Private Tales Light At the End of the Tunnel

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Maric

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Vinra - Allir Reach

The wheels of the wagon turned, and turned. The sound of them bumping against the misaligned cobbles seemed an almost constant racket, one that had followed him for he had no idea how many miles. He'd hated it at first, then come to love it, then returned to hatred once more. Now Maric was numb to their sound. It was simply a part of the world, and he had to accept it.

"What do you think, Professor?"​

"Hm?" His head perked up as one of the other passengers addressed him.

He was a portly man, his compatriot. Some merchant the carriage had picked up back in Alliria. He and his wife had been holding some sort of conversation, though Maric had toned them out right alongside the wagon wheels. Mostly because he'd quickly found them both to be utterly droll and ego-maniacal. Strange that a merchant who couldn't even afford his own coach would have such narcissism.

"We were talking of the troubles in Vel Anir. That 'revolution' they had. Terrible thing really. Supplanting those of noble birth."​

Maric frowned for a moment, parsing through his thoughts as if trying to pin-point what the man was talking about. "Pardon, I have no ide-"

Before he could finish his sentence the Coach came to a sudden stop. There was a loud thud as the driver banged on the top of the coach, his voice booming out as he called the name of the city that they now found themselves in. The professor did not understand it. Almost instantly Maric pulled out a small pocket watch, the lid flipping over to reveal a clockwork housing surrounding a single gem.

A light lay within it, dim, pulling towards the southern edge of the stone. It seemed to spark as he opened the lid, growing ever so brighter.

This was it.

"This is my stop, good luck with your...Revolution." Maric said, pulling himself up and opening the door before the merchant could object to the statement.

As soon Maric exited the coach he was accosted by his own baggage being thrown at him, a quick thanks uttered, and then another shout being raised as the wagon driver saw them forward. For a brief moment the Professor stood stunned, finding himself in a city he did not know. His head turned left, then right, grabbing a passerby. "Excuse me sir, where are we?"

"You're in Vinra, Sir."​

"Thank you." He knew little of Vinra, in truth. Save that it sat on the Sayve and had been a bold bastion during the Templar War. It's great white walls standing against a siege of nearly five years. He opened the watch once more, peering down at the gem within it's center. The light sparked, and then pulled once again towards the south.

A frown prickled over his lips, and then he began to walk.
 
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Ciana

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Her window had become nothing more than a torment. A reminder of the world she was no longer welcome to be part of. She had little strength, but each day she tortured herself by using what little she had to drag herself to the cushioned window ledge where she sat watching the bustling streets below. It was this, or stare into her empty hearth, at the same four walls she'd been staring at for months or the locked door that she'd long grew tired of pounding her fists into. This was a lesser of many evils.

"Ciana." the female tone was firm and the name was spoken in a way that suggested the woman speaking it was tired of scolding her. Ciana ignored it, as she was also so used to doing.

"Are you deaf, child?" the stout little woman locked the door behind her, tucking the key into her apron as she strode to the large,vacated bed to re-fluff the pillows and fix the quilts. "You know it only makes you w-"

"Just a few more minutes, Meryl." the girl in the window cut her off, and the woman threw her hands in the air with an exasperated sigh.

"I take my orders from your father, Ciana, now come." Meryl urged, now reaching to take her arm and gently usher her from the window. The few paces back to bed felt like miles and the girl, despite her youth, leaned heavily into the older woman as she assisted her. The moment she was back in bed with her covers drawn up, Meryl returned to the window and drew the thick, black drapes over it, snuffing out the daylight almost entirely.

She couldn't deny that she felt somewhat better when the room fell into darkness again, but it was a strain upon her mind, to be left alone in the dark for so long. Even the hearth and candles had long been extinguished.

Meryl plucked a small bottle from her apron and pressed it into Ciana's pale hands. "Now, drink your tincture and get some rest.." she said, and poured a cup of water for her before leaving her in the darkness without another word, the sound of the clicking lock a harsh echo in her ears. For a moment, her mind seemed to forget her body's lack of capability, that she had barely the strength to stand let alone throw anything with force, and so the little bottle of white liquid clinked feebly to the floor when she'd tried to shatter it against the door in defiance.

"Light find me, and guide me from this darkness." she whispered her mother's words into the empty room, and closed her eyes.
 
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Maric

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Vinra was a maze of the worst kind.

It seemed that in the centuries since the Templar Wars people had taken advantage of the destruction. Dozens of buildings lined every street, squished closely together and with barely and alleyway between them. The run of the place was like a maze, one he would have found hard to traverse were it not for his compass.

He moved quickly with the pocket watch open, holding the device in a vice like grip lest someone try to pluck it away. His satchel hung from his shoulders, and as he walked the streets became gradually more refined.

Muck left the streets, the buildings became more grand, and the people surrounding him went from rags to riches. Even among those however Maric stood out, his peculiar black cloak markedly different than those worn by others.

He noticed none of this of course, far too focused upon where he was going.

Every few seconds the globe would pulse, pull in a different direction, drag him forward. Then finally it stopped. A single light, pointing, and finally Maric's head turned upward.

Before him sat a gate, a massive wrought iron thing. Behind it lay what he could only describe as a palace. Huge marble columns and granite steps decorated a garden of greens and intricate statues, all perfectly kept together.

Maric quirked his head to the side. "Excuse me, sir."

The Professor said as he stepped towards the grate, calling to a man beyond.

"Who is it that lives here?" He called.
 
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The man beyond the gate halted his whistling and paused his pruning, the basket of fresh cut roses at his feet making his profession quite obvious. Carter, the family's gardener, had been with them since well before Ciana was born. Her mother had taken him in when he'd been cast out into the streets having lost his wife and home. He was the only one in the household who still spoke to Ciana of her mother, and whom she spoke to most. His brow had furrowed at the question, his skin sun-withered and aged beyond his years. Someone who didn't know who lived in the manor was certainly not from around here, and Carter's strong arms folded over his chest as he took up a somewhat protective stance whilst he surveyed the man for a moment.

"This be the Lord an' Lady Van'Santen's home, Sir.." he answered with a quirk in his brow. "Is there somethin' I can be helpin' you wit?.." he asked, taking a few slow strides toward the wrought iron gates.
 
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Maric

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Maric looked the man up and down, trying to see if he could remember the families name.

After a few moments of consideration his head shook, no memory coming back to him. "No."

The device still sat within the palm of his hand, still pointed itself towards the building just ahead. He was confident that it was in there. Confident that that was where he needed to be. The lid of the watch snapped shut, and he tucked it into his jacket.

"My name is Professor Maric Temlir." His voice sounded strong, confident. "I believe Lord and Lady Van'Santen have a...concern troubling them."

His shoulers squared slightly as the man stared at him, dark amber eyes meeting Carter's. "I am here to help."
 

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"A professor, eh?.." Carter asked curiously, his brow rising into his hairline. "Well, I hope you'll be havin' better luck than the rest o' them.." the man sighed deeply, scratching at his stubbled jaw as he approached the gate to unlock it.. "The poor lass ent deservin' of whatever curse she be sufferin'." he commented, and beckoned him in.

"If yeh wouldn' mind jus' waitin' by the door i'll fetch someone teh see teh yeh.." the gardener nodded, his feet crunching in gravel as he led the professor along the path toward the manor. He gestured toward one of the benches on the large porch before disappearing inside, returning a few minutes later to invite him inside and lead him to the family's study. Inside the manor was even more grand than the outside. Floors and winding staircases of rich mahogany, thick, luxurious rugs and cosy lanterns. A large family portrait hung in the foyer. Lord and Lady Van'Santen stood elegantly dressed in front of three children, the oldest - a girl with eyes that seemed golden and hair that seemed spun from pure sunlight, perfectly captured on canvas. And two younger boys, with dark hair and eyes like their parents.

In the study, looking now a few years older than their painted selves, were the Lord and Lady, and a male servant who was fussing over a tray of tea. Lord Baylen Van'Santen's brow was furrowed in consternation as he examined the man.

"I'm afraid that I am somewhat vexed by your arrival, Professor.. Morris, was it? I don't recall writing to you, and so I am at a loss as to what has brought you here."
 
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Maric

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Maric listened to the words very carefully. His head tilted in an absent nod as the Gardener beckoned him inside. Curse? Girl?

He mused on the words as he was let inside, his fingers interlacing behind his back. He'd not known what the orb had pointed him towards, but he had spent the whole of his journey trying to remember where he had first found it.

At first he'd thought he remembered it as a gift, something given to him by someone, but then he thought more on it. The Orb had come to him during a line of research, looking into the lineage of magics. It has not an object of power, never had been, but more of a...mark.

Though it had never worked until that fateful day.

"Maric." The Professor corrected, though his voice was not stern.

He looked at the Lady and Lord, observing them for a moment. He searched for signs, but none of them were there. So it was not the Lady of the house. His gaze flickered to the portrait for a moment, the young girl within. "Your daughter's...issue."

Maric made a guess.

"I believe I can help." He glossed over the man's question. "If you would allow me to."
 

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The couple exchanged a look of dubiety and Baylen's throat cleared as he was about to speak, though before he could the woman's voice cut through the atmosphere like a shard of ice.

"The girl is dangerous, Professor. My husband refuses to give up seeking out healers from far and wide but none have been able to rid her of her illness, to great cost. What makes you think that you might be able to help her?" she asked tersely.
 
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Maric raised his eyebrows.

It would not have been wrong to say that he had lived a somewhat sheltered life. He'd never known his own parents, both having passed before he'd even been born. Yet the man whom he could have called father, the Mentor whom had raised him at Althhaven had told him of their love for him.

He'd never had a family, but he knew what it was supposed to be. Had read books on it, been told by other students and even his peers what it should have been. For some reason Lady Van'Santen's reaction took him aback.

For slightly too long he stayed silent, and then cleared his throat. "Because it is what I do, My Lady."

Slowly reaching down he began to roll up his left sleeve.

"I am no stranger to the dangers of magic." The more he rolled up his sleeve the scars began to show, his skin mangled and ripped apart, strange lines of black and purple running where his veins should have been. "Many years ago I suffered an accident."

He showed them his arm. "I took a vow that I would let none suffer the same."

Slowly his attention turned away from Lady Van'Santen, his gaze falling to her husband.

"That is why I am here." The weaving of fate, destiny, perhaps a path that he himself had set down a decade before. Maric wasn't quite sure, but he knew he wanted to know more. Wanted to at least meet the girl.
 
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The woman's gaze widened slightly and then narrowed, her fingers curling into her palms in her lap. "We do not deal with magic in our home, Prof--"

"Elspeth." Baylen interrupted, his hand on his wife's shoulder. The woman lapsed into an affronted silence and tore her gaze from Maric to look out of the large, arched windows into the gardens, though her gaze was far more distant and rage glistened in them.

"Come, Professor. My daughter is resting now, but I'd like to discuss things further with you, alone." he dipped his chin respectfully, and where the woman's expression had been disdainful, Baylen's was hopeful. He led the professor along a corridor and into a luxurious office, gesturing for him to take a seat in one of the large armchairs by the hearth where a log fire burned.

He decanted two crystal glasses of whisky without asking and sat one down on the table for the Professor whilst he swirled his in his hand and took a sip.

"You must forgive my wife. She lost hope long ago, and these past few months have been.. trying, for her. Firstly, I'd like to know who sent you here. Secondly I'd like to know what you know of my daughter's affliction and thirdly, what you plan to do to cure it." he asked, and settled back into the opposite chair.
 
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Maric

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Ah. Perhaps he should have learned more about Vinra before coming here. In his eagerness to understand he had skipped a step. He supposed it made sense that a city like this would deny it's involvement in Magic. The Templar wars still lingered in the minds of many.

Lips thinned for a moment as Lord Van'Santen scolded his wife. His sleeve was quickly thrust back down his forearm, gaze following Lady Elspeth for just a moment as Baylen escorted him from the room to another sitting area.

"I do not know much, truthfully." He knew nothing at all. "Only what I caught in...academic circles."

Maric tried to skirt around the truth, knowing it was not important. "I do not know how I might...cure her."

"Not until I see her."
The Professor explained. "I won't pretend I have a solution already prepared, that would be a lie, but I know much, and can find out even more. I can help."

Not that it would be easy. "As for what sent me here."

He mused, wondering how much to tell the man. The Lord seemed to genuinely care for his daughter, but his wife...his wife' reaction had been harsh.

"Do you believe in fate, My Lord? Destiny?" The Professor asked.
 
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Ciana

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Baylen seemed to consider the professor for a long moment, his eyes distant in thought.

"Long ago, I did.. But it is not something I have considered in many years." he answered cryptically and let out a long sigh. He reached to the side table, picking up a small bell and ringing it and sipping at his whisky as he waited.

A short, plump woman arrived promptly, her gaze shifting between the two men as she curtsied. "Yes, Sir?"

"Meryl, have my daughter prepared for a visitor."

"But, My Lord she is--"

"I said, have my daughter, prepared for a visitor." he said again, his tone firm. The woman curtsied again and dipped her chin.

"Of course, My Lord. Right away." she said and rushed from the room.

Baylen returned his attention to Maric. "Ciana's mother passed after a few years of the same illness. No healers can explain it, none can find anything to resolve it. I am not opposed to your magic, Professor, if it will take my daughter's pain and let her rest... I am not sure, how much longer I can watch her suffer." he frowned, his hand settling on his pocket for a moment before drawing away.

"I had.. given up hope." he admitted shamefully, his hands shaking. "She has not seen daylight in months. After the incident I agreed to keep her door locked. I... I haven't had the nerve to visit with her." he looked down.

"I will pay, no matter the cost. If you can help her, then do so, I don't care how."
 
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Maric

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Maric had to keep his face utterly still, like a marble mask, as the man described locking away his daughter from the light of day.

In reality he wanted to wretch with disgust at the mere thought of a father doing such a thing to his own kin. The idea was repugnant. He'd heard of such things, had even seen them at Althhaven of course, but ones own family? Bile rose within his throat, head dipping in a nod to disguise the fact that he was nearly sick.

He understood the need for...moral flexibility. His own experiments had created pain, agony even, but always his subjects had volunteered. Always they had sought a better life, known the risks.

Was it the same with this mans daughter? Did she want this?

Maric doubted it.

"What incident?" The Professor asked, deciding that it was best not to address his own thoughts to keeping the girl locked up. "And."

He began with a frown. "You say her mother died of this illness?"

That meant Lady Elspeth was not the girls mother, and explained her disposition towards her. "May I ask the circumstances around that? And do you know of anyone else in her family that suffered the same?"

His curiosity was piqued, yet if this was some sort of a disease...why had no one else ever heard of it? Why had no one else suffered from it? Most important...why did the gem lead him to it? No. This was not a sickness. It was something else.
 
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It had not been an easy thing for Baylen to agree to. It was what'd led him to sit alone most days and nights, drinking his whisky and slowly losing his mind. His hand dragged down his tired face and he sighed. It'd been something that he had forbidden any in the household to speak of, though he supposed if this man was to help his daughter he ought to know all he could.

"We attended a dinner party at the Baron's estate, as a family, some months ago. Ciana had been terribly ill, though at night her symptoms settle and she begged me to let her attend. I did.." he frowned, a sad smile on his lips. "What a gift it was to see her like her old self. She looks just like her mother when I met her." he let out a huff and downed the rest of his whisky.

"I'm not sure what happened, other than that there seemed to be a disagreement, between Ciana and the Baron's son in the gardens and then, somehow there was fire. The boy was burned badly, half the Baron's gardens were reduced to ash and Ciana had to be dragged unconscious out of the flames.. The boy said she had caused it." his head shook in disbelief.

"Lucinda, Ciana's mother never knew her own parents. I can't say whether the disease runs further. Healers just say its some aversion to light. During the day, she is..so frail. She can barely stand on her own. She has fevers, and I swear her skin would burn you to the touch. She cannot go outside, she cannot even have her fire lit in her chambers. Before the accident she would go outside on the darkest of nights, as though she were never sick at all."

"I've been, having Meryl look after her, giving her something to help her sleep. She needs to rest." he sighed.

"Have you ever heard of anything like this?"
 
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Maric

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Maric’s face darkened once more as the man spoke of ‘giving his daughter something to sleep’. The girl was a prisoner. No doubt sat in his mind now.

Yet it was a gilded prison, one wrought by a loving father who simply wished to see the best for his daughter. Somehow, at least in Maric’s eyes, that made her fate all the worse. The man had no idea what he was dealing with, and The Professor doubted he would want to hear the truth of it.

This was no disease.

He was sure of that now.

This was magic, pure and simple. Of a sort he did not know. There was no disease that took away the light. Not even Vampirism did that, not wholly. Even that did not bestow the gift of fire, no illness did. If the girl was at fault, then she had awoken a gift.

Perhaps that was why the gem had started to glow. "I have heard of such things."

It was not a lie. Magical talent did not always appear at birth. Sometimes it took years, decades even for such gifts to come forth.

"There are some possibilities, but I hesitate to voice them before I have spoken to her." Maric frowned for a moment, wondering just how his...theory would be received. "One more thing, before I see her."

He asked. "When did this all begin?"

Maric had to know.
 

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The little glass bottle crunched under Meryl's foot as she came into the room, the sound of it causing Ciana's eyes to slowly blink open. Meryl cursed under her breath, staring down in the darkness at the milky liquid that now ran into the floorboards.

"Ciana." Meryl's voice was terse, clearly sick of wasting her breath trying to convince the girl to take whatever medicine had been prescribed to her. She'd already had to resort to lacing it into her teas and soups, and Ciana had since stopped eating or drinking those too. Whatever it was, it made her groggy and made her see things that weren't there whenever she fought the oblivion it was intended to drag her to.

"Mh." she muffled into her pillow with a frown.

"You have a visitor, your father has asked me to make you presentable." she shook her head. Ciana looked to the drawn curtains, her gaze narrowed against the dim daylight that still shone through them.

"Visitor?.." she croaked. "Who?."

"A professor, arrived saying he was here to try and help you, if what Carter said is right." Meryl answered, bringing a fresh gown from the wardrobe, as well as a basin of cold water and a cloth, and a brush for her hair.

~
That Maric claimed to have heard of such things already put him ahead of the healers he'd found. His brow rose and he nodded at his words. "Yes. Yes of course. I'd be grateful of anything you can do, I'll have whatever you need brought to you, and have a guest room made up. Later, you can name your price. Money is no object." he assured.

Baylen frowned at the question and his eyes grew distant as he thought back, his head shaking with uncertainty. "She is in her twenty-third year, I... It's grown worse over these past few months, but I first recall her weakness in the daylight perhaps almost two years passed this last Summer."

"My Lord, your daughter is awake." Meryl interrupted meekly and waited to guide the Professor to Ciana's chambers where inside the locked room she sat in darkness in a large armchair beside an until fireplace, struggling to stay awake.
 
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Maric

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Two years.

When had the orb first began it's spark?

Maric wasn't entirely sure that he could name a day. His own...affliction had not occurred before a year passed, and before that he had been so buried in his studies that he might not have noticed such a small thing. Besides that, if it had been growing worse as the days went by...

Perhaps the spark had not been enough until recently. "Thank you, My Lord."

Maric said as he stood from the chair, not having touched a single drop of the whisky he had been offered.

"I will see to her as best I can." The Professor assured him, a smile touching his face, a short bow offered. It seemed enough, though there was still a taint of disgust within him as he offered the man any sort of respect.

He did not deserve it.

A few moments later a door was opened in front of him, Meryl leading him through the halls until the heavy door of a locked room was pulled open before him. His gaze flickered towards the steel bolts within the frame, his head shaking as he stepped inside.

Darkness greeted him, the only light being that which cast onto the floor from the doorway. "Hello?"

He asked softly.
 
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It was strange to hear a voice other than Meryl or Carter's. Not even her father nor her younger brothers had spoken to her since the night at the Baron's estate. She recalled Elspeth yelling at her father outside as healers tended to her, about how dangerous she was, that she didn't want her near her boys, and about what the other Lords and Ladies would think of them now. It was that night that her door had been locked, and she hadn't set foot outside it since.

"Hello." she answered back quietly, her gaze narrowing as she tried to see him. Meryl stepped in behind him, lighting a single candle in the corner of the room before leaving them alone, the heavy door clicking shut behind her. The light was dim, but enough to see by, and as faint as it was, it still caused Ciana's brow to furrow slightly.

"I'm sorry, about the light." she offered politely, her voice soft and weak. "Please, sit down. You, are a professor? Did my father send for you?" she asked, a slight lilt of hope in her tone.
 
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"That's alright." Maric said, his eyes adjusting slowly towards the darkness. He managed to make his way over towards the girl, slowly picking his way through the room until he managed to find the seat she was referring to.

He fumbled slightly, as he sat himself, misjudging in the dark where the chair actually lay.

A smile played over his lips, his gaze sweeping up to look at the girl. She seemed well enough, not underfed, but pale as could be. In the dimmest of light it was hard to tell of course, but at least they were not starving her.

Perhaps that was something. "He did, in a way."

Maric glanced back towards Meryl, observing her for a moment.

"I am a Professor, but not of disease." He explained slowly. "I understand that you think you've been sick?"
 
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His voice had a softness to it, the sound as soothing as low rolling thunder somewhere in the distance. She studied him for a moment, returning his smile, though her own was fragile.

He did in a way...

She didn't know what that meant. She'd assumed, wrongly perhaps, that her father had given up, since the healers had stopped coming a few weeks ago.

"I..." she frowned at the question. "I'm not sure what sickness is influenced by the sun, Professor. Many healers have tried and failed to work it out. But I will not drink anything else, my body nor my mind can take any more experiments." she frowned.

Though her skin was deathly pale, her hair was bright as though spun from gold, with vivid eyes to match, even in the dim candle light. "During the day, I am incredibly weak, often feverish. Even the light of the hearth seems to pull my energy from me. At night, I used to wander the grounds, completely renewed.." she frowned, looking into the empty hearth.

"I am so very tired of it.." she swallowed.
 
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Maric nodded his head as he listened.

He tried to puzzle through his mind, running what he had learned through a thousand different experiments of his own. Lips thinned for a brief moment, eyes closing as he thought. Then slowly he peered up at Ciana. "No tinctures, no experiments."

The Professor promised.

"I have no interest in such things." He told her softly. "For I do not believe you suffer from any illness."

His words dropped, voice a bit more quiet as he leaned forward. He let his eyes roam over her skin, drift to her hair, the bright light that shone within her iris'. "No, I think not."

Maric was so sure.

"Meryl, was it?" The Professor said, turning back towards the moment. "Would you be so kind as to fetch a glass of water?"

He asked innocently.
 
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Ciana was relieved to hear it, certainly, though there had been others before him who had promised such things, only to depart some days later, leaving behind another tincture, tonic or tea. Still, none of them had been a professor, and she was unsure how much his methods would differ.

That he did not think her ill drew her expression into one of obvious confusion. She most certainly was ill, she had suffered every day for over two years, and it had only grown worse. Recently, her condition had deteriorated so rapidly that she, and the entirety of the household, was certain that she would soon die as her mother had. Though at least, her mother had not been locked away alone in a dark room to do so.

She watched the man carefully as he seemed to study her, and she looked to Meryl, realising she too wore a look of bewilderment. She looked hesitant for a moment, though recalled that Baylen had assured him he'd have everything he needed and she nodded.

"Of course, Professor." she answered, and slipped out of the door to shuffle along the corridor.

"Forgive me, Professor, but if you don't think me afflicted with an illness, then what do you consider to be wrong with me?" Ciana asked quietly.
 
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Maric watched Meryl go for a moment, waiting for the click of the door, then he turned back towards Ciana.

A small frown touched his lips. "I don't think there's a thing wrong with you, Ciana."

The Professor's words hung in the air for a moment, then slowly he leaned forward.

He was sure now. Utterly positive. There was no illness in the world like this, but there was something to be inherited. Something that she no doubt wasn't even aware of. The ignorance of this place rankled him. In Allthaven, Elbion, or even Vel Anir they would have seen this for what it was.

"You have a gift." Maric explained softly. "One you simply do not yet have control of."

Slowly he leaned back in his chair. "Tell me, your 'accident'. What happened?"

That would be the root of it. What had triggered the event?
 
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A gift?

Ciana stared at the man through the dim light with a look of absolute incredulity on her face. Gifts were supposed to be pleasant or useful things, and there was nothing at all about her condition that she'd consider to be pleasant, and she could barely stand on her own to be of any use to anyone.

Her cheeks warmed slightly as he asked of the accident, her brow furrowing in the assumption that her father had told him. Elspeth certainly wouldn't have mentioned it, she preferred to pretend it hadn't happened at all.

"I'm not sure what happened, I... blacked out. Dane - Lord Randall and I were walking in the gardens, we had a disagreement and he, became so angry. He frightened me, and he rose his hand to strike me and that's all I can recall. I awoke the next day in this room, and I was told that Dane had been badly burned in a fire." she frowned and tried to shift in her seat but her shoulders slumped weakly and she grimaced.

"Will you please explain to me.." she breathed, as though merely talking was an effort. "What gift you claim me to be in possession of?.. Can you help me?.."
 
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Maric

The Scholar
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She had been defending herself.

Every little bit he learned, every added detail only confirmed his assumption. A small part of him felt elation. He had not met this girl before today, had not even heard of her, but the fact that the gem drew him here felt like fate.

He knew that he could help her. Knew that he could get her away from this prison. "Yes, I can help you."

Maric said, wanting to assure her of that first.

He glanced back towards the door for a moment, wanting to ensure that Meryl did not step through as he explained. Ciana's father's reaction had been mild, but his wife's had been a tell Maric had not been too fond of. He was unsure how anyone else would take this news.

Some might even see it worse than a disease.

"I cannot tell you specifically, not yet at least. Not without seeing, studying, but..." He reached into his pocket, taking out the small watch. "You are a mage, a Sorceress to be exact."

The difference was a subtle one. A mage was one who studied magic, learned it over years, a Sorcerer one who inherited their gift. A distinction really only used by Professors and scholars. "This gift inside you, it is magic."

He spoke a bit more quickly.

"And if I had to guess, it is related to light." That much was obvious. "Right now, it is a nature of your body. Like breathing, hearing. You can't control it, but with time..."

Maric trailed off.
 
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