[Scaltoth Jungle] My Apprentice

Tio initiates Tasha into necromancy.

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[Scaltoth Jungle] My Apprentice

Postby Tio Silver » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:54 pm

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Scaltoth Jungle
1st Ashan, 717


Cylus had been a hectic season for Tio, filled with as many ups as it had been with downs. But perhaps the thing he'd enjoyed most about the normally drab season was the progress his aspiring apprentice-to-be, Tasha, had made. Although limited to theory and a few supplemental subjects, like magical theory and tactics, she'd made remarkable progress in her training to become a necromancer, and had already come up with a few ideas to make powerful thralls that Tio hadn't even dreamt of. He knew he said this a lot, perhaps too much, but it seemed to him like Tasha was going to be a natural prodigy in the art, almost as if she had been born to inherit the spark. And considering how far he expected her to go it seemed like this trial was going to be particularly important, for today was the trial he initiated her.

“Now I know I've said this a dozen times before, but-...” Tio began as they pushed their way through the undergrowth of Scaltoth Jungle. It was still early in the morning, too early for the sun to have risen, which forced them to take it slow or risk tripping over, but fortunately they were still near the edge of the jungle and out of the territory of the more dangerous creatures lurking around.

“- Are you sure you want to do this. I know, I know. And it's two dozen and two times.” Tasha replied, just a hint of exasperation creeping into her tone. “I know you want to make sure I understand the decision I'm making but trust me, I do. And I want to go through with it. This is what I'm meant to do, I can feel it.”

The memory of the look she'd had in her eyes that night in the graveyard when she'd studied the husk he'd raised flashed through Tio’s mind, sending a chill down his spine, but he pushed it out of his mind. He must have misread the nature of that look, after all simple scientific observation could easily be mistaken for obsession in the eerie atmosphere of a graveyard. “I agree Blondiepop. I can feel it too. Now look sharp, we've arrived.”

It had been over an arc since he'd last been to this place, but even so in Tio’s eyes the cave they now stood before hadn't changed a bit. It was the same cave that he had undergone his own initiation in, the one that he'd emerged from only to find that he'd been abandoned by his own master. He’d chosen this place not just because it was ideal for the initiation, but because it served as a personal reminder to him of the importance a teacher could make to a student. He would not allow someone as gifted as Tasha to underachieve because she was poorly taught. He would not fail her.

Down into the cave they went, feeling their way through the dark tunnels that Tio had once upon a time scurried through like a rat. It wasn't long before they arrived at the main antichamber, and Tasha laid down a small coffin she'd been carrying on her back and opened it up to reveal the body she'd dug up.

Tio sat down on the ground in a meditation position, gesturing for Tasha to follow. “Alright, come and sit with me. The first part of this ritual involves me tearing off a scrap of my spark and grafting it into you, and for that I'll need your focus. It's going to feel a little weird.”

Tasha nodded in understanding as she sat down in front of him. “Got it. And what happens next?”

“Then you have twenty four breaks to take that new spark into your soul; to reach inside of yourself and connect to it before it fizzles out and dies. I will leave this cave and block the way behind me, then use my power to reanimate this body you've brought with you. But I won't enforce my will upon it; it will run wild, and in its hunger for life attack anything living it can find.”

Tasha nodded gravely. “In other words… me.”

“That's right. Being locked in here with it will make you its sole target; its prey. There are three possible outcomes to this ritual. Number one: you escape from the cave, destroy the thrall, or evade it until the time runs out, in which case the spark fades and you emerge just as you were before.”

The thin scowl that crossed her face showed just how revolting Tasha found that idea, so Tio pressed onwards. “Number two: you die.” Strangely enough Tasha didn't seem as abhorred by that idea as she had the first. “Or number three: you connect to the spark within you, bend the thrall to your will, and emerge a necromancer.”

A flash of resolve flew across Tasha’s eyes, and in an unusually overt display of emotion she eagerly grabbed Tio’s hand. “I'll succeed, I know I will! Let's begin the ritual!”

“Very well,” Tio replied, grasping her hand back, “here we go.”

Closing his eyes, Tio slowed his breathing and turned his attention inwards, like he always did when calling upon the spark to produce magic. Sensing his will the necromancy spark inside him came to life and fed heavily upon his ether, burning through it at an intense rate until its power reached its peak. Then, with a painful tearing sensation that felt like it came from somewhere deep inside his heart, a sliver of the spark ripped itself out of him and shot down his arm, leaping out of his hand and into Tasha’s. Judging by the slightly feverish look to her it seemed like the spark had transferred without issue, and compared to his own memory of what receiving the spark was like it seemed that she was taking it remarkably well.

Standing up, Tio left Tasha sitting where she was and started to walk in the direction of the exit. “Good luck to you Blondiepop. I'm rooting for you.” He said over his shoulder before vanishing into the dark. Wordlessly he offered a prayer to any of the Immortals out there who watched over magicians to keep her safe, and give her strength in the trial ahead.

Once he reached the entrance to the cave, Tio called upon the spark of defiance and had the nearby boulder roll over to cover the entrance, sealing his apprentice within. Reminding himself that Tasha could handle herself and should be able to complete the ritual without his help, he hesitantly reached out with his necromancy spark and locked on to the feel of the lifeless body within the cave, providing it with the power to rise again but without enforcing his will through the bond along with it. There it was; the initiation had begun. Now all he could do was wait.

Taking a seat on a tree stump, Tio tried to decide on what he should do to occupy himself while Tasha was in the cave. He had to stay nearby to provide the thrall with power and so couldn't leave the area, but there wasn't much to do in this little clearing. At first he tried meditating, hoping that the sense of serenity would make the time pass faster, but found that he was too anxious for Tasha’s safety to clear his head. Instead he took a book and his magic chicken quill from out of his domain bag and tried to do some writing.

“What to write… what to write…” He muttered to himself softly as he tried to think of an idea. The story of one of his adventures? A teaching plan for Tasha? The suspense of waiting was making it hard to think, hard to come to a decision. “Hmm… I'll just write my name at the top for now…”

In his cursive but messy handwriting Tio jotted his own name down at the top. He stopped and looked at it for a second, hoping that it might provide him with some inspiration, until he noticed a faint tingling sensation on his hand.

“What the-…”

One of the rings he was wearing, the one he'd pinched from the grave robbing trip he went on with Tasha, had started glowing with a snowy blue light. All of a sudden a strange force overcame his hand, which to Tio’s alarm suddenly started scribbling words down furiously on the paper without him wanting it to.

As soon as it had come the light faded, leaving his hand hovering awkwardly over the page. Freaked out, Tio dropped the quill and tore the ring off his finger, but after examining it found no trace of the light from earlier. What in the beneath had that all been about? Cautiously he peered down at the words written on the paper.



The Star made of silver, the glutton of gold.
The one who seeks, but opts to stay blind.
Trust not the gift thou has been given.
But in thy hands, and in thy mind.

Never a hero; but a teacher to many.
Never a king; but a father to one.
Thy road will be shorter than thou hopes it will be.
But shall fight thee as hard, and feel as long.

Beware the child of thy soul; thy heir,
thy greatest creation, and thy untimely doom.
For ambition shall strip the guard from thy back.
And destroy thee beneath the eye of the moon.




Just as he finished reading the words a scraping noise sounded against the boulder, and Tio realised that at some point while he'd been distracted the connection he'd made to the thrall had been broken. No way! Tasha had completed the ritual already!? But it had barely been a break? What had taken him twenty three breaks had only taken her one!?

The boulder was pushed away, revealing the form of Tasha, looking a little winded but otherwise just as composed as ever, standing proudly with the thrall besides her. As soon as she saw him the widest grin he'd ever seen on her split across her face, and she bounded up to him excitedly. “I did it! I really did it! Well I always knew I would of course, but still-... I DID IT!”

“Already! Tasha that's amazing!” Tio replied, pushing the concern he felt over the prophecy aside and focusing on how proud he was of Tasha. This was her moment, her big success, and it would be selfish of him to ruin it by being all mopey. Besides what reason did he have to believe the product of some unknown magic ring anyway? It was probably just a lie. “I didn't even think it could be completed so quickly! You really were born for this Tasha! How do you feel?”

Tasha thought about it for a while. “I'm not sure how to say it… stronger? Completed? No, it's…” She looked around curiously at the surrounding forrest, and her grin took on a knowing edge. “It's like I finally understand the character I've been playing up until now. Like I've reread the lines of an old play and finally clicked onto their meaning. And now that I know it, now that I know who my character is.” She raised up her arms and pirouetted around like a ballet dancer. “I can get up on stage and shine!”

Tio had always claimed that Tasha was a prodigy, but in that moment he could almost literally see the magician that she could become. Standing in that exact pose atop a castle balcony, directing a small legion of neat, uniformed thralls about like highly trained soldiers with effortless grace, she looked exactly like a true queen of the dead should; regal and mysterious, unyielding and ruthlessly fair. She could build a kingdom all on her own, or grind another into dust. There was still a long way to go for the current Tasha to become that person, and yet with enough practice and guidance he was certain, absolutely certain, that she would get there one day.

Somewhere in the back of his head a small voice warned him that he was letting his pride blind him, that it wasn't fair to place such high expectations on her, but he ignored it. What was wrong with pushing her to be all that she could be? After all wasn't it the job of all teachers to make their students as strong as they could be?

“What've you written there master?” Tasha asked out of the blue, taking Tio completely by surprise. Quickly he shut the book and tucked it away back in his pocket.

“Oh, this? Nothing important, just a few odd thoughts. But that's not important now. Let's head back to the lab, and I'll show you some other nifty tricks you can pull off with now you have the spark…”

Turning back the way they'd arrived from, Tio led the way back to civilization, indulging Tasha with answers as she started firing off a million and one questions. No matter what the ring had foretold he would not abandon her, not believe that she might one day kill him. And he was certain that the name Tasha VonDwight would one day go down in history.
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Tio Silver
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