The training room Kyrik was in yesterday was as dull as ever. He wished there was another place they could go, but this was the best space at this time of day once again. At least this time, they were able to go over a basic understanding of magic for Kali.
“I wish I brought paper for this but…” Methir drew six circles in the air, all intertwining. “Magic has four primal sources, or ‘trees’; the elementals themselves.” She labeled four as ‘fire, water, tempest, and earth’. “Worlds are made from those. But there are two more; Life and Arcane. Necromancy and Druidism both operate under the Life tree, just on different ends. It’s why Kyrik was able to heal you via Necromancy. Arcane is what gives us magic; without it, none of them would function. If you’re interested, I’ll gladly go over them in more detail later, but I don’t want to overload you.”
After the brief history, Methir decided to go ahead with her lesson, as a way of ‘exposing’ Kali to the craft. Kyrik took it as punishment for ‘venting’.
The prismatic armor he was meant to create shimmered around Kyrik on the third cast, and he felt elation for the first time since the murder. It appeared as pink armor that reflected light with a crystalline surface, creating an urge to test it under certain lights. The armor itself was changeable aesthetically the better the caster got, with it appearing as a breastplate with covering around his extremities for Kyrik.
The moment he moved, however, it shattered. The presence in the back of his mind all but roared at each cast, like it wanted to say something but didn’t have the words. Kyrik himself couldn’t explain it no matter how many times he tried.
“No Kyrik, that’s not what I am getting at.” Methir said gently. “I’m just saying you are too unfocused to move with it.”
Kyrik felt anger rise within at her criticism. It wasn’t directly her fault, but rather everything of late. His inability to concentrate, the murder, a lack of direction.
“I don’t know how you expect me to focus!” Kyrik snapped before he could control himself. “You know what’s going on.” He added quietly.
“I do. Why do you think I am pressuring you more than ever to master this?” Methir asked warmly. “I don’t ever want you to run across someone like that without protection.”
The presence in Kyrik’s mind flared at her words, but before he discerned what it meant, it vanished.
“I know.” Kyrik sighed wearily.
“You’ll get it, I know you will!” Methir said cheerily.
“If I don’t, maybe my next incarnation will.” Kyrik joked before realizing he wasn’t alone with her.
Kali had been remarkably quiet for the time spent here, having gone silent after eating and watching the lesson with keen interest. In his frustration, he neglected to realize she was laying down a small distance away. Somehow. How he managed this, he didn’t know.
“In...carnation?” Kali asked with a small head tilt.
Kyrik glanced to Methir, who seemed to read his mind. He was caught, and there was no real way to get out of this. He had to tell her at least some of this. Besides, she was alien, and he sincerely doubted she’d run off telling someone. In fact, it may make her feel more at home to know someone as strange as she was beside her!
“I…can’t die.” Kyrik began slowly, approaching to speak quietly. He’d never had to tell anyone this; Methir and Jirmen already knew. “Instead, if I am felled, I will change if I don’t take the necessary precautions via a process called Reincarnation. I keep the same species, but my element and gender may change alongside the new appearance.”
“You can’t die?” Kali blinked.
“No.” Kyrik shook his head. “I am a reaper. Shadow of Death. I can’t die because of this, but I have a mortal body. Mortal immortal, a paradox.”
“You don’t look it.” Kali said not unkindly but with confusion. “I never would’ve guessed.”
“I wasn’t born a reaper, I was sort of…made one.” Kyrik continued vaguely. He wasn’t lying, but speaking the truth aloud…he knew far too well that it would draw something. If he tried, his other half would cut him off, having done so in the past even around Methir.
“Made one?” Kali looked him over. “Is it related to the mask?”
“I see. I won’t pry further, but if you ever wish to tell me, I will not turn you away.”
“But, to save future questions, my powers manifested into another consciousness.” Kyrik tapped the back of his head. Said consciousness growled in approval, a rarity. “As a result, I can transform. But…I don’t like to.”
“I understand.” Kali nodded, but the way she looked at him suggested she might not fully be following. Then again, Kyrik had to lie…
“I trust you will keep this quiet?” Methir approached with folded arms.
“Absolutely.” Kali said affirmatively. “Although…this does raise a question as to why a reaper is in class. This is class, yes?”
“I’m still sixteen…but I turn seventeen in a few months.” Kyrik eyed Kali. “You look my age, though. Maybe a bit older?”
“Truthfully, I don’t know my age.” Kali flicked her tail in thought. “I suppose I will when my memory returns.”
“Well, until then, we need to get you to focus on your lessons.” Methir tapped her foot in thought. “Tell you what, if you can make it a few steps with the armor on, I’ll get you another muffin.”
“Deal.” Kyrik agreed immediately.
No sooner did he try did the reaper half rear itself again. Once more it tried to speak, but Kyrik didn’t understand. It kept distorting what he was trying to do, warping the runes to the point of breaking. When he told Methir, she was as confused as he.
“I’m not sure why it’s resisting this spell.” Methir walked around Kyrik. “It has never resisted anything in the past.”
“Perhaps it has an idea?” Kali clicked her beak in thought.
“Maybe, but given everything going on, I’m not ready to risk something new.” Kyrik said. “Although, we should probably figure out what your element is. If you have one.”
“What’s the difference between magic and element?” Kali stretched before approaching.
“Magic is external force amplified by willpower,” Methir summoned a few training dummies. “Elemental energy is internal. It’s a part of biology, formed from something known as a ‘core’. Some sort of muscle would be the best way to describe it, and like one, it can grow tired or otherwise damaged.”
“Is it determined at birth?”
“Yes. There is a lot we don’t understand about why, but that much is certain. Genetics have a part, I think. Don’t quote me if someone proves otherwise.”
“So, it is like flexing?” Kali stood ten yards away from a dummy. “Or sort of like throwing something?”
“Both.” Kyrik pointed at the dummy. “You have to reach down inside yourself – metaphorically, don’t actually do that – and charge the core. If you adapted as much as you’ve shown so far, you shouldn’t have much of an issue.”
“May I have a demonstration?”
Kyrik reared onto hind legs, the sigil on his palm glowing as the air swirled and churned around him. His feathers swayed in the wind, unlike his mask. Kali stepped back as a globe of air propelled itself toward the dummy, striking with a blast that created a whirlwind around the target.
“That’s a basic ‘ball’ attack.” Kyrik explained. “One of the first elemental abilities you learn. Fireball, Iceball, etc. Very low cost, but when done by someone with extreme skill, it can be quite powerful.”
“Do I have to stand on hind legs?” Kali struggled to lift her arms off the ground, much to Methir’s silent amusement.
“No, I just find it better. But you don’t know how to stand on hind legs, and on all fours will work perfectly fine.”
“Alright,” Kali sucked in a deep breath. “I’m ready.”
Kyrik and Methir moved away to give her space. They watched in anticipation, but nothing happened. Kyrik began to wonder if she had one, only to have his curiosities put on hold when a green glow focused around her maw. The runes on her body glowed, tendrils standing on end. The more she charged the attack, the more Kyrik felt a bit hazy.
Wispy jade would be the best way to describe the color now that it collapsed into a ball, although the element was unclear. Kali pulled her head back threw it forward, spitting a rotating ball of elemental energy that twisted through the air and smashed into the dummy. It dispersed into glass-like substance before fading with an almost musical note.
“I think I did it!” Kali turned with an optimistic smile. “You were right; I needed flex something inside me.” A small pause before she looked away almost shyly. “I…don’t suppose you know what element that was?”
“I…genuinely don’t know.” Kyrik glanced at Methir. “I want to guess earth, as that is a common color of it, but it looks different than any I’ve seen.”
“Let me check.” Methir created a small sigil in the air that observed the impact of Kali’s attack. “You’re right, Kyrik; it’s earth. But it’s different, like it isn’t solidified.”
“What does that mean?” Kali asked apprehensively.
“Multiple things, but honestly my guess is your core not being properly attuned.” Methir replied optimistically. “It happens sometimes, and it shouldn’t be too hard to fix if that’s the case. So far, the anatomy differences between you and other dragons are minimal minus having only one heart.”
Kali snapped her head to Kyrik. “You have two hearts?”
“Yeah. Primary,” Kyrik tapped the center of his chest, “and secondary.” He indicated to the top left part of his breast.
“No. We’re heart-less.” Methir grinned wickedly. Kyrik felt himself cringing.
“How fascinating!” Kali flicked her tail, returning attention to the dummy. “Will you be returning to your lesson?”
“With Kyrik? No.” Methir shook her head. “I think we should see an Elementalist, just to be sure nothing is off. And I know just the one.”
It’d been quite some time since Kyrik stood in the Archmage’s chambers despite being on first name basis with him.
The lack of exposure to it, however, lent itself wonderous moments of distraction that Kyrik used to pass the time. Above a desk made of polished bronze was a spectral globe of Fatea. On each continent, pulsing pink icons would appear, each representing Nexus Points; areas of high arcane levels. Falmari was located over one in the deep desert of Tegrin, a crescent shaped continent with life only viable on its shores.
But that wasn’t all that caught Kyrik’s eye. Rows upon rows of books, some kept on shelves up the stairs leading to parts unknown, not being allowed up there. What forbidden knowledge did Jirmen keep up there? Kyrik had to know one day. When he’s older, Jirmen had said. Well, he was older each time Jirmen said so!
Royal blue tapestries hung from the bronze-beige stone that made the walls and ceiling. The floor, of blue and white glass that vaguely resembled something that Kyrik couldn’t put a finger on. A house? A chapel? Each time the sun came through one of the large windows, Kyrik’s view changed.
Perhaps the biggest interest Kyrik held was the four portals built into the ground near the walls of the circular chamber. Each swirled with different energies; orange, grey, blue, and finally green. Near each portal, three pillars acted as focal points to keep each active.
“This is the leader of Falmari’s chamber?” Kali whispered to Kyrik.
“Yes. Jirmen is in Inferno now, so we just have to wait patiently.” Kyrik indicated to the orange portal.
“Fire elemental plane.” Methir added on before Kali asked. “Each portal represents one of the four elemental trees. Tempest is grey; that houses air and electricity. Inferno is fire. Terra is green, housing Earth. Finally you have Aqua, with ice and water.”
“Are they a part of this world?”
“Different dimension connected to dozens of worlds. Nobody knows exactly where it came from or why our world is connected, but the elemental beings that reside in there are why we can utilize the elements.”
Fwoosh! The portal leading to Inferno flared with a fiery twister as Jirmen materialized inside. Despite being in the center of flames, it did not burn a thread of his robes. Still, Jirmen’s face was one of defeat and pain, which quickly vanished the moment he noted the trio.
“All three of you? What happened?” Jirmen asked with exasperation, walking to his desk.
“Kali can use an element,” Methir pointed at her, “but it’s different. You’re the expert.”
“Can she?” Jirmen’s exasperation faded into curiosity. “Step forward, Kali.”
Kali did so, uncertainty crossing her face. She glanced to Kyrik, who nodded slightly, which calmed her a bit. Jirmen strode forth, conjuring a chair and sitting before her, staring through the crystalline tip of his staff.
“That’s…strange.” Jirmen spoke after a moment of examination.
“As in bad?” Kali asked nervously.
“No. Well, I’m not sure, but I see no side effects of this.” Jirmen lowed his staff. “Kali does indeed have a core. But, it’s not bonded to any plane. She has earth in her, but she isn’t tied to Terra.”
“What does that mean?” Kyrik’s fins perked in interest.
“Cores are hardened, and only after flexing can you learn a new element.” Jirmen explained. “Kali’s is extremely mailable. It may be possible for her to change element with ease.”
“How?” All three asked with varying emotions. Kali was one of apprehension, Methir confusion, and Kyrik with extreme fascination.
“My guess it has to do with her not being of this world.” Jirmen got up and dismissed the chair, moving over to the portal to Terra. “I’m not going to take you into the plane, but I am going to investigate this further.” He looked at the three of them. “I have no doubts all of you want to rush, but pacing yourself is best. I want you to find your footing before we throw everything at you, Kali.”
“Thank you.” Kali bowed her head respectfully. Methir rolled her eyes at Jirmen’s wording, and it took Kyrik longer than he cared to admit to realize what Jirmen was really saying.
Before he taught her anything with her element, he wanted to determine if she was still a threat. Kyrik reluctantly understood his position, but he wished Jirmen would be more open minded. He didn’t want Kali to be held back like he was…
“Kyrik, why don’t you show Kali the library?” Methir suggested abruptly. Kyrik raised a brow.
“Um, okay.” Kyrik said, unsure of why he was suddenly being told to leave. He hated it when adults did this to him. “Oh! I never had you try a muffin, either! We’ll stop there.”