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Jul 04, 2020 11:45 AM
an Eelesia is the summoned hero
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Her new acquaintance takes diligent notes.

The winds of magic, their teacher patiently explains, pervade everything in the world. Where they blow particularly strongly, reality finds itself... Mutable. Effects on the physical world caused by the Winds can be surprising and unforeseen, similarly, effects on the landscape of the Winds caused by changes in the physical world can be just as unpredictable. Viric is a unique Wind of Magic for being unlike the other ten, utterly stable, and almost completely immune to being affected by sorcery. Incantation magic shapes and uses viric, and it comes from within people and monsters with mana cores. The Winds enter the world from an enormous gate at the north pole and exit it through a similar gate at the south. The flow can wax and wane or even reverse, sometimes. Whoever built the gates is unknown, and they are indestructible to every attempt at destroying them that's ever been tried.

She explains the general physical and metaphorical tendencies of the different Winds in considerable rigorous detail, with several examples. She goes over the general process of sorcery - drawing the Winds either from within yourself or the world around you, shaping them into a spell, and then loosing that spell. They'll learn to cast some simple cantrips in this class, but are strongly warned not to try more advanced magic or to do experimental spells. They could be heavily fined or even expelled from the Academy as punishment for reckless sorcery.

"Sorcery is dangerous. Miscasts are dangerous. Dhar is dangerous. Allowing a Wind into you disturbs your emotions and can cause you to lose concentration on what you were doing. Spells can malform and break in unpredictable ways if cast carelessly. But for all those risks, sorcery is incredibly useful for its sheer flexibility of effect. I will now pause to take questions, please raise your hand if you have one."

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Eefina tries not to visibly pout at the 'you will be expelled for experimenting on your own' rule, but that's only her first knee-jerk reaction. Probably they're right. She takes careful notes.

She raises her hand, and when called on, asks, "What is the process of allowing a Wind into you? Is it intrinsic to casting or can it happen naturally?"

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"The Winds flow naturally, and are both drawn to you by particular feelings and naturally inspire particular feelings if you happen to wander into an area full of them. This is one reason why people report certain places feeling 'creepy' - concentrations of shyish tend to make one feel as if they are vulnerable, or to contemplate death, and this is perceived as a difficult to define 'creepiness' by laypeople. To deliberately fill yourself with them first you must awaken your windsight and then practice applying your will to the Winds. Windsight is personal and synesthetic, every person perceives it slightly differently, so similarly guided practice is necessary to begin casting spells. There are specially prepared rooms designed to whisk away excess Winds, for practice. Guided meditation is the traditional process to awaken one's windsight and we will make our first attempt at this by the end of this class."

Teacher takes a few questions about what exactly the Winds can do, whether they can combine them (not in Fundamentals), whether they'll focus on one Wind or multiple (they cover the basics in all eight), whether they'll be channeling Light or Dark winds (no, those are harder to work with and have their own classes).

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Eefina pays rapt attention to all of this.

When it's time for them to get walked through awakening their windsight, she feels more than ready to try it.

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They're made to sit in a circle around a brazier for this.

"Empty your mind of distractions. Do not worry. Do not analyze what is happening. Feel. Close your eyes. Breathe in, hold. Hold. Breathe out. See your breath moving at your will. See where it goes and where it comes from with your mind. Imagine it in such detail that you could draw a picture. Breathe in, hold. Hold. Breathe out."

"Your mind can see your breath. I am now lighting the flame. Breathe in, hold. Hold. Breathe out. Your mind can see the Winds of Magic, too. Hear it crackling. Feel the heat in your skin. Feel the power and passion that aqshy represents. It is blooming, flowing upward and outward, right in front of you. Breathe in, hold. Hold. Breathe out. Imagine it in such detail that you could draw a picture. It is fire, passion, heat. It is obvious. See it gathering and rising..."

The teacher keeps up the guided meditation for a while. There's definitely... Something there. Something magic, but not magic as Eefina knows it. The heat of aqshy is obvious enough, but near the end of the exercise, faint traces of other Winds catch at the edge of her awareness, too.

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This is so cool.

Eefina's pretty sure she's got this. What is she supposed to do next?

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The teacher said before they started that the goal today is not to do any magic. It's to get Windsight and begin practicing noticing things with it.

The teacher continues the guided meditation exercise, though she smiles encouragingly at Eefina.

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Eefina wants to ask if she can have something more complicated to try to notice, but doesn't want to interrupt the meditation session.

Maybe she can sense things beyond the exercise? Like, the other students, or anything magical in the classroom?

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The brazier is the most obvious, and the energy pooling and flowing around it is unmistakable, but there are other notes of energy too - knots of grey ulgu or silvery blue azyr in the students around her, nearly static traces of faintly golden chamon in the metal desk frames, a band of shining hysh entering from the windows at the left side of the room.

 

"I will be calling up small amounts of Winds in myself soon. If you are unable to feel the aqshy or unsure whether you're really feeling anything, that may help. If you have already gotten a feel for the aqshy in the brazier, detecting my channeling and discerning what Wind it is composed of is a good next step."

The exercise continues, with the teacher calling up streamers of random Winds at odd intervals, then naming them after a few seconds. When the brazier eventually burns low, she says, "Alright. It's time to stop meditating. Wake up, everyone! I hope that was productive for you all. You all made good progress from what I could see. Next time we'll do some more practice and start to get into the theory of spell construction, and we should be casting cantrips by the end of next week! Class is dismissed, but feel free to stay behind and ask questions for a few minutes!"

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Eefina is pretty confident she's ready for the practical lesson, but she will hang around and listen to any other students' questions.

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The other students are mostly wondering why it wasn't clicking for them and where they can get in some extra practice. The teacher dispenses what seems like sound advice to them on both subjects (sit in on someone doing stuff in practice rooms or analyze the natural manifestations of the Winds is the advice for additional practice).

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Then if nothing distracts her, Eefina will go find a nice spot outside and continue practicing until the cafeteria opens.

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The sky is a font of azyr, and so are many of the classroom buildings. Chamon and ulgu are also present. The gardens are lush with ghyran, which seems to act almost like a syrup or water compared to the air-like azyr and ulgu or the rigid and thick chamon, and-

Someone's walking towards her. She looks rich, wearing fine fabric and expensive jewelry. "Excuse me, are you Eefina, E-rank adventurer?"

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Eefina suspects that she likes azyr. It's aesthetically pleasing and it feels like it calls to her. The ghyran is very pleasant too. Almost seductive. Aqshy is supposed to be the 'passionate' element, but feeling ghyran is turning her on a little.

She blinks, shaking herself out of her meditation. "Hi? Oh, yes. I'm Eefina. Hello."

 

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"Hello! I'm Gabriella von Runestet. I heard that you have a Rare Skill that allows you to cleanse dhar, and that's something that's of considerable interest to me. You see... My son has attempted an ill-advised journey to the cursed dungeon in the Red Waste. He came back - alive, but increasingly unwell. Some of the best healers in the city have done their best for him, but dhar makes healing extremely difficult. If you truly can cleanse dhar, perhaps you could assist with his health. I and my family would be extremely grateful and there would be an appropriate reward, of course."

(The von Runestets are minor as noble houses go, but are in fact a noble house, her binge-reading will tell her. A couple of centuries old - very young by the standards of these things.)

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Eefina springs up. "Of course! I would be glad to help. That sounds awful. I do have a technique that can nullify dhar, though I didn't learn this until recently. I'd intended to offer such cleansing, myself, but I haven't even spoken to anyone about that yet. How did you learn about me?"

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"Thank you! I can only hope that it will make truly healing him possible - and the others too perhaps- It's a rumor going around the Adventurers' Guild. I'm not sure who started it, but I asked around my contacts to find you by name, and eventually learned that you'd enrolled at the Academy, so I came right over here, and here you are."

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"Here I am."

Tret was the only one who knew. He must've spread the word for her. Nice of him. But she should remember to ask next time she runs into him, just in case it wasn't him.

"When did you want me to cleanse your son? I can do it now. I don't have class."

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"Yes, as soon as possible! We can go over to my driver - also need to call the healers back-"

She fusses with the bag at her side. "Oh, please follow me back to my carriage! And thank you so much for being willing to try. I don't know if it'll work but-"

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"You're welcome."

Eefina follows carriage-ward and climbs in.

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"George, have Mary call Mr. Bestal back. Have her insist, please. I've found someone who can cleanse dhar."

They get in. The carriage has a very comfortable and fancy interior, and doesn't need horses (marking it out from just about every other carriage and cart in the city), and starts moving at the driver's behest.

"I don't know if you want to talk to me on the way or not. I'll gladly follow your wishes either way."

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"I don't mind! So, uh, did you want to tell me the tale of why? Your son's journey, I mean."

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"I suppose I should - I'm sorry, I'm not normally so ungracious a hostess but I'm very distracted- It's not that long of a tale. His friends saw some kind of pattern in the timing of the worst dhar effects, and thought there would be a couple of weeks where things would be... Calmer. They convinced themselves they could get to the cursed dungeon and uncover valuable treasures said to be within it, or in the ruins around it, and he was swept up in the excitement. It was a raid of nearly thirty, all told. Their advance to the ruins was slowed by the unspeakable weather of the Waste, and by harassment from beasts and Waste Raiders. The leader of the group bid them linger for another day or two, so sure was he that a great treasure was just under the next stone. But it wasn't. They spent twenty four days in the Red Waste in total, and experienced a storm of dark magic. Nearly everyone that came back is ill, and it only became apparent just how badly off they are weeks after their return."

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"I'm sorry to hear that."

"Do you think they were on to something? And the unexpected delay was at fault? Or was the whole plan nonsense to begin with?"

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"Any plan that involves going into the Red Waste sounds like nonsense to me!"

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