Kyrik awoke to the sound of someone knocking at his door. Blinking slowly, he discovered himself on the floor, curled up in a corner. From the pencil on the ground and various markings on the paper, he must’ve passed out in the middle of thought. Sunlight hadn’t yet reached his face, so it was still early.
Stretching, Kyrik made his way to the door to find Methir standing there. From the circles under her eyes, she hadn’t slept much, if at all. She smiled warmly before turning her attention to the drawings Kyrik made.
“I thought I told you to study.” Methir folded her arms when standing before it.
“How can you expect me to do that?” Kyrik scowled. “You know I have a bell ringing in my brain whenever someone dies around me.”
“I know, but you can’t solve everything, Kyrik.” Methir sighed with exasperation. “What if this killer is really after you? How will you defend yourself if you can’t create prismatic armor?”
“I can transform.” Kyrik grumbled under his breath.
“You really must be invested to even suggest that.” Methir blinked in surprise. “You haven’t done that in a while.”
“This is a desperate time.” Kyrik flicked his tail in frustration. “I can’t sit here and let someone get away with murder. My other side won’t let me.”
“I thought you had him under control?”
“I do, but it doesn’t mean anything right now. I’ve never had it act up this badly.”
Methir didn’t answer, instead returning gaze to Kyrik’s chart. She mouthed silently, but what was said was untranslatable. Concern briefly crossed her face.
“Well, I have something that may distract you from overthinking.” Methir clapped loudly, swirling to Kyrik. “Our friend woke up earlier.”
It was a play. A way of pulling him away from the investigation.
And he fell for it completely.
Without thinking, Kyrik conjured a portal and jumped right into it as Methir tried to grab him. She missed, and like before, Kyrik appeared in the middle of the hospital, startling an unwitting nurse. His legs carried him into the spare room before he had time to blink, was inside.
He couldn’t believe his eyes. If possible, she was brighter than before. With each breath, the glow under her scales intensified and dimmed. Runes on the shoulders and neck reflected the lights. Deep sea life was what the barbs on her head reminded him of now that he had a better look. Finally, the orb on her tail was no longer fractured, glowing like the tip of Jirmen’s staff.
Slowly, her eyes opened to meet Kyrik’s. Before he spoke, she jumped back with a noise that was a mixture of a honk and screech.
“I’m so sorry, Kali.” Methir appeared behind Kyrik, yanking him back by his horns. The sudden motion made his wings flap from both excitement and distress, fighting against Methir’s hold. “This is Kyrik. The one I told you about.”
The beak-like face of the alien turned to Kyrik, a notable frown forming.
“Please don’t scare me like that.” She said in a strange accent. Very, very foreign, with an almost windy chime to it. Better yet, how did she know their language!? He wanted so badly to ask but felt Methir’s eyes on him.
“Scare you like what?” Kyrik tilted his head in confusion.
“She means your mask.” Methir tapped it lightly before addressing Kali. “I tried to stop him, but once he gets his mind set, it’s almost impossible to catch up. Especially since he learned how to make portals.”
“Sorry, I forget it’s on.” Kyrik felt his mask, feeling himself shrink as guilt crept in. For the first time in a long time, he felt the smooth material it was made from. How different it was compared to his real face.
“Why are you wearing it to a medical ward?” Kali asked not rudely, but Kyrik caught the annoyance.
“He’ll never take it off.” Methir stepped in again. “Trust me, you get used to it.”
“Is he shy?” Kali shifted back to Kyrik. Her eyes were so strange, now that he got a better look at them. Very similar to her tail orb, if he had to compare, with not an iris in sight.
“Something like that.” Methir laughed quietly.
“How do you know our language?” Kyrik blurted out, unable to contain the question any longer.
Kali opened her mouth to answer before closing it. “Truthfully, I do not know. I simply…know it.” She answered with a slight aversion of the eye. Was she hiding something?
“How are you feeling?” Methir changed the subject.
“Sore.” Kali adjusted herself on the bed, half hanging off before. Kyrik couldn’t help but note the strain and tremors along her arms.
“Physical? Or do you mean emotional?” Kyrik asked.
“Physically. According to Methir, I did fall from the sky.”
“I can do something for that, if you want.”
Wiggling free from Methir’s grip, he approached Kali slower this time when she nodded consent. On hind legs, he opened his palms. Curiosity danced along her face at the sight of a white symbol – similar to air currents – in his right claw.
“Not sure if it’s the same where you come from, but we have physical ways of telling what element someone is attuned to.” Kyrik babbled as he charged the runes in the air. “Fire has markings on the neck and tail, electricity with shoulder crystals. Tempest, my element, has the symbol. It’s strange, I know, but I think it’s interesting and-”
“Kyrik,” Methir called his name in sing-song. “Slow down a bit. You’re throwing way, way too much information at her.”
“Oh. Right, um, hold still.”
From Kyrik’s claws came a soft green light. Unlike the necromantic spells of the same color, this radiated positive energies, the runes not charged to destroy this time. It still fired toward Kali, but instead of decaying the flesh and scales, it restored strength and vitality to them.
Unfortunately, such a spell drained Kyrik far more than he anticipated, and he fell over after it ended.
“When did you learn that?” Methir asked with surprise.
“Little while back, but I never really did anything with it. It shows, doesn’t it?” Kyrik picked himself up. “Anyway, I have necromantic powers, yes? It comes from Lifeforce, and all I had to do is reverse the runes. Way easier than going through the other means.”
“Well, there goes my future lessons.” Methir muttered jokingly.
“Anyway, how are you feeling?” Kyrik asked Kali, who flexed the previously aching parts of her.
“Much better.” Kali said with more positivity than before. “Thank you.”
“Well, if that’s the case, I have an offer for you.” Methir said. “If you’re up to it, we can show you the city. I’m sure you’re as curious about this world as we are you; Kyrik here is going to burst if he doesn’t talk to you more. And honestly, asking questions with you in here feels like an interrogation. If not, I completely understand and will keep this one in check.”
Kali shifted her eyes between them and the door a few times. “I think I’ll come with you.” She decided. “I think I can trust you two; you found me, and you brought me back from near death. And, I am very curious as to how this world works.”
“Oh dear, you said the word ‘curious’.” Methir grinned as Kyrik’s fins perked. “Kyrik, slow. Don’t throw everything at her at once again.”
“I wasn’t going to.” Kyrik puffed his cheeks out again.
“Actually, would it be alright if I got food?” Kali made it out of bed, standing much taller than Kyrik thought she’d be. He made it up to her shoulder at most.
“Sure!” Methir nodded enthusiastically. “I’ve been meaning to ask that myself. About what you can or can’t eat, I mean.”
“I’m not sure myself, but I am willing to find out.”
“That’s the spirit!”
The instant Kali left the room, she winced, blinking rapidly in pain. Kyrik exchanged a look with Methir and before asking if Kali was alright.
“I…has this place always been so loud?” Kali said with strain.
“It’s quiet.” Methir replied, confused.
“But I can hear everything.” Kali clicked her beak in frustration. “It won’t stop. I never noticed it with you two, but everyone here is chattery.”
“Kali, no one is talking.” Kyrik said worriedly. “It’s only us.”
Kali flicked her eyes around the ward, focusing on random individuals before clarity crossed her face. Like she remembered something important.
“Oh.” Kali held her head. “I understand now. I remember.”
“Remember what?” Kyrik reached to comfort her, stopping short. He didn’t want to accidently set her off.
“I think I can read minds.” Kali answered with self-doubt. “A name popped into my head; Dreamtender. Best way I can describe it as if someone forgot to add something important.”
“Read…minds?” Methir raised a brow. “Interesting.”
“It is the only explanation as to why I am able to hear things you cannot.” Kali shook her head. “I’m trying to shut it out. I don’t want to intrude on anyone.”
“I would offer to teach you how, but I don’t know if this is an innate ability or magic.” Methir walked out with them after Kali regained some control. “If it’s the former, I don’t know much about you. The latter is considerably easier.”
“I believe it is the former.”
“Then I am at a loss for now.”
“That’s okay. I will learn on my own.”
Once outside in the streets, Kali stopped and stared in wide eyed awe. The way her talons clicked along the ground in excitement reminded Kyrik much of himself. Her head rapidly changed angles and direction in attempts to capture everything, not unlike how a gryphon or other avian would. At this point, Kyrik expected her head to stop bobbing back and forth when she walked.
“Where are we?” Kali asked inquisitively.
“The city of Falmari, the largest source of magic this side of Fatea.” Kyrik explained.
“Is Fatea the country or…?”
“The planet’s name.”
“Oh! I would very much like a tour whenever possible. The city, that is.”
“I’d be glad to!”
The walk to the nearest food stop was much longer than Kyrik expected it to be. Why he didn’t anticipate Kali running up to almost everything was beyond him, but it couldn’t help but be happy for her. Whenever someone cast a simple summoning spell or magic in general, she would stop and stare. Statues of previous archmagi or other important individuals came with a slew of questions, all which Methir and Kyrik were eager to answer.
Unfortunately, her asking of questions turned sour when they passed a large stone with hundreds of names written on it. Not that Kyrik could blame her in the slightest, but it was a harsh reminder each time he walked past it. Especially with the flowers lain at the bottom almost every day. Usually, there was someone there.
“Did they help build the city?” Kali asked in reference to the names. With the sunlight cascading off the top, she couldn’t see what it stood for.
“No, it’s a memorial.” Methir answered quietly. “For all that we lost against the Seraphim five years ago.”
“Seraphim?” Kali tilted her head.
“Much like you, they are aliens.” Kyrik jumped in before Methir spoke. “Their leader, Ephiral, fell from the skies much like you did. Upon landing, he scorched the land of Bryizo and nearly wiped out a race known as lycons. The skies turned into everlasting sunlight. Seas boiled. Friends were indoctrinated into his forces, turning against each other.”
“I…see.” Kali said solemnly. “I didn’t mean to bring back those memories.”
“It’s okay.” Methir reassured her with a bright smile. “I’d rather you asked these questions now than later.”
“Is that why you kept such a close eye on me?” Kali asked Methir. “Because I fell from the sky?”
“Well, I can assure you that I carry no such intentions nor any forces.” Kali looked back at the names. “This world is already too wonderful to destroy.”
“Ephiral didn’t want to destroy the world, either.” Methir sighed gloomily. “In his own way, he wanted to preserve it. I don’t know how he intended to, as I never directly had contact, but I fought his forces. I’ve…lost friends and family to his ‘preservations’.”
“His morality was as alien as he was.” Kyrik added on. “He opened our eyes to the universe, but at the same time, ravaged Fatea in such a way that I doubt it’ll fully recover.”
“I take it that is why you find it easier to accommodate me?” Kali asked.
“Well, if I can help in any way, do not hesitate to ask.”