Private Tales The Failure of Nobility

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Edric

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Amol-Kalit: The Great Dune Sea

Sweat dripped from Edric's brow, his fingers clutching tightly to the near empty waterskin that hung from his belt. His head lulled slightly as he tried to peer further into the desert, searching desperately for any sign of green or blue. There was a haze in the distance, a rolling stream of water that he knew to be nothing more than an illusion.

A breath drew into his lungs, short, shallow.

The heat of it burned through his chest, the sand tainting his tongue.

How long had they been in the desert now? He knew it couldn't have been longer than two or three days, but it felt like an age. The sun never seemed to stop during the day, and the nights...the nights were so cold. It was a rash of pain and misfortune that he'd never thought to face. It reminded him of the worst days in the Academy. When they had tortured him. When they had tried to break him.

Is this why they had done it? To prepare him? To make sure that they would be ready? It seemed to make sense in his head, and the words of Proctor Renou echoed in his skull as he stood there; Look forward. Look to the days to come. Past the pain. Past the hurt. Look forward.

He could practically feel the sting of her whip as he remembered those words.

Despite the heat a shiver ran up his spine, and he couldn't help but speak to drive the memory away.

"Are you going to make it up here?" Edric demanded, his voice a hoarse rasp. "Or do I have to drag you again?"

The threat was an idle one. After however many days even he was beginning to grow weak. Life was scarce in the desert. A few plants, some snakes, and lizards. None of it was enough really. It let him stand longer. Let him keep going for a bit more, but he would fall to the sands soon enough if they didn't find something soon. He knew that, and because of it he couldn't keep the bitterness from his voice.
 
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Kristen Pirian

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Her first mission. The very first actual mission, granted after some minor--but encouraging--progress in her training. And it had gone poorly! Snickerdoodle (pardon her language!)...Proctor Magomo was going to be so exquisitely disappointed in her.

If Kristen even made it back to Vel Anir.

All of those torturous laps around the Academy walls seemed now to be like a fair summer's day in comparison to this. Trekking through an endless sea of sand, up and down the mighty dunes of it. Gosh, she'd never before set her eyes on such a landscape, and though at first it was filled with a kind of majesty, in these recent days the appeal had all fallen away. Fallen away to punishing, merciless heat, to ground that fought back against her every step as if trying to entangle her forever in this land. Her armor cooked her during the day and froze her at night--augh, metal was good for one, singular purpose and it was an abominable chore to wear in all other aspects! How she dreaded to see what awful mess of sand and sweat and stains her arming garments beneath had become! Unsightly!

Water.

She thought only of water.

Her waterskin was empty, and she wished mightily that either she or Edric had the power to conjure a refill. What conjurations she did know were worthless out here, where the only enemy was the environment itself.

And Edric. Just thinking his name gave her shivers, let alone when she lifted her head during their treading to look at him. Of all the people to be paired up with one this mission. He was so terribly frightening within the walls of the Academy, where at the very least one was not deprived of food and water and baths and clean clothes and other amenities--at least in the Academy of today. Yet out here? What...what would he do? His magic had something to do with stealing life, right? Aionus's grace...what if he was doing that to her right now to keep himself going?

Yet she had no one else. No one else.

Kristen stood now at the base of the dune (one of the many), hunched over and panting, when Edric called to her. She lifted her head. Looked up toward him. Resisted the urge to wipe sweat from her brow with her arm (her plate gauntlets were hot! Not making that mistake again!).

"I am..." Slow, tired breaths. "I am...on my way...right now."

She started to trudge up the dune's considerable height, talking out loud the whole way, as if to encourage herself to pull off the feat of simply getting to the top.

"No need to drag me again, Edric. I absolutely...absolutely...have this...under control. If it...is one thing...that I can do...it is to walk. Hah...hah..." A small bout of giddy mirth. "You might say...I am built for it...no? That is...precisely...phew...what quite a number of people...happen to say. My, Kristen...you're quite the tall one...aren't you? Is it...rather chilly...up there?" Little shakes of her head. "They jest, and yet...I find...I wish that were the truth. About it being chilly...up here. At least now. Before...the sun...phew...goes down."

And at that, she reached the top, standing beside Edric. An ocean of similar dunes all out before them, same as the way they had come.

Kristen hunched over again, hands on her knees, and asked, "You've...no water left...have you?"

Edric
 
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Edric

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"If you shut your mouth you wouldn't be so thirsty." Edric said as he continued to peer through the desert.

In truth he wasn't entirely sure what he was even looking for. There were no guide posts, no markers. Not that they even had a map to tell them what to look for. This entire place was one big labyrinth. An unending cascade of sand. Everything seemed to look the same, and what didn't was probably an illusion.

He scowled for a moment, then pulled the waterskin from his belt. "One sip."

Edric said, practically glaring at her.

"Not more." They had to conserve what they still had, and even then it wouldn't last them more than another day. By the time night came, both of them would be on their last leg.

Briefly he wondered how they had gotten themselves into this mess. How he could have been foolish enough to not have prepared. The Proctors had briefed them, told them what this place would be like, and still they had managed to fuck it up.

Worst thing was; He couldn't even blame Kristen.

Not entirely.
 
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Kristen Pirian

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Kristen was taken aback by the retort. Blunt and forward--that was Edric. Yet in his terseness he wasn't wrong. In their dire circumstance, every little bit of water was precious, even what comparatively miniscule amount was lost in speaking so.

Every little bit. Including one sip.

But, at least, he had chosen to share. Even if his expression suggested that deigning to do so grated against every fiber of his being. There was no mistaking it, even from the first moments upon meeting him: he had his goal firmly in mind, and he would suffer none to stand in his way. Edric truly was a Dreadlord among Dreadlords.

(And he was doing well, wasn't he?)

Kristen accepted the waterskin. Unstoppered it. Carefully, oh so carefully, keeping wary eyes on Edric the whole time, she tilted it back. Oh it was so dreadfully, dreadfully difficult to lower the waterskin the moment that sweet water touched her tongue--scorching hot or no.

She stoppered the waterskin as the liquid, barely enough to even swallow, wet her parched mouth, and she handed the waterskin back.

"Surely this is some manner of test," Kristen said. "The Proctors knew precisely what they were doing. Else, we'd not be here. And they'd not leave us abandoned here should the worst come about."

Kristen gazed out over the endless rises and falls of the dunes, convinced of the truth of what she'd said. To her, the Proctors were infallible. They didn't make mistakes. And furthermore, whilst necessarily harsh in their methods, they wouldn't just let two initiates perish to the elements like this. Of course not.

Edric
 
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Edric

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Edric stared at Kristen as she handed him the water-skin. There was something disturbing about the idea that anyone could be this naive. The fact that she thought the Proctors knew everything, that they could somehow set this u-

His lips almost immediately thinned.

A thought sprang to mind. "Oh fuck me."

He hadn't really thought about it before now. Hell. He hadn't really even considered it. Such things were supposed to be gone, part of days past. After the Revolution they had been told things were changing, shifting to be better, kinder.

Yet there was an inescapable fact here. One that Kristen had pointed out without ever realizing it. The Proctors should have known better. They should have prepared them more, and yet they hadn't. Why would that be? Well the answer was quite simple.

"They wanted u-" No. "You, dead."

The Initiate said, rubbing a hand against his face before he slowly started to walk down the dune.
 
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Kristen Pirian

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Kristen gasped out loud, slamming a hand onto her chest. Inwardly she had gasped when Edric so casually used such crude language, but that was nothing compared to what he said next, prompting the tangible reaction. That suggestion was absolutely terrifying! Terrifying!

He started walking down the dune.

"No! No! Wait!" Kristen said, after she realized she'd been standing there in a shock for a moment and was a little behind. She caught up with him, small plumes of sand from her footsteps announcing her arrival beside him.

"Dead? They want me dead? How-how-how can you even presume to know such a thing? They couldn't possibly do something like this, they couldn't possibly! It's unthinkable!"

A pause snared her rapid words in her throat. Was it? Was it unthinkable? Kristen's sheltered assumptions about the Academy, about Dreadlords themselves, had all been far from the truth. Her talk with Noel was enlightening in a ghastly way, giving her the insight into what the Academy had been like before the Revolution and before she'd been admitted. And likely there were more horror stories than what glimpses Noel had shared with her.

But it wasn't like that now! IT WASN'T!

"You are mistaken. You must be!"

And the sun overhead beat down on them relentlessly.

Edric
 
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Edric

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His hand came up to pinch the bridge of his nose. "No."

The word was curt.

Why the fuck was he even wasting his breath on this girl? She was so dense that a piledriver from Sable probably wouldn't be able to break through her skull. The maids and butlers waiting on her hand and foot as a child had probably fed her a non-stop stream of bullshit.

"Have you ever once fucking faced reality?" He bit out at her. "We're in a fucking desert. In the middle of nowhere."

Edric reminded her. "You said it yourself. They should have known better. Prepared us for what went wrong."

His voice raised.

"And guess what! They fucking did!" Edric shouted. "They knew loads better, but here we are!"

The Initiate waved his hands, his voice dropping once more. "In a fucking desert. Stuck. Nowhere to go and nothing to do but die. Almost like they fucking knew we'd fuck up and be fucking stuck here where we would die. Why might they want that? Kress knows. Oh wait no."

He jabbed a finger at her chest. "Because they have the perfect opportunity to get rid of a good for nothing stuck up NOBLE LITTLE PRINCESS!"

His voice boomed out again. In truth he had absolutely no idea why a Proctor would want Kirsten did, but he was sure that a thousand reasons did exist. Noel might have been able to puzzle it out, Eleanor too. Politics wasn't his shtick, but he was just smart enough to know that they had to be at play here.

Even if he didn't fully understand them. The setup was just too good.
 
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Kristen Pirian

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Kristen stood shocked. Aghast. And it was not the first time in her short duration at the Academy that she had stood so. Time and time again those very words that Edric had spoken to her had, in one form or another, come to batter her over the head: have you ever once fucking faced reality?

Every time she had been unprepared. Every time, despite all the times that had come before, she stood just as she was standing now, with eyes wide, lips parted, and skin paled.

Just as she had stood gazing up at the half-orc Duresh as he stared down at her, unable to believe it, even as his fist connected with her jaw.

Kristen staggered back a half-step from Edric's jabbing finger.

(Noble little princess. It was easy to kill noble little princesses, wasn't it? Because they were--)

"I am..."

Sorry that I got you into this. Say it. Say it. It is the proper thing to say.

She struggled. Tried again. "I..."

Am sorry that I got you into this. Say it, girl. Say it. You know that it is your fault, and etiquette demands.

Kristen opened her mouth to say something yet again, but this time nothing came forth.

Then she took a few steps back. Turned around. Slid off one plate gauntlet and discarded it to the sand and slid off the other and tossed it away just the same. And with a feverish intensity she wordlessly started to work on her pauldrons to remove them as well.

Edric
 
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Edric

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Edric didn't say anything.

What the fuck else was he going to say?

He knew that it wasn't her fault. Knew that logically speaking Kristen hadn't done anything wrong at all. There was nothing at all that she could have done, nothing at all that she could have said to change all of this. She didn't choose to be here. She didn't choose for him to be there.

It was hard to admit that though, hard to throw it out there when a second ago he had to paint reality into a square for her and then shove it in her face. "I don't know what you're doing now."

Edric said simply.

"Although taking off your armor will probably help with the he-" Before he could finish speaking the sand beneath his feet suddenly began to quake. It shifted, moving, drifting, and then seemed to quiver and push upwards.

His head shot up, and then suddenly he could feel something. "JUMP!"

Edric shouted to Kristen just as the sand beneath them broke out in a spray.

From beneath their feet exploded a carapace of midnight black. Bursting forth from the sand came what appeared to be a massive scorpion, it's tail thrice the length of Edric and Kristen put together. It's massive form jumping forth as though having appeared from nothing.
 
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Kristen Pirian

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I don't know what you're doing now.

She didn't answer him. Though, even if she had the spirit to do so, he ended up understanding a second later anyway. The hope that they would be rescued from their ordeal had encouraged her to keep her armor on, despite the sweltering heat. That, and the worry of their assailants finding them. But the desert before them and behind was empty save for an ocean of sand, and Edric had in short time shattered that hope of rescue. And was he wrong? No, he wasn't wrong. The days had added up, hadn't they? Maybe everything he said was true, or maybe it wasn't and he was mistaken...but, whatever the truth of the matter, it was at this point undeniable that rescue was not coming. Not from the Proctors, at least.

So it was time to discard her armor. All it was doing, to be rather blunt, was killing her slowly. Her family could afford more. The armor could be replaced. She couldn't be.

She almost had her left pauldron off when--

JUMP!

"Huh?"

The sand was rippling about her feet, the tremors of it reverberating up her legs. She cried out in surprise and threw herself forward, just as an eruption of sand shot up skyward where once she had been standing. Kristen rolled along the base of the dune and came to a crouching stop, her left pauldron having fallen off of its own accord.

She saw the creature and, as it had been in Vel Acan, terror gripped her once more. "Aionus's grace, what is that thing!?"

No. No! Do not let fear make you frigid again! Not again!

Trembling hands reached for the mace on her belt. She drew it, along with her book of verses, and managed not to drop either this time. Some small improvement.

Edric
 
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Edric

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"I don't know!" This time when Edric shouted he did not sound upset, merely trying to call over the chittering noise of the creature that now stood in between them.

The great beast seemed to shift, moving towards the sound of Edric's voice. The creature seemed almost drawn to the sound, as if pulled by his tone. As it scuttled to the left it's massive tail swing at Kristen, black carapace rushing for her faster than something that big had any right to move.

Edric let out a series of curses, his head ducking as a claw came smashing into the sands just mere inches away from where he had been standing.

The odd curved sword he'd taken on his excursion with Henk let out a ring as he drew the blade from its scabbard. Another string of curses came a second later as the scorpion shifted once more, it's other claw slamming down near Edric once more. His sword swung down onto the monsters arm...and then bounces off the creatures flesh.

"Shit shit shit." Edric called in panic, beginning to bound backward as he desperately tried to wrest the creature with his magic.

He could feel it's life. Could feel that power somewhere in the scorpions core...and yet it seemed so far away. So distant. As though it's carapace was stopping him from reaching it. "It's stopping my magic!"

Edric called out Kristen as he narrowly avoided another swing of the claw.
 
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"These things just LIVE here!?" Kristen called back. She felt the need to keep talking. Yes. Talking was good. Talking kept her engaged. Talking kept her from freezing up, both in body and mind. And she couldn't freeze up. Not this time. Sable wasn't here this time. She talked about this with him. There was no--

The tail.

"Ah!"

Kristen, half on purpose and half on accident, fell backward and onto her back laid flat on the sand as the tail went rushing by overhead, a gust of wind in its wake blowing the bangs of her hair about in a chaos of a fluttering.

She got back up to her feet. Grimaced in hard, fretful worry as the giant creature bore down on Edric. And it was stopping his magic! Maybe...maybe his, but she could still try hers! Conjuration was different than more direct forms of magic, maybe it would work. She couldn't just--

(leave him to die)

Kristen gasped.

(do it)

Her eyes widened.

(if he's too weak to save himself from the creature, he doesn't deserve to return to the academy. that's how it was. before. right?)

She shook her head.

The book of verses in her hand began to float. Its pages flipped open of their own accord. She held her mace straight before her like the bearing of a standard. The words. "Aionus the Holy Sentinel, impart to me..."

Withering Chains, much like the scorpion itself, burst up from the ground around the creature. Spectral in nature, more a curse than physical shackles. Four of them, undulating like sentient serpents, wrapping themselves around the creature's little legs, its body, one of its huge claw arms. Would it feel the debilitating weight of aging? Would she need to conjure more?

Edric
 

Edric

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Ethereal chains wrapped themselves around the creatures spindly arms, tightening and chaining it to the ground.

For a brief second the Monster struggled against the weight of them, pushing, tearing, desperately trying to break free. Then it's movements seemed to slow, almost decay. It was not trapped, no, but it did not move as it should have. Edric couldn't have put it into words, but he didn't need to.

All he needed to do was act.

Without responding to Kristen's questions Edric suddenly darted forward.

Instinct took over. Back the Academy they had been taught about all manner of monsters, creatures they might encounter within the Falwood or elsewhere in the world. He was sure that somewhere in there Scorpions had been mentioned, but even without the particular knowledge he made a guess.

A Dragons weakspot was it's soft underbelly. Why not the same for a scorpion?

Edric rushed forward as quickly as he could, using a sliver of the magic he had left to push himself just that slightest bit further. He darted beneath the chained creature, and then swung that odd curved blade. The side of the sword swiped into the creature's carapace, digging into its flesh and carving into patch of it's armor.

The great beast seemed to scream, it's voice echoing out in a deafening screech. The sound rushed over the sand, and then suddenly Kristen would feel a burst of strength against the chains as the creature tried to break free.
 
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It was working! The scorpion was slowing!

Then the creature let loose a piercing bestial scream, and Kristen clenched her teeth and squinted her eyes in pain. Her shoulders hiked up toward her agonized ears, but only her right side, with the additional height of the pauldron, touched her ear. It didn't help. Not as much as dropping her book and her mace to cover her ears with her hands would have.

But she didn't. Even if she desperately wanted to.

"Edric, be careful!" she shouted, unsure if she could actually be heard over the creature's screech. There was no telling what it might do now.

Yet one thing for was certain: it was struggling against her Chains, resisting their debilitating effect.

More. She needed more. "Lord Aionus, who guards Arethil, lend me..." Words spoken, casting will manifested, and more Chains were summoned. Up from the sands once more they burst, seeking and coiling about the scorpion, increasing the weight of the curse it needed to resist.

What Kristen didn't notice as she cast her spell...the tail. Swooping, albeit much more slowly, toward her. And though slow, it was still massive.

And it struck her left side. Her unguarded left shoulder and arm. Her book of verses fluttered from its hover above her palm and fell to the sand, and Kristen herself went down and rolled down the short height to the very base of the dune.

Blue sky above.

And. Oddly. The most peculiar sense of humor overtaking her, walking hand-in-hand with the terror she felt, as if the humor and it were morbid cousins. Kristen laughed out loud. Then exclaimed, "Why, it was I who should have been careful!"

She laughed a bit more, finding it all so suddenly and terribly funny.

Edric
 
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More chains.

They came from the sands, bursting forth and digging into the creature above him like a god-sent. It was the first time that Edric had ever seen Kristen's magic, and the first time he had ever found himself thankful the Pirian girl was around.

"Kri-" He was about to send a warning to the girl to watch for the creatures tail, but before he could speak there was a loud crack. He watched as Kristen went flying down the edge of the dune, letting out a curse as he ducked beneath a swipe of the creature's claw.

The chains around it's body seemed to tighten, weighing on it's flesh and pushing down against it's carapace.

Edric let out a curse, and then rushed forward once more. He dodged beneath one claw, then the next, and once again swept himself beneath the creatures belly. This time he did not swipe with his sword, but instead thrust his hand upward.

Fingers pierced through the belly of the beast, punching against the carapace he had earlier carved with his place.

Then, calling upon his magics, Edric tugged at that core of life he had earlier felt.

There was a surge, and then suddenly the beast let out a great resounding screech as it found it's life dragged and stolen away by the Initiate. In one powerful drag of his magics Edric wrenched the beasts life away, pulling it's essence into himself in a feast unlike any he'd had before.

The scorpions screech dying in an echo as he finishes his banquet.
 
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The fit of laughter subsided, and the stark reality that there was still a monstrous creature born of the vast, unforgiving desert of Amol-Kalit to contend with sank back into her mind. She started to sit up. Already she could feel the large swath of pain and soreness all down her arm and left side that was destined to become an enormous, ugly bruise. Yet by the blessing of Aionus she'd not suffered any broken bones.

Sand cascaded down from her as she stood. Witnessing the aftermath of Edric's underbelly strike and siphoning magic, the scorpion teetered one direction, tottered in the other, and then with a waning screech collapsed flat onto the sand, that massive tail puffing up a burst of sand as it struck the dune and lay still.

Her Withering Chains unlatched themselves from the beast's corpse and slowly sank back into the sand, dissipating beneath the ground.

Kristen's book stopped hovering and she caught it. Latched it onto her belt, and hooked her mace to her belt as well. Her right arm was stretched across her chest, holding her injured left shoulder. She stared at the creature for a moment, a small nagging fear that it might yet get back up and imperil them further remaining.

She looked to Edric. "I suppose..." Panting. Catching her breath as adrenaline cooled in her veins. "...with the timeliness of this creature's appearance, it begs the question."

"Was it the Proctors trying to kill us, or merely the desert?"


A tiny smile suggested that she was being facetious.

Mostly.

Edric
 
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Edric took in a long shaking breath, his fingers curling slowly into a fist.

A rush of life ran through him. His entire body seemed to thrum with energy, power. It flowed through every muscle, ligament. His eyes falling shut as for a second he simply enjoyed the sensation. That feeling of actually being alive. No thirst. No hunger.

Nothing.

Then Kristen had to speak.

Her voice shattered the quiet that sat within his mind, broke into pieces that moment of calm. A sigh escaped him, but in truth his anger had faded. It wasn't her fault that they were stuck out here, and were it not for those chains the Scorpion likely would have killed him.

"Both." He said with a frown, reaching up to adjust the shawl that covered his head and kept him out of the sun.

Edric looked Kristen up and down for a moment, gritting his teeth.

"That was..." It was hard to complement her. "Good."

Some of the orneriness had left Edric, mostly because the creatures life sustained him where food and water had not. Maybe that was why he could take the taste of praise on his tongue. "You did a good job, Kristen."

Edric said, glancing at the now dead monstrosity.
 
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Kristen blinked. Stunned, in a curious mix between awe and bewilderment. Edric? Edric, speaking so?

"I..." Part of her wanted to ask him, Are you sure? But she suppressed it. And the suppression was made easier, frankly, by how enamored she was by him giving her a compliment. "Thank you."

Somehow it felt...how to express it...asymmetrical for her to return a compliment to him, even if she genuinely meant it. So far was she below him in terms of skill and experience that it would ring uncharitably in his ears. Insulting, perhaps. She had already made enough of a fool of herself for one day.

Yet still, even with what Noel had told her, even with what Edric had told her now, with the apparent evidence of their dire circumstance to back it up, Kristen found it difficult to truly believe. How could it be so? Was not Evangeline a Proctor now? How could such a horrific plot escape her notice? Surely there were others as well, the replacements for the Proctors of old who perished in the Revolution, who did not hold to the regime of yesteryears. The murderous practices of the bygone Academy were done away with. They had to be.

And still again...

Here they were. Baking in the desert. With no rescue in sight.

Kristen wiped sweat from her forehead. She felt disgusting. Dirty. But looking an absolute mess was the least of her concerns at present.

"I'm going to finish doffing my armor," she said. With a sigh, she added, "I wish I had done this ages ago."

She tried to lift her left arm. Hissed sharply, and stiffly let it fall back limply to her side. She'd...she'd get her right pauldron in a moment. Maybe. Perhaps her sabatons and greaves now. Yes. That would do.

Kristen sat down, and started to work both pieces of foot and leg armor off with one hand.

Edric
 
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Edric

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Edric smiled, though the expression only remained on his lips for the briefest second.

No matter how much they wanted to celebrate, they were still stuck in the middle of the desert. Neither of them had a map, and trying to find their way out was looking to be a nightmare. What were they going to do? That was the question that plagued his mind.

With the life he had taken from the scorpion Edric could now last for another few days. Even with the heat of the sun and the boiling sands beneath his feet, he knew that power would sustain him.

Kristen?

She wasn't so lucky.

A day or two, at most, with the water that he had left on his hip. That was what she would last. They could try eating the scorpions meat, drinking it's blood, but there was no telling what sort of effect that would have on her.

Fact was they were stuck in a corner, and they needed a way out. He took a slow breath, reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose. "We need a spell."

He said softly.

"College magic." They had taught it for ages at the Academy of course, given students an additional tool to use. The Proctors had never much liked them relying on it, but it was a handy thing to have. Trouble was...Edric hardly ever paid attention to those lessons.
 
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Kristen got one set of greaves and sabatons off, tossed the assembly aside in the sand, and started to work on the other. Augh. Her feet felt awful within her boots. She was expecting a shadow of sweat to be imprinted upon her arming garments as well, once she got all of her armor removed. It was...a good thing. Once all of her sweat dried up and she could sweat no more, then she would be most imperiled indeed.

How did people live out here? How did that massive creature live out here? There had to be a source of water somewhere to sustain man and beast alike, right?

She glanced up to the Edric as he spoke. College magic?

"Hmm? What might you have in mi--?"

College magic!

Kristen gasped. She reached for her book of verses with her function hand and unlatched it from her belt and flipped through it rapidly. "Oh! Oh! Give me just a moment! I've a small collection of notes here. Some of my most recent ones. I'm afraid that the rest are in my room at the dormitories."

She pulled out a little stack of loose parchment she had stuffed between the pages of her book. Started thumbing through them. And as she did she continued to speak, even if she felt a touch awkward discussing scholastic endeavors with Edric. "I-I find that writing down key notes from the Proctors' lectures helps tremendously in my academic pursuits. And, if I recall correctly, I believe 'divination' was a subject whose utility could be of significant use to us presently."

Most utility magicks received very terse, perfunctory mentions and truncated class time. But the discipline of divination was centered around gaining information through magical means, that much Kristen remembered without the prompting of her notes.

Maybe...they could cast such a spell to help them find water! If, between the two of them, they could figure it out.

Edric
 
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Edric

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Edric stared blankly at Kristen, glancing briefly down at the book she clutched tightly. He had absolutely no idea why anyone would bring notes out onto a mission like this, but if it ended up saving their lives even he couldn't really question it.

Probably.

"Alright." The other Initiate said, simply biting his tongue and it would probably be for the best not to insult Kristen's choice of equipment. After a few moments he walked up besides her, glancing down at the loose leaflets of paper.

He didn't generally tend to study, but that didn't make him an idiot. Edric could recognize most of the spells and notes that Kristen had noted down. A frown touched his lips, and then suddenly he said what she likely already knew. "There, that one."

It was a divination spell. In Kristen's neat hand writing it simply read 'seeking'.

The spell itself was originally crafted to aid in finding a person, but it would suit their purposes well enough if they could adapt it.

"I think we can use this to find water." Usually one needed a piece of the person clothing, hair, something that bound them. Well if they wanted to find water why couldn't they use some of the water they had?

It seemed to make logical sense, though of course the spell would have to be changed a little more to suit their purposes. Now the only question was...how.
 
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Kristen Pirian

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Edric noticed the divination spell before she did. Oh those awful, wretched scribbles she made when she was in haste taking down notes: she didn't even properly make the curves on the d's and t's! How disappointed Master Cullaghan, her calligraphy instructor, would have been with her! But, such sloppiness was neither here nor there.

"Yes, you are right. Thank heavens that divination class was one of the more recent ones. I admit it is only by happenstance that I've the notes on my person." Otherwise, it would have joined her stack of old notes back in her room. Then they truly would have been worse off!

"Let us see..."

She'd only written a scant few points on it. Oh, she must have been in quite the haste! But, nevertheless, there were three key components: the source, the will, and the knowledge.

"All right. The source..." Kristen started, trying to recall back to the Proctor's actual lecture as she read her own writing, "the source is a physical token that binds what the seeking is intended to find. The will is the focus of the caster, the actual concentrated intention of the finding. The knowledge is the intertwining of the caster's command of the arcane, and the caster's grasp of the facets of the world and the place of that which they seek within it."

Kristen let out a huff of beleaguered breath. The rest of what she had written detailed the ritual process, the mechanics of it. But those three components. The source seemed easy. The will seemed demanding, but achievable with pristine concentration. But the knowledge?

"The facets of the world," Kristen said, then looked up bashfully to Edric. "Would I...be bold to presume that you found Geography to be a fascinating subject?"

Ah...! If she tried with exquisite effort, she might pluck the names of certain bodies of water from her mind to help focus the spell. Oh, but if they only had a map! Visualizing rivers and such might also serve, would it not?

If only more lessons had been devoted to these utility magicks! Neither the conjurations of Aionus nor Edric's siphoning would do them any good if both succumbed to thirst out in this forsaken desert.

Edric
 
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Edric

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"Bold." He answered simply. "And wrong."

Edric had paid attention to geography about as much as he had to Kristen the day before this mission had been foist upon him.

He knew little about the world beyond Vel Anir, though this was a lesson to show him just how foolish that was. Lips thinned for a brief moment, hand coming up to pinch the bridge of his nose as he scrambled for any sort of memory that might help them. "There was an oasis."

The young Anirian said, trying to think.

"Mentioned in the Brief." He frowned for a moment. "The Heart of Aktash."

Edric couldn't recall the details around it, though Kristen might have been able to.

The Oasis, called the Heart of Aktash by the locals was a place they had been instructed not to go to. Apparently it was scared to a band of nomads that frequently traveled through Amol-Kalit, and were they found there it might cause...exceeding trouble.

Not that Edric recalled such a thing. "I remember that place well enough."

There had been a drawing of it on one of the briefing papers, though just how someone had visited there and lived no one had deemed to explain.
 
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An oasis! Of course! Kristen had limited herself to thinking only of more common bodies of water: your oceans, your rivers, your lakes. What occasion had she to even consider the idea of an oasis? These were her first steps in an actual desert after all.

Then Edric spoke the name of the oasis in question, and Kristen, despite everything, had her knee-jerk reaction.

"What? E-Edric, no! The--" She glanced around as if there might be a Proctor lurking somewhere near by. "We were specifically warned not to go to the Heart of Aktash. We couldn't possibly trample upon our instructions so!"

Ingrained into her even before the strict discipline of the Academy, the strict discipline that came with upholding the decorum expected of a noblewoman. Rules, tradition, etiquette. Even in their dire straits, conditioning of the sort she had known all her life was hard to break from.

Edric
 
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Edric frowned, for a moment not remembering what the fuck Kristen was talking about.

Then suddenly it all came flooding back to him. The warnings that they had been given, the preeminent scolding that had been offered. A frown touched his lips, and he looked up at Kristen for a few seconds. "Look."

Edric's voice was stern, strong.

"Do you want to live?" It was question that had no real answer. "Or do you want to bury your head in the sand and die?"

It might have been a bit harsh, but Edric didn't particularly care in that moment. "We need water, food. A place to survive."

He pointed at her.

"This is the only place I know, so unless you know somewhere else this is our only shot." Everything else, everywhere else was moot in that moment. They needed to survive. Everything else they could forget about.
 
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