The Blood King – Driven Back

Acacia tightened the buckle on the strap of her quiver, adjusting the placement of the bow so that she could easily reach and draw it.  A stray beam of sunlight caught the dagger at her hip sending a rainbow of sparkles through the room as it reflected off the crystalline surface and the silver hilt.  The various rumors that had reached her played through her mind. the Sayter Dishan had been the first, and then the other mentions in the Tavern.  When Baelwhealar had mentioned that he had sent the rangerlord Jayded to investigate and she had not returned with word, it had become clear that something was amiss.

The flight to Lundene had been uneventful, clear skies and a wind behind her so her timing was good.  A flash of movement in the woods below her caught her eye. Cautiously she spiraled down to see who was moving in the woods below her.  Landing on a thick branch in a large and spreading oak she smiled to see a pack of wolves moving through the woods.

Calling out to them in the language of fae and druids, *Brothers of the hunt, can you tell me…*  The look in their eyes as they turned to face her caused her to pause. She looked from where she stood on the branch to the ground, She should be higher than they could jump, but she drew her bow.  Standing her ground, arrow nocked, but bow, held to the side, she tried again. *Brothers of the hunt, I am not your enemy*  The only reply was a low growl, a clear challenge.  The largest of the wolves lept at the tree, his claws gouging deep tears in the bark of the tree. She felt the tree shudder beneath her, but she was reluctant to draw on a wolf, even ones that were clearly saw her as a snack and nothing more.

She leaned back into the tree, reaching out and feeling the water of the earth spreading slowly up in to the tree, the bright green earth energy of the tree. Keeping her eyes on the wolves as they tried one after the other, Lifting their heads and howling in rage at each miss, she spoke softly, “Green grass, binding vine, around these wolves twine and wind” She pictured what she was asking, the vines and even the grass to wind around the wolves.

Vines and grass sprang from the Earth winding around the legs of the animals, quickly ensnaring the smaller and weaker of the pack. The larger beasts great leaps made them difficult targets for the vines. The trapped ones opened their mouths to howl, but the tone was different, and this she could clearly understand. It was a call, a call full of vehemence and hate.

Her attention turned back to the vines, repeating the spell, “Green grass, binding vine, around these wolves twine and wind” She felt the same reluctance to hurt or hinder the wolves that she had for shooting them.  The elemental forces knew that the wolves were one of their own, and while they were trying to kill her, they were were acting to their nature, they were hunting. Something had driven them, for this was not the honorable hunt she associated with wolves.  It was then that the first bat struck her, knocking her from the tree. Her wings reacted without out need of conscious thought, and she sailed upwards narrowly missing being caught by the  snapping teeth of the largest wolf.

She turned sharply in the air as she caught sight of a bat heading towards her wings. This placed her shoulder in the path of the bat and it hit teeth and claws tearing into the soft flesh. The scent of blood seemed to drive the wolves into a greater frenzy. Using her bow, she swung at the bats, knocking away from her. One fell only to fall prey to the pack below.   She felt the sharp pain of another bat biting into her leg.  Seeing that the bats circled around her, she landed on a higher branch, and melted into the tree. Slowly and painfully, moving from tree to tree until she was to the very edge of the land. She emerged, and heard a howl of a wolf nearby. She could not tell if it was one of the pack, or a different one,  but it mattered little, so she lifted from the tree, flying across the sea towards home.

 

 

 

Returning from Fae

 

As the last of those who had sought refuge in the feywilds during the battle returned through the portal, Acacia felt a familiar touch on her mind. Pandora, the guardian of Alu ndor, the waterlands of the feywilds spoke but a single word. “Stay” Acacia waited til the last had returned to Slyvhara through the portal. She turned and looked over the area, the shimmering multicolor waters soothing to her. She pulled the glass bottles from a near by satchel and began collecting some to the water as she found its properties were well suited for scrying.

The soft sound of drops of water falling alerted her to the presence of Pandora. She turned and smiled at the guardian, “Miye, it is good to see you.”

Pandora floated her body liquid as if she were water brought to life. “On the standing stone there is a stone. Take it. Keep it safe and near to the circle gate. Your place of stone is close enough, keep it there.” With these words and a flip of her legs, Pandora dissolved into a mist which fell back to the water below her. Cia moved over to the standing stone and found a carved stone and took it. As she had drawn close to it, the feel of the magic was powerful. It was an item of exceeding beauty, but somehow it gave off a feeling of menace, as if touching it would be dangerous. Cia hesitated for a moment before touching it. It had an odd feeling, as if it were made of water made solid, but not icy.  She hefted the bag of jars onto her shoulder and called her portal to return home.

 

Protections

Lexie Lukas arrives in a sweet silky mist.. her form takes shape wearing a lavendar gown fitting for the autumn season. Turning toward the Archmage of Anurum, Lexie smiles “Good day to you Archmage, I thought I might pay you a visit. My my this place has changed.. You have done well with it.. The room as an aura of magic about it” The Magus of Shadows winks to her friend, pleased to be in the fae Queen’s presence in a private setting.

Acacia Rose (wildrosepetal) putters about her alchemy bench straightening the items and putting things back into their place. Looking up from her task at the stirring in the weave she smiles to see the Magus Emeritas arrive in her classroom. “Welcome Empress Lexie, You are always welcome here” she blushes with pleasure at the words of The Magus of Shadows. “Thank you, it is a place very special to me.”
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Lexie Lukas crosses her arms, taking in the seductive scents of delicate concocted herbs. With brightly gleaming ruby eyes she studies the fae.. and begins her discourse with a sincere “How are you?”
Lexie Lukas: One of her hands lightly caresses the weave as she preemptively shields her form

Acacia Rose (wildrosepetal) two tiny fae appear with some fresh juice and an assortment of tasty treats suited to the morning. She glances at the table briefly and considers the question rather than giving a quick social answer “I am well, there are one or two tasks that have been troubling me, but otherwise I quite well. Would you care for some refreshment?” indicating the table that the tiny fae have now set. “How are you?” her tone indicating an sincere interest.

Lexie Lukas glances toward the nicely prepared table, with a light smile.. She knew she was safe here, and always enjoyed the freshness of fae refreshment. It had a dancing character of light hearted connection to the elements which pleased her. The Magus moved toward the table taking a seat as she allowed Cia’s words to penetrate her thoughts.

Lexie Lukas: As the Magus picks up a few lovely berries, ripened to perfection she remarks with a soft throaty” I asked you first..?” as the interesting information she might wish to know was yet untold. She believed Cia to be expert at magic as the fae had worked tirelessly for some time, and now held a position of great honor within a realm of distinction.. She was sure that Cia was aware of most of Lexie’s background, and would not simply offer private information unless her heart had some misgiving or she needed help. At least these were the thoughts that fell as feathers upon the table of the oracle which dwelt within

Acacia Rose (wildrosepetal) moved to the table and took a seat, taking a cup of the fresh berry juice and sipped it. Smiling as the company of the Empress always made her smile. Her smile grew brighter as she noted how delightfully the Empresses gown looked against the deeper purple carpet. “As I mentioned when I was last within your hall, I recently had the pleasure of being the High King Parzival’s guest in a room that Archmage Dinnin had prepared for such occasions.” their was a tone of admiration for the skill of those preparations, for they were exceedingly well wrought magics. “I was cut off from all magics, which was rather the point of the preparations, but should I ever find myself in such quarters again, I was wondering if you you might be able to abjure any magics that would disrupt my use of my own personal mana?” This was the most pressing of the concerns weighing on her mind, the others being well in hand.

Lexie Lukas pulled in the meaning of words from her friend much as one who spun wool or other more expensive materials into thread. Her hands lightly danced within the air as she nonchalantly abstracted the meaning from the letters placed upon the voice of the Queen.. Softening her gaze upon Cia, she leaned forward “And will you tell me why the room had such preparation Archmage?”

Acacia Rose (wildrosepetal) gave a soft laugh, “The High King did not wish me to depart. He used the term prisoner but that has such a harsh ugly sound” Her nose wrinkled as if she smelled something that displeased her. ” But after speaking at length he decided that I should be set free” She did not speak the terms of that release aloud, but they would not be far from her thoughts. “After all, I was not one of the mages who was building constructs or denying him access. It is rather an irony that I who was held captive in this war, was one who never saw an untranslated copy of the scroll.” she shook her head at this and made a throw away gesture as if to try and throw away the annoyance.

Lexie Lukas narrowed her eyes menacingly, the strength of her darkness beginning to swirl into large circles around the two of them “Did he hurt you?”she whispered in a cavernous voice

Acacia Rose (wildrosepetal) shook her head, “No, he was a most courteous host, He saw that my wounds from the battle were healed, and that I was well fed and even arranged that I might use the hotsprings to bathe after taking my word that I would not use the chance to escape. Neither he, nor any of his people harmed me in any way.” It was always difficult to explain her odd friendship with the Devil King. “It is just that in the future, I wish not to be cut off from my personal mana.” she took a drink of her juice, pleased by the concern as it touched her.

Lexie Lukas’s voice remained silky smooth, yet the darkness prevailed withn it Though she was happier healing than using her horrible powers for violent acts, she was as always lawful, and fiercely protective of her friends. Her hand rolled counterclockwise, eyes closed she touched the words with shadowed fingers in a spell of release which may cause the Archmage to open her own barriers and allow her true thoughts and feelings to be revealed as to what had transpired. The Magus placed her palms together binding the spell in softness, as she did not wish to intrude beyond what might be necessary to defend this magical one

Acacia Rose (wildrosepetal) felt the stirring of the magic around her. She did not resist the opening of her barriers, for the protection she sought would require such. Her accounting out the actions would be clear, but layered on top of it would be the initial feeling of trapped, She had felt small and tiny, not surprising as she had taken her pixie form for the battle. A fierce determination not to be a victim rang clear, satisfaction that she has arranged her own release and the desire to never be cut off from her own mana was strong. Behind the thought and still partially veiled was the terms of the release, that she would seek the one known as the chancellor. She waited for the spell to complete still as a stone.

Lexie Lukas’s eyes glittered in fierce anger.. as a low growl rumbled from her chest to her lips…She would not allow her friend to be a victim to this deception, especially when she knew who and what the Chancellor was. Her aura became a mass of swirling blackness..rattling every physical object within the vicinity.. the land itself would shudder at the darkness which became a screaming mass of deadly force the likes of which even Lexie had never felt.

Lexie Lukas raises her hands toward the heavens then lowers them to the earth.. she begins to chant in an ancient tongue calling to the darkness of the deity within her heart, her breath catches at the thumping of her own heart as she commands the elements to join within the weave she spins now in circling hands.. her mind focuses now with a will of steel upon the land and its graceful power of earth, plant, life , spirit and the realm of the animals.. Quietly she beseeches all to answer the call and weave within a small crystal gem she is building within her hand.. creating a solid circle of magic locked by her own unique signature from tampering, She taps the stone thrice in a homing guide which would live within, Her hand moves over the gem knitting a ward which would encircle only Cia and Lexie and no other..she places the gem within the hand of the Arch mage.. “Keep this with you.”

Brainstorming

Acacia Rose makes her way though the dark stone corridors, nodding to those she passed, her steps confident as if she were within the halls of her own guild. The heavy silk of her skirts brushed across the floor in a series of soft swishes. Stepping into the Magi hall, she spied Nifredil by the book cases, the rich scent of leather and old paper filling the air. “MIye Nifredil. I came to see you because I saw something more from the scrying, A red crystal….” she trailed off realizing he had given the head to Parzival.

Nifredil Evael stood over a desk as an Acolyte shuffled through several scrolls in the chair in front of him. Others shuffled about the guild hall seemingly following precise instructions as none of the actions they took were wasted…”Acacia. I wondered how long it would take you to come see me.”…he spoke as if he had made her wait on purpose, he could remember the look that she had given him the night he passed the head to the Devil King, and he turned slowly to meet her; enduring that his wings did not disturb the Acolyte studying…”I too had seen visions of the red crystal, and I can assure you that the proper actions have been taken.”

Acacia Rose tilted her head to study him, ponder how much she should say about the matters that had detained her. “I would have come sooner, but there has been a bit of unrest in the Unseelie Fae and I needed to deal with that, That area is becoming dangerous to be in.” Her look at him grew more focused. “And what actions did you take if I may ask?”

Nifredil Evael moved over to the long table, and he reached into the pouch on his hip as he listened to her…”I am sure the Hive can handle its self. What they do is of no concern of mine until they choose to make it my concern.”…he withdrew his hand from his pouch, it was clenched, but did not look as if he were holding anything within it…”You are that concerned about the precautions I took?”…he would place the cracked crystal on the table as he looked at her with an unamused look

Acacia Rose adjusted that silk scarf that hung about her hips, “Nifredil, if I were concerned about them I would not seek you out so often to discuss magic and is secrets. I trust you as one of those Initiated, but that does not mean that I know your actions, and thus I am curious. It is a habit of mine. Many find my insatiable curiosity to be tiresome.”

Nifredil Evael smirked at her…”If you trusted my precautions then you wouldn’t have glared at me like you did the other night.”…he turned to one of the Acolytes that seemed to be standing around, and he gestured for him to complete his task…”They are assisting me with some research. Looking for spells that might be useful in uncovering what secrets this still holds.”…he moves to look over the Acolyte that was sitting behind him, and suddenly took the parchment that he was reading so he could study it himself

Acacia Rose reaches to her belt lift the book that she wore there, Turning the pages she made little hmmmng sounds, as she flipped through the pages, “This one,” She said tapping her finger on the page, “This is one that has been very useful in the past for me. It takes a lot out of you, but I find that it is well worth the effort. It will tell me of the legend and lore behind an object.” Holding the book out where he could see it.

Nifredil Evael looked over the page she showed him, he had yet to crack open his grimoire during this time; choosing to let the Acolytes do all of the research at this time…”Ahh yes. One of my students came across that one earlier, and I asked them to set it aside.”…he held the scroll up with the Soul Scry spell on it…”This here could be an interesting experiment If nothing more.”

Acacia Rose flipped a few pages, “This is the one that I use to follow up that spell, It provided a great deal of insight into the person or thing. She looked up to him with a smile, “I have also discovered that the yellow waters fro the fey wilds are particularly useful for scrying.”

Nifredil Evael rolled the parchment up before handing back to the Acolyte he took it from…”I think we have a good base for ideas. We need to prepare to ensure can learn the most from these spells.”…he returned to the table, and he takes the crystal into his hand once again, holding it in his palm as he holds it out for her to inspect should she choose to

Acacia Rose took the crystal, running her fingers along it, noting the crack in it. Thinking of the crystal that she had acquire through her fight with the Fomorian. “It is shame it is not from a harder substance. There is a crystal in the Feywilds that is harder than any other, It requires a spell to cut. The color is quite lovely at least” grinning at the last to indicate that she jests as she extends it back to him.

Nifredil Evael watched her inspect the crystal, an nodded to her as he really had no knowledge of the crystals from the Feywild…”You should show me these crystals from the other plane.”…he would close his hand around the crystal as she places it back into his hand, and he carefully tucked it back into his pouch…”I have chosen to keep this on my person. It prevents others from locating that it is here as easy.”…he lowered his head to the Archmage. offering her a genuine smile…”I will prepare for our rituals. I think the rune, and mirror will serve us well in our scrying. I just need to collect a few things before then.”

Acacia Rose nods in agreement. “I will need to gather the items that I have, I will stay in touch, but we should do this soon. She looks up, “May the shadows keep you safe until then” a smile on her face as she makes her way to the door to depart

Choosing a Crystal

The Crystal

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Acacia walks through the darkness of the cave, taking time to choose the crystal with care. Seeing a lovely iridescent crystal sparkle ahead of her down the path, a smile formed on her lips. This was it, a perfect choice for the task. It was light and beautiful, a very Seelie choice. Her fingers began to glow purple as she focused on the crystal, “Eilimint na Cruinne, ordaímse duit, Tabhair amach as an cloch sin a mhian liom.” {Element of Earth, I command you, Bring forth from the stone that which I desire.} spinning the element of earth within the crystal to cause a large new shard to form. Once the crystal was the size she desired, she let the glow fade from her fingers as the energy returned to the weave. Taking a hammer that had been dipped in wax a number of times, She stuck the shard sharply at the join to the main crystal, breaking it free. A grim grin crossed her face. This would be the tool she would use. Soon the Hive would know the error of their ways.