Private Tales Silver Bladed Dreams

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer


Character Biography

Well, it was worth a shot, she thought to herself, studying the dagger that was well off target. Her dreams of mastering several types of weaponry was going at a good pace, but she was yet to be subjected to anything real like a mission she often saw other Initiates going off to. Instead, the others were doing the retrieving, bringing back fragments of no real value but brought to Zephyrine in her quiet room. Everyday, a knock on her door and a Proctor with a box, and after five minutes, leaving with an object that was newly reconstructed.

Today she had been promised a mission, but they assigned it to someone else more qualified at the last minute.

Zephy dug a hand around the pouch attached to her hip, pulling out a piece of steel that was no longer sharp enough to cut her skin. In her palm, it was small, but her mind knew where the original weapon grew to. A small throwing knife with a great balance in hand, magic bringing the thought image to life and the red-haired Initiate sent it flying to the target.

Better. She grinned at the result. It was much closer to the desired spot, proud that she knew the best way of recreating a weapon. Now she merely needed more steel...

Her head whipped around, brown eyes searching the area as the smallest of noises interrupted her quiet training session. An audience was the last thing she wished for, opting to forgo meeting other Initiates inhabiting this Academy. No connection, no heartfelt bonds. If she wanted to achieve the power she knew she could work towards, she needed to be unfeeling and damn what the Proctors of now thought.

Boring. Kor's week had been so awfully boring. A lack of missions safe enough for Initiates as the war against rebellious forces escalated in intensity meant the Academy had fewer and fewer spots open for assignment. It was true that Kor cared little for earning an actual title of Dreadlord, but being deployed offered a break in the monotony, an opportunity to do what he did best in an environment full of variables he could not control.

The only riveting aspect of this place had vanished like the sand she was made of. In the end, he'd been wrong about her after all. That had been the first time he'd felt such deep-seated disappointment in his life.

Once you stripped away the purpose of this Academy, to learn how to kill, it began to feel restricting. Kor began to feel caged. The last time he'd felt caged, he'd burned his cage and his captors to the ground for the insolence of the act.

That wouldn't do here, he still needed this place for the time being. The mastery he sought was still too far beyond his reach to take the risk of becoming the enemy of so many at once. So, in the throes of his boredom, Kor resorted to that which he often did: Watching through the eyes of his army in the sky. The people here held so many secrets and did so many things when they believed nobody was there to see. Even if it was basic and predictable, uncovering scandal or learning new secrets about those he shared this place with was at least enough to maintain some level of sanity.

It was not secrets or scandals that had stolen his attention this week, though. No, it was something painfully ordinary, something he would have looked past any other time. A woman, the same age as him training almost nonstop, day after day repeating the same drills in complete self-isolation.

So single-minded. So unaffected by the world around her. To what end? What was it she hoped to accomplish with mastery of her craft? Power? Influence? Freedom? The longer he watched her, the further his curiosity pushed him. It was when he could take no more of the droll classes and ceaseless training that at last he sent his loyal servent Repent to fly after her on one of her outings. Through the eyes of the Raven, he followed without care for the consequence.

"You're interesting. Not entirely interesting, but..."

As she whipped around to face him, he emerged from the trees with eyes glowing brightly. On his shoulder, a raven watched her intently, tilting his head as though following his words.

"You create through thoughts. Yet you train for destruction. I find that irony entertaining."

  • Smug
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If it were not for the raven at his shoulder, she would have mistaken him for another Initiate, but she knew of Kor. She had many spots across the grounds where she could hide, to watch those attending classes that she ought to attend too. Admittedly, she barely gave him any thought, not when there were others with interesting gifts that would certainly be a challenge to her own. She had watched Initiates play with fire, and disabled magic. Seen a storm so natural, she would not have thought it was orchestrated by an Initiate from a noble house.

And yet knowing nothing of Kor left Zephyrine feeling that touch of threat that would make others flee.

"I train for survival." She corrected. Brown eyes now wander to the trees, attempting to find other eyes upon them that Kor may be seeing. It was all she knew of him. The others were not so hidden, even the ones that kept to themselves was all-telling in their day to day.

"The day they whisk us out of here, I want to be prepared." Zephy fished for another piece, bringing to fruition another dagger to throw. She sighed as she once again was off course. "I made a deal with the Academy. They leave me to my solitude, I will recreate whatever ruin they want." Of course, she would eventually run into others. Zephyrine was not invisible, and had her own dorm in the girls' building...

"If you do not mind, a little privacy would be very much appreciated, Kor." And there she slipped. Lips pursed together into a thin line, cursing that vital information of merely knowing his name. It was all she had on him, and she fumbled her cards.

Kor appeared to pay little heed to her request for privacy, approaching closer as his left hand clutched at something hanging around his neck tightly. His milky, white eyes did not track her, drifting aimlessly off to the side as he circled toward the target she'd been aiming at. It was the head of the Raven that turned to follow her instead, the cold unblinking eyes of a winged beast obeying the whim of its master.

"Symbiotic, then?" He spoke, more to himself than to the ember-haired girl so irked by his presence. "Not unlike me, but... more dependant." Kor too remained only out of convenience, but Zephyrine had so willingly spoken of the talent they sought her for. Not merely combat, but requisition. That was a boon few of their contemporaries could claim.

The boy slowly reached out towards the target, pressing his fingertips gently against the wounds she'd left on its surface. Kor could not see her magic, not with his eyes. He could feel, though. He could smell it in the air around the victim of her assailment. His lips parted in a murmur, just loud enough for her to hear. "Uneven, but powerful." The raven on his shoulder snapped its head back around to stare at Zephyrine, and Kor smiled, turning his body to face her with Repent's guidance.

"Have you entertained ideas for what you will do when this deal is inevitably no longer sustainable?" He asked, rather bluntly. "When what you can provide is no longer worth going through the effort to treat you differently than the rest?" The Academy was not living and breathing. It had no heart, no soul. Deals would never bind it. This woman seemed sharp enough to realize this.

"You've obviously thought about your options... you've done enough homework to know who I am."

  • Cthulu Knife
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Zephyrine brought another blade to life in her hand, this time to toss lazily in the air and catching the hilt. Her tawny eyes flicked from Kor's distant eyes to the watchful gaze of the raven. That would never not be weird. She almost forgot he had asked her a question, tearing her gaze from Initiate and raven to look at her recreated dagger. It was made from steel of a shattered sword, evident in the feel and weight in her hand. It wasn't as balanced at it should look, and that was every indication to her to not attempt to throw it lest she severely harmed the other Initiate and his seeing eye bird.

"Maybe I have." Zeph stowed the blade into the belt around her hips, moving forward to retrieve the few blades embedded into the target area she had been working on. "But I also know the truth of it all cannot be said to certain ears. What makes you think I can trust you?" All she knew was his name, and the strange ability of his friends in the sky keeping an eye on things. Even with that disability, Zephyrine would not put it past him to demonstrate a hidden talent.

Because Zeph never really thought of a definitive path after the Academy. She was still another year out from graduation, but there was pressure to get her out with the graduating class of this year. There was always a plan, and with a gift like the one she possessed, she had no doubt there were many different factions that would benefit using it to their satisfaction.

"What's your plan then?" She flipped the question back on him as she pulled the last blade from the center of the target space.

Kor would have questioned her on the material of the summoned blade if Repent's natural love of shining materials hadn't tipped him off to it. He could feel the raven's instincts attempt to uproot him from Kor's shoulder. To no avail, of course: The call of The Master took precedence. Kor's face twisted into one of amusement, or something resembling it, at her returned questions.

"It's telling of a poor negotiator..." Kor hummed, still leaning against her target and scanning the ground with unseeing eyes. "To play the card of distrust, and then ask for something in return." Slowly he stepped away, as he heard her moving towards him. He certainly didn't react as though he couldn't see, which likely made it all the more unnerving when his blank stare finally swung up to find her face, brows knitted in thought as he clutched at the cloak around his neck.

"I didn't ask you for your trust. If I thought you the type to so blindly believe my words, I wouldn't be here speaking with you." He stated, bluntly. "But whatever your plan is, you're going to need to be a lot more clever with your words than that." Kor's concerns had been valid. Much like he'd discovered on his own path, Zephyrine's isolation dampened her ability to deceive, to manipulate.

Kor had found solace in the voice of his flock, and until recently, Verdane. This woman had no such companions.

"Do not tell me outright that you don't trust me. It will turn a stranger hostile, make them less inclined to share anything with you in turn." As he spoke, Repent flew from his shoulder with a caw, and Kor's eyes followed him up into the sky with the faintest smile. "Vagueness, half-truths, technicalities... these are your friends when you wish to rely on nobody else."

  • Nervous
Reactions: Zephyrine
With narrowed eyes, she scrutinized Kor as his own blank stare came up to meet her own. It was unsettling, that could not be dismissed, but it was also eerily as if he could see her. Such a thought caused her to stiffen, hardening her gaze. What he had to impart with her allowed her to move again, scoffing and rolling her eyes as she turned back to take pace and face the target again.

"What does it matter to you? I am happy to not rely on others." She was growing irritated, but held herself back from letting loose another dagger to throw. There was a perfectly good reason for her to choose this, to only have herself to work with. It meant no disappointment, no unnecessary bonding and care for another person. She would not be pulled down by the carelessness of others.

"I didn't ask for your help, Kor. I asked for you to leave." Zephyrine did not understand him, nor did she want to find out. Flicking a dagger into the air and catching it by the hilt, she arced her arm to send it back to the target, watching it stick to the center before shifting her tawny eyes back to Kor, who had wisely retreated from the target. "I don't have time for these mind games you are pulling."

Kor's lip twitched up at the stand-offish woman's retorts. She was rather more like him than he cared to admit, and it was for that reason alone he didn't expect her to truly take in anything he was saying. In her shoes, he would be just as unaffected. His raven swoops back down, letting out a cry as the dagger whizzes past the pair of them, and Kor crosses his arms over his chest.

"I'd say you have more time than you like to admit. You got bumped from the mission today, didn't you?" He asked, knowing full well the answer. "The only reason I'm making the effort at all is because you're going to get yourself killed, and I don't like wasted potential." He shrugged and stepped forward again. There was a difference between relying on somebody and taking advantage of them, and Zephyrine hadn't seemed to grasp that line just yet.

"But if you don't want my help, don't want to listen, that's fine. It rather proves my point. I'll leave, and you can... throw daggers at stationary targets all day, I suppose." Kor hummed as he passed her, heading in the direction he'd come from. "You can't say I didn't offer to make this day exponentially less boring, so don't come looking for me when they stop giving you trinkets to fix..."

Never had she felt anger like this before, something that stopped her from reaching back into that pouch and recreate another weapon. Something that was so truthful and hurtful, her first defence was to grit her teeth and slow her breathing.

No... she had felt this anger before, and it was only reignited by the damning words that came from Kor.

She turned, teeth bared as her eyes narrowed at his retreating figure.
"There will be other missions to come." It was a weak attempt, spoken with quick anger. Zeph curled her hands into fists and squeezed before letting them go and following after him.

"You don't even know me, Kor. Why do you want to help me?" Very few Initiates knew Zephyrine existed, and those moments were chosen at her own free will. This guy just happened to know where she was and what she did to pass the time. So he had been watching her, truly, and already learned more about her than she did of him in this short conversation.

"What is it you would truly gain from helping me?" Kor was blind, a disability she unabashedly thought of as an immediate weakness. In her own mind, she was leagues ahead of him in terms of surviving outside the Academy. She was valuable, an asset for Vel Anir and a future to rebuild. There was nothing left for her besides her own magic.

Kor stopped in his tracks at her words. They were confusing and poorly chosen ones, and they meant so little. At her incessant badgering, he turned his head, scowling at her tone. "Are you daft, Zephyrine? I am not helping you. I am offering you the chance to help yourself. I am offering you an opportunity to take advantage of another." Slowly he turned back to face her, with guidance from his feathered companion on his shoulder. The whites of his eyes seemed to glow with his speech. "Whether or not you accept will not affect my actions, so your participation means nothing to me."

He would never admit that his coming here to make such an offer was an act of good faith; It went against his normal nature, just as nobody would expect her to go out of her way to help him. Desperate times called for desperate measures, however. The vanishing of Soleil had left an aching hole of boredom in his heart, and whether he liked it or not, Zephyrine was interesting.

"You ask me why, and I will tell you without hesitation."
Kor huffed, raising a gloved finger to point at her, a gesture wedged between accusation and warning. "You are not as special as you think you are. You are not as important as you believe yourself to be. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can work to change it."

Anger and frustration were ugly feelings she had come to experience, and that often came from interacting with people other than herself. She chose to be alone, to depend solely on her own gifts and strength and the Proctors had allowed her this small request.

Perhaps they saw the flaws she thought were her strengths.

Zephyrine was silent as she watched Kor before her tawny eyes fell to his accusatory finger. Anger made her stomach feel uneasy; wanting to will herself to take a gulp of fresh air but instead she let the nausea fester in the pit of her stomach.

Do not let them tear you apart, Zephyrine. You can always put back the pieces, but one should never crumble in the first place.

Phantom words, words lost to the past few years as Revolution was nearing on the horizon. The only family she knew, a Proctor she had hoped would still be alive to help steer her into becoming one of the best Dreadlords of her year... Without that, she had nothing. Without that, it meant anything she cared for was fleeting.

Even the daggers she fashioned without a source material were ephemeral. It would do the job, she thought to herself, it would be enough time to make him hurt. Her fist would suffice, she decided. Zeph curled her left hand into a fist and advanced, her foot planting just before him and aiming for his stomach. Rage fueled her, boiling her blood so hot she did not think of what defenses the other Initiate would have to counter her attack.

His words hurt, and all she could resort to was physical pain, to feel the pain inflicted by her own self and not magic.

For all of the power that Kor did have, he was still blind. There was no way he could have reacted quickly enough to the sucker punch to the gut Zephyrine delivered as she bore down on him. Her fist sank into his stomach, causing him to wheeze and cough, saliva escaping from his mouth and flicking onto her arm as he doubled back and fell.

The tree broke his fall, to an extent. It only served to further knock the wind out of him as he collided against it. "Kch... Cunt!" He sneered up at her in a pained hiss. Rage seared through his veins, that some ignorant little whore dare lay hands on him when he was extending her a kindness and a truth he offered to very few. The indignity of it all, she truly wasn't worth the effort he'd wasted in coming here to see her.

He had a solution for that attitude of hers.

"Do you feel in control?" Kor snarled up at her, his blind eyes glowing brightly, casting dark shadows over his cheeks. A sudden wind blew amongst the trees, a chill in the air that had seemingly come from nowhere. "Punching a blind man because he hurt your feelings? Oh, it's very impressive." The end of his sentence was difficult to hear over a wave of approaching commotion, cries, and calls of birds of all kinds, at least a dozen of them, likely even more descending from the sky like a winged curtain of anger.

A rain of beaks and talons would find her, scratching and biting at her head and arms. Kor was careful to ensure they didn't hurt her badly, just inflict enough pain to discourage this continued aggression. A cacophony of caws and cries surrounded her like a storm of pure noise.

Kor slowly rose to his feet, bringing his fingers to his mouth and letting out a whistle.

As quickly as the attack started, it stopped. The flock dispersed, scattering into the sky once more until only the distant flapping of wings was the only indication they had ever been there.

  • Cthulhoo rage
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Pain erupted as her flesh was cut into; beaks and talons served as slicing blades at her arms and cheeks as she attempted to bat the avian fleet away from herself. Not until she recieved more cuts did Zephyrine drop to her knees and covered her head with her arms, unable to reach for the pouch and create a lasting shield.

She had not noticed herself screaming until the attacks were called off, and the copper haired Initiate was fuming quietly, tears stinging at her tawny eyes. Zephyrine had not thought of the repercussions to her throwing the first punch, but in that moment she would not voice his impressive display of power with the birds. She waited a minute before lifting her head enough for her eyes to snap up at Kor, an anger that went beyond his words that pierced through her.

Zephyrine hated how quickly he proved she was not as special as she drove herself to believe.

Keeping to herself these past few years only hindered her understanding of emotion, how to harness it rather than bottling it up inside. She knew how to steel herself whenever others had pointed out her faults, but nothing she did since the death of her mentor had prepared her for the cruel words she dreaded to hear, and to be slapped in her face by none other than Kor.

All that rage, it curled into an unrecognizable beast inside her. Zephyrine let out an enraged screech, pushing herself to her feet. She still wanted to harm, yet her wounds still bled from the fresh cuts. Her angry tears fell down her cheeks, stinging as the salt met wound and slowly Zephyrine began to calm to a controlled glare, teeth bared as she regarded the other.

She had no moves left, not even an image she could recreate would serve her well in this moment.

Zephyrine did not like this feeling, the utter lack of capability existing in her now he had proven her wrong. Had rendered her useless.

"I hate you."

There were few things Kor despised quite as much as the sound of his own heartbeat in his ears, the feeling of his blood making his fingers twitch with the pressure. What angered Kor was not only that she'd had the nerve to strike him, but that in doing so she'd exposed a weakness of his own, a weakness there was no way for him to ever truly fix.

Kor was blind. Even with all the magic he'd learned, all of the power he'd garnered, there was nothing to stop anybody from walking up and punching him. It was a mortal flaw, and he loathed that he would never have the true gift of sight. If it were anybody else, he would have delighted in watching his flock pick them apart morsel by morsel, making a meal out of the one foolish enough to lay their hands on him.

And yet, it was that fire in her eyes as she looked up at him, searing and raging with fury at her own weakness that Kor had been searching for. She declared her hate for him, her voice soaked in malice, yet wrapped in helplessness, like a cornered animal baring its teeth one last time before death.

"You hate me." He repeated, staring down at her through the eyes of the Raven. Slowly, the wrath on his expression faded into annoyance, and annoyance into the cold stare he'd worn before she'd buried her fist in his gut. "Then maybe there is hope for you, after all."

Kor turned to leave, no longer interested in interacting with her in the state she was in. There would come a time for this to continue, but not until she was ready.

"Find me." He called back to her. "When you're ready to stop being a toy."

What she felt after Kor left was a fury that lay dormant in her; an ugly feeling that reared it's head with sick satisfaction after aggression won over. it made her feel alive, that was what she could only deduce it to be. Adrenaline willed her to turn around and create a dagger in hand, unleashing a cry of frustration that seethed through her teeth into a growl as she loosed the weapon and watched it hit true to the target.

Kor's words played over and over in her mind as she finally called it a day and returned to her room without being caught. If he did not want to help her, than what was he offering?

you're going to get yourself killed, and I don't like wasted potential.

Who was she kidding herself? By isolating herself, it meant losing out on learning the skills Kor had mentioned. Another battle could be won if one were adept in manipulating and... Zephyrine's social cues were not quite... welcoming.

Kor only proved how inadequate she was, how quick to anger she could be and how that uncontrolled emotion would hinder her recreating magic.

How do you find a blind Initiate?

He was never on her radar to learn more about him, writing him off as something as little as cannon fodder, but she was proven wrong before, begrudgingly. To seek him out made her feel useless, that she was about to be told 'I told you so' by the other Initiate.

She needed his guidance... help, pity, whatever it was he had offered so long ago. Zephyrine had not seen or heard from him in weeks since their first meeting, and his absence nagged at her mind in between classes and solo training sessions. His words haunted her, like the stare of his raven that unnerved her just thinking about it. The scrapes and cuts on her arms, face, and neck just cleared, but their phantom appearance still lingered if one was able to see up close. Zeph did not regret using her fists that day, even if it was to a blind male. He had to expect the world was not to forgiving to those with his disability, and would happily be that reminder for him.

Zephyrine was feeling like a fool perched up on the lower roof to an old garden shed, perfectly accessible via the low hanging branches of the trees lining near the boundary line. Of course, she did not expect him out here. She was counting on seeing a bird, having thought of how he happened to know where she was that first time.

Hours of waiting proved fruitful when a little robin chirped nearby and her tawny eyes ripped around, looking for the bird.

"Oh, come off it. Kor. I know you can probably hear me or your little minions will relay a message to you." She tested her balance by standing, as if that would give a better advantage to look around for this damned bird. "Let us have that chat, shall we?"
Life didn't change after his encounter with Zephyrine. Kor wasn't about to let one episode affect him in the long run, even if it hadn't gone as he'd hoped. There was potential in the cold, redheaded girl, but he could not force her to embrace it. There was always the possibility he'd simply been too late to break through to her-- that the Academy's signature brainwashing had already sunken its metal claws deep into the valleys of her brain.

A shame, but not an incalculable loss.

Even so, the boredom continued. The brief panic that had surrounded the Academy over the spree of murders had died down, and now the Proctors were keeping an even closer eye on things than usual. In her bid to create chaos, his former friend had instead damned him unending monotony. In retrospect, perhaps killing her when she'd tried to gain his friendship would have been the better option.

A rather bitter thought, as he lingered amongst the lesser traveled reaches of the school.

Kor was aware that Zephyrine had been searching for him. Normally he wouldn't have been too difficult to locate, but he'd purposefully been staying just out of her reach. It wasn't out of fear; Kor was quite certain the only one who'd picked up a taste of fear was Zeph. No, he wanted to make sure she was serious first. If she simply gave up after a couple of days, then she was only deluding herself into believing she wanted his help.

It would end the same as before.

Only after a full week did he allow Zephyrine to spot one of his flock, a small robin that he'd sent to observe her. She sat upon an old shed, and the robin balanced precariously at its edge, tilting its head curiously at her words directed at something other than itself. For a moment, it looked to be nothing more than an ordinary robin, unshackled from any connection to the avian-savvy Initiate she sought.

Then, its eyes would glow that familiar white, ever so briefly. The Robin turned and hopped from the shed, flying across the sparring field to the shed housing extra practice weapons on the other side. A silent beckoning to follow.

  • Nervous
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Her stomach dropped once that robin's eyes turned white, reminding her of that raven that was with Kor that first day. It was unsightly (pardon the pun) to witness, but she moved after it slowly, lowering herself back down onto the soft grass and scanning the field to spot the small avian creature.

She felt odd, following a bird to gods' knows where, but she was determined to listen this time. She owed Kor that much. No apology for how they left things last time, because she would punch him again even if she were surrounded by his flock once more. Zephyrine kicked herself so much after that, ashamed she was too horrified to create a shield and protect herself from the onslaught... but that was what she did best. Observe and learn from it.

"He couldn't have come to me, could he?" She grumbled to no one in particular, following the small robin for a few more feet before casting her gaze around her to ensure she definitely was not going to be seen meandering around the place, following a bird.

Kor had been resting in the subtle shade cast by the storage shed, his back against the wall and his legs stretched lazily out in front of him. There wasn't much left for him to to today; the few birds he personally tended to in his room had been cleaned and fed, and he had no more classes until much later in the evening. It was a good opportunity to afford himself a small measure of rest.

And then he heard her voice.

Well, he hadn't heard it. One of his friends had encountered the hot-tempered girl he'd nearly picked apart some time ago, searching for him again. Zephyrine's tenacity hadn't died out like Kor suspected it would-- He was certain she'd give up after a couple of days and he'd never have to tolerate that insufferable attitude of hers again.

She'd proven him wrong, and for that reason alone he would give her a second chance. So he'd linked with the robin, claiming its eyes and wings for himself and leading her back to his secluded spot. For all of the ominous buildup to their meeting, she would not find him lying in wait, or lurking in the darkness. No, she would find Kor lounging in the shade with his hands in his lap as she meandered towards him with an aggravated grumble in her throat.

"I have to admit..." Kor spoke as the robin she'd followed here perched on his head with a happy chirp "I didn't think you'd really track me down again."

Zephyrine did all she could to not frown once she saw him, sitting there in the shade and positively minding his own business, unbothered to get up on his feet and meet her. It was too late, for the frown set in before she could fix her face to something more agreeable.

"It was wait and see if you would show up, or to ask someone if they knew where you were." The latter something she would never resort to, to depend on the help of others only when she really needed it. Zephyrine did not wait for an invitation before sitting before him, keeping distance from his outstretched legs and began to pick at the blades of grass in front of her.

"You said I was wasted potential. What did you mean by that?" She spoke after a few moments of quiet, trying to figure out where to start. He could read her well, knowing that the only way to make her react is to comment on her skills. Zeph wouldn't resort to fists this time around, but rather meet him with neutrality.

A smile snuck its way onto Kor's pale visage as she listed her options. Or rather, her lack thereof. If Kor had thought there was any chance that Zephyrine would ever ask for the help of their classmates, he would have made himself even more difficult to find.

Although, she had needed the guidance of his robin to check the shed, hadn't she?

Still watching her through the eyes of his small, winged companion, Kor bent his knees and drew his legs back to give her some room to relax. Considering their last meeting had ended in physicality and violence, the male Initiate seemed quite unbothered by her presence.

"I meant exactly what I said. I think there are things you are capable of that you won't achieve on your current path. Wasted potential. Have you ever thought about what you could be doing were you not obediently acting as a tool for the Proctors? If you'd shown the slightest hint of independence?"

Exhaling, Kor crosses his legs and leans forward, the milky blind eyes in his skull watching her without the gift of sight. "Who are you, Zephyrine? Besides the Republic's Recreator, besides a middling Dreadlord Initiate. Who are you really? Can you think of an answer?"

  • Stressed
Reactions: Zephyrine
Zephyrine did not lift her gaze as he spoke, instead turning her frown to the grass at her fingertips.

His words reminded her of the lessons she was taught by Proctors, and then the private wisdom that came from
her Guardian. Each were different lessons taught, where she was groomed to become a desired addition to a Great House, but her Guardian and late Proctor taught her how to view life and find small things to tether her to a calm reality.

After witnessing his death dhring the Revolution, Zephyrine did not feel like much in terms of reading anymore. Or learning to make weapons the old fashioned way without her magic.

"I am an empty shell." She began, ripping a handful of grass and slowly picking each blade that stuck to her palm. "The drive I once had diminished the moment I lost the closest person to me."

She took a deep, shuddering breath. Tears waited to burn her tawny eyes but she held them back. Her grieving period came and went and left her feeling empty, vacant of motivation to continue the things she loved.

It felt like a slap in the face to be reminded she was alone now.

"I am an orphan... or as much an orphan as an Initiate taken from their family they barely remembered." She remembered her room more than the face of her parents. She had a brother, a twin perhaps. She remembered that she was too young for any classes and was put intk the care of Proctor Caddel, the name she took for herself once she was ild enough to attend classes.

"All I want is to leave this place and never look back. I have nothing left here. I am a festering, bitter soul and I hope to whichever god they pray to that the promise that I could graduate with the year ahead of me remains true."

The girl had come to him with a far different mindset this go around, Kor noted. The last time they'd crossed paths, outright hostility dripped from every syllable she spoke, like an animal snarling at an intruder to the nest. Understandable, he supposed. She hadn't very well expected company, had she? It didn't matter, their last encounter, because this was their first true conversation.

"I hope it is not pity you seek with your words." Kor plucked the robin from his head and brought it in front of his chest, running a single finger down the small critter's back in a tiny petting motion. "You're far from the only orphaned initiate. Many of us have lost those we held dear, myself included." Kor stopped speaking abruptly, tightening his features and tilting his face down towards the robin as though averting his eyes for a moment.

He hadn't meant to give her any information on his own past. To show any vulnerability now of all times only weakened the platform of superiority he sought to stand upon.

"So I will show you no sympathy, but I will offer you something else-- A chance to wrest control from those above us, to decide your own fate, and no longer follow the tracks so carefully set for you." Kor lowered his tone, leaning forward and letting the robin fly from his grasp and back out into the free, unrestrained sky above their heads. In time, they would be just as free. When the time came, it would be as simple as spreading wings and taking flight. Kor smiled, looking up fondly at the departing bird.

"The first step is learning. You must learn to make them believe they control you, while remaining unchained. You must learn to use the advantages we gain from being here to further your own goals, rather than theirs. Most importantly, you must find the imaginary limits they have placed upon you, in both body and mind, and erase them."

"I'm not asking for pity." Zephyrine muttered under her breath, tossing the blades of grass from where she sat. She wasn't the type to ask for anything, and that was what made this that much harder for her. The offer Kor made weighed on her all this time, nipping at her thoughts and curiosity.

And yet as he spoke, Zeph found herself fiddling less and lifting her eyes to stare into his unseeing gaze. This was different now than their first meeting. She was a creature of habit, stubborn to listen to anything until the idea came to her in her own time.

"My goals?" It was hard not to scoff at that, at the idea of her being able to pull off what he was speaking of. She lacked the skills of deception, had no patience to attempt such a thing. Zephyrine put all her effort into her magic, into testing the parameters of what she could.

"All the Academy has asked of me is to explore what it is I can recreate. Wards, devastated towns, weaponry..." She was still confused on what it was that Kor had planned for her, what he could offer to help her become a better version of herself. "They want to know just how much of a taxation it would be on my body, what magnitudes would do..." And she knew she impressed them every time, but her one true goal was out of her reach. She cannot stitch any wounds, not until all the blood poured out and the heart stopped beating. It was a nightmare to watch, and one that haunted her here and there after.

"So should I perhaps ask you what the goal is? You had watched me from afar for a while before you made yourself known to me. What is our goal?"

Our goal.

Well, she was certainly speaking as though she was on board regardless of what his answer was. Still, the frustration that laced every word she spoke was what he'd wished to hear. When last they met she concealed this anger, veiled it with her rage against him. Now that she'd had time to ruminate on his words, she was being far more honest.

About time.

"Our goal..." Kor took his time in repeating what she'd said, as if to make a point. "Is to become the masters of ourselves, rather than allow them to rule us. If you came here looking for some grand plot, some master plan to solve all of our issues, you are misled." It was a half-truth. There was a grand design in his head, but it was nothing that she was capable of helping him act upon until she fully grasped what it was he wanted from her.

"Let them believe they know your capabilities, while you improve upon them with me. When the time comes to break our chains and sever the ties that bind us to this place, they will never be prepared." Kor didn't believe either of them truly cared about becoming respected Dreadlords. This place was a convenience for the training it provided, for the haven it offered from a harsh and judgmental society.

There would come a time soon when they would outgrow this haven, and when that time arrived he wished for this Zephyrine to leave with him.

"I know what they see in you. A creator, a mender, and a reforger. But they tunnel your vision to stifle your potential. I see more. I see one capable of great power, if you lift the wool they've placed over your eyes."

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Pulling her legs up to hug her knees to her chest, Zephyrine stared at the unseeing eyes that belonged to Kor. She frowned, never having thought of it that way. The confidence that was built in her came from the high praise of the Academy and the Dreadlord ranks that kept an eye on her. The plans they had for her once graduation came... it was never said, but the hints and veiled words indicated that Zephyrine wouldn't be any ordinary Dreadlord.

She would be used... and even in this post Revolution time, it still did not sit well with the red headed Recreator.

"I want to be able to be free from this... to finally find something I could pour my soul into." Zephyrine murmured so softly, she was afraid he didn't hear her. "There are some Initiates with their lives written out for them, or their path is seen so clearly..." What did she want, truly? Power, always power, but that was what her guardian had made her want. That was what the Academy and other powers wanted her to continue to strive for.

They did not care that she could hold her own in a fight, that she was a little useless with the theory side to her classes. As long as Zeph could recreate whatever they wished of her, then she was valuable to the Revolution.

"I do not wish to be another Initiate added to the ranks to serve Vel Anir. How can I see the world we live in when I am destined to be tethered to a regime that took away the last thing I cared about?"