast. It appeared quite comfortable upon it’s perch and it too looked at the elf with an inquisitive air about it’s black eyes, as shiny as wet tar.
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The elder reacted to her flinching, his bright and cheerful expression falling into one of concern as he approached and encouraged her to take a seat before the hearth. Silrien was rightfully timid in her manner, almost cringing away from him as he reached out a hand. He withdrew it immediately but his expression was one of deep sadness as he took the chair opposite with a groan and a sigh and a tut tut of disapproval.
They sat in silence for some moments. Silrien cast her eyes to the floor expecting a berating from this elder and only looked up when, after some time, there was still silence to find the Mage studying her intently and she suspected, with senses that went deeper than eyes alone.
Eventually- he speaks.
“You are Sílrien Ranor of the Elvandar of Tinnulîn” he says with a somber tone “And you are a very long way from home, my dear”
Sílrien’s eyes widen at his knowledge but she remains silent.
“Oh yes, We have been aware of you for some time” he continues, answering with insight the questions that already form in her mind.
“I am The Arch Chancellor of the Université Magnifique” giving only a title but not a name. “And you need not fear any longer, dear Elf- for you are safe now”
Her chest was tight, her throat dry, she swallows several times to remove that maddening lump that seems to have formed within it that heralded the wellspring that prickled at her eyes. After so long, after searching and hoping as with each new journey, moving from place to place, Consequence, Persistence, Ar E’lis seeking a place where she would no longer feel the ravages of others- he was telling her that she had asylum. And in those twinkling depths of azure, she knew that she, finally, could believe it to be true.
April 1, 2018 at 2:20 pm #26247
The pair had talking into the night. She told her story, though greatly edited, and he listened, and preternaturally knew the details anyway. She was charmed by this ancient wizard that seemed to have boundless kindness, something that she had craved for so long and was fast losing hope at finding.
The Arch Chancellor’s study was warm, cozy, homely. It lends itself to the natural flow of conversation- a purposeful strategy by the Elder Wizard, she suspects.
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When the elder saw the elf drifting, he called for a worker to escort her to an empty study- to allow her to rest. So overwhelmingly tired now, she merely stumbles behind him like an automaton, but strangely once left alone in this chamber she was no longer weary but wide awake. A chamber containing a bed, a hearth in which burns a fire, a chair and a desk below the tiny window that looks out from the tower over the town that surrounds and supports the colleges that make up the Université.
Wide awake now, the place is so quiet that she feels like she is the only being in this world that is still alert. Crawling onto the desk and sitting cross legged beside the misted window pane, looking out over the town, resting fingertips upon the cool surface of the glass.
Would she truly be safe here? Would it be the answer that she had been seeking?
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