Star-crossed, duty bound. (OnexOne, Nivansrywyllian & Watase Yu)

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  1. In a world, separate and parallel to our own, magi and nonmagicals have grown alongside one another for ages. To be expanded upon when I'm less lazy.
    #1 Nivansrywyllian, Dec 14, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2016
  2. Draylan McKay stood upright in front of a gilded stand-mirror, fussing with a bow-tie he'd been trying to adjust for the better part of the last half-hour. Dark waves of hair had been combed back from his forehead, and his beard had been shorn clean. There wasn't a whisker to hide the frown plastered on his face. His suit was tailored, and fit well, and a bold green sash circled his waist. He wondered for a moment if he'd be able to get away with ferreting away a potion or two into the sash. He discarded the idea, as his younger brother rolled his eyes, and sighed explosively.

    "Lan, it's not going to be any straighter than it's been in the last twenty minutes. Let me fix it, or let's go." His brother approached him from behind, and he could see the young man in the mirror over his shoulder. He received a fraction of that sullen glower for his trouble, in part for bringing up the party, and in part for being both taller and more naturally muscular. Draylan's younger brother had escaped the barber's razor, and sported a goatee, well groomed though it was. He'd also inherited their mother's lighter hair, and ocean-blue eyes.

    Reluctantly, Draylan turned to his brother. "Can't you go without me? Tell father I sicked up in the bed, or something? Drank a bad potion?"

    The taller man reached up to adjust his brother's tie. "He'd never buy it, Lan. You don't make bad potions, and you haven't bought someone else's since you were fourteen. Besides, as I hear, your betrothed is going to be there."

    Draylan tore his eyes away from the mirror long enough to fix his brother with a stern glower directly. "Don't remind me." He muttered sourly. It wasn't as if he didn't like Ariella, just that they were the talk of the town whenever they happened to be in the same room. Two magi whose families had gone against tradition. Two magi who had come of age, and not wed, after the Pairing. He hated being the spectacle. The scandal.

    "You'd better not abandon me to go chasing skirts, Edd." He cautioned the young man. After the Pairing had matched Draylan with his betrothed, his father had further broken tradition by disallowing Eddwyn to attend a Pairing ceremony. As a result, the young man was somewhat infamous for his dalliances with humans. "I mean it." Draylan insisted, as he saw the wry smirk begin to form on his younger brother's face.

    "You'll be fine, Lan. Now let's go."


    Draylan and Eddwyn McKay arrived to the function in style. Each stood in the back of a gilded chariot, drawn by a pair of Stone Dogs the size of horses. Each beast was made of living, roiling gravel that churned with every motion. More solid skulls sat on top of necks that wouldn't look wrong on a bull, and each skull was beset with burning, smoking embers. The Stone Dogs were rapid transit, just slightly slower than the average human's car, and much better suited to rough-terrain, and guard-duties. They doubled as transport, and protection.

    The young men themselves went without winter-wear, despite the sub-freezing temperatures, though each was protected by different magics from the chill of the December night's air. Draylan took a deep breath, and glanced at his brother to gain some courage for the long night to come, before stepping down from his chariot. As soon as both feet were free from the chariot's deck, the Stone Dogs darted off to park the vehicle.

    Straightening his back, the young wizard set the first shiny, black shoe on the entry carpet, and a thrill of electric tingles ran down his spine. Magic, checking for mundane and magical weapons, he was sure. Would the potions he'd tucked into his waist trigger it? He didn't think so. They had no particularly offensive qualities. They were barely magical, honestly.

    The doorman gave him a glance as he approached the tall double-doors. He took a moment to take in the fantastic, Victorian architecture. Angled roofs, pillars, covered terraces, and stained glass windows. It was really a beautiful building. It was a shame he was going to have to enjoy it from within. Open came the door, and the doorman preceded the young wizard. "Announcing Sers Draylan and Eddwyn McKay, of the McKay House of Alteration!"
    #2 Nivansrywyllian, Dec 14, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
  3. Ariella Lightwater frowned gently as she stared into the stand-mirror, fussing with a few stray strands of honey brown hair that were currently framing her face. She thought it made her look rather ridiculous, however her younger sister seemed to think she looked fine. The only makeup that Ariella wore was a simple red lipstick and soft smoky eye that made her grey eyes pop. She wore a rather elegant black, mermaid evening gown that accentuated her fit body, and the curves of her breasts and hips rather nicely. Her father didn't like how much cleavage it showed or how open the back was, but Ariella insisted on wearing it if he was making her go to this ridiculous party. Ariella quickly gave up on her hair as her younger sister released an audible sigh of frustration.

    "Ella, stop it already. Your hair looks fine. I think it looks better that way than smoothed back anyway." Her younger sister would quip as she moved to Ariella's side, meeting her gaze in the mirror. "You look wonderful. Now, will you relax? Papa's probably waiting on us anyway." The young woman would pout, a soft glare dancing across her features as Ariella played with the stray locks one last time. "Oh fine, Audrey ... You think I could still get out of this though? Say I got knocked out from a badly performed spell or something?" Ariella would say hopefully.

    The dark brown haired young woman would scoff, her hazel eyes rolling dramatically. "You haven't screwed up on a conjuration since you were like, twelve. He'd never buy." She would say as she took Ariella's hand, tugging her towards the door. "Besides, don't you want to see your betrothed?" Audrey would tease, grinning as Ariella glared at her. "We both the know the answer to that and it isn't yes ..." Ariella would mutter as she reluctantly followed her sister out of the room.

    Audrey had been lucky with her pairing. Though they were yet to be wed, Audrey had been paired with her best friend. A boy from one of the other families who were known for their Conjuration skills. Ariella couldn't help but note how lucky Audrey had been. Much more so than herself on that front. "Give Draylan time, Ella. I'm sure he'll grow on you in time. Now, let's go."


    Ariella and Audrey Lightwater arrived to the function in style. Each stood in the back of a silver, gilded chariot, drawn by a pair of ghostly looking, horse like creatures. Each beast had white eyes that seemed to glow with blue fire, spiraling horn atop their heads, and a muscular body that pulled the chariot with ease. Then were elegant creatures, though somewhat frightening to look at. They were also known for their speed, and fierce nature.

    The young women themselves each had a cloak wrapped around their shoulders. Though they had various magics protecting them from the cold, the cloaks were more to protect their gowns from the elements rather than protect them from the cold. Ariella particularly appreciated the article of clothing because she felt as if she could hide from view. She hated being the center of attention, yet between who she was betrothed too as well as her apparently impressive skills with conjuration, Ariella was regularly the center of said attention.

    As the vehicle slowed to a stop, the pair stepped gently from it, her heels silent against the carpet. Giving the creatures a soft pat, the creatures would huff softly before hurrying away to park with the rest. Audrey quickly hooked her arm with Ariella's, tugging her gently forward to get her sister moving. "To late to turn back now, I suppose?" Ariella would whisper to her sister as they neared the doorman, her grey eyes dancing to the Victorian architecture. "Yes, Ella. It certainly is." Audrey would whisper back as they reached the doorman.

    As the tall double-doors opened silently, Ariella would turn so the doorman could take her cloak. Ariella particularly loved the stained glass windows. They were her favorite to look at whenever she came here. Her only joy in coming here. "Announcing Lady Ariella and Audrey Lightwater, of the Lightwater House of Conjuration." The doorman would precede to announce as they entered the room. Trying her hardest to ignore the stares and whispers, Ariella turned to say something to Audrey who was already slipping away. "Now go, be social. You can't use me to hide all night. Go Ella. I see Draylan and Eddwyn are already here even and looking quite handsome ... Aren't they?" Audrey would say with a grin before hurrying away before Ariella could stop her.
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  4. Draylan -not exactly suited for formal functuns- caught his brother's eyes flitting toward one of the human maids, and that telltale smile of his spreading quickly, so he slung his arm up and over the younger man's breadth. "Don't those confections look absolutely divine, Edd? Why I think we might just have to go acquaint ourselves." There was no question there.

    For a moment, Eddwyn looked flabbergasted at the suggestion, staring poleaxed at his brother. "B-" Was all he got out before Draylan was guiding them toward the buffet table. He could pick out a few politickers he'd been introduced to on occasion, and he would no doubt have to go pump some palms eventually, but he wanted to put as much time and expensive food between him and that point as he could get away with. He'd been so involved with his potions that he'd forgotten to eat earlier.

    But luck was not with him. A portly magus with a poor, iron-grey combover, a bristling mustache, and a ruddy nose intercepted the McKay boys mid-route. "Draylan lad! My how you've grown. Why I haven't seen you, or little Eddwyn since you were only yea high," He said, gesturing at about waist-high.

    "Uncle," Said the younger man, instantly brightening, and taking the opportunity to worm out from under Draylan's arm with a hug. He then tactfully put himself on the far side of their uncle from his elder brother. "Has Lan told you about his new invisibility potion? I hear he's gotten past the visibility problem."

    "B-" It was Draylan's turn to be at a loss this time, as his uncle rounded on him in full, leaving his brother to flash him an impish grin, and disappear into the crowd.

    "You have? Come boy, tell us how you've managed it! You mustn't be working with the principles of reflectivity. Has he changed tact for pattern emulation?" Asked the elderly magus, turning to include the now-missing Eddwyn in the conversation. "Eddwyn?" He asked the crowd. "That boy," he said, turning back to Draylan. "Is too sly by half."

    Draylan eyed the buffet table longingly. He could have made off by the time his uncle had turned around of course, but he'd feel awful abandoning the poor man who was obviously thrilled to see his distant relations. So instead he sighed. The elderly magus caught the sigh, and the glance, and a knowing smile swept his ruddy face. "Why don't you tell me over a bite. I'm famished."

    Surprised, and grateful, Draylan flashed the man a thankful smile. They made for the table. "I'm working on two different formulae," He admitted. "One's not invisibility as much as it is camouflage. It doesn't work with clothes. The second is more of... Well it makes you ethereal. I'm working out some kinks with substantiality, but I think I can achieve full transparency without sending-"

    The doorman began announcing another Family arrival, and the room hushed. "-of the Lightwater house of Conjuration." Came the tail end over the remainder of the murmurs, and the scattered applause.

    Draylan turned, suppressing a grimace, as his eyes swept to the door. The distaste for the spectacle was dashed from his mind at the sight of his betrothed. She was nothing short of gorgeous.

    "Close your mouth boy, you'll catch flies." Mused the elderly magus, passing his nephew a plate with some crackers, cheeses, and meats assorted randomly on it. "Now, you were saying about the problems with your second formula?"

    Draylan gave himself a shake, and cleared his throat. "Right. Uh... Where was I? Uh... Rats. I keep sending rats through the floor. I think I've got to find a grounding agent. Scared the starch out of mother last week when a rat landed in her soup."
    #4 Nivansrywyllian, Dec 14, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
  5. As Ariella's eyes swept the room, her gaze fell upon Draylan shortly after her sister disappeared from her side. She wanted to run after her, scold her for leaving her alone in this ridiculous political nonsense, but Audrey was already lost to the crowd. Her mind went blank as she saw the look Draylan had on his face as he saw her. Did he actually approve? Her heartbeat fluttered in her chest, a soft heat dancing to her cheeks. "Ella!" A familiar voice called from to her left.

    Grateful for the distraction, Ariella turned that direction, spotting her Uncle Maximus. As much as she wanted to avoid the political chatter with the older magus, it was better than being forced into conversation with Draylan at the moment. She wasn't ready for that. Not in the slightly. Smiling lightly, Ariella made her way to the tall and thin older gentleman. His soft gray eyes danced with amusement as he saw the look on his niece's face. "Uncle. Good to see you again." Ariella mused as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders in a half hug.

    "Not sure which you're more pleased with, having to come to this little shindig or the fact that Mr. McKay is already here ..." Her uncle would tease, chuckling lightly as he received a subtle scowl from Ariella. "Oh Ella, don't be like that. You are your father's eldest and therefore the heir since he only had daughters ..." Her uncle mused as he dropped his arm back to his side. "Yes, I know Uncle ... That's not it at all, I understand my duty ..." Ariella murmured gently as she gazed back around the room.

    A knowing grin tugged at the old man's lips as he directed them towards the buffet table. "Ah. Your betrothed then. You don't want to see him?" Her uncle inquired curiously, though he already knew the answer. "Stop asking questions you know the answers to, Uncle. You'll start to look senile in your old age ..." She teased gently with a grin before looking gratefully to the buffet table. In all the chaos of the day, she had forgotten to eat. "Ohho ... Now now, my dear Ella..." He would say as he began to fill a small plate.

    Her attention soon began to drift. Out of the corner of her eye, Ariella could see Draylan discussing something with his uncle. She caught little bits and pieces of what he was saying over the rest of the chatter. "... got to find a grounding agent." He must be discussion one of his latest potions. "Here Ella, eat." She would hear her uncle say as he handed her a small plate filled with crackers and vegetables. "Oh! Thank you Uncle" She managed, a bit flustered. Chuckling, Maximus would grin as he munched on a cracker. "Oh, don't give me that look!"
  6. Once Draylan got going about potions, he was blessedly aloof to just about anything. The roof could have been aflame, and he'd just keep rattling right along about his latest theory. The abruptly closer positioning of House Lightwater's scion went right by him. He gesticulated with an apparently forgotten sausage, as he spoke.

    He -and many of the magi throughout the function- didn't notice the serving staff positioning themselves strategically at the exits to the ballroom. They were still on the fringes after all. Nobody suspected a servant of staying out of the way. As one -almost synchronized- the servants produced handguns, and the clatter of small-arms fire punctuated the band.

    The first shots silenced the bandstand, and were followed moments later by screams. Draylan carried his uncle to the ground with an impromptu tackle, and moments later upset one of the heavy oaken buffet tables. It was chaos.

    How many shooters were there? Two on each exit. Front door, door to main hall, and one service exit. Six shooters in all. Already however, magi were fighting back. There was a gout of flames near the front door that took one of the shooters, though the other five were still firing. A strange silence followed, as the shooters ducked into what little cover there was to be had, to reload.

    Draylan -with the aid of a bit of magic- wrested a thick oaken leg from the table. The place where it had been attached, changed to clay, and then to steel, leaving a wickedly spiked club at hand. A hand ducked into his sash, and he grabbed the first of the two potions, thumbing free the cork in a practiced motion. He tossed the vial back, and everything seemed to slow down. He vaulted over the table, but his motions were like molasses. It took him forever to get to the nearest pair of gunners. Though Draylan was moving slowly, they almost appeared to be static.

    The club came down on one guard to horrifying effect, leaving a spurting crater in his chest, and a swift kick to the knee of the second jarred the limb at an unnatural angle. As the club was coming around for a second blow, time crashed back in like a wrecking ball, and the brief burst of speed bestowed by his potion left him nothing more than a magus. An unarmored magus, facing a gunman.

    The club connected before the second gunman brought his weapon to bear, to somewhat less horrifying an effect than it had the first time, though the resounding crack that sent the gun across the room spoke of broken bones.

    Elsewhere, other magi were rapidly attending to the remainder of the human shooters, attending to casualties, or cowering behind whatever cover they could find. Draylan didn't blame them.
  7. Thankfully Draylan hadn't taken notice of her and Ariella was solidly distracted by her uncle now. He was inquiring about her latest conjuration breakthroughs when the gun shots went off. Her uncle quickly forced her to the ground, covering her to protect her. However a groan of pain and blood trickling to the floor quickly caught her attention. "Uncle!?" Ariella muttered as he rolled next to her on the floor. His eyes were closing, blood pooling beneath him as he breathing slowed to a stop.

    Anger flared, however Ariella quickly reeled it back. She knew the effects emotions had on casting and she had to keep herself calm. Reaching to down to her ankle, Ariella quickly retrieved a crystal like wand, its one edge as sharp as any dagger. Muttering under her breath, Ariella would quickly draw a conjuration circle and runes on the floor next to her before she stood.

    Glancing about the room as she sliced her hand, Ariella let several drops of blood hit the circle. Watching it flare as she healed her hand, Ariella would watch as three ghostly looking, skeletal like creatures with steel armor and swords materialized. "The gunmen that are left, that is all I ask of you. Then you are free to return home." She quickly commanded, motioning with a hand towards the three gunmen that were left.

    Ariella hurried after them, the click of her heels against the stone floor going unheard amongst the chaos. She knew it was to late for her uncle. He had been a prominent member of the council, but she couldn't worry about that now. She had to stop those that were left before they killed or hurt anyone else. The gunmen had not chance against the skeletal creatures. It didn't take long for them to be cut down. The magi that were unharmed were frantically helping the other patrons as the creatures came back to Ariella.

    "Thank you ..." She would say with a respectful bow of her head, waving the the crystal like object in her hand. The creatures dissipated as Ariella frantically looked about the room. "Audrey!?" Ariella yelled, ignoring the irritating pull of exhaustion the conjuration had on her. It had sapped more energy than Ariella had anticipated, but she had done it much faster than normal. And more than one all at the same time. "Audrey!?" Ariella called, ignoring the whispers and curious looks.

    Someone unexpected crossed her mind. Draylan. Worry danced through her gut as she whirled in a circle to see if she could spot him. There he was, on the other side of the room with a club in his hand. He was alright. Her worry for him quickly caught her off guard. Though she had little time to think about it as someone nearly tackled her in a hug. "What were you thinking, Ella!? You should have let the other magi handle them." Audrey would mutter. "I couldn't lay there and do nothing, Audrey. Not when they killed Uncle Max ..." Ariella whispered, her sister's gasp and sobs soon filling her ears.
  8. Draylan felt bone-weary. The alacrity potion he'd brewed had been experimental, and taxed the body mightily. He ached all over, from muscles to joints. A sharp pain in his elbow suggested a strained tendon, but he hadn't time to take stock of himself. There were injured, and dead among the crowd, and none of the magic flitting around the once-cheery ballroom felt like Corpomancy, which meant that it fell to the secondary healers to tend to the wounded.

    Draylan made his way among the crowd, searching for those that had been bloodied. He'd left one gunman crippled, but alive, though he didn't much care what the rest of his compatriots did with the fellow when they got their hands on him. The first of the wounded he saw had a slow, but dangerously leaking wound. A nicked vein? No arterial spray. Would a bullet wound cause arterial spray? Draylan wasn't a combatant, he hadn't a clue. He dropped to a knee, barely seeing the fine clothing of the balding man, or the bushy beard that was flecked with blood.

    "Are you a Corpomancer?" Came a feminine, if slightly nasal voice.

    "Alterationist," The young magus muttered, shrugging out of his coat. He let it drop carelessly to the floor, leaving him in his vest, tie, and undershirt. His sleeves got unbuttoned promptly, and rolled back to his forearms. "I can stop the bleeding, but it'll hurt." Human alteration was infringing on some dark-grey magic that had been outlawed back during the second World War, where Magi had transmuted humans and animals into abominations of war. Permission was required by law before an Alterationist could perform on another sentient being, and only in the absence of a Corpomancer, or in defense of their lives.

    He bunched the coat up, and pressed it to the wound. "Would you like healing?" Asked the young man, blood soaking his coat. The balding man gave a weak nod, and that was all Draylan needed to discard the coat, and lay a digit onto the bare flesh beside the open wound. He let his senses delve into the wound. The bullet was still inside. With a grimace, he warned; "Take a deep breath. This is going to hurt." And into the wound went a digit, slowly, until he felt the hard little shape of the bullet. A pulse of energy transmuted the metal to water. The entrance of the digit brought a snarl of pain.

    Slowly, Draylan removed his finger from the wound in the man's side, knitting flesh together in it's wake. "This is a nasty scar. If you can afford it, get a Corpomancer to clean it up. I don't think I've fused any of your organs, but your bleeding is taken care of." He admitted. "Drink lots of water." He warned, the man, who looked pale, and a few moments from fainting.


    The night went on like that for another thirty minutes or so. Magi taking stock of the dead, and the wounded. One enterprising young man had the bright idea to set up a first-aid station near the overturned buffet tables for those who were in need of immediate assistance. There were five fatalities, and twelve more wounded at the moment. Draylan and his uncle were the only Alterationists in any state to provide assistance, and each were looking exhausted by the time all of the living had been patched up to functionality.

    Draylan found himself wandering over to the line of dead magi. His mind -finally free from duty- began to race with worry. Where was Eddwyn? He searched the faces of the dead, but none were his brother. It was a small relief, but it posed a question; where was he? He caught sight of one of the Lightwaters, and grimaced. There was bad blood between McKay and Lightwater, but Lan wouldn't wish death on the family. "Was I too late?" He asked, nobody in particular. Should he have prioritized Triage differently? He wasn't a medic. Hell, he'd be under review for the healing he'd done, he was sure.

    It seemed that the Corpomancers in the crowd had been targeted off of the outset. Most of them had ended up wounded, and one of the Family heads of Corpomancy had caught a bullet right in the throat. He'd been dead before he hit the ground. Coincidence? Had the humans wanted to maximize damage? Remove the healers, remove the first-aid capacity of the party.

    He realized that his hands had curled into fists, and that his jaw was clenched. Tears were brimming in his eyes. And now he was weeping over a Lightwater. His grandfather would be turning in his grave.

    Up his eyes turned from the dead, watery gaze searching the faces for Ariella. Was she alive? Hurt?
  9. Ariella found herself trying to sooth Audrey as the other magi bustled around her. She was wary to the bone, her vision blurring around the edges from the excessive use of her magic. None of that mattered. She had avenged Uncle Maximus. Her debt to him for saving her life repaid. "Audrey, you need to calm yourself ..." Ariella whispered gently as she ran a hand gently over her younger sister's back. "Come. Let's get you sat down. Get you some water ..." Ariella would muse as she lead her distraught sister out of the center of the chaos.

    Audrey's eyes would quickly dart open. "Ben! Where's ..." She would begin before stopping mid sentence. A tall, dirty blonde haired young man with bright green eyes was making his way towards them. "Ben!" Audrey would half sob as she rushed to her betrothed's arms. Sighing gently, Ariella would hold back a roll of her eyes. "Ben, take her to get some water and watch her ... I ... need to find someone." Ariella would manage, receiving a nod as he hurried Audrey to the edge of the room.


    Who she was planning to find, Ariella wasn't sure. Though, she ended up not having a moment to figure out who she was planning on looking for as she began to help move the wounded over to the makeshift First Aid area. The human attackers had went after the Corpomancers first, which Ariella doubted was a coincidence. They wanted as much permanent damage as possible, but why? Why would they do this? It made no sense. Not at the moment anyway.

    With no Corpomancers to help heal the wounded, it would be left to the Alterationists to help with the wounded. Draylan. Was he alright? She hadn't seen him since she had began her conjuration. Frowning, she would finish helping the elderly man onto the makeshift mat before hurrying off. She had to find him. She had to know. She couldn't handle two losses tonight. Making her way through the crowd, Ariella would frown as she frantically pushed her way through, looking at each face as she went.

    And then there he was, standing over the five magi that didn't make it, her uncle among them. His gaze was watery as he searched the crowd. "Draylan. I'm glad you're alright." She would say, relief dancing through her eyes as she moved closer. Pausing at his side, her gaze quickly fell to her uncle lying still on the floor, a knot forming in her stomach. "H-he saved me you know. Tackled me to the ground and used himself to shield me from the gun fire ..." Ariella barely managed before a few tears rolled down her cheeks. "I-it's my fault he is gone. I should have been more observant ..."
  10. Draylan found his betrothed making her way through the crowd toward him, and abruptly felt shame at the tears budding in his eyes. It was a ridiculous sentiment of course. There was nothing wrong with crying over tragedy, but even so, he found himself lifting a hand to dash tears from his cheeks. He left a crimson streak in it's place, unwittingly. He was even more surprised when the woman spoke to him. She was glad he was alright. That made his heart give a guilty little giddyup.

    Back to the lives lost, went his eyes. "A room full of magi didn't see the shooters in time to stop them." He insisted, his voice quiet but firm despite his own exhaustion. "This isn't on you any more than it is on the rest of us, Ariella." A hand rose, and he very nearly tried brushing the girl's own tears away, before realizing that his hands were bloody nearly up to the elbow. Rather, he let them fall back to his sides impotently.

    He wanted to ask if she was alright, but that was as asinine a question as could be asked. She wasn't shot, obviously, but she was also far from right. She'd lost family. Hell, Draylan might have done as much himself. He still didn't know what had happened to his brother once the shooting had started. He was going to have to go searching for the fool boy.

    "I uh... I have to find Eddwyn." Dealing with the virtual stranger that was his betrothed was somewhat beyond his mental capabilities at the moment. "Do you have enough protection on the way back to your estates?" She looked exhausted. Could she even conjure guardians, should she be beset on the way back to her palace. "I get the feeling that the Council will want to see us early tomorrow."
  11. For the second time that day, Ariella found herself jealous of Audrey and her pairing. Someone she was so close to, so open with. Ariella wished she could have that. If her grandmother saw her worrying over a McKay, she would rollover in her grave. Even worse, she was wishing she had what Audrey did with Ben. Her grandmother would be ashamed. She couldn't think about that right now.

    "I ..." Ariella began, but couldn't bring herself to finish. As much as she knew he was right, she couldn't help but feel guilty. She was going to have to tell her father the news when they got home. That wasn't a conversation she wanted to have. Focusing back on Draylan, she could see how exhausted he was. He looked even more exhausted than she felt, which was saying something. "Y-yes. I can Conjure something extra up, if need be." She finally managed. "Did you want some help looking for Eddwyn first? I could stay to help look for him. Audrey's with Benjamin at the moment, so she'll be alright for the time being."

    At his comment about wanting to see them early tomorrow morning, Ariella would nod with a frown. "I'm sure they will. It will be unpleasant, I'm sure." She muttered as she brushed a stray lock of hair from her eyes. "My father is not going to be pleased about all of this. I'm just glad he wasn't here for it ..." She would finish, her gaze drifting about slowly as she began to look for Eddwyn. He had a history of skirt chasing, the last she knew. Could he have ran off to some hidden spot with a maid? She hoped so, for Draylan's sake.
  12. Draylan studied the girl's face. She was still beautiful, even grief-stricken and frazzled as she looked in the moment. When was the last time they'd been in the same room? Spoken more than three words at a time? He pulled his eyes away. He didn't have time for would-have-could-haves. He needed to find his brother. "Thanks," He said. "It's probably not safe to go alone anyway." He tucked a hand into his once-fine green sash, now bloodied and stained.

    He made for the double-door leading to the rest of the house. He didn't know where, but somewhere along the line he'd lost his bloody cudgel. A shiver ran down his spine at the thought of wielding the weapon. A twisty-feeling roiled in his stomach. He'd killed a man. He'd crippled another. There was no doubt that it was them or him, but it had shaken him rather badly.

    Out of the sash came a little glass vial, stoppered with a cork. Inside was a swirling green concoction. He offered it to the girl. "If trouble comes along, drink this and get yourself behind something solid." He said.

    He went through the double-doors first, cautiously. How involved had the attack been? Were the rest of the staff in on it? Still in the building, waiting to set upon the already bloodied magi? Fear and fury mixed with the twisting nausea that was trying to seize him. He'd have time to deal with what he'd done, with what had happened, when they were clear of the building. He could feel the blood drying on his hands. Crusting.

    He tried to keep his face impassive, to mixed results, as they searched. He spotted a pair of feet sticking out from an alcove, dressed in familiarly shined black shoes. Draylan sprinted forward, and took a knee by the fallen figure of his brother. There was a lump on the side of the young man's head, and Draylan's fingers flew to his brother's throat in search of a pulse.

    Relief washed over him. Eddwyn was alive, but unconscious. He let magic trickle from his fingers, searching the young man's body for the telltale signs of more serious damage, but nothing leaped out at him. A concussion was likely, though. Which was obvious, he supposed. He sagged into a seated position. "He's alive,"
  13. Ariella held Draylan's gaze as he studied her face. She was unsure as to why he was doing so, but it didn't bother her that he was. She couldn't recall the last time they had said more than three words to each other. The last time they had fully acknowledged each other while in the same room. There was no time for this now. People were hurt and dead. And Eddwyn was still missing. "You're welcome. I'm sure you would do the same if it was Audrey missing ..." She would muse thoughtfully.

    As they headed through the double-doors to the rest of the house, Ariella caught a glimpse of one of the dead shooters. He was damn near sliced in two, which meant he was one of hers. A wave of nausea danced through her gut. She was responsible for killing three men tonight. She had to remind herself that she wasn't given much of a choice. They had killed her uncle and several others. Wounded twelve others. They had to fight back.

    Ariella was soon tugged from her thoughts as a small vial was being offered to her. As much as she wanted to ask what it was, now wasn't the time. "Okay." She would say simply with a gentle nod. In her left hand was the vial, in her right her crystal conjuration wand. The silence within the rest of the house made Ariella shiver. Were the rest of the staff in on it too? Sparing a glance at Draylan, she could see how anxious he was to find Eddwyn though he was trying to keep his calm.

    Ariella spotted the pair of feet the same time Draylan did. He apparently recognized them since he hurried forward. Sure enough, there was Eddwyn unconscious. Relief rolled through her as he said Eddwyn was alive. "We need to get him inside with the others" She would say gently with a soft frown. Neither of them were in the state to carry the young man inside. Crouching down, she would draw another circle with different runes than the first. A quick slice of her hand and a few drops of blood later, two muscular dwarves would appear, on carrying a rather large pack.

    Ariella had to place a hand against the wall to keep herself steady, blackness dancing at the edge of her vision for a moment. With a soft bow of her head, the dwarves would do the same. "I appreciate your help again ... Could you?" Ariella would say with a gentle nod of her head towards Eddwyn. "Into that large room just that way. And if you could hurry, that would be appreciated. There could still be danger close by. Then you're free to go." They would nod as one removed a collapsible, makeshift gurney, carefully placing Eddwyn upon it before making their way back to the double doors. Still crouched, Ariella ran the smooth end of her crystal wand over the cut, healing the small wound with ease.
  14. Draylan eyed the dwarves warily as they approached his brother, hoisted the unconscious magus, and carted him into the main room. Tiredly, Draylan pushed himself to his feet, and offered an arm to his betrothed. "You look like you're a breath from collapsing yourself. Let's get you back to your people."

    The rest of the night passed in a blur, as Enforcers arrived by Waygates to storm the house, and clear the remainder of hostiles. Once the dead and wounded were accounted for, and the house was cleared, most of the magi were sent home to rest. Several got instructions to appear before the Council in Dublin come morning, and the Alterationists were detained for questioning. It had to be established that the healing they'd done had been consentual, and in the absence of capable Corpomancers.

    By the time that Draylan got home, the sun had long gone to bed, and he was ready to join it. His father however, had other ideas.

    Jarrick McKay was an austere man, reserved with his affection and praise, but not unfair. He had black hair, with wings of iron grey in his temples. A closely trimmed beard -similar to the one Eddwyn wore- was wholly black, and groomed meticulously. He wore a double-breasted burgundy vest over an undershirt in something of an ancient fashion sense, and boots turned down at the tops.

    When the bedraggled, and still-bloody Draylan stepped through the door, his father took him in an unexpected embrace. He needed the whole story.

    The night was a long one.


    By the time Draylan had appeased his father's concern, it was nearly midnight. He'd dragged himself reluctantly to the shower, and washed the day from his skin. Drying and dressing, he crawled into bed. He was out before his head hit the pillow.


    Morning came all too soon, and with the unexpected alarm of a Runner's squawk to rouse him from his slumber. Runners were curious little Outsiders, that looked like great blue chickens, the size of mastiffs, and the jaws of a sabertooth. The Council used them for their unique ability to open portals in confined spaces without making a ruin of the room they appeared in. Blearily, Draylan pushed himself up on an elbow to regard the creature. It stood on one foot, around which a scroll had been tied with a ribbon.

    "Bastards. Couldn't call?" He muttered, rolling across his bed to fish into his nightstand. The Runner opened it's razor jaws, and a broad, flat tongue extended. He found one of the little foil-wrapped chocolates, and unwound it. He placed the naked chocolate on the beast's tongue, and bent to unfasten the message.

    The runner's mouth closed, and it's eyes -startlingly green- lost focus as it savored it's payment.

    Draylan turned to flick on the light on his bedstand, and unrolled the scroll.

    Draylan McKay,

    As witness to the tragedy that befell the Yule Ball, and scion of House McKay, of Alteration, you are expected in the Dublin Council Chamber at 12:00 PM, Greenwich Mean Time, December 17th. You are to attend by way of portal. If you do not have one at hand, you may travel with the Runner bearing this message.

    Keeper of Whispers
    Alistair Hadrian

    Frowning, Draylan glanced up at his alarm clock. It read 6:03. Some quick math told him that he was already running late. Reluctantly, he clambered into some presentable clothes. His blouse was rumpled, his tie was crooked, and he couldn't be bothered with a coat, but he was dressed. A stop at his potions rack, and a vial later, he grabbed a handful of chocolates to stuff in his pocket. "Dublin Council Chamber," He muttered sourly, as he laid a hand on the great blue bird.

    There was a rippling, around him, a nauseous feeling, and the world seemed to lurch. He wasn't in his room any more, but in the middle of a spartan room, somewhat disconcertingly made up like a court-room. He had appeared just before the line of Council seats.

    "Draylan McKay," came the reed-thin voice of a woman with a face like old leather, and an iron bun pulled tight atop her head. "Good of you to join us. Sit."

    Draylan swept the Council with his eyes, and swallowed. It was filled with fifteen of the world's most influential magi, representing practitioners from all across the world. Hurriedly, he unwrapped a second chocolate for the Runner, who was eyeing him impatiently, and placed the payment on it's tongue, before turning to view the seating. A crowd had gathered in uniform seating, and a partition had been raised. He recognized several faces from the party the night before, and only one seat remained, just beside Ariella. He took it quietly.
  15. "Don't worry, Draylan. They're one of the kinder beings ..." Ariella mused lightly as she watched them enter the ballroom with Eddwyn. Glancing at Draylan's offered arm, she would warily take it. "You don't look much better ..." She would tease gently with a wary smile. "Take care of yourself as well." She would finish as they reentered the ballroom.


    The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur. Enforcers had arrived soon after they had returned to the ballroom. Storming the house to clear it of any hostiles that were left. Ariella had returned to Audrey and Ben, who were standing on the outskirts. One of the Enforcers came by not long after, instructing her to come before the Council in Dublin for questioning in the morning, seeing that their Uncle had been one of the few killed.

    With a tired nod, Ariella reluctantly agreed. By the time the pair had returned home, Ariella had no clue as to what time it was. Ben carried Audrey up to her room since she was fast asleep by then. Ariella followed behind them, bone wary, and emotionally exhausted. Her father wouldn't let Ariella off so lightly.

    Seamus Lightwater was a tall, jolly man who whole-heartedly showed his affection and praise to his two daughters. He had honey brown hair speckled with flecks of white throughout. A well trimmed goatee was wholly brown. He wore a simple white, button down shirt, black trousers, and boots turned down at the tops that didn't quite fit with the time. When an exhausted Ariella finally walked through the door, her father pulled her into a much needed embrace.

    Wanting the whole story, rightfully so, Ariella knew it was going to be a long night filling in her father.


    Ariella had no idea what time she had hit the pillow, however morning had come far to soon. She was rudely awakened by the Runner the council had sent to fetch her. With a curse, Ariella untangled herself from her blankets, searching her nightstand drawer with blurry vision until she found a chocolate. Unwrapping it, she tossed it to the rather annoying bird who caught it gratefully. Giving Ariella the opportunity to retrieve the scroll tied to its leg.

    Ariella Lightwater,

    As witness to the tragedy that befell the Yule Ball, and scion of House Lightwater, of Conjuration, you are expected in the Dublin Council Chamber at 12:00 PM, Greenwich Mean Time, December 17th. You are to attend by way of portal. If you do not have one at hand, you may travel with the Runner bearing this message.

    Keeper of Whispers
    Alistair Hadrian

    Frowning, Ariella would reluctantly leave the warmth of her bed. "Was this really necessary since your Enforcers told me as such last night? Bastards ..." She muttered under her breath as she focused on getting dressed. She slipped into the first thing she could find that she could easily slip into, a rather elegant long-sleeved gown. She left her hair down, sweeping her wavy, honey-brown hair to the side. It would have to do on such short notice.

    When she arrived, she had gotten a similar welcome has Draylan had just gotten himself. Giving the Runner another chocolate before she took her seat, Ariella crossed on leg over the other, her hands clasped tightly in her lap. A rather solid knot had formed in her stomach by the time her betrothed had arrived. As he looked at her, she met his gaze as he took the seat next to her. She had a serious urge to reach out for his hand, she wasn't sure why. Instead, she clasped her hands more tightly together as she awaited the council to speak.
  16. The debriefing -such as it was- went by in a blur. Evidence was had, witnesses were called, and each and every magus present gave his account of events. Draylan and the other alterationists were called to task for transmuting flesh, and in the same breath lauded for their willingness to send aid to their fellow magi.

    He felt numb, tired, and guarded. The last thing that he wanted to do was to sit all morning and listen. But morning dragged on into noon, and then into the early afternoon, before anybody thought to send the exhausted wizards to take refreshment. Rather than rising to avail himself of nearby shops, Draylan simply sank lower in his chair.

    He felt bone-tired, and there wasn't much more he wanted than sleep. He found his eyes growing heavy, as the chairs around him emptied for the recess, his chin dipping low, and the focus leaving. It wasn't long before he was sleeping in his chair, a soft snore permeating the room. If he could have seen himself, he might very well have died of embarrassment, but as it was, there was nothing be ashamed of in dreams, although a niggling little worry in the back of his mind recalled the events of the night prior freshly to his brain.
  17. The majority of the debriefing was a blur for Ariella as well. Ariella couldn't see why all of them had to be here. The council had to have some sort of surveillance in here. Unless the intruders had done something to it before hand, which was possible she guessed. However they clearly didn't care if they were known. They did nothing to hide their faces or hide who they were in any other way. Her thoughts wandered through most of the meeting, her fingers idly drumming against her knee as she watched each Magi go up in turn to state they're side of events.

    When it was her turn, Ariella stood slowly before moving forward. She would clasp her hands tightly to keep them from shaking as the head councilman addressed the loss of her uncle. "Maximilian was an important part of this council. He was an honorable man. We are sorry for your family's loss Lady Lightwater." He would say with a light bow of her head. "Thank you, councilman ..." Ariella managed, her voice steady, but the softness in her eyes betrayed her self control. She would then finish telling her side of events, doing her best to ignore the impressed murmurs when she spoke of her conjurations that killed the remaining three shooters.

    Once she was finished, Ariella would gratefully take her seat once more. Her gaze intently focused on her tightly clasped hands in her lap until the council called for a short break. She was thoroughly exhausted, however she knew that she wouldn't be able to sleep even if she wanted too. Grateful for the chance to get out of the stuffy council room, Ariella hurried outside. The angry grumble of her stomach reminded her that she hadn't eaten anything before she had left. With a sigh, Ariella would drift down the steps to a nearby fruit vendor, purchasing a couple apples before heading back into the building.

    Ariella was the first to return to council room, or so she had thought. A soft snore soon reached her ears. Glancing around quickly, Ariella would relax as she realized it was only Draylan. He must have been just as exhausted as she was. Though she didn't want to wake him, she decided she probably should. "I doubt he would appreciate any of the others seeing him like this ..." Ariella would murmur softly as she returned to her chair. With her free hand, Ariella would shake his shoulder. "Draylan ... Draylan? Unfortunately, it's time to wake up. The others should be returning soon ..." Ariella would murmur as she balanced the apples in her lap.
  18. Draylan's dreams were blessedly blank, and absent of anything memorable. In fact, the realization that he'd fallen asleep had escaped him entirely. That was of course, until a hand landed on his shoulder to gently shake him awake. The snoring stopped as soon as the hand touched down, and his eyes drifted open sluggishly.

    "Mmm...?" He mumbled eloquently. "Oh. Uh... Thanks. And... Sorry." He cleared his throat, wiping a hand over his face tiredly. "What time is it?" He said, his eyes sweeping the walls for some sort of clock, before a hand dropped into his pocket in search of a timepiece. He hadn't equipped himself well before departing that morning, apparently.


    Magi began to quietly return to the council chamber.


    The remainder of the day dragged on, and eventually, the Council wound up the proceedings with decrees of vengeance and solidarity between magi and men, but tempers had begun running high already.

    When the lot of them were dismissed, Draylan was one of the last to leave his seat. Instead, he lingered beside Ariella. After a moment, he turned his eyes on her. Beautiful as ever. A quiet longing murmured in the back of his mind. "Ariella," He said. Her name was strange on his tongue. They were only ever very rarely allowed to talk privately.

    "Do you want... Do you want to go get some food? I don't want to go home yet."
  19. Ariella would hold back a soft giggle as Draylan sluggishly woke up. It was rather adorable, she had to admit, and she had to catch herself before she said or did anything that showed that she thought so. As he asked the time, she would glance around quickly before shrugging her shoulders. "No problem. And, I'm not sure of the exact time, I just remember that it was close to the restart time when I came back in." She would murmur before following his gaze.

    Sure enough, there were the others. With a sigh and a frown, Ariella would sink deeper into her chair. Time for part two of their long day. "Here. At least it will hold you over until after the meeting." She would whisper to him, holding out the second apple she had brought with her before taking a bite out of her own.


    The remainder of the day went just as slowly and blurring as the first half did. However, filled with much more anger, and promises of vengeance and seclusion between man and magi. It was a sad sight, one that made Ariella frown gently as she shook her head. Sinking to their level wasn't going to solve anything. It would only make it worse, but she had zero say in it at the moment.

    A heavy weight seemed to be pressed down on her shoulders as the meeting ended. Her father would be pleased with the decided turn out, but still was not. She lingered, her thoughts reeling from the day. She would stand slowly, her gray eyes dancing among the crowd that was leaving the council room when she heard Draylan say her name. Blinking, Ariella would turn to him with a gently arched eyebrow.

    Was he ... asking her out? Why? Why now? A soft heat danced to her cheeks as Ariella smiled gently. "I'd ... I'd love too. I'm not ready to go home yet either." She would finally manage, a tired chuckle escaping her lips. "Where would you like to go?" She would ask as she led him from the council room. She had been in this room for to long already today.
  20. Draylan gave the girl a tired smile. "Thanks." She was blushing. She was pretty when she blushed. "I haven't really thought of it." He pushed himself to his feet, following his betrothed out of the Council chamber. Where was there food in Dublin?

    There had to be a halfway decent pub nearby. "To the pub?"


    'The Pub', it turned out, was a fairly modest establishment some three blocks from the Council House, with a homey atmosphere, warm lighting, and soft lilting music. The establishment smelled of pub fare and alcohol, and the low murmur of men talking among themselves. It was a human establishment, although by the look of several of the patrons' rune-sewn sleeves, it was a frequent of magi just the same.

    Draylan preceeded his betrothed, asking for a booth for two. A pretty, dark-haired girl gave them a sweet smile, and tucked a pair of menus under her arm before leading the two of them on toward a booth along the back wall, with raised partitions for privacy.

    Draylan wasted no time settling into the booth, pulling the menu in front of him without really looking at it. "Bring me a whiskey if you please. No ice. Whatever's strong." It felt early to drink, but after a night like the one before, and the day that had followed, he wanted something a bit stiff. "And whatever the lady's having, my treat."
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