About a Bird

The ruins of the ancient fort Marn along the city's western quadrant, including the Shanty Town market.
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The Raven Basilards
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About a Bird

Post by The Raven Basilards » Sat May 17, 2014 5:54 pm

141 PW: Magic User Riots

The basilard’s power radiated through the room, filling the old church with its violet light. There was no force that could have kept the rioters in the room; they all fled, seeking only to escape what they thought must surely be a curse from the dying breath of a battlemage.

That which held the basilard was sheathed within a red glove, but it soon grew slack as the hand beneath it faded. Human no longer, his old body was to be obliterated by the basilard’s power. Only the flesh of a raven would remain. The old body was too weak, to wounded from the arrow which had felled it. It had to go.

Even the blood the battlemage had excised vanished from the stone floor of the church, leaving not a trace of his life or death behind. The basilard relished this chance; here before it was a unique opportunity. The acquisition of an ally of this magnitude of power and knowledge would bolster its chances of locating its kin drastically. It proceeded, and the man’s screams turned to the familiar cries of a raven.

The new body was formed. No longer a man, he was now a raven. The basilard clattered to the floor, as lifeless as the armor of the battlemage which soon followed the sword’s example.

The sounds of shuffling emerged from under the heavy steel plates. It was so softened by the creature’s feathers it could not be properly called thrashing or flailing.

My voice should be clearer to you, now that you have become a raven. The basilard informed him. ...May I suggest exiting from the back of the armor, at the groin area? A sizeable gap has appeared between the leg armor and the chestplate. It may prove easier than the neck.
Last edited by The Raven Basilards on Sun May 18, 2014 5:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: About a Bird

Post by Quenta » Sun May 18, 2014 1:55 am

Heh. A knife with eyes and a voice. Quenta struggled with his new body. He reached a wing forward and flapped it at the opening, but wings were not fingers. He’d have to force himself with his legs, his little, ungainly, stick-like bird legs.

Quenta pushed and shoved until his head emerged from under the armor. If this is what being born was like, it was good people didn’t remember. Quenta flopped over onto his side. Balancing on his little bird legs was harder than one might think. Not only was he being born again, he had to learn to walk, to see, to hear everything anew and to never, ever forget who he was.

“Never forget.” The words croaked out harshly in the round room and echoed around his ears. Somehow, he managed to birth himself from the armor. He hopped and flopped, wings flapping useless away from the armor. Finally, he settled on his legs, finding the way his knees bent backwards odd, but useful. Quenta shook himself and his feathers fluffed. A grey film covered his eyes for a moment, the bottom-up eyelids of the raven he’d become expanding and retracting. Something clattered beneath him to the stone.
It was the arrowhead that had pierced his lung. Heh.

“Yes, yes, I hear you. Loud and clear, message received.” Quenta lifted his wings as if to cover his ears, but he didn’t have ears anymore. No, he just had holes on either side of his head. Quenta shook himself again and forced himself to hop back over to the chestplate that failed to save his life. It still gleamed, unsullied. The archer had been lucky or an exceptional shot, probably an elf. He had caught Quenta mid-cast, arms raised, and buried the arrow in the gap in the armor at Quenta’s armpit.

Quenta studied himself in the buffed surface of the armor, turning his head this way and that. There was no denying the blurred image. For the rest of his days, he was a raven. He cocked his head to the side, peering now at the blade that had made him its servant.

“What now?” Quenta stretched his wings to their full span and flapped them. How did these ungainly creatures take flight? Noises of fighting ranged around them, but seemed further away than they had been. The rioters had moved on to the Shanty Town, taking out their anger on the people least deserving of it. Fools. He hated them before. Hated them all. Nothing had changed, but for his perspective.

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Re: About a Bird

Post by The Raven Basilards » Sun May 18, 2014 6:35 am

The basilard lie down upon the stone, impassively watching the newly formed raven work its way free of the armor. His head poked out of the groin and in moved in the subconscious manner of all birds, with quick darting movements that took in one scene at a time.

It croaked out something with a raven’s vocals, something about never forgetting. The basilard’s memory was inorganic and largely equipped to deal with an immortal lifespan. It nearly never forgot the information it acquired, and found it strange that mortals should be prone to do so. It found the concept frightening even despite the fact that little could frighten a weapon. If it were to forget its purpose, it would have nothing. If it were to forget its kin, it would have no means of achieving its ends. The basilard muted its glow to the somber level of candlelight.

The raven freed itself from the armor and hopped about. Its behavior was fairly typical of the transformed, if perhaps less fearful than average. The basilard knew that the red gloved battlemages were linked in some way to the Lord of Kaledin, besides whatever training they might have been subjected to. That process was almost certainly to blame.

The mortal inquired as to its future. The weapon decided it should be honest with this one. It spoke across its telepathic link with the raven, its inhuman tones finding their way into the battlemage’s skull.

Now? It mused. Its voice was unearthly in pitch, deep to the point where it could not have been emitted from a human mouth. I do not know. You red gloved stock is foreign to me, such a young development as you are. It allowed its light to expand back to its modest, natural levels. I know not what rituals you have endured. Perhaps your raven form has ended your servitude. Perhaps not. If you would inform me as to the nature of your binding, I would be willing to inform you as to your current state.

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Re: About a Bird

Post by Quenta » Sun May 18, 2014 2:32 pm

Even now Quenta was loathe to speak on the mental and physical tortures Belatucadras put him through. That was something he was likely to never forget. Images came to mind, unbidden, of darkness and blood, of magic and pain, and Quenta shook himself once more. There was truth in the thought that the rituals had created a creature with less fear than many.

“Red gloves were pledged to the Lord, not the town leaders, and we are few in number. ” That was what he could bring himself to say. “If my servitude has died, then a new one will be created to take my place.”

Pebbles skittered and Quenta’s head jerked toward the sound. A pair of round eyes gleamed in the soft light the Basilard emitted. As if by instinct, Quenta rose to his feet and spread his wings. A loud caw left him as he bounded menacingly toward the eyes. A kitten skittered away, frightened of the bird three times its size.

“Baz, do you think you could give me a little more light?” Quenta strutted toward the knife. “I think I need to figure out where I’m gonna settle. We won't be left alone here for long."

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Re: About a Bird

Post by The Raven Basilards » Mon May 19, 2014 12:09 am

The basilard mulled over this information. It had long ago identified the lord of Kaledin as a figure it would be better off without interaction, but it had been far too tempting to steal his servant. The basilard hoped it had not made an enemy with the influence to find and destroy it. It began preparing lies with which it might feed the lord to avoid such a fate.

The fledging scared off a kitten. The basilard silently sensed the creature’s consciousness fade from its awareness.

For now, the basilard was satisfied that this one would not simply run off and be caught by a stray dog later. He seemed content to stay, and unlikely to report it to the lord of Kaledin. The basilard silently obliged its will for light, magnifying its glow sevenfold. The violet washed across the room with an unnatural slowness known to no natural light, resembling rolling waves of color.

Their surroundings were revealed under that light, piece by piece. The structure was built in the angular method of Eyropans, all corners supported by curiously curved pillars of stone. The ceiling was by and large gone, though some fragments of stone yet covered the rotted and decaying rafters. The basilard knew these pillars of ancient stone; it had seen them the first day after its forging. They had been made by the ancient ispoli, the first settlers of Marn. It was their rituals that had birthed it. The marks of the creature that had slain them all still rested upon the pillar, a great gash left by a claw of great size which had rent the stone like a mortal predator’s would flesh.

The time would come when it would inform the fledging raven of the basilard’s role in that tale. For now it was time to acclimate the creature to its new shape.

It hesitated to do so when it heard the name that the fledgling had chosen for it. It eventually chose to simply ignore that part of the remark. Indeed? Then the violence is spread beyond your conflict with those men. The basilard thought. I would not trust what remains of the Eyropan masonry. The upper parts of the corners have remained strong through the eons, for they were set by the ispoli giants. The old enchantments upon the stone yet linger, keeping them tall. If the top of one has been exposed by the crumbling stonework of man, it would make a suitable roost.

The basilard sent a low rumble across the telepathic link that might have been laughter. Though first, it seems you must learn to fly.

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Re: About a Bird

Post by Quenta » Mon May 19, 2014 2:36 am

As the light filled the room, Quenta peered up. When the knife spoke, it spoke of the Ispoli and the soundness of the stone. Quenta nodded in that odd way that birds do. He and the blade had the same idea. I little curvature on the top of a column. Someplace level and with an overhang.

“Yes, that’ll do.”

Heh. Yeah. Flying. That’ll be interesting. Wind had always been his element. Wind fanned flames higher, could spin water into a dangerous hurricane, could cut gouges into the earth and tear down stone walls. Wind could also lift him from the ground… but not often.

“So, how does it work? I never studied birds and how their bits worked.”

Quenta spread his wings again and flapped them. They made an interesting fwup noise, but he didn’t lift off the ground.

“Am I supposed to jump with these skinny, little legs, then?”

Quenta crouched down and jumped with his wings out.

“Jump, hop, hop, jump. Fwap. Fwap.” If he had had the ability to make a facial expression, he would not look particularly amused.

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Re: About a Bird

Post by The Raven Basilards » Mon May 19, 2014 5:07 am

You will have to jump yes, but wait to flap until the proper moment. Upon leaping, try to push your wings downwards and generate lift. After this, it gets more complicated. The basilard’s light withdrew just a little bit, indicating that it was thinking about how to properly instruct the fledgling. You will have to flatten your wings such that they are in line with the direction that you wish to proceed, and pull them both forwards and slightly inwards simultaneously. When they are sufficiently forwards, you will spread them back to their full distance and rotate them such that you push the air backwards and downwards. It is through repetition of these two steps –setting your wings flat and moving forwards, then setting them at an angle and pushing backwards- that you will fly.

It watched the fledgling’s early attempts, and was not surprised when they were unsuccessful. Very few were. It seemed that Quenta was having trouble with the timing, which was also a common stumbling block. You will have to rely on your instincts to tell you when to push at the air. Though it will be tiresome initially, you must work to push at where the resistance is greatest, not least.

It thought more, eventually decided to wait and see if the raven would manage insight on his own. Little would be accomplished by overloading him with information at this point. It was best to see how he handled it himself and advise based on where he struggled.

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Re: About a Bird

Post by Quenta » Mon May 19, 2014 12:25 pm

As the Basilard talked, Quenta took stock of his wings. He spread them out wide, stretching the pinions until the ends opened like fingers. He turned them forward, angling his birdy little shoulders toward the floor. Then, he angled them back. He considered the properties of aerodynamics: shoulders forward - down, shoulders back - up. So, he thought, if I want to lift myself from he ground I need to angle the wings like so and pivot them get a downward push of air? Pushing air made sense to him, that he understood. It really was all a matter of getting coordinated. Quenta tried to remember seeing a bird take-off from the ground and for the life of him, he couldn't. He'd never bothered to study birds. Pity that. It's certainly be informative now... really, it was the timing that was the biggest challenge.

Instinct? What instinct? He wasn't born a bird! Quenta hopped around and stomped his little birdie feet. Truly, he was humbled. Heh.

Hop, hop, flap flap... oh! Quenta had fluttered and hovered above the ground. He had! But, the surprise kept him from keeping himself aloft. But, now... oh, now, he knew. He knew he could do it.

Now, what had he done.

Hop, hop, flap, flap, FLAP!

"Heh! HA! CAW! HA!" It wasn't a big, long fly but he'd managed to get himself up to the pillar. Then, he looked down toward the ground.

Oh.

Shit.

The ground suddenly seemed very, very far away.

"Damn it, all!"

In anger, Quenta threw himself at the ground, extended his wings, and flapped as if his life depended upon it. Technically, it did. The landing wasn't graceful, but landed he did.

"HA! CAW CAW!"

Quenta hopped over to the arrow head and picked it up in his beak. This, he flew to the top of the pillar. Then, he flew back down to the blade. It would require more effort on his part and it took several tries, but eventually, he got his spindly, little clawed toes around the haft and brought the knife up to the safety of the pillar, too.

These efforts were taxing, but finally, finally he had managed to make a little bed from his old clothes. His helm would serve as a means to catch rain water. Once he was done, he settled down back into a compact ball of feathers. Being transformed, the exertion, all tired him greatly. And, soon, he would need to eat, but now... rest.

Quenta's head moved from side to side as he tucked his head down into his shoulders. His old clothes were warm. He'd left the bloody parts on the ground. And, while he slept, he dreamed dreams the Basilard sent him.

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Re: About a Bird

Post by The Raven Basilards » Tue May 20, 2014 2:41 am

Though the blade rarely wasted itself on the emotions enjoyed by mortal beings, atop the ispoli pillar a host of feelings moved through its iron frame. The blades had been forged by these giants; it had been the first and last time that the three swords had been held together. It caused the weapon to think. Two thousand years was a long time to fail. It was difficult not to wonder if there was a reason it had not yet succeeded.

There was nothing to be done but continue to try. It had no other goal but the one before it.

The basilard wondered what it would tell the raven upon his awakening. The basilard supposed the first day of a raven’s nightmares might be excused as a result of the trauma. Perhaps even weeks or months would go by before the raven demanded answers of it. But it would happen eventually; it was inevitable that the fledgling creature would realize that the dreams it was forced to endure transcended natural causes.

The question remained: what mix of truth and lies would mold this one into an ally? Did he know pity, would he be moved to aid through force of sympathy? Did he know debt, working out of gratitude for his deliverance from death? Did he know not but servitude, and could he bear to trade one master for another? Would he seek nothing more than an ally at this stage of its life, a sense of companionship amidst the turbulent life fate had dealt him?

The basilard did not have the answers to these questions. The raven seemed rebellious, eager to explore his new form. The laughter, or caws which resembled laughter, had seemed forced and born of a desire to act as if this was not a difficult, confusing time. All the same, the raven had parted with them of his own volition. The basilard chose to believe that this was because it was willing to explore its newfound freedom.

It was only as the moon rose to its full height in the night sky that the basilard committed to the choice that the raven was not of a servile disposition. It was not about to think hastily when it had the full hours of night to commit to planning. The moonlight worked its way through the open roof, pouring in on the church and warring with the muted light around the basilard.

As the moon passed the wall of the church, and would soon fade from view, the basilard further concluded that the raven would not be moved by sympathy. It was a creature that had plainly endured many horrors itself, but the basilard suggested that such a brash personality would respond negatively to shared hardship, considering the difficulties endured by others a pittance compared to his own suffering.

This left only debt and kinship. The basilard was ambivalent about either prospect, and eventually concluded that a blend of the two would be the best motivator. Whatever feelings of debt the raven had for it would not be enhanced through confrontation; from what it knew of the raven, direct confrontation of any sort seemed likely to lead to little accomplishment. It was best to let that aspect of their interaction hang over the raven’s head. He would have to decide for himself how he let his debt affect him.

Kinship it could approach with, if perhaps not perfect honesty. The raven was no completely and utterly alone. Whomever he had once called friends were not likely to look upon him as such now. A mortal would reach out to whatever it could find in such times, and the basilard was not hesitant to fill the role for its own ends.

The sun began to rise, its mighty glow slowly overwhelming the traces of the basilard’s light. The raven began to stir. The basilard watched and waited, prepared to answer whatever questions it might have.

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Re: About a Bird

Post by Quenta » Fri May 23, 2014 6:29 pm

Quenta blinked. He'd dreamt of his death and transformation. He'd dreamt of flying. The sudden hunger was sharp and woke him further. As did the need to defecate, but there was no way he was doing that up here. Quenta launched himself from the nest, making a graceless landing on the ground before hopping over to a corner. Going to the bathroom in a new form had to be the most disgusting thing he'd experienced in a very long time. Bird poop was nasty, part solid, part liquid. Was he supposed to wipe? And if so, how?!

Another sharp pang of hunger wracked him and before he knew it, he'd snatched up a beetle and gulped it down.

"Augh." But... maybe a few more and he wouldn't feel hungry.

"So, Baz." Quenta hopped around. At this armor and bloodied rags, a few more beetles had come to investigate. Huh. The beetles were snapped up quick enough. Really, the only problem he had with eating the bugs was his own mental block. He could over come that to keep from feeling hungry.

"What is this thing I need to do in exchange for keeping me alive, albeit in a less than ideal state."

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Re: About a Bird

Post by The Raven Basilards » Sat May 24, 2014 3:11 am

The raven’s simple question was surprisingly unexpected. He assumed there was a cost to his transformation beyond the new form. The basilard eventually supposed it was simply the result of a life in which few others had shown him kindness.

I suppose you do deserve to know. The basilard acknowledged, intentionally drawing out the answer. Curiosity was a powerful motivator, although the basilard did not maintain it long as it elaborated. There was no reason to frustrate the bird. There are two other basilards of identical shape to me. It is my purpose to locate them, that we might be reunited. Due to the limitations of my present form, I am incapable of doing so personally. The basilard continued to mull over how much it should tell the other. I require a wielder. One who can covertly move me through the city.

A pair of swallows flitted about in the morning air, scattering in and out of both sight and the basilard’s unique sense of their minds. It watched as they snatched small insects from the air, never quite crossing the boundary into the church. Your life is surely worth more, but all I ask in return is that you find me one who will not place me in the hold of your former master and moves around the city frequently.

It waited for the raven’s response. It wished to know how inquisitive the raven was before it delved any deeper into its tale.
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Re: About a Bird

Post by Quenta » Sun May 25, 2014 12:18 am

Quenta considered the basilard’s reply.

“Hnh.”

He found it curious the blade did not want Belatucadrus to know of its existence and the need to move covertly.

“Sometimes, the most overlooked things are those that are the most obvious.” It was an observation, to see how the blade would respond. Quenta wondered whether the blade had any control over him after converting him. Certainly, Quenta had wanted to live, but the reason escaped him now. Had he wanted vengeance? Or, just hadn’t wanted to cease to exist. Quenta wondered, too, about the others the blade mentioned. There had to be a catch. It was a talking, enchanted blade after all.

“So, what’s the catch?”

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Re: About a Bird

Post by The Raven Basilards » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:01 pm

The basilard paused for a long moment. It did not understand the raven’s comment about the nature of obvious things, and had little thought to spare on what it viewed as an irredeemably vague statement. The wind momentarily blew one of the sparrows over the edge of the building wall, but the small bird quickly darted off and away. Its companion soon followed after it, and both blips of consciousness fully vanished from the basilard’s mind. The catch is thus: in the past two thousand years, I have located another of my kin only once since our creation.

It did not care to explain its motives for doing so. It hoped to avoid the matter until it knew it could trust the fledgling. As it stood, it still did not understand the nature of control that the lord of Kaledin exerted over the battlemages. It did not wish to see the fledgling return to its perhaps-former master with a host of information. I have seen the marks of raven skin upon mortals and met other ravens such as you. As a result I have confirmation that at least one is still within the city. But it is possible that some force is hiding them from me, or one has been buried or left the continent.

The basilard waited for another moment. If the fledgling wanted to know why the basilard sought its kin, it would have to ask the basilard much more specific questions. For now the basilard was content to let the fledgling realize that such a concern hardly applied to him; all he needed to do was find the basilard a wielder. The basilard had never asked it to find the rest of its kin.

Not to say the basilard wouldn’t benefit from having an allied raven. The last raven it had met had been far more belligerent and spiteful, utterly unwilling to give aid in finding the other basilard that had granted him the raven body. That had been roughly ninety years ago; that raven was now long dead.

That said, for now the basilard thought it was best to let the raven find his own conclusions and ask what he would. It would respond as needed, and give no more than it needed to. The basilard waited expectantly, its modest light by this point nigh invisible, smothered beneath the morning rays of the sun.

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Re: About a Bird

Post by Quenta » Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:02 pm

“So, basically, you want me to fly around looking for this other Basilard that you sensed? Does that mean you and I are linked mentally in some way?”

The sun felt good on his skin… feathers. Quenta shook himself and the feathers ruffled out, making him look fatter than he was. He felt so insubstantial.

“I want to find that archer, too. Can you help me find him?”

The only thing Quenta knew was that the archer hadn’t been in a guardsman’s armor. It was probably one of those damn foreign elves that did it. They were always prancing around with bows and arrows and shooting them while sliding down shields. And, oh damn. Did he really have to go to the bathroom again? This was.. ugh.

Quenta hopped over to the spot he’d decided was his latrine and did his business. Then, he decided he’d try flying more. Something inside him wanted to stretch his wings and use them, something that was making him feel edgy. And, when he thought about it, flying was much easier when he didn’t think about it. But, that made him feel nervous. If he stopped thinking, would he just become some stupid, big black bird? Mind on other thoughts, he took to wing and flew the perimeter of the … was this some former temple?

“Hey, Baz? What was this place? Before, like?”

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Re: About a Bird

Post by The Raven Basilards » Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:04 am

Yes. As you may have noticed, my voice is clearer now that you exist within the body of a raven. If you focus, you will find that you can send your surface thoughts back to me. Rather than reassure the fledgling of the mental link’s limits, the basilard left it at that. It paused to watch the sun rise through the sky. It had given the clouds lining of orange fire. Today was a sunrise to remember.

Soon the day would be uncomfortably warm to mortals. The basilard had observed similar phenomenon in the past; mortal moods were greatly influenced by the weather, and riots such as the one which had claimed Quenta’s human life were likely to continue for as long as the heat wave kept up. This came as a blessing and a curse; on one hand, the persistent light of summer weakened the basilard’s powers. The riots made it much more likely that its kin would be put to use; it expected to find marks upon the skin of mortals; if they were particularly lucky, perhaps they would even locate another raven.

When Quenta informed the basilard of his desire for vengeance, the basilard was hesitant to answer. There was not much it could do. It decided to simply admit as much. There is little I could do to aid you in that matter, unless you do not believe you would be capable of recognizing the one who shot this fatal arrow. It’s light flared just enough that it seemed as if the basilard was attempting to equate the action with pointing to the steel tip which rested beside it. How the basilard wished it was constructed of a similar alloy; alas, such processes had not existed at the time of its forging. Simple iron would have to do, iron and magic to last the millennia.

As for this place... The basilard rumbled across the link, thinking the matter over. It had many memories of the place, few of them pleasant. It felt the magic called through the seal as a mortal would feel another creature; two beings of the same composition. The ebb and flow of the ancient, grim magic caused the basilard to lower its glow to nothingness, a defensive stance. There was more to these pillars than met the eye. Their magic felt alive. The magic felt almost like its own and yet... furious. The basilard withdrew its senses. There had been a reason its last master had left it here. No mere chance had seen it resting in this place that it feared so.

It was but a stone chamber unremarkable in construction, The basilard considered leaving it at that, at risk of Quenta investigating, except to those with an eye for magic. It is here the ispoli carried out cannibalism of their own in sacrifice to their archaic gods. They believed that such acts would bless the creation of their artifacts; perhaps that is why I yet can speak with you. Perhaps their souls are why I can speak at all. I know not. I was forged here on the day the ispoli died; the dead give me no answers.

The magic of those rites still permeates this place. It taints even the great seal, that which blocks the force it laid claim to at its creation. I do not believe I would be remiss in stating that there is nowhere in all Pal Tahrenor where the seal’s composition is identical to that which is even now around us. Make no mistake; there is more to these pillars than enchantments to keep them standing. I shudder to explore further with my senses, even limited as they are beneath the seal. I fear the consequences of such an act, even if their magic is the source of my own. The Eyropans did not, when they built their church here in use of this ancient stone. They changed their minds when their mages investigated. Marn was abandoned soon after.

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