Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

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    Lacey Botticelli

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    First Magic: Kiah Lake
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    Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 30th March 2017, 5:43 am

    Job:
    Job Title: The Apprentice

    Rank: C

    Player Requirements: C-Ranked Wizard (Solo Only), This Job is Not Available to Self Taught Wizards, This Job May Only Be Completed Once by any Character.

    Job Requirements: Thread must be 8,000 words. Must train with your former Master or Mentor; for 1 week after being warped and pulled inside the Gem of Time.

    Job Location: The Sky Tower

    Job Description: Rumours have been heard of a gem that sits at the top of the Sky Tower; it cannot supposedly cannot be moved; lifted, or budged. Even by the Gods themselves. Tales say that the Gem of Time sits held up by two mighty stone griffons at the peak of the sky tower; on it's large, platform like roof. You have managed to climb the Sky Tower, and have found the rumours to be true. You note your surroundings and see that the top of the Sky Tower is gorgeous; with a ritual and mural of the sky in a mosaic on the floor. There are no edges at the peak; just flat surface; the griffons, and the clouds.

    You can see all of Fiore from here. If you look off the tower's east side; you'll see the forest, and Magnolia; and even further off in the distance; you'll see Clover Lake; and the Inferno Mountains even furhter still.

    If you look too the tower's left; you'll see the Sabertooth Guild Hall; nestled in the mountains you're in, far, far down below; the building nothing but a spec from way up here. However, looking straight ahead, you'll behold the beauty of Fiore's grasslands; the twin cities of Era and Crocus shining in the plains; whether it be day or night.

    Too your north, you can see the Royal Palace; the home of the Politicians, nestled in the forest; and even see the gigantic beanstalk from Beanstalk Village piercing the clouds up above as you are here on the Sky Tower; and also Rose Garden, glistening in the distance like a rainbow under a constant enchantment.

    Too your South, you see the Peace River; and Peace Village; nestled as a tiny spec off in the distant southern grasslands.

    Although the beauty is breathtaking; you're here for one reason only. The jewel itself is said too grant one the ability too 'learn with one's master once more'; whatever the hell the rumours mean; many have tried to climb the Sky Tower and failed because of this opportunity. You however, being a Wizard; have managed to reach it's peak by scaling the massive dungeon inside.

    Held up by the two Griffons----sits the Gem of Time. A clear white diamond; that fans with a golden light within every few seconds. Upon reaching up to tap a finger or hand on it; you twist into a golden glitter and are yanked inside of the gem.

    (Environment of your Choosing)

    There you stand; whether on mountain peak; open ocean, white lake; or open plain. With your former Mentor, and Master.

    (Train well. Your Master will fight you for 24 hours at a time; with one day of rest inbetween each day of training too remember old times, smiles, and lessons. When your training is complete; the next touch from your master; whether it be a hand shake; a hug, or a pat in the shoulder; will warp you back to the Sky Tower at Dawn.)

    Enemies:

    Boss: Your Old Master

    Reward: Triple Experience (3 C-Ranked Jobs Complete)
    Fire Brings Down a City
    Lies Bring Down a Nation

    A girl with scarlet hair lies slumped across the steps of the famed Sky Tower.  Her body is limp and unresponsive as passerby curiously wonder at her figure.  Some kick it, and others jeer, but she does not move.  From a cerulean sky to the indigo of dusk, the sun beats down on her fair skin, so that it burns, blisters, and peels.  Yet she does not move.

    I guess that's just another dead lass dried up in the sun, I take in the image of her sprawled body and immediately suppose.  It wasn't too often that we had corpses lying about in this district, being rather corporate and all, but who knows what all those street kids get about to?  The bad streets are just a block over from here, their filth and poverty heightened in contrast to the luxe of the skyscrapers just a quarter of a mile away.  I know it truly is a bad situation.  Having crawled up the business ladder from the very bottom (although I had only ever been lower-middle class), nevertheless I have no pity for these people, lying all around and showing off their unfortunate position to the rest of the world.  Begging for release from strife when they ought to earn it.  Work for it.

    Turning around, I stride furiously back to the steps of the tower.  Glaring at the girl and her fiery locks with all the hatred I can muster after nearly fifty years of living, I sneer at her still form and with disgust lash out in a kick at her ribcage, hidden under shredded leather.  Each and every heated syllable that escapes my mouth is accented with a crushing blow to the gixie's side.  Satisfaction clouds my mind as I almost hear and certainly feel the crunch of bone.  "Downtrodden pitiful excuses for a human you are.  You don't deserve to live.  You don't deserve to be here even as a corpse, littering these beautiful streets.  You don't deserve to-"

    And then my movements stop, but I tell them to keep going.  Something holds my foot tightly in place, and suddenly stricken by a bolt of fear, I hesitate to glance down at the impediment.  In the end, I stand stock still, half-perched on the front staircase of the Sky Tower.  One of my feet is extended, while I curl the other underneath me and bend my legs to keep balance.  I don't know why I'm afraid to look down.  Wasting time, wasting lives... but fright binds me tight in place.  Why? I wonder with more than a hint of disgruntled frustration.

    Then all of a sudden I feel a strange compulsion to look, to witness the miracle of terror at the unknown that has held me in place for so long.  At first I resist the urge, and then it snatched at my hands and takes me into its arms and whisks me down the dark tunnel in an empty, soulless dance.  I disappear into the darkness.

    Glazed eyes meet glittering emerald ones below as my head tilts down to the ground in a slump.  I fade away.

    531 Words.

    Lacey Botticelli

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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 30th March 2017, 5:52 am

    Eleven days earlier.

    Leahndr Aspont was not afraid of heights.

    Glancing down over an nonexistent rail and witnessing a gorgeous landscape a mile away was breathtaking.

    But the drop? How long, really, was it before one began to panic staring at the distance with all manner of thoughts circulating about the possibilities?

    Everyone should be afraid of falling. Leah was. She just hadn't gotten there yet.

    A strong gust of wind threatened to peel the skin back from her cheekbones, but there was not nearly enough velocity and friction to pull off a stunt like that. Content with whistling through the air, a human projectile charged with hyper nervous adrenaline and pulled into free fall by pure gravity, the girl could only wait for her flesh to tear apart and her skeleton to shatter against the pavement.

    And so they did.

    In less than half a second, the mage had contacted the side walk and was turned into mush, with gore splattering the cement in the consistency of a spill of paint. It even reached the asphalt of the road, at least four meters away.

    She never was afraid of falling. And now she was dead.

    732 Words.

    Lacey Botticelli

    Regular VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Rising Star- Player -
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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 30th March 2017, 6:04 am

    Eyes wild from the moment they opened wide, Leah shot up from her pillow as though some prankster had dumped a bin of ice water over her sleeping form. With heaving sighs of breaths, the slight girl blinked rapidly at the empty wall panels across from her. Warm maple wood. Dark. Illuminated by only a floor lamp, which she knew stood placidly and predictably beside her bed. Homey. Closed. Safe.

    As her eyelids drooped with a sudden exhaustion brought on by a loss of adrenaline (that really had come from nowhere but a spike of creativity in her doozing mind) the jade eyed girl wondered what exactly she was doing. Love...

    Love had been her only reason to venture away from Poolaria, where her great-grandmother had finally settled after fleeing Joya with only the clothes on her back and a babe clasped to her chest. Love had saved her so many times after ruining her, to sound like a book of inspirational quotes.

    But now, where was love? In her guild? Leah had nothing in her heart for the organization, aside from a feeling of obligation to repay the cost of lodgings and food she had been freely given as a member of Golden Phoenix. On the other hand, her completed missions had all added reputation to the guild of adventurous, but well-meaning treasure hunters. Perhaps it was a fair trade. She deemed it so.

    Slipping out from between the bedclothes, her feet quivered against the slightly damp wood of morning. After crossing to the bathroom, the dewy floor merged into chilled tile. A shiver rippled through her body, shaking her shoulders; pearly teeth clacked together thrice before the crimson headed female clenched her mouth closed in a dead set. With a certain amount of reluctance a few moments later, she unlocked her jaw to squeeze in a sparsely bristled toothbrush. When Leah finished with that chore of basic hygiene, she plucked several stiff threads of plastic from their locations, wedged between her teeth. Being cheap had its disadvantages.

    The mage left no note upon leaving the room itself, but all traces of her residence were meticulously cleared away. One last fire had been lit to burn all of her belongings she could: those which were not needed for the trek down to the docks, where she could secure passage to the mainland. Some might have seen the article printed in the paper, before it was painstakingly cut out and ended up leaving a gaping square in its place on one sheaf of the newsletter. The one about the Sky Tower, with the blurry photo of a glimmering gem stone. Both disappearances, that of the scrap of a square and of herself, might be connected. Who knew? Woe to those that underestimated a phoenix. Leaving nothing behind and taking nothing except memories, Leah left the guild hall. Perhaps it wouldn't be forever- but who knew, then?

    1218 Words.

    Lacey Botticelli

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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 30th March 2017, 6:36 am

    The Sky Tower was difficult to find. Why? This realization and question alike stumped the girl with dark knives. Tall and proud against a backdrop of distant, shallow mountains and a short skyline, the building was conspicuous if one were looking at it. Yet never could the word ostentatious be applied. Dimply lit with street lights as the sun dipped below the valleys outside the bounds of her vision, it hovered over passerby like a coiled cobra prepping to strike. Ready to strike. But not going to-- not just yet. Deeply unnerved by the feelings the architecture aroused within her, the girl shifted uncertainly as she stared up at the gargantuan construction from her stiff stance that had been taken at the base of the front staircase. The entry way to unknown territory, a place where if she fell, she would be that smear on the ground from her nightmarish devision.

    Her heart skipped a beat, and Leah turned her back to step away on a whim of instinct. Muscles remained tight with guarded anticipation the entire time as she fled. Something was about to leap out at her- No. Nothing did. She made it across to the other side of the street, opposite the towering skyscraper. Turned to stare at it. And then she was running, nerves frayed with decision equally undone, dodging cares that seemed to materialize out of nowhere for the sole purpose of grinding her into road kill under rubber tires. Then through the steel doors she went, not pausing before grasping the frigid metal bars and pulling with all her might. With all her soul. They opened. She ran.

    And ran.

    ---------------------------------

    Suddenly her peripheral vision was clouded and filled with a luminous gold hue, and it was hair, trailing down her back and escaping to her sides in curling vines of spun wheat silk, reaching the floor and also clinging to her feet. Behind her, knotting and catching on Lord knows what (for she dared not hesitate to look around, lest her courage be lost) each snag halted progress just a little before she ripped it free. Leather jacket faded to linen that scratched her skin compared to the tanned animal hide, but the new fabric was light and airy in the form of billowing clothes, and her feet flew over the ground.

    Leah met a stairwell, spiraling up dizzily in a tightly wound cylindrical shape. Uncertainty danced across her features before it was shoved away and she began to climb.

    1640 Words.

    Lacey Botticelli

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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 30th March 2017, 10:05 am

    Arms flailed haphazardly and made all sorts of wild movements. Sometimes, they were scrunched tight against her sides, while at others they were scrambling for the rickety wooden rail to save tiring feet from a misstep and a tiring body from a wicked tumble. Leah rushed on even as her vision blurred and her skin tingled uncomfortably. It was nothing new. Once before, she had felt this way, and it only meant...

    Suddenly her thoughts were interrupted as a door came into her vision: a dark, iron or steel affair, bumpy and coated with lead paint that was coming off in toxic flakes. A trembling hand, tan from the sun she hadn't gotten in years, tightened around the silver handle and twisted. Clang! There came echoes from a shackle shorn short with just a few links attached to it as that iron contacted the heavy metal door. A gale came rushing in and slammed the door flat against the wall, wide open, nearly knocking the mage onto her butt in its process of blazing it open in a path. Subsequently, she should have fallen down the stairs in a lethal manner. Flinging herself instead to the side, pressed up across from the door that she saw wobbling on its rusty hinges with an earsplitting set of creaks, she waited for the wind to die down.

    But it never did, and so she threw her body with all its mass and her might out the door, stumbling onto the roof from the sheer inertia of her efforts. Simultaneously, all the parts of her brain stopped worrying about survival and focused on the view. It captivated her. Held her in a daze. Stateqsue trees made up a huge dark mass of forestry, located what seemed to be eons away but yet so close-- as if it would be tangible if she could raise up her fingers to reach out and touch it. The clouds were fluffy clumps of snow and cotton, each larger than a battleship and starkly cream and ivory against the darkening dusk sky. All architecture lost its imperfections from the height and became seamless blocks and triangles of red like ichor or the silvery grey of worn marble and steel. Little checker squares of reflected sky shone from the sides of buildings. The sun wasn't particularly warming, but it still shone, with a warm light as it hovered just above the horizon.

    "It's beautiful," she said out loud impulsively. It was purely a selfish act of disturbing the silence.


    2063 Words.

    Lacey Botticelli

    Regular VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Rising Star- Player -
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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 30th March 2017, 10:50 am

    Loud laughter drifted on the wind, its origin being a now blonde girl of quite average height. Her barefoot legs dangled over the edge of the roof top, her lips parting once again to let loose a gay tune even as the crumbling stone ledge dug into her thighs. Bare, they were, with a roomy plain wrap dress of pigmented fabric draped over her lap and onto the stone of the slates. Leah's ocean blue eyes sparkled with contentment as she tilted her head downwards to stare at the streets passing by between her legs, people just a centimeter tall on account of being a thousand meters away.

    "Spring on from high has visited the world~ we live to sing and we live to dance! Praise he who glares at the world for his reckoning will be held without mercy. And we shall rejoice at the coming of light and peace to all people in the world~"

    Her darkly tanned hands folded in her lap as Leah swung her feet over the streets, oblivious to the danger. Everything was just so... so lovely up here. What danger could possibly be had? Why had she been so panicked and rushed to arrive here in the first place? As the uncharacteristically cheerful expression faded to a scowl of contemplation, the girl's face seemed to lose the golden light it had been almost emitting under the vividly yellow rays of the evening sunset. Why was she up here? As the petite girl rose to her feet, swaying slightly under the influence of confusion and the zephyrs that blew all over the roof top, she stared puzzledly at her feet.

    Since when had they been so tiny?

    2349 Words.

    Lacey Botticelli

    Regular VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Rising Star- Player -
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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 30th March 2017, 11:36 am

    She had not passed a single mirror while clambering up the stairs of the Sky Tower, but perhaps her recollection was faulty.  Turning to check for any place she could witness her reflection (as the girl harbored serious suspicions about it at this moment) a glint to her left caught her eye.

    2401 Words.

    Not a word about how short this post is.

    Lacey Botticelli

    Regular VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Rising Star- Player -
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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 31st March 2017, 8:23 am

    It was truly the reason she had come here. The surface glimmering under the last rays of red sunlight, the multi faceted jewel seemed to glow from the core with a mysterious azure eminence. Almost as if the grasping body part didn't belong to her, a bronzed hand stretched out towards the ostrich egg sized precious stone. Set on what seemed to be a marble pedestal, who knew what the glittering somewhat sphere was worth? That thought alone stopped the blonde in her tracks for a lengthy moment. The value of gems. Simple, materialistic desires that frightened Leah. Since when had she begun to care so much (as she somehow knew perfectly that she indeed did) about money and how much of it she could possibly accumulate?

    At some point, the girl had begun to believe that cold, hard cash was her mistress. Yet intrinsically, Leah was all too aware that such a statement was utterly false. This was why lodged in her throat was now a hard lump of uncertainty, mixed with horror at her actions. Swallowing the aforementioned lump did not provide much help (nor was it even successful in an attempt to do so) in calming herself and reassuring her confidence. Honestly, she just couldn't understand how she would ever be good again, and it was so frikking awful. Leah reached up to tug in frustration at the two braids in her hair. Although the long, gold-white plaits had been secured with cornflower blue ties, they threatened to slip loose on account of her aggressive yanking. So Leah desisted, but her eyes remained resentful of her own apparent lack of grace. Remembering the entire reason why she had left the guild hall (be it temporary or more of a permanent break) in the first place revealed to the mage just how side tracked she had become over the years following her resurrection. Having been distracted first by the setting sun and startling open beauty of the view, especially after scaling a tightly curled and dizzying flight of stairs for what had seemed to be hours, she had forgotten her missing piece. Love. The Sky Tower had promised a mythical jewel that would repair the broken heart she had endured, the one that still lingered in shattered fragments in her chest even centuries after first crumbling to bits. The ad hadn't used so many words... but Leah felt confident that her interpretation was sound (as she tended to do whenever she wanted).

    Once again, a hand reached out, extended to brush across the surface of the stone. Except this time, her palm was calmly open and face up, exposed wide to the waning light. Posture was even noticeably different: relaxed yet duly focused on inching closer and closer to the slightly luminescent rock, priceless and free for all who could reach it. And skin stretched thinly over knuckles met with burning crystal, smoother but somehow stickier than any quicksand. It tugged at her flesh but moreover, it pulled at what felt like her essence.

    All in one breath, Leah was dragged into the gem stone and warped away. To find love-- to learn-- to fight-- or to never return.

    2935 Words.

    Lacey Botticelli

    Regular VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Rising Star- Player -
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    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Kiah Lake
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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 31st March 2017, 9:09 am

    The girl had been so sure it was a trick of the light, or some other kind of illusion that she was placed under from the moment she was thrown onto the ground in a new landscape with her stomach still slightly churning from the swirling teleport.  Of course she recognized the luscious, tropical scene.  It is definitely worth mentioning that these kind of assumptions, that is being so positive that people are deceiving one, and just being automatically filled with suspicion at what should have been joyful news, reminded Leah of her lost love for gifts, as well as her no longer existent ability to take things at face value (even if she seemed to, for the sake of diplomacy).  Better said, her lost willingness to accept such without being highly skeptical and with proper, genuine thanks (not faked!).  

    After she had thoroughly investigated as much of the area she possibly could, the blonde came to the sole conclusion that this was indeed her home land, Poolaria.  The sanctuary of storm birds and the uncommonly rare pink lowers which natives simply had dubbed as "Hypse," both collectively and to refer to a single bud or blossom.  Most importantly, however... it was the location of the only coffee house Leah had ever had the pleasure of visiting where a person could order an apple and toffee milkshake or a caramel and grapefruit latte.  There had been a smoothie hut in Minstrel once upon a time, but in the end, she had needed to request her drink there.  It was only a special establishment because she hadn't been asked to repeat her custom order twice and / or regarded as if she was well and completely insane.  If either of the two places existed in this pseudo Poolaria, she resolved to get a shake before her departure (or sometime earlier, if Leah didn't have to leave-- she meant, didn't leave-- or if her cravings preceded all other feelings and senses.  The second was almost expected.).  Delicious drinks aside, anyways, there was indeed one crucial reason the small territory had been her world in the past.  Nestled between two trees, just a couple meters apart, was a river that always flowed at a speedy pace.  Even though the width was almost inconsequential, the channel was cut ultra deep into the land (to such an extent that all the locals swore it was a canyon, only miniature in size from the surface).  The current flowed strong, and the water clean.  Poor city folk (like Leah herself had been as a maiden) or villagers would occasionally make the trek out to the flow, whose waters ran pure and seemed to strengthen, refresh, and even cure the blood of any living creature.

    Every parent, nonetheless intended for the sake of being well, warned his or her child to stay at least ten meters away from it and never to attempt to retrieve any play things or trinkets they noted being carried (and no matter how close the objects were to the bank or to the surface) by the river.  Said to be over a kilometer deep (it was legend, but who had ever checked?) and with strong undercurrents that had a lethal tendency of sweeping at a downwards angle, the rushing waterse had a habit of dragging things... and people... under.  And of course, all were never to be heard from again.

    Impossible as the myths would have one believe, and for good cause since dozens of lives were claimed annually by the river's pull, it was actually possible to swim in the channel.  in fact, Leah had done it, which brought her wandering mind back to the realization that the river was important to her, in order to-

    "Leander?  A voice from her murky, debatable, and previously believed to have been drowned past (ha ha pun) suddenly broken into her reminiscing about said history.

    "I knew it- I knew you would come!  Andy, it's... it's me.  Oh, won't you look at me?  Andy?"

    "Hero..." of course she knew who the speaker was, without looking.  She dared not do so.

    3619 Words.

    Lacey Botticelli

    Regular VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Rising Star- Player -
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    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Kiah Lake
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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 1st April 2017, 9:47 pm

    "That's right!  I knew you would never forget me.  After two years of swimming the Aspont channel for me, how could I have thought you would forget?"

    It was just like Hero, to think maybe she had forgotten and then to bring up something like that right away.  Yes, the little river, or very deep river, to say, had been called the Aspont.  Yes, her name was Leander, but she had called herself with an H and a missing E after she thought she had lost Hero for Eternity.  And yes, she was actually almost three centuries old now but had been-

    "I was so worried that... you wouldn't be able to recognize me.  I don't look any different, you know, but sometimes people... change.  I knew you right away though!  I was surprised, because when you... you know, came back, you were in this little body of a kid.  About fifteen years old or something, and with the reddest hair you've ever seen.  Tall, at least.  You always were taller than me, Andy."  Just judging by the tone of his voice, the female could feel that he was staring up at her, at the back of her head.  Recognizing the height difference in her old body.

    "But I'm here for a reason, Andy.  You saw me die, you know that I'm actually-" he stopped there, and the blonde listened to the sound of his heaving breath.

    "We're both dead, Hero," she murmured gently.

    "Yes, I know Andy, and- won't you look at me?  You love me, don't you?  Even after all these years, I do love you, and the thought that I've come back to- to help you and to train you, I'm only doing it because I love you so!"

    The girl shuddered inwardly at the fierce emotion that drove through in every word he spoke.  "... I know you love me, Hero."  He wanted her to say the words back, but she couldn't.  After all these years, after over two centuries, she had been striving to get over him.  Now he was here?  Was this the love and understanding that the Sky Tower had promised?  Somehow, she felt like it was meant to be less cluttered with history and more about new revelations and learning.  Doubtfully, she raised her eyes up to the sky.  What if Hero was just another part of a test this deranged world had devised, also from her memories?  With a hesitant expression on her face, the blonde slowly turned around to face him.

    And of course he was real.  Utterly real.  And staring at her with such a hurt expression that her heart was dangling outside her chest, having been savagely ripped out.

    "Andy, I- I knew you wouldn't believe.  Until you swam for me, every night, I always knew that you were, well, I don't know how to put it.  I love you so much that I'm crazy about you, but I know you don't love me the same."

    That wasn't fair, she-

    "But I'm here to train you, not to love you.  Remember my magic?"

    That was...

    "Yes, Hero.  Of course I remember your magic."  What else was there to say?  And on second thought, her accent had completely disappeared, almost as though she had never spent a century in the downmarket streets of Bosco, fighting to stay alive.  The young man had always been a mage, but he possessed a peculiar kind of power.  Rather than casting through himself or using a special item, he had been able to pull power from the elements.  Slayers were something that Leah had encountered during her time in Fiore, but they were far and wide between.  Not quite was it the same as the slayers' eating of their particular element, but Hero had a tendency to get passionate or angry from stealing the life of the flames.  Likewise, he drew power from many a breeze and left a room dead still, without the slightest stirring of paper.  His study had been filled with paper, as she could remember well...

    "I should have known you wouldn't forget.  You always were so responsible, Andy.  I couldn't believe that you agreed to- to swim the Aspont, but that's how much you loved me!  You still love me now, Andy, don't you?  I'll teach you if you say you do, but if you don't, I-"  His hazel eyes were wild with an unrecognizable emotion, so she felt compelled to say

    "No, Hero.  I don't love you."  And then straight afterwards, when he seemed to have been sucker punched in the gut, peals of laughter rang through the air like light bells.  It wasn't a boisterous sound, but instead it was charming and lovely.  The laugh of Andy, that innocent girl who had wanted to give the world to Hero.  "Of course I love you, silly.  Haven't I told you that before?"  She somehow sounded more mature, but of course the blonde had always been held to be the responsible one.

    "I knew you would say so, Andy.  I just hope you aren't lying.  But you never lied to me, did you?"

    Without even a moment's hesitation, the girl held up her hands to show there were no signs of them being crossed.  "No, Hero.  I never lied to you."

    4502 Words.

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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 1st April 2017, 10:39 pm

    "I'm glad, you- I hated it when you lied to other people, but it had to be done, didn't it? Otherwise we never would have been able to see each other," he went on to say, and her conscience prickled at the memory of the words she had said back then.

    "Hero, training?" The single word brought him back on task, and the youth immediately jumped to scrutinize her with those beautiful golden green eyes. Then he was babbling something about how clearly she hadn't been eating properly as she had been so much more beautiful two centuries ago, and the girl just didn't quite have the patience to deal with his musings straight out of hand. That sounded a bit odd, but honestly he would have gone into a rampage about how everyone these days were starving themselves, which most definitely was not true. Instead, she waited until he had finished and then explained simply that she had not been able to eat a lot of recent, which was the complete truth. Leah had lived on the streets until about a month ago, when Golden Phoenix had welcomed her into their guild hall. On the way to the Sky Tower, a journey that took about a week but seemed to have passed in a matter of minutes to hours, she had barely been able to find food either. Being poor wasn't a particularly fun thing, as Hero knew well. He had always begged her to carry with her on her head, the only thing that wasn't underneath the water while she swam, a basket of bread or fruit from her home. Back then, Leah's family had been wealthy...

    "Andy! Andy, are you listening to me?"

    The girl blinked and then flashed the youth a sheepish smile. "No, Hero, I wasn't listening to you. But I was thinking of you, if that helps any?" Laughing, the blonde glanced expectantly at his face, but the dark haired boy had an uncharacteristically solemn expression. He's trying too hard to be a school teacher, she reflected but did not say anything.

    Huffing, the young man went back to talking once he realized she was now paying attention once more. Surely he had been relieved to hear her tell the truth again? For some reason, it was as though he knew of how she had acted during their time apart: all the lies, all the cheating, all the stealing. But now, they were back in Poolaria, where-

    "Andy, are you listening to me?"

    She didn't have the heart to make another joke, so instead the blonde focused intently back on Hero, afterwards nodding her head just the slightest bit to show her reserved seriousness. Alright, if he wanted to act like a proper uppity teacher, then she could be that cardboard cut out of a disciple. Her arms fell down to her sides and stayed there as though ironed to her ribs; no more limp noodles for Leah! With an avid look in her eyes, the girl stared openly at Hero with concentration and nodded ever so slightly every time he tried to punctuate his words with gestures. It almost felt silly, but the more she got into it, the better the mage felt she was becoming at this. Of course, the only down side was that she well and truly had no idea what Hero was saying now...

    "...so that'll be your first task, now get going, Andy!" He announced proudly before turning on his heel and marching away. The blonde thought she caught a hint of a smug smile at the corner of his mouth as the dark haired youth strode away with surprising confidence.

    "Crap," she muttered in an uncharacteristic show of annoyance. This was just fabulous.

    5128 Words.

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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 1st April 2017, 11:36 pm

    All of a sudden he was hurtling at her, his face twisted into a strange expression of delight.  What even--?  Was her only thought before Hero slammed into her side.  Gasping for breath, the girl rolled over five times from the momentum and then a sixth to stare at her lover; no, now former lover.  So that was how he was going to play then, hm?  The girl's cerulean eyes darkened with the idea of a challenge having been issued.  She leaped to her feet and for his throat, all in one smooth motion; at the same time, flashing knives materialized clutched in her hands, and the mage struck upwards with surprising force.

    "Ye want to play like 'at then, kid?  Well's we'll do just 'at!"  she snarled as her blade holding arms lunged for Hero.  Slipping into her accent was easy when she was using Street Gixie ReQuip; it had the added bonus of hopefully making the boy feel uncomfortable, considering he had taught her elemental magic.  Unfortunately the youth only slid backwards to barely avoid her knives.  He flashed her a sharp grin of his own before tendrils of water rose from the ground, seeping against gravity into the air.  The thin vines shot at her with unexpected aggressiveness, and Leah struggled to dodge the colorless threads that were trying to pin her to the ground, nearby trees: anything they could push her against and bind her to.

    With a frown she sliced through the creeping ropes of water, but they immediately reformed and came at her with what seemed to be twice the velocity.  Glaring at the seemingly impossible spell the young man had cast, the girl decided she didn't want to use patience or deduction to solve the weakness.  Instead, she shoved off the ground and came speeding towards Hero with all her might.  Take out the mage and you take out all of his crap, she knew intrinsically.  Unfortunately, it seemed as though he recognized her plan, since his eyes narrowed in amusement as he pulled back away from her attack.  The tendrils didn't seem to have recognized his retreat, or maybe they did in fact, since the twisting strands of water came at her more vigorously than moments before.  With a dark look, Leah threw her daggers towards the ground.  They disappeared into her extra dimensional space before any part of the weapon could contact the actual earth itself, and shiny black roller skating boots appeared on her feet.  Leah tried to push off the land and immediately tripped over the undergrowth, bushes, and roots, that mangled the surface of the ground here in Poolaria.  As she scrambled to get back on her feet, a quiet chuckle was heard from a ways away.

    "I'm going t' get ye," she growled in the direction of the source.  Even though her face was currently planted in the sand, Leah would get up and hunt down that idiot whom she somehow managed to fall in love with (how the hell?).  Just as soon as she exquipped these boots and figured out where the ground was relative to her feet...

    5650 Words.

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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 2nd April 2017, 1:05 am

    Hero taunted her the entire time as the blonde struggled to her feet. Saying things such as this was why she would never be any good at being a mage and even mentioning that this was why she died. Because she didn't focus enough on her magic, that being elemental magic. After all, he had taught her how to take out some of the power of the waves for the sake of lessening its force and adding to her own strength. The girl gritted her teeth and wrestled herself off of the ground after getting rid of the bothersome roller skates which had done absolutely nothing to improve her odds of reaching him or catching Hero off guard. In fact, if the youth hadn't paused to stop and give her snark about never beating him, he could have been halfway to the village center of Poolaria by now. And that was a decent head start on her.

    Now that her feet were finally able to operate normally and in the correct direction (rather than flailing wildly in the air to no avail) the girl raced as fast as she could in the direction she thought Hero had taken. Just as she was passing by a tree stump, her blue eyes caught a glint of metal- maybe steel?- in the general direction. Immediately she dropped to the ground right at the same time as Hero stepped out from behind a tree next to the stump, wielding a long katana. The blade was strangely transparent, but it seemed to have a silvery tinge at the same time. As if answering her unasked questions, the young man ran the pad of his index finger over the flat side of the cutting part of the sword. He murmured something about it being indeed liquid but also a solid; how properties of matter didn't matter so much (har har, Leah really laughed at that one) when magic was involved. And then with that, he struck.

    She immediately summoned a javelin, as it was the first thing that came to mind. With an icy handle that clung to the skin of her palms and made her do a double intake of breath, the heavy throwing spear woke her right up. Flashing a cold smile at Hero, who was currently staring at her weapon with no small measure of curiosity, the blonde wound up and chucked it in his direction. As soon as it hit the tree which Hero had taken coverage behind, the bark began to freeze and the green leaves and buds began to shrivel up. The dark haired boy looked astounded and horrified at the same time, and he circled around the affected trunk immediately. As questions about the nature of the spell flowed from his mouth like a rainstorm's flood (much to her satisfaction) the girl quietly snuck behind another patch of bushes. Hero babbled on about it spreading to the rest of the forest and did she really want to ruin Poolaria? but Leah was well aware that she was hardly a powerful enough mage to do anything like that. Definitely, she could possibly get the whole tree but even that was unlikely. However, for the time being the strange magical frost was still spreading and was preoccupying Hero's attention. Taking this extra time as an opportunity to prep an attack, the girl requipped her two mercenary's daggers; they would be perfect for what was meant to be a sneak attack, like this.

    6231 Words.

    Lacey Botticelli

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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 2nd April 2017, 2:10 am

    The sneak attack had gone well, and now the girl sat next to Hero.  Clasped between her two hands, akin to how someone might hold a ceramic mug of hot cocoa on a chilly winter's day, was a plastic cup full of apple and toffee milkshake.  To Leah's left, the hazel eyed young man was slurping down a caramel and grapefruit latte; the two had always had such a strange taste in drinks, as told to them each by their respective sets of parents (and to Leah by many a traveler on her way after leaving Poolaria).  Nonetheless, both could also enjoy each others' tastes.  The blonde planned to sneak a sip of his coffee whenever he had to take a bathroom break, which could be soon considering that taking in a lot of water (even magically) ended up making Hero have to go to the washroom.  It was just another strange thing that magic somehow did to him.  Leah smiled at the dark haired mage, who returned her expression with an affectionate wink.  Then he opened his mouth, and she did listen intently this time.  Long ago had they both dropped the overly dramatic and formal teacher student vibe; even if they had been scholars long before they were lovers, the latter conquered all.

    "Do you remember when I first met you?  How you were so proud and stuck up that you wouldn't shake my hand or let me kiss yours?" Hero asked, his eyes studying her own.

    Leah remembered that day, but it was foggy in her bank of memories.  She better remembered their first magic lesson, and the blonde told him as much.

    "I know what you mean.  That's stuck in my brain, fresh like it happened yesterday.  Your parents told you that old Polybus wanted to marry you, but he was a mage and wanted magical babies so you needed to learn how to cast spells.  My parents told yours that it wasn't exactly a genetic thing in that way, but you ended up with me.  I'm glad they were bad at arguing," the boy reflected, thinking of his own parents and how they seemed to lose every verbal fight aside from the most important one they'd had.  Which was, of course, the falling out and the ban.  It had happened for Leah, too.

    "...and then your parents said to you, 'That girl is a stupid prat and her parents are even worse, and you'll never be a part of their family to them,' but mine told me they'd drown me in the Aspont themselves before they let me marry an Eipe."  That was Hero's last name; it was a renowned family, previously of lowborn status but raised up by an aristocrat of a city near the village who had possessed an extraordinary interest for anything related to magic.  "My parents might have been poor but they were proud.  Everyone thought we were stuck up, and they knew it, and I knew it.  Larissa knew it too," Leah continued, thinking of her sister who had discouraged the blonde from her desire to do whatever it took to be with Hero.

    "But we did it," the dark headed mage argued.

    "We sure did," the blue eyed girl whispered wistfully.  "Until that one night, that one night when..." she was reluctant to finish.  It felt like placing the blame on someone else, while in reality she could have just swum faster, been stronger, known her way around herself, and-

    "When I didn't light the lantern," Hero said bitterly.

    It was true.  Leah had been stuck in the Aspont, swimming past the place where she should have gotten off and crawled out of the water.  The waves had sucked her down after her strength had given out; the boy had been late to light the leading lamp because he had been detained by a late dinner party in his honor.  She had died on his birthday, bringing a small cake he had baked secretly in the kitchen herself, balanced upon her head.  After all, if someone went all the way under the water, they were usually instantly pulled down by the current.  In the end, she had been, anyways.

    "I remember waking up," Leah murmured, thinking of how heavy her eyelids had been as she tried desperately to find her way in the dark of a new moon, with water lapping at her face and tugging at her limbs.  Then all of a sudden, there had been a strong pull, and her lungs were gasping for anything, and the world was even darker than before.  But she had woken up.  Perhaps she had been a bit different, but she had woken up, to see Hero's face no less!

    7020 Words.

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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 2nd April 2017, 2:58 am

    Their conversation had been enlightening, and then Leah had been able to sleep.  As nice as talking with Hero was, it ended up becoming tiresome to fight him day after day; six of such twenty four hour periods had so far gone by, and all were full of exhausting training.  In fact, she had a experienced a single day (it was either the fourth or fifth, just not yesterday but still, they all melted into a giant pool of memories by now) where the only thing they concentrated on was flight and using it efficiently in battle.  To be completely honest, the blonde still did not feel like she could completely be at ease in the hair as much as she was on the ground, but at least she knew how to maneuver somewhat now.  This would come in handy later.  Wind mages still held a distinctive advantage over her efforts to use aerial combat, as the girl was shown by Hero's pestering breeze spells, which were simple but awfully effective on stopping any kind of movement from her.  Somehow being in the air made Leah five times lighter, which was strange because of the force of gravity increasing, although supposing it was simply horizontal force, then... well, that's all physics jabber that the girl was confusing herself with.  Hero told her to cease thinking about the physical side of everything, because although one could produce some awesome magics with it, it also could just completely ruin how a person thought of powers at all.  In the end, magic was something special that defied ordinary constraints, rules, and boundaries.  Now today on the sixth day, it was another battle day.  If she really wanted, the blonde supposed she could indeed count back and see whether the third or fourth had been a fighting training day and therefore she would know when the aerial thing had happened, but it was all in the past now (even if her goal was to remember it and apply all the skills to her combat after leaving this realm... or staying in the realm but somehow teleporting from Poolaria all the way back to Fiore).  Anyways, today Hero had woken up the mage at midnight plus one exactly, just as he had on the other days.  The exception, however, was that for this bout of training he claimed-

    "We're going to do underwater fighting!  It will help you get over those fears, since you know very well that I will be right here and can control the waters.  Also, it's perfectly bright outside, so don't worry about nobody seeing you.  There are so many huts along the river, well not quite near the river but within seeing distance, and they can always help if you escape from my reaching distance, and also..."

    "Hero."  Leah glared balefully at the dark haired mage, who sheepishly scratched the back of his neck and shot her a questioning glance, even though he knew very well her concerns.  Nonetheless, the blonde decided to voice them anyways if he was being so- so like that.  "Hero, nobody would ever help another person out of the river unless they were married or something.  Maybe not even then," she mused bitterly, thinking of the many women and men who had left their spouses to the nonexistent mercy of the flow for their own safety's sake.  "Only some kind hearted children would be innocent enough to attempt to rescue me if I couldn't save myself and you were off doing who knows what.  They would probably drown trying to pull me out, anyways; the current is strong enough for two people if one of them gets a head underwater," she reminded the young man, whose beautiful eyes were still full of hope and whose mind was trying to devise crazy excuses and last resort plans for Leah's safety.

    7664 Words.

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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 2nd April 2017, 3:31 am

    The underwater training had been rough.

    Despite the fact that it was supposed to have helped her conquer her fear of drowning in fast moving rapids especially, the girl was now even more water-shy (was that a word?) than before. Hero was thoroughly exasperated with the blonde and had told her such in many more words, but in the end, that day of training had been a dud. The only true upside was that she had gotten to spend less of a workout day with the other mage than the training bouts usually were. To be honest, most of it had been spent trying to rescue her after she got carried away by the current, which was so strong that at one point Hero had also been caught up. Both young adults had fortunately been rescued by a generous young couple and their two children: the entire family had set to work first feeding them a rope and then all tugging at once to drag Leah and her mentor turned love out of the water. It had been a rather exhausting endeavor and did nothing to improve her confidence in the water. Today, however, was a new twenty four hours and these would be comprised of little at worse and absolutely none at best of combat.

    Hero had also given the blonde a cake, which he said was the kind he'd had for his birthday so many years ago on that fateful night when they both had died. In agreement with each other, the two had also decided to discuss what exactly had happened after that night, since the aftermath had been full of strange occurrences to the extent that neither was quite sure how things had gone down. First, Leah spoke. She outlined the situation by saying that she woke up alone and without even a shadow of a person in sight. After explaining how she had realized that her memories were extraordinarily fuzzy and her clothes were not her own (nor even in her own style) she had gone searching for a bathroom and discovered that the area which she was in was deeply unfamiliar. Eventually, although she was accused of pranking some stranger (who apparently knew her?) she was given directions to the nearest lavatory, at which point Leah was able to see the immense difference in her appearance. From there on, she had experienced life in Bosco as a street gixie who could barely pilfer enough food to eat, combined with any coin she could beg on the street.

    Hero told a different story. His memories stated that she had been resurrected by him and had woken up with her new body in his arms after the mage had dived into the Aspont in the hopes of recovering her somehow alive. This had been impossible, but with a magic whose secrets he refused to reveal to her even now, she had been brought back in another body. Apparently, her soul was unable to habituate to living once again inside her own. When prompted to say where the new vessel had come from, Hero wasn't shifty at all and explained that it was magically created by her own subconscious. So apparently Leah had somewhat secretly desired to be a redhead with emerald eyes all her life; well, it was news to her, but truly she had always enjoyed her appearance.

    8227 Words.

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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 2nd April 2017, 4:06 am

    "Andy, I love you," Hero said as the two stared out at the sunset together.  The couple was sitting on a cliff that overlooked the beautiful lake that the Aspont fed into; large and sweeping, it seemed to go on forever.  Considering that the body of standing water was barely even marked on local maps, this was utterly untrue, but it didn't make the scene any less beautiful.  Even though the young man's words were pure and full of true feeling, it didn't make them any less heartbreaking.

    "Hero, I know.  I love you, but you're... you're dead,"  she said as gently as she could possibly do such a thing.  It was nearly impossible phrase for the blue eyed mage to say, and she almost choked forcing the words out.  And now he was staring at her with an unreadable expression in his eyes: it almost seemed like disappointment, sorrow, anger, confusion... all combined.  Well, it wasn't completely indecipherable, as quite clearly there were only negative emotions barely concealed there.

    "I know, Andy.  I know.  I still love you, but I died because you were dead and I only ever wanted to be with you," he argued.  It was possibly (and very likely so, because why would he lie?) true, for Hero's memories stated that she had disappeared very shortly after waking up from being resurrected.  Under the assumption that she had died and dissolved back into the earth, as was custom with failed revive spells of the manner that he had used, the dark haired youth had thrown himself into the Aspont.  Like all souls who were lost from the river, his last name became that of the deep canal.  It was almost as though they were married, but of course the two had never gotten a chance to make it so far.  "I know you have to return now, I can sense it.  As soon as you touch me, you'll be gone- gone forever.  I came back to train you and feel hopelessly inadequate, but I know you have become stronger and will continue to do so.  I love you, Andy.  I'll love you forever.  And I'll wait for you."  His final words to her were not threatening or foreboding, simply accepting of the fact that for now, this was their time to part.  With a reunion in the future, but not for many more years, decades... perhaps even centuries.  There was no rush; love is patient.  Love is divine.  Love is everlasting.

    "Good bye, Hero," Leah breathed as she reached out to weave her fingers through his own calloused ones, and then he was gone.  She stood on the roof of the Sky Tower, staring as the moon now rose, a giant silver sphere above the horizon.  She screamed her loss into the howling night, but come morning all would be well.

    8702 Words.

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    Re: Never Should (the Apprentice) Stop Learning

    Post by Lacey Botticelli on 3rd April 2017, 4:19 am

    if successful
    + 150 EXP

      Current date/time is 17th December 2018, 6:28 pm