More and more he becomes certain the road to recovery is going to be a lot longer than he had planned. He remembers the motions. He knowns the practises, the techniques, the training. But as far as putting them to active use he might as well be a child holding their first waster sword. On the road, he got lucky. A lot of the groups had their own hired protection, whether mercenaries or soldier companies. A few really rich folks even had their own personal guard with them. At most he had had to fend off attackers a couple of times (bandits and robbers generally didn't like testing large groups of travellers, and the larger the group, the easier it was to blend in) and even so mostly when he had dared to wander in smaller groups or solo.
Once or twice he had gotten lucky in those encounters. Other times the attackers weren't exactly too skilled themselves. But here, in the City, with creatures running amok every which way, with tangible ghosts and real life dragons of all things, he could only get lucky so many times.
He stretches the fingers of the hand, making fists and extending them again, cracking a few joints in the process. At the very least his strength hadn't left him back then, even if the muscle memory needed to be relearned, lest he couldn't even lift the sword and be wholly and thoroughly futuere. With a deep sigh, he picks up the sword once more and rolls his shoulders, a few quick cracks of the neck added in between. Whoosh, woosh, woosh, the longsword begins to make its slow, measured loops left to right once more. It had been a week, but add another week, and another week, and another week.. sooner or later things would have to start coming back to him. Until then, he would keep practising, even if it meant straining the wrist in the process. Sir Earnan, the true knight, could be fooled by appearance (it was his own design, after all, and he made sure all details were just as intended) but if Sarv ever got into a fight then the apparent inability of a knight to defend himself would break the illusion just as assuredly as if he were to remove the helmet in the middle of the town square.
He had hoped the books might give some insight, some form of training native to these Lab-lands that could make it easier to relearn what he knew, even if just in illustrative glimpses, but the common language proved to be a tougher code to crack. He had found a new word to hate in his last attempt - 'beautiful'. Only four of the nine letters are placed where they are pronounced, and somehow that one single word infuriated him more than the rest of the book combined. To be sure, his nerves were already on end about the Sir thing, but he strongly felt that if the spoken word was intended to be put into a solid form, it should be a form to make sense with the speech, rather than be some artists impression of the word..
The man pauses and runs a hand across his face, ending at rubbing the temples with a silent groan. If he had a teacher? Sure, direct guidance would certainly simply and speed up the process. But he can't exactly walk up to a scholar and present the knight as someone illiterate (no noble would choose such a bodyguard), and to pose without a guise, fell-blooded and all?
This isn't to say he didn't try.. finding some form of help, that is. Oh the folk of the City are helpful, to be sure. Sarv had to but walk the market a day and ask a few people here and there whether they knew of someone to teach foreigners the local language (new recruits to the lord, and all, fresh off the wagons, green behind the ears, hollow minds in need of learned teachings) and a dozen different options and people were eagerly name dropped. And each and every one of them only taught in person. Even that would not have been so bad, but between them they could span all the language groups of this continent. Just not even close to the one he needed.
Frustrations aside, he had begun to make sense of one of the books, for the most part. Slow-going as it was, the sentences were starting to read like actual narratives, with meaning and purpose. Context was forming, even if finding pieces of it required that he read a sentence twice or thrice every now and again just to make sure he understood it right.
It didn't make the hateful spellings of words any less frustrating to come across, but he figured that if other common folk could learn to read it without issue (the ones who could read, at least), then surely, by right, so should he.
Above him the sky was turning into redder shades, the shadows in the tree tops drawing longer lines among the canopies as light began to fade. This would have to be enough for today.. He walks back to the boulder, grabbing the scabbard from behind it and sheaths the longsword in its place. He still needs to pick up the bear pup and foal at some point, not to mention tomorrow will be a busy day as well - he'd seen the bookshop and the armoury, but the list of necessities wasn't yet finished. Sarv yet had some errands to run. Slinging the belt of the sword over his shoulder, he clears the doorway area and heads into the basement. With a heavy creak, the double-doors swing closed with a soft 'thud', and the clatter of a plank is heard moments later as the entry is barred once more.
Fire crackles in the fireplace and steam slowly snakes its way up from a cup on the table. It goes largely untouched, until the trailing line ends to signal its status as cooled down. All the while, the only sound audible in the entire room is a soft rattling as a piece of crystal is periodically rolled across the wooden desk and back. The man sits in the chair, head leaning heavy on an arm, as the other one shunts the shard back and forth like a pencil across the papers. His brow seems to be in a perpetual furrow and his thoughts entirely elsewhere, as one of the books lays open on the desk just next to the papers.
The common tongue had unlocked its secrets after a while. It still wasn't an entirely fluent thing to read, granted, but he could at least understand it enough to get the context of most given texts. Pouring through the other books had given valuable insights to quite a number of things, no least of which was the manner of the Lab-land way of thinking.
It was curious reading, to be sure. The books gave ample understanding of what the City-folks considered to be the art of combat, the art of survival, the art of public speaking (and self-confidence, strangely, which was something he never thought people to be able to simply learn through reading), a bit of mythology here and there and some rather.. interesting theories on the arcane.
The pieces on combat were much to be expected - for all the different styles that exist, there really is only so many ways you can hit another person with pointy metal sticks before it gets excessive. If anything it more showed what the folk here thought about combat, rather than teach him something he didn't necessarily already know. The other books were a novel reading, one helping him update his knowledge on dealing with wounds (for most of his travelling companions had had a rudimentary understanding of wound treatment at best and thought ale worked as a cure at worst), while the other could be read almost like a comedy act on how to convince people and do it well.
This wasn't to say the book was bad, it simply amused him greatly at how it only seemed to deal with a fraction of what it would really take to fool people. And how tentatively it dances around the topic of 'fooling' in the first place, calling it 'confidence', 'self-assurance' and the 'undoubted presence' of the person. To be sure, it was a book written for the laymen of the world, who sought to improve their stature by attitude alone, but were too soft-spoken by nature to utilize any methods that could bring true change. Real change was anything but beautiful. Real confidence had sharpened edges. And real presence was entirely a lie. Stature came with costs the common people were unable to cover, and most who could would be unwilling.
The crystal rattles along the papers and back, faceted sides making it roll in a bumpy fashion, until finally the clawed fingers tap down on it, stopping it entirely. The entire world was a delicate balance of cost and gain, after all.
But some costs could be higher than others, and you might not know the gains until you pay.
He picks up the faintly glowing shard, eyes focusing on it for the first time in the half hour they have been wondering somewhere beyond perception. What a curious little find, it had been.. Inconspicuous, plain, entirely without seeming worth beyond some aesthetic tastes. He hadn't even thought much of it, at the time, and when he eventually escaped the wretched place, he'd simply placed it in a box in the desk drawer and left it there. 'Look at it later', he'd told himself, 'Its just a trinket and it might not even be real'. Well.. turns out it was one of the more realest pieces of stone the City had to offer. A simple, faint glow, colourless and plain, was all that betrayed the fact that this stone was but a piece to a key which could unlock great arcane potentials..
The book on the desk - pale green with accents in yellow - lay open on a page that seemed more a footnote to the paragraph he had been reading than anything of as great import as that. It talked about marbles and their rarity, about how adventurers have sought them time and time again, and how they could simply allow a person to perform magic. Simple, plain, succinct text as that. A mere footnote. If it weren't for the chapters to follow, of all the recorded tales of mages, wizards and sorcerers performing all sorts of great deeds with said 'marbles', he could have almost left it at that.
Magic, as such, wasn't something to pull him. He wasn't much interested in the power because by and large the costs seemed to just outweigh the benefits. His homeland was no stranger to wizards and the like, but they were rare, always wealthy and unreservedly bastards. He could see why - when you have power at your fingertips to turn anyone who disagrees with you into a toad at best and a pile of ashes at worst, it becomes easy to see arguments as something you can hand-wave away. But understanding wasn't quite the same as agreement.
Power.. corrupts. This, everyone knew, even if not quite everyone thought to take it seriously. But what people often forgot to account for was how power, if misused, created angry people. And if you put enough angry people together, they become a mob. And a mob, well.. Kings have been taken down by them for less, and while a wizard in the habit of senseless power could prove to be a tougher nut to crack, it doesn't change the fact that a wizard is but One and the mob are Many.
No, the people are likely to have little love for wizards. And given they already had little love for demons, a wizardly demon seemed a stupid idea to court.
He turns the crystal around between fingers, watching as each facet glints back a slightly different shade of red from the fireplace. A colourless stone, and colourless eyes, both reflections of the world around them. Magic wasn't something to pull him..and yet he can't shake the feeling it might be pulled by him, regardless.
An accident of one's birth or simply the consequence of actions after - magic surrounded him. He could touch flames and not feel the sting as much. Forces seemed to shift paths before him in small, subtle ways, to the point as to seem almost generous (though he never trusted the luck). Animals could sense it, that 'something' which seemed to follow in his shadow. And shadows, well.. There was comfort in them, a homeliness (certainly a lot more than with the flames). Perhaps, then, it was right and proper to pursue it.
And it could not be said there would be no benefits. This City was saturated with magic, from items and people to walking elementals and creatures. Nearly every one person seemed to have something to their name that had been touched, created by or influenced by magic somehow. In this sense, it was about survival, if one thought about it - what good is a simple sword against magic? You can't hack it, you can't stab it. Hell, if the battle books were any indication, you couldn't even protect yourself from it.
Slowly, the head tilts as it examines the stone. But a single piece to a much larger key.. A key that may even serve to make life easier in some respects. The book mentioned tomes upon tomes of different spells that all mages had access to here in the City, and recounted some of such spells being used effectively in different epics and legendary encounters. Of course, the writing made it out to be a point of pride - after all, it was the City archives that taught these mages how to use them, so obviously any renown those mages gained came back, in part, to the archives. Most of it was rather boring and useless, he had to admit. He could care less about spells to incinerate foes or animate the dead (one was just a mess you had the clean and the other you made your mess follow you around everywhere you went, never rid of it).
But.. spells to hide, to disguise, to shift the tides in subtle ways? If ever there was temptation inherent in the arcane, it came in the form of skipping the hour-two hour hassle it was to properly finish a disguise every time he wished to head out.
There was a touch of caution to that, even so. Magic, for all intents and purposes, was a short-cut. It was the easy way out, the part where one preferred the bridge over troubled water to the raft, the cheap option. And people were no fools.. Most minds could be simple enough to never look too close, but sharper wits could see past the magic and think it a worse crime than a more physical disguise. The arcane had to be a balancing act - used if needed, but for necessity and not convenience. That much he had to promise himself.
Of course, before any decision could really be made, there was the main one - cost. He'd rolled the different benefits around in his mind, back and forth, like the crystal on the desk, but that wasn't really what weighed his head down. He straightens in the chair, pulling the book closer as the crystal is placed back down, and stares at the rest of the footnote text - 'One documented method of such creation involves the combination of crystals at an altar to formulate the physical body of the object. In this process a piece of soul is used as binding.'
The book didn't specify what kind of soul, but he didn't need to pretend to be that thick - the cost is always personal in such things, otherwise what even was the point? So a piece of his own soul thrown into some crystals, to craft an arcane key.. With a heavy sigh he slams the book shut and slumps back into the chair, fingers tracing the forehead in frustration. Oh, were he a cynical man (or, at least more so than he was) he could say the people were right about one thing - fell-bloods and demons and the like have no souls, so really there wouldn't be any cost to him. But he's pretty sure that despite everything he's heard, endured and done there is a soul in him and giving up a piece of it is like signing a very risky contract.
And yet.. other people have done it. Countless times, if the book was to be believed, boasting the great many mages that archives have produced. It's even seen as a positive thing - after all you would stand before the very gods and showing your resolve by such a gift. Who would he be to deny Order such?
He will have to think on it, comes the final verdict, as he pushes the book aside and takes the mug for a sip. A disgusted grimace follows and some coughing as he stares down at the mug with a look of betrayal. Right, well.. warming this up first, then final verdicts..
Zenjesi: Hey Silv - how do you pronounce Kodakai?
Nov 17, 2023 18:23:56 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Not to mention the baby mosca with wolf skin from Elvye and the sparkling owl of Xentus. <3
Nov 14, 2023 10:27:52 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like the Donnor one not just with looks FF, but the description, funny as heck.
Nov 14, 2023 10:26:27 GMT -6
Zenjesi: yours both made me laugh, FF! They're very expressive
Nov 13, 2023 21:57:46 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Woooow Twilight, I love that witch drawing!!! :0 It's so pretty! And Zenjesi I think Spectral is my favorite out of yours lol. Just looks happy to be included. and silver now i wanna know which pets youd pick for the other legendary beasts. XD
Nov 13, 2023 21:37:45 GMT -6
Silver: Ah I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it! I love everyone's drawings they're all so cute. ;o;
Nov 13, 2023 17:31:37 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like that one as well yeah, loved the old nootnoot image from quest prizes, so that one went perfectly with that particular costume being based around it. X3
Nov 13, 2023 15:23:13 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: The jewelry on tail or at the head definitely tends to be their most recognizable feature for a Mosca, and sadly their pharaoh chin piece as well. XD
Nov 13, 2023 15:21:07 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Your peanut costume is hilarious and adorable too!
Nov 13, 2023 15:14:29 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Yes you're correct! I guess I did a decent enough job with the drawing!
Nov 13, 2023 15:05:27 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: It still looks good on Synkka. She is a shaman Mosca I'm guessing? Its mostly the tail that makes me think of it.
Nov 13, 2023 15:00:42 GMT -6
Zenjesi: I definitely like Spectral's the most too! I sort of cheated by drawing Synkka with a cloak because I do not know how to draw feathered wings, haha ^^'
Nov 13, 2023 13:45:15 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Which one do you like the most out of the three you made?
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:48 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that compliment! Though I know with the water it doesn't look entirely great, I love the latter one I made the most.
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:30 GMT -6