Journey of the Elementals RP (Pm if Interested, Started)

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"I know I'm ready for the Trials, whatever they are. Come Nina, shall we go?" Nat said her face still just as blank and unfeeling, she then turned to leave her cloak billowing behind her as she walked.

Nina sighed knowing it might not end well for her friend but at the same time she knew there was no way to convince Nat otherwise. "Coming Nat, hey wait up for me." she said running after Nat and almost tripped but recovered. "Come on Raven lets go see what's going on." she smiled some running off. "NAT WAIT FOR ME!!" she yelled. Nat had already caught up to the rest of the mages.

Phebe hadn't been expecting this, even if she couldn't think of what she had actually expected to happen, it certainly wasn't ending up in a dark area with a man shuffling cards. He gave her the impression of a fortune teller, for some reason, and she hoped that her trial wouldn't be a test of her mind or wit. While such trials might be admirable to undertake, it wasn't how she wanted to prove herself. Maybe no one would find out about what happened to her in here though, and she could tell them what she felt like when she got out. She decided to end her line of thought right there and walked up to the desk in front of the man.

"Who are you?" Phebe asked, and placed her hands on the table. She leaned forward, and might appear slightly threatening. However, she was more interested in the cards he was shuffling and the six on the table. Her guess was that they represented what Joseph had mentioned before, but she had thought that she would get to choose. If she picked a card it would be random what she got, based on luck and with a chance of one in six to get what she wanted. "Actually, I'm more interested in, what the cards are for?"

With the elder two mages running off in the indicated direction, Raven started following after them at a more deliberate pace. She wanted the time to think as she proceeded down the hallways. All right, I have to be able to do this, right? Nat's going to do this without barely a thought...but she's also a lot better than me. That Silvana woman, she was heading this way right? She's....probably a lot better than me too. She looks it anyway. I just wish I had something going for me here. I don't have the looks, I don't have the talent, what do I have going into this? Nothing. Maybe these trials will kill me, I guess that's something to go for...Just let me have something to lord over these other fools.

The walk took less time than Raven expected because it seemed as though the other Mages interested in the Trials were already gathered at the entrance to...something. "So," she asked coldly, "is this it? What's going on then?" she asked no one in particular.

Speculation and rumour... Gabriel wasn't too big a fan of that sort of thing. Hearing about something and experiencing it firsthand could be completely different things. Which was one of the reasons why he wanted to try his hand at the trials. Gabe's shadow was looking at the Hydromancer, who was studying the details of the curtain. Gold rings held the curtain in place, each one seamlessly looped around the wooden bar. The bar was attached to... well, nothing. It just hung there in midair.

Curious, Gabe imitated his shadow's previous action and stepped around behind the curtain to examine it from the other side. It was pretty much the same on both sides, though the curtain's hem shifted only in one particular direction. Not wanting to scare anyone by thinking he had passed through the gate, Gabriel moved back around into the view of the others.

"I have one last question, Joseph. It sounds like the norm is for people to attempt the trials alone. What happens if more than one person enters the gate at the same time?" he queried, turning his head away from the curtain to look over at the more knowledgeable person in the room. The question was both to ask Joseph out of curiosity, and to suggest to the other mages that someone could enter the trials alongside him if possible.

One of the other mages had entered the gate for the trials. Silvana had little thoughts regarding it other than that the woman was foolhardy to go alone. But, in a way, it was admirable. Going alone to see what path the trials would show her and ultimately gain something and lose something. The idea of entering the trials wasn't completely unsound, but she didn't exactly have many questions for Joseph. She let the others ask if they wanted.

She took a look at the gate and wondered what Joseph had meant with the shadows she asked him about earlier. Shadows that follow us? Does he mean to say that these other mages I don't know have shadows following them? Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions and he has a shadow of his own. Maybe the Prime Minister does as well. She was taken out of her thoughts when Raven and two other female mages, she presumed, entered the room where they were. One of the two unknown ones she presumed was a Nightshade, if her robes were anything to go by. She'd have to find out later what rank she was. Right now, she didn't feel it was her place to explain the trials to the three of them, despite two of them being fellow Nightshades.

Gabe's question, however, was something that grabbed her interest a bit more. "If you're looking for someone to enter the trials with, I could go with you." He'd seemed decent enough when she talked to him earlier, so she didn't see a reason why not. Perhaps she could grab Raven with them as well.

Nat had stepped in quietly and looked around taking mental notes over everything around her. Everything from the number of people in the room to Joseph himself. "I'm sorry but my friend and I just arrived. Would you mind explaining these trials? I hate to cut anyone off but I don't like walking into something I have no knowledge of." Nat said to Joseph whom she assumed was the best to ask for this information.

Nina just watched Nat and noticed her scan the room. Even when Nat asked her question she seemed cold and harsh no matter what words she used. To others it would seem off putting but to Nina it was normal for Nat. She had always been like that and always had to know every bit of everything around her, from the number of people in the room with her to the ways she could get out of the room in need be.

"Nat, I don't think you should do this. You're still weak and hurt. I don't want to see you get any more hurt from this." Nina said softly to Nat but Nat just ignored the comment and waited for her answer.

That mage with the bow already ran inside! Fei wanted to be first! It wasn't fair! If she wanted wings first, she had to hurry up and beat Phebe to the end! The whole bad part had gone in one ear and out the other. Wings! It didn't take much more for her to bolt for the doorway, her shadow frantically following behind her. The soft curtains grew heavy. They became waterfalls, parting for Fei to run through.

Joseph scratched the back of his head at Alexander's interesting request for knowledge. He took out a small bit of paper once more and seemed to scribble something into it before putting it away once more. He seemed quite interested in Alexander now, the random Phebe running into the trials now forgotten.

"Glaring about, you say? Now that is quite interesting. It means that your shadow is actually developing...well, a part of you. I'm not sure if it is something to be alarmed about or not, but it means that your shadow is somewhat more attached to you because of the experiences you have had with them. Have you had any additional experiences? Perhaps another extension of yourself? While I have had a few....instances of shadows doing something, it would be interesting to see how a mage like yourself is extended through them." Joseph, seeming to be somewhat more intrigued by the moment, was even more interested as more mages entered, and then Gabriel asked an even more intriguing question.

"Ohh....Multiple individuals? Well, I would imagine that they might all end up in the same trial! Probably. Maybe. Most likely it would be a stretch on all the individuals involved. Perhaps it would make the trials more intense on a team level perhaps? Or maybe it would make the reward for doing such a thing a bit more...globally recognized? So many questions that could be answered! I would hope that you would let me know what would happen upon attempting such a thing! Maybe it would be different from what I had seen, or maybe different for EVERYONE because you are mages. Or maybe even more things could happen! Perhaps your energies would be expanded, or perhaps would be seen in other ways!" Joseph was nearly babbling at this point, extremely happy to be hearing the mages with all these ideas. Though, it seemed his surprise wasn't over yet as Fei wasted no time running towards the crystal now, the doorway becoming waterfalls that parted for her as she made her way forwards.

The Prime Minister was obviously amused at this point, standing once more with the glowing happening about himself, seeming to gather up his energy to once again give to the crystal. Though, he seemed happy to wait at this point as the young mage was going to seemingly enter the gateway. However, he did take the time to answer Nat's question somewhat wryly.

"They are trials, Nightshade. You will be given a choice as to how they play out, but ultimately you will be choosing the fates that befall you within, and you can go with an ally if you wish. Otherwise, there is not much more you need to know. Step through the doorway, and go through the trials. Win or lose, you will be doing a trade for your prize, and the price is as severe as the prize would be. More explanation is merely hypothesis at this point, and it seems that we are a bit...anxious to begin."


The cloaked figure watched as Phebe approached, not seeming to change from their routine as she leaned forward to ask her questions. To the first, he scattered the cards in the air, which seemed to ominously float about him, each with different pictures and titles attached to them. GUARDIAN, JUDGE, EXECUTIONER, MAKER, WATCHMAN, MAGICIAN, MASTER, DEATH, DEVIL, all floating about for a small moment before all fluttering back into the stranger's hands. At Phebe's second question, he flipped the cards on the table over, to show what each represented.

However, the cards did not show moral, battle, peace, personality, goals, and broken. At least, they did not have those words written upon them. Instead, they said JUSTICE, WAR, WRITER, DEMONS, ENDING, and VANQUISHED. Each with its own design. The cards all gave off an odd shimmer, as if there was more to each card than the text and picture upon them indicated. However, the stranger behind the table offered nothing else, not uttering a word as all this occurred. Also while this occurred it seemed lightning and a storm was brewing about the pair in the darkness. The sound of rain and distant thunder seemed to echo about them.

Gabriel thought over Joseph's answers. So multiple people entering at once was likely to result in them taking the same trials? Intriguing... going in alongside someone else could make it a bit easier on both parties, especially if they each had different ideas -

Gabe's deliberation was interrupted, as he caught sight of the gate changing from the curtain to silent waterfalls. What the -? The next thing he felt was a pair of hands shoving him aside from behind... straight into his shadow standing next to him. The Hydromancer promptly tripped over the darker version of himself, arms windmilling as he tried to get a purchase on something to regain his balance.

He found nothing, and soon fell over. Gabriel was too close to avoid the gate right there in front of him. One second he was in the trial chamber with the other mages: the next he had fallen to the floor of... well, who knew where. He was sprawled on a hard black surface. Gabe cautiously got to his feet, taking care to examine his surroundings. There wasn't all that much to speak of: just a figure sitting at a table in the distance, no matter which way he looked.

And Gabriel found another person there with him: Fei. The Hydromancers' shadows had also joined them, but that didn't help his predicament. His heart sank. Trapped in the trials with a girl I can't talk to... Lady Alainia preserve me.

And now two other mages had entered the trials, even though one was by accident due to the hyper girl. The waterfalls that appeared for them were beautiful, but Silvana wouldn't have entering through such a gate. Unfortunately, Gabe hadn't been able to answer her question due to being pushed along with the young girl, so she would perhaps need to go alone. That wasn't a problem, but she would have liked company.

Silvana waited for a few moments, listening to what the others had to say, amongst them being another Nightshade who came with another mage and Raven. Entering with another individual apparently was something new entirely, but how fun was that if you couldn't surprise anyone with your results?

She stepped towards the gate, and as she did, it turned from waterfalls to dark smoke, more shadowlike than smokelike. This made Silvana's eyes open up more and a wide smirk come across her face. "Now this is a gate suited for a true Nightshade." she said to herself as she entered through it.

"Alright, I'll call you watchman then." She said, not needing or wanting any of the other descriptions he had shown her. When he flipped the cards over, she was glad that he wouldn't force her to chose one at random. If that was what she was supposed to do. Phebe looked carefully at each of the cards, studying the picture on them and trying to make sense of them. Perhaps they could give her a clue to what would happen to her and what the trials was about.

Eventually she picked up the card that had demons written on it, wondering if something would happen as she ran her fingers across the surface of the card. It did have foul looking creatures on it, but there was other demons in the world than those in children stories. Those of the mind haunted her more than any fairytale creature could. She had met beasts in her youth, which some might describe as demons. It was the closest she'd ever gotten to one in any case.

"Is this supposed to do something?" She asked, looking at the card and not paying much attention to the area around her.

Drew had barely been paying attention. In fact, he had been paying so little attention that he didn't notice Fei inching closer and closer to the door. Unfortunately, by the time he did notice, she had dashed forward. "Fei! Wait!" he called out, but the door had appeared, and she and the other Hydromancer went through. Right before he got to the door that appeared however, the new Nightshade girl, Silvana stepped up and the waterfall vanished, turning into a wall of smoke. "Dammit!" he shouted, stopping in his tracks.

It took every ounce of restraint he had not to just shove Silvana in, and once she stepped forward, he was right in front of the gate. When it turned into his door, he wasn't quite expecting this. In front of him stood a large steel door, filled with intricate gears of varying size and barricaded by two large iron rods. "Come on! I've wasted enough time already! Let me through!" it took a second, but there was a loud "CLINK" and the gears started to turn, sparks flying as certain cogs ground together, slowly moving the rods out of the way in opposite directions. The door creaked and swung open, the gears still spinning as he ran headfirst inside.

"Well it felt as if the shadow had given some of its energy to help keep me alive, as if it could use my magic to some extent." Alexander continued thinking back.

"Other than that I haven't experienced much out of my shadow really. Most of the time it simply watches me or does as I do."

Nat nodded as thanks to the Prime Minister. "Ok I'm going to do the Trails." Nat said walking to the gate the Drew created as soon as he went through. She was about to walk up to form her gate when she felt a firm hand stop her. "Nat you're too weak to go this. You might die. Please can't you wait?" Nina said stopping her. Nat ripped her arm out of Nina's hand.

"Nina, I can do this on my own. I'll be ok. I sealed up my wounds and if I die then I died fighting. Nina, think of what I could gain from this. I could gain what I've been looking for, power and respect." Nat said marching to the gate her shadow standing in her way seeming worried for her Nina's also standing with it. "Nina make your damn shadow move out of my way." Nat demanded but Nina just shook her head and joined the shadows.

"If you won't get help then let me go with you then. You can't change my mind on this. Let's do this together, like we always have. Please, grant me that Nat. Let me be there for you." Nina said, her point getting through as Nat sighed.

"Fine, I'll let you go with me Nina, but don't get in my way." Nat said as a gate of pitch black obsidian pillars formed. The pillars stood high above Nat as the dark wood and steel gate opened with a creak. From inside the door black and silver smoke billowed out wrapping around Nat almost making her choke and cough. She steeped closer to her gate and looked to Nina.

Nina nodded then stepped forward as her own gate formed. Instead of obsidian pillars, pure white marble Greek style columns formed topped with a matching marble arc. The door was make of stained glass, a bright light shining from behind it. As it opened the light poured out lighting up everyone in the room. Nina smiled as both Nat and Nina walked forward to their Trail. "Let's go Nat."

Nat smiled some and nodded. "Yes let's go.. my old friend." she said walking through their gates, soon they slowly closed behind them.

Before Cale could speak once more, a few of his fellow mages already stepped through the swirling gates. He overheard what the man was talking about the trials and how it was based around whoever went through it along with the prizes. This was certainly different from what he was expecting. He looked at the gates once more with an uneasy feeling in his stomach rather than that of excitement. He damned himself. He should be excited, he should be jumping at the chance to go into the void of which he probably would not return for the hell of it but already he feels slightly jaded.

"Better now than never..." Cale muttered.

Cale arrived at his gate and it shifted once more, a large granite rock appeared before him. He didn't even glance at it before rock splintered like a tree and opened a path for him, revealing the path before him which was a view of the bottom of a large valley. The sight looked incredibly imposing but predictably the adventurous side of Cale rose once more through his anxious state. He stepped forth into the gate with his shadow close behind.

As Silvana stepped into the strange dark area, she found herself being randomly ran into by a charging Drew, who had been hoping to catch his sister before he was unable to journey with her. As the two fell to the nonexistent, but solid, black floor, in stepped Nat and Nina. Since they were moving significantly slower, they got to notice the two other mages falling over after being ran into. There was an odd change to the black world as Cale was the last to step in as well, also getting to see the two run into each other and nearly bumping into Nat and Nina.

The blackened world seemed to oddly shift about them for a moment, only seeming to snap into a firmer reality with many more torches lingering about with the table now being a large dinner table, but with all the seats seeming to somehow face the strange cloaked figure. And he was not shuffling cards, it was instead the cards seemingly to all fly about himself, seeming to rearrange themselves as he sat back and waited for the arrival of any additional challengers, or for them to all approach the table and accept the beginning of the trials.


As Phebe picked up the card, the entire world seemed to shift with it, with the other cards all burning away. The sudden change seemed to be almost a natural change from the darkness, with the world suddenly becoming more defined and filled with colors, hills, storms, and a still oddly lingering darkness around them. However, this darkness was allowed to be seen through, and through it could clearly be seen a large number of creatures lingering about. There was a particularly large variety of them encircling Phebe and the cloaked fellow, who seemed to oddly be phasing out of her sight. However, the variety of creatures were not the primary focus of the area it seemed. Instead, there were three crystals which lingered nearby.

Each were a different color, one of Red, one of Green, and one of Blue. Each possessed its own captive, who seemed to rest within the large crystals. Within the red, sat a particularly large demon, with spiked wings and claws. It was somewhat obvious that this one was built for a lot of work, and a lot of punishment.

In the Green rested actually a much more human individual, with the only difference seeming to be the white wings which covered a majority of the body. The human-like figure seemed to possess a variety of weapons in the crystal with him, most prominently a glowing longbow which seemed to glow even brighter than the crystal which held the man.

Finally, the Blue crystal held a creature which seemed to be a bit more of a mix of the two. With large leather wings, but still possessing some of the human figure, he could be considered a bit more freakish and dark than the other two, having tattered clothes still lingering about himself with a cloak still hiding his face and gaze. The arms in particular seemed to be made into weapons, and all sorts of odd modifications and armored skin seeming to cover the legs and chest of the individual.

Now the world seemed to complete itself, and Phebe was left surrounded by a countless amount of differing creatures and demons which seemed to want to jump in and strike as soon as they got the chance.


"Hmm...Shadow keeping you alive, you say? That is quite interesting! In my experience, they seemed to give people the opposite effect. But perhaps that is more paranoia than anything else. Have you tried interacting with them? Having a conversation or perhaps fighting or...playing with them? It would seem that your shadow is interested in your survival." Joseph said, who couldn't help but chuckle at all the mages who were wandering through the gate but Alexander staying here, even the injured one!

Drew quickly scurried back to his feet after falling, brushing himself off. He looks back and tried to get a handle on the situation. He knew Cale and Silvana, or at least knew their names. The other two were a mystery to him, but he had seen them around as well. Ok. Nothing's come to kill us yet... he thought.

As soon as he thought that, the room changed around them, forming a table and a stranger, with cards floating around him. Well, so much for that... he looked around the room, but Fei and Gabriel were nowhere to be found. He knew calling out wouldn't serve him any good at the moment, taking a step towards the table. "Guess the only way is forward..."

He waited a couple seconds for someone else to take a seat before heading up to the figure. He could tell he wasn't using air magic, considering he didn't feel anything resembling wind around him, so something else was moving those cards. He took the chair closest to the cloaked figure, leaning forward as he sat. "Ok, tall dark and gruesome. What happens now?"

Silvana was less than alright with having been tripped over and made fall down. She'd put her hands in front of her in time to not fall on her face, but it didn't mean she liked being on the floor. After Drew had stood up, she stood up as well to dust herself off. She would have said something to Drew, but she couldn't bother with it, instead looking towards the table with the shadowy figure and the cards flying around him.

She stepped forward and took a seat close to Drew, switching between looking at the cards and the figure. Drew asked the figure a question, to which she didn't feel much need to add to it. She was indifferent on the fact that she wouldn't be taking the trials alone. Perhaps this would prove to be more interesting than had she been alone.

Raven looked around, the crowd had dwindled as almost all the mages had decided to enter the Trials. There wasn't even a second thought in the minds of most of them, as intended or not they passed through. So what am I waiting for? I should...I should just do this and get it over with. But something kept Raven in place, looking around for some confirmation of her own thoughts.

Her gaze drifted off to the side, her shadow stood along the near wall, but as Raven focused on it, it was not standing still. What? Is it...shivering? The doorway frightens it that much? It was even leaning away from the portal upon closer inspection. Even...even my shadow doesn't think I can do this. I...I don't think I can do this. Nobody believes I can do this. Everyone looks better than me. Everyone's stronger than me. I can't even keep my own thoughts or my own projections from betraying me.

I'm not strong enough for this.

I'll...never be able to do this.

I shouldn't even try.

I...I...I'm just a failure...but I can't let anyone else know. I can't give them any more ammo against me. They can't know...but I'm not going in there.

Raven took a couple steps back away from the portal. "I am not going in there," she said, her usual forced gruff tones now merely sounding like a weak frog in the throat. "Too many mages will interfere with my attempt. I will stay back and observe. Someone has to watch over this to make sure everything is on the up and up." Even my excuses are lame.

Phebe gulped, and reached for her bow. There was a lot of creatures around now that the darkness had made way for light. The three crystals nearby was likely of importance, but the demons inside appeared a lot more powerful than those outside.

Quality over quantity. She thought, but the creatures outside were numerous enough for them to prove just as much of a problem. She didn't want to use her magic either, which meant it was best if she could avoid as many fights as possible.

Would she need to chose one of the crystals as well? Hopefully, as she'd rather not fight all three of them. The one in the red was the largest, and presumably the strongest, though she shouldn't underestimate the other two. She turned away from the red crystal, to observe the green one. There was a humanoid demon inside with white wings and a glowing bow, among other weapons. Would she get the bow if she defeated him? The longbow might have its own magic, but she had used her own bow as a substitute for magic and had no wish to wield an enchanted bow.

She turned to the blue and last crystal instead. The creature seemed to be made with the help of technology, rather than magic. Would the choice she made now affect her in any way, other than the immediate future? Well, the blue crystal seemed the most acceptable and interesting, in any way.

Phebe hesitated, lest the creatures outside the crystals decided to go for her. She gathered herself, and stepped over to the blue crystal. Placing her hand on it, to indicate that it was her choice, if she even had one.

"Not really sir, every once in a while I examined it but I largely left it alone. It wasn't doing anything or particularly inclined to speak, so I payed it little mind. Now though, I'd like to see what I can learn about it." Alexander replied a little uncomfortable with the talk of how they usually tried to apparently harm or kill the shadows were attached to, but he had to ask about it anyway.

"And what was this about usually having the opposite effect?"

Nat without pause or concern took a seat on the side of the table then looked back at Nina. "Well? Nina are you going to sit down or what?" she said waiting. Nina was too busy looking around to notice Nat calling her. Nat crossed her arms but didn't want to push any harder on Nina. While waiting, however, she took a look around first looking at the hooded figure then around the room. Shadows swirled and danced around the room, it felt so familiar to her, being around shadows and all. To Nat the shadows had always danced, how they hide things and cover things that are unwanted. A dance to hide what no one wants to see, and to distract to it's self.

Nina finally noticed Nat had been calling her. "Oh sorry Nat I was looking around. This place... is well I don't really need to say it." Nina said next to Nat and looked around more seeing the others in the room with them. "Oh hey that's Fei's brother and I recognize most of the others." Nina pointed out everyone else in the room that she knew. Nat didn't really care however, she just wanted to get the trial started.

The cloaked figure in front of Silvana and Drew suddenly seemed to bring all the cards to himself, which all seemed to stack about them. With a quick shuffle, it seemed that the cloaked individual seemed prepared for whatever it was that the mages had come seeking. He spread the cards out, only for 6 of them to remain on the table. The cards then returned to their flight around the man, spinning about all with different words and pictures written upon them. The cards in front of the mages flipped over, revealing their pictures and contents.

The cards were intricately designed, each having their own theme for themselves. The cards read DEATH, JOURNEY, ALLIES, DARKNESS, COMBAT, and KINGDOMS. The figure seemed to regard the mages as the approached impassively, giving no hint as to what he was or what he would do. The cards each gave off a distinct glow, each of the cards seeming to indicate there to be more to the cards than the theme's seemed to indicate.


As Raven stepped away from the gateway, it seemed to almost bid that Seth step forward, or in this particular case into the room. Simply put, Seth appeared as if he had been in several fights, looking to be particularly disheveled and bruised in a few more obvious places. Oddly enough, he seemed to be grinning despite all the marks and bruises, and stepped forward, towards both Raven and the gateway.

"Seems...I missed a lot of the moving about..." Seth said, stepping over to Raven and looking over the gateway from a small distance before stepping slightly closer. Upon doing so, the crystal changed to a doorway of metallic kind, oddly seeming to be wreathed in flames in several spots. He glanced at his shadow, who seemed to show some...disapproval with his approach. The shadow shook his head, obviously not too happy with the idea of going into the crystal and, no doubt, the trials. He looked them over a moment till an odd thought hit him. What is Raven doing...?

"...Going to try, Raven? Try and gain....well, something from these trials? Would think that you would want to get...well, something special from these." Seth said, taking a step back to Raven so the conversation could be slightly more private even with the audience.


As Phebe selected the blue crystal, her shadow stepped close to the crystal, and examined her own bow for a moment only to simply toss the weapon away, which seemed to vanish as it left. Looking over the demon for a moment, the shadow seemed to glare at the figure for a time, as if trying to figure something out, and then finally stepped into the figure. Upon doing so, the figure stirred for a moment, then slowly seemed to awaken, and step out of the crystal. For a moment it looked at itself for a time, seeming to look over the blades. They eyes of the figure matched Phebe's own, as it seemed to finally approve of what it was now, and the other two crystals seemed to shatter after the process was done. After that, the fading away of whatever resistance kept the other countless demons at bay seemed to begin cracking, and several demons charged forward, only to be met by the sudden movement of the newly awakened demon, who seemed to be somewhat proficient in its weaponry and ability, killing off three rather quickly.


"Well, I think what you say is pretty much how our shadows always are, is it not?" Joesph said with a grin. "Though, it is of some interest to me if you would learn what you could about it. There is so much to learn at this point, especially because of all the unknown things that could be brought about because of them! I imagine they have been doing quite a bit for you behind the scenes, or attempting to do something, I assume. Some have even at one point or another said that they were visited in their dreams by their other selves...." Joseph thought for a moment about the question Alexander had, seeming confused for a moment.

"Well, it would seem that individuals who have had your....shadow friend, are driven to more try to escape them. Of course, you are probably a bit more aware that they don't exactly just leave you alone, even in the bright light or dark night. Some claim that they are telling others their secrets, and do things...well, like chopping out their own tongues, or other such...unhealthy actions. I imagine you are not so effected."

Nat stood up and examined the cards, the one the most stuck out to her, of course, was darkness. She extended her hand to it and picked it up in her hand. "I chose this one. It seems more fitting for me." Nat said examining the card carefully not noticing Nina get up.

Nina's hand shook some as she decided which card to pick. What do I pick? None of these fully apply to me, not really anyway. Hmmmm what about allies? No no that's not it. Hmmmm Nina was lost in thought but blinked back to her current moment and without hesitation picked up the card journey. She looked over at Nat noticing she had picked up darkness.

"We've been through a lot Nat, our long journey if you will." Nina said making a small joke at the card she picked. It suited her in a way. She had taken a long and hard journey with Nat and she'd never trade it away for anything but Nat seemed like she was pushing her away for some reason. She wanted to always be there for Nat but Nat, it seemed was done with her. Maybe Nat had always been that way, she couldn't tell any more.

Drew saw the cards on the table and took a moment to think. Well, Darkness is clearly for one of these Nightshades. Or it could be more existential... but that's not my concern. Allies and Combat... don't think I'd do too good in either of those. He took a moment, looking at the Kingdom and Journey cards. Hmmm... these two are really summing up why I'm here in the first place. I came to see more of the world. Come on my own journey. Not really sure what this journey was supposed to accomplish... maybe that's what this trial is about...

As Drew reached out for the Journey card, another hand had reached out and grabbed it. "Hey!" He was't sure who that was, but once she said her piece, he snatched the card out of her hand. "We've all got our own journeys, lady. That's what I'm here for. And I was here first, so I get the first card." He said, unaware that this woman's partner had already taken another card. So now you lot take initiative. Didn't see you stick your neck out and talk to the cloaked guy when we didn't know what'd happen. Fucking vulture...

The obvious choice for Silvana was Darkness, and as she was reaching for it, the other Nightshade that had entered with them, the one she didn't know the name of, snatched it quickly. Damnit! I'm starting to regret having wanted to entered with other people... She crossed her arms and sat back in her chair. However, she noticed another card had appeared where Darkness had been before.

She reached out her hand in curiosity and took the card, flipping it over to reveal...another Darkness card. Huh. Guess there are more than one of each card if more people enter. Don't see my complaining, either way. She sat back in her chair, now in a better mood with her own Darkness card in hand.

Nina blinked then looked over at Drew soon after her took the card from her. "What the fuck is you're problem? Yea you were here first but that doesn't give you the right to be like that. I'll tell you something, I've been part of the academy long before you. You don't know the journey I've been on. Anyway, that's not my point, if you didn't notice another card just like mine, which is in your hands right now, appeared right after I took this one." Nina said annoyed but not wanting to start a fight.

Nat noticed very quickly what happened. "Hey dick head, give it back to her before I make you. As Nina said another card appeared." Nat said quickly making her hands glow with large balls of darkness but Nina put her hand on her arm.

"Nat stop it." she said then looked back at Drew. "Look, we don't know what these trials are, for all we know you taking the card from me could very well change the trial for the worst for you or both for us. As it was said, the trials may change due to there being more then one person, a team can't steal from each-other otherwise I won't trust you enough to have you're back or that you'll have mine." Nina said being careful how to choose her words.

"Fighting me and Nat is more work then it's worth isn't it Drew? Why risk getting hurt when another card replaced mine and why possibly risk things going bad for all of us because of this theft? Isn't Fei in here too? Maybe it will effect her trial. You never know. Question is, is having the first card worth all of this drama and bullshit?" Nina said showing, really only to Nat, just how much Nat has effected her, while still keeping it from sounding like a threat.

"You know, in the time it took for you to say that entire spiel, you could have just grabbed the card yourself..." Drew said, holding the card further away from them. "Now I took it because I want to get this stuff over with as fast as I can. Things didn't start up fast enough, as it seems..." he said, glaring at the card for a second before returning to them. "And how exactly do you two know my name?" he said, looking between the two. Suppose this will have to do for formalities...

"And yes, I do want to get to Fei. But I don't want to cause anything that might put her in even more danger, so I'm going to have to play along with whatever forces are here. I'm just trying to get it done as fast as possible. And frankly... I don't like your tone." he said, the air around him starting to spiral. "I never said anything about a fight, you brought that up yourself. As you said, this isn't exactly ideal, but I don't take kindly to thinly-veiled threats." A few sparks flew from his hands, but he stopped the wind around him.

"But like you said... we shouldn't be fighting. And if you don't want to fight... well, the card's right there." he said, pointing back to the desk, then looking at the cloaked figure. "So what's supposed to happen? The trials start or are we waiting for someone?" he said, glaring at Nat and Nina.

"As could you. Fact is we don't know what we're getting into. You could of screwed us all over with your attitude. Also, I'm just like you, an AirShifter, I know my kind, I make a point of it. If you don't want her in danger then end any possible shit you could of put us into." Nina said getting angry the air around her spinning as well and fire started to form on her hand. "Frankly you started this whole conflict in the first place so if anything happens to any of us I blame you." Nina's face was getting redder. The card wasn't the issue, it was the principle but Nina's temper was getting the better of her.

Nat was getting tired of this arguing and crossed her arms tighter. "What's wrong with giving her the card back? It isn't about the card but the principle of your actions. Theft is still theft. Look please just give it back and we'll leave you alone for good. Nina has never been a fan of things like this due to her family running a shop back home." Nat said, abnormally calm ignoring his own threat as her hands stopped glowing. While, yes she was pissed, she realized that a fight was not a good idea, so maybe a calmer approach might work. "She didn't mean to threaten you, she just has no gray area when it comes to right and wrong." she added putting a hand on Nina.

"You know what, fine. Whatever does happen, I'll take the blame for it. Plus, the card was never yours to start with. It's our fine hooded friend here's card. And I had first pick. And it sure as fuck ain't my fault she can't see the gray in the world." He took another second, grabbing the card from the table and offering it to her. "Here. Take it. Let it go." He kept his guard up, but tried to look a lot more calm than he was. He then remembered that there was another person waiting to take a trial. "Oi... Cale, was it? You gonna get something, or what?"

Fei stopped when she appeared in the dark place. It was dark, but it wasn't scary dark, like a cave or a haunted house. It was... weird, but not necessarily bad, just unknown and not normal. There was a table in the middle, a few yards away from her. She took some time to look around first. She didn't see the other mage who went in here. There was a man at the table with cards or something. It was like a... gambling table, that was it! Where the guy shuffled the cards, and you chose some, and you won sometimes and got colorful chips. One time her brother took her to a place that had that, and she won 3 red chips, and she was able to get some money for them too! Maybe if she chose the right card she got wings this time? But wings had to be expensive. Maybe she had to win FIVE times?

She ran right up to the table, climbing up on a chair. Before she could ask what the rules were, or what the game was, the man shuffled the cards and put a few out in front of her.

The first one said... SOULMATE. It was a picture of two people holding hands.

OFFERINGS. A picture of someone holding something up. It was on fire for some reason.

NIGHTS. A picture of the moon and stars on a black background. The stars looked like they were made of glitter of foil: they were really twinkling!

MEMORIES. A picture of someone's... memories. No real way to explain it.

MENTOR. A picture of a small person and an old, tall person.

CHAMPIONS. A picture of someone in armor, holding up a sword.

She separated the SOULMATE, NIGHTS, and MEMORIES cards. Sliding the other 3 back towards the man. "I don't want those ones..." He waited. "Do I only get one card?" It was a hard choice. SOULMATE reminded her of the princess stories her mom told her before bed. How the princess and the prince were soulmates, and the prince would do anything for the princess, and fought dragons and things for her. But I fought dragons and things a few days ago... does that mean I'm going to get a prince!? The NIGHTS card was pretty and glittery, and nights were pretty cool too. And there were MEMORIES. Fei had good memories. But only one card...

"I waaant... this one!" She grabbed the MEMORIES card, holding it up.

M was her favorite letter.

Nat took the card for Nina not wanting her to hit him. "While I'm not happy with this shit, thank you." Nat said handing it to Nina but she wouldn't take it. She growled low and took the card angrily from Nat. "Fine but I'm not going to forgive you for this anytime soon." Nina said pumping past Drew.

Nat face palmed at Nina's actions and sighed. "Please don't mind him, I'm sorry. This isn't like her. Forgive and let live?" Nat said extending her hand to him. "To be fair you both were idiots." she said walking back to her chair then looked at Nina. "Well? Sit down you dumb ass." Nat said almost angry.

Nina took a seat next to Nat and glared at Drew. "Ass hole motherfucking cunt sucker." she said under her breath.

"Going to try, Raven?

Raven turned surprised that someone else yet to pass through would want to talk to her. She was a bit relieved that it was Seth instead of someone else.

"Try and gain....well, something from these trials? Would think that you would want to get...well, something special from these."

It's not really a matter of want...

"I have to decided to stay back and observe what happens to the other members of our party," Raven lied, her voice still betraying her. "After what happened last night, I want to make sure that these Trials are not some sort of trap. That is why I'm still here."

I'm not even sure I believe that one.

Seth paused a moment. Hearing Raven say that she was going to sit back and watch at this point was...well, a complete lie. A trap? It was always an option, but assuming they went through all this trouble to simply trap them was more preparation and complexity than Seth was willing to believe. With no fear, he stepped right next to Raven now. It was probably a bit too close, but at this point it seemed to be what was needed.

"I would travel along as well. Unsure or not, you probably want to do these, and find...well, something more, I think." Seth started. He couldn't claim to be the best on giving advice, but he figured it was a start. "Besides, I figure whatever these...trials hold have nothing on you, and I got your back if it comes down to it. So you have nothing to worry about." Seth looked up, noting his shadow, as well as Raven's. Her's seemed....well, to be no where near as steady as his own. Seth gave it a nod, and it stepped next to her shadow as well.

You may know whats on the other side may be dangerous to us, my shadow. But this is an opportunity that I won't let her pass up. This is...important.

"So...you sure you are just going to sit back and watch...Or maybe you would rather take a step forward, and go through the gates. Perhaps you can show your old partner what you can do in there."

Nydia had moved to the room of the trials as she had been directed as the dining hall was under repairs. There she had waited and watched quietly as her fellow mages entered the trials through that odd crystal. The more she heard about these trials the more she wanted to experience them just to see what they were like rather than out of the desire to gain something. But she was still somewhat hesitant as they did sound like they could be dangerous.

Is satisfying my curiosity truly worth risking my well being? Although the others have put themselves at risk as well. And I did promise to look after the younger ones...

Even as the thought entered her mind, Nydia could tell that was just an excuse to go through with the trials. But regardless of her intent, it did remind her of the promise she had made before leaving the Academy. Some of the younger mages had gone in along with Cale. Seth seemed as though he was thinking of entering as well. Perhaps there was nothing she could do for them all in there, Joseph had mentioned they may not all end up together after all, but she couldn't sit idly by and watch knowing that everyone else was taking the trials.

Having finally made up her mind Nydia and her shadow approached the crystal. It changed shape as it had for the others, taking the form of a pair of wooden doors that glowed with a faint light and had a large sun carved into the center. As Nydia stepped forward they swung open bathing her and her shadow in light. Nydia took a deep breath to calm her nerves and stepped cautiously through the door with Shadow Nydia not too far behind her.

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