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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"I can." There was no need to explain that he had lost his magic, that it had slipped from his grasp.

It was likely that the man wouldn't understand, perhaps couldn't. The Society he had grown up in drowned such things before they could ever grow old. Maric knew that he had to play this carefully, convince the man that his way was the only way.

He would not see Ciana trapped here for the rest of her days.

"It will take time." Maric said softly. "I've had but a scant few minutes with her, but she has potential."

More than many could ever dream of. "I believe I can even..."

Maric cut himself off, frowning. Did he dare say it? The idea had come to him a night before, and he had thought it would work...but there was no guarantee. His lips thinned for a moment, but slowly he continued.

"I believe I can allow her to take in some light." He continued quietly. "Enough to go into the full moon at least."

Maric already suspected that she could do as much, though would feel sick the next day. With his solution, she would hopefully be able to move despite that.
 

Ciana

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Baylen was silent for a long time as he considered what Maric had to say and fought with his own fears and reservations.

"I never wanted to keep her in that room. I knew she wouldn't hurt the boys. I was afraid she'd get hurt herself.." he frowned, and rubbed at his face as he fell silent for a moment longer.

"When her mother died.. There was a..There was a light. Seemed to flood out of her. Folk said it was the grief talking.. But I saw it." he frowned and shook his head. "I knew I saw it..." he muffled and drew in a deep breath.

"Do whatever you must do to help her. If she must go outside, then don't let her be alone. If she must leave this place then... Well so be it. Save my daughter, Professor Maric, and I'll be forever indebted to you."
 
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Maric

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Relief flooded him. A part of him had thought that the man would have been convinced by his wife. That he would trap his daughter and keep her here no matter what. He had been prepared for that eventuality. Had known it was a possibility.

The hand behind his back relaxed, the glowing red rune within his skin slowly fading away as his fingers drew away from his palm. "I will, My Lord."

Confidence poured through his tone, though there was more to speak about.

"However." Lips thinned. "I will need something of you."

There was no chance of success if the Lady of the House was checking in on them every second. He needed to make sure Ciana could travel, could step into the light, but they would never get that far if he had to look over his shoulder.

"I need you to ensure your wife does not interrupt us." Maric began.

"It will take time for Ciana to understand her powers." Time before she could leave this place. "I fear that your Ladies...concern, may interrupt our progress."

He could not come right out and claim his accusations, at least not yet. "It is best I see her progress myself. With Meryl there to aid me. I believe she will be most helpful."
 
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Ciana

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Baylen gave a slow nod and huffed quietly. He knew how much Ciana's condition had worried his wife, but as much as he loved her, he wasn't entirely blind and knew that the relationship between step mother and step daughter had been a strained one, particularly since the 'spectacle'. "You'll have no interruptions. But I must ask you to keep this, all of this, as discreet as possible. If word gets out... It is a small city, and one that does not take too kindly to people like Ciana." he frowned.

"Meryl will be at your disposal." he nodded, and turned back to the window to watch the sunrise.

"Ciana might still be awake for another hour yet. Should you wish to inform her of our discussion." he said without looking back.
 
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Maric

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"I have no reason to speak to anyone." Maric said with a simple shrug.

There was only one reason he was here, and she was currently trapped within the manor itself. If he'd still had his own magic things might have been different, but for now he had no choice but to do the most expedient thing.

Fingers finally floated away from the back of the chair, and he took a low bow. "Thank you, My Lord."

He told Baylen.

"I'll go speak with her." There was no hesitation as he turned on his heal, another snap echoing through the room. That odd flicker rushed over the doorway, the magic that had ensured no one would eavesdrop on them disappearing as quickly as it had come.

The Professor made his way quickly through the house, counting his steps and ensuring that he knew every little nook and cranny that he passed.

A greater part of him still did not trust this place, still did not trust Ciana's father. He had seen more than one city burn 'witches' for their gifts.

Eventually he stepped in front of the heavy steel door that trapped Ciana, knocking on it with a thunderous declaration.
 

Ciana

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Meryl was combing her hair by her vanity when the door knocked. The two exchanged looks, since she'd eaten her supper already and her father had not come to visit her in weeks. She hoped it was the Professor, and not Elspeth, and she watched hopefully as Meryl went to unlock.

"Good morning, Professor. Miss Ciana was just getting ready to retire to bed."

"It's alright, Meryl." Ciana assured and tugged her robe a little tighter around her as she carefully stood. Meryl gave a nod and opened the door wider to allow the Professor inside.

"I'm glad to see you're still here, Professor." Ciana's smile was warm, albeit tired.
 
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Maric

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Maric offered a quick glance towards Meryl. "Good evening."

The Professor said in greeting. "I'm glad to still be here."

A smile flickered onto his face.

He wondered about the maid. She seemed loyal, caring even, but how far did that go? Would the superstition she grew up with overcome the love that she felt for her ward? There was no real way of telling. "Meryl, would you do me the favor of fetching a Tea for Ciana?"

The Professor asked softly.

"I mixture of camomile, elder root, and tellwin flower." They were all common enough, though usually not mixed together. The taste was bitter, and not at all pleasant. "It should help Ciana sleep."

That was a lie of course, but he was not yet ready to trust the maid. Not completely anyway.
 
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Ciana

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Meryl's brows rose, and after a look of assurance from Ciana she nodded and stammered a quiet.. "Oh, o-ofcourse, Sir." before scurrying out of the room.

"That..sounds revolting." Ciana commented with a dry laugh and gestured to the armchairs by the unlit hearth. "Sit, please. I was hoping I'd see you today." she smiled, gingerly lowering herself into her chair.

"I thought Mother had frightened you off." she mused, her lips thin as she forced a smile. "Does this mean you've been permitted to try to help me?" her head tilted.
 
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Maric

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"Not in the least." Maric said regarding Ciana's 'mother', offering a smile as he crossed the room and moved towards the opposite chair.

From his pocket he drew the small device wrapped around the orb.

"I have." He told her. "Your father has given me full leeway."

There was still a lingering doubt, a thought that the man would perhaps try to interfere somehow. But he said nothing of that. The girl needed hope as much as she needed help. Dashing that would do nothing but hurt their chances. "And I know just where to begin."

Maric said as he opened the latch on the strange orb once again.

The light flickered into being almost immediately, that soft pulse igniting the room.

"I think..." He began. "This is the key to your abilities, at least the beginnings of them."
 
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Ciana

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She let out a quiet laugh under her breath, a look of apology on her face as she watched him cross the room in the dim light. Honestly, she had expected Elspeth to put up more of a fight, and that she hadn't could only mean that Maric hadn't shared with her what he thought her 'illness' was. If Elspeth found out, she was certain she'd have had her shipped away already, and Maric certainly wouldn't be here right now.

Her brows rose in surprise however as he mentioned her father, and she failed to hide her sadness as she gave a light nod. Perhaps her father might visit her again when she was a little better...

"I see. That's wonderful news." she smiled, and what was left of the visible sorrow she felt was extinguished as her gaze fell on the little glowing orb again. She shifted to the edge of her chair and looked between the trinket and its holder, his face suffused in the warm glow.

"The key? How so?.." she asked curiously. She wasn't entirely sure whether or not she'd accepted that what he'd suspected about her might be true or not. She wasn't entirely sure whether she hoped it was, or was not. All she knew was that it both frightened and intrigued her, and that no matter what, she did not wish to die and if he claimed he could help her, then she'd believe him.

"I dreamt of it." she recalled, looking back to the orb. "I was using it to find my way through the maze outside." she smiled.
 
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Maric

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"It is connected to you." That much was obvious already. "And, I believe, will help you control your magic."

Maric had an idea of how, though testing it would be...difficult without causing problem.

"I am...was a Sorcerer myself." He explained.

"As I told you before, your magic comes from within. It is something you carry naturally, something your body is doing without thought. Like breathing when you are asleep." He was glad that he'd taken to teaching some classes back at Althhaven. It seemed much simpler to explain things now. "You draw the light into yourself, and then carry it. Eventually it's weight becomes a burden, and that is why you feel sick."

He frowned for a moment. "I believe, with this gem we may be able to use it to funnel some of the light away."

At least with a few modification.

"If I am right, it would at least let you have some light in here." Though he wanted her to have so much more.
 

Ciana

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Ciana glanced up at him and there was a hesitance in her expression, a momentary lapse in thought due to something telling her that she should be afraid when in fact, she didn't feel so. She'd never met a 'sorcerer', even the word felt a strange thing to think let alone hear or speak aloud, but she watched him for a moment and silently agreed with herself, that she would not be afraid.

She'd been known, thanks to her much sheltered life, to be naive, but whether or not that was the case right now, his presence seemed to calm her. Ciana listened to him intently, a soft frown in thought creasing at her brow.

"My mother." she glanced to the door, since she was not speaking of Elspeth. "They told her she had an aversion to light." she explained quietly, looking to the unlit hearth and gripping at the arms of her chair. If only there had been someone like Maric around then, she might still be here, and Ciana would never have been sick at all. She sighed deeply and left the rest unsaid, looking back to him with a solemn smile.

"I am very glad that you found me, Professor." she frowned, considering again that she still did not understand precisely how he had, though her eyes settled on the orb once more.

"May I?.." she asked, hoping she'd shown enough self restraint despite her desperation to hold it again.
 
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Maric

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"Yes. Your father told me." Maric said with a nod of his head.

That was how he was certain it was not a disease. Magic in this world came in all forms, but this was he was more than sure of. Ciana's abilities could be honed, trained, it would just take time.

Time that they might not have. "Of course."

He said, pulling the orb free.

"It is yours." Maric said as he offered it to her. "By right of blood and heritage."

The Professor might have been the one who found it, but he most certainly did not intend to keep it. The small gem was the key to teaching Ciana faster, what would allow her to leave this place. At least he hoped that it would. "I believe I can create something using the gem, as I said."

As he spoke an eagerness entered his tone, almost child like.

"Something that will help you until you learn enough to control your powers." He did not want to embolden her too far, not yet. There was a long way to go, but...he couldn't help give her a little hope.

She'd not had it in a long while.
 
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Ciana

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The moment the orb was in her palm she felt her tension ease and the ever-present aches in her bones and muscles relent a little. Her lips curled as she stared at it for a moment. She was not one to accept gifts lightly, rather one to politely insist that one was being too generous - and he was, but, it simply felt like it belonged with her.

"Thank you." she said firmly, as though to emphasise her gratitude, and she smiled warmly at his enthusiasm about making it into something else.

Control her powers?..

"You, intend for me to use these powers that you believe I hold?.." she asked uncertainly with another glance to the door, fearing that someone might overhear. She'd been focusing on the prospect of feeling well, of going outside, of not having to spend each and every day bedridden in pain and fever, but that was where it ended. She hadn't considered that she might actually learn to use them in any way.
 
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Maric

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Slowly Maric shook his head, though the answer wasn't in a gesture. "No, and yes."

It was a difficult question. There was much one that could do with magic. In his time Maric had seen both Tyrants and heroes. Boys and girls who could do great or terrible things. Power was said to corrupt, but such was not always the case.

Maric himself had never held much credence to power. His own strength had been magnificent, at least before he'd burnt out the circuits which allowed him the touches of magic. Yet he had never once been tempted to misuse that ability.

No, all he'd ever wanted was to learn.

"What you do with your magic is entirely up to you." Maric explained. "Whether you wish to use it or not."

A shrug rolled over his shoulder. "I just wish for you to survive, and for me to understand a mystery."

He smiled.
 

Ciana

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"That is all I want. Life is gift enough.." she frowned softly, as though afraid to ask for much more. If the Gods would grant her a normal life, if Maric would help her achieve that, she'd be forever grateful.

'What you do with your magic is entirely up to you.'

Her
magic. A shudder rolled over her back and she bit down on her lip as she drew in a deep breath. This was going to take some getting used to. "Yes. That's my wish also.." she answered with a small smile, and returned to studying the little orb.

"It's funny.. I spent my childhood reading stories about magic and wishing to be anything but normal. It is strange how we develop fears as we grow, that we never had as children. Had it been my ten-year-old self having this conversation with you.." she laughed quietly and shook her head, and fell quiet again.

"Just tell me what I need to do.." she nodded, committing fully to whatever methods the Professor had in mind. The door creaked opened then, and Ciana's fist closed over the glowing trinket as Meryl wandered in with the tray of tea that Maric had requested. Ciana's nose wrinkled in the hope that he hadn't really intended for her to drink that..
 
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Maric

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"Dreams never change." Maric told her softly. "They just happen to grow a little more distant."

The Professor himself had more than a few like that.

At a young age he had thought himself capable of anything. As he'd grown older that had proven to be true, at least until his own hubris had caught up with him. Even now, in the back of his head he thought there might still be a chance.

However far it truly was. "We'll begi-"

Maric cut himself off as the door fell open. His head almost immediately twisted, the tension draining from him almost instantly as he watched Meryl step through the door.

"We'll begin with something simple." The Maid was not yet to be completely trusted, but a few small pieces would do. It was important to see how she would react, and then perhaps she could learn more later. "Breathing."
 
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Ciana

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Ciana returned her attention to the Professor, a little nervous too about how Meryl might react to knowing what sorts of things they were discussing, but Maric seemed to be making some effort to be careful about that too.

"Breathing.." she nodded and sat up straight, the little orb clasped in her hands. "I can do that, I think." she smiled and drew in a deep breath, trying not to wince as she did so.
 
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Maric

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He watched her for a moment. "Try to think of something."

Maric said softly.

"A flower." It was a common technique. "A tree, or perhaps a bird learning to fly."

It was a technique that he had learned from a student actually. She had come from the Ixchel wilds, where the Shamans did things differently than most mages. "Whatever it is, think it through. Picture it in your mind as you breath in. Wings flapping slowly. Flower petals slowly budding."

His voice was slow, soft. Trance like.

"Every breath is another step." He told her.
 

Ciana

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Ciana nodded gently and let her eyes closed, her back straight and shoulders squared as she drew in a deep breath, held it for a moment, and let it back out again. She thought of the moonflowers that bloomed at sunset, white petals slowly opening up to bathe themselves in moonlight.

She ignored her pain, ignored the weakness she felt simply from sitting up so straight. She chose to forget that the sun had risen outside and that its fiery tendrils seemed to reach out to exhaust her.

Breathe.

Her expression softened, and oh-so-slowly she began to ease and relax. She felt that same steady warmth flow through her and her lips curled, now sure that she hadn't been imagining things yesterday. Light seeped through her fingers as the orb clutched in her palm glowed a little brighter..
 
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Maric

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Maric watched Ciana carefully.

He studied her.

Every muscle, every little twitch of her face. It was all important. He needed to understand her magic, how her body reacted to it, how it all came together. Basic techniques were good starting points, but the more he knew the better he could guide her.

"Good." The Professor said quietly.

Things like this took time. There was no quick and easy fix when it came to the study of magic. Even those who were exceptionally talented struggled with learning their gifts. It was not unheard of for it to take months, even years to master the basics.

He and Ciana did not have that time. "Now breath out."

Maric said softly.

"Slowly." He told her. "Let that breath flow into the jewel."
 

Ciana

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Her brow furrowed as she nodded, trying to visualise what he'd asked her to. As the moonflower in her mind opened, she breathed out, imagining all of her energy sliding down her arm and gathering in the orb in her palm.

It glowed a little more, but her hand started shaking, as though the item was growing too heavy for her to hold.

Meryl's eyes widened as the light grew in the room, spilling from Ciana's closed hand in strands. As the woman gasped and pressed her hand to her mouth, Ciana's eyes snapped open and she let out a gasp of her own, dropping the orb onto the floor and casting a worried glance between the professor and the housekeeper.
 
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Maric

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A breath passed.

Half a second.

Maric reached down and snapped up the orb so quickly that one might have wondered if it had been there at all. His fingers wrapped around the small artifact, concealing it before the maid had much of a chance to peer at it.

"Meryl." His voice was stern, quiet.

The Professor knew that she cared for Ciana. Knew that she wanted only the best for the girl. Trust was thin in this house, but he had to believe that the woman was on their side. For Ciana's sake.

"This is progress." He said softly, hinting. "A few more days and Ciana might walk in the light."

Slowly he peered towards the girl herself. "We just need time."

His gaze flickered towards the maid.
 
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Ciana

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The woman's hand fell from her face but her mouth remained open as she lowered herself onto the edge of Ciana's bed, holding onto the post as though she might fall over at any moment. "I.." Meryl breathed as she stared at Ciana, her eyes glistening.

When Maric mentioned that she might again walk in the light, the housekeeper's attention shifted and her brows quirked, though for another long moment she remained speechless.

"It's helping me, Meryl.. Please don't be frightened." she asked as calmly as she could, despite the fear she felt herself. "And please don't..." tell 'mother'. The words died on her tongue, but the worry on her face was enough to finish that sentence for her.

Meryl sat for a moment longer before she stood, gathering herself and clearing her throat. "Ciana, you will need your rest soon. I shall leave you to settle yourself..."

"If there's anything else you need.." she curtsied, looking between the two once more before shuffling out the door.
 
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Maric

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For a few moments Maric remained silent. His gaze followed the maid.

He understood the shock that she felt, or rather, he knew it well. It was an expression that he had read a dozen times before. Something he had seen on the face of others. It was fear, but not the sort that haunted those in true states of terror.

No. Meryl had simply seen something she did not understand. Something that she had been told all her life was dangerous.

A conflict would reign within her, a fear about what Ciana might be.

Yet behind the terror in her eye, besides the fear and horror Maric had seen something else; Love.

The Maid treasured Ciana, perhaps even saw her as a daughter. The girl was pressure to her, and Maric was more than sure she could not endanger her. At least no yet. "It'll be alright."

Maric said calmly.

"I think..." He began. "I think she just needs to right this in her head."

The Professor tried to reassure Ciana, tried to calm her.
 
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