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Answers and Reminders [plot/training/private]

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Ariella stretched as she sat up, giving a large yawn. The bed she had in the Palace was comfortable, but she still missed her small, cozy room is Kios. She idly wondered how long Azix would want to remain in Kou, she was enjoying her time here, absorbing the culture and taking the time to see the gorgeous landscapes. Moving over to the small desk near the door of the quarters she shared with Azix, she noticed a small envelope on top of it. Her name was written in flowing script across the front and when she picked it up, she saw the royal seal on the back. She frowned, wondering what Yoshiro could be contacting her about. Sliding her finger under the flap, she cracked open the wax seal and pulled the parchment from inside, unfolding it so she could read the message inside.

Magi Ariella,

I am sure you are busy with the arrival of Azix and Ayero, however, I beseech you for help. There has been an attack on a village near the capital. This village provided much of our lumber for construction projects but after several days with no word from them, a messenger was sent to see what the delay was. What they discovered was carnage and death. I know you are not here on official business, but I was wondering if you would be willing to investigate and see if there is anything you can do for the survivors of the village. I know in the conflict between Reim and Kou, you often helped to heal the soldiers after battle. Anything you could do would be greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks,
Emperor Yoshiro


Ari rested the note back on the desk, a frown still dancing across her face. Her mind chased through the possibilities of who could have attacked the village, knowing there were several groups of people in the country unhappy with Yoshiro taking over as Emperor. Perhaps they had decided to show this by attack innocents? Another possibility was the Contractor, the enigmatic Magi known for being involved when there were instances of great carnage or conflict. She would have to go have a peek to gather information before she drew any conclusions, though.

With a sigh, she prepared for the journey. She had been provided a plethora of clothing in typical Kou styling so she could better blend in. She had also been shown how to use powders and makeup to cover her complexion, the deep olive tone of her skin a dead giveaway that she was not a Kou native. It took a great deal of time to lighten her skin tone and get dressed, but she had been practicing quite a bit and soon she was ready. She scribbled out a note for Azix and laid it on top of the note Yoshiro had left for her so he would know where she went and why before grabbing her magic carpet and heading out of the Palace. She shook out the carpet and fed a small bit of magoi into the magic tool before she was in the air and flying towards her destination.

[524/3000]


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Ari took her carpet high into the air, enjoying the chill of the breeze whipping past her as she traveled over the trees and hills. If she had gone by horse, it would have taken her almost a full day just to reach the village, the path to one of the lumber centers of Kou a winding path carved into the side of the foothills of the mountains. By flying, she would arrive in just a couple of hours, but she intended to enjoy the view and center herself, as she had no idea what she would be wandering into once she arrived. She could easily see why so many people loved this country, the mountains and trees created an almost ethereal setting. Unlike Reim, where it looked like people were forming the world to best serve them, the people here seemed to coexist with their environment, making sure not to encroach too much on the world.

It did not take long for Ari to finally spot the village Yoshiro had asked her to investigate and, from the air, Ari could see why it was such an ideal area for the lumber industry. The sides of the mountains were packed with trees and through the middle of the valley was a river. The village had been built around this, the river making an excellent means for transporting the wood to the capital city and other places. The buildings were all built of wood instead of bamboo, like many of the other villages, the people here using the resources most easily accessible to them. The architecture was still the Eastern design, simply made primarily of wood. From this high up, she could see how careful the woodsmen had been in their selection of the trees, no single area was barren. Instead, they had taken only the older, more mature or dying trees and left the younger trees to continue to grow and flourish. She stayed in the air another moment or two to admire the view before finally bringing the carpet down into the village.


From the air, there had been no signs of activity in the area and when Ari landed, she saw why. There were no people around, the large village appeared to be a ghost town. It was like the town had been frozen in time and Ari frowned as she began taking a closer look around. At first glance, everything just appeared silent and ghostly, but it only took a slightly closer look to notice that there were signs of violence. Bloody footprints were scattered down the paths between buildings and Ari could see signs of some type of weapon on the wooden structure. Slashes and gouges in the wood indicated something sharp had been used with malice in the area and Ari was immediately on guard. Her staff was held in white fingers as she followed one set of bloody footsteps to a large building. The rice paper covering the door was splattered with blood and handprints and Ari carefully slid the door open only to cover her mouth and nose at the stench that came rolling out of the front door. Giving her stomach a moment to settle, Ari finally looked into the building, her eyes widening at what she found.

[1070/3000]


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The room had practically been painted in blood, almost no spot left untouched by the life force of the people within. Corpses littered the large room, the faces of those inside frozen into masks of terror and fear. Ari gave a soft sob of despair as she saw several children strewn across the floor, their tiny bodies being sheltered by older villagers. Some of the people looked like they had been torn through with a large weapon, deep slices nearly bisecting the corpses. Others had blood pouring from their eyes, ears, noses, and mouths, creating a gruesome piece of art for her to gaze upon. Ari could not imagine what had created such carnage. From all appearances, none of the people had much of a chance to try and make it to safety.

Perhaps a group of bandits had invaded and blocked off the exits? It would have taken a large number of people to be able to herd people in and keep them in the room during the slaughter, though. Plus, there would have been much more footprints leaving the area, as nothing was untouched by the crimson fluid of the room. Ari looked back at the footprints near the door, her brow furrowing as it looked like just a single set of footprints. A single set of rather small footprints, at that. Closing the door to the stench of death, Ari followed the small marks of blood, hoping that perhaps a child has escaped the carnage in the room. The steps stopped in front of the next building and, when Ari opened the door, she gave a cry. It was much like the last room, littered with bodies and blood.

This continued for building after building. Each time, Ari found the remains of horror and violence. How had someone managed to so systematically destroy an entire village? There did not seem to be evidence of a large group entering and causing the damage done here, but one person would not have been able to subdue such a large number of villagers. Unless…

Ari’s breath caught as the implications hit her. There was one way for sure that could do this kind of damage with only one opponent. She had seen herself, when Azix had went to enter the dungeon, just how powerful a metal vessel could be. He had unleashed a spell so massive and powerful, it could have killed everyone near the dungeon. It had only been due to Lagi combating the spell that had saved the lives of the other contenders and guards in the area. But this had not been Azix, of that she was certain. There was no sign of his gruesome magic in the area, his plague magic would have left an easily identifiable trail. Eligos had been centered on Lava magic, so it was safe to say Ayero had not been responsible, not that the Fanalis woman would have randomly slaughtered every member of a village for no reason.

Ari scoured her mind, trying to think of other possible metal vessel users. Yoshiro specialized in dry ice magic, and this was certainly not that. A sudden thought struck the Magi and Ari froze in her steps. She remembered Yoshiro telling her that the Contractor had given a dark metal vessel to someone, the vessel producing blood magic. A terrifying and horrific magic type capable of pulling blood from a person’s body. It certainly fit the theme of the village, blood covering everything. That narrowed it down to the one person Ari had been having nightmares about since her kidnapping. Lilly was back.

[1670/3000]


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The knowledge that her own personal nightmare was in Kou and causing destruction made Ari hyperventilated and she searched around for an untouched place to sit. She finally managed to find a bench that was covered in blood and Ari sat down, trying to catch her breath as her mind rolled in turmoil. Lilly was back, Lilly was in Kou, Lilly was killing people. Ari’s mind flashed back to her brief time in Lilly’s care, to the helpless feeling of being shown gruesome, horrible visions of destruction and monstrosities. Her mind was filled with images of being shown herself as a raving madwoman, slaughtering everyone around her. She remembered being tied to a chair as Lilly slashed at her with the tiny, specially designed dagger. She remembered the feel of that sharp blade sliding across her torso, her back, every piece of exposed skin. She remembered the look of madness in the tiny child’s eyes, the complete lack of remorse or hesitation making Lilly a truly horrifying girl.

All of Ari’s memories had been from before Lilly had been gifted a dark metal vessel and before the child had been taken under the wing of the Contractor. She had heard stories during the battles in Reim about what happened when Lilly had shown up. She had heard the stories about how the tiny girl had used the blood of her foes to create weapons, slaughtering everyone in a rain of blood bullets. The girl’s scythe had been a vicious instrument of death, slicing through people like butter only to have the child gain power from the blood spilled. She had heard from Yoshiro about Lilly’s adventures in the Great Plains and how she had slaughtered a meeting of the major tribes before the Contractor had taken the leader attempting to unite them.

Reality came slamming back into Ari’s mind and she looked around the village. It certainly looked like the work of the tiny assassin, but Ari needed to be certain. Ari took a deep breath, trying to find a moment of calm so she could use clairvoyance magic to confirm or deny her fears. It took longer than she would have liked to get her bearings, but eventually, she was calm enough to make her way to the first building. With a deep breath, Ari used the ample amounts of blood in the room as a conduit for a small clairvoyance spell. Murmuring to the rukh, Ari asked them to show her what had happened in the room and the rukh responded in a flurry of activity. Images appeared in front of the Magi, showing her the horror that had been bestowed upon the room. She saw a small figure enter the room, seemingly innocent, until suddenly the room seemed to explode into a flurry of violence and blood. The small figure revealed itself as Lilly as the girl equipped the blood scythe, the weapon slashing across the room and giving a fast, merciful death to several people. What followed that was agonizing to watch, Ari sobbing as she saw Lilly pointing her scythe at a group of huddled children, the blood being forced from their pores as it spilled to the ground.

Ari’s only saving grace was that she could not hear the screams and cries, nor the manic laughter of Lilly. She did not think she could have handled hearing the carnage on top of seeing it. With another sob, Ari released the rukh from their request, the images fading away. She had the confirmation she needed, there was no doubt now that Lilly had been responsible for the attacks. If nothing else, at least she would be able to tell Yoshiro who had singlehandedly slaughtered one of his main areas of resource. Ari knew she needed to search out survivors, but she could not help but think that Fate had not intended for all these people to die. Was there a way she could repair their damaged fate? Was there a way for her to pull them from the Great Flow and return some of their life to them?

[2353/3000]


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Ari sank to the floor, ignoring the blood staining the kimono she wore, as she tried to figure out how she might be able to go about pulling these people from the Great Flow. She was lucky enough to at least understand the Great Flow, to a tiny extent, and how it functioned. Her biggest concern was how Ugo would respond to her trying to manipulate the Great Flow. To her knowledge, he was the only one with the power to sift through the innumerable souls in the Great Flow, pick one out, and alter its flow. But what if a person’s life were ended before Fate intended it? If someone with a dark metal vessel slaughtered a village, was that the will of Fate or were they altering Fate for those people? If their Fate were altered, did this change how they went back to the Great Flow? So many questions and Ari had no one she could ask. As much as she would like to, she had no way to contact Ugo in the Sacred Space. That meant she was left with the option of trial and error.

She was cautious about this. She had learned just how bad the consequences could be when she tried new things, after her initial attempts to raise a dungeon. She sat and weighed the possibilities for longer than she wanted to admit, trying to decide if she should attempt to theoretically restore the Fate of these people. With no way of judging if their Fate had, indeed, been altered, Ariella was quite nervous about introducing an element that might further disrupt the Great Flow. Her mind battled, back and forth, for ages before finally settling on a decision. Ari would leave these people’s lives to the hands of Fate in a way that would give Fate the ultimate decision.

If the Fate of these people had been disrupted, then she would try to create a circumstance that would allow Fate to bring them back from their gruesome deaths. However, if their lives had been on this path to destruction, if Fate had intended them to die, then Fate was free to reject her attempt and leave these people dead. Her mind finally settled on the topic, Ari began the arduous process of gathering what bodies she could. She knew she would not be able to resurrect everyone, but she had to try and get as many people as she could. With this revelation, she was stuck with how she would decide who she should attempt to resurrect. Should she focus on the children, the ones with the most life lost? But if she did that, who would care for the children? Should she focus on those who were integral to the trade of the area? The mothers? Should she at least try to bring back some of the elders, to ensure the family traditions were carried on?

Ari was exhausted by the time she had gathered as many bodies as would comfortably fit in a ten meter area, making sure not to stack the bodies on top of each other. She could not imagine being brought back, tangled in a throng of other bodies. She tried to make sure she had a variety of people, children and adults, offering as much as she could to the hands of Fate before she moved back and meditated. She cleared her mind as best as she could, centering her mind and body as she focused on her goal. When she finally felt stable enough, she made her way towards the area she had spread the corpses in and gripped her staff tightly. She began murmuring to the rukh, casting Arise and begging the rukh to alter the Fate of these people, to not let them be cut off from their lives so carelessly. She begged that if their Fate had been altered to return their rukh to their bodies. The list of magical commands went on and on, Ari trying to be clear and careful in her request to ensure the rukh understood she was not attempting to change Fate but rather correct a Fate already altered.

The rukh reacted in a flutter and flurry, twirling and swirling around the corpses. Ari fed more magoi into the spell, feeding into the efforts of the rukh as she could barely see wounds mending on the bodies. From one area, she heard a gasp and in another, a scream sounded out. Ari tried to block out the sounds, feeding magoi into the spell, the rukh doing its best to mend fatal wounds and restore the lost blood before returning the soul to the body. Ari did not know how long the process took, she simply kept feeding magoi into the spell so it would not fade off before it was complete. It was one of the most difficult, straining spells she had ever attempted but she could see and hear people taking breaths that affirmed life. By the time the rukh stopped its swirling flow, Ari was panting at the effort to sustain it. She finally stopped feeding magoi into the spell and allowed it to dissipate, her eyes wide in wonder as she looked at the area previously filled with corpses.

While not everyone had been returned, dozens of lives had been restored. Children and adults with panic painting their faces were moving around and trying to make their way out of the small graveyard Ari had created with the bodies. Ari finally rested her staff and relaxed her tight grip on the conduit, gazing at what she had accomplished. It seemed that Fate had decided to return a large number of the people. Ari knew her work was far from done, but she would not be able to resurrect everyone all at once.





By the time Ari left the village two weeks later, she had done her best to bring as many people as she could back from the Great Flow. As she flew back towards the Palace, her mind was racing at how she would tell Azix that Lilly was back.

[3000+/3000]

Ability Trained:
Name: Arise
Tier: Ω
Cost: 50|25 magoi
Element: Life
Class: Supplementary
Range: 50 meters
Cool-Down: Once per Topic
Description: Ariella directs the rukh to summon a 10 m sphere of magoi at 30 m/s. Anything touched by the sphere will be fully resurrected. The sphere can be freely directed within 50 meters of Ariella.


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