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Sounds and Visions Under The Plains[Training/Plot]

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Zion

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An unlikely pair shot through the early morning sky of the great plains like a blazing meteorite. Zion Koval’s silvery white hair danced behind him along with nine bushy tails. His ears were now those of a fox and his facial structure had shifted slightly to appear more naturally cunning. There was a large carpet full of treasures pilfered from the dark auction slung over Zion’s shoulder with one arm while the other held firmly onto his staff which was directing its magic onto a curled up ball of lava. ”Oi, do you know where you are going? We’ve been flying for hours now.” A demonic face shifted to face the doll expressing some concern. Though Zafar was grateful for Zion’s help as even his new lava body could not move as fast as Zion’s flight, there was a problem. Zion was still immature as a magician and his magoi stores were not able to sustain the flight spell used on Zafar for much longer. The former assassin was well versed in reading people and he could see the strain of magoi exhaustion starting to show on Zion’s face despite the cheerful smile he had. If they stopped suddenly, then their pursuers would catch up in no time.

The gravely words of the lava beast brought Zion’s mind to focus. The liberating freedom of flight had taken over and for most of the journey Zion had practically forgetten why he was running. It simply felt so pure and natural to dash through the skies, the rukh of storms that existed in the air responded to his thoughts as gusts propelled his body forward freely and without restraint. The draining magoi had been an afterthought until his traveling companion mentioned something. ”...I’m not sure, but we can’t really afford to stop. Mind running on your own for a while? Flying comes naturally to me now, but I’m not sure I can maintain the spell carrying you much longer.” Zion asked politely as if he had forgotten that this creature of earth and flame was a perverse and twisted killer. Having worked together in a moment of crisis, the young magician couldn’t help but feel some sort of bond with Zafar now.

”Do you want a trail of burnt footsteps to give away which way we went? I have a better idea!”

Zion looked towards Zafar with an expecting gaze, ”A better idea? If we don’t stop they will catch us for sure. I doubt we’ve given them the slip yet.” He didn’t think it was possible to lose the agents of that underworld auction easily, but Zafar was a man of the underworld himself. It could be said that he was much more of an expert on the subject than Zion. ”If we keep running, we get caught for sure. When escaping the scene, its best to disappear somewhere not too far away and lay low there long enough that people have stopped looking for you. Set me down somewhere we can hide a hole. I’ll burrow out an underground chamber and you can find something to cover it up like a large stone. We can hide in there for a few weeks and let things blow over.” At first thought the plan wasn’t very appealing, but being trapped in the dark also meant a place to rest and recover his magoi. It was better than running to exhaustion with no where to go. After all, they were in the middle of the vast plains. There was little more than grass for miles around.

”Alright, lets use that spot over there then. There are only an hour or so until the sun comes up.”

With a gesture of his staff, Zafar was carried along with Zion as he decended towards an area with tall grass and a few weather worn stones sticking up out of the ground sparsely scattered about. The blazing Zafar was released from the gravity spell as he uncurl his body and took a divers pose as he pin pointed all his heat and force to immediately start tunneling through the earth with clawing and burning. Zion waved his arm and created a small localized storm to disperes the smoke just in case it was spotted even in the darkness of the early morning. After half an hour of excavation, Zafar carved out a somewhat spacious underground cave. There was a narrow tunnel leading three meters down before opening up into small room for Zion to rest with another tunnel leading off a fair distance for Zafar to relax without overheating Zion. Beforce descending into the hole himself, Zion tapped the ground with his staff activating its inherent life magic. As Zion disappeared into the hole bushes and other plantlife grew over it blocking the hole from view.

The Lava Beast, Zafar, seemed to be content to simply consume more earth and lounge in his chamber enjoying the constant burning sensations running through hi body. Normally Zafar would be overcome with urges and desires to go out an murder after waiting in one spot like this for too long but as the days passed he found that his existence as a lava beast was pleasure enough to content his perverse nature. Zion, on the other hand, found life in the underground chamber to be less than desireable. The only light came in the form of a soft orange glow bounding off the tunnel walls that led of Zafar’s lava pool. It was warm, but damp and humid with no books to entertain himself with.  The first thing he did was lay open his flying carpet to inspect all of the items he had obtained from the auction. It was relieving to see all of his own magic tools present and Zafar’s weapons were certainly interesting. There were also a couple random tools he had obtained such as a magic flute and pair of boots. Perhaps the most interesting find was a smal crystallized mass of rukh.

Tentatively, Zion reached out and touched the crystal. Its name immediately came to the tip of his tongue as Zion muttered, ”Shard of Solomon…” A deep expression came over Zion’s face. This was the object his father, Mikael had used to give his body the rukh of a real soul. It could almost be said that if Mikael were his father then a shard like this had been his mother. Zion began to adjust his clothing so that all of his gear could be held on his person in case he needed to flee again on short notice. But once that was done there was not much else for Zion to do other than to practice his magic and explore the features of his new body. It was the only thing he could do to distract himself from the fear that at any moment the entrance to their chamber could be blown open by their pursuers.

Closing his eyes and reaching out to the rukh around him, Zion used his light magic to improve the ambience and appearance of his chamber. The gentle blue of a clear sky painted the cieling the appearance of a grassy field slowly came into focus. It was still hot and humid but at least this gave Zion the feeling of being above ground. It didn’t take long before Zion began to consider the invonceniences of his new form and what sort of solutions his magic could provide. It was now the reverse of Zion’s previous problem. His outsides were previously human enough but internal inspections would reveal Zion’s unnatural nature as a living doll. Now he looked to be the monster those would consider him were they to know of his truth, but at least the strangeness of his rukh and magoi system could be explained as part of the djinn’s power.

Illusioned were the only way Zion could protect himself so he sought to expand his ability to perform them by thinking back to the books he had read on sound magic. Green Rukh of the 6th type. Its uses myriad and profound, its secrets obscure and expansive. Zion was familiar with seeing this rukh everywhere and on a daily basis as it was a phenomenon that occured in response to physical action of almost every degree and intensity. It was easy not to notice all the green rukh fluttering about in response as they are so scattered and small typically, but when focusing on them Zion found that the sound rukh were even more ever present than he had thought. Immerssing himself in the sounds of his finger tapping the ground, Zion discovered a series of rythems. If he tapped different objects he would get different sounds and slowly Zion began to compose a simple song of taps and claps. After a few days of this he moved on to experiementing with linquistics and started to produce various sounds with his mouth. It was almost like he was trying to learn to speak as at first he only produced crude noises without meaning. But then Zion started to speak words with meaning and purpose and to his shock the rukh behaved significantly differently than if he were just making random sounds. The intention behind the words were of importance in how the rukh behaved.

Revelation. Zion had never given thought to why the words of magicians could draw out the power of the world and bend its building blocks to their will. The words carried meaning, but not all words with meaning brought forth feats of magic. Withing words with meaning were an even more specific class of words which cause the rukh to resonate in excitement. Those words of truths about the world were learned from the rukh itself. As Zion came to this realization a sound magic spell came to mind and Zion naturally spoke the word as his staff tapped the ground. The sound of grass swaying in a gentle breeze began to slowly surround Zion as it began to fall in sync with the visual illusion of a field he had created. Together, the to two sensory tricks manifested by the rukh were enough to make Zion forget the heat for a moment. With his eyes closed he could almost feel the fake wind across his skin.

Once Zion discovered one spell he continued to probe the sound rukh for their mysteries. As he continued to cast sound magic the resonating feeling of tuning began to swell up inside Zion. Every fiber of his being seemed to come into alignment with the vibrations of the rukh. Soon Zion’s body started to create a buzzy humming noise. The buzzing spread throughout the chamber and down the tunnel leading to Zafar. The lava beast was leisurely dropping stones into its mouth like grapes when the buzzing suddenly induces an intense sense of vertigo. Though Zafar held a stone just above his mouth his sense of balance and direction warped so much it felt like his arm was melting off into one direction as his head  sank towards the other direction. The stone dropped only to land on Zafar’s forehead causing him to scowl and shout out in anger.

”Whatever you’re doing, stop! This is a nightmare!”

The lava beast cried out pitifully causing Zion to send a surge of magoi thourgh his body to supress the tuning. After rushing over to ask Zafar what had happened, Zion determined that his sound tuning produced a noise capable of disturbing the senses of others. For the sake of his fellow escaped dungeon beast, Zion decided to put a hold on further sound magic tuning and turned his attention to another type of magic he had been eager to learn. Clairvoyance magic. Once Zion was able to learn that, he could begin to learn more about his father and his research.  With that in mind he returned to his chamber and began to experiment with clairvoyance instead.

There was one rule for clairvoyance magic that always had to be followed and that was to use another type of rukh as a medium for it. Rather than a rukh of its own type, clairvoyance was a classification of magic which could be applied to all of the various types. By asking the rukh for information, one could convince them to reveal events both distant in time and location alike. However, it wasn’t as simple as asking the rukh as one must sometimes provide materials or data related to what one want’s to know. Zion had once read a book by Kornel Klien about clairvoyance magic. At the time Zion thought the snide remarks about those who had a knack for clairvoyance could learn it and that those who didn’t have a talent were simply out of luck. Back then Zion failed to learn clairvoyance magic and had simply accepted that he wasn’t a natural at the craft. But after learning that the man who penned that book was his enemy, Zion felt a different reaction when thinking back to those words. Refusing to give up simply because it didn’t come second nature to him, Zion began to experiement with queries and questions towards the rukh.

Strength magic was Zion’s primary type so he started with that first, bur asking for pure force to convey images was difficult. Gravity and force could shift the dusty cave ground displaying crude depictions but that wasn’t practical as there would not always be loose sand or dirt around to use so Zion shifted his focus to light magic thinking that sound would be just as bad as strength unless he was trying to eavesdrop. Light magic was far more flexible to convey information Zion found as it could produce images and letters. To start with, Zion simply asked the rukh to let him see the area outside their cave. A small window of light before Zion would then reveal a birds eye view of the area they were in looking down at the brush and grass that covered the entrance. Weeks passed and slowly Zion began to expand the range he could ask the rukh to look for him from just a few meters to spanning the plains. By using some of the rukh of his own body he could even ask them to display the state of his home. Zion was relieved to find that it was still in one piece though business didn’t seem to be doing well at the outpost. He was also relieved that there were no strange tuning effects associated with clairvoyance magic. The magic type he was using as a medium seemed to take precedence as clairvoyance wasn’t technically a rukh type of its own.

Just as Zion put his mind to rest by spying on his own estate, the orange glow at the end of Zafar’s tunnel slowly grew closer and brighter as the Lava Beast emerged from its reclusion, ”It’s been about a month, if they were going to search this area they already searched it a few times. I think it’s safe for you to go out now.” The demonic looking face of the lava beast was frightening but Zion felt no fear as he noticed the subtle hint in Zafar’s words. ”You aren’t coming?” Zion asked with a raised brow as the illusory grass frield around him faded and he stood up from his seated position. ”You can move around without starting a fire or sticking out too much. I used to have desires but this new body makes them numb and empty. Now I just want to eat more rich minerals and burn as hot as possible.” Thought it was hard to detect if Zafar was happy or sad about this from the strange earthen voice his body produced, Zion still felt it wasn’t right to consign Zafar to living out his days underground.

”Come with me. I have a place you can stay.”

Rather than a sense of debt, Zion felt that offering Zafar a home was simply the right thing to do. The lava beast was uninterested until a diet of rare minerals was mentioned at which point Zafar seemed to become a one track mind. Together, the two emerged from their month and a half long seclusion and headed towards the Koval Estate.

[Magician C-tier → B-tier: 2000+/2000]


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