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Mar 19, 13 at 4:24pm ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
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Spoiler:Chapter 6 - Bardsong
Next to speak was a young boy, clearly from the same clan as Pelen, but fit the stereotype little more, with bright orange, curly hair, dark eyes, and voice that could not be silenced. Donti’kon was, after all, famous for its minstrels.
“It was my sister’s wedding day
A fair young maid was she
Who loved a strong and shining knight
Who lived along the sea.
The day that came was crystal clear
The village full of cheer.
We filled the streets with bud and bloom
And traveled towards the pier
‘Oh-ho’ thought we ‘a lovely pair
To marry by the sea.
We took our seats in the glowing sun
For the bond of Jade and Li.
When out she came in her purest gown
A dress of white and blue
For ladies wear the sheets of white
For their men both strong and true.
‘Oh-ho’ thought we ‘a lovely pair
To love a pretty bird.’
She stood aside her dearest Li
To trade their sacred word.
So there they stood together now
One soul they truly be.
With hand in hand and heart in heart
To live beside the sea.”
It took everyone a moment to notice that he had finished, and although they had been clapping along the whole time the rod he had been holding hadn’t emitted so much as a glow the entire song. For some reason, he didn’t seem all too concerned, but passed it to the boy sitting next to him. However, before he got the chance to speak, the door to the room slid open. Behind it was a young man, probably five years my senior. Judging by his mix of leather robes and armor, he had to be an aide like me, but from Sausa'kon, the clan just north of mine. He, like many of his clan, had tough skin slightly darker than mine, dark eyes, and dark blonde hair.
“Excuse me, Mahin, Mistress Rena wants to see you.”
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Mar 19, 13 at 4:40pm ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
I know how much effort you put into this, Lizz, and it turned out really well. :3
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Mar 31, 13 at 4:21pm ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
Hey, listen! You should add me as a fan Lizz.
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Apr 1, 13 at 1:33pm ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
haha, too long between chapters! The present should be important, but I'm too obsessed with the future *continues doodling characters*
Spoiler:Chapter 7 - Stone Soup
Mistress Rena had been my instructor for my first class here at the academy. Hailing from Lom'phlan, the Wind Riders, she, like many of her clan was fair-skinned, with eyes and hair the colors of the sky she had learned to ride. As a teacher, she had been kind and patient with every student in the room, and even without an aide, she’s managed to put more than half the class through to the next levels; an impressive feat even aides had failed to achieve. While I’d expected to see her at some point during the rotation, I hadn’t expected her to call on me, and so soon.
She seemed exactly the same as I remembered her, the woman who was never proud or vein. Still wearing the same sleeveless blue tunic and black britches I’d always seen her wearing, with her hair pulled into a long tight braid. Her eyes though, while still dim like most people’s around here were, were still the kindest I’d even seen. As soon as I walked into her (now empty) classroom, her face split into such a wide smile, I couldn’t help returning the gesture.
“Mahin, it is so wonderful to see you!” She said, crossing the space between us so we were face to face.
“It’s great to see you too Mistress Rena.”
“Please just Rena now, you’re all grown up now; there’s no need to be so formal.”
“Rena then, I know you wouldn’t call me here just to talk.”
“Right you are. We’ve had some trouble with some of our cooks coming down with bits of the plague.”
“And you want me to?”
“Do you remember what happened during your first rotation here, when we had to cancel dinner because the cooks had gotten sick?”
In truth, I had never forgotten. It had been the first few days here when the instructors had told us that there wouldn’t be any food tonight because all but one of the cooks had come down hard with a bout of plague. It had been my idea, and I’d talked my friends into helping me. We skived off afternoon training, and made our way down to the kitchen. It had only been five of us in total, but with our hands working with the only cook left at the school, we had started making dinner for the entire academy. Within ten minutes, a few older students had joined in, and by the time the dinner was supposed to go on, we’d prepared a full-fledged feast. Luckily, we’d been praised for our willingness to help instead of being punished for skipping training.
“You want me to cook?”
After I agreed to help, she led me down to the kitchen. It was a small room just off of the dining hall, with shelves filled with pots, pans, and various herbs. Aside from that, it looked as if the kitchen hadn’t been restocked since the end of the last rotation. The one thing that caught my eye was a large kettle or cauldron, couldn’t tell which. It sparked an idea, because you didn’t need to have much, even in the way of knowledge, to be able to feed an army with soup. I’d only just started filling the pot with water when the door was pushed open. On the other side was Takia, eyes practically glowing in the half light, and clutching a brown bag.
“I heard you would be trying to make dinner tonight, so I brought these down. It’s not much, but-“She said, trailing off to look down at the floor.
Taking the bag, I answered her, “Thank you. I’m going to need all the help I can get to make this happen.”
She stayed with me to help prepare what we had the best we could. As it happened, she knew a lot more about spices and cooking in general than I did. Sure, growing up surrounded by farmland I knew a decent amount about fruits from trees and vegetables from the soil, but preparing food, especially good food was another monster entirely. Apparently in the north, any fresh food found would be prepared to its fullest potential before eating. The food she’d brought consisted of a few stray leeks and two, whole onions. It wouldn’t have made a meal for even one person, but she added them to the pot while I lit the fire beneath. Before long, the door was opened again, this time showing three young men. One, I recognized as the aide who had taken me from my class. The other two I’d never seen before. One of them wore a set of leather over cotton clothes, well suited for riding, and preferred by the Phu'vang, who spent most of every day on the back of some beast. The other in a rare mixture of hard leather and black metal, only wore by the Mang’kon, those brave enough to spend their lives with the most dangerous beasts. Tamers were rare at the school, not because few of them possessed the gift, but because the scouts of the school had such a hard time getting to their island. The three of them bore a bloody carcass, clearly fresh out of the slaughter house. It made my stomach turn over, but meat had to come from somewhere.
“Thought you could use a hand,” said Rena’s Aide, “and I realized we never really got introduced. My name is Ani, and this is Mihal,” He said, gesturing to the man in the dark armor, “and Bogadan” he gestured to the man in the leather.
Each nodded in recognition, but otherwise said nothing, turning to a stone table to cut the body apart. It was an awkward silence, only permeated by the bubbles of the soup-to-be, and the dull thuds of their butcher knives.
“You’re Mahin, right?” Bogadan asked, not taking his eyes off the bloody meat, “The girl from the demonstration this morning?”
“You were pretty amazing,” he said, and then laughed a bit, “I’d never be able to stand my ground if something that big came at me!” At that, Mihal burst out laughing. “Well excuse me Sir ‘Kills a dragon with both hands tied behind my back’. Some of us prefer smaller beasts.”
“Nothing wrong with a good ol’ dragon.” Mihal retorted, smirking while he continued slicing meat. “Your face was priceless watching that Ratheran!”
It took more than Ani’s intervention to stop the two boys brawling on the kitchen floor, but luckily ‘more’ arrived in the form of about five of my students, each carrying an armful of vegetables. “Master Bahme asked us if we could bring these to you.”
“Thank you all so much!” I didn’t even know that he had known about the situation with the carols, but then again the man seemed to know everything. “Is he doing all right?”
“Oh yes, he’s fine.”
For the rest of the afternoon, students kept popping in and out of the kitchen, to give whatever they could. The soup continued to grow, and when at last the boys added their meat, the servers entered the kitchen. Bowl after bowl of steaming soup left the pot, and by some miracle, the girl who couldn’t cook, paired with the girl who could, and the three butchers had prepared, not a feast, but enough of a meal to pull us through the night.
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Apr 11, 13 at 8:25pm ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
It's been too long, how's everyone been?
Spoiler:Chapter 8 - Ranger Games
The morning came faster than anyone could have expected, faster so for me than my students because I had to meet Master Bahme before class. Nothing major, he just wanted to hear how the class had gone yesterday, and if there was time, talk about plans for the rotation. We only had three weeks to prepare them for evaluation (a competency test performed by Rangers of the King’s Court), so we’d be busy. It seemed like there were more lessons than days of class, and each had to be carefully perfected, skills had to be mastered. Yes it was true that they would have three chances in the class, but we still wanted them to succeed the first time. Save for Pyry’s class, I had made it through each class on my first attempt, and of the students who had graduated with me, I had been the youngest, and because I hadn’t been assigned a place to work, was younger than most of the students in their last few classes.
During the lesson today, he decided to explain the unimportance of the colors that came from the staffs. As he explained, “They’re nothing more than indicators. When you work with your staff, you shouldn’t be thinking about the color your staff will turn, but about the emotion you want to get across. You wouldn’t want to show a bored or lax Pokemon a green light to perk them up, but you’d want to share your excitement with them.”
He ended up leaving class relatively early, not necessarily complaining of pain, but moving stiffly, and his limp was more pronounced than ever. I couldn’t help but realize that the great man was getting old. Honestly, I hadn’t expected to be teaching alone today, as he hadn’t been in the room at all yesterday. Sharing stories would get redundant really quickly, as the lecture and our activities yesterday had already shown activating the rod takes true emotion. Maybe a little game…
“All right!” I said, getting up from my chair and gathering the Training Rod from Master Bahme’s desk, “We’re going to start with a little exercise with stability, and sharing emotions. You’re all going to split into pairs; one of you’ll go with me. One group at a time, one of you will be holding the Rod, and the other will do everything they can to make that rod change color, without touching the rod or your partner. Remember that every color comes from a powerful emotion, and for every color we see, we’ll record what emotion it matches.”
The ensuing chaos was fantastic. The first two to go were twins from the Central Kingdom. Both in their student robes with identical hairstyles, it looked like someone had set a mirror between the two. The one holding the training rod closed his eyes, and started whispering to himself. His brother quietly edged around the other’s back and waited there for a minute or two. When the one holding the rod peeked through his eyes, wondering why there had been no attempt made on him, and saw nobody standing in front of him, his brother turned to the side, and blew a great puff of air into his ear. Poor boy must have jumped at least a foot in the air before turning to hit his brother. The staff still in his hand had flashed first a murky blue-grey, then a dark red. The next pair was Kano and a very pretty girl from the TribeLands. With a very sly smile, she handed him the rod, circled him three times and began whispering words nobody could understand into his ear; more than likely words of power from her Tribe as she bore all the physical signs of a young priestess. In less than a minute, she had his staff lit up like a beacon in the night, and the rest of us could feel the effects of her words, oddly lighthearted and lightheaded. Third to go was a boy who, despite the dress code, still wore his flying goggles, and another boy who like Takia and Pyry must have come from the Clan to the north. The flyer ended up half-screaming a slew of profanities and insults, while the other boy stood there, looking more bored than anything, and returned to his seat after a few minutes without even the faintest glow from the rod. We continued until most everyone had a chance to try both roles and our list of indicators was quite extensive. That is, until a sick and shaken Takia pushed open the door.
“Takia, is something wrong?” I asked, noting a few beads of sweat clung to her face and she couldn’t quite meet my eyes.
“M-Mistress Pyry wants you to come h-help with the lesson today.”
There was only one lesson in Pyry’s class that she could possibly need an extra set of hands for, Mind-Magic. Sh*t.
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Apr 12, 13 at 3:29pm ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
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Apr 13, 13 at 1:38am ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
Look a quick chapter! Was actually excited to do this one, and have been thinking it though the past few days. Hopefully Updates will come fairly frequently, though I'm not promising every day
Spoiler:Chapter 9 - Mind Magic
It had always been the worst of all the lessons, or at least my least favorite. Mind-Magic, by nature was complete and total control. The caster would take control over all five senses, and command them to their will. Whoever was victim could see nothing, hear nothing, feel, smell and taste nothing without the caster making it so. All connection to the real world was lost while an illusion was made inside the mind. In most cases, the caster would go further, drawing from the memories and emotions, to work an illusion so convincing that one could be told what was about to happen, and yet as soon as the spell was cast, they would fully believe that whatever they were shown was absolute reality, and was completely illegal. The only way to combat the force was to channel energy through a staff you couldn’t even feel in your hand and cast the magic from your mind. Trusting your thoughts more than trusting your own senses could feel impossible, but that’s what training was for.
Pushing the door open, I was reminded of the second reason this lesson was so disturbing to me. Standing beside the window, held by two imperial guards and a cold pair of handcuffs, was the most defeated woman I think I have ever seen. Once a rotation, they brought her up from a small cell that supposedly was somewhere beneath the school to provide a demonstration. She was a Rogue, a person who had, and used, the powers of a Ranger, but operated outside the King’s Legion. They were dangerous and didn’t follow any of the rules and regulations imposed upon us. In most cases, they were killed either on sight, or in a public execution in the Imperial City, the very heart of the Central Kingdom. This woman had been arrested long ago, but in exchange for her life, she was forced to, year after year, provide this demonstration to whoever was in the class. Every time I’d seen her, she looked grossly underfed. The clothes that hung over her were rough and filthy, but it would be too much to hope for something new. Her eyes practically glowed through her sunken eye sockets, and for how young her body looked, her face was lined beyond its years. They had never once told us her name.
“Ah Mahin, good you’re here. Up here please,” Mistress Pyry said, gesturing to the front of the room, “You know what we’re doing.”
I nodded as I made my way past the few students. It was standard for this lesson. Pyry would bring in an Aide to be the first subject, so she could explain various aspects of the process to her students before any of them were put under the spell. I’d seen it three times before, with three different Aides filling the role. Standing awkwardly at the front of the room, Pyry instructed two of the students to come to the front and hold me in place. Also routine; just because my connection to reality would be distorted didn’t mean I wouldn’t move, or try to.
Turning to the girl in chains, Pyry almost commanded, “You may begin.”
It was a moment before I realized anything had happened. It wasn’t Mind-Magic, or at least I didn’t think it was. Every time I’d gone through the demonstration, there’d been a faint glow around just about everything that cued me into what was going on. Here, I was still standing at the front of the classroom, and all the students were still where I remembered they were. For that matter, I still remembered that I was supposed to be falling to Mind-Magic. The torchlight in the room was standing completely still, as was everyone in it.
“I don’t have long to talk, so please listen and don’t ask questions.” The voice was unfamiliar and unmistakably female. It had to be the woman. Of course she could pull something like this, as she had been provided a staff for the purpose of the demonstration, while heavily supervised by the guards. “I’ve heard Pyry speaking with the guards. You and some of the other students are in very real danger. When the time comes, the only place you’ll be safe is the far north. Avoid the Central Kingdom if you can, and whatever you do, don’t put your life in their hands.”
Before I could say a word in response, or react at all, everything changed. I was home again. The hot sun hung over the plantation, and it was unmistakably Harvest Season. It had never been my farm, and more than likely never would be. I hadn’t come from money, or real wealth of any kind, so like my mother and father before me, would harvest the crops and tend to most other little matters. Usually me, along with the other smaller children would “fly” across the higher branches of the fruit trees and harvest whatever we could into rough-spun sacks we’d carry over both shoulders.
“Mahin, are you ready?”
I turned on the spot, knowing I knew that voice. Aarya smiled to me, her own white-blonde hair pulled tightly back as she always did for work. Three years ago she’d gotten it caught in a few thin branches and nearly fell and had to choose between cutting it short, or puling it back. I’d been harvesting with her for years, and this would just be one more day. The sun did seem to be hitting her face a little strangely though. I took my sack from her as we headed for the orchard. She went up first, fast as anything I’d ever seen, but I was quick to follow. It was almost a competition to see who could clear it first. Were these leaves normal? Maybe it had rained a bit ago, so they were reflecting more light. D*mn*t, she had already taken off! Quickly I found one of the fruits to stuff in my bag before leaping to the next branch.
A vision of the classroom flashed through my vision and all at once I was sure I was about to fall. For a moment my hands grasped onto the tree branch, and then grasped the stone floor of the room. My knees hit something, either earth or rock it was impossible to tell. Everything I could see was disjointed, coming in and out of focus. The window in the room was shattered, bits of glass shining like stars and glowing like little suns. Dark shadows things were all gathered around the window. A bright, blinding light obscured everything while a high-pitched whining drowned everything else out. Every inch of skin on my body writhed with pain that went from being white hot to ice cold in less than a second while noxious smells and tastes made me gag on the spot. Truly, it was an assault of all the senses, rendering me less than helpless and screaming on the floor.
Five figures swam before my vision, and more looking on further back. Their faces kept changing between the Masters, Aides and Students I knew and people I had never seen before. Each of the unfamiliar faces had piercing, almost glowing eyes that lingered on me past when their faces had faded. They duplicated and fell out of focus as the room was sent spinning before my vision failed completely.
A voice, distorted and muffled broke a sudden silence left when the whining stopped, “Everyone back to your dormitories now! Someone fetch Pipik, something’s gone horribly wrong.”
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Apr 15, 13 at 1:05am ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
Warning, long chapter. Is fun though, hope you guys are enjoying the frequent updates from the this past weekend, but I can't promise more until next Friday, just the way classes and such are falling.
Spoiler:Chapter 10 - Aftermath
“Mahin, come on. You have to come back. Wake up!”
The voice came to me from somewhere far away, but calling to me in a way no other sound had in its unfamiliarity and passion. I wanted to follow that voice. Could it have come from beyond this darkness, from some place filled with light and life? As if the question had prompted it, a powerful sense of physical awareness swept through what must be my body. Yes, I was lying down, but was I sleeping or unconscious? I don’t seem to remember falling asleep…
“Please, I know you’re still alive in there.”
There was that voice again, somehow closer. Maybe if I could just open my eyes I could meet it. No, it was too far away for that; too far away for something so simple. Even now that body was starting to fall away from me and I had no energy to call it back. Oblivion itself returned, enveloping everything.
It had almost been a command, and I reacted instinctively and quickly opening my eyes. At the same instant it felt as if some physical force, strong as a charging Ratheran, clobbered me in the brightness of the light, extending to every muscle; every fiber of my being. Shutting my eyes again, hoping to get away and make it stop, but it wouldn't go away. The light still shone red now behind closed lids, and the ache still sat deeper than my bones.
“Mahin?” The voice was gentle now, feminine and familiar; the voice of Mistress Rena. “Are you awake?”
I tried to answer, but neither my mouth nor my voice seemed to be working. Already the light seemed to be dimming and the pain along with it. This was good, wasn't it? No, Rena was right there… why was she waiting for me? How long had she been there? Was there anyone else? Slowly, I tried to lift the eyelids that seemed too heavy to move. A sliver of bright light nearly sent me reeling again, but something I couldn't identify kept pushing me, stopping me from falling back under. Slowly, shadows started to emerge, small and blurry. They multiplied and expanded, turning into unintelligible shapes and forms. At the point of enveloping the light completely, other things started to make themselves visible. Walls and windows separated, torches burned with light that was too bright, and Rena’s face swam out of the darkness. Dark bags hung under her worried eyes, but for the moment, she seemed genuinely happy.
“Oh thank the skies! We were starting to worry that we’d lost you.”
Finally finding my voice, though my jaw was sore (like the rest of my body), I croaked out, “What happened?”
“Not now. You've been out for about a week and a half and we need to get some food in you before you drop any more weight. Let’s get you sitting up and I’ll go find something.”
It was the first time I’d really tried to move myself, and my body would have none of it. Every muscle screamed in protest as I tried them, and each of Rena’s ‘helping hands’ felt like a thousand pins and needles. She wouldn't give as easily as I had, and succeeded in propping me against a few roughly stuffed pillows, despite my frequent, yet silent, protest.
“I’ll be back soon, there should be some food around somewhere, even that this hour. Do me a favor and don’t go drifting off again.”
I forced a smile as she left the room, almost wishing for a moment that I could drift off. There was no hurt in the darkness, though I’d only just noticed the starry sky past the arching windows. Yes I was lying in a bed, but several similar, empty beds were arranged neatly around the room. I’d been here before, just earlier this rotation, right after the demonstration in the arena. The clinic did look a little lonely without Pipik bustling between the beds. She must be getting some rest. What time was it anyway? Before I could give the matter more thought, two voices could be heard through the wall. Both familiar and both seemed a little on-edge.
“I just don’t understand how we could be searching for ten days and find nothing.” It was Pyry, probably.
“You said yourself that you looked away when Mahin started screaming,” said the deeper voice of one of the male masters, though I couldn't tell who through the wall.
“I saw her fall myself Orhan.”
“It’s no less than thirty meters from that window to the ground, and she didn't land well.”
“Then she’s dead.”
“Then where’s the body? All we've found are the ruined staff and the handcuffs.”
“Look, I can’t explain it any better than you can. Rena? What are you doing out of the Clinic?”
“I’m going to find some food for her, she’s just woken up.” Rena’s muted voice joined the conversation.
“You’re kidding. She was gone, completely gone.” Pyry said, her voice betraying no hint of emotion, as per usual.
“You two go back to the clinic, I’ll go find something. I’ll probably be faster than either of you anyway.”
From there it was silent again until the door to the clinic opened and both Pyry and Rena entered at a run, but slowed when they saw I was still clearly conscious. Pyry, like Rena had dark bags under her eyes, but wouldn't betray the same worry. Still, it seemed that neither of them had gotten a decent night’s sleep in weeks.
“Mahin, you still there?” Rena asked, sitting back down beside my bed while Pyry stood behind her. “Orhan’s ran to get food, he’ll be here soon.”
“Do you remember anything?” Pyry asked, peering down at me.
“Pyry, she’s only just woken up. Give her a minute.”
I was grateful for Rena’s defense of me, but I answered anyway, “No, nothing since I was back at the plantation.”
They exchanged a worried look before Rena asked, “Do you remember being in Pyry’s classroom, for the lesson on Mind-Magic?”
Nodding a bit, I answered, “Yes. I was in the classroom to be the demonstration… and then I was back home, then here I suppose.”
“Must have been the magic before she fled; a real illusion instead of what she did to us.” Pyry muttered under her breath.
“I’m sorry,” I started, starting to get very confused, “but what exactly happened?”
“It was the Rogue, all of it.” Rena started, “From what I understand she tried to run, and took her escape through the window.”
“Rena, it was a lot more thought through than that. When she used her abilities on you, she also cast an illusion over the rest of the class, including myself and her guards, but instead of your illusion, being more or less what you would expect from Mind-Magic, she showed us exactly what we expected to happen so she could escape. ”
“Pyry broke it extremely quickly, but even by then she had already barreled out of the window. The connection between the two of you was severed when she hit the ground, but all of the energy she’d used to weave your illusion were trapped inside your body, completely uncontrolled. That’s probably when the illusion broke. I came running with Ani when I heard the window breaking, and saw you on the ground. You were screaming like someone’d shot an arrow through your head, and it was clear that those energies were destroying you from the inside out. We got Pipik down there as fast as we can, but by that point you were clearly out of your mind.”
“Did she put me under, like the forced unconsciousness we learned in one of the Healing Classes?”
“You know, I think she might have. I think the idea was to keep the magic out of your head as much as she could before she had a chance to go in herself.”
“I thought that was dangerous?”
“Well,” Rena started, smiling now, “It depends. If you’re trying to go into the head of someone who can fight back, and doesn't want you there, then you’re pretty much dead, but Mahin, you were so far gone already.”
“I thought I had died, actually died. There was nothing I could do to wake up.”
“Pipik’s still resting.” Pyry said, her tone making it clear that I was still allowed to be confused, “She worked in small amounts over the course of the first week, but there were bits of it she said that she could not get out of you. Since then, you've only been out by your own power.”
Something still felt wrong. Everything done with a staff took energy. How could the Rogue have had enough energy to hold nine people under a spell that a master might still have struggled with? How could Pipik, who was both keeping me firmly unconscious and working dangerous healing magic that was only taught to the few who had both made it to their last rotation and chose to learn the most difficult techniques, for so long? Why did I everyone I see look so exhausted?
The door to the clinic opened again, this time bearing Master Orhan, as big and brutish in appearance as Pyry was hard and cold. Unlike her, his appearance did little to describe his personality. Following him was one of the Aides, Mihal, bearing a sizable plate of food. Both of them bore the same signs of exhaustion as Rena and Pyry.
“Good to see you back with the living girly,” he said, smiling while Orhan went to stand by Pyry, “eat up, we've all been worried.”
“What all has been happening here since I went under?” I asked, “The lot of you look like you haven’t slept in weeks.”
“Only if you start eating,” Rena said smiling, and when I complied, nodded or Orhan to explain.
“It’s been chaos. The imperials have been on our backs since that Rogue vanished. We've been running searches and guard shifts ever since. We don’t have enough staff to keep the Aides in the classroom during class and keep a school guarded, not to mention the classes that we've had to cancel when the King’s Generals come to interrogate us. The after-class training’s been all but cancelled. It’ll be a miracle if anyone gets through examination this rotation.”
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Apr 17, 13 at 11:41am ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
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Apr 19, 13 at 6:55am ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
Friday is new chapter day C:
Spoiler:Chapter 11 - Worry
“So what do we do now?” I asked, setting the plate down next to me and looking back to the group gathered around me.
“How about we keep you alive?” Orhan said, “When that magic was wreaking havoc in your mind, it was also ravaging your body. Look at yourself, you’re practically skin and bones. I can tell by the way you move that you’re hurt, whether or not you’re telling us.”
It was true. I’d noticed my arms and my fingers both looked much thinner while I had been eating, but I had thought my eyes hadn’t been working properly. Looking closer, the sight was almost disturbing, though I was still fixated with a queer morbid fascination. Could those really be my fingers, my arms? I could see nearly every bone in my hands and wrists, and though some muscle still seemed to be clinging to the poor bones in my arms, they were still small, thin and aching. Slowly moving one skeletal hand to my face, I felt hollow skin stretched tight as a drum over very prominent bones.
“In the morning, we’ll have Pipik help you get up and moving again,” Rena said, “and the Imperials will probably want to question you.” At the look of horror on my face, she quickly elaborated, “It’s nothing personal, and you aren’t in trouble; they’ve already talked to Pyry and all of the students. They’re just trying to get as much information as they can about the whole incident.”
“There is another matter that needs to be addressed, sooner rather than later.” Pyry said, speaking up for the first time in a whie. “Remember that Pipik couldn’t purge all of that Rogue’s energies from your mind?” I nodded, and she continued, “Until we know how that is going to affect you, we’ve decided that is just is not safe for you to practice any of the techniques we teach here.”
That, more than anything that had happened so far, was a crippling blow. I was left with seemingly no air in my lungs; gasping while tears threatened to spill over my eyelids. My skill with my staff was all that I had left. Whatever family I had left was broken and tiny, if any was left, and I was too old and too tall to harvest from the fruit trees at the old plantation. From the day I’d left home I’d known there wouldn’t be a place for me to go back to.
“It’s not permanent Mahin,” Rena said, gently putting a hand on my shoulder, “We just don’t want this to happen all over again.”
“And if we’re realistic about this,”Mihal cut in, “It’ll take long enough for you to get up and moving the way you used to. I’m sure we’ll have a safety net for you by then. Besides, do you really think you’ve got enough in you right now to even use your staff?” I started shaking my head in response, but stopped quickly as it started pounding and the room began to fade out of focus.
“Why don’t you get some rest? We’ll wake you in the morning.” Everyone except for Rena got up and left the clinic. Awkwardly sliding down to lie down again, I saw her eyes still on me. “Talk to me Mahin.”
“You think I haven’t learned to read my students by now? You’re still worried about something.”
“Don’t lie to me.”
“What if it’s broken, whatever the gift is that let me join this school? I’ve got nowhere to go back to.”
“Now that,” she said, smiling again “is impossible. The council brought you here from your village because of the compassionate person that you are. It’s that part of you that lets you excel, that part of you that would rather jump out in front of an angry Ratheran than let it lay so much as a claw on old Bahme, and that’s something that no Rogue, no matter how strong, can ever change.”
“Positive, now get some rest.”
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Apr 22, 13 at 12:14am ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
Today is also new chapter day
Spoiler:Chapter 12 - Soldiers
A hand woke me from my sleep, gentle and a little tentative. For a moment, I thought it was Rena, waking me up to hand me over to the King’s Soldiers for questioning. In a way, I was half right. The hand did not belong to Rena, but in a way it made sense. If it really was morning now, she would have a class to teach. Instead, the hand belonged to who I could only assume was another aide. She had dark skin and wildly red hair like Kano, and everyone else who hailed from Moran Forest; though unlike Kano, her skin was not decorated with intricate red tattoos.
“Mahin, are you feeling okay?”
I slowly nodded in response, trying not to incite the dizziness of before. It was true; my body didn’t hurt as bad anymore, but a dull ache had set in. Aside from that, I felt as if I had no more energy than if I’d sprinted the entire perimeter of the Academy, and about as cold as if I’d done it in a heavy blizzard. Regardless, I began to try to push myself up, but only succeeded in sending spasms of pain up both my arms and falling back onto the bed.
“Here,” she said, holding out her hands for support. Taking them and letting her guide me, she had me sitting up. “Rena told me to have you eat this,” she gestured to a plate of food sitting beside the bed, “and to bring the soldiers to talk to you, but if you aren’t ready, and can tell them that you’re still sleeping.”
“No no, it’s fine. I’ll eat.”
“And the soldiers?”
“I’m ready as I’ll ever be.”
She stood up and left the room as I began picking at the serving of meat and rice. Really, it wasn’t bad, but despite how dead I felt, I just had no appetite for it. Had to be done though, and despite dropping more than I actually ate, I’d only managed to eat about half the plate when the door opened again. Two soldiers, each in full armor and fully armed followed the Aide from Moran and sat by my bedside. Before joining them, the Aide (I really should have asked her name) plucked a blanket from a nearby empty bed and wrapped it around my shoulders.
Wasting no time, the taller of the two soldiers began, “Under the authority of High King Sargon the Seventh, we are here to investigate the disappearance of a Rogue being held here. It is your obligation as a citizen of his land to answer our questions wholly and honestly. Do you understand?”
I nodded in absence of my voice. Something about soldiers here was almost more than I could comprehend. Yes, Rena had mentioned the fact last night, but it either hadn’t quite sunk in, or I wasn’t quite ‘all there’. Though the king financed and supported the school, he had never before sent his solders here. The fact that both were armed and guarded only heightened my anxiety. Were we really in that much danger? What exactly was going on?
“It is our understanding that you were summoned to assist with Mistress Pyry’s demonstration on Mind-Magic, is that correct?” I nodded again. “You went to the front of the room and then the Rogue began her tricks, correct?”
I nodded at first out of instinct, but had to think for a moment. Before she had started the Mind-Magic, hadn’t there been a moment where she’d talked only to me? Somehow, that seemed personal, but was that the sort of detail that these guards could be looking for, or were they part of the danger she was warning against? Before I could decide whether or not to share, they continued on to the next question. I suppose private messages stay private for now.
“When you were under her influence, what exactly did you see?”
Finding my voice, I began the story. “I thought I was back home on the Plantation where I’d grown up. It was harvest season, and I was younger like I was when I flew the orchard trees. We’d only just begun working when the illusion broke.”
“We?” The shorter of the two asked.
“It was part of the magic. I always worked with a friend from home, so she was there in the illusion too.”
“And you said it broke, did you sever the connection.”
“No,” I answered a little sheepishly, realizing now how different things could have gone if I had noticed sooner. “I hadn’t realized that it was fake yet.”
“At that point, what did you see?”
“It kept flashing between the classroom and the orchard for a while, so I couldn’t really tell what was going on. Then everything hurt, and I couldn’t see or hear… and then-“ I paused, trying to remember. There had been something else, something before I’d blacked out.
“Did you see anyone?” One of the guards asked.
“Yes, I think so.”
“How many?” the first guard asked, while the second asked, “Did you recognize them?”
“I’m not sure how many there were, and I don’t think I knew any of them.”
“Look at these,” said one of the guards, passing a roll of papers to me, “and see if they look familiar.”
My fingers were slow and clumsy and I tried to look through them. Most of the papers were old, yellowed and brittle, but all bore a face, and were captioned with various sums of ‘compensation’. Even in their likenesses, their faces were haunting and eerily familiar. Each of their eyes shone with something almost otherworldly, even in print. The first of the truly familiar faces hit me like a physical blow; a picture of a young girl who couldn’t be any older than ten with hair and face that definitely put her as a Lom’phlan girl. Somehow, she looked too young, or maybe I’d seen her older, but where? Had she been one of the faces I’d seen before I’d faded?
“What are these?” I asked while I continued to examine the faces.
“Wanted posters, each of those faces belong to a Rogue on the run.”
Would the King really hunt down and execute all these people? I mean, it could make sense. Rogues were dangerous, and operated outside the moral and legal limitations of Rangers. They couldn’t be trusted, but I would have never imagined that there had ever been so many! Only two other faces jumped out to me the way the little girl’s had. One was a large and clearly strong man who appeared to hail from one of the northern clans. The other was the face of the Rogue herself, the one who’d been in Pyry’s room… the girl in chains.
“These three?” He asked when I handed him back the three papers, “Were there any others? Ones who weren’t on the posters I mean.”
There had been, the two who had been standing in the front of the hoard, and it had been their faces I’d been hoping to see again, whether I’d admit it or not. “Yes.”
“Can you describe them? What clan were they from?”
“I… I don’t know.”
“You know that clanblood does not mix.”
“I didn’t mean it like that; they didn’t look like mutts. They just didn’t look like any clanfolk I know.”
“There were two, one man and one woman. The man… he was very pale. I think his hair was black, like the Kon’la, but not the rest of him. The woman was just as fair skinned, but she had hair of pure gold. Oh! Both of them had green eyes too.”
“Green eyes? Nobody’s been known to have green eyes since-“ One of the guards began, but his companion cut him off.
“Nobody’s had green eyes in Kataya. It just isn’t natural. Was there anything else?”
“Not that I can remember.”
“Well, thank you very much for your help.” And without another word, the pair of them rose and left the room.
“Mahin,” I’d almost forgot the Aide was still in the room, “you haven’t finished eating yet. Make sure you finish that off before Pipik gets in here.”
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Apr 24, 13 at 11:27pm ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
If I told you guys I was working on a costume for Mahin...
Spoiler:Chapter 13-First Step
Rehab with Pipik was, in itself, hell. Where I was trying to keep myself awake all day, it was her intention to have me able to assist in the exams, which were only about a week away. Leaning on her arm, she had me walking (or trying to) around the clinic until I literally couldn’t stand under my own power and crying too hard to make out any audible words. She’d have me wait, or more often, have me do something with my arms until she could peel me off the floor. We’d do it twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon; and in between I was all but force-fed fairly large meals. The first night I was asleep the second I hit the bed. The second however was too much and I just lay there until the night took me.
Morning of the third day of “rehab”, I could hardly move at all. Most of the initial ache from the attack had faded, but another pain took its place. I had no idea muscles could scream this kind of protest. In another time, I might have called it soreness, but that wasn’t nearly a strong enough word. Luckily, Pipik was nowhere to be seen, and I could take a few moments to test exactly how much I could move. It wasn’t until after I’d figured out that my body was completely wasted that I noticed Ani lurking in a chair by the door to the clinic. Well, napping would probably be more appropriate. By the time he woke up, I’d nearly dozed off myself. The air was warm, the bed was soft, and when I kept still, even my pain seemed to seep away a bit.
“Pipik had to go into town to get more supplies, and said she’d be back around dusk; figured you could use a break anyway.” He said, coming over and sitting beside my bed. This time at least, I could sit up on my own. “Figured you’d want something to eat.”
“I’ve honestly seen enough food to last me a lifetime.”
“Seems to be helping though, you don’t look quite so… dead anymore.” I let a smile cross my face, before he asked, “How’d your talk with the soldiers go?”
“Wasn’t much of anything important. They just asked about all what happened,” but there had been one comment I’d kept thinking about. I know what I’d seen, and delirious or not, those two had certainly had green eyes, no matter what they’d said. “Have you ever met anyone with green eyes?”
“Green eyes? Only once.”
“So they’re real?”
“Why wouldn’t they be?” He asked, clearly confused.
“It’s something the guards said, when I was describing some of the people I think I saw before I went out. They said nobody had ever had them since, well, they didn’t say who. Who is it you’ve met?”
“The chief of my Clan, Kahrsen; though I’ve only met him in person once. I’ve heard the Master Shaman from the Tribelands has them too, but I don’t know for sure. I’ve never met her.”
We sat in silence for a bit. For the life of me, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. Who was that woman was with the golden hair? I’d never seen anyone remotely like her in all my life, from any of the clans. Golden hair like hers was an oddity, only poorly mimicked by the darker blondes of the Sausa’kon, but even then their darker tones were no match for her fair skin. For all the wisdom she radiated and for all the life in those piercing, almost glowing green eyes, she betrayed no signs of aging. It was those eyes that I could feel, despite not being able to see her face anymore, as if they were still watching me. It wasn’t unsettling, like imagining Pyry watching me, but in a sense made me feel safe and secure. She just had to be real, whatever the soldiers said.
Ani broke the silence, speaking so quietly I almost couldn’t hear him. “Did you know they’re drafting Field Rangers?”
“Drafting?” The word fell oddly on my lips, like I’d heard it before but never fully grasped the meaning.
“The King’s calling just about every Ranger into the Imperial City. From what I’ve heard there’s a foreign region that’s been sending some hostilities our way.”
“Do you know which one?” I asked, mind reeling. I’d heard of foreign regions once or twice, but for the most part the concept seemed too far outside of what was important to give much thought.
He shook his head, “So far we haven’t let them land on our shores.”
The word came out before I could stop it, but I didn’t really feel like taking it back. Everyone in Kataya belonged to one of the fifteen clans, had been born and raised there just like their parents and grandparents before them. They didn’t just understand the years of culture and sacred ritual, but lived them every day. They felt the bonds between clans, and respected their ties to the Kingdom and the crown. It was those bonds, stronger than steel that kept us alive and out of Clan-War. Bring in any outsider, anyone who didn’t know our ways, or worse, who wouldn’t respect them, and we’d more than likely either kill ‘em before they pulled our clans apart. Even if we let them live, they’d never root in our land. Clanblood does not mix.
“Are you worried?” He asked, in his same quiet tone.
“Of the outsiders? I’m more worried about never getting back to my staff.”
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Apr 29, 13 at 3:12am ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
If I told you guys I broke my sewing machine working on my Mahin Costume...
Spoiler:Chapter 14 - Healing
By the time Pipik came back, night had fallen and I’d all but fallen asleep. She seemed to be carrying sacks of herbs and bandages, and most importantly of all, my staff; though by setting it against the wall by the door, she effectively told me ‘not yet’. For a minute, she focused on unpacking her bags in silence. Once she had finished, she met me at the foot of my bed.
“How are you feeling?” She asked, looking me up and down.
“Better, though I’m still sore all over. Am I gonna get to use my Staff again?”
“Soon, but not yet. Orhan just finished checking it out and as far as we can tell, it hasn’t been damaged from the accident at all. Since you’re awake now, if you’re up for it, I’m going to try to pull the last bits of the Rogue’s energies from you.”
“Are you sure Mahin?” She asked, starting to look worried, “It’s a dangerous bit of healing. With how deeply rooted she got into you I don’t know how cleanly I can get it out. I don’t know what you’ll experience when these energies are severed. I don’t even know if I can get deep enough in to be able to get them out. Do you understand?” I nodded, “and you still want to go through with it?”
“Then I have three rules you have to follow for me. You have to stay conscious; that means no falling asleep, and do your best not to let your mind wander. I also want you to sit there, and stay put. Whatever happens, keep yourself planted there or else I won’t continue. Finally, and mostly because it’s late, if you’re getting hurt in any way I need you to tell me right away. I will not put you in another coma.”
I nodded, and she retrieved her own staff, a beautiful concoction of gold metal twisted around the red gem she worked through. Sitting back beside me, she motioned that I was to keep my eyes on her for as long as I could. Then she began her art. Anything to do with healing was a tricky business, and danced on the fine line of our rules about using our magic on fellow humans. Using the access it granted for anything nasty was expressly forbidden, and was one of the traits that defined a Rogue Ranger, among many others. First, her waves of light were pure white and nearly blinding, but slowly dimmed and altered color as she adjusted it to match my own being. It was much the same theory of the more adventurous side of the work of Rangers, to match your intent to the circumstance, but in dealing with another human, you had to be infinitely more precise. Emotionally, mistakes could be made and then easily mended, but not so much with someone’s mental state. When she was confident that she had found the correct path, the intensity of the light began to build until I was completely blinded. At this point, shutting my eyes could not block out the light. It was more inside me than out, and all I could do was keep myself relaxed so as to open the path for Pipik.
As she continued, I could feel the energies everyone had been talking about. Like great pockets of light that threatened to burst at any second, these ‘energies’ obscured the visions I should be seeing by this point. No, the visions weren’t anything like fortune telling; they were usually closer to vivid recollections of memories. Bits and pieces still made their way through to me, my first day in Mistress Rena’s class and my last day in Pyry’s. Then, for a moment I saw something I can’t remember ever seeing before. It looked like a castle, or at least a large building built into a mountain face. It had been difficult to make out, as flurries of what had to have been snow danced all around. I had never been far enough north to ever see snow, but I’d heard about it from just about everyone who had.
In the next instant I was back in my own memories, or at least I thought I was. There were familiar faces all around, though I’d never seen any of them in person. The man, the one who had the dark hair and unusual green eyes was dismounting a Hycanem (the riding bird of choice among the Lom'phlan), carrying a woman who appeared to be completely unconscious and broken. It was her! The Rogue who’d been in Pyry’s room, the one who was supposed to teach us about Mind-Magic; but how could she have survived. From what Pyry herself had said, she’d taken a huge fall and hadn’t taken it well. If that man was carrying her, could he have been waiting for her outside the classroom? Had they been planning her escape from the Academy? But most disturbing of all, if he could get so close to the school without anyone knowing, who was to say there weren’t others?
Out from the stone castle came the woman, who much like the man, was of fair skin and green eyes, those same eyes that watched and protected. Was she in league with the Rogues? Could she, the one who was always watching, spying? She took the girl gently from the man’s arms, holding her almost as a mother would hold her child, with the same look of love and care, and before turning to go back inside, seemed to look right at me. Was this happening right now? Maybe there was just someone behind where I was looking in that she was looking at.
I hadn’t expected to hear anything, as usually you couldn’t in the midst of healing magic like this. Her voice alone could have sent chills up and down my spine. It wasn’t the rasping cackle of a voice we imagined Rogues to have, but calm warm, and somehow, powerful. It was then I realized how tense I’d gotten watching the scene, and then when I allowed myself to melt back into the clinic bed, and back into my own memories. By the time Pipik released me from her healing, telling me she’d gotten everything she could; my head was still spinning with what I had witnessed. Those two with the green eyes simply could not be part of my imagination, but where was that castle? As far as I knew, none of the Northern Clans had anything like it. What was really going on?
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Apr 29, 13 at 12:55pm ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
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Apr 29, 13 at 3:00pm ^re: Manifest Destiny - The Great Migration ("50th" Chapter!)
Because I'm cool enough to post two chapters in one day :3 Shorter, but meh, wrote during computer lectures this morning.
Spoiler:Chapter 15 - More Healing
Apparently I had fallen asleep when Pipik released me, because she was the one who had gently shaken me awake. The sun had already risen and she was treating two younger students who both seemed to be sporting minor burns. She asked me to get up, and walk around the room the best I could on my own. So I tried. My balance was shaky at best, and for some reason I couldn’t seem to remember how to properly put weight on my feet. After tumbling down a few times, she passed me my staff, with the obvious message ‘only as a walking stick’.
To hold my staff again was to feel like I was finally whole. It completed my arm, and moved so naturally with my body that most people wouldn’t believe that I hadn’t had it for my entire life. Clinging it to help me balance, I was able to cross the room, and make it back to my bed without incident.
“Again, please.” She said without turning around just as I’d sat back down.
So I rose and repeated the process, trying to make my legs more cooperative with each step. Whether I was successful or not was another matter entirely. Before I was finished, I was made to stumble across the room six times in all, and was grateful for the rest when it finally came. She’d just sent the two students on their way, and then sat down beside me.
“We’re at a good place now Mahin. During our session last night I was able to get just about everything out of you.”
“Just about?” I asked, knowing exactly what the implication meant.
“There were pieces of it either in too deep, or too closely attached to something inside you, but they are so few and far between that I don’t see them causing any real problems, unless of course you get attacked by Mind-Magic again.”
“What would happen then?” I asked.
“Exactly, I’m not sure. I’ve never seen this before, though I think it’s safe to say you will be more susceptible to its influence, and that its hold will be harder to break. It might trigger an attack similar to what happened in Pyry’s classroom. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about that for a while. Our biggest goal right now is to get you back in the classroom for the last few days before the examinations. If things go well today, you’ll be back tomorrow. Now, eat your lunch and we’ll get started.”
‘Getting started’ basically meant doing some basic exercises that students (albeit not my students) would do in the classroom. She would flash one color with her staff, and I’d have to match it as quickly as I could. Once she was satisfied with my reactions, she moved on to have me mimic specific patterns, paying close attention to the time each color was held for. This part of me at least, didn’t seem to have deteriorated like the rest of me since the attack. Allowing my emotions to flow, I could match her colors with ease. She was watching me the whole time, but what negative signs she was looking for she never found. None of the patterns I had to display brought about any sort of relapse, large or small. There weren’t any flashes of places or people I’d never seen before, and no pains (other than what I had acquired through ‘healing’).
“I’ll have you stay here one more night Mahin,” she said, “but tomorrow morning you’ll be back in Bahme’s room.”
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