"That one!" She grabbed her brother's hand, the electricity surging through her arms and making her hair stand up on end. Her other hand reached for the quickly darkening thundercloud. A crack of lightning crashed down on a passing drake, hitting it square between the wings. It screamed and convulsed, crashing into another dragon. "Yeah! We got it!"
The more excited she got, the faster the lightning sparked, slowing down again when when it got to her brother. "Yay! Go! Hit that one!"
Gabriel kept up his efforts with the crossbow, doing his best to aim at where the target was going to be rather than where it was. But the dragons were fast, and his shots often soared past the tips of their tails. It was starting to frustrate him, how he missed every time. There had to be some kind of knack to it, maybe a trick the regular users learned in training.
Gabe turned his attention to the loud thunder roaring from somewhere nearby... it was the cloud Fei had created. She and her brother were working in tandem to bring lightning to the battle. Even as he watched Fei released a surge of power that smashed straight into one of the winged beasts, causing it to crash. Perhaps the two of them could be helped out a little, in some way. Gabriel didn't much fancy his chances with the lightning, given his inaccuracy with the crossbow, so perhaps a more supportive role was in order.
With that thought in mind, the young mage sat down on the deck, eyes locked on the thundercloud as he began to concentrate, shutting out all else. With his magic, he was hoping to augment the force that the lightning bolts delivered... though he wasn't sure if it would work.
Seth was now openly cackling, grabbing a fireball that had been thrown at him to return it to another drake that had been unfortunate enough to be in Seth's general proximity. He couldn't help himself, as he hadn't been able to let loose on anything at the Academy in a while. Sure there were hunting parties to stop wildlife from getting dangerous, or the time to time pack of...well, anything that threatened the nearby town. There had always been others, and there had always been limitations.
A drake had attempted to get close and see if firing a bunch of rocks would push him back, but Seth would have none of it. He focused his flames to rip through the rocks and go after the drake, sending it flying as fast as it could as flames licked at it's thick skin. He quickly noted the thunder now rolling about, and saw Fei and Drew doing what they apparently did best.
"HAHAH! Get them Fei! Show them how we mages work!" Seth shouted, turning his attentions back to a drake who had just managed to light one of the crew on fire. Gathering the flames from the man, who looked as surprised as you could be as the flames leaped from himself to the mage standing over him. He then proceeded to throw it back.
Aaron had begun unloading as soon as it was prudent to do so. His arm mounted autocrossbow was a work of art. That is what the others said anyways, as he continued to fire bolts out at a fast pace, dropping wyverns and drakes without so much as a pause except to reload. As he continued his assault, he noticed that the mages seemed to handle themselves well enough. And they kind of fit their roles as well, with the Pyros seeming to love the flames they spread, with the Lightdwellers preferring to keep from doing too much harm to the creatures.
"Aaron! We are almost to the point. Are the items ready?" The Prime Minister shouted over the sound of multiple crossbows and the other elements and creatures swirling about.
"Yes sir. All set!" Aaron replied, turning his attentions for the moment to the Prime Minister's protection. Noting no harm coming their way at the moment, he stepped closer.
"And....what of the mages? Shall they?" Aaron asked, and the Prime Minister simply nodded. With an understanding reached, the Prime Minister made his way to the front of the ship, and Aaron went back to firing at the creatures around them.
The Valley seemed to be getting closer to the ships....or at least there was more spillover from the elements on the other sides. From time to time an ice boulder would roll over the sides, or molten rock. Sometimes even the light and dark rays would shine or hinder down the sides.
Up farther ahead in the Valley, there seemed to be something odd that was within the valley keeping almost a marker post. Glowing sticks, which seemed to emit a strange constantly changing light. While it was not obvious what they signified, what was apparent was that they were put there purposefully along the walls in the Valley.
Ok... focus... let it build. He looked at the dragon Fei pointed at, extending his arm out and pointing at it. After a second, the bolt flew out of his hand, heading straight towards the behemoth, striking it in the wing, sending it crashing into another dragon. "Damn. I missed... still need to work on directing it." He focused again and made another spark, another surge starting. He turned to the others "How many more of these things are there, anyway?"
Phebe didn't have the problems she did at first anymore. She was firing with much better accuracy now. Another drake came flying straight at her. She fired another arrow, hitting it between the eyes. Phebe grinned as she saw it fall over the edge of the ship towards the ground.
She noticed how the valley seemed to be getting narrower.
It would be just great if we crashed after fighting these "dragons" off...
She fired another arrow at one of the creatures.
As the drakes and wyverns seemed to continue to be relentless, they just as suddenly began to thin out and back away, either being shot by the bows or the mages as they did so. With all the smaller creatures now gone, there was a cheer that echoed from the troops among the canyon as they all seemed to give a victory shout upon beating their flying foes.
With the areal fight at its end with a few more shots being taken by those near the rear of the ship, Aaron finally lowed his weapon and sighed. It seemed to be another fight that had tired him out. Though he still seemed pleased, it wasn't the same as the many other crew members who got to work resetting their weapons and loading them if they needed it for a second assault.
"MAGES." The Prime Minister's shout seemed to have a very strong tune, or at least carried quite well through the ship.
"I NEED TO SEE ALL OF YOU. IMMEDIATELY. FRONT DECK."
Aaron turned, seeming to be somewhat confused at the announcement, only to shrug and got to work tossing one of the drakes who was a little crispy over the edge, muttering "useless" as he did so. Other soldiers had begun to work on the few drakes and wyverns who had died on the deck of the ship, seeming to cut at some parts, with some of the others just being tossed aside.
"Well, I'm not sure what he needs you for now that the way seems clear, but I guess you guys better go pay him a visit. See what is so important so soon that you get to skip out on cleaning up these few guys on here." Aaron said to the mages, getting to work himself on a particularly larger drake who had ended up slamming to the deck after a large bolt had pierced it's skull.
The battle was starting to grow progressively worse from Nydia's perspective. The air was thick with drakes and wyverns with no end in sight, to the point where Nydia didn't waste any effort blinding them. No soldier could miss when there where so many targets to hit. Instead she turned her attention to the wounded soldiers that were beginning to increase in number. She had been able to help most of them, but there were some who were beyond her help. It wasn't that her healing powers were lacking, she simply couldn't help those whose mechanical parts were damaged rather than their flesh. They needed a repairman, not a healer.
Just when she was on the verge of being overwhelmed though, the noise around her began to die down slightly and the skies that were once thick with enemies had been cleared. The creatures had retreated? Perhaps they were more intelligent than one might expect and had realized they were fighting a losing battle. Either way, the danger was over for now it seemed. Nydia finished healing those she could and stood up to survey the leftover chaos around her.
That was a mistake. The sight of wounded and dead allies and enemies alike was unlike anything Nydia had witnessed before and was greatly disturbing to her. I thought my practice battles and my fights in the arena the other day could prepare me for this? How naive of me. Nydia thought as she felt her hands shaking and desperately surpressed the urge to be sick.
"I NEED TO SEE ALL OF YOU. IMMEDIATELY. FRONT DECK."
The Prime Minister's voice snapped Nydia out of her daze momentarily and she quietly made her way to the front of the ship. Hearing him speak of her fellow mages reminded her to check up on them. Thankfully, none of them seemed to be harmed. She arrived in front of the Prime Minister and bowed slightly, afraid to say anything should she suddenly lose the battle with her nauseous stomach.
Very happy that they didn't have to clean, Fei dissipated the small thundercloud, drawing the water back into her body. "That was AWESOME!"
"I NEED TO SEE ALL OF YOU. IMMEDIATELY. FRONT DECK."
The last thing on her mind was listening to the Prime Minister. She danced around her brother. "Did you see that lightning? That was the best thing we've ever done! This trip is sooo coool!"
She went up to the closest wyvern, trying to secure a souvenir in the form of a scale.
Alexander had splatters of blood on him from tending to the soldiers which he continued to do until he heard the call to move to the front deck. He quickly marked the rest of the men at his makeshift aid station, which was basically just men propped up against the side of the ship with light on them. A few medics from below decks had joined him in aiding. Once he had marked the last man with a color of light he turned to one of them.
"You've learned the system by now, just remember what the colors mean and you'll save many men today." He got up and walked to the front deck.
'Damn, now I'll need to change this robe. Hopefully they have a way to wash these things out.' He thought as he looked down. He looked to the prime minister, hopefully what he had to say was important because he could either be patching men up or at least cleaning his robe.
Nat and Nina finished off the drake just as the Prime Minister called them back to the ship.
"I NEED TO SEE ALL OF YOU. IMMEDIATELY. FRONT DECK."
"Well, it seems the slaying is done for now." Nat said wiping drake blood off of her face. As annoying as you can be Nina we still make a good team." Nat said patting Nina on the back.
"Please Nat I know you don't mean that but thank you." Nina said hugging Nat.
"Ok please let go." Nat said pushing her off then headed to the Prime Minister.
Seth sighed, somewhat happy while at the same time disappointed that their enemies had fled. While he couldn't be sure of why they all started to pull back, it was good to let the flames fly about for a while longer. As they creatures went farther away, Seth couldn't help but give a small chuckle as he noted Fei trying to get herself a prize. Couldn't blame her, as he was going to do the same, as it seemed some soldiers were as well.
Stepping over to only a half burnt drake, he knelt down and looked it over. While he wasn't sure what he should really want to take, the claws seemed to be particularly deadly, and perhaps something he could use later. Focusing his fire into a single point, he tried his best to make it as clean a cut as possible, taking a decent sized claw with him.
Good thing that it already kind of smells from the cooked drakes already. Otherwise, this could be unpleasant.
Rising from where he had been working, he now hurriedly made his way to the front of the ship, finding a few of the mages beating him there.
The Prime Minister looked over the edge of the ship, intently looking at some odd signs which seemed to be slowly starting to pulse as they got closer. Turning around to see which mages had arrived, he seemed to be in somewhat of a hurry.
"A few quick things. First, do not test the power of what you are about to encounter. Then, do not fear for the rest of the crew, they will be fine upon the end of this meeting. Finally, beware of any deal or information that they are going to give you. Cooperate, pay attention, and be vigilant." The Prime Minister said quickly, giving the information to the mages which had arrived.
Meanwhile, the deck was being cleared off of the drakes and dragons as the soldiers proceeded to clean off what they wanted from them. The work seemed fast and mechanical workers had also gotten to the decks to help fix up some of the mechanical parts that had been broken, either of weapons or limbs that were damaged.
As soon as Fei released her hold on the stormcloud, Gabriel got to his feet, his supportive role over. He returned the crossbow to its rack, seeing as the fight was over and he no longer had a use for it, just as the Prime Minster's words reached his ears. Something was up... but what required all of the mages on the ship to be in the same place? Gabe's curiosity hastened his feet as he made his way to the airship's bow.
A few of the others had already gathered: he was late by comparison. That fact bugged Gabriel: he had now shown up late for two of these special occasions. He made a small note not to do so a third time, by keeping an attentive eye and ear open. In that sense it was kind of like being back in class.
"MAGES. I NEED TO SEE ALL OF YOU. IMMEDIATELY. FRONT DECK."
Raven was busy looking for another weak little dragon to blind when that call rang out through the ship. She hated that voice, it was too soon after her breakdown in front of everyone for it to be bellowing like that again. Bastard thinks he can just order us all around like this, like we're his own little army. Well fuck him. I'm not going to...
As Raven looked around it seemed like everyone else was making the move to the front of the ship. "Well, fuck," she cursed. Not wanting to stand out any more than necessary, she followed the group, heading towards the stern.
She arrived just in time to here the bastard's spiel about...something up ahead? What the hell is he going on about? Deals? What are we flying into a shopping mall? Great, I can buy some snacks, since there aren't any on here. Great preparation, Prime Moron.
"MAGES. I NEED TO SEE ALL OF YOU. IMMEDIATELY. FRONT DECK."
Phebe looked at the man shouting at her and the others. She lowered her bow after making sure that there was nothing left to shoot at in the air. She put her bow back over her shoulder and walked over to where the others were gathering. She didn't say anything and didn't hear all of what the man said, since she arrived in the middle of his speech.
The Prime Minister sighed, shaking his head as a few mages did not arrive as fast as he had wanted them to. But it was far too late to be repeating himself. It was time to see if the mages would be affected by the magic that this place gave off. He almost was hoping they were now. It would be much easier than having to explain himself, or hope the mages didn't screw everything up.
As the airship continued its flight, and the rest of the mages arrived to the front decks, the ship suddenly seemed to pass through something invisible. All of the mages felt an odd tingling as they apparently crossed this threshold, a strange creeping feeling over their skin. As they continued onward, the rest of the crew members all seemed to be slowing down. Their movements got slower and slower, seeming to move at a sluggish pace until they finally stopped. All but the mages and the Prime Minister seemed to have frozen in place, and the eerie silence due to the now lack of shouting for orders, or movements to clean the decks or do certain tasks.
As this all finally settled in around the mages, a small growing light appeared in front of the ship. While at first it appeared to be more of a trick on the eyes than anything, it eventually showed itself to be a book, which floated over to the deck, and sprang open. The old book, covered in a large amount of glowing runes, simply began flipping pages until randomly seeming to stop on one which then sprang an odd figure. Human-like, is probably the best that could be described to it, because it otherwise seemed to not even be standing upon the deck, holding the book in one hand, seeming to constantly be reading it, the robes of the figure billowing about as the wings upon it's back did not seem to even move as they stretched to the sides. They eyes of the figure at the moment seemed to be a clear white, gazing over the Prime Minister and the mages.
"Greetings again, Traveler. It would seem that you have finally found appropriate company in which to take upon your dreams and tasks. Impressive. But you know as well as I do that I cannot simply let you use the pass unopposed, and without asking about your odd guests." The figure said, the voice seeming to whisper through the air, carrying to all that were present even with the low tones.
Drifting past the Prime Minister, the figure seemed to shift itself so that it stood where it could best address the mages, the gaze sweeping across them all, weighing them accordingly. Nodding at some, tilting the head at others.
"So, Mysterious Travelers, what do you seek from this adventure? Answer me truthfully, for I will know if you try to lie. Or one of the other parts will find out, and I know they will not be as gracious as I." The figure spoke again, the wind still seeming to carry the voice to the ears of all. What was obvious is that it expected answers from all of them, with the gaze not even blinking or seeming to stop staring at each of them.
Fei quickly retreated behind Gabriel, having found him the closest between him, Seth, and her brother. Momentarily forgetting her search for a trophy, the young girl just stared out from behind her cover. The apparition was frightening, to say the least. "Is that a ghost?" she whispered, her voice quiet. Fighting dragons that were several times her size did nothing to reassure her that they might be able to handle ghosts quite fine.
"So, Mysterious Travelers, what do you seek from this adventure? Answer me truthfully, for I will know if you try to lie. Or one of the other parts will find out, and I know they will not be as gracious as I."
"Are we gonna die?" Fei squeaked, now very much terrified.
Drew had remained silent since the encounter with the dragons. And yet now after this anomaly, he wanted to speak, and yet couldn't. The book appeared, a human figure emerged, and all he could do was stand there with a stupid look on his face. There was something about the figure before them that sent a chill down his spine. And then it spoke. It had asked a simple question, with a simple warning. And then he could suddenly speak up again. He had a thousand questions he wanted to ask, but they all could wait.
"What do I seek? ........." He stood there for a while. "....Honestly? I don't know."
He waited a couple minutes, trying to be sure of his answer before continuing. "I don't know what I'm looking for. Anywhere at all. I've just been floating around aimlessly for the past few years of my life. Just keeping up the daily grind in hopes that I'll find something." He sighed and looked at Fei for a second "I want to protect my sister, but she's getting old enough to take care of herself. And then what? More studies? I wanted to be able to learn how to control lightning on my own. And I still do. But I want to know why. What I'm looking for..." he took a moment to put his thoughts into words, but couldn't think of anything. "I don't know what I'm looking for. Maybe something to look for is what I am looking for..."
Gabriel flinched at the sight of the apparition, paling as it shifted its form into a humanoid figure... and then he flinched again as Fei hid behind him. He doubted it would do her any good: he wasn't too broad in the shoulders, and the girl would have better luck if she stood behind her brother. The spectre's question seemed to be simple... but then he remembered the words the Prime Minister had said. Gabe had caught the tail-end of the message.
"Beware of any deal or information that they are going to give you. Cooperate, pay attention, and be vigilant."
Was this the 'they' he had spoken of? But the question it had asked did not appear to be one of malice or intending to make a deal with him. It could not hurt to answer.
"What do I want..." Gabriel mused. What he wanted most of all was a difficult question to answer. A part of him wanted to say peace between humans and mages; another little voice in his head wished to increase his magical talents; and Gabriel's third desire was to be able to speak to girls like Fei or the others around his age back at the Academy. But he voiced none of these aloud. At least two of those ideas were not to be shared publicly. He didn't know if this... ghost, possibly, was speaking just to him or to the entire group with the one sentence.
"I... I do not wish to answer," he eventually stammered out. "Not in public."
The odd figure seemed to shift slightly out of existence as they flipped a few pages in the book. Rather than having white eyes, they seemed to turn to a dark blue color, the demeanor instead turning to a more volatile one.
"Do not fear, little one. You are not set to die, least of all by my hand or of those of your fellow travelers. You are much safer with me here." The figure said, now the voice carrying a much more fluid strength behind it.
"I appreciate your truthfulness, Traveler of the Skies. In truth, none really know what they are seeking in the world. Even fewer realize that they even have something that is worth fighting for in the first place. You seek powers, and you may yet be able to claim them, if the rivers move the correct way. But for that to occur, your river needs a direction, and one that is in agreement with your sources. I can hope that you choose wisely." The figure explained to Drew, seeming to read from the book as they spoke.
"And you do not need to fear me, Student of Water. Your currents can be directed to speak with me, and me alone...." The figure turned the pages yet again, and the eyes turned back to a white color. Seeming to drift somewhat closer to Gabriel and Fei, the wind noticeably picked up around them, and a sort of wind tunnel was created, focusing the sound around them.
"Your thoughts are for those whom you dare to share them with now, Student of Water. What is it that causes you so much fear in telling me what you seek? Is it in fact so dangerous?" The voice had again shifted back to the quiet whisper which seemed as loud as any other individual speaking, with the wind causing a shifting of the robes as they stood on the airship silently flying forward.
Gabriel resisted the temptation to back away or avert his gaze to the floor. He had gained the spirit's undivided attention with his response, and was entirely unsure of whether that was good or bad. Its voice was strange... Gabe had no way to tell if it was male or female, especially when it was whispering.
"Not... not dangerous. I think. Just... just personal," he explained, his stammer still apparent in his speech. "I do not want the other mages to learn what I want. They would condemn me for one in particular... if they did not strip me of my magic and leave me as a reminder of what happens to people who think the way I do."
Gabe hesitated to speak further, unsure of whether Fei would hear his next words. She too was caught within the wind tunnel that presumably created some form of privacy. The younger girl was highly related to one of his issues... but she more or less knew of his problem, he figured. If she hadn't picked it up the night before, she might as well know now. Gabriel made his decision.
"There are three things that I would want most of all in this world," the Hydromancer eventually answered. "First and foremost, I would seek peace. A lasting peace between mages and non-magical beings. The second is a way to increase my magical talents. I believe myself to be the least magically capable mage aboard this airship. The third..." Gabriel trailed off, glancing over his shoulder at Fei who continued to hide behind him. His eyes quickly returned to the spiritlike thing before him.
"The third is a more personal matter than the other two. I lack the confidence to speak to the opposite sex, if they are my age or similar," Gabriel confessed.
The spirit backed away slightly, the wind tunnel vanishing as it did so. The spirit watched for a time, nodding slightly as it did so, and went back to the book. After a short amount of time, the spirit gave a whispered reply.
"Your struggle is a valiant one, perhaps taking on too much for your slender shoulders to bear. Just keep in mind that with peace brings those who would manipulate it to their own ends. Humanity has always fought, over one difference or another. But it is not a bad thing that this happens, as in the end we either come out stronger, or we die." The spirit whispered, it's hushed tones going to all who were present.
"Your last sought prize is perhaps your easiest to obtain, though one that requires a different kind of seeking. Fellow travelers will help you in this step, and you will step beyond it. It is more of a matter of personal step than it is a challenge. You must simply force the winds to move..."
With that, the spirit seemed to turn it's attentions to the rest of the mages, now expecting an answer from the rest. As it did so, a page in the book flipped, and the figure seemed to shift again.
Rather than the winds billowing about itself, now the stones and specks and stones upon the deck all seemed to spiral about the figure, the eyes changing to a shade of grey as they did so. The voice had become much deeper, much more defined.
"Now, what else do you all seek. I can keep you here, if I feel the need. And my curiosity can remain constant, if you so desire. Be grateful that the challenge was so easy, I could have demanded you fight me." The figure said, obviously somewhat more gruff and tougher than before.
"I desire to increase my knowledge and power to be honest. More so than that however I seek redemption for mages. I seek the chance to prove to the world that my kind are not just a force of destruction and death. That we can be so much more than that" Alexander replied. The others had proven that this creature in itself didn't wish them ill. If she had wanted to do something too them she would have at this point. She had also made it clear they didn't have much a choice.
"I want to be an awesome mage like my brother" Even if she tried to muster some volume, her voice wouldn't rise above a squeak. "I want to be an awesome mage." she repeated, a little louder. "So I can protect people and stuff." Trying to be a little more precise she continued.
"I want to be able to fight dragons and make storms and maybe lightning too..." With each word she found herself ducking a little more behind Gabriel until she was mumbling again. The weird spirit-ghost was making her uncomfortable, to say the least, but she knew she had to answer sometime.
Answer me truthfully, for I will know if you try to lie. Or one of the other parts will find out, and I know they will not be as gracious as I. Remembering the initial warning, she thought to make sure to mention everything, just in case. "And I want sweet things...like cake... or candy... and a pet. Drew said I could have a pet."
"Do you grant wishes?" Phebe asked, with a smirk on her face.
What did this thing want with her anyway? She had nothing to hide, if that's what it wanted her to reveal.
"I just wanted to get out of the academy and see the world again..."
She thought about the question for a while. She wasn't looking for fame or fortune. She had been happy to get out of the academy again. The good memories of her childhood were all from when she had been living with her tribe. She missed that...
"I want.. a simple life.." She hesitated, since she wasn't sure how the others would react to what she said. "I don't know if I want to return to the academy again.."
Nydia's previous nausea had been replaced with fascination once she noticed the world around them slow to a crawl and the strange being that appeared before them. Even more interesting was that the Prime Minister seemed to have spoken with this being on the way to the Academy and answered presumably the same question that was being posed to all of them now. Where had this being come from? Was it born of the magic here, or was it drawn to this place from elsewhere by the magic? For what purpose did it ask them these questions? Nydia's mind raced with questions while her fellow mages gave their own response.
Realizing she would be expected to answer as well, Nydia began to ponder her own desires. It wasn't often that she stopped to question herself like this. She simply did as she thought was proper, and to explain that felt strange. Eventually, she decided that talking through it out loud would be a good idea since it would satisfy the being's desire for honesty as well. "I suppose I am on this journey for knowledge. I've never once left the Academy, so I'd like to experience the outside world even if the people fear and hate me. I need to be stronger as well."
But to what end? What will all this knowledge and power bring me? That is the answer the being truly desires. Nydia searched her mind and heart as deeply as she could for a suitable answer. In the end, she could think of only one thing. "I just want to be a worthy successor of the Freecs name. It is my duty to myself, my father, and my fellow magi."
The being that stood on the bow of the ship before the collected mages was unlike anything Raven had ever seen before. It was like it was from another plane of existence, that it didn't belong in this world. As everything around them ground to a halt, it just cemented this belief. Then it started talking about wants and desires.
Raven was skeptical of this plot and surely wasn't going to divulge anything to...whatever this was. You kidding me? This could all be some kind of trick by this Prime Minister to get more dirt on us. I'm not falling for this. I'm sure the others... Then the others started speaking up, talking about everything they wanted, actually answering the question. Ugh, well done sheep. Fine. Whatever, I'm not being hung out to dry, in case they chuck me off this ship or something. They'd love an excuse I bet.
"Fine. You know what I want? Revenge," Raven stated in her Nightshade voice. "I have been wronged by too many people in my past who had no right to do so. That's why I joined the academy in the first place, and that is why I agreed to come along on this little voyage. To obtain the power necessary to make sure that those individuals in my past pay for their transgressions."
As she was finishing speaking though, other thoughts ran through her head. Yeah, that's what I need. That'll show all those bitches back home. Teach them to make fun of me. They don't even know what they're dealing with...they didn't even try to get to know. No one does. Closest person has been Seth, and that is almost sad. It would be nice to be accepted by more than one person, but that can't happen. The world is shit like that.
Cale stood there, dumbfounded. Again the outside world didn't cease to overload his senses. This huge being seemed ethereal, god-like even. The way it addressed them, talked to them seemed something that those malevolent beings in fairy tales would do. Cale heard the replies of his fellow mages and also tried to talk.
"I seek adventure!" Cale shouted to the figure. He didn't care what the others had to say for it was truly what he wanted, what he sought for. It was his reason for taking this entire experience in full because Cale knows all too well what the world outside has in store and it was his turn to pry them open for him to see.
The spirit gazed at each of those as they answered. It quietly rumbled about, gazing at each as they gave their answer. As the spirit shifted back to the beginning to examine the initial answer that Alexander, and also seemed to shift in color. Instead of the stones and gravel floating around them, it now began to glow with an unnatural light, with a yellowish light being shown from the eyes being a stark contrast from the darker grey.
"Wishing for personal advancement is an honorable goal, Walker of Light. Proving that one is not a force to be reckoned with is far more difficult and dangerous. Your growth in power alone will cause the fear to resurface, and the ability to destroy is always more to the forefront than any attempt at healing you can cause." The Spirit said, seeming to take on a somewhat sadder tone as it spoke, stepping onward to look upon Fei. The figure knelt down, or at least seemed to grow shorter to be at a lower level with Fei as she continued to drift off.
"Thank you for being truthful, little Traveler. You have answered sufficiently, and it is admirable for one so young to attempt such a quest. I wish you well on your travels....and may give you a gift in exchange...." The Spirit gave off some heat, as suddenly the book seemed to flip a few pages. The light around the Spirit changed again, this time with the once gentle lights shifting to a more fiery red as the flames began to dance around the spirit. The voice now took on a more challenging and prepared tone.
"HAHA! I do grant wishes. Wish for death? Wish for burns or fury? Perhaps a battle?" The spirit raised its hands, flames dancing forward as it did so. However, the book seemed to not appreciate the action, and suddenly seemed to unleash a small flash that caused the flames to stop.
"Damned book is no fun. Maybe you can swing by for another visit.....But your goal is an interesting one given your demeanor. I wonder if such a life is even possible for you. Guess we will have to watch closely, won't we?" The spirit said, stepping back to finally look over Nydia. Looking for a time, the spirit seemed to smirk, the fiery attitude still quite obvious in the front.
"Knowledge huh? I imagine you planning on using such knowledge for all sorts of things, arn't you? I hope you keep in mind that knowledge is absolutely the most dangerous thing out there. Any knowledge you know can always be used for something far worse. Take, for example, this storm. All sorts of knowledge and ideas came over here, and this is where most of them ended. Pretty sad, isn't it? All this power, and all we did is manage to destroy each other. Kinda sad, isn't it?"
The Spirit seemed to sigh, the fires around itself seeming to dance around without actually burning anything. Looking over those who had answered, it gave an affirmative nod. Suddenly shifting once again, now the shadows seemed to grow around itself. As the shadows shifted about, the figure seemed to split, showing off a shadowy self to each one of the mages.
"Ah, another Traveler of Shadows. Your thirst is....admirable, but lacking. You could likely achieve vengeance right now, and it would change nothing. You haven't seen your goal yet. I hope you do before it strikes you from the darkness you sit in. Another can have your back, and then we will see what you think....But until that time, believe that you are here only for vengeance, as it keeps you going onward well enough...." The shadows rasped out quietly, an uneasy chill following the words as they were spoken. Turning to Seth, the spirit leaned in close. Seth did not flinch as apparently the shadow whispered something to him. As the shadowy figure pulled back, Seth seemed to be deciding something, and then stepped forward and said something back. For some reason the voices did not carry, likely because of the shadows spinning about the two standing so close. After the small exchange, the shadowy figure stepped away, and the pages in the book turned. This time, bringing forth the grey eyed figure once again, who appraised Cale as he gave his quick answer.
"Adventure, Traveler of the Earth? The same can be said of all those who choose to move about. Perhaps eventually, you will find that adventure is not quite as great as it has been made to be. But perhaps you will learn more than the others from the tasks ahead. And perhaps then, we can speak again, when you come back this way. Perhaps discuss the adventures you have had....but we will see."
Turning about, looking at each with the shadow figures still standing there, the pages began to flip much faster, with the spirit now changing elements constantly. It seemed to come to a decision as the elements continued to change around it, and the ships began approaching the end of the valley.
"May you decide what you need most out of yourself, and touch your shadows. That shall be my gift for you truthfulness. I return you to your host and captains, and I do plan on seeing you again soon. Remember this meeting, and be aware of those who were not participants in this. Be very aware."
And with that, the book shut, and the spirit was gone. For a time, the book glowed with the odd runes, and then simply turned into a ball of darkness and flew into the storms. After doing so, things around the mages seemed to catch up once again. Crew members began moving once more, and the Prime Minister seemed to have left while the mages had been busily speaking and watching the amazing spirit that had been around them. However, the shadows of the mages still lingered. Not moving from where they stood, but simply waiting and watching, not a word spoken.
Nat watched the figure carefully as it spoke not wanting to say a word to it. I have no desire to share with a ghost what I want from my life nor do I need help with it. It is something I must do on my own.
Nina really didn't have anything she wanted for herself, the only thing she wanted was for Nat to be happy and to stop being so angry and closed off. He mother was a monster but Nat was letting her mother affect her even today. She was about to say something when the figure vanished into the book. She sighed to herself then looked over at Nat and smiled weakly but frowned seeing the normal look of anger on her face.
Gabriel pondered the spirit's words, a little confused. It had spoken in a bit more of an enigmatic manner than he would have liked...
"Your struggle is a valiant one, perhaps taking on too much for your slender shoulders to bear. Just keep in mind that with peace brings those who would manipulate it to their own ends. Humanity has always fought, over one difference or another. But it is not a bad thing that this happens, as in the end we either come out stronger, or we die." It seemed that the spirit thought that not everyone would be satisfied with peace. That made sense: people thought differently. That was what made them human.
"Your last sought prize is perhaps your easiest to obtain, though one that requires a different kind of seeking. Fellow travelers will help you in this step, and you will step beyond it. It is more of a matter of personal step than it is a challenge. You must simply force the winds to move..." This advice perplexed Gabe. How could he take the step when, to continue the analogy, he could not lift his foot?
He resolved to deal with these thoughts later. There was something else that interested him: the duplicate of himself standing opposite him. Strangely, the Gabriel he saw was different. He wore the oversized robes that Gabe was more or less used to, arms folded over his chest. The major difference was the colour of the... shadow? Echo? 'Shadow' seemed to make sense. The colour of the shadow's robes. They were more muted, almost black in their hue but with a tinge of blue to them.
The same was true for the shadow Gabriel's eyes... they seemed to bore into the young Hydromancer as the two stared at one another. Gabe took a few steps forward, highly curious about this figure. If anyone paid him heed, he cared little. Who was this person? Where had he come from? Would he speak, in the same manner as the spirit? Gabriel didn't know.
Alexander himself pondered the spirit's words before thinking as to his shadow self. He had understood what the spirit had said, but his quest had not changed. He knew his quest for knowledge and power would hinder his quest of redemption for all mages.
If I wish to seek redemption for all mages, I need to prove power need not corrupt us all. To do that though I know I must first become so powerful they fear me by my nature. After that comes the difficulty of moving against the tide without being swept away or losing my footing once. Hopefully then it may be enough to redeem mages in the eyes of some, or at least allow the wound to heal. While we hide away it festers and grows, I just hope I won't be too late or weak to do something about it.
Once he broke of his own thoughts he looked to his shadow. He was curious as to this creation, what its purpose was and its meaning. It looked as he would expect his own shadow, except instead of merely being a trick of the light, it stood before him. It simply stared at him though, never speaking and never moving. A part of him hoped he hadn't done wrong by revealing his wants, and worried he had. He tried to push that part to the back of his mind, but it never went completely away.
Phebe had gotten into a defensive position when the spirit had started casting flames in response to what she had said. She would have defended herself, but a flash made the flames dissappear.
Yeah, we will see! What the hell do you know about me anyway!?
She kept her defensive position and observed the spirit as it talked with the others. It left after a while. Phebe would have preferred a fight to it running away from her like a coward, but maybe she would seek it out one day. Just to teach it a lesson.
She relaxed a bit and put her arms down again.
Maybe it was right though and she would never live a simple life.
Fei pulled Gabriel back by his sleeve. "Eww! No! Don't touch it! You don't know what it is, or where it's been!" Fei stared at her own reflection curiously, and then looked around to see if anyone else could. "So they're shadows? What can they do? Do they act like us? Can they talk? What are we supposed to do with them? Can they play?" She kept a firm grasp on his sleeve in case he tried to reach out. "What did that ghost mean these are gifts? This isn't a very nice gift... maybe it can change into a cat shadow! Or a dragon shadow! Wouldn't that be better than a plain old me shadow?"
Gabriel looked round to Fei as she tugged him away from his shadow counterpart. She made sense at first, but then her curiosity overtook her as well... though she kept a hold on him. Gabe wasn't going to try anything like reach out and touch it: he just wanted a closer look. He returned his eyes to the shadowy version of himself, his unspoken questions unanswered. The young Hydromancer wanted to learn more about this being.
"Hel... Hello?" Gabe called out to his shadow, unsure if he would get a response. It seemed to just stare blankly at him.
Drew walked up to his doppelganger, looking at it. "Well, it's good looking." He said, trying to add some brevity to the situation. He then started speaking out loud to whoever might listen. "I doubt these things are intentionally harmful. If those things were malicious and wanted to kill us, we wouldn't be standing here right now." He wasn't 100% sure about that last part after seeing the display with the flames, but something in his gut told him he was right. He reached out to his copy, his index finger poking its shoulder.