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The Curse of the Phoenix



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Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:42 pm
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Sheytato says...



Twenty-one years ago, Sylvetta Syleen led her group of warriors to challenge the wyverns plaguing the kingdom. Together with Nal'tor Firemaker, Laurel Perrier, Dyren Morana, Ker Callowfell/Nightsong, Branwen Blackthorne, and Sius Ayton, they challenged what many had come to call 'an unbeatable enemy', and they did exactly what the name suggests they couldn't. Syletta went on to run the kingdom as queen, Nal'tor took over leading the Order of the Magicians, and Laurel and Dyren joined the royal council. Ker and Branwen were give the rank of sixth and fifth Archmage respectively, and Sius, the only null in the group, became the head of the Royal Guard.

As queen, Sylvetta brought a new era of peace. She focused on bridging the gap between nulls and magicians in the kingdom, as well as making the kingdom appear more welcoming to outside groups. She also implemented a mentoring system in the Order of the Magicians, in which young magicians are personally trained, starting at age twelve, until age sixteen. The order prospered with this new, far more efficient system, and in a short time, the kingdom's defenses were impenetrable.

Meanwhile, the wyverns—crippled by the heroes' attack—bowed to the kingdom, and have sworn never to threaten them again. In return, the kingdom will assist in rebuilding their numbers, land, and more. With the loss of their greatest enemy, and thus the conclusion of the greatest conflict, the island of Vyheria was brought into tranquility.

But things are changing. A group of rebels among the wyverns have amassed an army and are working in secret, preparing for an attack. No one, not even the wyverns still allied with the kingdom, know just how powerful they are. And even as that goes on, trouble within the kingdom itself is stirring. The council has reached several serious disagreements recently, and many question if they're really fit to help run the nation.

Vyheria is on the brink of a full-scale war, and no one will be able to escape it.

Vyheria



Vyheria is an island consisting of several ecosystems, and several nations. To the west is a large desert wasteland, with no large towns or civilizations. On the eastern coast is the kingdom, and just north of it is Wyvern Mountain, home to the wyverns. Farther north is a large forest, and only a handful of organized towns live there, fairy communities excluded. To the south, below the desert, is a prairie, and it has many small towns, several of which having no magic at all.

The most powerful forces on the island are without a doubt the kingdom, the wyverns allied with the kingdom, and the fairies. However, the fairies rarely get involved with the conflicts of the southern nations.

Twenty-one years ago, there would only have been two groups of people in the kingdom. The first and less prominent would be the nulls, humans born without any magical abilities. If they make a pact with someone who does have magic, they become an inheritor, and will be given the magic of the magician when he/she dies. Magicians with pacts slowly lose their magic, so it's often very weak by the time it's given to the inheritor.

The second group is the magicians, humans who have control of an element. There are several sub-classes of magicians.

Pyromancers – Magicians capable of controlling fire, in some capacity. Fire is an unstable magic, meaning that any fire they manipulate will not retain form after they stop. Pyromancers can still be burned, but are less prone to it. Fire magic is the most common form of magic across Vyheria, and inarguably one of the strongest.

Aquamancers – Magicians capable of controlling water, to an extent. Water is an unstable magic, and thus cannot retain form. Often, there is a limit on how much water can be manipulated at a time, but it is still a powerful form of magic.

Terramancers – Magicians capable of controlling the earth. Some control the dirt and stone of the ground, others control plant growth. Earth magic is a stable magic, meaning whatever is created by a Terramancer will remain in shape after they're done manipulating it. This form of magic has few limitations, but is difficult to use offensively.

Caelimancers – Magicians capable of controlling the air itself. They're limited to air near them, but it still has its advantages. Air is an unstable magic, but is nearly invisible, making it great for strategic maneuvers. The displaced air can be seen as a murky presence, but in the heat of a battle, it can go completely unnoticed.

Glacimancers – Magicians capable of controlling ice. They can freeze water to form ice, and then manipulate the shape of the ice. Often this water that's frozen is drawn from underground. Some question whether it's really a separate form of magic from water magic, but it has its differences. It is stable, and the ice itself is controlled, not the water. It can be used defensively and offensively, but doesn't excel at either.

Necromancers – Magicians with abilities not fitting into any of the above categories. They cannot have the same power as another, or they aren't truly a Necromancer. The name originates from the first's power, but not all have anything even related to necromancy. They are so rare, one has not been reported born in the kingdom since Branwen Blackthorne.


Sylvetta worked towards making the kingdom more welcoming, and so in the past years, many new groups have come. The Lianths, humans with the abilities and minor physical traits of animals, as well as magic, have come to live there. There is also the Dove, people without any natural coloring in their skin and hair, making them appear extremely pale. They have essentially no magic. Lastly is the Desert-Dwellers, a group of nomads form the desert that control sand.

Characters



Your character is a magician in the mentoring program, age twelve to sixteen. They're meant to serve in the Order of the Magicians when they're old enough, but through various means, they get thrown into the conflict before completing their training. Below is the character template. Please delete the parentheses.

Spoiler! :
Code: Select all
[b]Name:[/b]
[b]Age:[/b] (12-16)
[b]Gender:[/b]
[b]Up For Romance:[/b] (if yes, include sexuality)
[b]Magic Type:[/b]
[b]Species:[/b] (are they human, Lianth, Desert-Dweller, etc.)
[b]Personality:[/b]
[b]Appearance:[/b]
[b]History:[/b]
[b]Other:[/b] (optional)


Note: This is a sequel to the storybook The Curse of the Wyvern (which is currently unable to be viewed... I will link it when that's changed). You do NOT need to have participated in the previous storybook, and in fact, you don't even need to have heard of it. They stand alone, and any information from the first that is important will or has been explained. Enjoy!

Tagging the previous participants, if they're interested. No pressure. @saentiel, @Lumi, @Omnom, @FalconryGirl9086, @XxXTheSwordsmanXxX, @Feltrix.
-=-=>[¤]<=-=-

In my eyes, all potatoes are equal.


...Except sweet potatoes.

-=-=>[¤]<=-=-

Formerly Sheyren, Sheyren, and even once I was Sheyren
  





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Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:53 pm
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Sheytato says...



Exliana Yuore


Exliana ducked under a well aimed kick, sliding sideways and tossing her staff up into the air. She spun around behind her enemy, catching the metal rod and igniting it in flames, turning it to lance form. Targeting his back, she lunged forward, but he leapt into the air, propelled on jets of fire. He faced her as she sent the staff through the air, pointed straight at him. With a nimble movement, he sidestepped as though on solid ground, and the weapon went soaring past. He dropped to ground in front of Exliana, nodding to her.

“You did good, b-” he started, stopping to spin around and throw up a wall of flames. The staff fell out of the sky, pulled by Exliana with a nearly invisible thread of flame. It thudded to a halt on the side flame barrier, but Exliana plunged into the flames to grab it. She ignited one end, turning it to scythe form, and slashed at him.

He hopped backwards on one foot, covering his hands with flames, and blocked the attack with one. Exliana persisted, slashing repeatedly at him, but he continued to block. After several missed attacks, she switched it to bow form, creating an arrow on a flaming drawstring, and firing at her attacker. Effortlessly, he caught the arrow and absorbed it into his own fire, which immediately grew bigger. Lunging forward, he sent a single punch headed straight for her neck, faster than she had time to counter. He stopped the fist right in front of her neck, so close she could feel the heat of it licking at her throat.

They immediately extinguished their flames and stood straight, relaxed. “You did well. I’m sure that in several months you will be capable of defeating me,” he said.

“You’re Nal’tor Firemaker! One of the legendary seven, and easily the most powerful Pyromancer! How do you expect me to defeat you?” Exliana asked, exasperated.

“I’ve been your mentor for almost three years now. I know your capabilities, and I’m well aware that your magic is stronger than mine. You can defeat me.”

“Yes, let me use the magic that you sealed away with these gloves, and won’t give me the key to unlock and take them off,” She said sarcastically. “If you just let me use my full power, I could actually beat you. I’m sure of it.”

“It’s too dangerous. You don’t have enough control of your abilities. If you can prove you have control, then I will grant you the key. But until then, I’ve decided that th danger outweighs the benefits.”

“You won’t even tell me why it’s dangerous! Why can’t I use my full abilities?”

Nal’tor looked away. “I’m not the one to decide when you’re told that information.”

Exliana remained silent, before sighing. “I know. You’ve told me that at least a hundred times. I guess I don’t care, so long as I get answers before I graduate.”\

“I you’ve heard this at least a hundred times, then surely you’ll know I can’t guarantee anything.”

“Yep, I know. Anyway, it’s getting late. Are we done training for the day?” Exliana said, sitting down on the sandy floor to the clearing she and Nal’tor had been training in.

“Not exactly,” said a voice from the bushes outside the clearing. Through them emerged a blonde woman with a white and blue jacket. A crown was the only indicator of her status. Exliana bowed, and Nal’tor lowered his head. The woman nodded to them, and they stood straight. “How many times do I have to tell people they don’t need to bow?” She muttered, half to herself.

“What brings you here, Queen Syleen?” Nal’tor asked politely.

“That’s Sylvetta to you, General Firemaker.”

Nal’tor shrugged. “Call me Nal. General is too formal.”

“That only proves my point.”

“Fair enough.”

“Anyway,” Sylvetta said. “The wyverns contacted us.”

“Oh, was there an issue with our help constructing them a castle?” He asked.

“No, the queen said all is well, and thanked us—what is it, the sixth time?” Sylvetta responded.

“Seventh,” Nal’tor corrected.

Sylvetta shrugged. “She did however mention a possible threat to both them and us, but didn’t want to elaborate. Something about even the messenger not being trustworthy. So she asked we meet with them.”

Nal’tor hesitated. “We being..?”

“Myself, You, and General Ayton. Seeing as she asked for the kingdom’s three most important military commanders, it looks like we’ll be battling something, or someone.”

“Well, twenty-one years is too long for peace. It’s about time,” Nal’tor said with a sigh. “So, when do we leave?”

“Tomorrow. But there’s more,” Sylvetta said. “They’ll be sending us a escort, but since they’re going through the trouble, she suggested I bring some others to visit the Wyvern Kingdom. Specifically, a select group of apprentices, to show the next generation what the new wyverns are like, and to teach them that they aren’t like those in the legends. So, I selected ten apprentices and their mentors to accompany us. Of course one of the apprentices I chose was the first Pyroamplus the kingdom has seen in nearly two centuries,” she finished, finally adressing Exliana, who was doodling in the sand with her staff. Beside her, Nal’tor jabbed her in the side with his elbow, and she looked up.

“Huh? What? I mean, yes, awesome, thanks,” Exliana said.

Sylvetta laughed heartily. “Be in the square tomorrow at noon. Prepare for an overnight stay.” Nal’tor nodded, while Exliana finished her drawing. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got nine other apprentice-mentor couples to meet with. I shall see you tomorrow.” With that, she turned and exited the clearing, leaving Nal’tor to scold Exliana about manners in front of the queen.
-=-=>[¤]<=-=-

In my eyes, all potatoes are equal.


...Except sweet potatoes.

-=-=>[¤]<=-=-

Formerly Sheyren, Sheyren, and even once I was Sheyren
  





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XxXTheSwordsmanXxX says...



Torrin


“Concentrate Torrin!” the old man growled out. “I have seen dead men make better constructs!”

The sweat beaded on Torrin’s brow. His hand extended as ice slowly formed together creating a sword from thin air. The ice came together in a foggy construct. A smile spread over his young features as he brushed a few loose strands of his white hair from his face.

The old man rose to his feet with a grunt. Walking on the staff in his hand he looked over to the blade that Torrin had created. With a hard strike on the edge of the sword with his staff, the old man shattered it.

Torrin gave out a defeated sigh, before he released a chuckle. “At least I could make it a little bit showy this time.”

“Pitiful construction. Barely holding itself together as it was. Maybe if you make it large enough you scare them off with the glint.”

“I’m sorry Master Grawl. I am trying,” Torrin said with a sigh. “Offensive magic was never really a strong suit of mine.”

“Obviously. You are better with those ice sheets and barriers than you are with something actually useful.”

“Maybe there is a reason for that,” Sylvetta said coming into the hut. “Not everyone has the same skills Master Grawl.”

The old man grunted as he tapped Torrin on head with his staff. “Practice your shield constructs.” Torrin gave a bow to the queen before heading out to the training area. The rune carved stones softly glowing before they suddenly began firing small bolts of fire at Torrin. In an instant Torrin was throwing up shields of ice without a second thought.

“So what is it about this one, Grawl?” Sylvetta asked as she watched Torrin defending himself easily.

Grawl chuckled as he gave her a grin. “Watch.” He tapped his staff on the ground three times. The rune stones hummed with energy as they began firing stronger blasts of magic at Torrin. The white haired apprentice began throwing up barriers and shields as if he had eyes in the back of his head. Protecting himself with no effort. Summoning a pillar of ice he shot up into the air before blasting out orbs of ice that struck the rune stones and coated them in his magic, silencing the hum and they magics within.

“He shows promise in defensive magic,” Sylvetta commented.

“Not just that. He makes these little figurines in his pass time. Very lifelike. His construction magic and ice sculpting are quiet strong. Of course his family don’t care about that. First Glacimancer in a century. They have more expectations than I do for him. Speaking of which, could you get them to stop coming to my hut?”

“You want me to tell them that they can’t visit their son?”

“When they are berating him for not being on their schedule and demand he begin studying things that have nothing to do with his casting then it tends to get in the way of his mentoring.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

Torrin smiled as he hurried back to Grawl and the Queen. “How was that Master Grawl?”

“Well you managed to keep from getting roasted so I suspect it was well enough,” Grawl responded.

“I won’t keep you. But I have some news for you. You and your apprentice will be coming with me tomorrow with a few other mentors and apprentices.”

“Where are we going?” Torrin asked. Grawl gave him a sharp strike on the top of his head. “Sorry. Where are we going, your highness?”

“To the Wyvern Kingdom. We have some news about something that they deem of importance to us. The two of you need to meet me in the square tomorrow at noon. Bring what you need for a few days.”

“We will be ready, your majesty,” Grawl said as he hobbled into his room to pack.
Torrin chuckled as he gave a bow to the Queen.

“You’re Torrin right?” Sylvetta asked. Torrin smiled and gave a nod. “Your defensive magic is very good. Few people are as advanced in it as you at your age.”

“Yeah…wish my offensive magic was even half as good. Maybe I could get a smile from Master Grawl.”

“Trust me. If he didn’t feel that you had potential, you won’t be here. He is…rough to get along with, but he is a great mentor to learn from. Despite his short comings and lack of tact. Stick with it. Before you know it, you will be a master magician.”

Torrin smiled as he bowed to the queen. “And if nothing else I can say that Grawl hasn’t tried to beat me to death yet. Despite all the threats.”

“Torrin! If you don’t stop flapping your lips I’ll have you pulling the carriage all the way to the Wyvern Kingdom! Move it!”

Giving a wave Torrin hurried off to pack.
  





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Lumi says...



Image


"Ild! Hei! Mett! Go!"

Ahmed launched under the call of the distant voice. Around his appendages were buzzsaws of cycling water at any speed one could guess--around his eyes was a blindfold. Upon impact with trees, he span and brought them into logs to skate over and through. His objective--his only objective--was to find the flightful voice and engage the body in unfair combat.

Bobbing, weaving, launching above the trees. He locked onto a trace scent and threw a razor disk out in its direction only to hear a muddy impact. Ahmed grunted. "You can't evade me, Perrier!"

The voice laughed below him. "I think I can, the way you're spending your mana!" Ahmed let go of the winds his cyclones had ahold of and came crashing into the swamp below, uprooting trees and ferns alike.

Perrier's voice laughed again. "Nah, man. Not a drop on me!"

The blindfold was torture--justly designed by Gabe's mother to emulate her toughest fights when sight was robbed. But it was a double threat, as Gabe Perrier was a terrifying bender, and hadn't spent a drop of mana in the chase.

And he had all of his mother's healing power to boot.

Focusing in, Ahmed crouched low, twisting himself into the tidal mud below. Moving his feet about, he found it: caverns where great roots had once carved out the mud. He just had to hold onto the vibrations in the water where Gabe was trouncing.

And there. He. Was. Overhead, tapping his foot. Ahmed conjured a cyclone in the tunnel below and forced it up as he tackled his 19 year-old mentor from below. He held him down by the chest with his elbow with all his weight. "Say it!" he shouted. "Surrender!"

"Pal," he shrugged, "no one surrenders in front of the queen."

Ahmed leaped off Gabe, settled his powers and removed the blindfold, using it to wipe the mud off his face, but leaving cleverly-selected parts of his body caked in mud, as his training dress covered just so much. He bowed with his mentor, only his was a deeper bow nearing that of spiritual honorarium. "My liege and commanding voice, it is a blessing to see you today."

Sylvetta hid a giggle as she gestured the two young men up from their bows. "Boys, that was one heck of a regimen to watch! It makes me wonder what real battles would look like...only, you know, not in my marshlands! I've never seen such a topiary job done by an aquamancer!"

"I shall sew back every seed, my queen."

"Or I will simply heal the trees before they die off, eh Amari?" Gabe's grin was so sly and unique, conniving.

"That is so...your mother. From top to bottom. If only we could nip out your father's sass!" Her happy expression melted. "I'm afraid there's melancholy news, though, boys." Sylvetta raised her chin and stepped--with ice beneath her feet to keep clean--away to ponder. "The Wyverns have requested joint council, and I am to bring ten of my most promising trainees and their mentors, plus a duo of my officials."

Ahmed nodded. "I will be packed within the hour, My Queen."

Gabe looked away. "I won't refuse an order from the Queen, but this will cut into precious training time. That is my concern."

"One that is shared among other mentors; however, I've seen much of the skills displayed thus far, and I believe a sojourn will do no harm in their progress."

"And my mother's word on the matter?"

"She said if you got grumpy about it, I had her authority to freeze you to the Council's Chambers." She winked. "Sound fun?"

"Wyverns sound fun."

"As I thought. Please meet me in the square after you've both bid Laurel your safe return."
I am a forest fire and an ocean, and I will burn you just as much
as I will drown everything you have inside.
-Shinji Moon
  





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saentiel says...



Zel Elsonia

Watching her mentor fight was like watching a skilled dancer. Her offensive and defensive maneuvers were a beautiful display of a control and elegance that she could only dream of. Her attacks were far more fluid than her own clumsy punches and kicks. It was a mesmerizing experience that she could watch for hours on end.

Of course a sparring session wasn't the best time to be admiring her talents, which was something she was quickly reminded of as her legs were kicked out from underneath her.

She rushed back to her feet in the hopes to make amends, but the damage had already been dealt. While one of her hands now rested at her side, Andice's other hand was held out towards her apprentice. It was a sign that they were done fighting. Though Andice was giving her the same warm smile that she always did, Zel's face turned red in shame as she grabbed onto her hand. Her mentor never reprimanded her for her actions. The thought of disappointing her was punishment enough.

She followed her mentor over to the basket that contained their lunch. Her mentor pulled a large loaf of bread out of it and handed it over to her with that same smile. Zel, glad for a distraction, quickly grabbed it and began to wolf it down. She was starving.

Andice grabbed her own meal, a small sandwich, out of it. She sat down on a nearby log. After a moment of hesitation, Zel went to sit down beside her. She could guess what conversation would follow. It wasn't the first time that Andice had given it to her. “Did my fighting distract you again?” her mentor questioned.

Zel slowly nodded. Finishing off the last bit of her bread, she grabbed an apple from the recesses of the basket. It was easier to focus on a meal than meeting Andice's gaze.

“I'm sorry.”

Her stomach ached as she briefly glanced over at her teacher. If only she wouldn't keep letting her down. Andice was one of the few mentors that actually believed in her, and the only one who she liked. Other people would have given up with her or resorted to cruel words by this point. Andice didn't deserve a pathetic excuse for a student like her.

“Zel,” she started, grabbing onto her hand and giving it a reassuring squeeze. “I'm not the miraculous fighter that you think I am.”

She frantically shook her head. “You tell me that every time, but you are! Even if you say you were clumsy like me once, you're amazing now. I can't ever be like you.”

Andice didn't get it. She never would. Zel had heard the stories from the other people in the kingdom. Though she had been a clumsy child, she was an extraordinary Pyromancer at a young age. Besides her skills in magic, she had always been someone who was adored.

She could never understand what it was like to be an outcast.

Fighting was Zel's only chance at reclaiming the attention she had never been given. If her movements were choppy and her attacks lacked power, she would never be noticed for the good aspects of who she was.

Andice started to say something, but fell silent as someone came up from behind Zel. The young student quickly turned around to see who had just entered the clearing. When she realized that the newcomer was Queen Syleen, she shot to her feet. Her heart hammered in her chest. It always did when she saw the queen. But as she studied her face and realized that there was no need for alarm, she relaxed her tense shoulders.

“Hello, Your Highness,” Andice said.

Zel repeated the greeting, though it lacked the same warmth that Andice's had. She was far too nervous to be focused on something like that.

“What can we help you with?” her mentor questioned.

Seeming to notice Zel's unease, the queen smiled at her. It only made the butterflies flitting about in her stomach all the more noticeable. “I came to inform the two of you that you would be accompanying me to the Wyvern kingdom tomorrow at noon.”

“J-Just us?” Zel stammered, her voice a pitiful squeak.

“No,” the queen replied. “There are nine other sets of apprentices and mentors, as well as General Ayton. The Wyvern Queen wanted to show the new generation of Magicians what the wyverns are like.”

As she proceeded to inform Andice of all the specifics she needed to know, Zel knew that her heart should be swelling with pride. For some reason, the queen thought she was worthy enough. But even after she left, terror at the possible outcomes of this event consumed her.

Andice's smile as she turned to her was radiant, and the excited glint to her eyes showed just how thrilled she was by what was in store for the two of them. “This is the experience of a lifetime, Zel! I'm so happy for you!”

All that Zel could do was nod.

“It's going to be my first time there, so I can't speak from experience. But I'm sure you'll love getting to see the Wyvern kingdom!”

A bitter smile briefly flickered across her lips.

It wouldn't be her first time.
|formerly mage|
  





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Steggy says...



Raverra Laudrim


"You seem like you're having trouble," her mentor, Artae, mentioned quietly. Raverra pressed her hands against the cool rocks and was waiting patiently for some movement. Her mentor, a pale man with blue eyes and long flowy white hair, watched from behind. There was no sound from where they were and the only movement was the wind. The sky above the two was clear with a few clouds in the east. It was a cooler day than Raverra had liked. She pulled lightly on her thick wool blanket as she repositioned herself on the rocks. Artae watched from nearby, leaning against a wooden staff.

"You shouldn't focus much on what you are doing, Raverra. Perhaps focus on something else," he suggested. Raverra sighed and sat on her knees, rubbing her hands lightly over her legs. Her mentor quietly walked over, taking long strides before stopping at where Raverra was sitting. He took a deep breath and looked down.

"Do you enjoy nature, Raverra?" he asked quietly. Raverra shrugged, now playing with a small tone in her hands. She wanted to practice more and not wanting to listen to another lesson from her mentor. They were boring lessons, too and always-at some point or another-her mentor would relate it back to what they were doing. Last week, her mentor related earth rising to a stream moving between rocks. She doesn't remember what he said but it didn't have much importance to her.

"You see, Raverra, nature is consisted of earthly objects and they each live in harmony. And each one has a job that each object much achieve," he said, looking back up. "Around us are trees, rocks, birds, and many other objects. That tree over there has a job to do. That little fern between the two rocks also has a job. And when it comes to being a terramancer or any type, it is important to use your job to your own advantage. It'll be tricky in the beginning but it'll be worth it in the end." When Artae concluded, Raverra stood up abruptly and walked a few steps forward.

"I'm not going to be a great terramancer, Artae. I know this. Since I'm a Dove, it is harder for people my own being to produce such things like bringing up the ground or creating giant lines in the dirt. Personally, I don't believe that this would be my fate," Raverra stated quietly. Artae watched sadly from behind, leaning against his staff. He had been with Raverra since she had started training at 10 and he had begun to understand how complex she was, apart from the rest of the students. He had liked that but wanted her to grow outside of her shell.

"You can continue to think that or else you won't get better at what you are doing."

Raverra pulled lightly at her thick blanket. "I know that. I can't help it."

Artae sighed, walking to where Raverra had stopped. "Listen, why don't we try once more? As I always say, don't focus on the task at hand. If you focus too much on what you are doing, it won't work. Now, I want you to try to grow a flower right there in front of the rock. If you don't succeed, it is alright. We'll continue to practice with smaller things again tomorrow." He then went back to where he had started, watching Raverra get into her stance.

She closed her eyes and breathed evenly. Opening her eyes slowly, Raverra focused on the one spot and waved her hands around slowly. An elegant dance that Artae had always been fond of. It was different from most terramancers he had met but it did the job, mostly. She moved slowly in the one spot before stopping. Raverra continued to move her hands and then walked forward slowly, whispering words under her breath. When she was in front of the stone where Artae had said to raise the flower, she knelt down and pressed a hand against the crack. Closing her eyes once more, Raverra focused all of her energy on rising a small flower. When she felt as if it was done, she slowly raised her hand and opened her eyes.

Shortly afterward, a small purple flower rose through the crack. It bent over with a green stem and petals. Raverra touched it lightly as Artae walked over, smiling at her attempt.

"Nicely done, Raverra. I believe we are making some progress, which is better than nothing. Tomorrow, I think we should focus on moving rocks from one place to another. How does that sound?"

Raverra nodded softly, only focusing on the flower in front of her. She marveled at how soft and velveting it felt and continued to think about how she did it. I couldn't possibly do this again. Could I? she thought to herself before rising. She could only hope that this talent would come in handy later on.
You are like a blacksmith's hammer, you always forge people's happiness until the coal heating up the forge turns to ash. Then you just refuel it and start over. -Persistence (2015)

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FalconryGirl9086 says...



Shakarri


I felt the woods around me, breath slow and even. My mentor sat across from me with her legs crossed and eyes closed. The only sounds around us were the soft calls of birds and the occasional rustle as Branwen's familiar, a white raven called Alessa, roused or shifted.

My mind drifted as we meditated. I found myself back home, wrestling with my brothers in front of our home. Abooksigun, the eldest, had me in a headlock and I struggled in vain to get loose before Achak slammed him and all three of us fell to the ground in one, writhing pile of arms and legs and tails.

"Remember," Blackthorne instructed, her voice soft. We'd been working on achieving another form - that of a wolf. I really wanted to get ambitious and see if I could manage a wyvern, but she'd told me not to get ahead of myself and to start small and then work my way up. I'd never met a wyvern, anyways, and I needed to have a better understanding of them before I could shift. I'd read about them, though, and sometimes my mentor would tell me about her past experience with the draconic beasts.

I heard the stirring of leaves and turned ever so slowly. My nose twitched in the twilight air as I tried to identify what was probably a deer - that's what I hoped, at least.
Unless Abook or Ach had caught something, we'd go hungry that night. I raised my longbow and drew it steadily back as I watched the bushes.


A furred canine was what emerged. It froze, looking at me with a deep golden gaze that I couldn't begin to comprehend. My breath caught and I lowered my bow, unable to kill such a beast despite my growling stomach. The huge timber wolf held eye contact with me for several more moments before bowing its head as though in acknowledgement of my presence and loping off into the woods.

"Hold onto that moment," she was saying. "Find the beast within. See through its eyes and hear its thoughts as you tread the woods upon four paws."

I released my breath and turned the world colorless in my mind's eye. Then came the scents, stronger than my marten's nose could detect and much more complex. My legs were long yet I was not as tall as a deer, my shape more lithe and long, though still robust. I wasn't as large as a cougar but I was bigger than any of the birds and I stalked the land as a predator - however, I knew well I could be the prey, as I was alone.

"Now become."

I let myself fall into that skin I'd created, feeling my shape change. When I opened my eyes, I wasn't a Lianth anymore. I was...something. My nose was stubbier than it should have been and my fur was brown and I had hooves instead of paws - apparently I'd managed to throw a bit of deer in with the canine. Color was gone, though, so apparently I'd gotten partway there.

The raven-haired woman was sitting there, watching me. Her dark robes fell loosely about her pale form and her eyes were piercing.

"Good," she nodded in approval. "A bit more of an ungulate than a canine, but getting closer."

A chuckle came from behind me and I turned, seeing Sylvetta leaning against a tree, smiling. Branwen stood and Alessa, her bird, leaped to her shoulder as color returned to the world and I stood on two, furred paws.

"Sylvetta, it's a pleasure to see you," Branwen greeted. "How do you fare?"

"Quite well, thank you. And how are you?"

"Same as ever," she smiled. "This one's been working on her wolf form, and getting closer." She gestured to me.

"Glad to hear it," Sylvetta answered.

"Why have you come?" the necromancer inquired.

"I have news. Pack up tonight - the two of you are going to the Wyvern Kingdom on the morrow with a few other apprentices and mentors."

I was intrigued - the wyverns? That would be...amazing. Dragons in the flesh! I wondered why we were going but the question didn't linger for long as my excitement at the prospect overrode my common sense.

"Yes, ma'm," Branwen grinned and turned to me. "Looks like we've got some work to do, little kit."

I beamed and nodded, giddy with anticipation.
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Feltrix says...



A fist rapped on the door of En's dorm, once, twice, three times. "En," a familiar voice called. "Come on. We've got training to do."

"It's not time to train yet," En objected, knowing the argument was futile. Still, it gave him a few precious seconds to read the alchemy textbook his nose was buried in.

"Nope," Dya agreed. "But by the time we finish this pointless conversation and get out of here, it will be." They had a point. "Get your nose out of that book. Let's go."

En sighed and closed the book, pushed his mop of dark hair out of his face, and walked to the door. Dyren Morana was one of the few people En respected. They were also one of three people who he consistently lost arguments with. While this was an admirable trait, it tended to get in the way when he was trying to read.

"Alright, Mentor Morana," En sighed, pushing the door open.

"Dya," they automatically corrected.

"Dyren," En said, accepting the routine compromise as his mentor lead him towards the arena. "Who will I be fighting today?"

"What, is the the real question," Dyren corrected.

En raised an eyebrow. "What? I've never fought an animal before," he said. "You are, of course, aware that the probability of Vyheria entering a conflict with a non-human group is statistically unlikely."

Dyren smirked. "Our last war was with the wyverns," they replied. "Anyway, last week you picked apart the treaty and found all its flaws. If anything, we're most likely to enter a war with non-humans."

"I didn't mean a war with wyverns," En clarified. "It's extremely unlikely that you got a wyvern to..." He trailed off when he saw what was poised in the arena. Dyren's smirk widened into a grin.

A wyvern was crouched in the center of the arena, over twenty feet long with silver, overlapping scales providing the perfect armor.

"It's a replica, of course," En decided.

"Of course."

"On a real wyvern, the scales wouldn't be so metallic, and the claws and teeth wouldn't be so blunt." The replica began to move. Halting and abrupt, yes, but it was slowly stalking its way towards En and Dya.

"That's so it won't kill you. It's operated by a crew of five people," Dya said, a touch of pride entering their voice. "Including a flame, so the fire's authentic. This one's just for training, but soon they will become military vehicles. Of course, they can't fly, but they're as close as we can get to actual wyverns."

"It must have been very difficult to get for a practice battle."

"Yes. Very."

"But you managed to get it anyway," En said, surprised that his mentor had such sway and that they would use it in such a way.

"You're good at fighting," Dyren said. "But you don't use a lot of raw power. That's what you need when fighting a wyvern. This is the best way for you to learn."

The corner of En's mouth twitched into a tiny smile and he strode toward the robotic dragon. As he got closer, the wyvern moved to attack him. Without warning, a column of flame shot at En, but he gently pushed it to the side with a gust of wind. He exerted just enough energy to avoid being burned. He continued on his path towards the wyvern. When he was close enough to reach, the it raised a claw to strike En. As it swung, En used a blast of wind to alter the claw's direction. The wyvern was too strong; the wind didn't change the claw's path enough to make it avoid hitting him entirely, so En dropped to the ground and the claw grazed his shoulder.

He rolled over to face the dragon. He'd gotten too close. He was still in the range of the machine's paw, and it swung back. Before it struck, En desperately tried to blast it away with a gust of wind, but it wasn't enough. The claw came back and pinned him to the earth. He was on his back, wedged between massive talons that plunged into the ground like the bars of a prison.

"Well, that could have gone a little bit worse," Dyren offered.

"That was..." En began.

"Bad."

"...Yes."

"You know," a new voice said. "I have important news, but this looks very interesting. I can wait."

"Sylvetta," Dya said. "It's good to see you. You barely ever make it out of the castle these days."

En angled his head so he could see the newcomer. What he saw confirmed what he'd already guessed. It was Sylvetta Sylveen, former head of the Royal Order of Magicians, current Queen of Vyheria.

The queen grimaced. "I know," she admitted. "Actually, I'm here for business. You, En Daren, and several other mentors and their students are going to the Wyvern Kingdom."

"Me?" En asked.

Sylveen smiled. "You. Despite your... current position, you've shown that you have a lot of potential. Luckily for you, this is diplomatic mission, so you won't have to fight any wyverns. We leave tomorrow. Will you two be ready?"

"We'll be ready," Dya said.

En nodded, but he wasn't paying attention. His mind was racing. Students weren't taken on diplomatic missions, especially when dragons were involved. Not to mention that the message had been delivered by the Queen. What could prompt a journey like this? And what role would he have to play?
Didn't anyone ever tell you, there's one thing you never put in a trap if you're smart? If you value your continued existence. If you have any plans about seeing tomorrow, there's one thing you never, ever put in a trap... Me.
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PrincessInk says...



~Antonia Skylar~


A gentle breeze tickled Antonia's forearms, and she looked up into the bright blue sky, pushing back the brim of her straw hat.

"Are you ready?" said Julius the caelimancer--no, he boomed it. Julius cut an impressive six-feet-tall figure compared to Antonia, who knew she was almost five feet tall. His beard burst out onto his chest, and his eyes were a striking electric blue.

Antonia looked at the sky, then back at Julius, who stood with his arms folded over his beard. "I--" She stopped. Julius would only accept yes as an answer. "I could try," she said.

The breeze was slowly flowing in just one direction, to the patch of thick grass and tiny wildflowers, and Julius had deemed it a perfect opportunity for Antonia to just fly into the air, and if she had done it right, be carried right onto the flower bed. Part of caelimancer training, that was. "But don't go farther than that," he had said, pointing to the gate surrounding the garden, "because if you do, you'll end up on something sharp."

Antonia took a deep breath, shut her eyes tightly, and then jumped up. She opened her eyes and found herself on the cobbled path, not on the bed.

"Try again," said Julius. "Imagine it, Antonia. Imagine it. You're good at that!"

Antonia squeezed her eyes shut and imagined herself extending her arms, lifting herself between the waves of the breezes, and landing on a cushiony lawn. That was flying. Antonia let her air magic tap into the breeze, pull it around her, and then she let go of the ground. She relaxed, as if she were floating.

"Very good, very good," said Julius. Antonia's lips quirked into a slight smile. Praise from Julius was rare and meant to be cherished.

The breeze carried her on toward the flower bed. It was a curious sensation to be flying. She felt a mixture of excitement and the euphoria of being part of the breeze. Antonia focused on getting to the lawn. When she was a few feet shy, though, she heard the gate swing open.

Antonia's concentration dissolved and the breeze promptly deposited her on the ground.

"Now, that wasn't--" said Julius, marching over to Antonia.

"My apologies if I disturbed her training," said a voice. Sylvetta was walking toward them gracefully.

Julius pulled Antonia up to her feet. "Oh, it's no trouble at all, Sylvetta," said Julius, and his bushy eyebrows scrunched together. "It's just a matter of concentration."

The Queen nodded. "I actually have a reason to come here," she said. "Some news, more like."

"What is it?" Antonia asked, rubbing her limbs to reduce the shock of the fall. She wondered what news the Queen had, if she came to a lowly caelimancer like herself.
No, it was probably for Julius.

"About the wyverns," said Sylvetta.

Antonia began to daydream. Perhaps the wyvern queen wanted to meet Julius. And of course, the Queen. She imagined the wyverns, like the ones in the legends she had pored over when she was nine. Or maybe they had gone and discovered something unusual! Like a--

"Listen," said Julius, elbowing Antonia.

"-- come for a diplomatic visit in the Wyvern Kingdom. She didn't give too much details of why she wants me to come, but I suppose we'll soon know enough. She also suggested that several young, promising magicians will come along to meet the wyverns there. You, Julius, and your apprentice will be one of them."

"Oh!" said Antonia, surprised. She hadn't thought she had potential.

Julius tugged at his beard, as he always did when he was frustrated. "How about her training?"

"It won't be too long," said Sylvetta. "Now it's time for you to go pack for an overnight visit." She smiled at them, especially at Antonia, who looked as nervous as she felt. "I have a few more apprentices to inform, so I can't linger here too long. No matter how lovely this garden is." And with that, she strode over to the gate, walked through, and shut it behind her as she went. "Tomorrow at the square!" she called over her shoulder.

"Well," said Julius. "It's time to stop for today, Antonia." His voice sounded disgruntled but there was a twinkle in his eye.

Antonia nodded. It was time to prepare for the trip looming ahead of them. While she was nervous to meet a real, live wyvern, a spark of excitement expanded inside her chest of going to new kingdom. Imagine that!
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Omnom says...



Miirah



Miirah settled down in the pristine sandpit, lowering herself ever so gently to the course ground. Closing her eyes, she opened herself and lowered her walls to the life around her. Faintly, she could feel the scrutinizing glare of her mentor, Glar'nga, boring holes into the back of her head. Still, she pushed forward with utmost care to avoid pushing too much on her mentor's own walls. Strong as her magic was, her mentor had walls as thick as the sturdiest blade and thick thorns surrounding it as thick as ivy in an abandoned northwestern cottage. Pushing too hard onto her walls would hurt Miirah as much as do nothing to her mentor.

So she drew herself back in. Reluctantly, she re-entered the cold confines of her body. A soft sigh escaped her breath.

Suddenly, bony knuckles rapped her skull. "You will do no such thing, Miirah."

"Yes, Elder." Inwardly, she cursed herself for not forcing her walls up as soon as possible.

"Your body is the most precious thing Fandral has given you; wasting it as a cocoon is stupid, not to mention dangerous..." and that's how the next thirty minutes went. As her elder lectured her about something she knew about, she hesitantly lowered a fraction of her wall to brush against the sand underneath her.

The two were atop a branch of a large painted tower outstretching far past the heights of the city below. Four Points was its name, and they were training on one of them. It was an earthbending palace, and was often spoken of as a holy place by her Elders. For her, it was the only place she could get away from most of the Elders' pestering and lectures. All save one, of course.

Her hand brushed the curves of the sand. If any place was holy in this land, it was truly the sand pit she sat in. As she brushed the sand, she felt... not life, but something. It was a vibration, or a purring. It was as if something within the sand yearned after life or existence, or even simply to move.

Opening your soul. That's what the elders told her. That was the magic of sandbending, opening your soul to hardships. The teachings of our tribe were often directly opposing the teachings of regular earthbending, and so we were shunned. Or, at least, those were the stories.

Because of this, Miirah felt a connection to living things around her, and her bending reflected it. She wouldn't call it opening her soul, per say. She felt nothing of the beings around her, except her elders and other benders. Perhaps, she thought as she tuned out the lecturing and dodged the raps on her skull, it was a connection to the energy of the earth. It was the way healers knew which water would freeze better and which would work as a mist. It was the way smiths knew which rock would sharpen and which would break. It was a language that anyone could harness, but it was also a yearning. It took as much as it gave. And so was the difficulty for benders. For tapping into the language of that energy, they gave in price their soul. Give too much, and they lose themselves.

Or say they say.

"--Are you even listening to me, Miirah?" A rap on her skull.

"Huh?"

"The Queen is here, and she wants to see you."

"Me?" Spilling back into myself somehow made me stupid and my responses short. I was still getting used to my self again.

"...Well, you are the best sandbender pupil in the land." Sylvetta stood off to the side of the sand pit, her quiet demeanor still demanding everyone's eyes to her. A slight smile worried itself onto her face.

"My queen." I scrambled to my feet, careful of the sand, and bowed deeply to her. This rewarded a stern look from Glar'nga. We had our differences with the government, to put it simply.

"Miirah," she nodded in return. "This isn't a friendly visit, as you probably have already guessed. I need to make a trip to the Wyverns, and I must take ten of my best pupils from around the land. So.." She gestured to Miirah. "Will you come with me?"

A million thoughts surged through her mind, but she pushed them all aside with impulsiveness. She nodded.
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Lael says...



Maher

Maher launched himself into the air, narrowly dodging flying shards of ice. With one large stroke, he raised himself higher, then folded his wings in. He let himself torpedo headfirst at his opponent. At the last second, as she formed a spell and threw her hands out, Maher countered it. As ice met ice, he quickly stopped his fall by flipping his wings out again to loom over her, pushing her magic back with his own.

Now! He lunged forward and stopped his hand, right before his palm could deliver a drastic blow to her forehead.

"Ha!" said Maher, smirking. "I froze your brain. You lose, Selenia."

His opponent raised an eyebrow. "Really? Then at least I took you down with me, Apprentice."

Maher glanced down to see her hand, licked in blue and white, hovering over his heart, poised to stop it from beating forever. He scowled and withdrew his own as he landed back on the ground.

A mocking smile crossed Selenia Ranell's face. "Why? Upset that you couldn't beat me?"

"N-No!" Maher lifted his chin and met her eyes with an indignant glare. "I have beaten you enough times before to prove that my skills have surpassed yours."

"And yet . . ." Selenia sighed, obviously an act. "Your form is still a little messy. And you always use your wings to give you an advantage over others. What if you were injured and you couldn't use them? What would you do then, hm?" Her irritated eyes met his.

If looks could kill, Maher and Selenia would have slaughtered each other many, many times already.

If only, thought Maher, not for the first time, I hadn't been assigned to the youngest, most arrogant glacimancer who 'happened to be available' to be a mentor.

"Hello Selenia, Your Highness. I hope this is an opportune time for me to speak to you briefly?"

Maher and his mentor turned to see the queen of the kingdom, Sylvetta Syleen, step into the clearing. Selenia bowed, but Maher stood straight and met the queen's eyes, his pride refusing to let him pay homage to a woman he didn't consider his ruler.

"Maher!" hissed Selenia under her breath. But Sylvetta merely smiled slightly and said, "Please, no need for formalities."

As Selenia straightened, Sylvetta continued, "I wanted to let you know that the two of you have been chosen among several other mentor-apprentice pairs to join a diplomatic mission to the Wyvern Kingdom."

"What?" exclaimed Maher, in disbelief. He narrowed his eyes.

"If you're worried about graduating and returning to your people on time, I wouldn't worry about that. We will not be there long, Prince Maher," said the queen. "I have not forgotten the agreement the kingdom has made with the Halcyone Tribe."

Good, you'd better not. Maher gave a curt nod.

"All right, then. Pack enough to last for a few days. I will see you two tomorrow."

When the queen had left, Selenia rounded on Maher, the pleasant mask wiped off of her face. "What was that?" she snapped. "You were so disrespectful to our queen!"

"She's your queen, not mine," retorted Maher. "The Halcyone Tribe is its own autonomous nation."

"Well, you still live within the kingdom's lands, don't you? And you're here right now because of Halcyone's agreement with the queen."

"Anyways--" Maher ignored Selenia's comment about the treaty his father had made with the kingdom, which included sending Maher to the Order of the Magicians, "--even your queen shows more respect to me than you do. You treat me like I'm the scum of the earth, not a prince!"

"I'm your mentor. I should be asking you why you're so disrespectful to me. Or why you're so immature and enjoy bickering this much."

"If I'm so immature and provocative, you're no better. Now if you'll excuse me, dearest Master Ranell, I believe I must obey Queen Syleen's orders to pack my belongings. I am twofold an envoy now, I suppose."

Maher turned his back on Selenia and stalked away with his head held high.
"as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death."
Philippians 1:20
  





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AliceinBluue says...



Piryyah breathed in, counting to ten before letting it out with another count of ten. She could feel the floor beneath her, the cold was seeping upwards, a constant reminder that she was not at home. She tightened her already closed eyes as she tried to turn her mind back to her breathing and clearing her mind.

“Alright, now try and spread out to the sand around you, feel it become a part of you,” her mentor, Khalid Sandwalker, said, his voice barely a whisper.

Piryyah breathed out and tried to spread her awareness out with her breath. She dug her fingers deeper into the sandy floor, thinking that maybe if she had physical contact with it… But nothing happened. Piryyah could not feel the sand.

She let out a frustrated groan in the back of her throat as her eyes snapped open and her hands fisted in the sand. Piryyah wanted to throw a fit, scream and beat her fists against the sand. She had been trying to get this for over a year and she still had not managed to figure it out.

“Calm Piryyah, you will master this, but losing your temper will not help you, you are not five.” Khalid said and Piryyah felt heat rush to her face as her cheeks colored.

“I’m sorry sir,” Piryyah said, ducking her head so that he could not meet her eyes. She could hear him sigh and she felt her shame curl in the pit of her stomach.

“It’s alright Pi, you are forgiven,” he said. There was another moment of silence as Piryyah continued to avowing Khalid’s eyes before he sighed and started streching. Piryyah perked up, sure that this was a sign that they were about to move on to a different part of her training.

“Alright, let’s take a break from this and practice some basic fighting,” Khalil said as he slowly unfurled himself from the floor and retrieved a staff from the side of the room. Piryyah bounced up from where she was sitting and practically skipped over to where her staff was leaned against the wall. She picked it up and gave a practiced whirl, spinning it around her hands. The whorls and lines in the woodwork a familiar pattern to her. While she may not have been able to figure out how to make her magic work, but she had picked up the staff with a lot more ease.

Piryyah made her way back into the center of the room, spinning and twirling the staff around her all the way, warming herself up. Once she reached the center, she spread her feet apart so that she was more evenly balanced and assumed the rest position, her hands gripping the staff lightly.

“Up!” Khalid ordered after a moment of stillness as he started to circle her, looking for any imperfections. Piryyah brought her staff up and hit an imaginary opponent's staff before resuming the resting position again.

“Block!” He said and Piryyah moved her staff so that she was blocking an attack from an imaginary opponent. She repeated the pattern for middle and down, working her way through each position.

Once she had walked through the cycle a few times, Khalid had her start to move faster until she was flying through the movements as fast as she could. Her breath started coming in short little gasps as sweat collected at her temples and started rolling down her face.

Then, just as Piryyah was starting to zone out, her body going on autopilot and her brain beginning to wander, Khalid changed the pattern on her, telling her to go down when she should have been going up. Piryyah stumbled a little, trying to readjust to the new pattern he had thrown at her, and just as she felt she had gotten her bearings back, he changed the pattern again.

Piryyah saw the grip Khalid had on his staff shift slightly out of the corner of her eye and shifted just in time to block his swift swing at her. She smirked at him, proud of herself at catching him before he could whack her. He smirked in return and in one smooth movement, he shifted his staff out from Piryyah’s block and in for a quick rap on her side.

“Don’t get overconfident Piryyah,” Khalid admonished as Piryyah stumbled to the side from his rap. She gave a quick nod of her head and then brought her own staff up in an attack. Khalid blocked her attack easily and they quickly fell into a mock fight, trading attacks and blocks.

They were both so focused on their mock battle that it took a small clearing of a throat to startle them. Piryyah, whose back was facing the person, whirled around, her staff at the ready to face the newcomer. In the next second though she had dropped her staff and was doing her best to sink into a curtsy.

“Your Majesty,” Khalid said, giving a bow.

“Please rise,” Queen Syleen said, a smile gracing her lips as Khalid straightened and Piryyah scrambled upright.

“What may we do for you your Majesty?” Khalid asked, the picture of calm while Piryyah practically vibrated with nervous energy. She wanted to race to all of her friends, shouting about the fact that the Queen, the Queen, had come to visit her training session.

“I have been asked to meet with the Wyverns, and they suggested that I bring along ten apprentices and their mentors,” she said and Piryyah felt the air still in her lungs, a chant of no way no way no way thrumming through her brain.

“You are the last of my chosen ten,” Sylvetta said. Piryyah jumped into the air, letting out a whoop of happiness. She couldn't believe she had been picked by the Queen herself to attend a meeting with the Wyverns.

Khalid cleared his throat purposefully as he settled a hand on Piryyah’s shoulder, but Piryyah was too far lost in her exuberance to be ashamed at how she was behaving in front of the Queen.

“We would be honored to accompany you your Majesty,” Khalid said as Pirryah’s smile stretched so wide across her face her cheeks began to ache.

“Excellent, I will see the both of you in the square at noon tomorrow then,” she said.
Khalid dipped into another bow as Sylvetta turned and left the room, Piryyah a half second behind him with her own curtesy.

As soon as Sylvetta had left however, Piryya had retrieved her staff from the ground and was dancing with it around the room.

“The Queen Khalid! The Queen asked for me to accompany her!” She singsonged, spinning wildly.

“She asked for us Piryyah,” Khalid corrected, a small smile hinted at in the corners of his lips undermining his stern tone.

“I need to go tell Aster,” Piryyah said, coming to a stop in the middle of the room, her mind racing, trying to figure out where her best friend would be at the moment.

“What we need to do is start packing for tomorrow,” Khalid admonished.
“Oh please Khalid, plate let me go tell Aster!” Piryyah begged, running up to her mentor, a pout already forming.
There was one long moment where the Khalid looked at his young apprentice, one eyebrow raised at her clear attempt at manipulation.
“Fine,” Khalid sighed, rolling his eyes. Piryyah let out another excited whoop, bolting for the door.
“But make sure you're packed and ready for tomorrow by the end of the night!” Khalid shouted at Piryyah’s quickly retreating back.
“I will!” She shouted back. Score making a sharp right, sprinting down a dirt path to find her friend.
  





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Omnom says...



Miirah



It didn't take Miirah long to pack up for the trek. She didn't have many supplies as it were, but the walk itself wasn't long to their gathering point. She had packed a few wraps of hardened bread, some nuts, and dried fruit as her food, then two pairs of clothing, one bending outfit and one formalware. She had hastily changed into the traditional travelware of her tribe, then scolded herself for not thinking to get more suitable clothing. The clothing she wore acted as an insulator of heat and moisture, to keep her from getting dehydrated in the daytime and from freezing away in the nighttime. Now, they just got her hot and miserable.

Too late to think about it now, Miirah reminded herself sourly as she reached the meeting place for the other apprentice and mentor. Wait a minute, she thought suddenly. She forgot about her own mentor, and cursed herself for forgetting to wait on her masterbender, Elder Glar'nga. No doubt she would be hearing of it the entire way down here.

Her thoughts and concerns vanished momentarily as rustling roused her from her own mind. Turning around, she expected to see her mentor hobbling down the road, then realized that was not a good thing. Just like that, her anxiety sky-rocketed again.

But, no, it wasn't her mentor, but instead two teenage boys, nudging and joking with each other as they walked up to her. She couldn't make out one of them, but the other seemed familiar...

"Ahmed!" she shouted as soon as the thought popped up.

Ahmed's focus shifted to her as she said his name, and a bright smile lit his features. "Miirah! Of course we'd meet up with you," he said as he ran up to her, embracing her in a rough, warm hug. "We haven't talked in forever!"

"Three new moons, but yes, it does seem like that," she couldn't help but let his smile infect her as well. Gesturing the other boy, she asked, "is this your mentor?"

"Oh, yeah. You guys haven't met before? Ah, well, Miirah, this is Gabe, my mentor --althoughIbegtodiffersometimes-- and Gabe, this is Miirah, my... friend? Nah, sister?"

"Tribe sister," Miirah offered.

"Yeah, that." He punched Gabe in the shoulder. "This guy's taught me everything he knows."

"You wish!" Gabe ducked past another punch and wrapped his arm around Ahmed's head. "Teaching you is like teaching a rock, just more stubborn. I'm surprised you've learned anything from me and my vast knowledge."

After a few moments of wrestling between the two, Ahmed looked at Miirah, still under Gabe's arm. "Where's your mentor, Miirah?"

"Oh, uh--"

"She nearly left me behind, although not on purpose, I'm sure." A rugged, gravelly male voice spoke up behind them. Ahmed and Gabe immediately let go of each other, trying to regain their fallen dignities. Behind them stood an old man in traditional elder clothings. His white hair had receded quite a bit on his scalp, and left mottled, dark skin that was thick with wrinkles.

"Elder Ma'dast!" Miirah spoke up, taken aback. "I thought that--"

"You'd leave this old man behind while you and Glar'nga get to see wyverns? I think not." He chuckled lightly as he leaned more heavily on his walking staff, his bony knuckles getting lighter as he reinforced his grip. Miirah was surprised to see Ma'dast out of the sanctuary, let alone accompanying her as her mentor. Ever since they had fled D'bura, he had been polite, but distant, in teaching any of the pupils. But now, he was there, and there was a certain untamed wildness to his hazel eyes, like he was a much younger man trapped in an aging shell.

"--And you'll need not to worry about sharing and provisions, as I had the decency to pack for myself as well." Ma'dast smiled knowingly to Miirah. "Are we ready to leave, then?"

Ma'dast turned curiously to Ahmed and Gabe, who'd burnt their attention trying to keep their balance on balls of water, and thus far, neither had fallen. Ma'dast cast a spritz of sand through their balls and sent them to the ground in a cloud of dust. Miirah cleared herself of the dust and nodded. "I believe we are ready and focused, My Elder."

The path they walked wound between the back of the castle and the northern menagerie, where the Aquamancers and Caelimancers trained. As Miirah had kept her head down during the walk, Ahmed walked ahead to meet her and held his back-satchel with both thumbs.

"So...traditional thermal wear. That's an interesting choice for a homeostatic clime."

"That's an interesting sentence for a hay baylor's son." Her eyes did not lift.

"I'll have you know that my garbs are weighted to 30 Rab above the material's original capacity, just like the militia wear at home."

She looked up to him. "Is that what you'd be doing now, if you weren't here, or leaving here? Risking your life anyway to put down those bandits, the Oer Akhan?"

Ahmed silently grunted his confession. "I'd give them more blood than they ever bargained for."

Miirah slowly raised her face to his, watching his eyes, his determined stare, the way his lips were concreted together in resolve. And then she looked to the sky. "But you aren't. You're here, safe, with me..." She nearly smiled, sardonically. "How is life in the Perrier estate? The Ahmed I knew? He'd say Too much politics, too much politics! and come rough his back up in the gardens." She shrugged. "But your feet are as clean as whistles, aren't they...?"

"Don't forget the exotic dancers that visit," chortled Gabe. "And the food is great!" He cackled.

Miirah turned to both of them and shrugged. "Guess I'm just...missing out! But at least I have the stars above--my elders watching over me night in and out." Looking behind her, she noticed Ma'dast trailing them by quite a bit. She lagged behind to meet up with her elder. "My Elder, would you like us to slow our pacing?"

He smiled crookedly, letting his mismatched teeth show. "You enjoy your walk, Miirah, and don't let me stop your youthfulness. You only have it once, y'know." And with that, he had dismissed her, kindly yet firm. She walked back to Gabe and Ahmed, not daring to question her elder's decision.

Ahmed lowered his voice to a whisper when she came back.
"Shia li nach seffir meit kir Shai."

(You were given the same chance as me.)


Shocked by his use of their native tongue, Miirah took a moment to ponder over his words. Speaking back in the same language, she rebuked him softly.
Sharit akal batir ai'Ahmed. Al'avi ai pital i ai pital."

(We talked about this before, Ahmed. Leave the past in the past.)


"Besides," she continued in Vyherian "it is my duty, as a sandbender, to continue our heritage and traditions."

Ahmed said nothing to this, so left to her own thoughts was she. The past was in the past, and she had made a decision. But, a part of her questioned her decision those years ago.

So she struggled inwardly as they walked along. Elder Ma'dast put an arm on her shoulder, his gait surprisingly catching up with the group. He said nothing, but a slight smile and a soft press on his grip. He must have felt her groping of the life around her. He would know more than anyone else the depth of her internal struggle.

However, no one said anything for the rest of their trek to the meeting place, so deep in their own thoughts as they were.
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Sheytato says...



Exliana Yuore


The center of the kingdom, renamed Sillenpheam Square after Queen Syleen’s predecessor, was bustling with everyone headed to their respective jobs. Soldiers marched to the gates of the castle, nurses and doctors traveled to the hospital. They all made time to glance up at the massive statue of the wyvern hunters from decades ago, which stood above them in the center of the square.

Exliana was the first apprentice to arrive at the meeting spot—below the statue—the result of being dragged there by Nal’tor, who was to report at an earlier time. Queen Syleen and General Ayton were both already there, and Nal’tor went to speak with them. Exliana was left to awkwardly stand off to the side, feeling uncomfortable being alone with such important people. She noticed with relief another pair approaching. The calm disposition of them screamed glacimancer, and Exliana’s suspicions were confirmed when Queen Syleen identified them as Torrin and Sage Grawl.

Sage Grawl joined up with the other adults, while Torrin hung back. Thankfully and without hesitation, Exliana went over to him. “Hey there,” she said.

“Good morning,” he spoke unconfidently, which didn’t contradict what Exliana had heard about him. “I take it I’m not the only one who’s both excited and nervous about visiting the Wyvern Kingdom?”

Exliana shrugged. “Excited, hell yeah. Nervous? Not really.”

Torrin looked surprised. “We’re walking into the base of what is without a doubt one of history’s most dangerous forces, and you aren’t nervous.”

“Nope.” Another shrug. “The wyverns rely on our kingdom, as well as fear us. They wouldn’t risk making us an enemy, or they’d screw themselves over for years to come. Besides, if they do try something funny, then we’ll have some of the greatest magicians on our side. Not that they will, of course.”

“The wyverns are unarguably more powerful than us, which is why they went undefeated for so long before we won on mostly a fluke. We’ve been bluffing for awhile, and if they call that bluff, we might have another battle on our hands.”

“My, you’re a negative one.”

“Sorry,” Torrin said, looking slightly embarrassed. “I have a habit of being somewhat anxious.”

“I noticed,” Exliana said with a laugh, triggering Torrin to do the same. “Oh, quick question that you might have an answer to. I keep finding these ice figurines in my room, and they’re beautiful. But I don’t know who made ‘em, so I can’t thank them back. Know any of the other Glacimancers who could have may made them?”

Torrin contemplated the question for a bit before shaking his head. “Nope, sorry.” Out of the corner of her eye, Exliana noticed Queen Syleen and Sage Grawl watching the two, smiling. Before Exliana could ponder it further, another pair arrived. Selenia Ranell and her apprentice, Maher of the Halcyone tribe.

Everyone knew Maher. He was in the oldest age group, which only added to his ego. He waved around his royal status in his tribe to the other apprentices like it was supposed to mean something to them, and when it didn’t, he made sure to complain about it. Exliana had never personally met him, so she shrugged and greeted him.

“Hey.”

He looked at her, taking in what she had said and done. When finally he thought up the appropriate response, he opened his mouth to say it to her, despite her not intending to really listen. “You dare speak to the prince of the Halcyone Tribe without being addressed first? And using such informal tongue?”

“Uh, yeah. If I didn’t, that would mean you’re hearing things, and you should have your ears checked.”

“Do you know how many rules that breaks?” He asked furiously.

“Absolutely none, since we’re in the kingdom, not your tribe,” Torrin butted in.

“You are not of royal heritage, so I still rank above you.”

“Actually, my aunt is the queen’s cousin,” Torrin responded.

“And my parents were siblings of two councilmen, making me have a higher status too,” Exliana added. Maher sad nothing and stormed off in a flurry of feathers and eye rolls.

“You’re not really royal, are you?” Exliana asked.

“Oh no, definitely not,” Torrin said. “You?”

Exliana shrugged. “My parents are related to the councilmen, but I was adopted by them.” Torrin silently nodded.

Over the course of the next few minutes, the other pairs arrived. The queen asked that the apprentices split into a group of five and a group of six, so Miirah Ghaska and Ahmed Amari came over to Torrin and Exliana, and they watched as the other apprentices awkwardly grouped up.

Shakarri, the Lianth with rare shapeshifting necromancy, ended up beside Maher, who seemed unhappy that they were together due solely to their race. Zel Elsonia, a Pyromancer, and En Deren silently paired up, capitalizing on their apparent lack of companionship. Awkwardly, they grouped up with Maher and Shakarri, and their group was completed by Piryyah joining in. That left Raverra Laudrim and Antonia Skylar to join Exliana’s group.

When they had assembled, the mentors also broke into two groups, and Queen Syleen whistled. Nothing happened for an ironically long period of time, but finally the skies grew dark. The apprentices, mentors, and just about everyone in the town looked up to see four wyverns lowering themselves to the empty portion of the square. Sylvetta greeted them and carefully hopped on one of their backs.

“Come on, everyone. Stop acting like you’ve never seen a wyvern before, despite most of you, well, never seeing a wyvern before. We have a schedule. Gotta get to the Wyvern Kingdom by nightfall. Hop on,” she said in good nature.

Most of everyone, even the mentors, hesitated. Finally, Exliana shrugged and hopped on one of the wyverns.
-=-=>[¤]<=-=-

In my eyes, all potatoes are equal.


...Except sweet potatoes.

-=-=>[¤]<=-=-

Formerly Sheyren, Sheyren, and even once I was Sheyren
  








"I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school... I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy..."
— Unnamed Girl from "Mean Girls"