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Old December 14, 2017, 08:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Port Alyx] When You Stick It In, Go Nice and Slow

Autumn Era XXIV

Kailin looked around the space, feeling fairly certain that she had thought of all the important things, based on what Calanon had told her. The extra candles she'd placed lit this part of the warehouse well enough that they wouldn't be working in semi-darkness, and the surrounding pallets of textiles would make for a good buffer against anything that might go wrong. Or so she hoped.

It was late enough that the rest of the workers had gone home, and she'd forcibly sent Ian on his way. Now it was just the few remaining guards, who she'd given a warning to about what she was up to, and Calanon when he arrived. The door guard was supposed to show him back when he did.

So Kailin took off her satchel and lowered herself onto one of the nearby pallets, playing idly with the small silver band she'd been instructed to bring and feeling just a touch of nerves at the thought of what she was about to attempt. What would her lover be like as a teacher? It was a new dynamic for them, and there was little doubt that was playing into her anticipation, too.
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Old December 14, 2017, 09:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Calanon wasn't sure why Kailin had decided this little endeavour required the cloak of darkness. Truthfully, he wondered if she would have enough energy to actually achieve much tonight, after a full days work, but he would wait and see. Shoulders hunched a little against the chill of the wind blowing in off the bay, he walked the well known route to the warehouse, watchful, not dawdling in the shadow hung streets.

He was glad Kailin had guards, and when he met the one on the door, he was especially glad that she had at least given the hulk of a man a heads up that he was coming. He would not have wanted to chance upon the man and test his resolve. Even with the briefing, the guard shadowed him through into the warehouse, and Calanon shot a somewhat bemused look at his love when they found her amongst the pallets.

There, assured that the elf was indeed the expected company of the boss lady, the guard finally stopped breathing down Calanon's neck and headed back to his post.

" He's..charming. But effective" the elf muttered, as he pulled Kailin up to her feet to steal the kiss he'd been waiting on all day. He was smiling though, when he broke away, glancing around at the set up and giving a small nod.

" Did you get everything?" They had gone over the essentials when he realised that Kailin's interest in imbueing was not a passing fancy, and that she really wanted to learn. Then it had taken him a little while to decide if he thought he could actually be of any use in teaching her, without either of them going insane in the process.

They would soon find out.

Trying to push aside the worry, Calanon wrapped her up in his arms for a moment before he sighed and pulled away, deliberately settling himself a little way off, or they would not be getting any imbueing done. He was relatively brisk and business like then.

"So...charcoal, Chalk... you have it? The first step is draw you circle, so you can try and amplify"
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Old December 26, 2017, 11:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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"Stigur?" Kailin laughed, lifting a hand so that Calanon could help her up from her pallet, "He's been with my family since before my father passed. He can be a bit protective."

The kiss he bent to give her was somewhat reassuring, then, and she lingered in it, not in any hurry to transition from this known role to something that she was so unsure of. But eventually he pulled back, and she lifted her chin unconsciously as he looked around at her work, unwilling to squirm under his scrutiny.

And yet she felt herself relax with his nod regardless, and offered one herself at his next question, "I think so, yes."

As he pulled her back toward him, it occurred to Kailin that her love might feel just as unsure of this student-teacher relationship as she did, and she wrapped her arms firmly around him, squeezing a reassurance that she could not give herself. But then he was moving away, and she dropped her hands to her sides before shifting again to wrap them over her abdomen, awkwardly rubbing away a bit of the chill that lingered naturally in the cavernous space as Calanon took his warmth with him.

"Right..." she lifted a brow at his brisk tone, half-smiling before turning to her little pile of supplies and picking up her chalk. "How big does it need to be?"

Her gaze lifted to Calanon for the answer, even as she crouched on the stone floor and set the tip of the chalk down in preparation. Then, once he'd answered, she began to move in a sort of crab-walk as she drew a circle around herself, thinking that so far this all felt at least somewhat familiar. She could draw things, at least.

Once that was done, she looked up at Calanon again, pushing to her feet without bothering to brush the dust off of her fingers quite yet. "Now what?" Having never tried to amplify before, she had only the faintest notion of what came next, and not in any solid enough way that she wanted to test her knowledge.
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Old December 27, 2017, 05:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Calanon, having perched on a pallet close enough to observe Kailin's work, but well out of reach, was indeed feeling a little at sea with this new dynamic. Never mind the fact that he was only too familiar with what could happen if the process went wrong, and the idea of exposing Kailin willingly to the risk went against all of his instincts. Still, it was his survival instincts that had warned him against refusing her on the grounds of it not being safe enough. He could imagine how well that would have gone over.

Glancing back up at his love's question, he eyed the chalk. " Oh...well, big enough that you can comfortably sit inside"

Details. She needed details. It was odd explaining it to someone else when it had become so ingrained in him, and Cal realised he would need to be careful not to simplify or gloss over anything in his explanations as they moved on. He looked over the near perfect circle- not without a little envy, as his first efforts had been egg shaped for sure- and gave a little nod of approval.

Now what indeed.

"Well, next you need..No. Wait a moment" He was about to launch into a description of the symbols she would need to invoke, when a thought struck him. For if Kailin was successful in this amplification then she would have all that vis to contain, and that was no easy task. So perhaps he ought to establish a couple of things first. "...have you decided what spell it is you want to imbue?" He didn't want her her umming and aahing when they got to the stage that she was ready to try it.

With one brow raised, he waited for the reassurance that she had thought this through, before he went on. " Right. Then the next step is to add some personalisation to this circle. For the ritual to work, you need to adorn it with some symbols that hold some meaning to you. Four ought to do it".

He could admit then, having some curiosity as to what Kailin would choose to depict in her circle. It was, by its very nature, a very personal investment by the mage, and he considered that perhaps she might have appreciated a little more notice to think about it. Feth. He wasn't doing a very good job of teaching her.

" I can tell you what I use, it if would help?"
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Old January 3, 2018, 04:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Having completed the circle, she sat back on her heels and waited for further instructions, unconsciously using the back of her wrist to brush a few strands of dark hair off of her forehead as she looked up at the elf perched nearby. At his second-thought question, she smiled, nodding easily.

"A Healing spell," she proffered, "it's the one I'm most comfortable with, and seems a useful one for anyone to have on hand." Quite literally, when she was done with this. Or that was the hope, anyway.

"Symbols..." she murmured, looking down at the circle around her as she considered the idea, then back up to Calanon.

She'd just opened her mouth to ask what sort of symbols and where they needed to go, when he offered to tell her his own. It brought an immediate and lively smile to her lips, and she wasted no time extending her bit of chalk up to him.

"Why tell when you can show, a'maelamin?" There was just the slightest bit of challenge in her eyes as she said it, warring for dominance with the curiosity that had sprung up. Obviously he would not draw them in her circle, but surely he could draw them out close to where he was sitting. That would be well out of the range of her magic, she felt sure.

"So where do these symbols go?"
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Old January 4, 2018, 09:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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A healing spell. The elf gave a nod, pleased that Kailin at least appeared to have given this process some prior consideration, even if he hadn't. Also, it didn't seem as inherently risky as trying to shove force essence into an item. If it went wrong, surely a healing spell wouldn't be so...volatile?

It would not go wrong.

There was a dismayed expression that flickered only briefly across his face at his student's request, for he realised that his crude etchings would seem simple in the in extreme to one as accomplished at doing art as she was. He sighed a little as he reached out and took the chalk, caveating his agreement to her request before he began.

" Very well lirimaer. But you are not to judge. We cannot all be as gifted as you. Some of us just do what we can to get by"

And indeed, as he knelt and began to draw out the symbols that had become so familiar, there was no doubt plenty Kailin could have commented on. A sword, for the one he carried . A tree, some token representation of his home. The Flame, for the sign he had been born under, and finally, an eight sided star, for the archon of magic.

Feeling self-conscious with his rudimentary efforts laid out before an artist, he pushed himself upright quickly, waving noncommittally toward the chalked symbols. " Yours will need to go inside your circle. You could use more if you want to...up to six"

He had never been able to think of anything that he felt was missing from his own, and they worked, so he continued as he was. Handing the chalk back to Kailin, Cal dusted off his hands and waited expectantly. " Your Turn"
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Old January 8, 2018, 11:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Kailin, far from finding anything to comment on as Calanon laid out his symbols before her, was keenly interested in learning what her love was drawn to... What symbols held enough power for him to put them into the magics he created.

So she watched, and as a soft smile bloomed across her features, she thought perhaps she would ask him later what the fire meant, as she was fairly certain she understood the others well enough. As he finished, her gaze narrowed on the seven pointed star in consideration of whether or not she should, likewise, invoke the god of the arcane as she undertook such a magical endeavor.

Sitting back on her heels, her expression had already turned thoughtful as Calanon stood up abruptly and handed the chalk back to her with an explanation. What could she draw that would be simple enough to do without much fuss, and yet capture those things that were most meaningful to her?

Still, her gaze focused on him as he brushed his fingers free of the chalk, and her smile was sweet, almost tender as she attempted just a bit of reassurance, "thank you, melamin. For showing me. It helps me understand what is needed."

After all, though she loved to tease him, she would never do so about something like this. She knew exactly how vulnerable it felt to draw in front of those who were more skilled, after all.

The chalk hung loose in her grasp for a few moments, then, and her gaze fell to the floor, though it was obvious she wasn't really seeing it. Her bottom lip was caught between her teeth as it sometimes was when she worked in her studio, and she worried at it gently as she thought, before finally releasing it as she nodded to herself.

"Okay..." a quietly spoken word, far enough under her breath that it had to have been meant mainly for herself as she moved to the top of the circle to begin.

There, she began with a simple lily, something she could neither see nor smell without thinking of her daughter, who'd always liked to point out that she'd been named after the fragrant flower. And how many times had the girl touched one of the sharply tipped petals, then brought her finger to trace her own pointed ear, grinning as if this would further prove the point. That done, Kailin moved to the bottom of the circle and inscribed the five-petaled rose that symbolized the many aspects of love, which was her grounding in life.

Then to the top left area of her circle to sketch in a sextant, that most important piece of equipment which allowed a sailor to find their way to their next port of call, or home at the end of their journey. And across the circle from it, in the bottom right, a conch shell; Markalin's symbol representing both safe passage and the triumph of good over evil. It had meant one thing to her when she'd been a child, waiting worriedly for her father to return from one of his many business trips, and now meant something else, as she herself looked for safe passage, and had grown to learn more than she'd ever wished about the battle between good and evil.

At the top right she drew the symbol for infinity, which she felt was probably quite self-explanatory. No beginning, no end. A small comfort for one who had lost so much. And finally, in the bottom left an hourglass. So similar to the infinity symbol to draw, yet with the lines mostly flattened out and set upright, it came to mean the nearly the opposite. A balance, then. And again, one she had walked the lines of, in her life.

After one last look around the circle - itself a symbol that encompassed so much - she sat back on her heels again in the center of it and looked up at Calanon, expression set and serious now.

"What's next?"
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Old January 9, 2018, 03:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Calanon's mouth lifted slightly at Kailin's words, and he gave a shrug, but he was glad that she had not picked up on his less than impressive drawing skills. It was strange as well, to offer up the symbols he had chosen so openly to another, even it was Kailin. They were so personal after all.

He was careful then to keep his face impassive when it was her turn. And he did his very best to remain as patient as he was able as she drew out her symbols intricately and with so much more finesse than he judged was actually required. Watching each of the series of lines take shape into a design, he felt he was getting a little glimpse into his love as each one was completed, and that it itself was enough to stay any gentle encouragement to speed up that might have hovered on the tip of his tongue.

When she finally sat back the both of them looked down at the circle of amplification for a long moment, before Calanon took a breath in and switched his attention back Kailin herself.

" Well...that depends on how tired you are, lirimaer" One dark brow quirked as he looked her over, trying to judge her fatigue levels. " We can go on with the ritual, but then if it works you will have all this vis, and it's...it can be dangerous if you don't then channel it into a spell. So be honest, but you tell me if you wish to go on tonight?"

He waited for her answer, for only she really knew how much energy she had left. She had been working all day after all. He could admit to himself as well that he was a little apprehensive about this next part, and if she wanted to delay until tomorrow he wouldn't be dismayed.

But no he reasoned Kailin was careful and restrained with her magic. He possibly shouldn't draw direct comparisons with his own experiences of imbuing. But perhaps he would put up a force barrier or two if she wanted to go on, just to be on the safe side.
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Old January 14, 2018, 02:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Kailin considered her lover-cum-teacher's cautionary words for a long moment, fingers playing absently with the chalk she held as she did her best to actually gauge her level of fatigue. She'd worked all brightening, as usual, and did not feel much different than she would have any other darkening.

It was tempting, then, to say that she was fine and that they could certainly continue on with the imbuement. But it was Calanon's obvious concern that stopped her, made her reconsider. Her gaze was tight as it lifted back to the elf's, and she gave a somewhat uncomfortable shrug.

"Honestly, melamin... I feel like I'm fine. But the last thing I want to do is put either of us at risk." Not to mention the entirety of the warehouse around them.

"So if you think it would be better to wait until tomorrow, when we can start earlier," for she wouldn't be working then, or at least only for a brief luncheon with a client, after which they could meet, "I think it might be for the best."

Pushing back to her feet, she stretched her arms above her head with a small tight sound of relief, "I probably should have eaten something before coming, actually... because I'm more hungry than tired. Pracenda at the club?" She asked lightly, stepping carefully out of her circle, then looking back down at it with a slight frown, "Do we just leave this here until we come back for it?" Obviously the thought made her uneasy, even if it was just going to be over the darkening. But she wasn't sure what the protocol was for things like this.

"At least I know my symbols... that part should go more quickly next time," it was a subtle attempt at apology, aware as she was that it had taken her far longer to draw out her symbols than it had taken him when he'd demonstrated for her.
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Old January 15, 2018, 12:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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As Calanon watched Kailin debate with herself, and noted the tension as she offered her response he realised he might have done better to explain that it was a lengthy process before they begun. For of course she would be frustrated to stop now, before they have really even begun. He was quick then to reassure her.

“It’s not that I doubt your abilities, melamin. Just that it takes candlemarks to actually imbue, and there is no point in amplifying unless you are planning to see it through.” He pressed his lips together, irritated at himself that he had not said as much when they had arranged this. “Perhaps tomorrow would be best”.

Dinner sounded good though, and he had already gotten to his feet, dusting off his clothes and retrieving Kailin’s bag for her as she was fretting over the circle. Calanon paused then, it was not something he’d ever given much thought to, given where he imbued from. He didn’t suppose it could do any harm where it was?

“ Will this space be used tomorrow? Or is it secured? I would think it should be fine to leave it.” There was a quick smile then as he stared down at the symbols that had indeed been sketched with care.

“ And then, think of all the time we will save when they are still here tomorrow for you?” He draped an arm around her shoulder and gave a little squeeze. Truly, she had not dallied over them as much as he had feared she might.

It was a quick job then to extinguish the candles and fumble their way to through the darkness to the door, where Calanon’s new friend Stigur bid them farewell and shut the door on Kailin’s first ever amplification circle.

************************************************** ******
The truth of it was, it was more than a darkening before the pair returned to the warehouse and to Kailin’s carefully drawn symbols. And when they first stepped back into the space, Calanon pulled Kailin in close, just held her for a few moments as he pictured her here waiting, when he had not come.

Swallowing back the anger that the thought provoked, he tried his best to smooth his expression before he released her, and went to inspect the still visible circle on the floor.

“ I think this is still useable” Crouched down low, the symbols were still clearly identifiable. More so that his were even when he’d just drawn them, in fact. Shooting a glance over toward his beloved, Cal motioned for her to come take a seat next to him on the pallet he had lowered himself onto. They would talk this next part through before he got her to actually do anything. He had learnt from their first session it seemed.

“ So, next you will go through with the amplification” he started, folding his arms loosely about his drawn up knees, spinning his sheathed dagger in his hands. “ But, if it works, you will have this extra vis..it can be hard to control. So we’ll talk about the actual imbuement before you have that to contend with at the same time, ok?”

What if it wasn’t the same for her though? Really, he had no idea of how order magic worked, or if the processes differed greatly from his own. Glancing sideways at his love, he realised this was yet another thing they hadn’t discussed, and his eyebrows drew together in a frown.


“ You’ll have all this extra energy to put into your spell. But the tricky thing is you don’t release all it one go like you might usually. You have to hold on to it, then impart it into the ring very slowly and carefully.”

He enunciated the words ‘slowly’ and ‘carefully’ very slowly and carefully to make his point. Couldn’t go just ramming it all in there after all.

“ Anyway, we’ll just..see how you get on. Just take your time. If it works the same..you’ll feel the pressure easing as you get to the end of the spell. Then you stop, and you lock it.”

Studying Kailin’s face to see of anything he was saying was making sense, he paused to give her a chance to ask any questions.
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Old January 21, 2018, 04:00 PM   #11 (permalink)
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It was hard to step back into that space, remembering her frustration at Calanon's tardiness, and the couple of candlemarks over which agitation had turned into anxiety, then anxiety into downright fear. Hard, but not as hard as it would have been if he hadn't returned to her. She knew the difference well enough.

It would also have been harder if she hadn't come back here the brightening before to refresh the circle before heading home after finishing up in the office. It had been a brief falling apart that she'd allowed herself, but it was necessary if she were to be able to focus here and now.

And so, breathing in the clean, fresh scent of him, feeling him strong and steady against her as his arms enfolded her, it was easier to just be grateful that they were here again, together. Kailin pushed the little ember of anger she'd yet to rid herself of down further, knowing the distraction of it could prove dangerous in this current undertaking.

As they separated, she watched him move toward the circle, smiling at his obvious surprise at the clarity of her marks, "I came and redid them last darkening, after work. Figured it would save us time." She didn't say that she'd needed the moment alone.

Sitting down next to him, she listened carefully to the information, nodding with a quiet smile as he made sure she understood just how slow and careful she would need to be. "I think I understand, love... mostly. But how do I lock it?"

And with a long, lingering stretch to do away with the kinks she could already feel coming from the time it would take for her to slowly feed her spell into the ring, she took out the ring she intended to imbue, stepped into her circle, and extended the middle finger on her left hand for Calanon to knick.

"Anything else before I start? Is it best to sit? I just drip blood on my symbols, right? And it just... happens?" Last chance to impart wisdom before she got down to work.
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Old January 22, 2018, 12:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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The elf's gaze rested on Kailin for a long moment as she said she had come back and redrawn the circle the previous darkening, but he made no comment, instead launching into his explanation of the next steps.

He was talking himself through it as he described it to her, wanting to be sure not to miss anything important. Knowing first hand how frustrating it was to have these things go wrong- all that effort go to waste- he wanted to spare her that, if he could.

Locking it was fairly vital then

With a nod, he went on. " Right. Yes. You'll want to know how to do that" Calanon was reminded of his own failure during that part of the process, and he grimaced a little before looking sideways at his love. " I usually use a word, but I've heard you can use a movement too, if you want to? Anyway..importantly, don't say the word. Rather..think it. And make sure it's something that wont be said all the time, or you'll be setting it off when you don't mean to." He quietened then, watched as she stood and stretched, tried not worry about what was to come. It would be fine. And as Kailin stepped into her circle, the elf stood too, caught her extended finger and pressed a kiss to it before using the sharp point of the knife to split the skin just a little.

" I would sit. A drop of blood on each symbol and then focus. And then when it works, just take it slow, yes?"

He kept his expression smooth, and backed away, before finding his own focus and casting a force shield. Just to be safe!. It would be a long wait for him then, so Calanon made himself comfortable as best as he could and hoped for the best.
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Old January 29, 2018, 04:53 AM   #13 (permalink)
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A word. One that she should think and not say out loud. Stretching, Kailin thought through the problem of finding something that would not be in common use, neither in common nor in elvish, as she meant this to be for Calanon.

It was not easy, and as she stepped into the circle, she was still considering it as she extended her finger, only to pause as Calanon bent to place a gentle kiss to her fingertip before scoring it with his knife. A smile had just finished forming for the sweetness of the kiss when he he cut her, and Kailin couldn't help the hiss that was exhaled between her teeth as she nearly dislodged the bright red bead of blood from where it was balancing in an attempt to stick the sensitive thing in her mouth like she would normally have done.

Catching herself before doing much more than moving enough that the droplet began to spread up her finger, she quickly took a seat in the center of her circle, looked up at her lover with a reassuring nod, and then closed her eyes to take a deep breath in. Her heart was beating hard as she opened them again, leaning forward to tilt her finger and let the bead of blood drop first onto the lily.

Following that, she went in the same pattern she'd drawn them in: five-petaled rose, sextant, conch, infinity, and finally - with a necessary squeeze of her fingertip to bring the blood to the surface - hourglass.

Then she closed her eyes and sought her focus, blood pounding in her ears as she waited with anticipation (and a bit of fear) for the rush that was supposed to fill her, cut finger entirely forgotten.

Kailin had no attention to spare for the elf, then, and the safety measures of both backing away and taking the time to weave a journeyman level force shield with which to protect himself. It was understandable, however, that Calanon might have been able to breathe a little easier as it solidified in front of him, ready to take the brunt of any mishaps that might send things flying toward him.
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Old January 30, 2018, 01:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
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That smooth expression that slid into place as Calanon stepped away from Kailin was hard fought. Of course he had not expected the sudden jolt that bead of blood had stirred, and he hated himself for it, retreating some way away and trying to regain the composure he had affected before he dared play with his own magic.

As the wall of force energy took shape, he pushed aside this discomfort that it would not protect his love should things go awry. There was risk in all these things, and she had wanted to learn...

A quiet sigh then and the elf settled himself down to observe.

***

For Kailin, there was a tight knot of anticipation in her belly as she let her own life essence touch each of those symbols she had selected to represent herself. Settling back, she reached for her focus, and it came to her, perhaps a beat or so later that it might have usually, given the nerves.

But it was not the same, and as the ritual she had enacted came together at her will, the Thaumaturge found herself cast afloat in a sea beyond her reckoning. Feel free to have some weird dreams/visions.

When she came back to herself, Kailin could feel a great swell of energy, rushing up against her barriers like waves in a storm. It was thrilling, the knowledge of this additional power at her fingertips, but terrifying too as it became clear how tenuous her control of it really was. It buffeted her, pulled at her attention as it struggled against its containment. She would need to weave her spell quickly before it could overspill.
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Old February 6, 2018, 08:36 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Kailin might have expected the twisting tumble of the vision that she fell into, if she'd thought about the fact that such an intense amplification was not too unlike her original unbinding, in terms of the change it wrought, even temporarily. But she hadn't thought in those terms, and so as she stuttered to reach for focus, and it nearly eluded her before finally settling around her still form, the effect felt rather like slipping into a nightmare.

A nightmare that she was familiar with... that out of control spin that floated to the surface of her sleeping mind to torture her with the sensation of helplessness. It was the time she had gotten stuck in a riptide and been sent tumbling over and over, able to see the surface glistening above, but unable to escape the force of the tide enough to breach it and grab even so much as a breath. As always when this particular nightmare struck, Kailin found herself repeating the word that had been resounding in her head the brightening it had happened to her. A very important lesson they'd all been taught as youths learning to sail in the Bay of Queens.

Surrender.

Eventually, the same tide that held you would toss your body back out. If you were lucky, and preserved your energy for when it mattered, you'd still be alive when it happened.

It was not a pleasant vision, but it was mercifully brief, and as she returned to herself in the middle of the circle she'd drawn, surrounded by a maelstrom of energy, it made sense that her mind would return to that experience. Surrender, the invisible tumult seemed to whisper even as she reached to take control.

But of course, she couldn't. Not with this. This she had to master, and so she reached for the essence around her, already beginning that so familiar weave of the spell she wished to use. Something simple and oft used for this first attempt. Healing.

The weave of the spell was like a favorite path through a well-loved garden by now, and Kailin walked it carefully, trying to hold the weave and the magic both and keep them from slipping her grasp. Then, if she were able to accomplish that much, it was time to give her focus to the ring she had clasped in her right hand, and figure out how in take the potential that was built up around her and fit it into such a small thing.

Which made her think of the times she had imagined the spell working its way into the smallest spaces of the body, setting order back to tissues and interstices too small to see with the naked eye. And it was this that she imagined now, only with the overlay of that favorite garden walk. A network into which she could feed the smallest thread of magic as she built that familiar pathway over and over into the slender piece of metal held on her open palm.
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