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Justin OOC

Level 2: Might and Magic

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With that Siluca led them to the carriage, but not before smiling at Tori.  "Those pastries are a huge hit here.  Ryan shared the recipe the first morning with one of the chefs, and they've been so heavily requested there was thought of charging for them simply due to the demand.   Of course Ryan had Theo nix that idea, saying he didn't share it with them to make money.   He just wanted something familiar."

After that she left Tori to her own devices, and set out with Vesper and Yuuki.   While in the Carriage, Siluca smiled.  "So you have a guardian spirit, Vesper?"    It was the first time someone had detected Therion directly, without actually seeing him.   "How did you come by him, If I might ask?  It's something that's not unheard of here, but yours seems to be far more interested in your wellbeing than most.  Here they're mostly patrons we draw power from, Seldom do they manifest like yours."

She turned her gaze, giving a moment for Vesper to collect her thoughts to answer her, as she asked something of Yuuki.  "I was also curious about your abilities.  Earth and Nature magic might be a good fit, having watched you, but that wasn't magic you used.  Some sort of other Mystic Art?  And you can transform your physical form.  Is there any associated benefit with it?"

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Vesper hesitated. Having someone notice the Therion unbidden left her feeling oddly exposed, as if she'd had the fly on a pair of jeans down or something.

"I didn't come by him, exactly. It's...complicated. Like, I never saw him before this guy gave me my powers, but he thinks he remembers me as a baby. It's kind of like he's...related to me or something? Except...I don't know. He doesn't really talk. It's more like flashes of pictures and feelings and stuff."

She glanced away, then looked back at Siluca. "I could show you, if you...really want to know."

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Vesper earned herself a look of quiet interest from her teammate for that admission, the wheels of thought visibly turning behind her golden eyes. She nodded to herself, steeling her thoughts.

"I couldn't do any of this until a few weeks ago when I was given my powers as well, but before my... well, when I was growing up I'd read and watch about girls who could transform and fight and create miracles to defeat evil while still being allowed to be normal and happy, too. Spent most of my allowance and meager free time soaking it in and sharing with my... with my Mom," Yuuki forced out after a heartbeat of hesitation, plunging forward, "What our patron gave me was an energy that feels like magic and made me stronger and faster, and if I use the words that make that energy 'happy' for want of a better word, *I* can transform and fight and create miracles, too." 

She looked away, "When I'm transformed, I can use all of it, not just a fraction. Wait... You can see the real me?" 

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Siluca shook her head "No, I don't think you need to manifest him fully here.   That would probably spook the horses, and the driver, so let's not, but I would like to see your Guardian later.   My friend, her name i Izona, she'll definitely want to meet him."

She looked over to Yuuki. "I can, yes.  I have several affinities, and one lets me pierce illusion and reveal the truth of things.  It is useful for spotting infiltrators and see what others try to hide."

"So you wanted to be a hero as a child?  I always knew I'd be a Mage, my Father was the Imperial Mage to the Empire's Royal family so I was always groomed to be one."

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"No, I meant I could..." Vesper sighed and flapped a hand vaguely. "I can show you what he tries to tell me. It's telepathic or something."

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"As long as it makes you happy," Yuuki replied to Siluca after Vesper's little hand gesture successfully derailed any inclination towards grim introspection, "And, yes. Sort of. I wanted the change of pace, the choice of just being able to slip on a mask and be free to be someone else, just for a little bit. My Duty to the shrine, the people it serves, is important, and I wouldn't want to shirk it forever, but... Sometimes I wish it wasn't just *my* Duty. Guess I'm got my wish."

She pointedly refused to think about the nightmares that weren't quite nightmares where the shrine burned and she and her brother just watched from the bottom of the hill letting it happen.

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Tori finished her donut with a scowl, figures the only thing I'd find to like around here would be something from home, she thought as she went back to her room to change into something more suitable for running.

After changing Tori went outside and looked for someplace where she could run and exercise.

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For Tori, there was a large open area within the Keep,  clearly it was a training area for the Knights of the Keep.   Abit of asking around of various ervants uncovered that the town the Castle was within was also a bustling community, as it was a trade hub.   There was much to explore, of she was so inclined.   The last person she asked happened to be an Knight who wasn't on duty.  His name was Daizo Hadsa, he was the leader of an independent Squad of Ducal Knights.   "So, you're looking for somewhere to exercise in peace, is that it?  Why not take a jog of the Ramparts?   If you don't mind my company at least, I can go with you and those on duty won't give you any trouble."

In the Carriage, Siluca smiled.  "oh, forgive my misunderstanding then, Vesper.  If you'd be willing to share it with me, then yes I'd be happy to see what you're shown.  Maybe I can help you uncover the hidden details within the visions you're shown."

Siluca considered Yuuki's answer.  "I guess you did, well I am glad you're going to be able to help us out here.

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Vesper nodded, and her pale cheeks reddened slightly as she cut her eyes to Yuuki. It was a personal sort of thing to share...easier maybe with a stranger than someone she'd have to be working with.

Then she focused on Siluca, and the black of her pupils seemed to spread out across the irises of her eyes as she concentrated. The mage felt a touch on her mind, like the shiver of someone walking over her grave.

 

A wrenching, an explosion of light, though muted as ever. The hospital room is visible now, as if through a thick layer of gauze laid over a camera's lens. A doctor has a baby in her arms while another leans in to sever the umbilical cord. The mother, reaches vaguely out, numbed by medications. You push against the 'gauze' but cannot move through to touch the world before you. You can only watch. Your eyes never waver from the infant.

There is no sense of what came before, nor imagination of what may come next. There is only the duty, moment to moment, as inexorable as the pull of gravity, or the equations that govern momentum. No words define your existence, but the human mind of Vesper imposes a filter on what reaches you. Preserve. Avert. The image of a box, or a spiral, like a moebius loop, half-twisted and turned in on itself. Unfold. Destroy. Close.

The loop changes in aspect to look like some kind of weird snake with its tail in its mouth. It eats until there's only a head and a tightly stretched bit of body...and then swallows, and is gone.

An overwhelming sense of hollowness descends. In a human being, this would be suicidal despair, but here there is no emotion. It is simply what is.

"I asked him once, what he thought of me," Vesper says. The telepathic contact ends so suddenly that it leaves Siluca feeling as if she'd been pulled too quickly from freezing cold water.

"That's what he said."

 

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"Could you tell us about your friend Izona, the one who'll be teaching us? I'd like to have an idea what to expect, even a hint," Yuuki added into the silence, partially as a distraction, but mostly out of genuine curiousity, brushing a lock of green hair out of her face, "Only get one chance to make a good first impression after all." 

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Siliuca watched the memories, the visions replay, and she frowned.  "That..is not fair."  She looked almost like she wanted to hug Vesper, but held off.  "But if you only just got these powers, it doesn't make alot of sense.  Allow me to think on it abit longer, maybe I can help you unravel it and get a true explanation."

"To answer regarding Izona, Let me just say that she's eccentric, and not human.  Nor is she an Elf.   She calls herself  a Seraphim, and as far as I know, she is the only one of her kind.  She never really told me more than that.  What I can tell you is that she is a Master of Magic, knowing nearly every School of Magic there is.  She's sometimes odd, but even trivial information she doesn't know can excite her, if she can think of a use for it.   The more you offer her, the more willing she is to teach, but be careful she can sense the amount of information she doesn't know within any tome,  and has an encyclopedic knowledge of most things."   

"I warn you because she is quite powerful and while she honors all contracts to the letter, asking something elseof her at a later date may end up costing more than you can pay, So it's always good to hold abit back.  She's a good friend to have, but she has her quirks."

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Seraphim, seraphim... That was the title for a Christian angel, one of the most powerful ones in fact, the kind that didn't interact with humans directly often if at all. It'd be like if Yuuki ran into Amaterasu at the supermarket picking out leek. Her lips quirked in thought, piecing together what she'd read and how it compared to what she was being told. The bargaining in exact terms, the teaching of mortals, dwelling in a set location... Izona *sounded* like a yokai, maybe a tengu. And she knew enough folklore about those to be on her toes if that was even half true.

"I assure you, I'll be careful," she responded in a deadly serious tone, golden eyes slitting half-shut and all social glibness evaporating away, "Will you be staying around while we train, or will you be heading back to Lord Theo as Ryan puts him through his paces?"

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Vesper shrugged off the mage's reaction, feeling a stab of embarrassment over what looked to her like pit on Siluca's face.

"For all I know, he's just some crazy thing the game master's powers created," she said. "He does what I tell him to, usually. That's enough."

The description of the seraphim caught Vesper's ear though. The word could have a way different meaning in this world, of course...but it sure didn't sound like any kind of angel she'd ever heard of.

Well, it'd be interesting to see how this all went down.

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Tori narrowed her eyes when the knight offered to go running with her. pfft men they are all alike even on different worlds. "The ramparts are fine. you can come along if you like but i'm sure I can handle and 'problems'," she mad air quotes when she said problems, " your people might try to give me."

She followed Daizo up onto the wall and did some stretches before taking off at a good running pace. If the guy wants to play the hero he's gonna have to work for it.

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"I will be returning to the Keep.  In truth I'm not supposed to stray from Lord Theo's side, as his appointed and contracted mage, but this is special, since he too agreed for me to go and make these introductions.   We want you to succeed, because it helps us too.   I know this is not your world, but it is imprtant to us that everything you said you're here to do is accomplished."

She looked to Vesper.   "I would need time to actually see him, and to activate some somewhat larger spells than I can here.   Still, it could be as you say, or perhaps there was some reason you were chosen, and Your guardian is related to that."

Back at the keep,  Daizo was abit impressed by how quickly Tori took off, but quickly follwed after her.  He was abile to catch up to her, and kept apace.   The ramparts were thick able to easily have 4 men stand shoulder to shoulder, and he smiled .   The Keep had never been taken, and he'd led the defense himself a number of times.   The new Duke was younger than him, but since the Old Duke thought so highly, Daizo had sworn to support him, and his strange allies.   "Is this part of your daily routine?"

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"Yep I run ten miles a day as well as do weight training, martial arts classes and firearms practice. My dream is to be a pilot and a special forces soldier" She slows and stops to pull her water bottle from her belt and takes a long drink while staring out over the castle wall. She offers the plastic bottle to Daizo when she is done. "At least that was my dream. Now i drive a giant robot in weird multidimensional wars on planets that probably don't even exist  anywhere but in my sick crazy head. I'm probably in a straight jacket on a funny farm some where out in the country and you my new friend are probably a delusion."

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Yuuki choked down a pat 'It's my pleasure' response, partially because it would be too pat considering how much trouble she'd be in when she got back, and insidiously, because it was partially so true. It was a pleasure to get away from everything and immerse herself in an adventure like this. Long as this Seraphim didn't turn out to be completely yokai-like and end up making their bones into a harp, she'd dealt with a pair of harsh tutors most of her life. This was a 100% improvement over that.

"So, while we're on our way, Lady Siluca, think you could share some more of the basics of how magic works here? The schools, costs, and practical techniques? No two of the stories I read at home had the exact same system if they explained it at all. The old Lord mentioned that when the great seal started breaking up, magic returned with the chaos. Have the two always been linked? Or is chaos something that came from... outside to become part of the system?" 

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"Yeah. Anything with black candles, scary looking books, silver knives and stuff?" Vesper asks laconically. "You know...cool stuff."

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Daizo shook his head.  "No, I can assure you, we're all very real."  He politely refused the bottle after all she'd drank from it, and it wasn't proper, it would be like an indirect kiss.   

"Well given my understanding, and what you just said, aren't you actually living that dream?  I mean you pilot a giant robot, and you comrades and you are a special force, I mean most people alive have no special skills, only 5% can use magic, at most.  I'll grant your circumstances are abnormal, even to someone like me who's seen magic up close and personal, but even so, that doesn't make this not real.  The thrill of training, the smells on the wind, the sounds even up here, the warmth of the sun on your skin, all of that is real, Tori."

In the Carriage, Siluca nodded.  "There are the Elemental schools, Light, Darkness, Wind, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.    There is also Sonic, Psychic, Order, and Chaos.  There are far more suborders, tuned more to what you want specifically out of magic.  Holy Magic exists too, and it's said to be the basis for the crests themselves, Though I don't know of anyone who advertises a wealth of knowledge of it beyond that.  Talking about costs of magic, You use mana, which is your literal will, to control and affect reality how you wish.  Most Mages have a limited amount of mana they can spend at once, though using artifacts can greatly increase this.  You might hear this called bucket capacity.  Think of Mana as the water in a lake, and how much you can spend at once as a Bucket.   the size of the bucket determines the amount of water you can take from the lake.   Because bigger more impressive spells take way more mana to cast, the bigger the bucket, the stronger a mage normally is." 

"Magic itself is divided into tiers as well, with tier 1 spells being mostly universal single target and fairly weak.  It goes all the way to tier 5, and there are rumored tier 6 spells, but only archmages can hope to cast anything over a Four."  She shrugged.  "I am a prodigy, but currently I am limited to Tier three spells."

She shook her head.  "i don't really know where chaos originated, though most mages can tap into chaos arts  with an appropriate sacrifice.  That might be something to ask Izona once you're done training."

She turned to Vesper.  "All those things can be used,  Some Magi use grimoires, and I know more than a few that channel spells through weapons.  My own focus is a wand with a rainbow gem as its core.  It serves me well since I can use a fair number of different Orders of Magic."

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Siluca had the shrine maiden's full attention as she explained, golden eyes locked on the native mage. So foci types *did* matter? Interesting. Scores of examples from her childhood flickered across her mind's eye, shining and flashing and contrasting with the handcrafted charms she carved and drew and gave away by the dozen every festival. Well, she guessed dreams did come true.

"I assume our teacher will help us decide what form those take? And the same for the 'Orders' we're best suited for?" she further probed, raising an eyebrow as a final though occurred, "...What kind of sacrifice are you talking about to use Chaos magic? And can that effect chaos monsters?"

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On 12/15/2018 at 3:52 PM, Justin OOC said:

Daizo shook his head.  "No, I can assure you, we're all very real."  He politely refused the bottle after all she'd drank from it, and it wasn't proper, it would be like an indirect kiss.   

"Well given my understanding, and what you just said, aren't you actually living that dream?  I mean you pilot a giant robot, and you comrades and you are a special force, I mean most people alive have no special skills, only 5% can use magic, at most.  I'll grant your circumstances are abnormal, even to someone like me who's seen magic up close and personal, but even so, that doesn't make this not real.  The thrill of training, the smells on the wind, the sounds even up here, the warmth of the sun on your skin, all of that is real, Tori."

Tori took the bottle back and put it in it's holder on her belt all the while eyeing Daizo, "I was joking, Daizo. It was a joke. I know this is real, I'm the one that drive the giant robot remember. But back home all of this would be enough to put me away at the funny farm. So with Vesper and Yuuki  off playing Hogwarts, what exactly is there for me to do here?"

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"Yes, you can choose your focus, and you can have more than one.   Generally it's best to make them something you can carry, as without it you cannot perform your magic.   You can improvise a focus, but the effects will be halved.  As to Chaos magic, it is a blood or life sacrifice almost exclusively, and it can greatly enhance Chaos beasts, or even summon more of them, from what I've seen."

Back at the Castle, Daizo smiled.  "Well that depends.   There's always the training you're doing,  simply relaxing and enjoying your downtime, or Considering the news is already spreading about our new Lord, I'm sure some of the other Lords will be looking this way to expand their territory, maybe even claim Lord Theo's Crest.  I'm planning to advise Lord Theo to take a proactive stance, and move against some of our enemies, before they can strike us.   I'd rather fight them on their lands than ours, it keeps our people safe.  If you want to help us fight, then I'd welcome it.   I've always hated fighting Wyverns from the ground, and I'm betting you can handle them with your "mech" is it?"

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"Wyverns? Is that like a dragon?" Tori asked thinking that fighting a dragon in the air might be cool. "Okay that sounds like a plan I guess you better get me caught up on how your military operates so I  can fit in."

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"Hmmm," replied the shrine maiden, noting the perhaps significant absence of the word 'control' from that answer. Still... The prospect of dropping an expendable monster on an opponent instead of risking a human or plant ally, especially with her ability to shape a battlefield sounded good. In theory. If it didn't carry the risk of taint or some long term cost like it so often did in her stories. If Chaos was the simply the yin to the other school's yang though... Maybe... 

"Well, If you have any questions you'd like to ask us to pass the time, I'd be glad to share what I can. Kept the old Lord entertained enough to repay him somewhat for his hospitality," she chuckled before the smile turned rueful, "And once we're close enough to Izona's that it'll be safe, please tell me and I'll... transform back. If she knows the same trick of seeing through it that you do, don't want to spoil a first impression." 

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Daizo nodded.  "Mostly battles are fought among normal foot infantry or cavalry units.   Archers of various types are a staple of most battles as well.   Some, Like the Imperial guard have their Spellbreaker corps, which wear armor that cancels magic and have magic weapons which hurl large bolts a great distance.   Of course a few Lords have beastmasters in their employ and they have magical beasts in their military.  Wyverns are the most common of the aerial beasts.  They're pseudo dragons, their feet have massive talons and while they have hands, they're integrated into the edges of their wings.  They don't breath fire, but they move quite fast.   Most Lords use them to drop barrels of gunpowder or oil over a battlefield which then ignites when hit by any sort of flame.  of course, a Wyvern on the ground is still a huge threat with their spiked tails, claws and powerful jaws.  Spellcasters themselves are more limited with most lords employing less than three.   However, the use of mercenaries, and people who have Mystic, Martial, or Demonic arts are all things worth factoring in too.  Those abilities are the sort that are beyond human ability, but clearly not magic.  They usually have some sort of cost associated with their use.  Many think of your comrade, Ryan, as a mystic and Martial art possessor.  It's uncommon to have more than one, but not unheard of."

The conversation in the carriage went on for some time, finally though they reached a small cottage looking house, surrounded by a garden.   Once they got out the coachman and horses seemed to go into suspended animation, not responding to anything.  "She's expecting us, so here we go."  Siluca said.  She lead the way knocking on the door which opened when she did, and led them inside.   Once the door was closed the scenery changed, and the insides revealed themselves to be a massive library, so large they could easily fit Tori's Banshee within with room to spare.  "Ah, Siluca, I see you finally brought those guests you mentioned.  DO you really think they're worthy of my teaching..."  The voice drifted off, as Their host came into view.   Izona looked mostly human, save for the actual halo of light over  her head, and the wings at her hips.  She was fairly scantily clad, and smiled.   "oh, how interesting indeed.  Otherworlders.  You brought me some otherworlders...  You really are such a good pupil."

She bowed her head once, "I am Izona, Mistress of Magics.  I bid you welcome to my humble home."  The change from her haughty sounding voice to one that was thick with enthusiasm was instant, and abit jarring to say the least.  Siluca had that sort of pasted on grin that said "Just bear with it" as this seemed to be part of what they'd been warned of.

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So it's as boring as a public library, with an annoying salesperson from Hot Topic lurking inside. Is this Middle Earth or Hell on Earth?

In deference to the delicate sensibilities of Yuuki, and because she wanted something out of this whole arrangement, Vesper kept that comment from leaking out audibly...though it did make her smile just a little as she said, "Hey."

Yuuki shot her an aggrieved look, and with an eyeroll, she added, "I'm Vesper. We're here to learn magic or something."

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After the last few days in her transformed state, Yuuki felt acutely tiny and vulnerable in her own skin, underdressed in her street clothes. Still, if Izona was as powerful as Siluca , better safe than sorry, even if she didn't feel particularly safe. At least Vesper was semi cooperating long enough for her to get her mental feet under her.

"Ryougi Yuuki. Of Earth since you apparently know about more than one world," she offered with a slight bow, that same voiceless voice pinging 'mage' off of Izona as it had Siluca on their first meeting, "Do you have somewhere we can sit and talk, Lady Izona? Lady Siluca tells me she needs to be back at the castle, and I don't want to take any more of her time than we need to."

She smiled, the expression shallow, fragile, and uncertain but real, "And we *are* here to learn magic if you'll have us."

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After the conversation Tori went her own way, and was generally left to her own devices.   After about three hours, there was a man who came riding into the castle in a rush,    "I bring word from The Western Border.  "Lord Elrois has marshaled his forces and is heading towards us, Our estimates put his forces at nearly twenty thousand!"  This set off a chain reaction as dozens of nobles and officers went into motion, and seemingly like magic, Ryan appeared, stepping from around the corner.  "So Tori, Want to go see what an army on this world looks like?"

Even as others were rushing to notify Theo, Ryan already knew that they needed to make a strong response.   "Come to the meeting, let's hear him out, and we can finally go do something."  She nodded, and they head for the meeting, where the Lords were talking about how they could only muster half that force on such short notice, and how they'd need to fight a defensive battle.  "Look, if you need more time,  Tori and I can go out and buy that time.  We're unknown quantities to them, and with only a few wyverns they're not gonna be that much of an issue to us."

"There's no way two of you can fight an army of twenty thousand.."

"We don't have to, we just need to delay them.  Besides, I'm going to challenge the leader of the force to a duel.   Tori can take out their airpower and supply lines, and they'll be totally screwed.  Leaderless, without supplies, they won't know what to do, and by the time you guys arrive, they'll be ready to surrender, I guarantee it."

Ryan was so sure, and Theo, though abit nervous, nodded.  "Alright,Tori,  Ryan, buy us the time we need, but don't get yourselves killed."  The two otherworlders nodded, and left the meeting to the denizens of this world, they had an army to gather.

He looked to Tori as they walked out to one of the courtyards, it was seldom used and the ground was simple dirt, as he waited for her to call the Banshee.  "You cool with this?  We're gonna be killing other people out there, not inhuman monsters."  It was something he probably should have asked before, and he regretted not doing so.

----------------------------------------

In her Library Izona waved, and the room shifted, becoming a parlor with a table set with tea and chairs.  "Please, let's sit and talk."   Siluca lead the way with Izona at the rear, and once they were seated, she smiled  "So my former apprentice brought you to me because you need to learn magic quickly.  Well, she may or may not have told you, but I crave information.   I simply love to learn things I do not know.  Now as you're from another world, I'm sure there's a great deal you can tell me.  That said, I want real knowledge, not just the most mundane of trivia.  If you wish real knowledge of Magic, and by the by, you both have strong aptitude for magic, so you could be truly powerful, with dilligent study, then you must offer up something of similar value."

She got to the point rather quickly, unlike so many who simply beat around the bush.  "I have lived for thousands of years, I don't really care to do small talk, and I gather neither does Vesper, so let's be about what this about."

She looked to Siluca, and chuckled.  "No familiar this time?"

"No, you traumatized him last time."

"Oh you're just being dramatic, I only pet him for six hours."

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Yuuki wordlessly poured the tea into the cups provided while their hosts bantered back and forth, brown eyes waiting for the exchange to wind down before replying.

"If I may, Lady Izona..? I am a Shinto shrine maiden, raised and trained to be a priestess of a world where magic is an article of faith not flashy fireballs, so I'm the last one to underestimate the value of your kind of knowledge," she offered with an apologetic smile as she produced the smartphone from her bag and slid it across to Izona, tone respectful and soft, "I don't know if you've seen one of these before, but it contains a large amount of information from our world, our history, our math, our science, the men and women who shaped it."

She picked up her cup of tea, sipping to gather her thoughts, "I don't know what value you'd place on this information, but Lady Siluca seems to think well enough of you to give fair return on it. Enough of it at least to give us a fair chance to learn whatever magic we turn out to have an affinity for outside of the powers granted us by our patron."

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Tori click the key to summon the Banshee while Ryan asked his question, she didn't answer immediately, instead she watched the Mech unfold from is't interdemensional space. She hadn't really considered that aspect, the killing part, before. She was going to be a soldier, a pilot and that meant the possibility of killing, but that killing would have been in service to her country and she felt she could justify that.

But what about this? Who was she serving here?

"I don't know Ryan, I don't really understand any of this. But I'll do what I have to do to get us home," she said as she inspected the mech to make sure it was ready.

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Vesper gave Yuuki a flat look. She had history, math and science on her phone? Like physically on it?

She brought out her iPhone and tossed it, and its earbuds, onto the table alongside Yuuki's phone.

"Ten gigs of thrash metal and a PDF copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook," she said. "Take it or leave it."

Ah shit, the cat vids! Maybe she won't notice.

"There's stuff we can TELL you too though," Vesper added. "Like, with actual human interaction or something."

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Izona smiled.  I see.   I accept both your offerings."  She held out her hand and there were two small stones.  "Each of you take one, and focus on it."  With a look of incredulity this was done, and Izona smiled.  "Feel you mana, your Will flowing into the stone.  Don't constrain it, simply let go."

Once the two f them had, there was a cracking noise, and in each of their hands were three small shards, of various colors.   "Each color is aligned with a particular element."  Her eyes Narrowed, and Siluca let out a little gasp.
Yuuki's were green of course for Earth, which wasn't that surprising, a royal blue signifying Water, and Stark white, the color that signified the Magic of Order, a rarity in terms of alignment.  

Vesper on the other hand had a light blue stone that was aligned with Air, and a bright red stone aligned with fire.   Her final stone was jet black, and everyone looked to Izona.  "Chaos magic affinity.Well, you're going to be quite a pair."

Siluca looked at her..  "You're not..."  "They did bargain fairly with me, so yes, I will teach them, even that.   Better they learn from me, than someone who doesn't know the truth."

"It's forbidden."  Siluca was definitely freaking out.

"For a human to teach it, yes, but I am far from that, and certainly not bound by your laws."

"..."  Siluca really couldn't respond, Izona was probably the single most powerful magic caster alive, and She'd never seen the look in her eyes like this.  She was truly excited.   The lure of exotic knowledge, and having students with Order and Chaos as affinities, it was totally unprecedented.  

------------------------------

Once the Banshee touched down and her inspection was complete, Tori and Ryan both climbed up and inside.   "Huh, I don't remember a second actual seat in here."  It was situated behind her main seat, slightly elevated, with its own instruments and while not control stics, there was a dome on each side of the seat obviously meant for the second occupant to place their hands on.  "Something new to try out, I'm guessing."   He smiled.  "I think I'll just ride along for now, and get out once we get to the battlefield, Sound good?"
 

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"Badass," Vesper said, giving the black ball a closer look. "Chaos magic sounds pretty cool, actually." She then scrutinized each of the other little crystals in turn.

Air seemed kinda...meh at first. Wee, windy... But then she thought 'air' could refer to sound too, right? Or like, storms, like thunderstorms. Dark clouds, angry lightning...cracks in the earth with plumes of fire jetting out. Then the baseline...bumbumbum bumbum bumbumbum bumbum bumbumbum...

Sure, it was magic, not a music video, but that wasn't any reason you couldn't cast spells with some style, right? Hell no. Wands you shouted Latin at and shot little sparkles? Kids books.

Nah, her Latin would be all deep and resonant, like a Gregorian chant you couldn't hear the source of. Just the words, pressing in on you, beating reality into a new shape like hot metal.

Ugh. Ugh!

Okay, cool off, V...don't kid yourself into thinking this isn't going to suck. Just go with it for now and see what happens.

Vesper took a deep breath, banishing the growing anticipation she'd felt and fixing Izona with a deadpan stare.

"So what now?"

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It had taken a moment to overcome the sense of burning resentment as her energies demanded she add the Words to her release, some flare, something anything to shout 'Here I am! Look at me!' to the upwelling, a sullen wrath that kicked up nausea in her gut before she could rein the coiling energy back down into it's root. Ugh. She had to suck in a little half breath, recover her balance before looking up and at Siluca, eyes curious. The other woman had shown none of this passion regarding Chaos magic before, their previous discussion more academic than anything. 

Still. Vesper had asked the big question. And 3 affinities? Was that good or not? She had no idea, and that was exciting, unruly powers or no.

The short, brown-haired girl nodded agreement with Vesper's statement, waiting for the next part, the next test.

 

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"Now, we talk abit more, and after that Siluca leaves you here with me.  You'll stay here a month or two, depending on how much you allow yourselves to learn,  how much you apply yourselves to this, and then our business will be done."  Izona gave them both a knowing smile.   

"Your magic is a reflection of yourself, who you are at your core,  which aspects of Reality you resonate with.  You can accept this and work in harmony with your powers, and the effects will be effortless, with minimal costs, but far more limited scope and power.  Or you can take the harsher path, and Reject the way of things, and try to assert your dominance over reality, and make your will into your reality.  The costs are greater, but the scope of power and effects is nearly limitless, if you have the will to see it through."

She looked over to Siluca.  "She is one of the Former, and quite rare.  Most of the former can barely manage tier 2 spells, but She can manage tier 3.   She's my little prodigy, but then with her Father being the Imperial court Magus, well she has some big shoes to fill."

"IZONA!"  Siluca cried out.  "Oh, hadn't you told them about daddy?  Well, you shouldn't keep secrets, that's not what friends do."   "Not a secret, just hadn't really found the time or occasion.."  Siluca pouted quietly.

"At any rate, I know you're eager to get started, so If you'll follow me, We can go to my practice dimension.  It's set so that magic works the same there as here, and I can show you how this world's magic works.

With no dissent, the room shifted, and they were no longer in a room, just in a dimension of endless starfield.  "This is Otherspace, and here, nothing can affect the real world.  This is a small dimension  i created to practice and perfect my spellcraft.  Now, I will show a spell for each affinity."   

She started off With water, order, calling up a dozen automatons from aether and mana, to use as targets.   She blasted them with lighting bolts from air, fireballs from fire, and crushed them with boulders from stone.   She froze one using  water, and caused one to break down and rust away with chaos and a little of her own blood.   The final one was burned away with holy light, and she turned to them.  "Those were mostly tier 2 and three spells, save the initial summoning spell, which is  a fourth or fifth depending on what you're calling up.  simple elementals are 4, something like a Water Dragon is a five."  

She looked to them.  "Any Questions?"

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So not just the daughter of an imperial mage, but the daughter of *the head imperial mage* then? That was a lot to live up to, and with all this talk of magic going away if they fully repaired the seal, that couldn't have helped. Siluca got a gentle smile of understanding from the small girl, silent support before they were whisked away to a breath-taking starscape worthy of any story's epic battle. What followed enthralled her, not the scale of the blasts so much in and of themselves, but the context that this was something that could be learned or taught to potentially anyone. Earth. Water. Order. Okay those were hers, and she'd have to fight really hard to keep her preconceptions about the first two from tainting what was to come.

Order? She had no real idea no real idea what to expect unless it borrowed *a lot* from the Shinto traditions she was raised in.

"So many, Master Izona, which I'm sure you'll bring up and answer when we need to know them," she answered with a shimmer of breathless excitement and a quick bow of her head, "But most urgently perhaps... The reason your student directed us your way is because our patron listed learning magic is listed as one of the objectives needed to get us home to our world and, presumably, help us help this one while we're here. The same patron gave both of us... gifts which Lady Siluca compared to this world's Mystic Arts. I don't know if that will help or harm our training here, but in my case, I have a... Ha, transformation that lets me use more of that energy in ways that I know without having been actually taught. Is that a problem?"

She breathed in through her nose, calming herself, allowing herself one further indulgence, "Also, foci materials and design choice. What's the difference between them?"

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Vesper just smirked and leaned against the wall with her arms folded. She was ready to get started. If Izona wanted to know about her gift, she could ask. Same thing with foci really. They could pick that up as they went.

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"In time Yuuki, I will explain everything."

They returned to the regular world, and bid goodbye to Siluca.   She returned to the Keep, and left them with Izona, who wasted little time, taking them to another room, which resembled a classroom, complete with a chalkboard.   There she began to teach them the fundamentals of magic in this world.   The first three days was alot of terminology and  long explanations regarding the nature of magic, basic theories.     The next three days saw them talk of foci and magical materials.  In the end, Yuuki ended up with a moonsilver Magatama amulet as her focus, and Vesper's was a darksteel bracelet.  

"Moonsilver changes, but is always pure.  The light it gives off is soft, but even the deepest darkness it cannot be extinguished.   Darksteel is indestructible, even in the core of a star.  It is unchanging, and eternal."   According to Izona, having chosen these materials would only increase the power of their magic, as they would serve to keep it from running rampant.

With their foci chosen, they were given a day to rest, before the most intense week of their lives began.   for fourteen hours of each day, they were trained separately in magic by Izona.   It was revealed that Izona could duplicate herself, to accomplish this, and Each was just as powerful.   Using her Magic, she engaged them both in combat, and proved to be overwhelmingly stronger than either, but this illustrated the power of Magic, as she only used magic of each of their elements with them.   She'd then teach them of the magic she used, while they couldn't hope to master tier 4 spells or higher yet, still the explanations helped them see how each tier built upon the others.   She would heal them after each battle, then they'd go again.  Magic it seemed was mostly a combat art, but she did show them other ways to use it that weren't combat related.   Gathering information, summoning familiars, defending others, curses and banishing, curing wounds and sickness, If it could be done with magic, she taught them all of it.

It was at the end of the week That she made a revelation to the two of them.  "So have you two enjoyed our first six months together?  I should probably have mentioned that.  1 hour in my dimension is a day out here.  As its laws are my discretion, there's reduced fatigue and no hunger there, so it probably didn't really seem too bad to the two of you, but that's why you slept well and ate when we came out for the day each day.  It's predicated on you both getting 8 regular hours a day of sleep."  The fact remained that they still had two more "weeks" of their training before returning to the castle.

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"Sounds good."   Once situated, they flew off towards the approaching army.   A quick strategy developed as they saw them on her sensors.  She'd fire one shot at the ground troops  and Drop Ryan into the huge hole in the formation.   There were roughly twenty thousand troops, as well as 4 Wyverns which were about half the size of the Banshee.  "Smaller than I thought they'd be.  They are lesser dragons though."  

He took the lead and had her brandish her Plasma canon.  "Attention Invading forces.  We are the Knight Champions of Theo Cornaro, Lord of these lands.  Abandon your invasion peaceably, and no harm will come to you.  Persist in attacking, and you will be dealt with harshly."  he boomed out through the mic, sounding impressive thanks to the killer sound system.
There was great confusion, as none had ever seen a golem so large, or in the air on jets of flame.    Still the Lord at the head of the army shook his head.  "We will not relent because you ask.  On this continent only strength matters.  I will not allow a usurper to take over my old ally's lands.  We will not back down.  Wyverns, Tear that monstrosity from the sky!"  The lord shouted, and Ryan sighed.  

"Alright Tori, one good shot to the rear please, where the supply train is."  It was an Easy shot to make, as she was stationary, and Ryan unleased some of his own power through the Mech's systems, effectively doubling The effects of the blast.   The end result was an area of scorched ground nearly a hundred and twenty meters across.   In a single attack they'd killed a quarter of army, including destroying ninety percent of the supplies for their campaign, and nearly all the archers.  This of course caused a panic, Even as the 4 Wyverns launched themselves toward the metal menace, a small human figure was falling to earth from it wielding a huge sword.  He landed atop a heavy Infantry unit, clad in thick armor, and dropped into their midst.  In an instant, a Circle six meters across opened up around him, as he swung his blade in a circle, and cleaved everything it came in contact with in half.  

Ryan stood, a faint blue aura covering him, a slight spark of energy crackling here and there, his blue eyes cold and bright.  "I did warn you to turn away, but you say only strength matters.  Well here we are, our strength against yours."

The Army was still fifteen thousand strong, but their morale was absolutely shattered.  Already many soldiers were throwing down weapons and running.   The Lord made a bad call.   "Archers shoot those treasonous bastards!"   Even as what few archers he had left followed orders, more began to panic, as their lord was still fully intent on fighting the monster that had dropped into their midst.

In the air, Four Wyverns battled against Tori and the Banshee.   Their claws could tear at the armor, but the vulcan canons mounted on the mech's head proved adept at tearing apart their all too important wings, and sent one plummeting to the ground.  The rider was crushed as the beast fell, and though not dead it was enraged and injured, trying to get back into the air.

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