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Mercenary on the Winds

Faith in the Spirits Arc 1: To Align the Stars

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"Don't catch a cold now," Tasha joked, letting herself relax while Alvira went to check on the front of the wagon. She'd heard the thud just fine, but with both Tio and Elisa driving, she didn't think it likely they'd need help... but that Alvira was the one to actually go offer her help spoke volumes for how much she'd progressed over the past month. "Look at her go. Would any of you have thought she'd be genuinely worried about a human before we left Glacies? She's really trying her best... and that's part of why I'm giving her what she wants~" A happy chuckle as she picked up the ice cube Alvira had left behind, cooling her forehead a bit first. "She says she hopes she can give me something I need too, but all I really want is, well, someone I could see myself being with for a hell of a long time. Doing good with progress on that front," Natalya explained, not really caring too much whether Alvira was trying to listen in or not. She didn't need to hide praise! ...Unless she withheld it purely for teasing purposes, of course.

Seeing that the ice was melting into what at least seemed like perfectly average water, the tiger decided to pop it in her mouth, and sure enough it tasted just as plainly wet as water ought. Really, she's putting in so much effort in such a short time that I almost feel like I don't deserve her. But I can just tell myself it's thanks to my support she's trying so hard... I saw how she was by herself. Her voluntary muffling gave a small moment to think; she knew from experience that she had a tendency to downplay herself in relationships, and it sure was trying to get in her head again.


Elisa picked up the ice Alvira left for them to take a look at it. She'd seen the dragon flatten that pirate before with a slab of ice, but it only just now occurred to her that this was an actual, physical block of ice, capable of being separated from Alvira as the magic source with seemingly no issue, lasting about as well as you'd expect ice to in the current weather. "Liste is the name of the town. It's mostly notable for being one of the few places closer to Islexia where Clouded aren't considered even a strange sight, and so Glacies has decent connections here."

She could let Tio explain the rest of that side of the discussion, because the following question was more in her wheelhouse. "Magic storage is a difficult problem, because you'd have to figure out some way to suspend spell-formed mana separated from its source, in such a way that it doesn't appreciably decay in a short amount of time. I've experimented with something like that, but only Lufiria can manufacture something with the tolerances required to minimize leakage to a point where it becomes practically usable. But their magic reservoirs -- I don't remember if they'd decided on an official name for them -- they're not something that was ever open for trade. I'm pretty sure we only know the technology exists because of our cooperation otherwise, and us being prominent magic researchers..." By this point, the cube she'd inspected had melted enough to start slipping, and to make that a non-issue, Elisa stretched the neck of her suit and just dropped what was left into her valley, shivering briefly from its coldness.

"M-mmh... That's better." Though she wasn't wearing her mantle either, Elisa's skin-hugging outfit was making her sweat quite a bit. She was used to it from her frequent exercise, but no amount of getting used to it would make the annoyance completely disappear, even if the suit was somehow exceptionally easy to clean. Lufirian materials were so far ahead of things they could make in Glacies... "You can turn your ice spells into the expected physical objects, which is a rare skill to have. Normally, magic does affect things through reaction and interaction, but being able to directly convert mana into physical mass is a good few steps above just being able to cast." The quick solution, then, would be simple enough. "You could try to just make enough of it in smaller blocks, put them into a heat-retaining container, keep it away from sunlight and let people grab some cubes when they want. Refill every stop, and that should work out decently... I think."

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Alvira couldn't help catching Tasha's words, flushing profusely. Elisa's display with the ice didn't help matters, her eyes going wide and staring for a hot second before catching herself and looking away. The Evokers were attractive, for sure, but she had Tasha. The embarrassment was more that she'd been so brazen in front of someone that wasn't her wife. "I... uh... You know I'm still here, right...?" She probably didn't care. "Mmm... Yeah, I suppose that would work. Maybe find some pretty decent water containers and they can use them as icepacks, until the ice melts and then they can drink it. Double cool off~" She smiled, pleased with her idea... But something Elisa had said wanted to make her show off. "Heh. You think that's rare? Watch this~"

Alvira leaned into the front of the wagon further, aiming her hand towards the sky and towards the left of the cart. She fired off a brick of ice. Then another. Another. Several, going past ten, not even breaking a single drop of sweat, not seeming bothered in the slightest. "It doesn't strain me in the slightest. I can basically do this forever... Or at least, I've yet to find a limit. Whatever that storm did to me fucked me up good, but at least this is useful. Especially for here." She smiled, hoping it was at least impressive. "The only draw back is I can..." She formed another chunk in her hand, a square about as big as her head. "I can only do this sort of shape. Squares, rectangles, all with rounded edges. Can't even do something super stabby. Been trying to get a better handle on the shaping, but... It's been no good ever since I gained this power." She set the cube down between the Evokers, leaning back some. "Well! Good to know everything is fine, at least..."

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Sixteen really was tense around some of the members, Renais noticed she listed non-human Tigers that she fancied so far. Then when she brought up 'especially not the humans' she knew what was going on. 'She doesn't like humans...hmm.' Tio said she was interested in who Aly really was, now her sister entered the scene and she also had something strange about her. It was curious. But at the same time Renais couldn't help but worry about what this meant. Worst case scenario was that Sixteen might go on a rampage, for all she knew this could be a trap. '...mm, am I being paranoid? I can't help shake this feeling I have.' With a quick shake of her head she turned back to her book, and hoped to take her mind off her active imagination. "...uh small request." She spoke out loud to the group in the wagon. "If anyone finds a piano in the hamlet let me know, please." It probably may come off as a strange request, but she really needed to see something for herself.

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Slumping in her seat, Lani sighed. She'd stretched enough, and it was too hot outside to get out of the cart just to stretch her legs. Not until they they had somewhere half-decently cool to go back to, at least. The ice was definitely helping, though.

Alvira's flabbergastedness at being teased was certainly something to watch unfold, and she couldn't help but smirk slightly. It was something of a surprise that she'd willingly detached herself from the chief to go see what was going on; not only because of her obvious enjoyment at being close, but also how considerate she was being. Without a doubt, this seemed to be a positive influence for her, and for the chief too, though significantly less... developmental.

"Mmhm. Like a whole new person." And especially with that kid... too bad I promised not to tell. She smiled, remembering Alvira's request.

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Syndra caught Sixteen's last comment about Flux spells. "So, you're an elder magician? I thought I sensed something similar coming from you. I know a fair bit about, 'dark magic' as they call it myself." Syndra had noticed Sixteen wasn't really carrying much on her besides her clothes. "Pardon me for asking you Sixteen but, did you bring a tome with you on your way here? We're in a dangerous line of work, and as certain as I believe she wants to, Alriana can't constantly protect you out on the battlefield."

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"Mmm?" Sixteen tilted her head to see Syndra, looking at her upside down from her laid down position on the wagon's floor. "I don't have any belongings. I can cast magic if you let me have a tome, but all I own now are the clothes I'm wearing, courtesy of my loving sister. They're nice clothes! But nice clothes won't cast life saving spells." It was a lot easier to talk to the human that she'd expected. Maybe it was because they were both sitting still and Syndra was occupied with her casting...

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"Haha, no I suppose they won't. Either that or we haven't found clothes that do that yet. Hold on just a second." Syndra reached into her bag to pull out the Flux tome that she bought before they left and offered it to the snake-like creature. "I had bought this for my own use, but if you're going to be travelling with us you should at least be able to protect yourself, just in case." 

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Tio almost couldn't believe what she was hearing. There was always an upper limit to the magic that one could cast. No matter how strong, or capable a mage was, they were still at the mercy of their magical capacity. They simply couldn't cast magic infinitely, without consequence. But Alvira seemed to be casting her magic completely without consideration to these usual rules, and more importantly, her magic was actually separated from her. Creating the tangible element using magic was a lot harder, and a lot more taxing than people realized. Magic was using ones innate mana not to create a phenomena, but to simulate it. It was why things designed to ward against magic worked they way they did. A magical shield would be able to ward against magical flames by forcing the mana to dissipate, but that same shield would melt or burn if it came into contact with actual flames for long enough. Similarly, an ice or wind mage would be able to simulate cool breezes, and freeze water that already existed in the world. But if that same ice mage tried to create ice blocks to use as water, they would 'melt' into mana, and not water. 

Some mages had the skill and raw magic to be able to create the tangible form of their element, and manipulate it, but those were very few and far in between. The problem was that Alvira was a Fire Dragon. She might have expected it to be possible if she was using Fire Magic, but Alvira had been using ice magic because of what happened to her. Tio was seeing it, and feeling it, but everything she knew about magic told her that what Alvira was doing was implausible, if not outright impossible for her. For her to be doing such a feat with seemingly no drawback, and against her affinity... She looked down at the block of ice between them, and a thought crossed Tio's mind at that moment. Is... Is that possible? 

There was perhaps a way that Alvira could cast magic in that manner. If she were somehow linked to someone else's magical reserves. But that sort of link would of had to have been done with someone close by, and there was no way a link could be maintained indefinitely. More over, as far as Tio knew, that kind of magic was only employed by two people and she knew both of them. Even if I were to assume all of that... What on Amaranthe could she have possibly linked with? 

Tio blinked, realizing that she had just been blankly staring at the block of ice. "Oh, uh. Sorry. Lost in my thoughts again. Alvira, if you could get your commander, we'll have to explain what's going on here. And, don't worry about us and Sarasin, we'll be just fine. Just have to keep him on task, away from his stories, and his eyes up." She couldn't help the playful jab. Sarasin was actually a lot better about that than many of the other nobles. Just when he did get caught, he got caught. "Elisa, if you would pull the wagon up to that bell. That's where we'll wait." She returned her attention to Alvira, "Liste is... well, not Eibar. There is a local bar, a small inn, and some smithies, but Liste is quite small and out of the way. So there isn't much in the ways of entertainment. The inn does have decent baths, so there's that, and... if I recall actually, there's a nifty little place with all kinds of books. We'll have to make the best of it for the day." 

Around them, the sleepy little town seemed to stir. A couple of people had started to poke their head out of their houses, and others from their various activities. Including a guard or two exchanging a couple of confused looks as the guard from earlier seemed to be speaking with them. 

Edited by Mercenary on the Winds

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Alvira couldn't help noticing Tio's staring into the ice, like she was trying to formulate how this functioned. "I wish I could tell you more about my magic, Tio, but it's been like this ever since the storm... Fire was pretty easy to control too, but not like this.. Do let me know if you come up with something, though. It's definitely curious." She smirked and slipped back into the wagon to tell Tasha what was going on, wishing she wasn't so confusing. Even the Evokers don't know what's up with this ice... How frustrating.

Alvira put that thought aside for now and slid back up to Tasha, squeezing her arm. "They need you up front, hun. Gotta fill you in on what's going on... And they told me that Liste doesn't have much to do, but the inn has a nice bath... Shall we go for a round two?"


"... For free?" Sixteen was hesitant, an arm outstretched, but it flinched back for a moment. This was still a human, one that was being nice at the moment, but... "Mmm..." The thought of being able to help or protect Alriana with her full capabilities crossed her mind and she snatched the tome, hugging it against her chest. "Th, Thank you... Syndra."

Edited by Mel the DM

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