The Sciomancers are setting up a new ritual for their up-and-coming Mages. After they have worked through their Provings, showing an understanding in influence and control, they will pledge themselves to one of the elements. Naturally, the Shadow Warden needed to make certain it could be done, and would not result in complete disaster. After Tekias has passed his Third Proving, she mets with Mariena and this is what happened:
(--) = illusions
Teani's eyes follow the stairs leading up to the Master Crystal, then glances at Mariena. "Will you assist me in this?" she asks, and though her features are grave, and there's a small hint of trepidation in her voice, she's standing with a straight back.
"We will walk this first Branding together, so we may know what the future holds for our own," Mariena answers formally, the teasing tones taken with Tekias are not within these words.
Tekias glances up at where you is looking. "Should I come along, Shadow Warden?" He looks back to you, noting the change in your mood.
Eyes fixed above, Teani shakes her head at Tekias' inquiry. "Not this time, but I will perhaps see you once it is done," she says, then starts moving up the stairs.
Mariena follows you to the up.
A magnificent glass tower-top.
This circular chamber is made completely of glass, allowing you to view the entire Sciomancer property and beyond. To the north, there is a magnificent view of the tundra and to the south you can observe the entire city of Spinesreach from this high vantage point. The malicious looking obsidian spires of the Sciomancers seem to smother the light that comes from the sky above and a feeling of awe-inspiring power, expectant and waiting, infuses the room. Drawing shadow into itself, a swirling mass of darkness is here suspended in the air. A Master Crystal, darkened by smoky veins, rotates slowly before you. Down the middle of the Crystal, in a place where once a large crack slanted across it, a brittle sheet of crystal has formed.
"We have come so far," Mariena notes to you, her voice quiet and bracing. "We've done so much. This is a solidification of your journey."
Teani nods her head, sparing only a quick glance and a flash of a smile at Mariena. Her main focus is on the Master Crystal as she begins explaining, "We will need to focus the energies through the Master. Since all elements are different, it is best if we channel them all at each Branding, allowing the correct element to seek the Mage, rather than us willing it." She begins channeling her own, slowly allowing strands of energy to touch the shimmering surface of the Crystal.
Atilus arrives from the down.
Atilus says, "Who Emir?"
Mariena's elemental channeling comes a little different than you, who is carefully adding the energy. Hers is more of a controlled dive, precise but swift. Earth, Air, and finally Shadow braid around each other and then loop around the Master's pyramid base.
Atilus nods his head emphatically.
You have emoted: Teani gestures with her hand closing the door behind Atilus without a word.
Atilus says, "Mariena."
Atilus nods his head emphatically.
Mariena nods her head at Atilus.
"Me," Teani says, then gestures for Atilus to step closer. "Channel your elements and direct the energies towards the Master Crystal," she directs even as her own elements send flashes of light across the facetted surface.
With worry in her tone, Mariena says, "If we're channeling all three, we will not have a direct control on the outcome."
Atilus nods his head and takes a step towards the master crystal. Reaching up he pushes back the hood from his face, a look of grave concentration taking over his features. As he concentrates tendrils of the elements begin pouring towards the master crystal, his eyes closing as he concentrates deeply. The tendrils begin to braid, the tendril of the negative shadow elements pulsing as it outweighs the others and wraps firmly around the base of the Master.
As the energies amplify thanks to Atilus' contribution, Teani nods her head. "Trust the Master, and the energies, and the Mage," she says, taking one step forward so she is almost within touching distance of the Crystal. "It is all about control." With that, she takes a deep breath, tilting her head back. "If anything should happen..." she begins, but then stops herself.
(--) The temperature in the room drops, and a bitingly cold wind begins churning inside the chamber.
(--) The Master crystal begins to vibrate, sending tremors throughout the room that could knock down the unprepared.
(--) Suddenly, shadows plunge the chamber in darkness, leaving only the Master Crystal awash with color and light.
Alight with color and swaying like a sapling caught in a high wind, Mariena is rooted into the transfer of power now, more conduit than active control. "Teani, you are labeled Shadow Warden of the Sciomancers," she states with sudden inspiration, "Your brand will be on you for life and the magics wrought here can not be stopped. Do you accept the Branding?"
Atilus shudders as the weight of the elements push down on his being. The tendrils of minor elements flicker only for a moment but he surrenders to the exchange, and his tendrils lock firmly once more. His forehead begins to drip sweat, but he holds onto his concentration well.
The air shifts focus at the sound of Mariena's voice, honing in on the Shadow Warden. There's a quick flash, followed by rumbling thunder, but still her words can be heard. "I am prepared to leave the Void, to wield and control these elements we channel, to serve the Sciomancers at the best of my abilities." Teani's eyes are fixed on the Master Crystal as she announces, "I accept this Branding." Her hair whips around her head and suddenly a needle-like thread if energy shoots towards her, striking the side of her neck. Her face contorts in a moment of pure agony icy frost seems to spread across her skin, following the path of her blood vessels.
(--) The pain continues, broadens. Were you to move at this moment in time, it would likely consume more than just the part it circles around.
(--) The pain finally eases on the brink of your collapse.
Moments after the first element latches on to the woman, there is a loud crack from the Master Crystal, then she is showered in a burst of crystal shards. Teani cries out in pain, feeling them pierce her skin. She stands her ground, however, keeping her own flow of energies under steady control despite her trembling body.
Air seems to dominate the Crystal as the element pierces you. The swirling vortex of combined elements come together to produce a chilled howling that serves to drive the shards deeper. Mariena hisses sympathetically as the ground heaves violently, but then stills as inky shadow leaches towards the trembling Shadow Warden.
Teani's eyes follow the shadow as it slowly creeps up her body, seemingly devouring her bit by bit. Blood trickles down the left side of her face, from the crystal shards embedded there. For a moment, the Shadow Warden seems to sway, closing her eyes for a moment before she disappears in a concentrated cloud of darkness.
(--) The air is filled with a loud, drawn-out cry of pain, coming from within the shadow.
(--) The howling takes on a killing edge, the longer it is left to go on.
Atilus exhales deeply, his body slumping and sweat trickling down his brow as he struggles to maintain his grasp on the elements. The loud cry of pain causes him to upright himself tall he inhales deeply and renews his focus towards the goal.
As the energies slowly subside, the room slowly stops trembling. The light within the Master Crystal begins to dim, but at the same time, the shadows withdraw, slowly draining from that column previously covering the entirety of the Shadow Warden. As Teani emerges from within the depths, she is trembling. Her staff is still pointed towards the center of the room, but the flow of energies is faint. As the last of it fades, she looks about ready to collapse to the ground.
Atilus releases his grasp of the elements, panting heavily, his hands on his knees as he looks out towards you with a smile. "How often are we doing this? I truly think you mean to kill me ma'am." he says with a giggle broken by heavy breaths.
Mariena breaks the elements free of the Crystal which spins fast still from the influx of influence. Though her steps are listing, the woman hurries towards the Shadow Warden and eases the woman to sit.The drunken nature of the woman's walk does not let up, it as if she had been to sea for years and is relearning to walk on dry land, but she makes it to Atilus and ensures he doesn't fall over either.
Teani draws a jagged breath, taking an unsteady step foward. She looks about ready to crash, but Mariena prevents it, helping her down in a more orderly fashion. "Are you... saying I made a mistake," she asks, voice trembling from withheld pain, a true testament of the challenge she just went through. "In picking you as my Seismic Master?"
It is now noon on Gosday, the 7th of Severin, year 464 of the Midnight Age.
Atilus stands with a smile and says, "Only if you don't wish to produce the most combat ready mages the world has ever seen. You didn't pick me for my strength, you picked me because I could teach them best." his hands brushing the folds of his black coat out. "I am still a very young man, I can only grow in power Shadow Warden." he says with an affirmative nod of his head.
Atilus says, "I would never dream the youth to be able to even stand next to the elders. I am very lucky to be next to you all."
Atilus nods his head emphatically.
Mariena doesn't speak, though by green tinge of her face and the way her lips press together, it's probably best that her mouth doesn't open. Instead she sinks to he knees beside you and begins to gently check for further bleeding around the Brands, checking to see if there is need of healing.
Looking only slightly disheveled, Atilus brushes himself off casually.
Atilus bows respectfully.
Watching Atilus disappear down the stairs, Teani waves a hand at Mariena's fussing, though shoots her a grateful look for caring enough. "I'll be fine," she emphasizes, a hand coming up to gingerly touch the crystals at her temple. Wincing slightly, she murmurs, "Won't put someone through all three at once ever again, though."
Mariena offers a careful nod and adds, "Atilus needs to practice a little longer with intense channeling." These words slow, but she hasn't puked on you, which is a good sign. "We also need to control the length of time our Mages are being branded. You stood it but you're the Shadow Warden."
Cinarra blinks into existence.
Cinarra folds some pearls and nods her head emphatically.
Cinarra inclines her head politely to those around her.
"It will be easier on them," Teani explains, grunting as her twisting her head causes the brands on her neck to strain. "I pledged myself to all three at once. They will only pledge one." She turns and looks at Cinarra, then gestures at Mariena. "Help me up?" requests, shifting around so she can regain her feet.
You ask Cinarra, "How are you?"
Cinarra says to you, "Ah, doing quite well. Are you well?"
Mariena rises and then offers her arm, forearm to forearm. She hefts as you rises, and together both are somewhat gracefully standing.
Teani takes a deep breath once she is up, then nods at Cinarra. "I will be, yes. Very well."
Teani's new look:
She is an athletic Idreth. The base color of her skin is a dark burgundy hue, though it looks strangely marbled around her neck. A frosty, silver net follows the veins underneath her skin up along one side of her neck, and another, a jet-black twin, creeps up the opposite side. On the left side of her forehead, a cluster of crystals seem to be embedded in her skin, dried blood showing along the edges and coloring parts of the translucent material. In contrast to her relatively dark complexion, her hair consists of long, wavy locks of brilliant white. Most of it hangs loosely down her back, with a few twisted locks framing her face, though a few strands stray from her head as if touched by static electricity. Her jade-colored eyes are separated by a narrow nose, splitting down her oval-shaped face down to a set of lush, dark lips. She has a slender figure, lithe and well-toned from plenty of practice, though by no means lacking curves. Her arms and legs show plenty of muscles, though of a lean character, built for endurance rather than strength.