• Closed • The Binding of the Necromancer

Rising from the stony plateau overlooking the rivers and plains of the western continent, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from this same rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence, eagerly spreading its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the different factions set aside their agendas long enough to see this through?

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• Closed • The Binding of the Necromancer

Postby Neronin » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:09 am

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80th Trial of Zi’da, 717 Arc
Vuda’s Prison


Neronin could hear the rasp in his breathing, almost the only sign he was still really there. He could not remember how long he had been in the cell. Trials? He felt raw and naked without access to his spark. It was unnerving and while he didn’t admit it to himself, Neronin was close to panic. He had never before experience such a distinct feeling of helplessness. His existence had been tied so intimately to his magic for so long that he could not remember what it was like to not have access to the power. He was an addict deprived of his resource. He slammed the butt of his fist into the wall weakly, hating whatever magic had been enchanted to keep him from his true self.

The once-mage closed his eyes and tried to remember the sensation of ether coursing through him. It was a bitter experience, as it had been each time he attempted it. The memory of the power did not hold any of the intense pleasure it had once held. He only felt more agitated now. He still could not believe they had captured him.

He had been skirting the market district at night, trying to find a way to get word to Noth that Gavrel had returned when Vuda’s hounds had set upon him with enchanted chains. The moment the metal links touched him he had lost the sparks. They had known where to find him. Neronin had spent his whole life hiding his magic and these henchmen had been able to capture him just as he was beginning to master it. His mind drifted back to his lost necrotic spark then and he felt a pang of fury. He had been so close to reaching the height of his power! He had even gone toe to toe with Gavrel’s champion.

Neronin stood and felt his ankles radiate pain. He had been deprived of his robe and his shoes and now sat on the cold stone floor with frozen feet. The cell was maddeningly small, barely large enough to take two strides in. Neronin hadn’t done much walking since being forced into though. It was the main reason his ankles hurt so much. He stood there and stared at the door. It was metallic and made of stronger stuff than Neronin could deal with, even if he had his spark.

What could Vuda want with him. He had known it was Vuda’s men who took him. He was in a prison cell enchanted to cut off magic. It was either Vuda or one of the arcane shadow factions and he had never dealt with them before. Neronin’s mind raced to Mongrel and Maws and all he knew about Al’Angyryl. Could that be what Vuda was after? No. Vuda didn’t know Neronin was involved with them. Perhaps this was only an attempt to eradicate a rival mage? Had Vuda been secretly aware of Neronin’s necromancy even after he had been so careful?

Neronin snorted in self loathing. He hadn’t exactly been careful recently. After his power began to manifest in earnest Neronin had been reckless to increase it. Now he was paying the consequences. The mage shook his head and slumped back against the wall, sinking to the damp stone floor. His ragged clothes bore the slightly moldy smell of constant dampness and the icy cold bit deep to his bones.
“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.” - Lovecraft
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The Binding of the Necromancer

Postby Maltruism » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:04 pm


The slow shuffle and tap echoed in the bleak depths below the Tower of Ministers. Only the eventual awareness that it grew louder gave the prisoner confirmation that the source was approaching. He had not seen another living being since his incarceration. Water had been provided through a spout in the wall...food not being a feature of his provisions.

The dark had been near absolute, and the man approaching knew that the need for mortal interaction became an obsession for most that had been held here. He'd had more than ample experience upon which to base this conclusion. It stood to reason that the prisoner would be wide-eyed in eagerness to see who and what this contact was about.

In anticipation of this tendency, the approaching figure, Chief Adviser Karnos Vuda, triggered a mild magic device to ignite a bright flash of light as he rounded the corner to come into view. He of course, kept his eyes closed as he did so. The broadened pupils of the light-vulnerable prisoner nearly gave Vuda visual access to the prisoner's brain as he gasped and fell back from the door, blindly groping for the bench behind him.

Vuda took the opportunity to open the door, "Yes, you just sit there, nice and cooperative, and this should not be too difficult." the robed figure crooned in mock kindness. "There is a ward...you have probably noticed...suppressing your spark. Would you like to hold it?...Break it...free yourself to access your power again?"

The mockery now took on a tone of sympathy, "Oh dear, I suppose all you can see is the bright green outline of that flash of light. Well rest assured, there IS a ward in my hand, and it is oriented toward the domain of Necromancy." With the prisoner's spark suppressed, he would be unable to sense what Vuda did then. It took the adviser only moments - less time then it took him to state his willingness to hand over the ward - to flip the field of ether present in the area, creating a magically null zone that would allow Neronin access to his spark, but to counter its function and negate any use.

Whether or not the prisoner immediately grabbed the ward and broke it, or took his time, due to suspicion, Vuda tasked this maintenance of this flipped field to one of his many wells. Naturally, the flipped ether field was modified by an Exception to the domain of Abrogation, so there was no hindrance to the use of his power. His voice rang confident in the knowledge that any sudden attack by Neronin could easily be thwarted.

The purpose of this move was to give the prisoner the chance to feel his spark once again, and then to find that he still could not use it. Many aspects of torture and interrogation did not involve physical pain. There was little doubt in Vuda's mind that the man before him would crave understanding of how this was being done to him. He would then explain to him that Abrogation was the means to such power, "Power to counter all others."

The awareness of so many things going on around Etzos, included the animosity and threat of this prisoner's old mentor, Gavrel. Perhaps it would suffice merely to drop the hint of the benefit of such a defensive domain. If it appeared to catch Neronin's interest, he would offer to initiate him. Then, depending on how things went, he would inform him of the cost of such a boon...
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The Binding of the Necromancer

Postby Neronin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:33 pm

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The flash of light had disoriented him, physically and mentally. The blurry figure before him swam in a cloud of retinal glares that no matter how much Neronin attempted to shake off persisted. He had wondered vaguely who it was until the man spoke. He had heard that voice before, and his heart sunk into his stomach. Vuda. The man stood before him and had not killed him. Somehow that made him more nervous. The hellish man clearly wanted something from him. As he began to speak about the spark within Neronin, he felt his neck go cold. Of course he knew. All of Neronin’s careful murder of witnesses, slinking in the dark, and Vuda had known.

For a moment Neronin debated whether to take the proffered ward. His mind flipped between a wild, instinctual need to preserve his spark and another apprehension at his enemy’s proffered gift. Would Vuda give him back his necromancy, of course not. Of course, if his death was what Vuda was after, or if he wanted to permanently destroy his spark, there was nothing Neronin could do at present. “Give it to me.” Neronin said in an even voice. He extended his hand into the haze of blurry light still obscuring his vision. Neronin took the ward and did not hesitate to smash it against the opposite wall.

He sighed with pleasure as he felt the spark coiling its ether around his body as if embracing him. Neronin took a moment to real in the ecstasy of the return of his power. He then attempted to gather his ether and blast Vuda with the strongest Sap spell he had ever attempted, but nothing happened. The spark was there, but the ether didn’t do anything to Vuda.

“W-what is this, now?” Neronin asked, his voice cold and only betraying a slight tremble of apprehension.

“Power to counter all others.”

Neronin tried to focus on Vuda. He stood before him in his robe as obscure as if he wasn’t really there, a phantasm. Neronin weighed his options, his mind calming down rapidly into survival mode, a cold analytic. Vuda had come himself. He had dangled Neronin’s magic in front of his face and then brought this power out to show he was still in control. This was the carrot. “What can do this?” Neronin asked.

He wondered if Vuda had captured any of the others, if he was playing with them as he played with Neronin. He wondered what Vuda wanted with him. Neronin was not a leader amongst the Al’Angyryl, but he was rather important. He had influence. Surely that was why Vuda had snatched him? Neronin’s mind went wildly to Gavrel or Tabard. No, neither of them had enough reason to go to Vuda. Gavrel certainly wouldn’t.

Neronin looked up to stare into Vuda’s face. He couldn’t see him clearly but he guessed at where it was through the blurry lights still plaguing his vision. “What do you want from me?” He finally asked, his voice calm and even. He looked like a man squaring himself with the gallows.
“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.” - Lovecraft
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The Binding of the Necromancer

Postby Maltruism » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:06 pm


The Hood was folded back to reveal an elderly gentleman of obvious magical means. His witchmarks were of a nature Nero would be quite unfamiliar with. Though his expression showed no pain or suffering, there was a decidedly "crushed" aspect to his features, as if a force had exerted itself upon every fold and bump for his entire life.

It was only through the realization that what should be wrinkles were only lines with no depth, that the young man realized that his visitor was old. His ears seemed like etchings against the smooth skin if his head, but spread wider than normal. No lobe could be seen protruding, yet an odd swirl of skin at the jaw where they should have hung. He was not bald, but the coloration of his hair gave the appearance of a coat of light brown paint.

Perhaps most indicative of this "force" upon the somewhat elongated head, was the ridge that ran down the crown, front to back. It had the appearance of a rooster's crown that had been shaved down to perhaps a quarter inch. Yet there was no look of unnatural trimming. It was calloused, and shiny in an oddly quartz-like fashion.

There were some reversals of the appearance of force however. His nose, rather than being pressed flat upon the front of his face, protruded abnormally long and skinny, like a beak. His fingers were also long and skinny, to the point of being almost freakish. Over and above it all was a strange metallic tint to his skin, which gave the wrinkle lines the appearance of seams in overlapping sheets of some metal.

Bu they all moved as skin when he smiled, "Yes, my boy...awakenings...not unlike your own, yet representative of a vastly different domain. Yours is Necromancy, a worthy, yet unfairly stigmatized magic, where mine is Abrogation, as I said, the power to counter all others. For that is truly its purpose."

He shifted his position, "Now, I am going to release my hold upon your connection, and I trust you will do nothing so foolish as to attack me. Nor should you try to use your other skill. This IS a prison, and we have numerous wards preventing our guests from leaving prematurely. I do not intend to hold you here any longer. This was an unfortunate necessity. Or fortunate rather, if you consider it fortunate, my sidetracking your nemesis, Gav-...ren? was it? Gavrel?"

He waved off the irrelevant confusion, "Anyway, he now believes you to be my prisoner. And I realize that while you have effectively been just that, I will be letting you go now, even if you decline the offer I am going to make you. If you like, I will even aid you in dispatching him, though I have often found there to be a prideful need to handle such details individually."

Now his look narrowed, as he clearly was about to get to the point. "Your old mentor is not the issue here. It is another that you are well known to be familiar with. One calling himself the "Prince of Eternal Mercies". Vuda said this with a sarcastic flourish, denoting his disdain for such role-playing. "We both know him as 'Noth', yes? And we both know there is a king's ransom being backed up by the Tower for his elimination."

The old wizard leaned over to adopt a more private tone, though there was no question of their complete isolation. "You're a smart lad. You talked your way out of death as a child, and rose to vie with your would-be executioner as his equal. No small feat that, my boy....So, surely you know that to join yourself with this Noth is to court ruin. But let me flavor the deal more to your liking. I do not ask you to sneak up and stab him in the back. Only to report to myself or someone I appoint as my intermediary on his actions and the extent of his recruitment."

He let that sink in for a moment, "If you should be in a position to eventually dispatch him. I certainly have no objection, I signed the order to subsidize the bounty myself. But what I am offering you right here and now, is an initiation into MY magic...Abrogation."

He stood and gestured to the door, "Or...you can decline, and go back to the Prince and join in his ultimate fall."
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The Binding of the Necromancer

Postby Neronin » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:53 pm

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The Kennings had clearly ravaged Vuda in a way foreign and yet familiar to Neronin. The mage was a deeply magical man, his spark having twisted his form. Neronin knew that experience, although this magic was unknown to him. Abrogation. The ability to, apparently, stifle the powers of others. Neronin stared at the man as he spoke, feeling the blood drain out of his face the more Vuda spoke. How did he know so much about his life? He hadn’t just known Neronin was a necromancer. He had known the man who trained him, he had known that Neronin was a member of Al’Angyryl. Vuda seemed even more dangerous in this moment, just from the sheer weight of his words, than he had been before.

What was this man’s real position?

Neronin watched Vuda for a long time, letting his mind roll the words around. There was a lot he hated about the proposition Vuda had thrown in his face. For one, he hated the man and didn’t trust the idea that he would gift a spark and let him go. Furthermore, Neronin hated being controlled at all. Mongrel had never betrayed him, so why would he betray the Prince? Neronin’s mind dropped from one point to the next until he found the lowest common thread.

He belonged to Vuda. He could not overpower him. He could not fight him. If he returned to Mongrel, or Noth, he would bring Vuda’s wrath down upon Al’Angyryl and they would all die. If he refused and ran, Vuda would know and hunt him. If he agreed...

If he agreed, he’d be under Vuda’s thumb, something he had been trying to avoid for nearly a lifetime. He would live, and be stronger. He could not lie to himself, the idea of stifling other’s power was tantalizing. Neronin looked down at the floor, rubbing his hands through his grey and dead hair, trying to buy time. Neronin realized that Vuda hadn’t him by chance. This had been a planned encounter and tactically timed. He knew he had little choice.

He would have to pick the least damaging path. Conformity. The thought of it burned within him. A deep self-loathing that he had never felt before. Betrayal was a part of life, but Neronin hated the idea of betraying such a potent relation. Al’Angyryl had been the main reason for his rapid growth in his magic. They had provided a safe space to study and experiment as well many corpses to work with. But Vuda offered a third spark... a third magic.

“I-“ Neronin began, but cut himself off. He struggled under the weight of the idea of being a tool. It went against his whole worldview. He had spent so long striving to distance himself from the hierarchy, and society in general. And here he was, being muscled into this subjugation.

“I want the spark.” Neronin said quickly, before he could choke himself off again. “I’ll do it, but I’m not killing Mon- Noth.” Neronin said, feeling a rumbling self-loathing building within him. “What must I do.”

Neronin’s mind drifted back to his past two initiations, one dangerous and wild, the other downright horrific. While Neronin was angry and distrustful, he could not help feel an edge of excitement. Power called.
“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.” - Lovecraft
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The Binding of the Necromancer

Postby Maltruism » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:02 am


Vuda's eyes shone with eagerness, but they did not accompany a smile. To Neronin's last question he replied simply, "Survive." His face grew intense, but it was inward in nature. It was similar to what a mage displayed when pushing through the strain of overstepping to grasp hold of ether he knows will strip him of balance when he casts with it.

The metallic sheen of his skin defied the likelihood of sweat, with its seeming lack of pores, but after a few bits of strain it could be seen forming around the edges of the stain of his hair, beading and eventually running down his cheek. He wiped at it, trying to collect it all on one hand. It may have struck Neronin as remarkable that he seemed to accomplish this with relative ease. It was almost as if the sweat itself sought to gather together of its own accord.

The old wizard turned the sweaty palm toward his face, holding his hand upright before it. Again, the sweat defied physics by staying in place instead of submitting to gravity. It began even to waver slightly with some sort of energy. Neronin may have assumed it to be some force of Abrogation being inflicted upon it. In the meantime, he may have neglected to notice that the Adviser's face no longer shone with sweat. It shone with light instead.

The light reflected on the wet surface of his palm, soon matching the intensity of the light on the elder face. In short order, the light was noticeably dimmer on the old man's face than on his palm. Soon it was only reflection shining there. The source coming from a steadily shrinking and shining bead of what Neronin had every reason to believe was simply sweat.

But the very shine of the light itself took on a faceted glimmer, that shrank to a pinpoint of brightness. In some manner that went unnoticed, the Necromancer found that the sliver of light was resting upon the tip of Vuda's right pointer finger. The old wizard seemed finally to be finished with whatever task this had embodied, his breathing steadying as a stern smile formed on his gleaming face.

"This will not be comfortable. The sharing of the spark takes on many forms. As a mage, you know this to be true. I cannot account for how a spark may have been shared with you before, but this is how I share mine." Whether or not the young Necromancer may have been genuinely having second thoughts, the strength of the elder mage would come as a shock.

Both of Vuda's thumbs pressed suddenly against Neronin's swiftly closed eyelids, yet it seemed that the brightness of the spark burned through the lids to his optic nerves, unhindered, anyway. In truth, it had entered the spine at the base of his skull, where the old man's pointer finger rested as he gripped the younger man's head in both hands.

It was over in mere ticks, though it probably seemed longer than that to Neronin. When Vuda released his hold, the young man would probably think he'd been blinded, so intense was the residual glare of the spark's image upon his senses. But it passed far more quickly than some instance of night blindness from looking at a campfire at night.

"There we are..." Vuda said, as he noted Neronin's pupils once again being able to track his movement. "You now have the ability to learn Abrogation. This will be done by forcing you to find the focus to repel the invasive harm of two distinctly different magics." he chuckled once at the look on his "student"s face. "Now, normally, Abrogation is harder to learn when you have already learned a magic."

He paced just a bit, knocking on the door of the cell as he passed it. "You see, being of a nature to negate other magics, the spark of Abrogation does not join well with others. But once truly assimilated, it will...coexist? Shall we say?...with those sparks already existing. But this does make it more difficult to initiate. This will actually be somewhat of a learning experience for me as well."

The door opened in delayed response to Vuda's knock, and a woman entered, bearing witchmarks of an aspect fairly similar to those already afflicting Neronin's body. Vuda's eyes gleamed with a void of sympathy, "You see, I am thinking that if I make your own domain one of those you must negate, it may give you a slight advantage, since it is one you have already felt. But I'm also curious to see if it causes you some difficulty in retaining your current prowess in Necromancy. So I seek to learn if there is a trade-off. Is the gaining of one enjoyed only at the temporary, or partial, loss of the other?"

Any objections on Neronin's part were met by deaf ears as Vuda's voice became steely with insistence, "A willingness to refrain from protesting against this test will restore my faith in your ambition. I consider the free imparting of my spark to more than make up for any unpleasantness resulting from this experience. I have confidence in your resilience." He turned to the woman, "Begin."
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The Binding of the Necromancer

Postby Neronin » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:50 pm

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Neronin was very still as the substance invaded him. He felt the recoiling sparks within him. Their pain and their rage at this invasion, bot the Rupturing and massive Necrotic sparks raged at him, punishing him. Neronin gasped in agony as he fell to his knees. The mage screamed silently, the air absent from his lungs. His veins bulged as he writhed in the agony, drool sliding down his gaunt face. Crackling ether, bright green and vile, shot from his clenched fist onto his face and he didn’t even register it. A black miasma of necrotic ether seeped from his pores. Vuda had left him by the time Neronin could register the information his senses sent him.

A female stood before him now though. Neronin was vaguely aware of her hands moving, casting. The black spell was horribly familiar as it shot from her hands towards him. Neronin felt the Sap hit his chest and the cold, draining magic pulled at him greedily. It took him a long time to ignore the painful effects of the spell, or perhaps mere moments. His first reaction was to lash out with his Necrotic spark, but it was chaotic and unattainable now, the radiating new presence had sent it into unbalance. The same was true for the Rupturing spark when he tried to reach out for it.

The new entity burned in him. The rushing feeling of the new power was a pillar of radiating heat, drawing all ether in one direction within him whilst the older sparks churned in chaotic rage. Neronin vaguely felt his face his the ground, the cool stone hit him. He struggled to breath while he once again attempted to access his powers. He had trouble breathing because blood was filling his mouth and his nose. He spat it out violently.

Finally he reached for the new entity. He extended his mind into the heat of the radiating power. He found it did not burn him, but caused his other sparks to still and to recede into him again. The miasma and the chaotic static stopped as Neronin’s focus went to the newest fractal of magical spark within. The thing pushed all ether in a single direction, as if it was being drawn towards the woman with her Sap spell. The Etzori mage had no way of counteracting this. He simply existed in the current of ether and warmth as his body suffered.

The he noticed it. The subtle heat from the abrogation magic was prone to manipulation. It slowed in the spots of his mind that he focused on it. Neronin collapsed onto the floor now, his body shaking with the chill that came when a Sap was close to draining a person. In the back of his mind the fear of that found little purchase. He had a new task, much more important now.

Neronin focused on the new energy, abandoning his attempts to harness his old magic to defend himself. His mind absorbed the sensation of the Abrogation ether. He willed it to stop its consistent drift towards the stranger. Neronin pulled on it with his mind. He found tiny elements of the ether and strained against the grain of their travel. The focus cost him,. And his limbs were now numb. He had completely abandoned his self-preservation instincts. He was fully committed to changing the ether.

Then it happened. The ether suddenly stopped in halting, chaotic portions. Neronin’s willpower pulled it back towards his direction. Even though this all happened in his mind, and his eyes were half closed, he still felt as though he was facing the necromancer. In reality he was twitching on the ground. The ether moved back towards him and suddenly the pain stopped.

Neronin could feel the abrogation spark, a tiny entity within him, exude a layer of ether to coat his body. Where it touched the Sap spell, it stopped the drain of energy. Neronin gasped and the abrogation ether dissipated. It was weak and half formed, but it was there.
“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.” - Lovecraft
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The Binding of the Necromancer

Postby Maltruism » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:21 am


Now was the point to initiate the second "attack magic". Vuda knew perfectly well that the novice would think he had left. He had in fact, left. But only to ensure the emptiness of the outer passageway. By the time he came back in, the initiate was already gasping on the floor, spitting up blood.

The vulnerability of the young man would be an excellent object lesson to others that might be thinking of learning Abrogation. As a power oriented around the neutralizing of other mages' powers, those who first dabbled in it were often snuffed out quickly by established mages. Many of these self-preserving mages would advertise their willingness to teach it, and then simply kill any that came to them to learn. Making it known that you wanted to learn Abrogation was almost a death sentence.

Given the nature of the initiation, any prospective learners would let themselves lie open to attack, believing it counter-productive to defend themselves, and simply be destroyed by the established mage. No spark was lost by the victor, no proof of ill intent could be established, as the death could simply be shrugged off as showing that the prospect was "not suited" to learn. And a future threat to the mage's power was neatly eliminated.

No, it was best to wait until some Abrogation mage came to you with the offer to teach. This was not the same as the ones that advertised. If you stayed guarded until the spark was given, you were probably safe from such malice. It was not worth it to a mage to give up a shard of their spark to someone they were planning to kill anyway.

To this learner's benefit was that same truth. Having given up a shard of his spark, Vuda was not about to let it go to waste by allowing this student to die. But it had to be a close thing. It was already of interest to him how quickly Neronin seemed to find the dynamic of the invasive necrotic power. He'd thought that might be the case. Though it would be a new experience to Nero to have this form of ether to be hostile to him, it would still be a familiar flow. Now came the disruption.

"Drive" he said calmly, as if speaking to a coachman. Ether gathered in response to drive into the struggling student, thrusting him hard into the far wall of the cell. "Press", the old adviser expressed, as if to a servant. He held this pressure against Neronin for a moment, then instructed the force to "Wane". Neronin would find the sudden loss of pressure causing him to stumble or fall forward, only for Vuda to instruct it to "Wax", and be shoved back into the wall again.

The old mage continued this basic regimen, alternating the span of each command randomly, so no real pattern could be established. The true success of Abrogation was not in finding a pattern against which to apply any available means of resistance, but rather the complete neutralizing of the magic attack, so that the pattern of it's strikes did not matter.

The Necromantic attack did not wane during any of this, but now Neronin's focus was disrupted by Vuda's alternating imposition of pressure and release. Time would tell if the student was capable of grasping the simultaneous feel of two hostile magics and "turning" them before either being battered into failed submission or having his two teachers fall into overstepping.

"Keep it up." Vuda said softly to his partner, as their target was relentlessly sapped and thrashed against the wall.
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Maltruism
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