Aug 18, 2019 3:37 AM
Aether at Whateley
+ Show First Post
Total: 702
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

"Oh, those are sprites - little magical pollinators, basically. Since my hair's made of plants they sort of stay in there, and I've got a familiar bond with them where they get nectar from my flowers and drink a little bit of my blood and in exchange I get control over nonmagical plants. Not very strong control, mind you, but I can make them grow quicker and in certain patterns and such."

Permalink

"Oh, I see. Is that wise? Letting them drink your - fluids?"

Permalink

Isaac snrks. Ethan makes a so-so hand motion. “It wouldn’t be safe without the familiar bond - giving something your blood gives it some power over you - but the bond means they won’t hurt me.”

Permalink

"Okay. It sounds really weird given where I'm coming from for pretty much exactly that reason so I assume you know what you're doing in local terms."

Permalink

"Yeah. The sprites like me, I like them."

"I've considered getting a familiar," Isaac says, "but it's a big decision. You're basically externalizing part of your soul."

Permalink

"It doesn't sound appealing to me, but familiars the way wizards back home do them didn't either and I think it's less of a commitment."

Permalink

"How do they do them back home?" Ethan asks predictably.

Permalink

"I don't know that much about it but I don't think it affects your soul at all."

Permalink

"Ah. The way we do it you're basically pinching off a bit of your soul and popping it into a nonsapient animal or spirit - or in my case a eusocial hive of mystical insects - and you reinforce the bond by giving something up to the familiar in exchange for some gift from the familiar itself. From then on you get a sort of feedback loop that makes you a bit more powerful, you get the familiar's gift, and you get a friend."

Permalink

"Drinking your blood is friendly?"

Permalink

He shrugs. "Bugs gotta eat. They're better-behaved than Isaac, at least."

Isaac clutches at his heart.

Permalink

"If you say so. I'm not sure wizards can have a hive of creatures as a familiar but that seems like a less important difference anyway. Are familiars popular here?"

Permalink

"Pretty common, yeah," Isaac says. "A little less so among full-time supers; no matter how useful they can be, they introduce a serious point of vulnerability. Ethan mostly bypasses that with his technique of having a bunch of bugs and storing them in his hair, but if you've got a rat or something and somebody gets ahold of it, you're kind of screwed."

Permalink

"Oh, what happens if it dies?"

Permalink

Ethan winces. "You lose the bits of your soul that went into the familiar, and there's a lot of mystical and emotional trauma associated with that. But if an enemy mage has access to your familiar it can get a lot worse than that, they can torture you from a distance or drain your essence or all kinds of bad stuff."

Permalink

"Ick. Pass."

Permalink

Ethan shrugs again. "I keep my sprites close and I don't plan on having many enemies. Maybe I'm just an optimist that way."

Permalink

"I wish you luck."

Permalink

"We appreciate it," he says.

Permalink

Om nom nom. "The cafeteria food is really good here. Is that more science?"

Permalink

"That's more about money," Isaac says. "Whateley kind of has more money than they know what to do with and a policy of 'high pay gets better work', so they pay the chefs as if they were a decent-quality restaurant, which means they get really good chefs even though it's line cook work."

"How do you know all this stuff?" Ethan wonders. "I just know the food is good."

"I talk to people, Ethan."

Permalink

"Huh, I was figuring maybe good food was cheaper here somehow. Anyway, it was nice meeting you - where does this go -"

Permalink

"Nice meeting you too!" Ethan says. Isaac points her towards where the tray goes.

Permalink

And she buses the tray, and goes back to the library to pass the time before she thinks she could get to sleep, whereupon she asks if she can checks out some books and brings them back to her room.

Permalink

Alice is already asleep when she gets back to the room.

Tomorrow dawns bright and early, as it often does. Alice gets up before sunrise and heads towards the showers.

Total: 702
Posts Per Page: