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Dec 15, 2019 2:55 AM
demigod Erin in Murune
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She shakes her head, "I just... Don't like the idea of being attracted to someone for reasons besides my own?" She tries to explain. Her heart is hers. She doesn't much like orich-artifacts which affect charisma or attraction, either. 

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He's not sure what the difference is between someone who happened to be born with necromancy and someone who happened to be born with the genes for large breasts or perfect teeth or whatever.  People don't normally get to control what they find attractive, or who has those traits.

"Well, I'll be sure to point any I see out, so you can be on your guard."

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She's not surprised he doesn't get it - it's possible she'll get used to it eventually, too, though part of her hopes not. 

"Thank you," she says anyway, "And thank you for pointing it out," she adds.

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They've been sitting and talking for a while, so he stretches his legs by going to clean the now-empty bowls.

He considers his life before he became a mage.  Specifically, how little he remembers it.  There are the biographical notes as if read from a book on someone else, but he doesn't remember any of it.  If he ever considered the difference between suddenly finding necromancers attractive, and suddenly finding people in general attractive, he's long forgotten it.  Maybe they didn't even happen separately - he was only fifteen at the time of his undeath, after all.

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As he leaves to wash up, she brings out her little pot of duskmindh to tend to it. Once this is done, she settles down to meditate with it. 

She tries reinforcing the thoughts she'd had the night before with the knowledge that she's caring for it, pushing the last part of her conclusions harder than she had before. 

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Still nothing yet, not even a flicker of change.

 

Ara'Vine continues carving.  

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She meditates for the rest of the hour, continuing to try, to no avail. Then she checks over her herb supplies, and eventually sets up her tent to get some sleep. 

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Night, then morning.  They travel a bit further down the river.  

They reach Myrthish, one of the larger trading ports at the wide mouth of the Soth River.  The city has spread out to both sides of the water, with a high bridge of metal and thick cables crossing the water.  Docks bristle from the banks, small oar-powered river boats closest to them, larger vessels on the other side of the bridge.

"This place is bound to have a professional necromancer, and I need to make some chargestones before my power starts going to waste," Ara'Vine says.  "You should come and see how it works, even if you won't be making them often."

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She gazes out over the city with interest. They hadn't stopped here very long the last time, either - as large as it is, it surely has plenty of healers. 

"Good idea," she agrees. 

Saman pulls up at outside the city again, dropping them off, before he swims back out to hunt for something to eat. 

"Lead on?" 

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He's never seen this city, but the gates aren't hard to find.  Ara'Vine asks after necromancers, and they're given directions to the inn where travelling mages stay.

Most mages are old money or outright nobility, their magehearts passed down through family lines.  As such, the inn is the finest in the city, with murals on the walls and a mechanical fountain in the courtyard.  Inside, the lobby is ostentatious, full of carved wood, velvet-upholstered benches, and rows of lamps with matching stained glass lampshades.  Wood floors and walls wouldn't be strange for Garnethold, where trees are plentiful, but stands out in Soth. 

"We're mages, here to visit your necromancer."  He isn't sure how to explain Erin's sorcery, and so doesn't.

The innkeeper looks them over, eyes lingering on Erin's wings.  He quotes a price in gold, fairly exorbitant.  

"This will more than cover it, for both of us."  Ara'Vine pulls out a diamond-embedded coin and hands it over.  

Even without activating a chargestone, it's possible to sense the power stored within.  The innkeeper's eyebrows rise.  Ten minutes of Ara'Vine's power is more than enough to pay for it.  He hesitates, wondering if it would be worthwhile to haggle further, but instead calls down a servant to lead them on.

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Erin has known many mage nobles - the man her mother had wanted her to marry was one. She had visited the homes of nobles and rich merchants fairly often as a child, but the sheer extravagance of wealthy persons' homes - and other places they frequent - has always made her uncomfortable. It did as a girl living in Elgea, and it does moreso now, after spending years on her own traveling through small rural villages. She does her best to ignore this. 

She stays quiet throughout the coversation Ara'Vine has with the innkeeper, and then follows the servant further inside. 

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Ara'Vine's not happy with this place, either.  "Making chargestones takes as long as using the power, so I'll be stuck here for 6 hours.  You can leave after an hour if you'd like.  I mostly wanted to bring you so you could see an example of a necromancer, see how chargestones are made, and double-check if the mage-mimicking sorcery counts enough to make them."

They reach the room, a parlor full of knick knacks and embroidery samples, and a plush rug.  There's a set of fine chairs around a low table with a few plates already laid out on it. 

The woman inside immediately draws the eye away from the room's finery.  She's in her sixties, with a mature beauty that she pulls off well.  She's wearing a fine gown in what would locally be recognized as an older style, though the lace is new and the dark green fabric is unfaded.  Her gray hair is woven into matronly braids.  Every facet of her image is carefully set out to resemble the kindest of grandmothers.

She smiles, lighting up the room.  "It's lovely to see you, dears.  Please, come in and have something to eat."  This seems like a very good idea.  

Ara'Vine glances at Erin, curious.

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She nods at his explanation. Perhaps she should make some number of them as well, if she can? She's only using about an hour every day, during meditation. If she leaves two hours, then she should have enough to meditate as well as heal herself, should some unexpected emergency arise. They reach the room before she can ask his opinion on the matter, however. 

At first she doesn't even notice anything odd about the attraction - the woman is lovely, if older than she usually prefers. Even her smile could be natural - some people just have smiles like that. 

It's the way her words immediately sound so correct, without even processing them, which clues her in. She's been under an effect like that before. 

She doesn't make any kind of face, but she's definitely not happy about this. 

She does accept the offer, however, "Of course," she agrees. She bows lightly, introducing herself with her name and her Father's, as usual. 

Erin's attraction to her is not the woman's fault - it's more Erin's than it hers, being as she was born a necromancer, and Erin chose to accept her mage-sorcery of her own free will. 

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He sits down.  They're on opposite sides of the central chair, where the kindly necromancer sits.  The dishes have bite-sized pieces of pastry and fruit arranged on them, and Ara'Vine grabs one mostly to indicate that it is the right thing to do.

"I'm a mage.  She has a sorcery which perfectly copies my mage-power," Ara'Vine explains, remembering to stick to the level of detail he intended to say.  "It's exact enough that I think she should be able to make chargestones, though we haven't checked yet."  He takes out a bag of thin copper coins with tiny beads of diamond imbedded in the center, visible from both sides.  Six of them get counted out and handed over.  "These are what Erin should turn into chargestones."  For himself, he takes out a larger single diamond, one capable of holding hundreds of hours of charge.  

"Oh, how exciting!"  The old woman exclaims.  "Of course I will help you check.  To charge a diamond into a chargestone, both of us need to be touching a diamond at once.  Then, you push the magic into the diamond."

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She sits in the open chair, and takes a bit of fruit. 

"Thank you," she says in response to the woman's words. "That is very straightforward," she says of the explanation. "Shall we attempt it now?" She asks, leaning over the table a bit and offering her hand.

 

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The woman places a coin down on her hand, keeping her hand pressed over it.  She moves her foot towards a pedal connected to a small hourglass built into the table.  Chargestone charge can be guessed at by someone with experience, but it's better to measure how long they took to make.  There is a strange sensation where the diamond touches her skin, like static electricity.  

Her other hand is placed on Ara'Vine's arm, over where he placed the diamond.  He focuses on charging it, and tries to ignore everything else, staring on the looping pattern of the wallpaper.  

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Her attention is caught by the woman's closeness for a long moment, before she forces herself to push it away, averting her eyes.

She activates her sorcery, directing the charge into the diamond. Does it work? 

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It does!  Rather than getting the usual dizzying flood of information, the magic instead coils into the diamond. 

"How wonderful," the woman exclaims.  "And such a useful power, too.  I suppose that the God of Healing was the one who imparted the sorcery?  That sounds like quite the tale."

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She opens her mouth to reply, and then pauses, considering whether she actually wants to. 

"He was," she agrees after a moment, "Though it is not so terribly interesting as all that - he simply came to me and offered it. There was mention of a bet." 

She glances at Ara'Vine - the story is his, as well, to some extent. 

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They're going to be here for a while, particularly Ara'Vine.  They might as well kill time by explaining it.

"What the God of Preservation told me," he begins, "was that the God of Healing was upset at me for upstaging them.  The two of them made a bet that if they gave an exact copy of my power to someone else, that person would be able to do everything I've done in under a century."

The necromancer puts the information together.  "Ara'Vine?"

"...Yes."  Did he forget to introduce himself again?  He avoids cringing as the necromancer goes over the usual response to that information.  Her enthusiasm is infectious, but not quite enough to get over his dislike of the situation.  One of these days he's going to just change his name, no matter how much that feels like lying.  

"Uh, anyway.  The God of Preservation also told me that Erin was coming down the river to ask for advice on how to use the power because the more complex things that the power can do are non-intuitive.  I was about to leave Olivine Monastery anyway, so I listened and came up north to meet her instead of a different direction."  Most of the rest of the story is Erin's, really.  He looks over at Erin, tall enough to look right over the necromancer's head even while they're all sitting.  "Perhaps you should be the one to tell your part of this?"

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She nods. If he's willing to have the story told in full, she does not mind either.

"My Father came to offer me the ability, stating that they had made a bet with the God of Preservation that a person with a 'true gift for healing' could learn in a century what took Ara'Vine a millenium," those were the words they had said, almost verbatim. 

"I accepted. I have always wished for a sorcery which would allow me to heal more directly than with herbal remedies and medicines. However, I quickly discovered some applications were more difficult than I had expected. My brother suggested I find Ara'Vine to ask for help." 

She smiles at Ara'Vine, then back to the necromancer, "We made for Olivine, but encountered him on the way there. He agreed to help, and so now we are traveling together." 

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The necromancer is delighted.  "You really must write this tale down as you go, and pass it on.  It has the makings of a proper tale."

It turns out that she's something of a collector of the epic stories of the past, which chronicle heroes on their adventures.  Deciding that her day's audience would not be interested in more combat-oriented stories, she instead begins reciting the ones about clever heroes who succeeded at impossible-sounding tasks by taking out-of-the-box solutions.

The chargestone coin on Erin's arm gets filled and replaced, the hourglass flipping over.  

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"Perhaps we will," she agrees. Though she's not much of a journal-keeper. 

She's happy to listen to the necromancer's stories - she would be even without the effect the woman has on her. She's an engaging storyteller. 

When the coin is replaced, she looks to Ara'Vine, "How much time should I be transferring?" She asks him, "I thought I might keep an hour for meditation, and some time in case of emergencies."

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"I handed her 6," he says.  "An hour will be fine for now."

If it was him, he'd drain his magic completely then take the next two days off from meditating.  Then again, he's used his shapeshifting to create a kangaroo-like pouch on his side where he can store chargestones safe of normal theft and right up against his skin for instant use, which makes them more useful for him.

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"Alright," she agrees. She'll fill the other five coins then. 

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