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1Ascension [Plot/Private/Training] Empty Ascension [Plot/Private/Training] on 01/06/15, 04:30 pm

The first thing Ariella noticed was the lack of sound. No noises of combat, no screaming or roaring. The only thing she could hear was the gentle tinkle of rukh. Battle was noisy and full of distracting noises, but there was none of that here, only the calm and soothing sound of rukh. It was unnerving, she could not even hear herself breath. It was then that she noticed that she wasn’t breathing. She couldn’t feel her chest at all… or the rest of her body for that matter. It was like her body did not exist, but she was still aware of existing. Her first thought was to panic, but she realized that she had no urge to. It just did not feel appropriate to panic in this place full of serenity and peace. She finally tried to look around and suddenly, around her, everything came into focus. Darkness embraced her, but there was light. In fact, there were paths and streams of light and it took her a bit to realize the sound of tinkling rukh came from these streams. The streams were made up of pure rukh, rushing about in the darkness.

Where was she? Where was everyone else? She had been fighting only moments ago, launching a spell as she tried to protect Noir, and now she was… somewhere… nowhere? She finally decided to try and look at her own body and panic finally struck her. She had no body, not a true one. She was an ephemeral figure with no substance. It took her several moments to notice that, slowly, walls seemed to be fading into existence around her. Slowly, slowly and then all at once, she was in a grand room filled with books. The Academy in Magnostadt had a massive collection of books, but next to this, it looked paltry. There were books everywhere, crammed onto shelves, laying on tables, scattered on the floor. The room itself was hard to describe, given the large number of books, but at the other end of the room, a large figure was sitting cross-legged, calmly watching her examine the surroundings. The room had the same sense of calm as the darkness from a few moments ago, though the expansive freedom was not present.

She spun to look behind her, her brow furrowing to see no door, only another wall with more books. In fact, there seemed to be no entrance or exit to the massive enclosure, just more books and the large figure. She turned back to face the figure, sensing no aura of danger, only calmness. She cocked her head to the side as she studied the figure, something about it looking slightly familiar, yet altogether different, and she scoured her memory for why it might be recognizable. Her hand came to her throat to rub at the pendants hanging there while she thought before, with a jolt, memories of the dungeon came rushing to the front. The Djinn, Gremory, had the same imposing stature and odd blue skin.

“Are you a Djinn?”

The figure chuckled, an oddly gentle sound from such a large body. It appeared to be male and wearing very little, aside from a cloth around his waist. He raised a hand in greeting slowly, as though being careful not to startle her.

“I am, but I am not.”

The answer made Ari’s brow furrow in concentration. He was a Djinn, but he wasn’t? Was this a dungeon of some sort, hidden in the island? She did not remember touching an entrance, but she realized the darkness and paths of light she had seen before were very similar to what she had seen upon touching the entrance to Gremory. She had not known what she was looking at then, either, aside from streams of rukh moving through what seemed to be a void.

“Is this a-”

“Dungeon? No. This is what is known as the Sacred Space. It is where I stay… and observe.”

The words were even more confusing to the young magician and her mind tumbled over itself, trying to understand. She had been on the island, surrounded by mayhem and then suddenly, she was here, where ever ‘here’ was. In the Sacred Space. She had been protecting Noir, something had struck through her back… She raised a hand to her chest, only she had no hand and no chest to speak of, simply a shifting of light. Was she… had she died? As her eyes widened, the figure smiled gently at her, an expression of understanding passing across his face.

“You died. You died protecting an innocent young woman, in a place I take a piqued interest in. To prevent your rukh from fueling the island to greater heights of depravity, I interceded. I brought your rukh directly back to the Great Flow.”

If Ari had a body, she would have fallen to the ground then. As it was, her vision simply lowered as her soul tried to comply with her mind’s request.

“Ah, yes. You are probably unnerved by that. Allow me…”

With a wave of his hand, a rush of sensation covered Ari, one of the most disturbing and fascinating things she had ever felt, and suddenly she had form again. She raised a hand to find it was, indeed, a hand, flexing the fingers experimentally. Her body responded to her commands as she remained knelt on the floor, her fingers and arm moving fluidly. As she watched her fingers move, her mind tried to digest that she was dead. So this is what death was? A room full of books? It made her think of classes at the Academy, not the afterlife. Wait, he had said she had been directed to the Great Flow… was that what the rivers of rukh were?

“I… what?”

The figure chuckled, standing to move towards her. To her, he seemed larger than even an Imuchakk, though he moved with more grace than their bulky frames. He moved closer and reached down to offer her a hand, which she took with some hesitation. She still felt no risk of danger, but her confusion made her cautious. She allowed him to help her into a standing position, his voice rolling out smoothly.

“I have enough power to meddle with the Flow, if need be. I made sure your body and rukh were not able to be consumed by the power of the island and guided you to the Great Flow. As I helped guide you, I examined your life, your aspirations, and your actions. They impressed me. So instead of letting you continue through the Flow, I brought you here.”

Ari was dumbfounded. All of the figure’s words were so simple, yet so complex, the concepts confounding. This… man? Being? Was powerful enough to interject on behalf of Fate itself… and had brought her here? What was this man? Who was he?

“I… what should I call you?”

“I have gone by many names for many people. But you may call me Ugo.”



Last edited by Ariella Negri on 01/06/15, 09:47 pm; edited 1 time in total


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“What do you know of Magi?”

The question made Ari tilt her head to the side as she thought. The mention of the word ‘Magi’ brought one thing to mind, The Contractor, and Yoshiro’s words about the man. Ari sat on the floor, one leg propped up with her arm wrapped around it as she spoke with Ugo.

“I have heard of one, though we do not know his true name. He goes around the world, offering power to those of his choosing. Sometimes in the form of raising a dungeon, other times by offering a strange magic tool, filled with black rukh. The power he gives in that manner… It is terrifying. He is more powerful than any magician ever rumored to exist.”

Ugo nodded at her words, not seeming surprised by the limited amount of information she had. When he spoke, his voice seemed to echo through the room.

“Ah, him. A Magi, yes… but he twisted the power and purpose to fulfill his own needs. A Magi is… hmmm, how best to explain. Your world is imperfect, to be sure. To try and help guide your world along the path of Fate, certain people are granted access to power, through dungeons.”

Ugo reached out then, gently touching the Transcendent Pendant hanging from Ariella’s throat.

“Gremory. A very intelligent man, and even more intelligent as a Djinn. Through the dungeon, candidates are tested. Tested for their mettle, their determination, their purpose, their drive. Each of the djinn look for different traits, things they believe would make the most suited person to rule over all people, to guide them along the flow of Fate. When one defeats their dungeon, they grant a portion of their power to that candidate.”

His touch moved to the small necklace Azix had given her, a fond smile crossing Ugo’s face.

“Cimeies. You know much of this part, already, I am guessing. You wear a trinket linked to a Djinn, yourself. You serve a candidate that has cleared the challenges and gained the respect and servitude of a powerful Djinn.”

Ari looked down at the pendant, a sad smile curving her lips. She remembered her earnest desire to assist Azix in his goals for the world and the response resonating in her mind, offering her a small bit of power linked to Azix’ own vessel.

“Azix Niraj. He holds the Djinn of Pestilence and Plague. Though the only thing we were really told was he was seen fit to wield the power to rule. I do not think any of us realized it was intended on such a large scale. But what does this have to do with Magi and The Contractor?”

Ugo chuckled at her impatience, returning to his cross legged position, resting his hands on his knees.

“Patience, young Ariella. This is all tied together, and rather lengthy to try to explain. Candidates are officially chosen by the Djinn, but, typically, they are guided to discover this power through the help of a Magi. A Magi is intended to guide candidates. Magi are responsible for raising dungeons and guiding them through to discover the powers to be taken from it. They stand at the side of the chosen candidates, to encourage them and to help them in whatever way they can.”

He paused, offering her time to digest the information. A human’s mind could only take so much at any given time. He had centuries of information but only a rather short time to impart this on others. Ari heard the words and sifted them through her mind. It was a fairly simple concept, similar to the role she already held for Azix, supporting him on his path.

“So what does all of this Magi thing have to do with me? Are there other Magi, aside from The Contractor? Why is he able to grant powers outside of a dungeon?”

Ugo sighed, the enthusiasm was nice, but he had been without conversation for too long to count and he found it somewhat exhausting to try and parse down the information for the young woman. Regardless, he was eager to share what he could with her and tried to answer her as best he could.

“As for him, he is a tale for later. But the short version of the answer is, he creates an artificial Djinn of black rukh. We will speak more of him later. As for other Magi, he had created two… extensions of himself, granting them a piece of himself. They developed along different lines and eventually began finding candidates of their own, never realizing they were nothing more than a piece of him. When he tired of their antics, he took them back into himself. Right now, he is the only one conscious of holding the power of a Magi. Soon, you shall join his ranks. There is one other, but they have yet to be awakened to their true Fate. At any one time, there are three Magi present in your world. Some never discover their true nature, others reject their Fate, and some simply do not stay alive long enough to achieve their purpose. When one Magi passes, I carefully select another soul and send it to your world to fill the gap left. Very recently, a child destined to become Magi was lost to disease. I had not yet chosen another to take its place, and that is when your precious soul came to my attention.”

Ari froze at the implications. It was a massive amount of information to absorb and she was having difficulty grasping all of it. By the end of his small speech, her role in all of this was becoming much clearer. Her voice shook slightly when she spoke again.

“Am I… to become a Magi?”

“Typically, a fresh soul is chosen for the role and responsibilities of being a Magi. However, your world is in a time of great conflict and you have shown a trait I do not see often, the desire to see another rule, to use your existing power to assist a candidate in any way you can. Most who hold power wish to keep it for themselves, to use it, to abuse it, to be the one in control. Where another Magi would have to spend much time finding themselves a candidate, you already have one. So, this time, I am making an exception. Rather than sending a clean slate, I would like to send you to guide those with power. I have looked into your soul and found you to have potential and the best of intentions for those around you and for the world.”

Ari was frozen in shock. Her whole life had been spent being watched and probed, pushed to her limits, judged for every decision and found lacking. Yet, now, a being of great power was telling her that she was worthy and capable. The questions raced in her mind, rapidly churning in her head. She would be returned to her world? She could seek out her love? She could continue to guide the world to becoming a greater place, filled with unity and equality? What did all of this mean? Why her? What exactly was the power of a Magi? Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Ugo laughing and she looked up to see him smiling.

“I am not trying to be rude. It is just that all of your questions are rolling across your face. You would laugh if you could see the multitude of expressions you are displaying right now. Worry not, child. I am will do my best to answer all of your questions.”

With that, Ugo set out to explain what he could to the young magician.




Time seemed different here, like it did not exist. She knew she and Ugo had been talking for what must have been hours, but she did not feel tired, nor hungry. When she asked about it, Ugo simply said they were both within and without the flow of time. Somehow, she knew asking him to clarify that statement would only confuse her further, so she let the matter drop.

They talked about anything and everything she could think of, what Djinn were, what the world was, what the powers of a Magi were, and the history of her world. When she asked about his world, Ugo would simply redirect the conversation, seemingly intent on keeping her focused on her own world and how she could influence it. He explained how Magi were not bound to a single magic type, or even two or three. In fact, they had access to every magic type she had learned about and a few she had no knowledge about. He told her about how Magi had the ability to utilize not only their own magoi, but magoi from the world around them, making them a formidable foe. He explained how Magi could use this ample source of magoi to manifest Djinn for a short period. Though it would not improve the use of their abilities, it would allow them to communicate.

Ari was certain that if time had flowed normally, they would have been talking long into the night and maybe into the next day, but still, she was not tired or hungry, felt no urge to relieve herself. And so they talked and talked until finally Ugo stopped them, insisting she go and meditate on all of the information and to rest, even though she did not feel tired. He promised that once she had taken some time to digest everything, she could fill her mind with whatever information she desired. With a huff of stubbornness, Ari retreated to a part of the room not covered in books and tried to clear her mind so she could reflect on everything she had been told. When she was done, she would begin studying for her new role as a Magi.


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Ugo had been right to make her take a small break, it had been so much information and she had not stopped to really consider the implications and depth of what she had been told. With a great deal of effort, Ari had worked to clear her mind so she could begin examining each bit of information and how it interconnected to other bits of trivia. She could not tell if she had spent minutes or days in her meditative state, sorting through everything, but she eventually emerged feeling refreshed and ready to learn more. Ugo was flipping through the pages of one of the many books when she finally rejoined him, the large blue figure carefully closing the tome before smiling at her.

“Feel better?”

Ari nodded sheepishly, feeling childish for being stubborn about taking a break to make sure she understood everything he had told her. When Ugo’s imposing figure waved around to the books, Ariella took the queue and began searching the room for a tome that might catch her eye. Finally, one did, the title indicating it was a comprehensive collection of information about the different magic types. While she had covered many of the magic types in her studies, she had not given it too much attention, as she knew she would never be able to use them all. Now, she would be able to study more in depth and then turn that knowledge into practical use.

The first magic type explained was heat. She had grown up watching her father sling fire in skilled displays of combat prowess, but only recently had she begun delving into the art itself. She found it easy to hone her focus in on the tome, even though she knew much of the information, seeing it with the knowledge that she would be able to fully access and manipulate the magic type beyond her dabbling gave context to what she was reading. Heat was one of the simpler magic types, though its uses were quite varied. The way the tome was written presented magic in a different light, as though it almost pre-dated the way magic was used now. The ideas and themes were nearly identical, but it almost felt like a more rustic version, not nearly as refined. At the same time, it felt less limited that what she remembered learning at the Academy. She did not know how long she read, time simply did not seem to be an object or issue here.

By the time she finished the part on heat magic, her head was swimming with different ideas and concepts, which she promptly began babbling about to Ugo. He was patient and helpful, pointing out where she misunderstood a concept or encouraging her to push further along a line of thinking. Once she felt more certain of her understanding, she moved to the corner she had been in before, meditating on what had been in the pages and striving to commit as much as she could to memory. She was familiar enough with heat magic that she knew how to identify the rukh responsible, but she needed time to ponder on the idea that not only could heat magic inspire flames and burning heat, but could also be used to remove the heat from a certain area, to command the red rukh to scatter away, dropping the temperature. She could also use heat magic to boil someone’s blood or to cauterize a wound to keep them from bleeding to death. It was nice to know that such a destructive magic type could be used in other ways.




After a long meditation on heat magic, Ari returned to the tome. The next section covered water magic, one of the types more foreign to her. While she had seen Garret use and manipulate the blue rukh, she had never attempted it herself. What she had seen of his magic, he seemed to favor ice more than water. When she had first met him, he had literally slid onto a rooftop on a path of ice with Serene to join in the shenanigans of the ‘Star Gazer’s Club’. The next time she had met him, he had used ice to create a box under the water which protected the others in the group from her own lightning magic, making sure the currents would not harm her allies, but he had also created a way for them to breathe under the water. The pages told of how water magic, like heat magic, could increase or decrease the water in an area.

Ari contemplated the uses of it. A magician could encourage a flow of water to assist crops or could use it to drown a person on dry land. With the additional applications of ice, it was far more versatile than heat, allowing one to create slick, sharp, punishing spells instead of just the simple, gentle flow of water. The ability to change the state of the magic type from a fluid to a solid made it especially dangerous and she found herself garnering even more respect for Garret, to be able to master such a complex magic type.

Part of her wished to be someplace else, where she could find and commune with the different magic types more naturally, but it seemed like hunger and thirst did not exist in this place, so she doubted there would be a source of running water. With a contemplative hum, Ari looked up to Ugo, a sudden moment of realization crossing her mind.

“Where is my staff?”

“Ah, you wish a magical medium. Due to possibilities of interfering with the Great Flow, I ask you hold off on the practical portion of your learning until I return you to your world. Remember, magic requires that you ask things of rukh, which is plentiful enough around here. But this rukh is not intended for such a purpose. This is the Great Flow, where souls pass through life and death according to their Fate. Fear not, you will have plenty of time to practice. For now, return to your studies.”

Ari conceded his point without argument, choosing instead to repeat her earlier actions of meditating on what the book had told her of water rukh. When she felt her mind become comfortable with the new information, she reviewed her knowledge of heat magic, eager to remember as much as she could.




She really wished she had a means of telling time here. There was no sun rising or setting to give her a concept of time, only a gentle glow of magically fueled lamps. Trying to put aside her disquiet about the lack of tracking the passage of time, she focused on the tome once more. The next topic brought a smile to her face, light magic. She had seen this one in action on multiple occasion, a favorite magic type of her love. A pang of longing echoed through her and she allowed herself to become lost in memories of Azix for a bit before Ugo cleared his throat and nodded to the tome. Frowning, Ari turned back to the pages, sadly pushing the memories out of her focus. She was already versed enough in the complexity of the magic type that the book did not offer her too many insights, though it did help her become more familiar with how to identify and manipulate the rukh responsible. She had never actually used light magic, so it did not hurt to gather as much information as possible so that she could accurately call upon it once she was returned to her world.

The magic type was diverse, like all magic types, able to cause burns or to blind a person. But she had personally seen it used in other ways, such as removing all light from an area to create darkness. Blindness was not always caused by a brilliant light, but sometimes by a complete absence of it. The thought made her give a small shudder, thinking of her time in Gremory, when she had been thrown into darkness, once of her greatest fears, only to have that fear multiplied by the visions given to her. She physically shook the memory from her head, knowing she would never be able to focus if she began to think about Lilly and the atrocities the small girl was capable of.

The serenity of the room made it easy for her to meditate on what she learned, the only sounds being the turning of pages as Ugo looked through books. She could not imagine having to spend too long in this room, as Ugo seemed to have. The idea of being in complete silence for months or years made her think she would lose her mind. It was nice, for right now, having the freedom and peace to be able to study, but she knew it would become dull quickly.




After another round of meditating and reviewing everything she had learned so far, Ari picked up the book again. The section on Lightning magic held no revelations for the yellow magician, one of her most familiar and beloved magic types. She did scan through the entire section, but quickly moved on, her attention piqued as the flowing script in the tome began talking about wind magic. It explained how white magicians were able to create a whirlwind capable of moving objects or even dealing stinging injuries from the sheer speed of the wind. She had, on numerous occasions, considered trying to study wind magic in more depth, but had felt pulled to lightning and life.

It was a natural thing to think of wind when her primary magic type was lightning, the two elements usually presented together in nature by way of storms. While she had always found herself drawn to the lightning strikes created by a storm, there were so many other aspects to them, such as wind and rain. As her eyes wandered to the next section, sound, she thought of the thunder rumbling in a storm as well. Putting those thoughts on hold, she began reading on sound magic.

The suggested applications of sound made her hum in contemplation. Typically, when she thought about sound magic, she only considered loud noises or a complete lack of noise. But it was easy to forget how sound could affect the world around it, such as making water ripple or making your skin cover in bumps after a high pitch. She had also forgotten that certain pitches could rupture something in your and that not everyone heard the same pitches. Some animals could hear things no human could or communicated using sounds no human could create.

She took another break to discuss and digest the information, asking for clarification on some points with Ugo, the mysterious figure answering what he could or directing her to a passage she had missed in the book. He even took the time to quiz her on what she had learned so far, making her feel like a student all over again. The words of her father rang in her mind, his stern voice echoing in her head about how a great magician never stopped being a student, never stopped asking questions and striving to find the answers. It seemed even dead magicians continued to learn, making her snicker softly.




As though sensing Ari needed a longer break from her studies, Ugo summoned her close before waving his hand, one wall of the room seeming to dissolve before her eyes, granting her the ability to view the void beyond. The view was awe-inspiring, rivers of rukh flowing smoothly through the blank canvas of darkness. But the longer she stared, the more she began to notice that the canvas was not, in fact, void of anything other than the Great Flow. Slowly, she became aware of other things, lights, in the darkness. She turned a questioning look to Ugo, who was gazing fondly on the expansive view.

“Each of those lights you see is another universe. In each of those clusters, there are any number of worlds. Some like yours, some so different, you would not even begin to be able to comprehend what is there. Beautiful, is it not?”

Ari nodded in agreement, for once feeling no urge to pester him with questions. She was content to simply enjoy the view. The seeming rivers of rukh made her mind consider what Fate was, and how Fate was decided. Did it simply exist? Was there an entity behind it? She knew Ugo had the ability to alter the Great Flow, but he had not said he had created it, only that he had the ability to influence it. The idea of Gods had never really been something she had bothered herself with, too concerned with the world around her to seek answers from a deity from afar. She was aware there were those that had gods, her grandmother had told many stories about Heliohapt and the various gods the different sects worshipped, but it had never been a focus for anyone in her family.

She appreciated the break Ugo had nudged her towards, giving her mind time to rest without trying to absorb and retain information. If she listened closely, she could hear the soft tinkle of the rukh as it rushed by in the Flow and it made her smile. It was such a light, uplifting sound, filling her with a sense of hope, peace, and purpose.

With a sigh, she took one last glance before Ugo waved his hand, the wall reappearing to separate them from the peaceful scene. He had not mentioned how much time she had, but she had gotten the sense that her time was relatively limited. He seemed eager for her to learn quickly so that she might return to her world. With a renewed sense of determination, she turned back to the tome.

[2319/3000 Omega-Tier Int Training]


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The extensive tome went over strength magic next and Ari settled in to read. While both her father and Azix used strength magic, it was not their primary type and both seemed to favor using it in combination with another element. She had some experience using it on her own, the token she had claimed from Gremory holding a couple of basic strength spells. On top of that, it also held the key to gravity magic, something every magician learned early on. Strength was fascinating, pure force making it one of the purest magic types, in her opinion. She did not spend overly long ruminating on the applications of the black rukh and flipped the page to begin reading on life magic.

While she was intimately familiar with the magic type, between her own experience and her mother’s extensive knowledge, it never hurt to see if the book had anything else to offer her. She appreciated how versatile the magic type was, able to help or hurt a person in equal parts. She had a plethora of spells on both end of the spectrum, but she found herself reading more in-depth about the idea of life constructs. She knew that making constructs out of life magic was one of the more controversial aspects of the type, many magicians wanting to push it further to not only give their constructs movements and the ability to follow basic commands, but to try and infuse it with a soul of its own. She had never had the urge, herself, the idea of artificial life disturbing her to her core. It was one thing to encourage something to grow, it was entirely different to try and give something a soul that did not have one naturally. It was the closest she came to having religious inclinations, feeling Fate was better suited for creating life.

She closed the book to meditate on everything she had gathered about the eight basic magic types and some of their variations, trying to frame them in her mind as something she could and would be using soon instead of just trying to grasp a general understanding. She would need to be able to understand the types well enough to actually put them into use, which required a more well-rounded understanding of them. She was eager to try them out, but knew she would have to wait.

Again, her mind drifted to the passage of time, realizing she had not slept or even become tired since her arrival here, though she was certain several days must have passed. Deciding she should at least attempt to sleep, she stretched out on the floor, gazing at the ceiling of the room. Ugo glanced over at her shifting, arching a brow before realizing what she was attempting to do and choking off a chuckle. She had not adjusted to the lack of time and human needs here, and he pondered a moment before waving his hand, the ceiling becoming clear so she could gaze upon the void beyond the Sacred Space. Perhaps it was best she did not allow herself to become adjusted, she would be returning to her world soon enough and it would not be good to have her forgetting to eat or sleep there. It did not take long for the gentle sounds of snoring to fill the room as the young magician drifted off.




Ari stretched as she sat up. The nap had not been necessary, she had not been sleepy, but it had helped her mind to sort and pilfer through all of the new knowledge she had been shifting through it. When she had been unconscious, her mind had tidied up and removed the clutter, making it easier for her to sift through everything. Feeling ready to tackle the next part of the book, Ari picked it up, eager to know what else the book might cover.

With an arched brow, she saw that the book went beyond the eight basic magic types. She had assumed the rest of the book would simply be practical application or theories surround the magic types, but it began explaining about Clairvoyance magic. Ari glanced up at the sound of steps as Ugo approached her, tapping the pages of the tome.

“This part will be particularly useful to you. The amount of information you are ingesting is too much for you to remember it all consciously. When you get back, Clairvoyance will help you to access pieces you may forget. It can also be used in other ways, but it is quite helpful with retrieving lost memories.

His stress on the topic made her consider what he was saying. She knew that she had been cramming her head like a suitcase, shoving everything she could find into a limited space, but she had not considered what traveling back to her world might do to that suitcase. It made sense that only so much information would be retained. With a furrowed brow, she turned to Ugo.

“Will I forget other things?”

Ugo shrugged sheepishly.

“Honestly? I am not sure. The few souls that have been guided back have never spent time here consuming information like a starving person at a feast. They are simply gently redirected back to your world without access to the Sacred Space. You could forget everything, you could remember everything, but I feel certain that between the shock and the information overload, you are likely to forget pieces of your time here and possibly your life before. So study this section well.”

Ari nodded in understanding, putting her complete focus on the words of the tome. Clairvoyance magic encompassed more of the mental realm than the physical, able to pull thoughts and ideas from a person’s mind. It did require more than a typical spell, though, requiring a physical piece of that person. It used part of their being to unlock and transmit part of their memories. She frowned in concentration as she read, the magic type more complex than any she had ever used before. On top of requiring a part of them, it also typically required a means of conveying the information, a reflective surface or to be transmitted into another magical medium, like an illusion.

By the time she finished the Clairvoyance section, her head was swimming, the complexity almost too much to grasp. So many facets to learn and of everything she had learned since arriving here, Ugo had made it seem like this was the most important, so she could retrieve the rest later. She knew she needed time to meditate and work through the difficult topic and so she retired to the corner to meditate.




After a long rest, Ari felt ready to tackle more of the book. The next magic type discussed was poison magic, one that seemed to be purely destructive. It was used to harm and had very little applications outside of that. It was simple enough to grasp, though. She could definitely see the usefulness of such a magic type, slowing opponents or even dissolving them made her think of the plague magic Azix used.

It was the last magic type listed in the book that made her brows raise to her hair line, recognizing the concepts from what Noir had shown her on the island. Before she could read any further, Ugo closed the book with a frown on his face.

“You do not need to know that. It is by far the most destructive magic type and no good can come of it.”

Ari frowned, looking to Ugo with a disturbed look on her face.

“I have seen those runes before… on the island. What is it?”

Ugo sighed and shook his head.

“It is curse magic. It is used to turn white rukh to black. I know it is on the island, which is why the island is so dangerous. Someone twisted the already perverse magic keeping that damnable island afloat, turning it from cruel to an abomination of Fate. The fewer people that know about it, the better. Please, just… leave it.”

Ari digested the words, understanding his abhorrence of the magic type after seeing the island. It was a vicious, horrid place, intent on consuming any life that touched its shores. She respected Ugo’s wishes and instead turned her focus to the other magic types and how they worked together. For what seemed like days, she oriented different magic types together in her head, part of her knowing that working different types together helped to expand her basic understanding of each type by itself. Ugo quizzed her on her knowledge, giving an impressed hum as she displayed her understanding before directing her to several other books in the room.

There were books on any topic she could think of, though most were focused on magic theories and combinations. She flipped through more books than she could count, reading through the ones that interested her and setting others to the side. She did not know how many books she went through or how much time had passed before Ugo cleared his throat, an apprehensive look on his face.

“It is time.”

With a blinding flash of light and the sound of rukh tinkling in her ears, Ari was ejected from the Sacred Space.



[3868/3000 Omega-Tier Int Training]


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The world was fuzzy when Ari opened her eyes and when things finally came into focus, she was staring up into the face of a young girl, not even in her teens, staring down at her with a small smile. The girl was dressed in a kimono with a flower print and had a look of wonder on her face.

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When she saw Ari’s eyes open and focus on her, she clapped happily before running off, disappearing from Ari’s vision. With a groan, she pushed herself up, her entire body feeling bruised and battered. She glanced around groggily, her mind still in a haze as she tried to figure out where she was. The last thing she remembered was a blue figure saying something before a great pressure and then she was here. Wherever here was…

Looking around, Ari’s brow furrowed in confusion. She had never seen architecture like this, the floors appeared to be some type of woven reed set in wood frames while the walls were panels filled with thin, translucent paper. There was very little in the way of decoration, though there were a couple of vases with simple flower arrangements in them. To one side of the room, she saw a small bowl filled with water. She glanced down and realized she was lying on a cushioned mat and covered with a simple sheet. Based on the architecture, she guessed she must be in a Kou settlement of some sort, it was the only place she had never visited, aside from Imuchakk, and it was far too warm to have been the Ice Continent.

She found her feet somewhat unsteadily and arched a brow as she realized she was wearing a kimono. Definitely Kou, then. She moved carefully towards the open panel, a chilly breeze whipping through the room and her breath caught in her throat. The view was almost painfully beautiful, stones set in a path and framed by cherry trees, the blossoms in full bloom.

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A soft sound alerted her to movement behind her and she spun to see the source, a woman with snow white hair and a white kimono. The woman gave off an aura of peacefulness, putting Ari at ease almost immediately, even in these strange surroundings. The woman bent at the waist, giving Ari a deep bow of respect and, dumbfounded, Ari returned the bow. From what she knew of Kou culture, the deeper the bow, the more respect was being shown, but she didn’t know what she had done to garner such respect. The white-haired woman had nearly doubled herself in half. Turning back to the gorgeous scenery, Ari’s voice was quiet when she spoke.

“Am I in Kou?”

Ari heard the woman approach her, standing beside her to gaze out at the scenery as well.

“Yes, miss. This is the Temple of the Magi, high in the Jade Dragon Mountains.”

Ari gave a small smile, glad she had at least guessed her location correctly. The surrounding environment and the unique architecture were unlike the white plaster buildings of Balbadd or the wooden structures of Reim. Magnostadt she would have recognized immediately and Heliohapt was an arid environment, covered in sand. While there was a chill in the air, it was nothing like what she had heard of Imuchakk. She took the clean air into her lungs, her eyes drifting shut for a moment before she turned back to the slip of a woman, her head cocking to the side.

“How did I come to be here?”

The woman seemed to pause for a moment, whether to enjoy the view or to sort her thoughts, Ari could not say. The woman’s voice was soft, so soft and peaceful.

“You appeared here, next to one of the cleansing pools. If you had climbed the mountain, one of our guards would have seen you. You seemed to appear out of thin air. When we found you, you were unconscious. You were shaking and had no clothing, though there were a few items scattered about you. We took you in, clothed you, and gave you a peaceful place to rest. You did not seem harmed, just in shock. So we waited for you to wake.”

Ari listened her mind slowly clearing from the fog, piecing together the information the woman provided with memories that seemed hazy, remembering a man, no a figure, and a place even more peaceful than this. She remembered reading, a lot, and having long talks, though she could not immediately remember about what. When the woman spoke again, Ari gave her full attention to the soft voice.

“We have had one like you here before, but she was far younger.”

“One like me?”

“Are you not a Magi?”

And then the haze that had been pushing across her mind seemed to shatter and she was barraged with image after image. Memories of dying, a stinger piercing her chest. Memories of Ugo, the blue figure, with whom she had talked and shared knowledge with. Memories of book upon book upon book. She did not realize she had fallen to her knees until the woman was helping her back into the room and kneeling beside her as she tried to organize the rush of information. The woman sat quietly, not wanting to interrupt Ari’s efforts to process everything. When Ari finally looked up again, the woman was holding out a small cup to her, which Ari eagerly sipped. The burn in her throat made her cough and pound her chest, arching a brow at the woman. Was the lady trying to kill her?

“It is sake, miss. I thought you could use something to calm you.”

Ari coughed again and gave quiet thanks. The rice wine did help to calm her nerves slightly. Many of the memories were still fuzzy to her, but the more major events reverberated in her mind. Quickly, she pulled out the front of her kimono, the woman looking away respectfully as Ari checked for evidence of her death. Where she expected to see a large wound only a small mark could be seen, not even really a scar, just a small patch of discolored skin. Glancing up to the woman, Ari repositioned her kimono, covering herself appropriately.

“Where are the items you said were near me?”

The woman gracefully pushed to her feet and moved to one of the paneled walls, a section at the bottom sliding to the side to reveal a compartment. From the hidden space, the woman pulled a bag free and placed it in front of Ari, the magician hurriedly opening the bulky bag to find her staff, her bladed dagger and her throwing knives. Deeper in the bag, a lone item made her breath catch. Her journey book. She knew it was important, but she could not quite grasp why right at this moment.  

“Was there a carpet near me?”

“I am sorry, no. Just these items.”

Ari nodded in understanding. Apparently, Ugo had not managed to grab everything for her. Oh well, such is life. She could always obtain another one later. Things were replaceable, and at least she still had her staff. With a soft hum, Ari looked to the woman.

“Is there a safe place I can go, to practice?”


[5084/3000]


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Ari gave a grunt as she landed on her butt, the force of the wind spell she had cast knocking her back. She was still getting the hang of some of the magic types and somehow kept forgetting how wind tended to knock things over when too close. This time, she aimed the spell for much further away, focusing her intent before murmuring to the rukh. The tiny flutters of rukh were much more visible to her now, seeming to nearly jump out at her as she skimmed the surroundings. This time, when she tried to form a small cyclone, it was far enough away that she was not knocked back by the whipping winds. The cyclone itself was fairly small, only just over a meter tall, but it moved across the landscape, pulling up bushes and flowers and flinging them to the far reaches of the plateau she had been practicing in.

She released the spell, letting the wind die down so she could take stock of the damage she had inflicted, looking at the way the tall grass was laying down and how the force of the winds had affected it. Over the last few days, she had learned that examining the aftermath taught her just as much as the spell commands did, showing her in a very obvious manner how the world reacted to the spells. As she looked around, she frowned at the damage she had done, not liking that she had destroyed the natural order of the area.

Seeing this as an opportunity to practice the more earth-based tactics of strength magic, she focused on the ability to float and move the rocks back to their original positions. Though her intention was to restore the area to its original conditions, she could not resist the urge to practice some of the other aspects of strength magic, making minor alterations to the sizes of some of the rocks. With a murmur to the rukh and a tilt of her staff, she practiced making some things smaller and other things larger before ending the spells and allowing the rocks and ledges return to the normal proportions.




Ari spent days in the large open area of the plateau, manipulating the rukh in ways she never had before. As she toyed with an idea for sound magic, a woman approached her from behind, making her jump slightly. It was another of the priestesses of the Temple, one that had taken to bringing her a meal while she practiced and staying to watch her for a bit, seeming to enjoy watching Ariella struggle to get a grasp on her magic types. This time, she had brought Ariella some fruit, already sliced, along with a small chunk of salted meat. Ariella smiled in appreciation, letting her mind release the ideas of sound magic so she could eat.

As she ate, she talked quietly with the young woman who had brought the meal, a rest for her strained mind. When Ari was done eating, the woman then brought out a large, flat bowl and filled it with water. She had seen Ariella struggle with her memories and had decided to give the magician a nudge that might help her. When Ari arched a brow at the woman, confused, the priestess smiled and waved at the bowl.

“You struggle daily to perfect your craft while also trying to piece your mind together after whatever you went through. I have seen others, before, use this bowl and magic to see into their past. I thought it might help.”

Ari gave the woman a kind smile before the priestess shuffled away to leave Ari in peace. Ari contemplated the idea, vaguely recalling Ugo’s insistence that, if she remembered nothing else, to remember clairvoyance magic. Knowing it might be the only thing to help her recover the elusive memories struggling to surface, Ari felt she had nothing to lose and focused down on the bowl, catching her reflection in its surface. Her hair had grown longer in her time here, now tumbling down her back in full waves nearly to her waist and her golden eyes seemed to have aged, like she had taken on so much knowledge in the Sacred Space that her mind had gotten older than her body. Her skin still held its olive glow, enhanced by her time in the open area practicing magic, and there were no apparent wrinkles to reflect how old she now felt.

She had found that dying gave a person perspective and helped them to prioritize things in their life. She had been hoping the journal she had found would give her answers, but she found the pages were blank, though the magic circle on the binding let her know it was some type of communication device. She could not remember why she had the book or who she might be communicating with but it was time to find out. Using one of the throwing knives she carried with her, she lightly pricked her finger, letting a drop of ruby liquid drip into the reflective water before picking up her staff.

Unsure of what she would see or if she even wanted to see it, she began whispering to the rukh, asking it to show her the past. She kept one hand on the book, giving the rukh a reference of what she wanted the history on and, in the clear waters, images began forming and playing across the surface. She saw words scribbled across the pages, some in her own writing, some in a foreign hand, most of them titled to a pet name. Suddenly, a name flashed across the surface and she saw herself scrawling out the letters… ‘Azix’. So, a man named Azix was the one she had been writing to? Who was he, why was he important? The images kept going and it appeared the rukh were showing her the history of the book in reverse. Suddenly, an image surfaced of a dark-haired man holding the book… no, not just this one, but two of them. He was standing in a room and handing one to her, an expression of affection on his face. When his face flashed across the water, she noticed his eyes, one seemingly normal, the other apparently damaged in some way. This small detail was all it took to trigger a flood of memories in her mind and she gave a soft cry as images flashed through her head. No longer was she focused on the images on the surface of the water showing Chancy, no… now she was stuck in her mind, where images of Azix played out.

She remembered meeting him at the job board in Reim, his wand catching her eye. She recalled seeing horrendous examples of human behavior as they infiltrated the home of the Twisted Sisters. She gasped as she remembered jumping in front of him just in time to be slammed to the ground before a hammer crashed into her chest. Images came, rapidly firing off, one after the other. A celebration and a tender kiss, children making teasing noises. Carpet rides through the night sky, discussions about helping the Grumptoes and moving families to a small town. A bittersweet talk as she gave him a cloak to keep warm in the tundra known as Imuchakk. A swim in a hot spring, interrupted by an attacking bear. His heroic return to save her from the monsters known as Father and Lilly. The tentative night they had shared in front of the fire, neither sure of how to proceed.

Ari held her head as the memories crashed about, tears running down her face. How had she forgotten Azix, the person that had shown her not everyone was using her or expecting something from her. The man she had built a town with, had made a home with in Kios. The memories slowed as though sensing she could not handle much more. Dear rukh, how had she forgotten the man she had given her heart to? Did he think her dead? By now, she imagined, Ayero had told him that she had perished on the island. Her sweet friend Ayero, the half-Fanalis woman she had fought with and drank with, did Ayero know she was not still dead? The reality sank in that most people she had known would think her dead and gone and Ari wept, unable to stop the tears coursing down her face in streams.




It was dark by the time she returned to the Temple, crickets chirping in the evening air. She had spent the rest of the afternoon trying to conjure up her past in the mirrored surface of the water, wanting to see what else she might have forgotten. She had calmed down considerably since seeing Azix’ image in the bowl, but her chest still ached at the idea she had forgotten him, if only for a little while. She ate her dinner in silence before retiring for the evening, murmuring a small thanks to Ugo for insisting she remember clairvoyance magic. She knew there was likely many other things she still had to remember, but she now had a better direction for her life as a Magi, with the memories of Azix returning.

[6629/3000]


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Shira, the young girl that had been staring at Ari when she had first awoken, clapped happily as Ari summoned a small ball of flickering light, changing the colors of it. The idea had come from Azix, and the child was tickled pink as it flickered through all the colors of a rainbow. Ari chuckled at the girl before releasing the spell. She had been at the Temple for close to a month now, tirelessly training all of the new magic types she had learned about. She had become familiar with most of the women up here and was enjoying the calm and peace of the area. She had decided not to try contacting Azix with the journey book, certain the man either would no longer be checking it or had destroyed the item. Even if he did still check it, she was afraid the man would have a heart attack at receiving messages from someone he thought to be dead. She hated not being able to see him, to show him she was safe and alive, but she knew she had to gain control over her new powers if she hoped to be able to guide him. She had become much more proficient in the basic magic types and felt confident that she would soon be able to return to Reim and her lover.

Part of her mind feared he would move on and she tried to prepare herself for the possibility. She could not very well blame him if he had chosen to search for another, given how long she had been ‘dead’. One of the priestesses had told her it was summer now, meaning she had been gone for at least two moon cycles, if not more. It had been even longer since the last time she had seen Azix, having not seen him since before her last trip to Magnostadt. When she slipped into the temple, she was met by an unusual sight, several of the women of the Temple bowed on the floor before a regal figure. As she looked over the man standing there, a bolt of recognition shot through her.

“Yoshiro?”

The regal figure turned to face her, dressed in all the finery one would expect of the Emperor of Kou. To each side of him stood a fierce looking man, each equipped with a spear in one hand, a sword strapped to their waist, obviously his guards. When the Emperor caught sight of her, his face froze in shock as he moved closer. Yoshiro was speechless as he stood in front of her, disbelief clear on his face. When he raised a hand to touch her, Ari moved away, frowning slightly as she shook her head.

“I would prefer you did not touch me. I assure you, I am alive and real.”

Emperor Yoshiro stood stunned for another moment before smiling at her.

“When they informed me a Magi had appeared at the temple, I was skeptical, but I never could have imagined it would be you. So you have been sent to guide me, then?”

Ari froze, finally realizing why Yoshiro was there. This was the Temple of Magi and he was a King Candidate in his own right, claiming the powers of a djinn in a dungeon. He thought a Magi had appeared here for him. She could see his logic but she shook her head at him.

“Yos- Emperor, I am afraid you misunderstand. I am a Magi, yes. But I was not sent for you. I was chosen because I had already picked my candidate. That is not to say you were not seen as worthy, but… I’m sorry. There is nothing to say I cannot guide more than one on the path to unite this world. But I came back… I came back for Azix.”

Yoshiro frowned at the response. Of course she would choose Azix, but was he not powerful enough to even garner consideration? Trying to ignore the welling of jealousy in his chest, he gave her a smile and a deep bow.

“Magi Ari, whatever your purpose, I would be most pleased if you would join me at the Palace. The Priestesses tell me you have nearly completed your training. Surely it is time to tell the world of your return?”

Ari arched a brow at the tone of reverent respect, not used to being addressed in such a way. But his words were true, she had learned nearly all she could from this place. But she did not want the world to know before her lover was informed. With a soft voice, she spoke.

“I will return to the Palace with you, on one condition. Tell no one who or what I am or have become. Azix does not yet know… he deserves to be informed first. For now, I will simply be a magician who has come to learn the culture and ways of Kou. I will keep my head covered and do my best to hide my identity until he can be informed.”

Yoshiro nodded in understanding, offering another bow.

“Of course. I will be sending a message to Reim soon, and with it, I will ask that Azix return to Kou for a short period. Given his role as an ambassador, this would not raise any eyebrows. Does this sound acceptable?”

Ari nodded, her stomach flipping nervously. She only hoped Azix would come back to Kou quickly, she missed him terribly. Yoshiro smiled at her acceptance of the idea before telling her he would be staying at the Temple for the evening and they would leave for the Palace in the morning, the path back down the mountains far too dangerous to take in the dark. She gave a nod before moving back to the room she had been using, knowing she would need plenty of rest before she returned fully to the land of the living.


[7616/3000]
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