Children of the Magi

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Turtle of Doom, Nov 26, 2014.

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  1. Life on the surface was tough. Violence and chaos were commonplace in the streets of every populated area. Nobody was safe, ever. Far above the surface though, a large, elaborate city rested on the backs of airships. Many rumors and legends circulated about the powerful people who had left the rest of humanity to their suffering, but nobody alive really knew the truth any more.

    Bright green eyes stared up at the sky, watching the floating city. Every morning Aille woke up early, an hour before she needed to, in order to lay on the roof of her small house and watch the the distant zeppelins. She focused, trying to call forth the sparks that she could to her fingertips. Small bursts of electricity burst from her hands; not enough to do any real harm, but impressive from a surface dweller nonetheless.

    Squinting against the steadily rising sun, Aille pushed herself up and climbed down the ladder she had situated on the side of the house. A small smile graced her lips as she entered the house, and pulled her uniform off the hanger. Aille looked forward to work, it was her chance to make a difference in the world. Save a life, change things a little bit every day.

    The standard uniform for the Peace Officers was a black flared trench that buttoned to the waist with large round buttons, fanning out to reveal a soft tan shirt, a pair of supple brown leather pants that fit perfectly, allowing the wearer to freely move and a pair of brass goggles. Tugging her unruly ginger hair back into a low ponytail, Aille situated the goggles on the top of her head and gave herself one last cursory glance in the dirty mirror before leaving.

  2. The copper metal frames and brickwork seemed to be losing luster as people were less capable of using their own magic for repairs. There was a tangible heaviness to the air that kept the ships afloat, though if people really paid attention they would notice the difference in altitude. It was minimal but over the last hundred years the cities were slowly falling, one to two centimeters a year.
    Amerie was a descendent of one of the builders and maintainers of the floating cities, and was the last heir to one of the most powerful Magi families. While others’ magic began to dwindle and fade out on the surface, whatever had caused it was now affecting the cities. Due to her bloodline she remained for the most part unfazed. There was little she could do on her own to keep everything afloat that her great grandfather had worked for.
    A decision had come down from those that ran the city, and with her father’s ruling she would be sent to the surface to discover the cause and see that it was no longer an issue. As she walked away from the closed meeting, her dress shuffled around her making a music she was not sure she would hear again for a while. The layers of black lace and fabric wound around her, covering her skin up to her wrists and neck. The only ornamentation she wore was the clockwork necklace her grandfather had given her and a copper laced arm piece.
    Going to her family home to pack for the journey she wondered how terrible the surface truly was, and if she would adapt to its harsh conditions. Having never been, Amerie had only heard the horror stories of others who had gone and the bedtime stories meant to scare little children.
    It was going to be a rough night of sleep as dawn would come early. Her family, the Borland’s, would be making all the arrangements for her safety on the surface and she would assigned a peace officer as a body guard on her journey. As the midnight bells chimed through the wet cobblestone streets, she sunk into sleep, gathering her courage to see her mission through.
    #2 Iona, Nov 26, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
  3. "I had no choice! I don't understand why I'm being punished for saving my own life!" Aille threw her coffee cup against the wall causing it to shatter showering both her and the Chief of Peace with shards of glass and hot coffee.

    The Chief was a large, intimidating man, but he held all of his officers close to his heart; thinking of them more like surrogate children than employees. Beefy arms crossed over his barrel chest as he stoically watched Aille's tantrum continue. By the time she was finished his small office was thrashed. Papers were strewn every which where and the chairs were overturned. She had even taken the time to pull the arms off the clock that rested above the doorway. He sighed, dabbing his mustache which a white handkerchief. "You know, for someone so small you sure have a lot of anger."

    Aille huffed, struggling to regain her composure. It had been a superbly rough day. Call after call to investigate stolen possessions, several calls about collecting the deceased. Then the icing on the cake was when she was held up, at gun point. The shambling, filthy homeless man wanted more from her than her wallet. She truly had feared for herself when she shot him.

    She tended to lash out at those closest to her whenever she got scared, and Chief Parsons was normally on the receiving end of her outbursts. She straightened her goggles and began righting the chairs. Sinking into one, her head fell back against the rest. "I don't understand why I'm being assigned to babysitting duty. If I hadn't taken that shot I wouldn't be here to be punished, I mean come on Chief."

    The Chief began trying to situate the scattered reports before he finally spoke. "Look kid, this isn't a punishment. You're on guard detail for one of the Magi. Her parents are supposedly real high up the chain up there, and maybe if we help them, they'll help us. A "scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' kind of situation, ya know."

    Aille rose, excusing herself and signing her time card before going home. Tomorrow was looking to be even worse than that day, and she was going to need a good rest if she was going to deal with it professionally.
  4. There was a cacophony of rustling feet, hushed conversations, and the occasional gasp as Amerie assembled her bags and other necessary items. The butlers rushed around her, maids trying to crane a look as they had never seen their mistress in such attire let alone leaving the city for the surface. The normal silence of the breakfast service was filled with jittery hands and piteous looks as though she might never return. Looking to her father, whose upright manor she always tried to emulate, she spoke louder than normal to be heard over the clattering of the kitchen. “I’ve found three possible leads, unfortunately in opposite directions, so this journey might take longer than expected.”

    “We always knew it would take time, but there was no one strong enough in the other families to go. You had to do in light of the circumstances,” The smooth voice of her father, Edmund Borlund, was renowned in the city as one of the most influential voices. Even if condescending most of the time, it was how she had finely tuned her own voice of pretention.

    “I understand.” There was truly little communication in her family, especially about things as trivial as emotions and sentiment. There was just no space in their lives for trivial things. Standing and bowing out of the room, she reaffirmed she had everything she needed, rechecking the bags to mask her apprehension of going to such a lowly place.

    “Does the ma’am have all her protection?” Amerie turned to see her personal butler, trying to hide his own fears of her leaving.

    “My staff is under the jacket, knife in the boot, and gun on the hip. Though they are all rather barbaric I suppose it will fit in with the surface, which is what I need,” Mustering a small smile she tried to make him feel better. He had been attending her since birth and had invested much of himself in the process.

    “Would you like my escort to the surface?” His polite question more of a request than query.

    “I have the city’s finest man escorting me down and there is to be some peace keeper or another there to be my personal body guard. I feel perfectly safe, and should be safe for my journey in their capable hands.” She had been raised that it was more political to make those in ‘command’ to feel safe by giving them false power. She had no faith what-so-ever in the people who dwelled on the surface but she had more than an abundance of confidence in herself. She had been trained since a young age to defend herself in case of any situation that might occur because of her family’s prestige.

    Grabbing her back and slinging the small pack she carried her work in on her bag she was taken to the docks of the Zeppelin, the only transportation to and from the surface. As she was not dressed to her station she received many looks, no one knowing of the journey and mission she was to take. She had found a plethora of surface dwellers attire options in the library. Opting for black pants with silver rivets up the side, she insured they were on the tighter side to ensure her range of motion in case of trouble. A black corseted top with a white large undershirt was finished with a black loose jacket to hide her staff and the straps that held it there, and as much as she felt out of place and uncomfortable in these plebian clothes they would help her to hide in plain sight. Lastly a pair of black and silver trimmed goggles for the ride down and for seeing on the surface, as she was not sure what to expect. What she hadn’t taken consideration of was that her clothes were made of the finest materials and therefore would make her stand out more.

    After the zeppelin touched down and shuddered to a rest, she looked out at the world down on the surface and sneered. It was worse than she thought, and her thoughts went to her guard, hopefully they were at least halfway competent. She was met by an older man on the platform and taken inside off the roof and out of sight of anyone who may be watching.

    The alarm clock rang out in an annoying cadence, and Aille eyes slitted open against the glaring sun. Her head pounded as she groped around as though blind, trying to kill the incessant ringing. Her hand wrapped around the cool brass clock, stopping the clang once and for all before pulling it to her face. Blinking several times to clear the fuzziness from her sight, she focused on the hands.

    The clock flew threw the air as Aille scrambled out of bed. Grabbing her uniform she pulled it on with as much haste as she could muster with her still sleeping limbs. Finishing up, she grabbed a barrette off the bathroom counter, and tugged her goggles over her head, allowing them to hang around her neck as she dashed out of the door. Her haphazard appearance would probably be forgiven since she was only on babysitting duty.

    Her usual jog to work would have taken too much time, and she was already late enough as it was. The commuter train pulled up to its stop a few blocks away, and Aille kicked it into overdrive. She slid to a stop just as the driver rang the last boarding bell, and she hopped aboard. Slumping into a seat, she took a moment to catch her breath before trying to tame her unruly mane of hair with just her fingers and the barrette. With a glance at the window, she saw that her hair was probably the best she was going to be able to finagle.

    The train chugged along at a steady pace, and the buildings passed her in a blur. For the first time since she woke that morning she allowed herself to breath. The electricity that sparked against her fingertips came naturally as she allowed herself to relax. Small jolts of electricity sprung out, lashing at the fabric of her seat.

    "Hey, lady, that's pretty cool. Is that all you can do?" Aille's eyes opened to find a blonde kid, probably no older than fifteen staring at her in amazement.

    "Yeah, that's about the extent of my magic. Maybe one day we'll all get our magic back, yeah?" Her stop was coming up, and she stood, giving the kid a smile that said they were old friends. As the train slowed in front of the government landing pads, Aille jumped to the platform before the iron wheels ceased squeaking and took off running.

    Chief of Peace was standing next to a unnaturally tall building, looking none to happy as she pulled up in front of him. "Of all the days for you to be late, Ail!" He barked, his wide face stern and stoney. Aille gave him her most apologetic grin and his face softened toward her, a bit. "I gave you this duty because I thought you could handle it, and make us look good, and here you come tardy and disheveled! I don't even know what to do with you anymore, girl."

    "I'm really sorry--"

    "You're always sorry Aille, but now's not the time. Our guest has arrived, you need to get your butt up there and introduce yourself." Stepping aside he revealed a plain door. His meaty hands wrapped around the polished knob and he pulled it open, pushing her through the frame.

    "I don't even get a debrief?"

    "If you were here on time, you would have be briefed, now hustle!" His words were clipped, and held a tone she had never heard him use with her before. Without wanting to anger him further, Aille took the stairs two at a time, until reaching the last flight. She slowed her pace, trying to force some composure before pushing the last door open.

    She hadn't given the dignitary a second thought beyond the usual city officials, but that's not what she was faced with inside the room. A burly airship control officer and somebody like she had never seen before both stood casually and quietly in the room. Her jaw dropped as she took in the girl's clothes. Just the pants and goggles probably cost more qish than she made in a year's time.

    Suddenly self-conscious in the presence of such finery Aille attempted to straighten her uniform a bit before bowing her head and introducing herself. "Hello, I'm Peace Officer Aille O'Brien, and I'll be your escort while you remain. No need for formalities though, you can just call me Aille."
  6. The morning sun was slowly moving up in the sky, she was greeted by the Captain and while he had been polite Amerie was getting the impression it was worse down here than she thought. There was the matter of the below standard station and the serious lack of good architecture. She stood by the window looking out into the city, sipping daintily on something barely passable as coffee. The scene of the city full of potential seemed to be a melting pot of violence and a crumbling society. It was this that convinced her beyond a doubt that it was better that her own city was separated from this one.

    The captain of the ship stood on the other side of the room, and though he lived in her city he showed remarkable qualities of those on the surface. There was a shift in his demeanor between his congenial talk with the men docking the ship and those of the station, versus when he was with and speaking to her. She wasn’t sure what to make of that and would delay further inquiry to this topic until she was already on her way home. Another sip and while she felt the jittery rush of caffeine flood her system there was no pleasure from it as there would be at her own home.

    At the sound of the door opening Amerie looked at the peace officer before her and could only hope this was some practical joke the station was playing on her. As the woman introduced herself she realized that truly this was to be her guard. This, Aille, barely looked presentable let alone like she was capable of protecting her from criminals or any other type of danger that probably loomed in the darkness of the city. Taking a deep breath and managing a small smile she spoke with every ounce of politeness in her.

    “It is a pleasure to meet you Ms. O’Brien, I’m sure we will work well together over the course of this trip. My name is Lady Amerie Borlund, feel free to call me Ms. Borlund if you like.”

    She bowed her head slightly to Aille as a gesture of respect. It was meant innocently enough but Amerie was on a first name basis with no one, not even her own family most of the time. This was the proper way for her to introduce herself and how she was trained to deal with introductions and people in general. Moving slowly, her posture was perfectly erect and she had an air of confidence that came from knowing how to hold herself, she made her way across the room to stand near Aille.

    “When will you be ready to depart? I’m prepared to leave now but I understand if you need to go pack. Also you will be armed for this trip correct?”
  7. “It is a pleasure to meet you Ms. O’Brien," Aille scowled at the woman addressing her in such a way. "My name is Lady Amerie Borlund, feel free to call me Ms. Borlund if you like.” Yeah, I'll be sure to remember that.

    It was obvious now that the dignitary was somebody not used to life on the surface. Aille surmised that she was from above, Zeppla, or whatever they had taken to calling it up there. The surface dwellers just named it after the Zeppelins. From what she knew of the ascension and abandonment this was the first contact the two cultures had in a hundred or so years.

    Clearing her throat, Aille forced a smile "If you want to be formal with our interactions that's great and all, Ms. Borlund, but then my name would be Officer O'Brien, please remember it." She hadn't bothered to hide the contempt in her voice, and she raised an eyebrow as the 'Lady' spoke again, asking about departing and arms.

    Aille growled and pulled the sides of her coat out revealing her two revolvers strapped to her hips. Aille already didn't like this lady. What did she think? That Aille was an amateur? Of course she had throwing knives strapped to her body in several places as well, not to mention her third revolver tucked into her boot. "Yeah, I'm more than ready. I apologize for the question, but I really need to be told where exactly I'm escorting you. Within Darish, I have the full authority of the Peace Officers behind me, but in the Outlands it will just be the two of us."

    Aille opened the door, motioning for Amerie to exit. They could still speak privately in the stairwell, and Aille was itching to get this whole assignment over with.
  8. Amerie watched as Officer O’Brien showed her all the weapons she had on her, and felt like she might be properly armed and had to trust that he had been trained as well. With a small adjustment to her posture and nodded, sensing the contempt in her voice.

    “I will do well to remember that Officer O’Brien.”

    She didn’t say much and she meant it innocently enough, Amerie was used to the underlying contempt when people spoke to her. It was either people hating her family for the position they held or others would be too nice to garner the favor of her family. As she was motioned to go out of the room with Aille, she looked back at her bag trying to decide if it would be safe enough in the room or if she should take it with her. Looking out the door and remembering the scene of the city below brought her gaze back to O’Brien.

    “Is this a secure building? Would I be able to leave my bag here safely or should I bring it with me?”

    Again not meant as an insult, but thus far she was horrified and unimpressed with the surface dwellers and not enough trust in them to be upstanding citizens. Also the idea that there would be no back up for them out where they were to travel unnerved her. Outwardly always cool, inside she was conflicted, fearful of the people and land yet dutiful enough to complete the mission.

    “Of course I will give more details, it was next on the agenda. I would rather we just be in a more private area with quite a few less ears.”
  9. Tip-toeing Aille looked over Amerie's shoulder at her bags. "They'll be fine, only officers, pilots and dignitaries are allowed in this building. Though, it will be easier, and quicker for you to just bring it with."

    Aille's hands went back up to her hair, still attempting to smooth it down, even though her efforts were futile. Glancing between the bag and the woman standing nearby, she let out a resigned sigh, realizing that Amerie probably wasn't used to carrying her own luggage. Aille cleared her throat, her eyes flashing from the captain of the zeppelin to the patrol officer that had stood guard. She snapped her fingers, and pointed at the bag. "Officer, if you would be so kind as to assist our guest with her bag, it would be greatly appreciated. We will be in building Gamma, room 134. Stand with the bag until we exit and retrieve it."

    Another false smile stretched across her lips as she turned to face Amerie. "Now, Ms. Borlund, if you would please follow me, I will be happy to lead you to a room without extra ears."

    This time, Aille didn't wait for Amerie. She pulled the door open, and began descending the stairs. It was a long way down, and unfortunately this building was build for the sole purpose of a landing pad. The room at the top was just a byway between landing and being escorted beyond. Ten flights of stairs later, she pushed open the outer door, finding Chief Parsons still casually leaning against the drab beige building.

    A look of morbid curiosity flashed across his face as he looked at Aille, but it was fleeting and quickly turned to fury. "Where is Lady Borlund, girl? If you have done anything that jeopardizes this interaction--"

    Holding her hand up to silence the Chief of Peace, Aille continued to hold the door open. "She should be on her way, I was feeling a bit claustrophobic though and rushed out. I made arrangements to have her bag brought to an inter room. She wanted a private place to talk about the escapade you signed me up for." Lowering her voice, she leaned closer to Chief Parsons. "You owe be big for this one, sir."

    Straightening her posture, she held the door, waiting for Lady Borlund to exit the building.
  10. Not entirely certain where Officer O’Brien’s hostility was coming from, Amerie figured she would need to act more polite or perhaps try harder to relate to these people. Though in her opinion, she was doing much more than the Officer, she would be spending so much of her time with her in the comings months she needed to figure a way to make things work between the two of them. Looking to the man coming for her bag she guessed there were protocols for this sort of thing, and who was she to question it. In honesty though, she was well prepared to carry her own bag, it was more an issue of safety that she was concerned about not her own ability to handle the weight of her bag. For her first trip, let alone the first contact between both cultures in a hundred years, thus far she was unimpressed and slightly insulted.

    Burying the distaste she felt, she continued her pleasant and radiant smile, “Of course Ms…Officer O’Brien. I appreciate your accommodation in this matter.”

    Watching O’Brien take off down the stairwell, she followed, taking her time as she was not accustomed to rushing or running from place to place. As she gracefully made her way down, she bowed her head in greeting to those she passed. Moments later she walked out into the bright sun and turned to look at O’Brien and an older gentleman, whom seemed to be in the middle of talking. Standing off to the side to allow them to finish talking, Amerie looked out to the city, wondering just how much of a danger she was putting herself in. Or rather her father had, not that she was defenseless.

    As no one, including the Chief of Peace, knew why she was down here and she was becoming antsy to tell O’Brien and get things moving forward. Looking back at the pair she still had her smile spread across her face, and she adjusted her posture straighter. When they were behind closed doors once again she would readjust her clothing and weapons as they had moved slightly during her stairwell walk. Hoping to leave for the Intern room soon she waited for O’Brien.
  11. Chief Parsons looked over at Lady Borlund with a worried look, drawing Aille's attention to her as well. She tried to force another smile, but it came out more like a snarl, and she gave up allowing her face to rest. "Ms. Borlund, I'm sure you're just as anxious as I am to get our journey underway, so if you would please follow me to building Gamma, we can have our chat before we set out."

    A seven foot chain fence surrounded the government facility, decorated only by coiled barbed wire on the top. The buildings were each labeled 'alpha' through 'mu' with the corresponding Greek letter painted haphazardly across the sides of the buildings. The yard was run down, the concrete broken and the plant life had begun to reclaim the land for itself. The off white stucco that crept from the ground, was chipped, and cracked; giving the impression that the buildings were rarely used. The lack of care to the grounds was intentional, the Peace Officers were rather short staffed, and if the property looked poor break ins were less likely to occur.

    Aille led them through the maze of landing pads towards the entrance. Gamma building was a relatively squat building, boasting only three stories into the air, but it also held twice the square footage of any other building in the yard. Aille pushed the outer doors open, allowing herself and her guest entrance. The entry hall was very plain, white ceramic tiles were laid in perfect rows, and there were three very plain brown doors leading in different directions. The plastered walls were white, and bright lights gleamed from the ceiling, sending any would be shadows into hiding.

    A guard sat behind a dark, wooden desk looking thoroughly bored. Aille nodded to him, and keyed in her code on the door directly opposite of the entrance. The lock clicked and she held the door open for her charge. The hallway beyond was carpeted in a dark burgundy, and the walls were painted a pale shade of gray. A black plaque with white lettering was the only embellishment. The sign was simply a directory, reading 'Interrogation Rooms 130-149'. The hallway was a harsh contrast from the entrance, but still a welcome one. Aille always got a headache waiting in the entrance for too long. She glanced at Ms. Borlund, and nodded for her to enter. "We'll be using room 134, it's just down the hall and on the left."
  12. By the state of the grounds and the buildings that stood on them, it was obvious to Amerie that the people down here had no money to speak of if this was how they kept up their Peace Keeper’s premises. Or she supposed it was that they just didn’t put stock into their buildings, which maybe there was enough crime to keep them busy with that and not worrying about how they appear to the common folk. Not that they seemed to care how they appeared to anyone let alone this wasteland of criminals. From where she stood it was hard to see where order and peace had jurisdiction and where the streets of corruption began.

    Bowing her head respectfully to the Chief she followed dutifully behind O’Brien, with not only the desire to not get lost, but also because if this was the person she was designated to trust there was very little trust put in with anyone else. Walking through the doors and noticing that the landscape of the outside seemed to be mirrored indoors as well, she resigned herself to the idea that there was not going to be much to see in this world. For they were indeed different worlds if all she had seen so far was to be trusted.

    “There will be no one else in attendance, as well as no recording of any kind will there?”

    It seemed strange all the precautions she was taking but if anyone knew of the burgeoning plight of those in her city they might take advantage and try to take them down. Not that she could prove it or that she in any way could foresee it, but those down here seemed to despise her kind. Walking towards room 134, Amerie pulled her pack tighter to her body looking like she afraid that someone might take it in the home stretch of the safety of the room. In all actuality it was so she could access the contents faster and get things moving faster as this whole laughable bureaucracy between them was slowing things down considerably in her mind.

    Moving into the room she waited to bring anything out till she was told that the room was secure, not trusting the mirror or that there wasn’t anything making a record of her being there and what she said. Sitting down, her posture straight though not stiff, she looked as though she belonged wherever she was. Even in a room as dull as this one, it wasn’t hard to see that she became a part of where she was at. Her pack in her lap, she tried to quell the desire to just throw everything on the table, talk a mile a minute to brief the poor girl and move on.
  13. The interrogation room matched the hallway. Dark red carpeting, and grey walls yielded little to gaze at. A single table sat centered in the room with a chair on either side. A large two way mirror spread across one of the walls, and Aille moved to it immediately. Grabbing a hidden pulley she lowered a solid metal shade, preventing anybody from utilizing the two-way.

    Shaking her head, at what she believed was unnecessary precautions, Aille lowered herself in the chair opposite of the other woman, and gazed at her expectantly. "What's said here won't be overheard, but I have a feeling time is of the essence, so if you would please care to explain..."
  14. "Thank you Officer O'Brien."

    Nodding that she trusted O’Brien, she readjusted the loose shirt and jacket. The weapons situated themselves more comfortable, though Amerie had to admit that she still hadn’t become accustomed to their clothing style. Pulling out a large antique map, she rolled it out on the table, then followed it up with a journal and compass. Pushing her seat in more so she could reach, Amerie opened the journal and began.

    “Thank you for the consideration Officer O’Brien. The journey that I am undertaking is to search for what has been taking the magic from people for hundreds of years. With the research I’ve done in the ancient tomes of our city, it seems that there are three logical options.”

    Reaching over to the first point on the map, it was a rock structure in the middle of the outlands. It seemed to be surrounded by desert on all sides which made it even more dangerous.

    “This here is a deep cave system that houses mineral deposits. There is a good possibility that particular minerals within here are in a large enough concentration that they emit a field just under the surface that negates our ability to use magic. The second option…”

    Her hand glided over the paper, with a glance down to her journal to reaffirm the coordinates. The second point on the map was a large lake within the peace keepers boundaries, surrounded by forests and the beginnings to the mountain range just beyond.

    “This spot used to be home to the ancient ceremonies, thousands of years before our cities split. There are some prophecies and myths that say a dark magic leeched into the water and then into the ground. As it spread slowly over the land, it began to take magic first from the outlanders and spread to your city last. We want to make sure it doesn’t spread to our city next.”

    She didn’t want to tell O’Brien about the state of her city, that being none of her business just yet. Moving to lean back slightly in her chair, folding her hands into her lap, Amerie sighed softly as the last logical option sounded crazy even to her. Even the council didn’t w2ant to entertain it, but even long shots at this point had to be considered.

    “The last option, while the most outlandish, is still viable unless the other two don’t pan out. In our books they mention a creature or a wizard, the stories say both so we aren’t’ entirely certain which just yet. Well this being is said to take the magic from the natural world to keep itself alive. As the magic wanes elsewhere, it becomes more powerful, waiting to surface till it has gotten everything it can from this world before moving to the next. If we don’t find the reason soon, no matter which option it could be, then we stand a true chance of losing magic throughout the entirety of the world. This not only includes our city, but slowly nature will die away leaving future generations with nothing but a dead planet to suffer on.”
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  15. Aille's mouth went dry as Amerie spoke, and she began to wish that she had brought them both some water. She couldn't pull her eyes away from the map. After all this time... why do they care that the magic is failing? Unless... No, can't be. Maybe? She was so lost, swimming in her own thoughts that she almost missed the last explanation. It was probably a good thing that she didn't have that water; it would have been spit all over the map.

    Chewing the inside of her cheek, Aille's eyes never left the map. Her eyes bouncing from location to location. The small static build up in her finger tips sparked as she considered the implications of what the woman was telling her. Her heart sped up and her breathing quickened. She was excited. The prospect of seeing her magic fully actualized gave her chills and Amerie's reasoning could be her own. The mission itself had proven to be in Aille's best interest and she made a small mental note to apologize for her behavior and thank Chief Parsons for the assignment.

    It took Aille several moments to realize that Lady Borlund had finished her spiel, which was probably for the best. If she hadn't been lost in her own head she probably would have shouted that they were wasting time and scooped everything off the table to move them on their way. Her excitement was still palpable, but Aille had regained enough sense of mind to give her a calm response.

    Leaning over the map, Aille found the marking for the caves and tapped it with her index finger. "Are you thinking we should start here, looking for a natural cause?" She traced the map over to the lake that had been indicated next. "Or here with a man made cause?"
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