Chapter 1: The Ethereal Ellipse

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Chapter 1: The Ethereal Ellipse  Empty Chapter 1: The Ethereal Ellipse

Post  Neutral Contrast on Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:20 am

“Where magicks exist in such abundance that they dwarf even the expanse of air that we breathe... Unseen, unheard, and unrecognizable even to the most cognitive, but perhaps most interestingly... unhindered. Imagine those extremists of our world, given the capability to control every element with just the utterance of a phrase, or perhaps a certain form of body language. Alchemists of attrition, they'd be, and within moments I'd have no doubt that the very flames of life on Earth would be extinguished were such a thing to exist here...
But maybe, somewhere, some TIME... In a world similar to, yet entirely separate from our own, such an essence could coexist with the peace of mankind as its front. Magic, an unexplained phenomenon that could either spell the destruction... or rebirth, of a species which has long since lost its values. I dream of such a place, and hope for the latter in my research as I look toward a future which may overtake and replace the blooded soil upon which our histories lie. Of course, you reserve every right to consider it all an 'abysmal effort,' but remember this; 'without dreams, from where would our ambitions and sciences rise?'”

~ Alfred Letcher, “The Alternative 'Unreality,' First Edition”

“...Ceci, I simply don't unders-”
“Just. Stop. Alright? This discussion is OVER, Renki!”
“H-HEY! There's no need to be calling me that!”

Chapter 1: The Ethereal Ellipse

Amidst dunes, painted orange and red beneath the sun's unforgiving rays, and wherein even the mightiest and keenest of hunters have littered their corpses in testament to the sweltering conditions, a quaint oasis surrounded by a patch of fertile, green land nestles itself at the heart. Hues of crimson color the horizon, as the soothing heat of the early morning sun makes its cameo before this work of nature, accompanied by the heated winds surrounding two twins as they stroll along the banks of the small lake in a fierce debate.

… Or rather, a one-sided pittance of one. As fate would have it, this day was marked with importance as that of an annual competition amongst the twins' clansmen, though one was entirely against attending. Cecilia Olreit, of 16 years and stubborn disposition remained true to her nature, whilst pummeling her older brother through her denial, and showing no signs of remorse all the while. It was all that the frustrated Renoris could make do with as he grovelled, waiting for some sign in his sister's voice, a sign of acceptance and willingness. His hopes remained dashed, however, until he took a stance of aggression on the matter.

“Well, at the very least, why don't we just stop by to wish Neph good luck? It's not as though you 'have' to watch if you're really that opposed to watching a friend fight!”
Cecilia halted at this remark, stopping just in sight of the sun's rays as they were parted by the palm fronds above. The light glistened as it danced along her flowing, silver locks. Up until that point, she had lead the way as Renoris followed diligently, but now they stood side to side, as the taller brother looked down, only slightly with some regret over his statement towards his sister. Cecilia's head dropped forward, just enough for her hair to fall loosely to the side and cover her face.
Renoris's guilt got the best of him. “Lo... Look, Ceci, if you're truly hell bent on-”

“ON WHAT!?” his sister retorted, violently, swinging her head in order to face Renoris's. Her golden eyes gleamed with the tears they shed, and her cheeks were lined with streaks of red, discoloring her lightly tanned skin just enough to make a noticeable appearance. In sorrow, and embarrassment, Cecilia turned away immediately, sniffling only once by mistake. “Just... Just stop a-already, pl-please...” she choked out quietly, amidst her silent sobbing.

Renoris spent a moment reflecting on the situation. He, of all people understood full well the troubles his younger sister was experiencing. Of all the people within their village, only one had come to accept them in spite of their disabilities which set them apart from their clan folk. Young Nephiri D'Selth Inaris, a hereditary prodigy who had, by now acquired a name for herself. Being born within the same week as the twins, they easily became childhood friends, and within their circle she acted as a role model in place of their deceased mother and missing father. They protected each other, regardless of their standings in society, and together they remained destined to their unique fates... though, unfortunately, they were not quite the same.

Holding his head with one hand, Renoris let out a deep sigh as he considered the consequences of his hurtful, if unintentional statement. A few moments passed as the two stood in silence, almost oblivious of each other while they reflected on their own thoughts, at least until the sound of Renoris's sleeves rustling broke the stagnant air. He stretched his left arm lazily before forming an incomplete ring with his index finger and thumb, pulling it back towards his mouth. Suddenly, he let out a whistle, piercing the air with its immeasurable pitch, as if he were cheering. Cecilia was left in complete shock, understandably confused as she turned towards him, with her ear now covered and...

Flick, “O-OW! What in... Why!?” Cecilia quickly allocated her free hand, covering the newly reddened tip of her nose in angst as Renoris stared back, his eyes dull with a sense of disinterest.

“You realize, now, that we're going... Right?” Renoris's voice donned a smug demeanor, as his lips curled, somewhat slyly.

“I... I said no, alright? Just leave it at that...” Cecilia looked down slightly as she spoke, her tone returning to its state of shallow depression, but now mixed with a light sense of fear and disbelief.

“I'm quite confident that your rebuttals no longer hold weight here, my dear sister. I believe the closing curtain has just been drawn on this argument!”

“What?... Wait, I was never argui-”

“Welcome back, you two! I was beginning to worry that you were going to miss the festivities, good to see you didn't both die during your walk.” A young woman's voice intruded on the twins' conversation, imparting a grim realization onto a freshly startled Cecilia with its pleasant tone. She looked slowly towards the voice's owner, fear clouding her vision as she struggled with the reality plastered before her.

“N-N-Nephiri?” By this point, the young woman's jaw had dropped and been affixed, confounded as it chimed with the expression on her face.

The young woman before them giggled, carefree as the brown bangs of her hair fell lazily in front of her face. She rose her hand to set it back behind her ear before meeting her friend's gaze, “And a good morning to you as well, Ceci! I trust you're feeling well!”

Cecilia was left entirely exasperated, 'B-B-But we w-were just over a mile from the grounds... I could have sworn not more than a few moments had passed...' She thought to herself. The situation became clear, and hit her like a brick, “Ren... That was-!”

Her elder brother cut off the beet red younger sister, not giving Nephiri a chance to inquire, “Oooooh Cecilia, you're simply too unfocused at times! Someday, I believe I'll have to absolve you of your bluntness, perhaps by training you in the refined art of coherence?” he said, snickering in testament to his victory.

Flustered by her brother's deceit, Cecilia was ready to burst, “Y-You tricked me like that, right in fro-!”

But to no avail, as Nephiri cut the conversation short, accompanied by the blasting sound of a horn, signaling a large rally nearby. “OH! It seems the dueling horn's been blown, I have to hurry before I'm disqualified!” She rushed in the direction of the repeating siren, but halted to yell at her companions. “You two better make haste as well, you can't be relying on the Gods to save you a spot now, can you?” Reluctantly, Cecilia tagged along with her seemingly entertained brother, as they followed in the enthusiastic combatant's footsteps.

As the trio walked towards the arena, they gazed upon the extravagant festival which surrounded them. In spite of the village's small size and population, it seemed that everywhere they went, they'd cross paths with talented performers, or perhaps a well-fashioned glass sculpture of one of several deities, and on occasion, even a significantly enlarged desert creature! Music and dance accompanied the celebration, lining the well-maintained roads of sand as tamed scorpions and aeromets, a furry hybrid-like mammal resembling the cross between flying squirrels and domesticated wolves, towered above the festival goers in all their enchanted glory while their owners offered rides to enthusiastic children... and worry for their slightly less-so parents.

In spite of these distractions, however, everyone's focus still remained on the arena. Under normal circumstances, said arena would just be a simple, engraved circle marked halfway in between the edge of the town and the oasis, with a clearing spanning over half a mile in each direction. During events of this variety, however, the strange forces binding it would give way with prayer, unleashing a torrent of destructive, divine energy upon its surroundings. Spreading over a full square mile of land, the energy would align itself, consequently flattening the ground before dissolving into the earth. Following it, a small pond would form just to the East of the arena's center, with a frozen reserve nearly an acre to the Northwest of it. A pit of ensorcelled fire would spawn Directly south of the reserve, and the three would collectively form a massive triangle of the elements. Half of the area would become covered in flowing grasses, as the rest remained plain with the sands, and all types of tree-life would spout on the plains as cacti and other desert flora would grow elsewhere. The entire feat would happen with the sort of simplicity and efficiency expected of Gods, as everything would spread from North to South, dropping and spawning into places similarly to the laying of an area rug.

Finally, at the epicenter of this display, the emblem would explode from the earth, releasing a mass of shimmering energies which would take form, creating an orb and hover in plain sight of the entire arena. A giant stone boundary would rise from the Earth as this happened, shaping itself with simple benches, covered with a fine layer of grass for the comfort of the onlookers (a nice touch added by recent ancestors of the clan) and upon its completion, the orb at the center of the arena, now solid and nearly reflective, would explode once more, creating a show of festive light works (also implemented by recent ancestors) and a giant visualization of the arena below.

The trio watched in awe, along with the entirety of the village's populace, the spectacle as it unfolded before their eyes. Children ran around excitedly, exclaiming their “Oohs” and “Aahs” as the adults formed a line to prepare for admissions. Spectators hurriedly claimed their seats, although there was significantly more space than they could occupy, as several of the combatants headed towards their chance for fame.

“I still find it difficult to believe that this whole setup was probably once created for the public execution of traitorous casters.” Renoris exclaimed, before taking his position in line.

“Please, I bet our ancestors had this setup for the same reason we use it for today! What point would there be in turning traitor in our village, anyway?” Nephiri responded, as she looked towards the combatants entrance. “What do you think, Ceci?”

Cecilia remained somewhat dazed by the spectacle, at least until Renoris gave her a friendly jab to her shoulder. “Wh-wha? Oh...” She bowed her head in thought, taking the question more seriously than intended. “I... believe that the Gods created this arena for some purpose, probably one we wouldn't be able to fully understand. Isn't that generally how unusual miracles like this are formed, anyway?”

Nephiri held the upper bridge of her nose between her eyebrows, dumbfounded by her friend's uncharacteristic response. “I wasn't prepared for that one, Ceci.” Her expression quickly turned joyful, however. “One thing's for certain though, for today... That arena's going to be my domain! I expect some above-average-or-better cheering from you two, I hope you realize!”

Renoris lazily saluted, “Aye, champ. Don't die out there and we'll negotiate the terms later.”

Cecilia's worry was dead-set in her expression, however. Before they both could realize it, they were forced into a group hug. Nephiri's response shut down Renoris's attempts at retaining his macho disposition, “I'll be sure to knock a few out for your sake, Renki!”

“It... was ONE mistake in my martial arts training, c'mon!” Renoris couldn't help himself, chuckling as he held back his emotions.

“And I'll be sure to put those lessons to good use, Ce-” Nephiri turned towards Cecilia, who couldn't keep her composure quite as easily. “...Ceci?”

Cecilia shoved herself away from her friend, quickly covering her eyes as she hid her grief within the sleeve of her shirt. Her words were choked out amidst otherwise-silent tears, “J-just... P-p-please c-come ba...-” She mumbled.

Her sorrow was cut-off by a quick and powerful embrace. Nephiri patted her friend on the head, then clasped Cecilia's free hand with her own. “Ceci, you should know best among us all... After all, it was you who got us all to promise, right Ren?”

Renoris walked up to the two, his eyes filled slightly while he kept his expression. His slightly cracking voice confirmed his feelings more than he could hide, though. “She's right, Ceci.” A strong sniff paused him, as he put both his hands on top of both girls' heads. The strength in his voice returned, “We're all tied by the threads of fate, remember?”

Cecilia pulled herself somewhat, as she looked up to see Nephiri's composure dwindled as well. Her friend wiped her eyes as she spoke. “Of course, R-Ren. So Ceci, I'd like you to do me a favor, and not mourn this day...” She paused, looking back at Cecilia, her eyes brightening as they held back the tsunami. “After all, if you of all people start crying, you know I'm just going to do the same!”

The girls giggled as Cecilia gathered herself, “O... Okay Neph. You have to do me a favor in return though... Make sure every last one of the people in that arena will never forget what they're going to be missing out on! If you don't finish this competition with a good enough score... We might just have to hold you back another year!”

Nephiri pumped her fist with a newfound conviction, “Exactly what I'd expect from the lioness! That wouldn't be good, I want to get this divine harrowing deal done and over with so we can get back to being the aces of this clan, after all. Now, you two ought to catch your seats. I'd be disappointed with anything short of the very front row.”

With that, Nephiri parted ways with her childhood friends, as all three looked toward the future.

A future.... unbound by fate.

Last edited by Nephiri ~ Admin on Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:40 am; edited 8 times in total
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Chapter 1: The Ethereal Ellipse  Empty Re: Chapter 1: The Ethereal Ellipse

Post  Neutral Contrast on Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:02 am

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