I hate this world already. I thought it was quaint at first with how naive this realm is and how rudimentary their knowledge of magic is. It's been two days now and what they’ve shown so far is archaic at best and not in a good way. For fucks sake, they train their essence mages as if they are incompetent. How in the infinite realms are you supposed to strengthen yourselves and learn skills by simply ‘breathing’ mana into weak plants?
It appears like this farce of a ‘trial’ where they simply breathe mana into a plant is finally concluding. This mage Vast, is treating these kids as if they are nothing but bottom of the barrel mana batteries. Granted, not having to watch over your back as you train in essence magic is kind of nice, however this is simply insulting. There is no hiding in sewers under the guide of an essence master who will protect you while you are at your most vulnerable in order to allow you to come into your own, nor wars that start at the mere rumors of royalty gaining access to immortality from dabbling in essence magic.
It does feel good disappoint the stupid mage and hand him one untouched plant. However, it is not like I can do very much right now with each of my mana realms sealed to prevent my basic mana regen from killing the girl.
This realm is different, something is wrong. The system is waning. Skills and magic are still accessible, as I was able to use [Flicker Step] and summon a pair of swords out of my dimensional pocket. I was also able to use in their library the spells [Knowledge Harmonization], along with [Omni Perception] and raw [Mana Manipulation] at their various ranks with no degradation. That did almost kill the girl, which would have sent me on my merry way to the beck and call of some new tyrant. I’ve not had a vacation from the atrocities since… since… I cannot remember…
“Let’s head home Jess.”
He he, she looks so downtrodden and tired from a small bout of a few hours of breathing exercises.
Skills seem to still be available; it just might be a bit more difficult to know when you acquire them. We’ll have to work on something to allow her mana realms to form and expand so that she can at least survive me not having to dump the entirety of my mana pool into the earth and lock my mana realms from passive mana regen.
This also feels quite weird having all passive abilities and fortifications disabled to prevent using mana that would kill Cara. Another first for me since forever, because of the oddities of this world.
“So… Have you picked a name for yourself yet and you mentioned that you are going to be able to show us tomorrow how to better use plant magic? Anything would be more interesting than what we just went through!”
“I do not know the answer to that, it is for you to decide. Tomorrow will be different, we need to fix some of your understanding of magic.”
I could tell you what others have called me, the list goes on forever: murderer, tyrant, fiend, unholy hell spawn, demon and all their variants in the myriad languages of the races of the realms. I think my favorite had to be when they’d just spit on the ground, no name, just spit if you were mentioning me. I guess I did earn all of them, even if someone else was wielding me through the system, I was still the knife that hurt countless…
“Give an example of something that is wrong?” Cara asks while walking hand in hand with her childhood friend Jessica.
“Your people treat magic runes and rune circles like separate entities when they are one and the same.”
“Well rune circles are just many runes? Right?”
“No. If you cut a fruit and just see the bottom, it is small and that is a rune, if you cut another slice, it will be bigger and more intricate, all the way up before it collapses back onto the rune… A magic… ball.”
“OH! So you mean a sphere!?” Cara jumps at the idea while waving her hands to demonstrate she finally understands the concept.
“Yes, they are all the same, only by forming the ‘sphere’ correctly within your mana states will you be able to properly use them.”
“I guess that could make sense, but wouldn’t some gaps make things fall?”
“Yes, that is why you build them in your mana states or use pure plant to form the pathways.”
“Anything else that we could use right away?” She asks me, looking most likely for small gains that would make her short sighted to the long term.
I can feel the system pushing on me, the contract compelling an answer. Possibly due to how the contract was stipulated, something about knowledge.
It is disappearing faster now, fading in and then out. My tests in calling it over the day are showing that it is becoming more and more difficult to even have it show up, and it appears more see through than ever.
Looking between her and Jessica who’s listening intently with her vii-dari happily enjoying her time away from the collective. I push to something less harmful to know right this instant.
“Her vii-dari will need to start drinking a few drops of her blood every day if you want the forces to commence her transformation into person form.”
“Wait! Flayers can take human form?” Jessica whips around and asks while eying her vii-dari.
“Yes, they all seek to transform, if you do not start it would take more time than you have for her to start.”
“Wow… so… like, will she turn into a baby?”
“No. The vii-dari will begin to transform at her current size, once she’s ‘human’ enough, she’ll start to grow up to her blood donor’s height.”
We are finally exiting this sham of a learning institution when I look up at the night sky and freeze.
Jessica is so excited to know that her little flayer will turn into a little person possibly if she feeds it some blood. She wants to ask more questions but as we clear the guild front doors under the night sky, my boy who refuses to tell me his name just freezes, stuck, looking up at the night sky.
“Ugh… Hello? You still there?”
“Jessica, I think we broke him.” I say to Jessica and we both start snickering. However, after a bit he still has not moved a muscle and I go up to him and wave my hand in front of his face.
“Hello, what’s wrong?”
“Your sky is missing! And… and… and… why does your sky not have celestial roads?”
I turn to Jessica and we snicker again.
We look up at the sky and see that it is a fathomless pitch black covering three quarters of the sky. Not a single star can be found in the presence of the devourer. In the southern corner of the sky above the trees you can see a multitude of stars painting the sky with a single tiny little moon peeking across the border of stars, trying to fight back against the devourer’s onslaught.
“Well we just exited winter, so Selia is doing her best to push back against the devourer. How do the states where you come explain the devourer?”
“The states are many, more than we could ever hope to count and there is no ‘devourer’ on any of them. The skies are filled with stars as far as the eye can see. They also all have many white celestial roads that stretch across the entire sky, shining day and night.”
I turn to Jessica and frown.
“I think he’s playing with us again.” I hook arms with Jessica and storm off into the barely lit streets with their sporadic lamps to guide the way down the cobbled paths back home to the smithy and apothecary.
After dropping Jessica off at home, I burst into the smithy where I can see my dad hard at work still this late into the night. He’s got a pile of maybe a dozen and a half or two dozen torch brackets that he’s making which is weird. I grab a pair of tongs and move up next to him, grabbing a piece that he’s vanished and moving over to squelch it. The bracket probably does not need it, but I like to hear the hiss.
Once dad is done, he looks over my shoulder to see my unnamed familiar in the front of the shop, looking at pieces in the various bins and some of dad’s better works that are just filling every inch of the walls in the front entryway.
I talk for a good long while with dad, letting him know about everything that happened as we lean back against a heavy anvil and just stare into the glowing embers of the forge.
“I’m proud of you Cara, now off to bed to see what the morrow has in store” He rumbles, beaming from ear to ear.
“‘Kay, night dad.”
I give him a big hug as I tell him good night then move off to the side of the forge to take the stairs two at a time as I go up to bed.
“OY! Where do you think YOU are going!?” My father bellows out.
Looking behind me, I can see my familiar simply following behind me up the steps and I freeze.
“Oh, you cannot come upstairs, it is my bedroom and my dad’s…”
He just gives a sigh.
“Oy! I’m not putting him up in an Inn, with so little coin coming in nowadays. I’ll grab something to put in front of the forge.”
My familiar just gives an audible sign and just looks around in the dimly lit forge. The floors are pretty dirty with soot and some lingering and beads of slag. As he looks around almost in disappointment, he looks up to the ceiling that is being held up with massive blackened trunks of wood. Placing a foot on the stair banister he jumps up and grabs the beam and like an acrobatic, loops himself up on top where he’s almost out of sight as he lies down up there.
“Damn, now I’ve got vermin in the rafters.”
“DAD! That’s rude! I’m sorry… “ Ouch, I don’t have a name still, so any apologies die in my throat, as they’d sound so hollow if I just called him boy, or familiar. I resolved myself to do better tomorrow and resolve this.
“Good night dad. Good night to you too…” I say in parting, feeling ashamed and a little like a failure for my negligence. Going up to my room, I slip into a night gown and head off to sleep.
I’m so anxious that I wake up prior to dawn the next morning and cannot seem to get back to sleep. With a multitude of things going through my mind, I stumble around in the dark and manage to find a pair of light stones. I grind the two small finger length cylinders into each other a couple dozen times and their ends quickly become red hot. Moving over to a piece of twine sitting in a small pool of oil on my desk, I press the two cylinders onto the tip of the twine to give light to my small room in order to get dressed.
I put on a pair of thin tight brown leather pants, there are a could small burn holes in the right leg, but nothing scandalous. Putting on a black button up shirt, I move to my desk where I have some river stones and some smaller tools.
Grabbing a river stone and placing it in the divet in my desk to help secure it, I grab one of my engraving picks. It has an extremely strong porus pointed rock in the tip, that can let me scratch even metal. I don’t want to use anything with a hammer and just decide that I want to relax and just scratch random designs into a river stone as I mull over what I need to do today.
I get to absently scratching away, spinning the river rock this way and that.
I’ll need money soon, I cannot borrow a lot from dad and I only have 600 Dens saved up, which is only enough for six nights in an inn or half that with food. I’ll need to start making some money soon if I want to properly take care of my familiar. I need to give him a name and also see what he can teach Jessica and I, or I’ll just start possibly training in fire magic. He did say it was possible, just better to work with plant magic.
I complete the last connecting line on my river rock. It is just a pleasing set of flower petals bursting from the center and I managed to complete the design while having all the petals be equal in size across the entirety of it.
Putting the rock in a pocket as a good luck charm for the day, I snuff out my little light as the night has given away to a beautiful orange cloudy sunrise.
Heading down stairs towards the kitchen to grab a bite for breakfast.
There’s a sound behind me, I crank my fist back and whip around and lay into… my familiar. Standing awkwardly with my fist planted in the middle of his leather armor at the solar plexus and tears threatening to leak from my eyes because of the pain, he’s just looking down at me.
“Aim here next time.” He says motioning to the base of the neck, just above the sternum and armor.
“I know that, just don’t sneak up on me like that.”
I stomp into the kitchen and can hear the floor creaking from above and to the side as dad is getting up to probably see what the commotion is.
I grab the end piece of the loaf of bread that we’ve been avoiding and hand it to my familiar, while I grab a fresh piece and put some butter on it and we eat in silence as my dad comes in and I hand him another buttered up end piece.
We are eating in silence for a bit before I turn to dad and ask him a question.
“Dad, what was the first name of grandpa?”
I turn to my familiar and look him squarely in the eye while contemplating.
“Hakir, hakir, akir… Alright! I’ve decided, because you refuse to tell me your name, your name from now on will be Akira until you tell me your real name!”
*Cough cough cough*
Dad just starts coughing and thumping his chest with his fist.
“...on’t just name him after my father!” My dad is protesting for some odd reason. Maybe the name makes him uncomfortable.
“It’s okay dad, just temporary until Akira tells me his real name. Anyways, we are going to go grab Jess and head over to the guild again for some training.”
Heading out the door as dad is just opening and closing his mouth repeatedly trying to come up with some set of words that are simply not coming to him.
I head over to the apothecary to grab Jessica. She comes barreling down the stairs with a few breadsticks in hand and wearing pants which is not normal for her and a faded pink shirt that used to be red maybe two winters ago. She’s got her satchel over a shoulder and across her front how with a happy Violet tippy tappy away. They both seem pretty vibrant today.
While giving a side glance at her pants and knee high boots, she sees me looking and leans over to whisper to me.
“There was that pervert yesterday remember?” Ah, that answers it. Jessica loves dresses but is now uncertain or scarred because of some asshole who could possibly try to refine his technique on someone else.
We head off to the guild while chatting and eating some breadsticks.
“So, yesterday I tried feeding Violet a drop of flood after pricking my finger. It did not seem to do anything as I tried to feed it to her…”
“Did you try feeding her head or her roots?”
Jessica just blushes and stares down at her feet embarrassed. I guess she must have tried to feed the closed up bulb instead of the roots and feels kinda dumb for not thinking to do that. I decide to change topics to save Jessica from her predicament.
“You mentioned yesterday about runes and magic circles actually being spheres. What else can you teach us?”
“Normally a teacher that you trust with your life would protect you and walk you through obtaining your first set of skills and abilities from the forces that would enable you to start wielding plant magic.”
“What kind of skills are we talking about?”
“The skills are difficult to acquire, but will increase the depth of your mana and how fast it recooperates. Other important ones are ‘deep roots’ and ‘rampant growth’ which your father has a variant of.”
“I’m confident he managed to get a variant of the skills and it is turned on himself, most likely the reason why he’s almost a giant.”
“Who do we need to go ask for the skills?” Jessica chimes into the conversation, now past her earlier embarrassment.
“You do not ask the forces for skills, you pry them from it with much difficulty.”
“Who are the forces?” I ask, as he’s not being very clear.
After a long absurd discussion we are approaching the guild.
“So let me get this straight… The forces is invisible stained glass that only we can see but not touch. It has writing on it explaining our strengths and weaknesses, as well as fantastic skills that we can use at the same time to get big effects…?”
“Come on Jess, he’s trying to trick us again.”
I storm off again, almost pulling Jessica with me as the boy from our first day is there and greets us.
“Oh miss Cara? Glad to see you and hope you are well. Mage Larse was looking for you, something about you missed a visit?”
“Oh I completely forgot, thank you, we’ll go see her right away.” I reply and rush into the guild and up the north corridors to the healer’s hall with Jessica in tow.
Entering into the healer’s hall is jarring, it is completely white that it burns your eyes. My working theory is that it is like this so you want to leave as soon as possible. Upon entering in, mage Larse is near the front with a patient.
The three of us calmly wait by the side, so that we do not interrupt. I cannot help but glance and see the girl from yesterday in bed. She’s staring up at the ceiling with a vacant expression.
“It’s the girl that the pervert got.” Jessica whispers to me.
“If she’s still in here, it must be a lot worse then when dad or I get a burn and come crying to your mom or dad to top up our ointments.”
“Do your healers not heal?” Came an odd question out of my familiar.
“She is healing her, that’s why she’s in here.”
“No by healing, I mean to restore the person to their prior state.”
“These things take time.” Jessica responds.
“Insignificant injuries such as she received should only take a few moments to resolve.”
“That’s not possible. Healer Larse has probably already applied an ointment and potion to assist with the pain.”
“Then she’s not a healer. If all she does is set bones, apply salves and stitch wounds closed, she is not healing, just caring for or stabilizing a person prior to a healer attending.”
“No, that’s not how things work.” I reply to him.
“I already spoke to you about the ‘rampant growth’ ability. At the higher tiers you can mend flesh and bones or replenish lost blood. However, a sickness can also entrench and kill as the healing with rampant growth speeds up the good and the bad.”
I give my familiar a side glance as mage Larse is making her way over to us and I get a final word in before turning to mage Larse.
“If it is so easy, then prove it Akira. Oh! Hi healer Larse, I’m so sorry for forgetting to come visit last night, it was so late by the time we finished the plant trials.”
“Not a problem dearie, I figured as much. How have you been feeling, any more pangs of dizziness, headaches or fainting spells?” She asks while grabbing my face and jabbing some fingers under my jaw to feel around before moving to man handle my face this way and that way as she forces my eyes open more to look at the whites.
“Nope, just headaches from Akira, my familiar.”
“Oh! You named him?” Both mage Larse and Jessica say in unison. Looking behind me I cannot see him there any more and as I am looking around I see him at the bedside of the girl, holding her wrist as she looks at the ceiling, possibly under the strength of a really strong pain killer if she is not noticing someone she does not know manipulating her arm.
I am leaning slightly around mage Larse as he and the girl are behind her and as I’m leaning slightly to the side my world darkens from the sides as the last thing I see is the white floor at the very center of my narrowing vision comes hurtling towards my face.
Opening my eyes, I see blazing white and a shadow hovering above me.
“There we are, take it easy dearie. You’ve been out for a bit. I thought you said you were doing better and then you just faint right in front of me.”
Sitting up in the bed, I can now see mage Larse is hovering above me. Looking around the room I see my familiar off to the side. I whip out of the bed and only barely limp due to initial weakness before I march over to him and raise my knee and stomp down on his foot as hard as I can.
“A-K-I-R-A… You did that on purposssssse”. I hiss at him as he told us before that he was the cause of my fainting spells.
“You commanded it and I obeyed.” He responds back with a wince from my stomp. I school my features before turning to a surprised mage Larse.
“I’m sorry healer Larse, I am still getting used to this and must have misspoken to my familiar. We’ll head over to the plant training halls and get out of your hair.”
She gives us a nod before returning to the blonde girl in the bed adjacent to where I was. I find Jessica playing with Violet in her pouch where she is having Violet entwine her fingers with vines as she slowly rotates her wrist unwinding them. I sneak up beside her and give her a light hip check and hook my arm around her free arm and nod my head towards the exit and we leave the healer’s hall in silence.
We go through the various halls and proceed to the furthest section away from the healer’s hall which is the plant hall. It is still mid-morning and when we get in I can see the other two guild mates are here and mage Vast is nowhere to be seen. The two other guildies have a small stack of glass panes and are going through them and writing notes in some small journals that they brought with them.
Sitting down with Jessica near the door to give the other two some privacy we both turn to Akira expectantly.
“So Akira, what do we learn first?”
“The true form of plant magic is difficult to learn initially as it is prohibitively more expensive on mana.”
“True form, so like the essence of it.”
“Sure. Why do your people believe fire magic the most powerful.” He asks and the other two guildies stop writing notes and seem to be listening in.
“Well, they can do a lot of damage, magic beasts are afraid of fire and it can be a lot easier to fight and kill them.” I say while Jessica follows up.
“They also last a lot longer in fights than any other mage.”
“Fire has no master, it can harm the wielder’s target or the wielder themselves. A wall of fire can be bypassed easier than an earth, water, wind or plant. As for endurance, that is a result of their training. They are burning their mana and are thus training their mana reserves. Yesterday, you simply breathed mana into a plant for an entire day. Can just breathing make you accomplish any feats of strength?”
“You can continue living by breathing.” Jessica mumbles under her breath.
“So is there a better way to train plant magic?”
“There are two skills that we can get from the forces to help. First is mana well and the other is mana pulse. Your bodies do not like to be vacant of mana and these two skills help. Right now, your mana is like a small cup, you need to dig it deeper. In order to dig deep, you have to use all of it in a single moment. Your body will not like this and you will effectively dig your mana well deeper.”
“If we are small cups, what are you? Like an actual well?” I ask and he simply shakes his head slowly.
“If you are a small cup, I would be a vast ocean. An ocean cannot fit in a cup and that is why you are hurt whenever I try to use mana.”
I share a look with Jessica and I can see in her eyes that she’s thinking along the same lines as me. He’s bullying us again. Jessica turns to Akira to ask another question.
“What about mana pulse? Does it have to do with our hearts?”
“No. If you use up all your mana it would take you the entire night to recover. Mana pulse drastically increases how fast your mana recooperates. By remaining in a state without mana and burning or using up any mana that you do regen, your body will go into shock and try to make mana faster. Thus, you will dig your mana well deeper and fill it faster and faster.”
“But how can we use a lot of mana if pushing it into a plant is slow and it only takes so much at any given time?” Jessica asks again, getting excited.
“You can either find something big enough that you can push everything into or you can push mana into a rune that will simply give it to the earth.”
“Could we just go to the forest and find a big tree then?” I ask looking out the glass window, we could head south to get to some of the forested areas.
“Yes and no, you could find a monstrous plant to feed but that would be dangerous and this training will leave you very weak.”
“How weak?” I ask and he looks at both of us for a moment before saying something that has Jessica trembling slightly.
I reach over and give Jessica’s hand a couple squeezes.
“It’s okay Jess, we can do something else…”
“No! I want to try… A-Akira, this would help us become strong?”
“Strong enough that a fire mage could not start a fire in your lungs, a water mage could not stop your blood from flowing, an earth mage would be unable to rip your bones out or use them against you and an essence mage would be unable to simply kill you on touch.”
“Wait! I never heard that any of them could do that!?” I blurt out.
“Your people’s understanding of magic is limited.”
“So then wind mages are still considered weak?” Jessica asks as they were the only group left out in his explanation.
“No, any competent wind mage will always have you fighting without air. Not breathing can be distracting.”
Slapping my cheeks with both hands, I try to push back and not dwell on possibly having any of these gruesome deaths that were just described to me rage in my imagination.
“Enough! How do we start?”
“A rune in your blood, tied to you and your mana on the ground to disperse any mana you push at it.”
“What does it look like?”
He comes over to us and looking down at the desk, which is covered in dust from neglect and probable disuse of this room, he begins to draw.
A complex circle with a burst from the center extending out and breaching in seven points. Each point resides a finger length outside the circle and they all have soft contours. He goes to his arm brace and takes out a small metal pin and continues with even finer details. He starts connecting the circle intersections of the points with only the intersections of the adjacent points in small fine lines.
In the center he then adds another small symbol in fine lines that looks like a circle with seven points coming into it to another smaller circle at the very center. Almost as if the outside was turned inside with three wavy lines forming a tiny triangle in the absolute center. He finishes and steps away so that we can see it without him hovering over us.
“That is close enough.”
“And that is just the symbol? Not the circle or the sphere part?”
He nods his head. By the devourer, if this was considered the baseline and the ‘not complicated’ component, this just seems daunting. Jessica nods in affirmation and pulls out a hair pin and is about to prick her finger when he chimes in.
“You’ll be wanting to be sitting or lying down on the ground.”
“What do we have to lose Jess?”
“Blood, lots of blood if we make a mistake and have to restart.” She says while frowning with her serious face.
We both get up from the desk and sit on the floor with our backs against the wall. Crossing my legs, I get up and down a few times as we prick our index fingers and try to replicate the symbol. After getting up and down several times and being very careful we both manage to complete it after borrowing Akira’s metal pin for the finer details.
I wipe my dusty and dirty index finger off on my pants and settle into a comfortable cross legged sitting position that I always imagined magic scholars would take as they debate magic principles in the guilds.
“And now?” I ask.
“Place a finger within the innermost triangle, close your eyes and push all your mana into it. It should act like the plant from before, but have an insatiable hunger that you can push all your mana into.”
Looking over at Jessica, she’s letting Violet gently wrap her pricked finger, maybe letting her grab a drop of blood on her own now for possible feedings, we share a look.
“Let’s do this.” We say at the same time with a small giggle before we turn to our respective circles.
I place my index finger inside the little triangle and close my eyes. I reach down and try to push my mana like I did with the weed from yesterday. As soon as I find the feeling and push, it is gone, the air in my lungs is gone, I’m sweating and I lose my balance before catching myself.
Both Jessica and I are gasping for air as if we had just fallen through a frozen river and became drenched in frigid waters.
“By… the… devourer… that is… awful.” I say between pants.
“Ugh…” Jessica follows up affirmation of how I also feel.
“So we have… to do that repeatedly to train mana well?”
“No… You went shallow.”
“You did not push all your mana, you stopped.”
“What!? No! I feel awful and feel like I have nothing left.”
“You most likely have only used four tenths. Also, once all of your mana is used, you have to hold it there to earn mana pulse.”
“No! That is not possible.” I retort.
“If you can still talk, then yes, you are almost at half. When in a life or death situation, you will dig past your limits and find your final limits, by doing this you will be able to deepen your well.”
“And we have to stay there for mana pulse? For how long?”
“To earn the skill... The same amount of time you spent nurturing that grass.”
A small whimper escapes from Jessica at the description of the colossal task that is painted in blood in front of us.
“I don’t think I can push any more…” I expressed to the two of them. It seems so simple, but I felt like flinching away as soon as I touched it, almost like being burned by the complex symbol.
“That is why it is in your blood, to be able to force you to do it. If you place your entire palm over the inner circle, it will devour all your mana and keep it that way as long as your palm rests on the circle.”
“And this will make us stronger? You are sure of it?”
“Yes, just this exercise alone will give you the first skills and will double your available mana, so two small cups and they will fill faster.”
I take a few calming breaths as I close my eyes and try to talk myself into this. Just put your hand on the small circle, easy. Just, lean forward, place your shaking hand out and an evil rune you drew in your blood will simply devour your mana and make you stronger. You can do this, first task, unclench your fist. Unclench… unclench…
Nope still clenching and shaking. Reaching over with my other hand to grab my shaking wrist, I hold it there balanced on my knee as I force my hand open over so slowly.
After procrastinating for far too long I manage to flex my fingers on my left hand and take a deep breath as I look up at my familiar who just gives me a nod. Gauging the distance, I look over to Jessica and give her what I hope is a reassuring smile as a rock forward and drive my left open palm held by my right hand at the wrist to the rune.
Instantly, I feel like I did not even need to try and push my mana, it was just gone. My elbow buckles and I cannot move my hand, it seems stuck to the symbol. For a brief second I think that Akira tricked me, that this was all a ruse or something. However, that though is gone as my world goes dark.
I want to move, but I cannot, I want to breathe, but I cannot, I seem to be in a void of my self. I feel stretched. As if I’m being pulled and stretched into the earth. Going, and going. I cannot see my body, but I feel as though my lungs are burning and that I have ants crawling and biting every inch of my body. I’d be shaking if I could, I’d be screaming if I could, but there is nothing. Just the burning discomfort throughout my sense of self, the feeling of being stretched or perhaps this is the feeling of expanding my mana well to twice it’s initial size.
This discomfort grew and ebed, like the waters rolling in and out on the shore. This was my companion and slowly I grew to ignore it, to accompany it.
I lost my sense of time, it could have been just minutes or hours or perhaps days, but I had in this vast darkness found a small spec. A grain of sand in a brilliant yellow formed at the core of myself. It burned like a small ember, feeling as though it could be snuffed out at any moment but also promising that it could spark a catastrophe if given a chance. Here it smoldered, fighting against a foe that stretched on for all eternity, the darkness.
The darkness felt bottomless and somehow all consuming. My entire being, my very life itself could be consumed if it could. I looked into the darkness and it felt as if it was looking back and a small part of me decided to call it the devourer, this was the true devourer. I am sitting in its belly and it is robbing me of everything it can or that the rune allows it to.
I could still feel something, a direction, a push towards my familiar, Akira, deep down. I could feel it and despite being in the devourer’s belly, I found it oddly soothing. He’s here with me. I could also feel the stretching had stopped, I figured that the stretching was the literal digging my mana well deeper.
I also managed to place the burning sensation. Similar to how if you are stuck under water too long your lungs start to burn, this feels like the lack of mana is burning me up and the ebbing was possibly my mana coming in and being taken.
I imagine myself floating in the darkness, cupping the tiny ember close to my heart, feeling rather than listening to the tide come in and out. Floating, meditating, feeling my bond with Akira and the ebb and flow of the boundaries of my inner world of darkness.