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Command and Control

King Fury Offline

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#1
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Thread Status: Closed
Players involved: King, Kila
Characters involved: Charlie (Kila), Vioroll (King)
Setting: The family shrine in the War Fortress
Time: Late morning to early afternoon on the 23rd of Ganthor
Weather: Ash and thunder storms.

King Fury Offline

Senior Member

Posts: 287
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Joined: Dec 2016
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#2
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The War Royalty's personal shrine.

A large structure in the inner ring of the War Fortress, the family shrine of the War family is a traditional building. Unlike the rest of the Fortress, which is made of bright red stone, this shrine was crafted out of reinforced Cedar wood. Each plank has been stained crimson. Though made of wood, the shrine is one of the strongest structures in the entire fortress, as it has been heavily reinforced with magic, as well as iron. The presence of the wood is as much a sign of the power of the War royalty as anything else, as large amounts of wood are very hard to come by in the volcanic wastes of Ifaistelo Volcano, where the frequent eruptions cause a shortage of plants due to the heat and darkness.

The entrance to the shrine was a large, wooden gateway. Passing beyond the gateway if you weren't of Royal blood was strictly forbidden, and anyone caught doing so outside of the company of a Royal was an executable offense. The gateway was flanked by a pair of Ruby dragon statues, which were enchanted to sense if the approaching individual had royal blood. Beyond the gateway, a set of stairs rose to the shrine itself. A small cluster of trees had been painstakingly grown, giving the shrine a degree of privacy by hiding the actual buildings from the outside world.

At the top of the stairs, there was a small clearing in the trees. Two more Ruby dragons stood at the top of the stairs, their heads bowed respectfully to the Royal family. To the left, a small wooden structure held a collection of musical instruments if the visitors wished to use them. Next to this hall of music, there was another smaller building. It contained a single stone basin, which was filled by a magic well that stretched deep underground to draw up fresh water. The water was used to purify the hands before touching the shrine, and the mouth before speaking to the gods.

Across the clearing from the stairs, the main structure of the shrine is a large, two room building. The first room is drawn with many images representing the gods, all clustered around a statue of Vaerath. On the ceiling, there is a representation of the sky, with Vaerath's constellation in the center and prominently displayed. In front of the statue, a single long cushion stretches out. The shrine is not used for offerings to the god, instead being used for meditations and introspection by the Kings and Queens of War, and as such features no basin or slab for the placing of offerings. However, four holes in the floor in front of the statue can be filled with incense as a gesture of respect or worship to the god.

Behind the statue of Vaerath, there is a second doorway. On the other side is the Royal crypt, where statues and tombs for each member of the Royal family to die are maintained. As a reminder of the inevitability of death, each Royal must make a tomb for any children they have, meaning the shrine currently has five tombs. The first King and Queen of War are in the center, given the place of prominence out of respect for their creation of the country. Z'laenna's tomb waits on the right side of the firsts, and Vioroll's waits on the left. Next to his, a tomb waits for his daughter, constructed by hand by her father to remind him of the important lessons the demons learned long ago about life and death. Immortality doesn't mean invincibility, and the war twins count themselves very fortunate that they had not yet perished, especially when the other Royal lines had all lost members.

The crypt room is dark, only lit by a single torch and the points of light from burning incense if it is being used in prayer. The design of there being less light the further into the shrine one went was an intentional one, and behind Vaerath, the only light was that which the visitor brought with them. However, hidden behind the statue of the first King of War, there was a small door.

Behind the main structure of the shrine sat a hidden garden. Built to resemble the kingdom it sat in the heart of out of white gravel and stones drawn from deep in the volcano, the area remained warm, heated by the volcanic rocks, no matter how long they'd had to cool. In the middle of this representation of the kingdom was a series of stones that acted as flat platforms for meditation. Different colored stones were set on the edges of the garden, with deep blue stones representing the oceans surrounding them. A pitch black stone sat on the southern border, representing the kingdom of Death to the south. On the southeastern corner of the garden, there was a stone in a wilted, tan and brown color, representing the Kingdom of Famine to the southeast. On the eastern border of the garden, there sat a silvery grey stone, representing the kingdom of Conquest to the East. Outside of the garden itself, there was a stone that was an odd mix of black and white, set on it's own off the edge of the Conquest side. This stone represented the main temple of Vaerath. On the south, outside of the garden itself, there was a line drawn near the shrine structure. In pure white, the line represented the border of the demon's lands, the point where the demons' control was replaced by the power of their ancient enemies and cousins, the angels.

The main feature of the garden itself, however, was the reconstruction of the Ifaistelo Volcano. This expansive stone representation of the volcano glowed from within, casting an eerie red light over the entire garden. In spite of this, the meditation stones still seemed peaceful, surrounding a single pool of water. In the center of this pool, there was a single point of light. A light stone. Representing both aspects of Vaerath was important to the King and Queen who built the shrine. On the back wall of the shrine, at the northern edge of the garden, a representation of the sun hung. A stone carving, again out of Light Stone, it represented Vaerath's equal and partner, Haliea. In front of the sun, however, a representation of the moon, forged out of Darkness stone, was set out, casting the entire garden into an eternal eclipse. This was done to remind the Demons of exactly who they were, and why there were there. Former followers of Haliea, they had been shown the truth of the world by Vaerath during an eclipse, and had broken away. Haliea had never forgiven them, and most demons had not cared. They followed Vaerath now, and it was his word and will that directed them. No longer worshiping the sun and moon, this temple was designed to follow the god of light and darkness, and the demons had chosen their side in the conflict carefully. The shrine honored this, and was carved out of the dark. Dedicated to blood and darkness, the Royal demons of war held this place as sacred, a representation of their kingdom in service to their true god. And that was how it was meant to be. It made the land an invaluable place for reminding them of who and what they were, and for focusing their minds to the true tasks ahead of them.

Today, all the incense had been lit. Vioroll had come early, setting up the incense and offering the usual prayers for guidance and judgement. He had spent a long time arguing with his sister the night before, discussing many of the matters relating to his daughter's training. First and foremost, of course, had been that she needed to be educated on the political side of things, which he had tried to keep her out of for the most part. Z'laenna was much more experienced at it, and he was perfectly fine to let Charlotte sit it out. He knew she'd have to learn eventually, but he'd wanted to give her a bit longer with that kind of innocence before he was forced to take it away and show her how dark their kingdom really was.

At the same time, part of him was glad that she was being ascended to Heiress. Technically he was still in front of her in the ascension, but he wasn't going to stand in her way when it came time, at most taking a position as regent if it came down to it. Since this entire situation required Z'laenna to die, however, he had severe doubts that she was ever going to ascend in the first instance. Still, War had a habit of being prepared, even when it seemed unnecessary. It was why they had a well trained and well stocked army, even though they shared no borders with any enemy that they'd actually expect to fight. It was why Z'laenna always had plans in place for unusual occurrences, and why Vioroll had spread a spy network throughout all of Katakarthia. You didn't win a war by being the last to react.

It was his next task, then, to make sure that Charlotte was ready when the war inevitably came calling. The first step was training her in the family magic. Control magic was powerful, and something that every Royal in the family had put heavy stock in. It had basically built War, and they all knew it. Z'laenna's puppetry, his animal control, even their father's elemental manipulations, they were all the magic that had built and maintained the kingdom, and Vioroll knew Charlotte would need to access hers if she wanted to take control. Teaching her would be a difficulty, though.

Vioroll had unlocked his magic during intensive training with his own father. The man had struck at him with a blade he couldn't block. In a moment, he realized he was going to die and that he couldn't stop his father from killing him. In that instant, his magic pulsed outwards, branding a nearby crow, which swept down and threw itself in front of the blade. If he recalled correctly, Z'laenna had discovered her magic through careful study and planning, simply trying to push energy through a toy puppet when they were children until it came to life and moved at her direction. While Vioroll hoped that Charlotte would be able to access her power through study and practice, he feared she would be like him, and would require a severe, life-or-death situation to awaken her strength.

He put all that out of his mind. For the moment, he had to think about mixing her two training regimens. Her magic and leadership. With any luck, she'd take to it well. As Queen, she'd need both.

The ritualistic purification of his hands and mouth was almost mechanical, too familiar and simple to even think about.

Vioroll walked into the shrine to Vaerath, then knelt on the cushion set in front of the statue. He prayed for his daughter, asking the god to illuminate her path so she could learn and realize her potential. He prayed that she would become a leader that War could be proud of. Then he prayed that he would be able to see the way to get her to where she needed to be.

After praying for nearly half an hour, he rose and made his way to the back of the room. He always made sure to visit the crypt if he went to the shrine. He and his sister had laid first his father, then his mother, to rest in the tombs in the back. It had been a humbling, and eye opening experience, to see his parents claimed by death one after the other, and be able to look over and see his own tomb, waiting open for him to join them. It had taught him to respect death more than a thousand clashes on the battlefield. And then, when Charlotte had been born and he had to build her tomb, he came to realize the full lesson the ritual had been meant to teach him. With this knowledge in hand, he had gone on to be her father, doing the best he could as her only parent, though he feared that he had not done well enough.

Putting those thoughts aside, he set a hand on his mother's tomb, looking at her statue for several seconds in silent contemplation. Then, he slipped out the back. Only the Royals were allowed into the garden. While they could bring anyone else into the Shrine, and even into the crypt if they chose, the garden was reserved as a sacred place of meditation and contemplation for the royal family. Anyone else entering was forbidden on pain of death.

He moved to the stone in the cener of the representation, on the northern side of the pool of water. He moved to his knees, leaning back on his feet and folding his hands over his thighs. He closed his eyes and bowed his head, getting lost in deep thought. He wasn't sure what to do, but if he waited long enough, he knew an answer would come to him. It always did.

Until then, he could also wait for his daughter. He'd sent a message to her, telling her where to meet him for her training, and he expected her to arrive soon enough. He wasn't sure how long it would take, and he didn't particularly care as long as she showed up this time.

Kila Offline

Sphinx Queen

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#3
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It had been twenty hours since Charlie was supposed to have been home.

Twenty hours she'd spent with the Conquest Lord in his bed, because she'd willingly lost their little game.

It had been a chance to rebel, a chance to unwind. A chance to forget the pressure that was slowly crushing the very breath out of her body. But she'd needed a plausible sounding story, and it'd been something the newly crowned war heir had been mulling over on the entire run home. Everything in her body hurt. Each movement had her muscles screaming, but she'd pressed on regardless. She would show no weakness to her father, lest she once again gain his disapproving look as she'd done in the meeting. Her cheeks flushed red under her mask at the memory of the meeting. How she'd been made a fool of. Ugh.

She'd gotten his message, sent by one of his birds no less, to meet him back in their garden. Gods was she ever late--though part of her was still glad of the previous day's events and would much enjoy another night in the Conquest Lord's bed (something she would never admit aloud). Hopefully her father would be in a forgiving mood today.

Her pace slowed to a walk as she neared the garden, sweat dripping down the back of her neck from the run home, as well as from the volcano's stifling heat. Yet it was because of the volcano's fertile soil that Charlie was able to grow any manner of flower she desired, which she used to brighten the halls of the castle and her own room. She wasn't sure how her father or aunt felt about this hobby of hers--or any of her other hobbies, for that matter--but if was something that brought the girl peace.

She moved slowly along the white gravel pathways of the garden, careful not to make much of a sound. It was her job to be silent. It was how she gathered information. She was just another set of eyes for her father and her kingdom. Ah, but she supposed that was different now, wasn't it? War heir. It still felt surreal that the god had shown favor to her, and her alone. Not even to their kingdom as a whole, as Vaerath had specified, quite loudly at that. It had been a lot to take in, and Charlie still wasn't entirely sure how to process it all. Gods, if only it had all been a dream...

The crunching of gravel beneath her feet, directly before the pool, signaled the girl's arrival. The air still smelled of incense, and Charlie steeled her nerves. It was now or never.

"I'm here, Father," she began softly, bowing her head to him. "I'm sorry I'm so late. I feel ill on the way home, and Lord Conquest was gracious enough to grant me a place to rest until I felt well enough to be on my way. A gesture of good will to a new heir..." She prayed he'd buy the story. It was all she'd been able to come up with on the fly, and the truth of what had happened would never leave her lips. Charlie was certain of one thing: if her father knew the truth, he would surely kill her. No, he would make her pray for death.

And now that she was here in his presence, Charlie knew she'd have to brace herself for whatever came next. Her training was to intensify before she'd been named heir. Control magic. The thought was enough to send her chest tightening in anxiety. "I'm ready to begin," she said, the lie gliding off her tongue like a hot knife through butter. What was another lie among family?

King Fury Offline

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#4
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Vioroll looked up from where he'd been meditating. "You smell like him. And you've had a limp since you left his palace. I assume the two of you had sex." He raised a hand to forestall any comments from her. "I'm not going to complain about that. You are old enough to make your own decisions, and I can't fault you for seeking relief after all the stress you've been under. I would have preferred you wait and make sure you weren't going to regret giving it up to him, but it is too late now." He thought to the discussion he had finished with his sister the night before, and was suddenly struck with a slight amount of worry.

"I'm not going to give my approval until I've spoken to Kurai in private, but for now, I won't object to you spending time with him. However, you had better keep this a secret from your aunt for now. She's been considering...matches, for you. If she finds out about this, she'll have a contract sent to him by sundown." He looked her in the eye. "On the other hand, I must remind you that you are still the heir of War. The kingdom must come first. If he tries to pressure you into doing something that is against War's best interests, you have to refuse."

He thought for a second, not really pausing. "You need to decide if you actually like Kurai, or if this is just stress relief. And if he feels the same. If he doesn't...then you'd better hope you like one of the other matches." He frowned slightly. He wasn't a big fan or arranged marriages, but he knew how important they could be. "Your moth-" He suddenly cut himself short, his expression pained. "...I don't want you to make a mistake and get stuck with someone who only wants you for your body or title. You are my daughter, and I want you to be happy. I don't want you to turn into an old dog like me, or an empty schemer like your aunt. I want more for you."

He sighed, and the mask he always seemed to wear dropped away for a few moments. The cold expression fell away, and Charlie had one of the few rare glances into her father's soul she'd ever see. His eyes closed, and he was clearly thinking about something in the past. "We didn't want this life for you, Charlotte. I've been hoping my sister would have children for years. Once she did, we were gonna retire, see the world...do something other than fight this unending war. And I wanted you to be free as well."

He gestured to one of the other meditation stones. "But Vaerath has taken that from you completely now. Even if my sister were to have children, you've been elevated above them. You will be war now, and I hope we will be able to watch you come into your own with pride, but..." He sighed. "My duty means I'll die before my sister. I don't get to watch you grow into being a Queen that our family can look on with pride. You'll need to learn to stand on your own, rise above both myself and your aunt. Your mothe- I have faith that you can."

The glance into his soul suddenly ended, as his expression returned to normal. "Anyways, we have to start your training. Have a seat, and I'll begin working on helping you access your power. Hopefully you'll be able to do the easier method, and you don't die." He really didn't want to have to force it the hard way. While he knew she was strong, he didn't know she could take him in a fight.

Kila Offline

Sphinx Queen

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#5
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Oh Gods, he knew. The slight hitch in her steps had given her away, and Charlie wanted nothing more than to hide her face and shrivel up and die. Gods. "Dad!" she cried, uncharacteristically, in spite of his continuation. Oh gods. Gods, he wasn't stopping. Everything he was rattling off was something she already knew--aside from the matches? Why was her aunt making matches for her? Surely it couldn't be because she was just named heir? Only a day had passed! And gods, was he seriously considering speaking to Kurai over one night?

Her cheeks burned beneath her mask as tears of humiliation and shame welled in her eyes. Tears which she forced away with a blink.

Charlie's chest tightened at the thought of having her entire life planned out for her. Her marriage, her role in life--and it was laughable how her father spoke of wanting her to be free. She bit back the icy laugh that threatened to tear itself from her throat. If you wanted my freedom you should never have let me been born! the voice in the back of her mind was screaming. Charlie herself wanted to scream at her father for letting his mask drop. Why now? Why now of all times did he decide to allow her to see that he cared, even if only a little?

And talk of her mother was so foreign to her, but he never quite finished the word. He always stopped himself for some reason. No one would ever speak of her, and Charlie never quite knew why.

"You can't just do that," she snapped back once he'd finished talking. "You can't just act like you care about me and my well-being while fully knowing Auntie has never considered having children! Surely all of this must have crossed your mind at some point!" Everything was so hard to swallow. How much of it was lies? How much was truth? Everything in their kingdom was built on strategy, and lies were just another part of it. She even found herself doubting her father's seemingly genuine expression. It was all so unnerving, and Charlie knew she had to remain on her guard--especially against herself. Her chest was so tight, her heart threatening to tear itself free of her ribs and burst free.

She pinched the bridge of her nose and struggled to breathe in, the result being a very raspy breath. "There's no need to talk about Kurai or any other men I've slept with, but let me make one thing perfectly clear, Father," the words left her tongue more icy than she'd intended, but the demoness was tired, her anxiety palpable, "I'm quite capable of choosing a proper partner for myself. Tell Auntie that if I fail to find a suitable match within a year or so, then she can pair me up with whatever idiot noble thinks he's even remotely capable of handling me." The false confidence came so easily to her now, though her constricting chest was an ever constant reminder that Charlie was not, and likely would never be, okay. "If I'm to be heir now--which I am, thanks to Lord Vaerath--I should be trusted with my own choice of mate."

Before she could stop herself, Charlie spat bitterly, "Or perhaps I'll continue on the family tradition and raise a daughter on my own without a husband."

Without another word, and only the slightest twinge of guilt (which she was quick to ignore), Charlie folded her arms across her chest and shook her head. It was time to begin training the family magic, it seemed. Too bad she had little to no magic. Seemed like continuing to disappoint her father would be today's trend after all. She took a seat where her father had gestured to, and crossed her legs beneath her. It was do or die time, it seemed.

Maybe she'd be lucky and death would come calling.

King Fury Offline

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#6
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Vioroll flinched at her mention of raising a child alone. They did feel guilty about that. His voice was a little guilty when he spoke. "It's not like that..." He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to regain his bearing. "I am not...permitted...to speak of your...your mother. Or what we had planned." He opened his eyes. "But I want you to know that we didn't want to leave you without a mother, and did everything we could to get around it."

"Z'laenna...was different once. Before politics forced us into these roles. Every once and a while, I get glimpses of the innocent and kind girl underneath the cold exterior, but..." He sighed. "She had been planning to have children, around the time you were born. Even had a girl she liked. But..." He sighed. "Let's just say it fell through, badly. Very badly." He looked over at the false volcano. "It was the last time I saw the old her. She's buried her heart after getting it burned so badly, and it has consumed her. We'd hoped that you would grow up in a happy family, with a kind aunt and friendly cousins." He seemed a bit lost in the memories. It wasn't often he indulged himself with remembering the past like this, but since he had, it was hard to stop. "Your mother...she should have had more presence in your life, but it all fell apart."

He shook his head, forcing himself back to the present. "You may be heir now, but your aunt is still the Queen. We all still serve at her pleasure, whether we like it or not. I can delay her, but I can't tell her not to do something at this point." He smiled grimly. "Thanks to Vaerath, you actually rank higher than I do in the Royal line of succession. I'll never hold the throne, nor do I want to now, as it would mean that both you and your aunt perished before me." He glanced back at the crypt. War had been patriarchal first. His father had ruled the kingdom for a time after the split with the angels. But then his mother had taken the throne, and she had reworked the entire kingdom to put women in charge so no male could ever challenge her rule. It hadn't worked, and she'd been killed, but Vioroll had seen firsthand that the changes had stuck. Z'laenna ruled now, regardless of the fact that he was older, if only by a few minutes.

"If you want her to avoid making matches, you can tell her that yourself. Don't hide behind me. I'm not a suitable shield in that regard." He sighed, low and deep. He wanted to go back to training her, and get it over with.

"Now, to move onto a higher note: Tell me. What do you know of control? Why is it that the leaders of War use control magic, when others would mistakenly assume that it should belong to conquest?" He dredged up ancient memories of his father explaining it to him. For the magic to work properly, one had to understand it, and this was the best way. "And, more importantly, what is War?"

Kila Offline

Sphinx Queen

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#7
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They this, they that. Who even was they? Z'laenna and her father? The talk of what could have been meant nothing to the princess. It was all talk of nice, pleasant things that would never be real. What one wanted to happen was little more than a fantasy, and to hear her father talk of such things was salt in a gaping wound. Talk of a mother she'd never know with a life she'd never have--why bother speaking of it at all? Surely it was another test. Charlie wouldn't care. She couldn't let herself care about such things, no matter how much her heart ached for them to be real.

"Then I'll speak with her when we're done here," she said coldly, twirling a lock of hair between her fingers. She could already tell her father was growing bored of this line of speech, and Charlie was glad of it. Listening to him drone on about what could have been was more painful than she could ever have imagined.

She listened to her father's question, and took a moment to contemplate the answer. War was an armed conflict between societies, using acts of extreme force and aggression that lead to high mortality rates. And control was to influence others, be it thought or behavior. She knew painfully little of both, having grown up without learning any of the politics of her kingdom, save for the occasional skirmish between demons and angels. "I know little of controlling others," she began softly, "only what it's like to be controlled. I've been raised as a pawn in this kingdom, to only gather intel and to control myself and my actions. I know nothing of controlling or commanding others." She felt bile rise in her throat at her own uselessness, which she swallowed down with a grimace. Fighting the urge to clutch at her chest, which at this point felt as though it were being crushed by a dragon, Charlie continued, "I only know the definition of war. I was only taught to fight, if you recall."

Charlie found herself trying very, very hard not to bite her tongue so she could answer further questions. None of this did anything to bolster the princess' confidence, and only proved to show her how useless she truly was outside of her role at birth. Each word left a bitter taste in her mouth, and she wanted nothing more than to scream at her father for not preparing her for such an eventuality. It's no use to dwell. The scar on her face burned as a reminder of the fights she was meant to endure as a child. Nothing had prepared her for any of this, she realized.

She wanted to say how she lacked magic outside of her ability to become invisible and command fabrics, but Charlie knew it would only earn more of her father's scorn. Again she found it hard to speak, and harder yet to breathe. It was painful, and she found herself clasping at her necklace to avoid clutching at her chest. Just get on with it, she thought. When would the yelling she was expecting come? When would he finally voice the disappointment she new he had to feel?

King Fury Offline

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#8
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Vioroll hesitated for just a moment. "War is not just two armies clashing on a battlefield. War is conflict. All conflict. The world is conflict, and the life is conflict. War was once life, and that is why we are what the Life angels became. War is passion. War is envy. War is love. War is hate." The speech sounded somewhat rehearsed, but for all that, it did sound like something he actually believed. "War is pride. War is life, and war is emotion. Death is the price that is payed for the realization of what we are. A being is most alive when in battle, when their next move could be their last, and only their passion and skill will see them through." He looked at her, getting slightly into the speech. "War is not merely the din of battle, but the scheming of politics, the dances of romance, and a thousand other things that intertwine all our lives."

He paused for a moment, letting himself calm down. "Control, then, is the power to shape the war. The rulers of War are the rulers of conflict, and can direct it through their magic. I can control animals, but more importantly can use this power to gain information. Information which gives the advantage in both battle and politics. My sister can control beings with her puppetry, but also magic itself. This is a deadly tool in battle, but it also demands obedience from individuals, allowing her to direct the flow of lives, directly or indirectly. Your power will follow the same principle." He looked down at his hands. "The first thing you must learn is that all leaders started as pawns to someone else. Your aunt and I were both in your position with our father, then our mother. They were in the same position to the Angel kings. And they were in the same position to the gods. Even the gods are bound by their natures."

"Your position, therefore, is not unusual. And...honestly, you're better prepared to assume the throne than my sister was when she took power." He rolled his shoulder slightly, feeling a little uncomfortable. "There is one more aspect of war, and I think it applies to you better than the rest. Life is conflict. Struggling against the difficulties of life can also be considered war. Control magic, then, is about manipulating the world around you, be it people, animals, or nature itself, so that you can overcome the challenges life sets before you."

He rose a hand, and a rune appeared in the air. It was a common rune to see in Katakarthia, since his brands were meant to spread over time. "You said that you spent your entire life as a pawn. That is important, because you need to understand the helplessness and lack of control Control magic inflicts on the target. Every one of us who has mastered this power started as a pawn of something else. You need to understand exactly what your magic takes from another being, or it will not work. Mine uses the senses of beasts, but also can steal their wills. My sister enslaves their bodies, and can even bind the elements themselves when it suits her."

Kila Offline

Sphinx Queen

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#9
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What her father said made sense, in a strange way. At least Charlie felt a sense of peace in knowing she had not been alone in being a pawn. Her own lack of control in her life would help her in gaining the family magic, it seemed. Provided she had the ability to use such magics in the first place. That was still her greatest concern, and something she hoped Vioroll would never discover about her. Her immense lack of magic. Perhaps it had come from the mother she never knew. Maybe that is why the woman was never spoken of. Had she tainted Charlie in such a way that made her completely useless as heir to the throne?

It would be just her luck.

"I think I understand," she replied, swallowing the lump of fear that had lodged itself in her throat. Show no fear. No hesitation. I will not be a disappointment. "I at least know I have a firm understanding of what my magic will be taking away from another..." Her voice quivered. Though she hoped it wouldn't fill whomever she controlled with the same sense of anxiety she felt daily. That was a feeling she wouldn't wish upon anyone... It was a hard feeling to ignore, even now the crushing weight on her chest made it hard to breathe, and each breath she took was brought on only by a conscious reminder that Charlie did in fact need to breathe in order to live. It was an exhausting thing to manage, and even more exhausting were the torrent of thoughts that never seemed to quiet.


Disappointment. The look of shame of Vioroll's face at her inevitable failure.

War was life. To control war meant to control life itself. But how would her magic manifest itself? "How did your parents use control magic?" Charlie hoped that in understanding the previous lords use of the power, she too would be able to better understand herself. Anything to prolong the inevitable conversation in which she'd reveal to her father her lack of magical prowess. The thought of that very conversation alone turned her blood to ice. Surely he'd disown her. Charlie would be cast out, stripped of her title and made into a tale used to keep future war generations obedient. She gripped at her chest, gaze fixed on the water in the pool as she tried desperately not to scream.

Her aunt's joy as she was cast out. Disappointment.

I will not be a disappointment. I will not be a disappointment. Disappointment disappointment I'm a disappointment.

There was too much pressure. She was drowning, being crushed. Her shallow breaths quickened, her lungs struggling to expand under the weight of her own constricting rib cage. Training hadn't even begun and she was falling apart. Disappointment. Keep it together. Don't let Father see her weakness; don't let him see your fear.

I can't do it.

King Fury Offline

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Vioroll sighed. "Mastering control magic is difficult. My Father could manipulate the elements themselves as easily as breathing. It functioned as an automatic attack and defense, his magic reacting to danger without any input from him being needed. I remember once, the earth just rose up in front of him to intercept a burst of light. The winds would form in to shields and swords. His magic didn't affect people directly, but nature itself bowed to his will." He leaned back a little, getting more comfortable. "My mother, on the other hand, used a very different kind of control magic. Her power was based around soul manipulation. She'd mark you with a brand, like I do, but when you died, she could call your likeness back to fight for her. The spirit would be entirely subservient to her. She often used it to interrogate someone. Brand, then kill, then summon back and question. I have my suspicions that she didn't summon their actual souls back, but rather a copy, though I have no way to prove it now."

The war prince started rubbing his shoulder, remembering a long healed wound. "Each of us awakened our magic in different ways. My father and I both awakened ours in the heat of battle, while my mother and sister both gained theirs through long practice. For my father, he was fighting an angel in the Schism, when the angel was about to kill him. He reached out with his magic to find something, anything, that could save him, and the elements responded. He wasn't an elemental mage, simply being skilled in darkness magic, so nature responding easily wasn't normal magic. My mother loved to draw runes when she was young. Rune magic is powerful when used properly, so she learned how to apply it to enemies during battle. One day, she combined a series of runes together. They shouldn't have worked, but her magic used them as a focal point to act, and she was able to take her first soul."

Vioroll looked at his arm. "Z'laenna always loved puppets as a kid. Loved making them move and dance. My mother trained her to use a whip in battle. One day, while lashing the whip out, she tried putting her magic in it, and found she could control it. Then it wrapped around an opponent, she found she could force them to act if she had their limbs bound, similar to how she always played with her puppets. As for me...I learned my magic the hard way. I was training with my father. A serious battle, with both of us giving it our all. He knocked my blade from my grasp, then brought his own down. I suddenly felt that I could die, and pulsed my magic in the hope that something, anything would happen. And it did. A watching crow dove in and took the blow, sparing me."


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