Bring me her heart! (Murimi and Aigilas)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Aigilas, May 30, 2013.

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  1. Cisanius sat at the window of his library, deep in thoughts, resting his chin on his joined hands. Correction - Cisanius hovered near the window of the now-locked tower that had formerly been his library, deep in thoughts, and pretended to rest his chin on his - now non-existent - joined hands.
    His actual hands, also joined, were probably somewhat chewed by now, and so was his chin. His once grey-green eyes were most likely just liquid. His meticulously groomed short, pointy beard and long black hair would still be intact for a while; he would know, he used to dig up dead bodies sometimes.
    He wasn't even sure where he was buried. It wasn't of much importance where his body was, as long as it wasn't around his soul. And he had always been so careful. No one suspected anything. He was so close. And he had to die for no higher reason than that he swallowed wrong at supper one evening. He died for a herring. How humiliating. Some necromancer was maybe going to make good use of him, and he didn't mind.
    Losing his body was inconvenient, but worse than that was the knowledge that he was losing his life's work. Soon his dim-witted nephew will come and probably throw all the books he collected and even the ones he wrote himself into some attic to make space for his hunting trophies and more drunken dinners with his dim-witted friends.
    And he wasn't going to have that. Meractus can have the room and fill it with antlers to the overflowing, but he wasn't going to destroy all that he achieved. All that knowledge, all that power. A tower, much higher than this, appeared in Cisanius' mind, one reaching to the sky and beyond, and at he top of the tower a solitary mortal, seeing everything in the whole world... and still building. There is always higher to go. There is always more to learn. Is that why so many wizards want to have towers, just for symbolism? Perhaps. And inwardly he smiled, because he knew what the next step was, the next building block in this awesome tower. Dead or not, he was not going to give up on that. He just needs some help from somebody who is alive. Somebody worthy who will understand, who can one day continue his work. He didn't know yet who that was going to be, but it was high time to start looking, before there are no books left. An apprentice would have been a good idea. Which he should have thought of while he was alive. Oh well, no time like the present. It's a perfectly fine moonlit night, and dawn is sufficiently far away.
    He got up and for a moment considered walking down the stairs, but then he realized that was no longer necessary, and just floated out the window instead. Then he shook his imaginary head and gave an imaginary chuckle; why the window? He could just as easily have floated through the wall. This death thing was going to take some getting used to.
  2. She was a pretty, young thing.

    Long hair the color of a pale sunrise that curved and curled its way gently from the top of her head to the middle of her spine. Eyes the color of the ocean at mid-day. Skin kissed by the sun, bronzed and darkened.

    She’d caught the eye of many men both young and old in her village -- but they knew better than to engage in any sort of conversation with the girl. They knew she was to be left alone.

    For, while she was a pretty, young thing; she was also a very particular type of bastard. Collateral damage left over from the tryst between a lord and his chambermaid. It wasn’t a rarity, really. There were plenty of lords and ladies who indulged their desires outside of the marriage bed but not all of them were gifted with an affinity for the arcane.

    Her birth father, Rynius Veslor, was a noble born with magic swimming in his blood. Like his father and his father before him. They were a breed of aristocrats honed and crafted for the explicit purpose of keeping the kingdom in check; and the nobles in their rightful place above the rest of the rabble.

    Rynius was a passionate man and those passions compelled him to seek beauty out wherever he could find it. On the night of what would be the conception of his only living illegitimate child, he found it in the eyes of a red-haired maid with freckles spattered against her fair skin like stars across the night sky. It was the only affair Rynius’ father never knew about and the only affair that could not have been dealt with afterwards.

    As it happened, a life was created in that moment of unbridled passion and passion would be the defining characteristic of that life.

    Her name was Sara. Far too plain a name for so lovely a girl.

    Her long, golden hair was banished inside of a ragged bonnet and no one ever got to see those brillant, blue eyes -- for they were nearly always downcast. She had been raised by her mother’s mother; a hard, shrewed woman who showed her grandaughter love by making sure she was hidden and kept far away from a life near any nobility. Sara was brought up believing that she was no better and no worse than anyone else. She was taught to be conservative, quiet and unassuming; but something else burned inside the girl’s chest -- something bright and restless.

    She dreamed of a world outside her dingy, little home with its meager comforts and the menial chores that kept her busy from dawn til dusk.

    As she grew, that burning secret grew right along with her. In the back of her mind, she knew. She knew that one day, she would find the freedom to do something more.

    Of course, she had no idea that while she was mending worn breeches and darning threadbare socks alone in her little corner of the village cottage she grew up in, the magic in her blood, passed down from her father, shone bright as a beacon in the night.

    It cut through the darkness on a plane of existence only the most learned of mages -- or the unsettled dead could see.
  3. For once, Cisanius didn't know what he was looking for. But because he liked his problems well-formulated, at least he knew well ahead what he wasn't looking for.
    He didn't want anyone of the magocracy. They would be very easy to find, and completely useless. He knew most of them, he was supposed to be one of them while alive, but they weren't even worth talking to; they all had their own agenda and their own politics, wherein knowledge and arcane power was but a tool, not an aim. He wasn't going to offer his help to someone who would take it, use it and forget all about it, that was his policy while alive and that was his policy now.
    His best bet would have been someone like himself, but he would have known about such a person already; eccentricity like that will not go unmentioned. So he might as well give up on that.
    There were, of course, the extremely rare wild-born mages, who were usually quite insane. Even if he finds one - which he didn't count on - he would gain little more than a pointless conversation with a madman.
    And then there were the, ahem, less legitimate branches of mage families. These branches were, if they sprung up, carefully pruned. And if he did find one that passed unnoticed, it would most likely be a half-blood of questionable magical talent, little to no ambition and narrow mind.
    So what he was looking for was a miracle.
    It wasn't, however, like looking for a needle in a haystack. More like looking for a river in a desert. He might not see the river, but he will most certainly notice the vegetation that surrounds it for miles on all sides. So he let his mind float above the landscape and looked for something out of the ordinary.
    And as it happens with out of the ordinary things, once he noticed it he couldn't see why he didn't see it all the while. There was obviously something there, and it wasn't even all that far away; why didn't he go and look while he was alive? Too busy eating herring, apparently. He couldn't immediately tell what it was, only that it was something ensouled, and he had never seen an ensouled creature quite like this. From this distance he could tell no further. Its presence didn't seem especially large so much as especially strong. It definitely wasn't a wild-born mage, with that kind of power there would be catastrophes left and right. It can't be a hatchling dragon, can it?
    And yet on the earthly plane in the place of that bright flame of presence was the most uninteresting little dungheap of a village one could imagine. So that was where he went.
    He came closer to the ground now, approaching his goal. He decided to make a point of passing through everything in his path, and take this opportunity to get used to the advantages of being incorporeal. The whole village slept, unaware. He half-expected them to wake up or at least turn or shout in their sleep, as if they were having a nightmare, but they didn't. Ghosts apparently don't bother those that are tired and ignorant enough.
    And then he saw her. A young girl getting ready for sleep. Yes, she was very, very beautiful, but he only thought of that later, because more striking than her body was her soul. From this close up he could even tell that she was probably of Veslor blood, he used to know some members of that family and the magic in her was of that same passionate line. That could have been why he thought of a dragon for a moment. Illegitimate though, obviously. But she didn't seem like a half-blood, the magic she had was not diluted at all, on the contrary, it was much more promising than the usual... the circumstances of her creation must have been strengthening to her talent. Very remarkable. Very auspicious.
    And if she is anything like what she seems, she would most likely notice him in a moment. He didn't want to seem like an interloper, which he technically already was; he wanted to address her first, and in the manner she deserved.
    "Please excuse the intrusion, milady. I think we can help each other."
    #3 Aigilas, May 31, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2013
  4. Of all the things Sara imagined she might find in her meager room as she darned socks and prepared herself for sleep -- the disembodied spirit of a stately looking man was the furthest and most unsettling. The very sight of it caused her to gasp with surprise, clutching a sock to her chest with wide, blue eyes staring out at the ghost. She had seen rats, cockroaches, bed bugs, the occasional possum and all manner of unwelcome creatures in her home but this was a first.

    It took her a few moments to register his words and tone. A few moments longer for her wits to kick in. She stood there in slack-jawed wonder as the mind wrapped her head around what her eyes were seeing. There was a man. A sort of man? A translucent, wisp-like man. He was there, before her speaking. Somehow, he was speaking. The initial urge to scream and throw something at him had been smothered by her innate curiosity. Then, she managed to get a few words out.

    "...Who -are- you?" she asked with a tone that expressed her confusion, awe and as her brow furrowed -- finding herself feeling a little indignant that anyone had come into her room without her permission at all, not to mention the unexpected visitor was (or at least appeared to be) a male.

    "-What- are you?"
  5. Ah yes, of course, what else could one expect? Cisanius had always liked his privacy himself, so the indignation of the girl was more than understandable; and not everyone was on speaking terms with ghosts. The least he could do was explain himself in short order.
    "My name is Cisanius Agron, at your service." He gave - or pretended to give - a polite bow. Social status aside, the girl deserved to be treated as a noble; illegitimate or not, she belonged in the magocracy not only by blood but by soul, even if she was still uneducated in magic; and she was brave too, and had a presence of mind, as evidenced by her lack of panicking. He could wish for no better candidate. "I am a mage, though as you might see, a deceased one, and I am extremely sorry that I had to trespass in your home this way. I would have waited to meet you outside, but alas, daytime is not for me anymore. But I mean no harm, indeed I have an offer that can prove beneficial to both of us. Will you forgive me and hear me out?"
    #5 Aigilas, Jun 12, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2013
  6. Sara wasn't familiar with bloodlines within the higher echelons of society. In fact, she only knew the village magistrate by a loose association with the fact that there was one. She hadn't been one to listen to gossip when she was younger due to her grandmother's constant prying and shielding from 'silly hens with nothing to do but cluck'. And obedience made her guardian far more tolerable. Thus, Sara was uninformed on almost every matter that might have given her a clue as to who Cisanius Agron was.

    All she had was his word. And that, she listened to very carefully.

    "I might," she responded, still wary and uncertain of his very being -- let alone his presence in her room. "Though why a dead mage comes to my room at -any- point in the day is a mystery I hope you'll explain in the process."

    She skirted the room and sat down upon her bed, looking at the translucent being with wide eyes and a stiff spine. Her jaw was tight and her hands lay at rest upon her lap uneasily. He had her full attention and the lack of any sort of unnecessary belongings in her bedroom somehow made his presence even more an oddity. There was no furniture beyond her bed and a small dresser in which her few articles of clothing were kept. Nothing else adorned the space beyond a tin chamber pot and a clay wash basin with a matching, clay pitcher.

    To say that she, as any poor girl her age, had not dreamed of some wealthy, handsome man suddenly appearing to take her away from her insignificant existence where she was would be untrue. She simply imagined that the man would also be alive.

    Still, if for nothing else than understanding the mystery that was presented to her, it was worth hearing the man out. Which was exactly what she intended to do.
  7. Cisanius remained standing in front of the girl; it could hardly prove tiresome, and even though he was already an intruder, he would never insult a maiden he was unfamiliar with by sitting down on her bed, harmless as that would be under the circumstances. Being incorporeal did not exempt him from being a gentleman.
    "I shall arrive to that particular question very soon. But please allow me to begin at the beginning." He opened his hands apologetically; he wanted to come to the point as soon as possible, but it would still be a long speech.
    "Before my unfortunate demise I occupied myself with the furthering of knowledge to the very best of my abilities, and at the risk of sounding conceited I must say that I was making good progress. Of course a well-meaning person such as you surely are might assume that that is what every mage does; alas, that would not be the case, as most of my peers were rather more preoccupied with petty politics and power games. Nothing that would interest me, and I fear that the converse is also true. I wish nothing more ardently than that my research be completed and that my work should not have been in vain, but I know that as it does not immediately further the aims of any of my peers, they would merrily let it become the prey of bookworms and mildew. I would that I could continue it myself, but at the moment I find myself rather... immaterial, which is something of a problem."
    "And that is why I have come to you, milady." He gave a little bow again as he spoke. "Melodramatic as that sounds, you are my only hope; and the fact that you see me and speak to me is only a further sign of what I already know to be true. You have, whether you are aware of it or not, an exceptional talent; you could be a great mage, indeed one of the greatest, it would be a loss not only to the nation but to the art of magic itself if this unmatched potential were to be squandered upon the tending of livestock or the mending of clothes." This was not just flattery; he would not have insulted her with empty flattery, and he suspected she might not take it well either. She didn't seem the easily influenced kind.
    "I could help you become what you were born to be - that is, if you want to. All that I know and all that I once owned would be at your disposal, or as much of it as we can secure for you before my nephew tramples in to claim his inheritance. All I would ask in return is that you carry on my research, build this tower of knowledge a step further." This was it, his offer, now the decision rested in her hands. He felt a sort of excitement, a mix of hope and doubt. Would she turn it down? If so, if she had no ambition, no longing for more, she would be unsuited to the enterprise regardless, and it would be for the best. Still he couldn't help but worry. "It would be a tremendous change to your life, it would not always be entirely safe or entirely legal, and I cannot ask you to make such a weighty decision immediately, but please know that our time is short. I want to turn what was mine over to you before it is in another's hands."
    And with that, he fell silent and waited for her answer, with the restless anticipation with which one might wait upon the results of a new experiment that could reveal wonders untold or else become another splatter on the laboratory walls.
    #7 Aigilas, Jun 19, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2013
  8. This was all a lot to take in.

    In her room, Sara had some manner of spectre who was not only exalting her as a jewel in the magical community but also pleading that she aid him, now that he was dead. Certainly not the expected progression of a typical evening in the small hamlet she lived in. There were so many thoughts and emotions to sort through...

    She rose from her bed and made her way towards the small window in her room. Even from here, the bright, magic-born lights of the capitol and the palace were brilliant; not at all like the natural flames that flickered in the hearth and candles she was used to. Her eyes narrowed as she looked towards where the palace towered over the rest of the city -- a spectacle for all to see. It loomed there as a reminder that they were better. That they were to be feared, honored and adored. The thought that she could be one of them was tempting in and of itself.

    Still, everything came at a price. The sound of her grandmother's husky voice was as clear in her head as if she were in the room. It warned her to be cautious. If there was one thing the woman had instilled in her granddaughter, it was a persistent suspicion of the motives of others. Merchants on the street would as soon sell you rancid meat as fresh, so long as it made them coin. Thieves and brigands were no rare thing in the streets. Sara was very aware of the selfishness in the hearts of all mankind. Despite the fact that this self-proclaimed mage was actually dead did not excuse him from having a rotten, selfish core.

    "You're offering me a chance to leave this life and start a new one," she recounted, "One where I am a mage and you my instructor. I won't try to lie or bluff. I'd love nothing more...but I wonder..." her words trailed off as she turned around to face his ghostly image again. "What is the cost for all of this? You say you wish for your research to continue. Whatever you were discovering, it will be my duty to continue it..." she stopped thinking aloud and an expression of cold practicality took over the puzzled wonderment on her face as she asked, "What is it, exactly, you expect of me?"
  9. Cisanius carefully followed the changes in Sara's expression with his gaze. The advantageous part was that she was clearly interested. The other advantageous part was that she was cautious enough to not rush headfirst into it; he had to be glad of that, it spoke well of her intelligence.
    The difficult part, however, was that this was where he should have explained his research. And several years' worth of work didn't readily explain itself in a moment to someone who, though a brilliant layperson, was at the moment still a layperson. So his best choice this time was starting at the end. Yet the end, this time, was not a very convincing pace to start. He chose a compromise between the two.
    "How my research works, what it is good for and what it will reveal of the nature of magic I will explain but in the broadest strokes at the moment. The art of magic, as you may or may not know," - he thought she wouldn't have been told, but he couldn't discount the possibility of some innate understanding of the fact - "draws chiefly upon the different planes of existence... which you can imagine as different worlds present at the same time in the same place. We work with these planes, and can have some degree of an insight into them. That is also how I found you; but this is not important now. Many mages are content with understanding what they are doing only to the point where it does something, similarly to a man who knows that sitting on the back of a horse, kicking the sides and saying 'gee' will make the horse go. You cannot call that man a good rider. I want to understand the horses, or, in our analogy, these planes, and so add to what is known about them and increase our command of them. Yet not all of these planes can be seen, much as how it isn't easy for a man to have a conversation with a horse. Not without special measures. But a good rider, one who understands his horse, is capable of things a poor rider would not dream to try."
    "Now you know what I hope to gain. It is time I come to what is the worst that these special measures will require before we can call our work complete."
    He smiled, though his smile was one of self-mockery and morbid enjoyment. This was the first time that he had to think of what he was doing from an outsider's perspective. And from an outsider's perspective the picture wasn't exactly flattering. Yet, in a way, that in itself flattered him the most. Because he was willing to do what few else would, for knowledge, for magic, for the tower. But was she?
    "If it was in your power, if you could perhaps even be sure to do so with impunity, would you be willing to kill or order the death of an innocent girl?"
  10. So, this ghost of a mage claimed to be driven only by the desire for knowledge. Purely the thirst for understanding. She folded her arms over her chest thoughtfully, considering that he was either a liar hiding his truest intentions or that he was so driven by this desire that nothing else in the world mattered to him. The technicalities of his analogy of magic were mostly lost on the girl as she had no desire to dive into the waters of magical theory so much as discern his motives. Given his answer, though, she was left at a loss. No clear path presented itself...and the question he posed to her only gave her cause to become more suspicious of him.

    "Innocent girl?" she echoed with disbelief. "I cannot tell if you are some vengeful spirit trying to coax me into killing some illegitimate daughter or a raving lunatic altogether!" She shook her head. "Perhaps magic is just as wicked as my grandmother would have me believe, if killing girls is what is required to master it," she muttered, her hands tightening around her arms as she stood in her humble room.

    It loomed around her, an ever present reminder that she was better than -- this.

    Her eyes shut for a moment, considering his words. How far would she go? How far would putting her faith in a ghost get her? How much did she want -more-?

    For a time, she did not answer him. She merely furrowed her brow and struggled within herself for the answer. The mere idea of leaving the little village and finding herself among nobility was enough to make her breath quicken and her heart come to life within her chest. At least, she reasoned (or perhaps rationalized) she could take her fate into her own hands if she even pretended to trust this spectre. At least she would have a chance.

    Sara's eyes snapped open and she tightened her jaw before answering him. "As much as you claim to want knowledge, I want to leave this pitiful life," she began carefully, her tone serious and her blue eyes resolute, "I believe I would do -anything- to be rid of this mire."
  11. Well... now that she said it this way, Cisanius supposed that he might possibly sound like somebody whose main aim was to kill the said girl. So he decided to forego elaborating on the fact that there was no possibility of him having an illegitimate daughter, much less this particular one; with time she would become more certain of his intentions, and, hopefully, his sanity. He also decided to forego discussing the good or wicked qualities of magic, mainly for the reason that he himself didn't think about that too often, as he considered knowledge a value vastly above such human viewpoints. What mattered is that she had the ambition and the mettle - and, well, the moral... flexibility, though he hadn't realized how much of a requirement that was - to agree. It was the best answer he could hope for. Everything else they would have time to talk about later.
    Besides, he had to admit to himself that the way her only recently so meek face transformed into something determined, something dangerous, was captivating. She was constantly proving her potential.
    "Very well," he said, with a solemn nod. "Then rid of it you shall be. Now that we are allies, may I know your name, milady? Or rather, since this is the beginning of a new life... may I know what you would prefer to be called?"
  12. "I've never been called anything else but Sara," she answered, her tone seeming to imply a mild irritation.

    In truth, the girl was simply trying not to think about everything that was happening. She was trying not to think about the possibility that she might be crazy, talking to her wall when there was no ghost of a mage in her room; or that she had actually just given herself over to something truly vile in her eagerness to leave the cage she hated so. These thoughts and doubts nipped at her as she tried to move her mind faster towards the goal of actually leaving.

    Constantly fighting to push these things further and further back, she felt rushed and hurried. It showed in her voice and in her mannerisms. "If you've a better idea, maybe I can hear it after we're somewhere else." Her brow raised and she looked at him expectantly, "There is nothing for me here. The sooner I am gone from this place, the better."
  13. Hmm, 'Sara'... Cisanius didn't think it suited her, but nor did this entire life, so that was to be expected. They would have time to talk about it later. He both agreed and sympathized with the girl. Nothing around here, he noted, constituted worthy living conditions for someone like her. And he was also impatient to be gone; he couldn't outrule that tomorrow his nephew would come, and wanted as much as possible done tonight. He even had a plan he hadn't thought of earlier; now he hoped they could save everything for her.
    "Our goal is further away for you to walk than it was for me to fly. Can you ride? If you don't have a mount, I suggest you appropriate one. We can talk on the way." Oh, of course, that would be stealing, which is usually considered wrong. Once again, it only occurred to him because he had to say it. But he was hopeful that the 'anything' she was willing to do included stealing horses, and as far as he was concerned, he usually solved moral concerns by forgetting about them again right away. He wasn't a bad person as such, he didn't enjoy doing wrong to others... but there were so much more important things at stake now. Now that he had found the perfect person to help (he still wasn't used to calling her Sara in his mind), he wasn't willing to give her inheritance up to Meractus. Why, it was rightfully hers, as far as he was concerned, Meractus wasn't even a mage, highborn as he was.
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