Private Tales Fireworks and a White Rabbit

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Varys

~~The Elven Apprentice~~
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He smiles thankfully to the Orc, albeit also a bit sheepishly as he made the same connection that Varys had already observed. Yes, he seemed tied to Transmuters somehow, and it wasn't too much of a stretch to think that perhaps his father had passed that trait to him. It would explain how easily he was able to shift the flames yesterday.

"I've already demonstrated some aptitude for it, though I'm still in the very early stages of such practice. What you said though, about it referring to me..."

His teeth close around his bottom lip for a moment. The thought had never occurred to him, but he couldn't deny the possibility. An odd tingle flares up on the back of his neck, a sensation he couldn't explain.

Still, Deingras was correct. The best thing he could do was meet back with Jonathan for the time being. If Jon trusted this Orc, than Varys would extend that same trust towards him. He stands from his chair, looking one last time at the notebook he held in such importance.

"Quiet? Certainly not. On that, we're in agreeance."

He departs, following the directions given to him until he catches the familiar scent that always seemed baked into Jonathan's clothes.

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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“Master Burr please-!”

“Give
me a few bleeding moments to make this goddamn strontium behave.”

Ka-BOOM!

The hallway shuddered with the force of the impact, and it quite easily solved the problem of exactly where Jonathan was. The laboratory doorway was hanging off its hinges, sufficiently blackened on one side, and orange-red smoke was filtering out into the hallway.

Jonathan threw open the windows to the lab to let the smoke filter out, coughing and waving his arms. The nonplussed alchemist who had been responsible for helping him was cleaning bits of broken metal out of his mustache and looked ready to strangle the mage.

“Fuck’s sake man, don’t break my concentration.” Jon grumbled, looking at a rather impressive hole that might have once been a flask on a table. The shriveled legs of said table looked like a defeated animal, and the resulting crater in the floor was deep enough to hold a decently sized stew.

“I was going to suggest you shift it to a more stable form.” The alchemist muttered angrily. “That was strontium!”

“Here, I’ll just make you some more from celestite.” Jon plucked a large cluster of milky blue crystals from a shelf and turned to see Varys enter, grinning. “Hey Varys! Want to know how flowers get their color? Don’t worry Professor Harrison, that’s my apprentice.”

“Good gods the boy still has all ten fingers.” The older man grumbled, cleaning his glasses and plucking a bit of broken metal off one pointed ear. The elf squinted at Varys.

Varys
 

Varys

~~The Elven Apprentice~~
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The echoing footfalls Varys made throughout the hallway did indeed quicken when the entire building seemed to tremble with the unseen force of whatever his less than cautious Master had accidentally unleashed. He slides a couple of inches across the floor as he stops, catching himself in the doorframe.

Jon was fine though. He'd just gotten a bit careless, evidently. He was beginning to see why some of the people here were less than fond of his antics, starting with the chunk of lab that was now missing. He certainly hoped Jon had the means to pay the University back for such destruction. Even then, it was likely going to come out of his share, too.

Normally, he would have laughed off the situation and taken the invitation to learn about the flower's color with the ever-present curiosity he often illustrated. Right now though, his mind was elsewhere. He smiles a bit, briskly walking over to a chair and seating himself somewhere he could observe.

"I'll just watch this time. I'd like to see what you're doing."

There was a small lull to his voice that betrayed the fact he wasn't paying his full attention.

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jonathan raised an eyebrow and set the crystal down, sitting on the table next to Varys. “So, I’m guessing by the far off look in your eye you got an idea of where you came from. Deingras any help?” He asked. “Professor Harrison, I’ll pay you extra for the floor. If you like you can just give me the raw materials. Some celestite, copper bars, barium and table salt.”

The elf sighed angrily and folded his arms across his chest. “Only if you purify some of our rarer elements. I didn’t let you back in here just to tolerate you blowing holes in the lab.”

Jon nodded and waved him off, leaning back on his hands. “So...?” He raised an eyebrow and looked down at Varys.

Varys
 

Varys

~~The Elven Apprentice~~
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The elf snaps out of the trance that seemed to take hold of him, and shoots an apologetic look up at Jon. "Yes, actually. He's helped immensely. He's not finished yet though, said I should stay with you until he's done. He predicted you'd be stinking up the place." He added with a smirk. He'd been right on the money with that one. "In fact, most of the instructors here seem to have a less than favorable perception of you. Any idea why that could be?" He makes it a point to look at the remnants of the table as he speaks those words.

He rises to his feet with a sigh, and motions him out into the hallway, opening the door of the lab and holding it open for him. When he follows, he lets it close with a soft 'click'.

"Like I thought, that notebook is more or less a journal of his findings. He was a Transmuter like you, which I suppose makes sense. Also might explain the fire..." He trailed off a bit. "The Prism, he figures is some sort of focusing point, though we aren't sure for what, or where it could be."

He hoped they would discover a hint as to what he should do next when Deingras finished his inspection. What they'd found was interesting, but in the end it was another dead end. He was so sick of dead ends.

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jonathan chuckled. “I’m guessing it’s because I turned down their offer to join the collective. Maybe it’s because I refuse to beg my father for grant money, or drag my friends in to be guinea pigs. Hey Harrison, why don’t you tell him the story of when you tricked me into dragging Rheinhard Volker in here?”

The elf gave him a sour look. “Science and knowledge above all.” Jon chuckled and pushed his way off the table, following Varys. He listened, running his fingers through his hair to shake off the ash.

“Sounds like Transmutation is where you should start. If this man created you, he’d have to take a pretty interesting route to get there. Theoretically it’s possible to transmute and create a human, since everything that goes into us isn’t necessarily organic. Meaning I can transmute salt and stone, but not a body. But, we all start as elements that are inorganic; iron in the blood, calcium in the bones, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen...but everyone’s got an ethical issue with doing that. Mostly because no one knows what will happen if you make a human from scratch like that. Trust me, most Transmuters prefer the old fashioned way.”

He gave a wry smirk. “Think your master might have been the first to breach that..?”

Varys
 

Varys

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Varys shrugged his shoulders, the corner of his lips raising into a small smirk. "They did seem a tad sour about that. Plus you won't let them dissect Hob, so I'm sure that's another sticking point of contention, probably." Of course, he figured that was probably an exaggeration, they wouldn't actually dissect the creature, at least not without casualties. Then again, as Harrison had just demonstrated, there weren't many limits to what they might do here.

He crosses his arms, considering Jon's words. "Where I should start? That's a vague place to go from. If Transmutation made me, then I don't think simply studying will give me the answers I'd like, or if it does, it'd take way too long."

The actual meat behind what Jonathan was explaining went over his head mostly, but he understood the idea of what he was telling him. Life alone cannot be created, but the components to life can. "Ethical issues aside, that would be a tremendous undertaking. We don't know enough about our own physiology to ensure such a thing would work for either elf or human!"

He couldn't deny the plausibility of it though, and that's what bothered him more than anything. The idea of being a walking, talking science project... It wasn't the ideal scenario, to say the very least.

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jon raised an eyebrow. “From what you said your master was a reclusive and skilled fellow. Just the type to take that tipping point if the itch took him. Besides, part of the stigma is that it’s painfully easy. Most of our bodies are water, the rest is gases. Transmuters have started to learn where the line is when mages in Volta started work on fossils here. I hate to say it, but the foundations are there.” He reached out and patted Varys’ arm. “Listen, we’ll find it. The Prism. Whether it was the focus to create you, or something else, we’ll find it. The old man had to have something in that journal. Give Deingras a little time with it. After all you’re young, and the old man’s dead.”

Jon looked back at the lab. “Want to get a drink? I also have another lead we could follow but it’s not one I like. I know someone who deals in memory and ancestral memory. If the old man made you, he might have left some traces floating around.” He mentioned.

Varys
 

Varys

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The Elf could only shrug at his assertions. He didn't have the memories to reliably make such an inference... "As I've said, I really didn't know him that well. He may have been a recluse, it may have just been the impression I received from him as a young boy. There were long periods of time he would leave. I just..." He bites the inside of his cheek, tucking a strand of hair behind his ear. His voice lowers a bit. "Jonathan, the idea of just being some complicated experiment... I'm holding out hope that's not all I am. To have a life brought about just to see if it was possible..." He sighs. He was overthinking things, and he knew it. Too dramatic, as always.

He nods slightly as Jon comforts him with a hand on his shoulder. He wasn't sure what other leads there could be, but Jon knew this town much better than Varys did. He looks up at him, his body slouching a bit still.

"I don't know about the lead... But I do think I need something to drink." Even broaching this topic was mentally taxing. He was glad Jon was there to support him.

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jonathan pulled Varys in for a brief hug. “Hey. If you think people don’t make kids just to see if they can...you haven’t met a lot of folks your age.” He joked, and withdrew with a pat on Varys’ back. “Come on, let’s go get a drink. I think you’re going to like this place.”

Jonathan led him out of the University, having no issue finding his way around. The reason became clear when he settled his hand over small purple stones in the wall. They lit up a dazzling ribbon of light, thin as horsehair, along the stones. There were other colors along the wall, but Jonathan always touched purple. Before they knew it, they’d been led back to the entrance.

The bustling streets of Volta didn’t seem to bother Jonathan at all. He made sure Varys stepped close, but he also didn’t spare him weaving through the copious amounts of foot traffic.

The tavern he chose looked more like an alchemy nightmare gone mad than it did a bar. Moody’s Mixtures was a tangled mass of glass tubing, puncturing in and out of the building like a wormy apple. The tubes occasionally flashed shades of red, amber, yellow, and brown as liquids filled the tubes and summarily vacated them. Inside, the bar was S shaped, with two bartenders nestled inside each curve, and stools made of elegantly carved wood adorning the outer. A dizzying mass of bottles in every shape, size and color stretched to the ceiling. They were held in their racks by the neck, dangling loosely. If a bartender needed a bottle near the spidery glass ceiling, he had only to adjust a lever and the entire stock would rotate to the other curve of the S.

Jonathan liked to watch the strange ribbon of liquor disappear into the floor and pop up at the other bar. Not magic, but creative engineering not see anywhere else in Arethil. When people were allowed to create as they pleased, with innovation being prized rather than riches, it made some fantastic things. A man was made in Volta by his brain, not his pockets.

Jonathan grabbed a stool and nodded to Varys to sit. Their bartender, an elegantly dressed Minotaur, sighed when she saw Jon. “I hope to all the gods in heaven the rabbit isn’t with you.” She said sharply.

“You know he only makes off with the bottles when they go outside the city limits.” Jon smiled crookedly. “My apprentice Varys has had a hard day. Get him a Mule.”

The Minotaur nodded and filled a tall glass with a fizzy substance, and pulled down a few bottles of clear liquid. Behind the bar were bins of fresh herbs, which she added and mixed. She poured the mixture over ice in a glass and handed it to Varys.

“They actually make ice here.” Jon grinned.
“If you transmute salt and water, you can get the resulting slurry down so cold it freezes things it touches. Like water.”

“Don’t be giving away all our secrets.” The bartender chuckled.

Varys
 
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Varys

~~The Elven Apprentice~~
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His body stiffened up, muscles tense as Jonathan hugs him. Hugging was a gesture he wasn't sure he'd ever get used to, and he wasn't sure he understood the desire to be so close to another person. Still, after a few seconds, he brought his own arms to return the embrace. He didn't understand it, but he was beginning to find he may not necessarily mind it.

Pulling away slowly, his arms rest at his sides as he makes his best effort to straighten his posture, and not appear as downtrodden as he felt inside. He couldn't hide a little smirk on the corner of his lips, he could count the people he knew that were his age on one hand. "You're right about that one. I can't remember the age of anybody in my age range. Except Lottie, I suppose."

He'd only briefly mentioned the girl he'd met when they stopped in Oban a while back, when he'd been late to return to the wagon. Of course, Hob had teased him mercilessly about it, but Jonathan had been a little more understanding of the situation. Of course, he had been drinking that night, so who was to say he even remembered the conversation they had? Needless to say, Varys was fond of the girl. He looked forward to their next stop at Oban, where they'd agreed to meet again.

He followed Jonathan close, eyes widening in silent admiration at the ease with which he followed the color purple out of the University. So, there was a way to tell where the hells you were in this place. He'd be sure to remember that when he returned to retrieve his notebook. Back out on the streets, his senses were again overwhelmed with the teeming streets, full of all manner of man and beast alike. No matter their race, they all wore the same rod that was affixed to Varys. He kept close to Jonathan, not eager to make any unwanted friends if he were able to avoid it.

The building he was led to looked more like a giant machine than a tavern, the tubes that weaved in and out of it's surface almost reminded him of the alchemy lab back in the University. Entry only made that comparison seem more apt. The complex, yet efficient manner that everything was put together spoke to the innovation of a people without fear or interference from outside forces. As they sat down, Varys couldn't help but observe...

"Imagine how much farther we'd be if we could stop killing each other."

He eyed the drink placed in front of him warily, and crossed his arms on the table, choosing instead to focus on his Master.

"Really? That sounds like it could be useful, surely there's a catch?"

If freezing whatever one pleased was so easy, surely that would be being abused by now? He was looking for any excuse he could find to avoid talking about himself again.

He was already sick of that topic.

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jonathan grinned. “Right. We’re going to have to stop in Oban again on the way back. Sure you don’t want to bring her something from the Lightning City?” He asked playfully. He had seen Varys come back a little tipsy and Hob talking about a girl. Jonathan liked that the elf was opening up to someone. It was healthy for him. It was a hard desire for Jon to explain, but watching him stumble back with a girl’s name on his lips had settled him a bit.

The bartender made Jon his own drink, hard pear cider mixed with some sort of whiskey, and went to attend other customers. Jon shrugged. “Well, not that simple exactly. You’ve got to get a Transmuter to keep the temperature down when you harvest seawater from the coldest, blackest depths of the trenches here. Reason why there’s so much salt in the air is the roiling sea. Then you’ve got to concentrate that salt water so it dips far down below the temperature needed for normal water to freeze. Then cultivate a layer of ice to keep the salt water cold, and then you can use it. It’s expensive and annoying, so I’d not let that melt.” He nodded at Varys’ drink.

“We’d probably be just as advanced as Volta. The only thing that keeps wars from reaching this place is mankind’s reliance on metal. Even Volta’s restricted to glass, wood and stone.” Jon pointed out. “But it’s nice going to one place that you know you’re not going to catch a shiv to the gut for your coin.”

“We’ve got Mayor Bram to thank for that. Though she wouldn’t be too pleased to hear you’re in town, Burr.” The bartender said as an aside.

Varys
 
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Varys

~~The Elven Apprentice~~
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Varys would quite quickly choose sipping the cold liquid from his glass than answer the question. Really, he figured it would be silly to go that far. They'd only met the one time, after all. It didn't matter how much he liked her, he held no illusions about what could be. He'd spent his entire life to this point relying on himself, and he was prepared to continue the remainder as such.

He wasn't too fond of the taste of this 'Mule' Jon had gotten for him, but the tang it held did ease his mind a bit. He'd thought that after finding his answers, it would put him at peace. That was naïve and he knew it damned well. The potential truths that he now looked at were unsatisfying to say the least.

"Nothing happened. With her and I, I mean. I don't know what Hob might have told you, but the guards were hunting her, and I smuggled her out. I'm sure you can understand why I might have related to that plight. I said I'd try and talk you into a small display when we came back. She was interested to see what you could do."

He sets his now empty glass aside, having downed the Mule much faster than he'd planned to.

"Volta is nice though. It's almost as if you've stepped ahead in time when you enter it. It's almost hopeful, if that makes sense."

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jon laughed. "You saved a damsel in distress?" he asked playfully. "I'm proud of you. At least you're a gentleman, or more a gentleman than Hob would be in that instance. Thank you for helping the girl. I'm sure I can whip up something for her, if she's that curious. Coin, after all, isn't everything. Sometimes just getting people talking helps with my business." He sipped his own drink and looked around with a fond smile. "I love Volta. It's a great city. Not always the most ethical, and it's not without it's flaws. I've heard some rumors about our beloved Mayor, who may be reaching well into her hundreds as a human..."

"Watch it Jon." The bartender whisked away Varys' empty glass.

"Either way, it's a good town to visit but I could never live here. It takes a certain type to do that. Someone who's fine with staying in one place his entire life and studying a discipline so thoroughly he could get lost into it. One who has to contribute, or be banished to obscurity. Ever noticed how you haven't seen any beggars? You contribute to Volta, or she will turn you out on the plains without a word." Jon downed his drink. "I also can't be away from Hob for too long. After a few days bad things start to happen to us both."

He set down his glass. "But enough about that. Any place you want to visit before you leave? I did have one thought....the brothel. Before you start blushing, no one ever touches the whores here in Volta. They're skilled in memory magic, and illusion. You both enter a trance, where your lover envisions your greatest desires hidden deep in your mind. Everything's acted out in magic. Of course, some of them like physical contact, but....what if diving into your brain is what's needed? If your greatest desire is to find this Prism...who's to say your Master hasn't left a few hints up here?" He tapped Varys' temple.

Varys
 

Varys

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"I mean... I wouldn't say she was a damsel in distress. She would have made it out either way, I just made it easier. She knows how to throw a kick." He snickers to himself, remembering the mighty shot to the groin one of the bandits who'd attempted to rob them had taken from her. He didn't mention that he'd used the wagon without Jon's permission to accomplish the feat, or that the reason one of his rockets hadn't gone off correctly last week was because Varys had used it to bash a thug's knee in.

He merely shrugged his shoulders as he hinted at the darker side of the seemingly squeaky clean town. He drummed the tips of his fingers on their table, rolling his eyes a bit. Having lived his life watching others, it wasn't surprising. "Every place has a dark side to it, Jon. You find me a perfect town and I'll show you a city of liars. It takes all types to maintain a civilization, and more than a couple of those types are ugly. It's one reason we're still climbing to this level. Power is the most dangerous drug of all."

He was glad that Jonathan had waited to reveal his grand plan until Varys had finished his drink. Had he not, he would have likely received a face full of spit take. A brothel? It was a desperate move... and Deingras could still come up with something more concrete. "Wh-what? I'm not sure that logic is totally sound, Jon..." That was putting it lightly. They were throwing something at the wall and hoping it would stick to it. Even so...

"I hate to admit it, but Deingras actually made a similar assertion. Wondering if these weren't things I might not already know, but am not aware of." He crosses his arms, a scowl settling on his features. "You bastard, that's why you wanted me to drink. You know there's no way you'd talk me into this if I was totally sober."

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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"Well Hob has a strong opinion about you being a little bit of a prude, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't agree with him." Jon chuckled. "Don't judge the ladies before you meet them, Varys. These aren't the streetwalkers you'd find on the corner. They're pretty elegant, and they choose their clients. Come on now, stow the elvish sense of prudishness." He clapped Varys on the back and set a few walnut nel on the bar. He stood, stretching and smiling. "Come on Varys. Let's see if you've got some things up there you don't know you know."

Jonathan led him down the road. This time off the beaten path a bit, toward the docks. There was a smaller building, this one more built like a tower than anything. A square tower, if one were possible, with glass tubing curled in elegant lettering. As they approached, the tubes lit up in bright pink, magic and sparks making the words light up.

Electric Dreams

Jonathan pushed the door open, and as they entered the words crackled and went dark again. There was a woman at the front desk, dressed provocatively in a dress of shimmering glass scales. She was meant to allude to a mermaid, her breasts barely covered by shimmering scales that winked glimpses of her body beneath when she sat up to regard them. She smiled, batting long lashes at them, and set her book aside.

"Welcome Gentlemen. What can I do for you?" she asked.

"My apprentice here is in need of a dream, Elia. Nothing physical unless he asks for it, I'm afraid." Jonathan put on a winning smile and leaned against the counter.

Elia turned large brown eyes on Varys, flicking her curly black hair over one shoulder. "And what are your preferences, love? Man, woman, other?" Her smile was mischievous. "I'm sure we could find someone your age, we have many talented witches here, some of them still in their apprenticeships."

"I'd prefer a master for his particular case." Jonathan interjected.

"Very well then. All that remains is the question of the race and sex. If you have any preferences, that is." Elia leaned in a bit, showing off the impressively plunging neckline of her dress.

Varys
 

Varys

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Varys wasted little time in arguing Jon's point about his so called 'Prudish' nature. "It's not that I'm a prude! I just don't have any desire to add another thing to my list of needs and worries. Women? They're even more complicated than me, and I don't even know what the hell I am! Even a brothel is just a place where you pay somebody to pretend they enjoy your company for a few hours, It's every bit as manufactured as everything else here!" He begins to feel his skin heat up, but with a small sigh, he sinks back into his seat, accepting defeat for now. Begrudgingly, he stands, following Jonathan out of the building.

He didn't need to be told where the place was once they were close enough for the sickeningly pink display to show itself proudly. He finds himself rolling his eyes, before looking over at Jonathan again. "This may be the dumbest idea I've ever heard. If you tell Hob about this, I quit."

He didn't entirely sound like he was joking, either.

Walking into the gaudy looking building, he made sure he was positioned a decent length behind Jonathan as he addresses the attendant. Crossing his arms, he briefly looks over Elia's shapely form before focusing anything but that, doing his best to appear unimpressed with the whole of things.

It was strange, to hear dreams spoke of as if they were a product or commodity. When he was young, dreams were fleeting reprieves: The only places where he could escape the ugly reality he had to face when he awoke. To see them monetized... bothered him, to say the very least. When things did progress as far as Volta had made it and beyond, would anything be beyond the scope of sale?

It takes him a moment to realize he's being addressed by the woman. His eyes dart over to her, and then back to Jon. He opens his mouth, and his jaw hangs in place for a moment. It was clear he wasn't going to answer the question.

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

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Jonathan knew Varys was a bit inexperienced. He didn’t know what or who he was. Sexuality came much later in a man’s life than figuring out his place in the world. Jonathan fell silent but guided him to the parlour with a grin on his face. When Varys stared at Elia like a fish out of water, Jon laughed. “I think Felissa will suffice. She’s one of the strongest mages you have. She’s gentle with newbies too.” He mentioned.

Elia pulled a key from behind her counter and settled it in front of Varys. “Enjoy sweetheart, you have until the sun rises.” She said sweetly. “It’s room eleven, third floor up.” She waved when Jon opened his mouth. “Oh stop, Vanessa was hounding me ever since she heard that garish wagon was parked outside the city, go upstairs.”

Jonathan leaned in and kissed her cheek. “You’re a doll, Elia.”

“So they say.” She giggled sweetly. Jonathan hardly waited for Varys, heading up the stairs. He knew what room he wanted. Room five, and the door opened before he touched the handle. A beauty wound ivory arms around his neck, her lips meeting his. He had to close the door with his foot.

“I thought you’d never come back.” Vanessa said softly, as Jon swept his arm behind her knees and carried her to a chair. Her long legs ended in twin stumps, gilded in beautiful caps of exotic wood. “I missed you so terribly. Tell me everything.”

Likewise, when Varys opened the door to his own room, Felissa was perched on her bed of black silk. The room looked like that of a noblewoman, complete with her own powder room, closet, and a table for her makeup. Felissa herself was elvish, with long blonde locks and green eyes that spoke of the forest after a storm. She was dressed in sheer red silk that left nothing to the imagination, though she was similarity crippled as Vanessa was. Her legs ended in carved caps of ebony.

“Come and sit with me. Would you like something to drink before we begin?” Felissa asked, in perfect Elvish. She was slightly built, as fleet as a deer. No doubt her missing feet would have been just as immaculate as the rest of her.

Varys
 

Varys

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Varys cast one last glance at Elia, perhaps a silent apology for his cold demeanor, before following Jonathan up the steps. As was the usual, his Master seemed to have his own motive for being here, and he also appeared to have endeared himself to just about every easy on the eyes female this side of Arethil. That was becoming a trend.

Reaching the top of the stairs, he sees Jonathan being all but pulled into his own room. Varys raises an eyebrow of confusion. Not at what he'd seen, but at how exactly it had made him feel. That familiar pang of heat that rested just underneath his ribcage. He didn't feel it as often as he used to, before he'd met Jonathan, but it was still there.

It was the loneliness that followed him, no matter what he did to escape it's bitter taste. Varys didn't have anyone who lit up in such a brilliant fashion when seeing his face, who was eager to hear him spill his thoughts. He had nobody waiting for him at home, or who missed him.

Who the hell was he, anyways? He was a vagrant. One who'd gotten a lucky roll of the dice apprenticeship with a Master who, while kind and caring, was more or less letting him tag along. Even if he found out the what, he would never know the why. That had died with his father.

It was an ungrateful way to think. A selfish way. After coming this far though, he felt as though he was owed a bit of selfishness.

He must have stood outside of his door for several minutes before opening it and walking in. He wasn't embarrassed to be here, despite what Jonathan and Hob likely would assume. It wasn't him being prudish, or lacking in maturity.

He just didn't like the kind of thoughts these places dredged up.

The elf sitting inside the room waiting him may as well have been wearing nothing, and one look was all Varys gave before turning around to shut the door slowly. Turning back to face her, he kept his eyes at her face. She was beautiful, to be expected. In Fal'Addas, she'd have been extremely sought after. A bit too pristine for his tastes though. She looked far too much like the types who would turn their nose up at him as they passed. He takes a breath and turns his back to her to sit on the edge of the bed.

In Elven she spoke, and in turn he replied.

"They went out of their way to make this look like some haughty bastard's chambers from Falwood, didn't they...?"

Realizing that she was merely doing what she was told, and that he would merely be making things more difficult for her by complaining, he sighs and slumps his shoulders.

"Apologies, and I'm fine, thank you Miss. I mean no offense, but I'd very much rather we'd just begin. It's been a long enough day as it is."

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

The Fireworks Master
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Felissa laughed. “You know what? I think they might have. Adds to some silly fantasy, the elvish princess locked away in her tower...” she put a mocking hand to the back of her forehead as though to faint, then sat up properly. “Nevermind that. I didn’t choose the decor. My name is Felissa. And you are...?” She raised an eyebrow with a soft, teasing smile on her lips. She wasn’t making fun of him, but she knew he was nervous and rushing it for the sake of that nervousness. “Have you ever done this before, swum in the Dream?”

She would be gentle then. She bade him to lay on his back on the bed, and quietly unlaced his shoes. She put them aside, and undid his shirt. “It’s alright. To dream you have to be as you came into this world. Warm, and naked, and relaxed. It’s like leaving your body if only for a little while, and your body so desperately wants to keep you there by reminding you of your shoes, or your shirt.” Felissa explained. “If you like, you can keep your small clothes. I can power through a scrap of clothing or two.”

She took off each item of clothing and made sure he was comfortable. She needed him relaxed, and would sit and talk to him quietly until he was. “There will be a small pull, as the spell winds into you. Then I will take you.” She said softly, and leaned over him. She closed her eyes and pressed her lips to his, halfway settled on his chest like a contented cat.

He fell down, through soft mists and silken sheets. Down into deafness, blackness, and sleep. Falling through something glass or crystal, and breaking apart as light through colored glass.

Varys hovered above black waters, innumerable and still, stretching far away into murky darkness. Hovering above it was a clear crystal, of six equidistant points, roughly the size of a grapefruit. If he approached it, the ripples of his footsteps touched the Prism, and brought light to the place around them.

It was an oasis, a pool of water surrounded by jungle. A thin layer of trees, ferns and life. Beyond...nothing but sand. A wasteland, a sea, from which there was no surviving. The Prism waited there quietly, barely seen to the casual eye. Ignored by desperate beasts who guzzled the water and ate the plants, and had no use for crystals.

Slowly the point sank. It touched the water, slipped underneath, and the vision shifted.

A woman holding Varys about the waist, laughing as they danced and twirled. The way she looked up at him was the dawn of the world, her eyes alight with love. She was his, and he a part of her, and never would their woven fingers part. Varys was known and loved, and respected. Everyone had come to see them dance. A humble but comfortable existence. A wash of peace, of joy, settled over Varys. She leaned up and kissed him, so chaste and sweet. She poured her soul into that kiss.

Varys
 

Varys

~~The Elven Apprentice~~
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He tried not to think about it all. He tried to ignore the sensation of his layers being removed. The profound, unmistakable sensation of another body coming to rest on him. It was all so foreign, so unfamiliar to him. The trip to this strange, bewildering town has put an already weary mind through it's paces, and this was what it all came down to. Either he'd finally get what he was looking for, or it was back to searching. For how long, who knows? Regardless, Varys wasn't apprehensive anymore. If he was going through with this, he was jumping it with both feet. So when the female elf moved to kiss him, for the brief moment that he retained his consciousness...

He kissed her back.

He couldn't recall the exact sensations that he felt, falling into his own mind. It was as though his body was sinking deeper and deeper in an ocean, with no sunlight to be found. He was drowning, but there was no panic in his mind. He just closed his eyes, and let the waves carry him home. Somewhere inside of himself, he'd find the little black box his father wanted to keep away from him. He'd crack the bitch open and get what he needed.

He felt the ground beneath his feet, mixed with green life and sand as he curled his toes. He felt a warm breeze splash across his face, beckoning him to open his eyes. Little by little his lids lifted, the sun baked oasis filling his vision, sinking into his bare pores as his gaze moved downward.

There it was, where it had always been. As if somebody had just cast it aside, without a care. He didn't need to second guess; it had been just as Deingras had told him, he'd likely known all about The Prism all along. More importantly than that, he knew what he needed to do with it.

Just as he would reach out to grab it, his surroundings would shift again.

Gone was the serene silence of the oasis. It was replaced by the sound of merriment and joy. His face twisted in confusion, frustration at how fleeting his chance to see The Prism had been. What... what was this? There were arms around his waist, a form against his own. Laughter, he looked down at the source.

He looked down at the woman clutching him tightly, and frowned. He should be happy. This moment should have been cathartic, and he would revel in the fulfillment of what he considered to be 'being whole'. The love and happiness that flowed through the air like a thick smoke wafted into his nostrils in an almost sickening manner.

But it was fake, and he knew it was fake.

As the dream leaned up to press it's lips to his own, he pulled away. His arms found it's waist, and he pushed it away gently. Bowing his head in apology, he turned on his heel, and walked in the opposite direction. It was time to wake up. He closes his eyes waiting to be pulled out of this other plane, and as he does so smirks to himself.

Maybe he'd come back and see Felissa sometime.

But he didn't need the comfort of a dream to keep him afloat.

Maybe he just needed the occasional barmaid.

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

The Fireworks Master
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Felissa blinked as she lifted her head from his. He’d pulled himself out of the dream, pushing her away and stepping away from it. She raised an eyebrow and sat back, pulling her hair over one shoulder. Crafting a dream was difficult. The first part had been his, as she’d sunk deeply into his mind and rifled through the visions that had been left there. Not so much memories but echoes. She was gentle with her new dreamers but she hadn’t been so sharply rejected for a while.

She cleared her throat and looked at him. “Well...I guess I wasn’t exactly to your tastes then.” She said. “Did you mean to do that or did I frighten you?”

Felissa tried not to take it personally, but she normally prided herself on her visions. She hadn’t understood what the prism was. That had come from his own mind. But what was a Prism doing out in the Sand Sea? She’d recognized the place, just not the object. He’d seemed more interested in that than a pretty girl, which was a first for her. Was it an artifact of some kind? A metaphor? Who knew?

Felissa sighed and crossed her arms. “Well...we were barely in three hours. I guess I should thank you for the night off.” She tried not to sound too damn miffed.
Varys
 

Varys

~~The Elven Apprentice~~
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The first thing to come out of his mouth when he sits up, and she finishes doing her best not to sound offended at his apparent rejection of her work, is laughter. He definitely seemed more at ease now than he had when she'd put him under, it was almost a complete turnaround. He shakes his head, leaning back against the headboard with a smile

"Oh not all, Felissa! That was exactly what I needed, actually. You're as good as they said you were!" He grinned at her, also apparently nowhere near as meek about their mutual state of undress. He looks her over once more. May as well, since he wasn't getting anything else. He was feeling a good deal less shy.

He explained to her, in brief terms, about his hunt for the Prism she'd brought out of his mind, and about the idea to come here. She was obviously a bit dejected at what he'd done, and he felt rather bad.

"I was kind of lost in my own head when I came in here. I was nervous, obviously, but I was also scared that other emotions might get in the way. You did it though, you helped me. I'm forever thankful to you for that."

He turns to let his legs hang over the edge of the bed, stretching his slender form out and yawning. Had he really been out three hours? And that was short? Great, that meant he'd be waiting on Jonathan for a while. That wasn't the most pleasant thought. He turns back around to look at Felissa again.

"That wasn't a rejection of your work at the end there, by the way. It was definitely realistic, and every bone in my body wanted to stay under with you there. Getting over myself and walking away from some picture perfect happy ending was just something I needed to do for myself."

Standing up and bending over to stretch his back out a bit more, he continues.

"I think I'm all sorted now though. Maybe I won't be so boring for you in the future." He chuckles softly. "Now that you've helped pull the stick out of my rear, so to speak."

Jonathan Burr
 

Jonathan Burr

The Fireworks Master
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Felissa raised an eyebrow. “Is that why you were envisioning the Sand Sea?” She asked, laying back on the bed as he stretched. “I was wondering why your mind took us there. It’s so far from here, and I don’t even know where that oasis is. None of the trees looked disturbed, so it’s clearly one that’s been undiscovered for a while.” She looked over at him. He was still a handsome thing even if he wasn’t exactly tactful, and she was going to be bored in here by herself. She was expected to sleep after a meal at the end of her shift, and Jonathan had reserved her for the entire night.

Which meant she had little more to do than stare at the ceiling.

“Well...” she looked at him invitingly from under long, dark lashes. “You’ve got me for another eight hours.” The implication was clear, or at least she hoped it was clear. At least Varys got the hint, and she welcomed him into her arms.

____________________________

Felissa gave Varys a fond kiss farewell, and let him use the bath tub in her water closet before he left. After all, Electric Dreams didn’t leave its clients sweaty and dirty.

Jonathan was downstairs in the lobby, looking clothed, and not as though he’d bathed recently at all. Vanessa was in his arms, and the pair was practically cheek to cheek. Jon swayed as though dancing with her, humming quietly to music they both knew but couldn’t play.

“I’ll miss you..” she whispered, kissing him and tucking her head against his shoulder.

“None of that...I’ll be back.” Jon reassured her softly, kissing her hair. “Should I take you back upstairs?”

“No...I’ll be fine.” Vanessa sighed. “Why can’t you stay? In Volta? They’d kill to have you here...”

“You know I can’t, sweetling.” Jonathan kissed her and settled her into a lobby chair, taking her hand and kissing her palm. “I’ll be gone for a few months. But I always return.”

He looked up when Varys came down the stairs. “Ah good, you’re awake. Vanessa, meet my apprentice Varys. Varys, the most enchanting mage you’ll ever have the hope to meet.” Jon introduced them. “We should return soon, we’ve been gone nearly a day.”

Varys
 

Varys

~~The Elven Apprentice~~
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While Varys was definitely far more... open... with Felissa than he'd planned to be that night, he can't claim to have regretted it. He left that room with a new sense of purpose. Not because of what had occurred behind the door, but because of his dream. He knew where The Prism was, and he knew what came next for him. That alone cleared all the doubts from his mind.

Well, almost all of them.

The odd scene between Jonathan and his, erm... friend... wasn't something he'd expected. He wondered if maybe the two of them were a bit closer than most clients tended to get with the selection here. Judging from the state of their legs, he had an ominous feeling that once you worked here, you didn't leave. He felt a bit sorry for Jon, but if he was being honest he was still a tad annoyed with him, regardless or whether or not his plan had worked.

He cleared his throat as he approached them, Jon settling her into a chair as he reassured her. Varys gave little hint that anything had happened to him. The only difference from when they'd ascended is that he'd elected to keep his long silvery locks down, letting them cascade over his shoulders and back. He nods politely to the woman swooned by Jonathan.

"Charmed, Miss Vanessa."

His eyes go back up to Jonathan, and he leans forward to whisper into his ear.

"I found The Prism."

He draws back, and smirks a bit before leaning back in to add with a playful bite.

"Also, with all due respect... Fuck you."

Jonathan Burr
 
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