Zyx waited as the steam powered elevator slowly travelled up the Darlz Spire. She was at the age of 38, and had held her position for the past 12 years. She was at Darlz Spire for the reason of the company she held a position at named Market Mancers. Though Darlz Spire was mainly known mainly for its pyrovibes, it is also the head quarters for Market Mancers. The corporation holds a monopoly with mancy products and services. They sell amulets and books, offer training and carry out contracts. The business did not have a large demand, but due to the lack of competition, it allowed Market Mancers to flourish. Zyx was head of the mercenary branch. She trained new employees of the branch and took the more difficult tasks herself. Because her branch was seen as one of the most dangerous, and she took the most difficult of the tasks, she received a high payment. As she walked into the room, Gratz looked up at her.
Gratz was aging, and he had finally reached entrepreneur of Market Mancers thirteen years ago, at the age of 72. He walked with a cane, but it was only for style. He was in good health and exercised regularly, along with keeping a fine diet. He was also undergoing an expensive enchantment of longevity. His face was narrow, his entire physique was compact. At the moment, he was sitting on his chair, reading over papers and the what not. Upon his desk were quills, pencils, pens and charcoals. The side had tubes which dropped into the floor. Beside the ledge was a rack which held large marbles which were the size of a fist.
“Zyx, the offer we are receiving is large, it is the largest offer we have ever received before. The offer is 10^5X. With a single X equal to 1000U, we will receive 10^8U, if successful. You would receive 100X.”
The if stuck out from Gratz relaxed tone.
“What is the if for?”
Zyx was trying to hurry Gratz, the man took his time. If she skipped the if, he would go on about how she should take her time because time was a plenty. If she didn’t ask about the if, he would go on about the history of their stocks and the fact that he was actually incorrect in saying that 100X was what Zyx would get, due to business taxes. In the end, there was a 25% tax for paying employees, 5% for security and than another percentage which lowered as risk rose. Zyx normally received between 0% to 2% tax in this area. Seldom would she receive a tax deduction, though this offer may hold the like.
“There are 2 customers, factions called XMancers and ANecro. ANecro recently lost a member named Alzume Friam by what they suspect to be an assassination. They wanted to know if we had been hired for such an assassination, and I let them know that we truthfully were not. This leaves only 1 likely answer, a foe mancer. They believe that the mancer is Bane, a dark necromancer. ANecro made an alliance with XMancers, the extremist group. XMancers have decided to tolerate ANecro and Market Mancers and join with us against Bane. XMancers has been set into action after a pupil of Bane’s told ANecro that he was taking on Regenerative Decay. The pupil is named Nelzlyn, she has taken cover with ANecro. She also admits to betraying Bane due to a lack of her loyalty, and the fact that he killed Alzume Friam. We have been asked to aid the factions in the death of Bane. Be aware, however, that he will likely be a lich.”
Gratz had taken his time in the explanation, though Zyx had become interested in knowing the details to this commission.
“Being that we are dealing with a lich, what is the risk factor I will have?”
Zyx had already decided that this commission may be turned down, the first due to a risk beyond her limits.
“High enough that in the end you will only receive a 10% tax. That means you get 90X and we get 10^4+10X. Fair enough?”
Gratz had already predicted that Zyx would want a high pay for such a task.
“Alright, but I have 1 more condition which I believe I deserve after all I’ve done for your stocks.”
Zyx had a second condition, as she knew Gratz was a little desperate for this commission.
“What may this other desire be?”
Gratz was not hiding his desperation.
“Over my entire career in Market Mancers, I have been seen as the direct cause for 25% of the state we are at, and I own 20% of them. All I want is 5% more of the stocks, which I know you can give. You have 60% of the stocks. Even with 55% of them, you still have despotic control.”
Gratz frowned at this idea, looking up to Zyx and seeing her grin.
“Alright Zyx, our rates should raise soon enough if this is successful, and I can see the logic of the 5%. Is that enough?”
Gratz was getting very desperate, but Zyx could tell he would be hardening his shell soon enough.
“Deal, now aside from the business and to the task at hand. I need the details on this and I know you can tell me all the information you have, and any conclusions you’ve come to.”
Zyx sat back in the comfortable chair, waiting for the long lecture she had sentenced herself to.
The Hunt for BaneEdit
“Bane is believed to of become a lich a yesterday, and the ritual is thought to of been a success. Proof of his life has been found, Alzume’s body was found at the city’s gate. When checked, the death was found to be caused by excessive torture. This is known to be inflicted upon the victims of Bane. Bane has a manor which contains 4 floors. The last known place that we know he was at for sure was a town called Azlay, the last suspected area being a forest near the town. The reason we know that Bane was at Azlay is due to a series of deaths and witnesses who believe they saw a lich. Bane’s true name prior to its renewal was Klarth Fang. He was born in Alkar, a town near his manor. He is known to have killed his parents as a juvenile. Investigator’s found that his manor could not be reached, a few died when they struck the barrier. ANecro attempted to disable the barrier, though they failed. You may also interview Nelzlyn, ANecro and XMancers.”
Gratz ended his explanation due to a knock at the door, which opened up to his secretary.
“The elected members of ANecro and XMancers is here, along with Nelzlyn, do I bring them in?”
The secretary, Nelson, waited a moment for the response.
“Yes, best not keep our high priority, customer’s waiting. Bring them in, with formality.”
Gratz was getting slightly nervous now, due to the potential of this commission. The three customers came into the room. Nelzlyn sat to the left, ANecro representative to the right and XMancers representative in the middle. Gratz looked at the three, XMancers was an odd alliance. The faction was strongly against Market Mancers, and so this situation had to be very drastic.
“Hello, I have just spoken with my head of contracts, Zyx. She is very talented in this area of contracts also. If you will, she wishes to interview you upon the task you wish to pay us for. I will observe, and follow through with what resources I can give you, and what few resources I cannot.”
Gratz had most evidently prepared for his small introduction. Zyx decided to speak first, as she hoped to skip pleasantries.
“First I want to know why XMancers has decided to temporarily ally with Market Mancers and ANecro.”
The representative of XMancers was unaffected by the blunt start, and carried a tone of similar stature to that of Zyx’s.
“My name is Lyle. XMancers has acted in desperation of the situation. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Bane has acted against us ever since we first became aware of him, 50 years ago. We have underestimated him, and our slight attempts to crush him failed. We accepted the loss though, until he took on Regenerative Decay. The process he took is one of the most punishable things a mancer can do, and we have been called to take full action now in our attempts to stop him.”
Lyle was very strongly spoken, and Zyx accepted the answer as sufficient.
“ANecro, what status did this Alzume Friam have?”
Zyx turned to the representative of ANecro, leaving her attention from Lyle.
“I am Slorm. Alzume was our head of Alkar. He had organized some attacks on Bane, as that was his main goal in that area. Bane cared little about this, due to the quantity of assassinations against him. We still believe that the Bane’s action was mainly based upon the fact that he knew the death of Alzume would stir the negative vibes. After killing Alzume, he undertook Regenerative Decay. Alzume’s death was not one of revenge, but of sacrifice. Either way, we are further provoked by his bold transformation. Even to many dark necromancers, Regenerative Decay is seen as a forbidden art. This of course extremely more aggravating to ANecro and XMancers.”
Slorm spoke much unlike Lyle, a softly shy tone. Zyx now moved on to Nelzlyn.
“What did you think of Bane while being taught?”
Zyx stared at Nelzlyn in a calm manner, waiting for the response as the less professional speaker, Nelzlyn, thought of what to respond with.
“I took Bane as a fanatic. If that was so, he would know much of what to teach. He was a wealth of knowledge, which is what I seek as a pyromancer. When I heard of the murder though, I finally felt that his knowledge was outweighed by his deeds. Because I did not wish to return, instead to help fight against him, I decided to take refuge with ANecro. In return for protection, I supply them with help. They have offered me membership, though I denied it due to my lack of hate towards necromancy. I find that Bane is simply a dark necromancer who has gone past normal limits of moral. I also have a question to ask, while I am here.”
Nelzlyn looked up, with a slight look of hope in her eyes. Zyx decided to take on the question that had not been asked.
“What may you be wanting?”
Zyx probed slightly, knowing the question would come into the open very easily.
“I was wondering if I could receive some education on pyromancy while at Darlz Spire.”
Nelzlyn was slightly timid amount the subject.
“Though Market Mancers does not choose who is accepted within the confines of Darlz Spire, they will likely accept you if you either can fund them or contain a level of skill above the average. Perhaps you can ask for a test of sorts, or talk with ANecro and XMancers into some sort of agreement. We can however, aid you in informing the seniors of Darlz Spire.”
Zyx was carful with her words, she could not make promises, though she did not wish to lower the moral of Nelzlyn.
“I would be in much gratitude.”
Nelzlyn had an already grateful tone. Zyx waited a moment, then decided to conclude the meeting.
“That should be all the information I need, I will prepare today for the task. Nelzlyn, I will talk with the senior pyromancer today also, and mention your interest in the field.”
The meeting being concluded led to the leave of the guests. This allowed Zyx to speak again with Gratz.
“I suggest you leave tomorrow, while the tracks are fresh. Bane will likely keep quiet for the next ten or more years so that he is forgotten. Likely, he will travel to a very secluded area.”
Gratz was concluding for himself, as he left after his surprisingly short comment. This showed that he was likely tired. He had talked much less than usual, Zyx had been surprised slightly. This was surely a very important matter to Gratz.
The Hunt BeginsEdit
Activists of Azlay killed, the bait had been set. With the search headed to the eastern mountain range, Bane could flee to the western mountain range. There he would unlock the Tomb of Shade. He had come across it in his library on occasion, but found few vibes emanated from the tomb when he travelled to it. After further research in the subject, he had found that the seal which barred access also constrained the vibes to stay within. Bane knew that in order to enter the tomb, he must follow some criteria. One of which was to increase his ability to handle immense vibes. The amount of vibes within the tomb would be lethal to any human, which he no longer was.
When he had last spoke to Nelzlyn though, it seemed that he would have three forces pursuing him. To his surprise, XMancers had signed a pact with ANecro, an action he had predicted could happen, and also Market Mancers. The final part came to his surprise, and slight worry. Market Mancers was one of the most dreaded leagues of XMancers. Market Mancers also had a access to resources that would hinder Bane. This had been a joy to Nelzlyn though, her thirst for knowledge desperately yearned for the advanced teachings of Darlz Spire. Bane had taught her to strike lighting that meeting, it had strengthened her loyalty to him.
Bane looked at his hands, mere bones. He wasn’t a skeleton though, his face was a skull also but his body a case of bone, not simply a cage of ribs. His skin had been replaced with bone, an exoskeleton which had replaced his inferior body of flesh.
Zyx entered the forestry near Azlay with a holy amulet. At her back were Lyle and Slorm. Lyle had received a license from XMancers to learn the arts of mancy which could suppress vibes many years ago, which was why Lyle was draining the area of Bane’s preferred vibe. His face were slightly confused though, his inner eye not finding what it wanted. Zyx continued to look about the lush forest which had no trail to lead into the thick trees of years past.
“I am noticing that the density of negativity is much lower than estimated, it would seem that the lead has led us to a false destination. It is quite possible that Bane has used this massacre as a vice to evade our prying eyes.”
Zyx faced Lyle, in thought for a moment. Lyle seemed to have some logic in his statement, but an argument would develop the ideas.
“Perhaps he himself has already absorbed the vibes to evade us within shadows. If he has fled, where would he go?”
Zyx did not try to intimidate Lyle, she wanted him to lash back and think farther into this idea he had sprouted.
“Liches excrete an immense vibe, if he hid from us it would be in another powerful vibe. There is a tomb which offers this perfect protection, and would appeal to his craving. It is the Tomb of Shade. It lay to the west, sealed within the mountains. The most peculiar property is how within its sealed walls is contained the vibe, outside there is only a slight residue.”
Lyle was still speculating, but Zyx took the idea as one which had a strong foundation.
“Perhaps, we should split the forces to head for this tomb. Travel with Slorm and Nelzlyn to the place, I am going to inquire some of the townsfolk. While at Darlz Spire, you may wish to also recruit some other pyromancers. Slorm, what is your opinion?”
Nelzlyn had turned towards the ANecro member, who had been quiet during the conversation. Slorm also had some ideas worth a thought, but he was too shy to speak them without a question.
“I believe that Lyle is correct, but in the case that he is not, you will be in extreme danger. Who will aid you in the case you cross paths with Bane?”
Slorm looked upwards only after he had spoken. Nelzlyn began to weigh the risk she had been taking.
“Yes, perhaps I should ask that one of you remain with here in case I require help.”
Zyx looked at the two and waited. Lyle was first to speak.
“I could ask that Gratz send a few reinforcements.”
Lyle stared at Zyx, who took another moment to think about what had been said.
“Yes, I will wait within Azlay until such reinforcements come.”
At the tomb, Bane took another look at the aged engravements. The mountain had been a slight nuisance, parts of it were cliff which towered a few metres. Many of these cliffs had to be detoured o continue. Much of the mountain was shaped like immense stairs which no human could climb. And after such travel, he stood at the final cliff. This one however, encircled about the mountain which became a plateau at the top. In order to reach this plateau however, Bane would have to pass through the tomb first. What lay inside was of prime interest though. The door to the tomb was a symmetrical art piece which sank into the stone. In the middle was a circle which when touched by Bane, inserted a deep pain within his body. Around the circle lay skulls which drained blood into the circle. At the bottom lay an ocean of blood, which rose at the middle to also enter the circle.
Bane took his ritual knife, and struck the circle with the blade. The blood in the picture seemed to sink in farther, until the rose back to their original depth. With the raise though, Bane was blasted backwards, nearly falling off the cliff. As his new bony body scrapped the ground for a grip, he felt pain entering his body in an powerful wave. He looked again at the picture for an indication of how the tomb would unlock. Bane looked and organized what properties were in the picture. Blood, skulls and a circle.
This led to few factors. Bane again thought over what it yearned for. The blood could be that it desired blood. The skulls could illustrate the need of one’s being of a lich. Finally, the circle could be a hole, a place to absorb the blood. At once, Bane took his blade and slit his two hands simultaneously, in order to maintain symmetry. He then clasp the blade with the blood, and plunged it again into the door. Again, the blood sank within the door. Again it rose, and the circle sank into the tomb, leaving a true hole. Then Bane was blasted again, but with a vibe of negativity and not of force. He walked forward, his own mind feeling fatigued from the constant power of the vibe that struck him, forcing its way into him with a power greater then he could resist. He took a stone and threw it within the tomb, it melted away as it hit a barrier. He then sent a surge of negativity into the hole which now faced him. The hole began to expand, the door crumbling away. Bane began to receive a feedback and slightly faltered. At once the hole began to shrink, until Bane focused once more upon it. As the hole grew again, Bane drew forth all his strength to fight the rising feedback, channelling the vibes which entered him to aid him. The hole had almost disappeared when suddenly the barrier became visible and plunged into Bane. At once he had fallen, thrust back slightly by the mere impact it had upon his nerves and the shock as he realized the force field had become pure negativity. He lay on the ground, in an unconscience state.
Nelzlyn had spent a total of three days at Darlz Spire, studying intensely for when she was scheduled to be tested. The council of pyromancers weren’t busy, with recruits, but they liked to do research on their possible members. They also wanted to give Nelzlyn some time to revise what she knew, and what she needed to know. Now she was waiting in the lobby, she had been scheduled an hour prior, but unknown delays had prolonged the session. Nelzlyn looked up at the door. A moment later, it opened. A pyromancer who was dressed in a formal fashion walked in, his crimson hooded robe trailing behind him. He wore an amulet which held a coal, which all the pyromancers of Darlz Spire did. He stared at Nelzlyn, not saying a word.
“And? What am I to do now? Or is there another delay?”
Nelzlyn had snapped after the odd pause. The pyromancer simply chuckled silently and looked at her again.
“We will now be testing your skill in pyromancy. Come.”
The pyromancer turned again, walking away slowly. Nelzlyn followed behind, wishing he would not stagger after every step.
“Where would we be heading?”
Nelzlyn had calmed herself, and was now inquiring of what events were to follow.
“I am going to be analysing your performance today. I will not be interacting with you further once we enter the basement. That will be done by another pyromancer. Feel free to ask questions of that one, but I would rather avoid conversation with an amateur.”
The pyromancer held a tone which made it evident he wished to talk no more. Nelzlyn however became quite angered by his harsh words, and thought solely of how much she would push herself to her limits. This lasted until they reached a staircase, in which the pyromancer began to walk at an even slower pace. The staircase spiralled downward for some time, unnecessarily deep. But the deeper they went, the more powerful a vibe Nelzlyn felt. Along the walls were written long passages of pyromancy, one strand was a biography of Darlz, another of poetry. The deeper they travelled, the warmer it also became. When they finally reached the bottom, the centre of the spiral shone red with a wave of heat obscuring the view across. They continued down a hall way, the walls lined with heat and vibes circulating about. The stone was of an iron alloy, absorbing more heat and therefore burning at the soles of Nelzlyn’s shoes all the more. By time they reached the large room where a few pyromancers sat in meditation, Nelzlyn was feeling quite sick. Not only did the powerful heat drain her strength, but the vibe was concentrated within the basement. On the main floor, the pyromancers had suppressed the vibe in order to make the area less hostile. Finally, they reached the room. It was there that the escort left and sat at a chair which sat at the back of the room. To her sides were two others. In the centre, a pyromancer waited silently. He wore a much more simple robe, one which was much more practical. He wore an amulet and stood with a cane. The cane was one of iron, spiralling towards the top into an orb to increase grip. His age seemed to be within the earlier region of 50 years.
“I will be testing you, the others are here to observe. Shall we begin?”
The second pyromancer was much less cold towards Nelzlyn.
“I am ready when you are.”
Nelzlyn stared confidentially at the other.
“Good then. My name is Fier shall we start with a basic start?”
Fier gave the notion that his question was not rhetorical. If Nelzlyn had another opinion, he would likely listen.
“No, a gradual raise in difficulty is a logical idea.”
Nelzlyn stood still, simply focussing to not falter in the heat. This was cut short when the centre of the room burst with a flame. Nelzlyn stepped back, felt slightly dizzy and then held her stance.
“Feed the flame.”
Fier had not faltered, for he had trained himself well and had braced for the flare prior. Nelzlyn removed her focus from the heat and took a step back while attempting to raise the flame. The more it grew, the more Nelzlyn felt tired. But she focused her energy towards the flame. Eventually, Fier raised his hand.
“Kill the flame.”
Nelzlyn faltered for a moment, but focused again. The flame died slowly, but steadily. Nelzlyn lowered slightly, holding herself with on of her hands.
“Are you well? Or do you need a rest?”
Fier stood staring at Nelzlyn, almost fallen to the ground.
“No, I can manage.”
Nelzlyn refused to take a rest. She would prove her determination.
“Good then. Shall we look into integrated battle?”
Fier had a slight tone which showed he was attempting to overwhelm Nelzlyn.
“If that is what you wish to begin now.”
Nelzlyn pushed herself up, slipping as her brow attempted to cool her temperature with sweat. She slowly pulled herself up again. The escort walked towards Nelzlyn, and gave her an iron cane.
“Are you sure you do not wish to rest? We could easily have a meal now.”
Fier’s tone showed that he strongly suggested the idea, but the choice was still that of Nelzlyn’s.
“No. I will not take a rest.”
Nelzlyn set the cane to the ground, using it as it was used traditionally.
“Good then, let us begin.”
Fier took one step towards Nelzlyn, then sent a thin wall of fire towards her. Nelzlyn pushed herself through the thin wall and lunged at Fier. He easily parried, but wasn’t prepared for a kick which did not contain very much force. Fier went for a slight jab at Nelzlyn’s leg and struck. Nelzlyn fell as her leg now hurt. As she fell, she jumped back with her other leg while throwing a small spark at Fier. As Fier stepped towards Nelzlyn, he swung his cane at Nelzlyn’s side. While doing so, Nelzlyn focused the last of her energy at the central fire pit. It soon flared, slightly. Fier easily restrained it while Nelzlyn lost focus on everything.
Standing at the gates of Darlz Spire, Lyle led Slorm into the monument. They were to recruit Nelzlyn for her valuable knowledge and any other pyromancers. They would also ask for reinforcements by request of Zyx. Moments later, they were within the lobby. From there, the greeter redirected them to Nelson.
“Hello again, where might Zyx be?”
Nelson had a very courteous appeal to people, which is why Gratz had hired him. He also was casual, which relaxed those around him.
“We decided to broaden our net. Zyx has sent a request for reinforcements and we require aid also, particularly from Nelzlyn.”
Lyle was the first to speak.
“I could easily organize these matters myself, Gratz is a busy man. Unfortunately, Nelzlyn can’t help you. She is very busy with her training. Though we would postpone her training until a later time, she herself has already made it clear she would not willingly go.”
Nelson gave a calm voice for the message, as it was not what they had hoped for. Lyle was first to speak again, before Slorm could say a word.
“That is unfortunate. Either way, we really only need protection from unholy necromancy. Can we at least have a pyromancer to lend a helping hand?“
Lyle stared at Nelson’s eyes for a moment, hoping to intimidate the other. This was to no avail, though there was no need for such actions either.
“Fier is free, he recently tested Nelzlyn. He is also a pyromancer of skill, and an active member of Market Mancers. He would be most suitable for what you wish.”
“Thank you then, I suspect we have no need to speak with Gratz then?”
Lyle was prodding gently, if he could speak with Gratz he would, though he had little need to.
“If you wish to speak with him, you may. However, I will leave him a note on your status and that would have the same effect, just more practically.”
Nelson nodded to the two, who then decided to rest at Darlz Spire and wait for the preparations.
Nelzlyn awoke within the spire chambers, Fier standing to the side.
“You have determination, but you have to know your limits. That knowledge is what will get you into our teachings. Still, I could see your potential. So I’ll give you the final stage of the test now, I have already seen your capability. What I want to know is your problem solving skills. In the basement of this spire is a hidden door. Find it and solve its riddles. Return with the knowledge of Darlz Rite of Rights and I will be satisfied.”
Nelzlyn looked up at Fier, slightly set back. Fier had a tone of charisma, compelling those he spoke to have even more drive.
“Darlz Rite of Rights? I have heard of Rite of Rights but I am unsure what you mean.”
Nelzlyn looked at Fier with curiosity, unsure of what a Rite of Rights truly was.
“In order for a division of mancy to be accepted globally, it must have a Rite of Rights. Or at least, in many mancer’s eyes it does. Darlz was the first to create a Rite of Rights for pyromancy. The laws he laid out are to be followed by any pyromancer who takes up training here. Some Rite of Rights, like geomancy, openly discuss their rites. However, we are less open of our rites. We use it to test new pyromancers. In travelling to the Rite of Rights of Pyromancy, I will accompany you to observe how you solve the problems laid in front of you, and insure your safety.”
Fier held a tone of formality, and responsibility of ritual.
“Good then, I am ready to go as soon as possible.”
Nelzlyn told no lie when she spoke, even after struck by fatigue. Her thirst for knowledge is what gave her ambition.
Awaking from his slumber, Bane looked into the sky as the moon shone upon him. He raised his hand, looking at his bony physique. His body looked black though now. His hands gleamed with blood, a trait he could feel upon his entire body. When he looked at his arm in the moonlight, he could see it was cut in intricate hexagons, all linking together. When he became aware of what had happened prior, and what was happening now, he also became aware of the pain. Slowly the pain grew, until he could not help but to groan in anguish. The darkness of night was closing in on him, his eyes stinging with the cloak of blood which pierced through. He shut his eyes, hoping to stop the pain. But to no avail, the pain only grew in intensity as the blood fell deeper within. He gasped for air, his neck cut and his throat coated within. He felt feebleminded as a lack for blood became evident, his stomach’s scar from the regenerative decay made vulnerable again. He grabbed his shoulder and clutched it to ease the pain, but only hurt his shoulder more. He tried to scream and release his pain, but only gurgled his blood while coughing it, choking upon it only to add to his pain.
He rolled to the side, staring down the cliff he sat atop. He wanted to simply fall to his death, to end his pain. But he couldn’t let himself. He had to remember what he had come for. The source of his pain. He needed to focus. He fell within a void deep within his mind, numbing his senses. Overcoming the pain which throbbed from all around and within him. He lay in thought barely controlling what he thought of. From somewhere else a thought entered his mind which was entangled in shock, ‘Shade.’
Rite of RightsEdit
Nelzlyn stood at the basement again, bearing an amulet which strengthened her focus. Behind her was Fier, carrying his stave in his sack and wearing one of the amulets which carried a coal. He was not going to intervene unless necessary. Nelzlyn had been given a reference book to refer to, Burning Flames. She had skimmed through it the day before, and had read upon closing her mind to vibes. She had practised it with vigour and was now withstanding the intense vibes which flooded the deeper levels of Darlz Spire. Now she was looking the entrance to the maze of pyromancy. The maze to the rites. She followed the corridor with confidence until she reached where she had failed upon her previous visit to meet her determination.
The circular room held statues of flame, which held true flames from within who spewed from the tops. She thought of what mattered in the art. Fire. The pedestal of pyromancy was most evidently fire, where else would be a better place to look? She scanned the room to find any thing which struck her as odd. Then she saw clearly in her mind, the part of the room which did not always spew a flame. The central grill. Nelzlyn walked towards it, and suppressed it. She looked down the grill, and saw that the walls of the pit wielded indents. Though her hands felt wet with sweat, the climb would be possible. She sat down at the grill and grasped its iron bars, which carried an intense heat from the prior flame. The bars were red, and she stopped before grasping them, forcing away the heat with her hands. Channelling through her hands was much easier. She then preceded to raise the grill, which only had a slight weight. Setting it aside, Nelzlyn climbed down the odd ladder, Fier followed. At the bottom, Nelzlyn stepped aside to feel safer, away from the emitter of fire. There was two paths to take, and an engraved message upon the wall. It read,
Two paths face you, two fates face you. In one direction is the path of distance. To travel through, it requires determination, not to mention a half wit of skill to warm the cold hearted in the dark while cooling the ones who burn with rage. In the other is a test of pure power, doomed to kill. A shower of sparks, a pool of coals and a forest of fires await you, a force that I hope you can’t disable. -Darlz
“Darlz created this maze himself, and embedded his most powerful mancy to create it. To keep it powerful, he had his body set within this maze so that he could strengthen it through death. However, the true maze is through the heavily trapped hall. That one however, is only for when a pyromancer wishes to become an elite. I am still hoping to reach that state. Unfortunately, I have a small amount of innate skill, my skill is gained through determination to learn. You could easily surpass me, you have the drive and innate skill.”
Fier hadn’t spoken since they had entered the basement, but now he did. Nelzlyn figured the matter was not to discuss, but to learn. She reread the text, until she grasped its basic meaning. Nelzlyn lowered her mind’s defences and skimmed for powerful vibes along the paths. Both held an immense volume, and she had to feel it all. She knew that in order to know which path allowed her to live required that she feel their full power, and chose the weakest of the mighty choices. Her mind felt like it was being scorched itself by the amount it was viewing. Nelzlyn finally understood one corridor, and she decided to check the other. Her mind reaching out, Nelzlyn felt her mind burning inside again, but this time it somehow hurt...more. She tried to pull away, satisfied with the result. But she couldn’t. Her mind was locked in place, no longer viewing the vibe but actually absorbing it. Her buckled and she knelt on the charred floor. Her body began to sweat even more, her throat begging for water. Her hands jolted towards her flask, squeezing it so hard that the cured leather gained enough pressure to have its lid blast away. The water gushed into her face, her open mouth catching some of it. The cooling effect and shock of it all was able to severe her mind from its mesmerized state. She immediately drank from the water, stopping once she felt rejuvenated.
“If you need more water, I brought many flasks, as did you. I also would be brought to believe that you have found the correct path, with such a reaction.”
Though the statement held a slight question like manner, it was rhetorical. Nelzlyn simply knew that if she asked for water, Fier would likely lend her some. She began travelling through the path she thought was not a trap. As she followed it, she reached a wall. Fier gave a slight chuckle, but quickly regained composure. Nelzlyn analysed the wall. Oddly enough, it felt cold. She thought a moment, and then remembered the confusing phrase of ‘not to mention a half wit of skill to warm the cold hearted.’ She placed her hands on the cool walls and channelled the vibe around her into the guarded walls. The resistence soon fell, and the wall became warm. The sound of pressure behind the wall came, and the wall slid to the side. Nelzlyn quickly entered, along with Fier. Soon the wall closed again, leaving the hall in darkness. Nelzlyn felt the hall become cold again, and she created a flame to see, and keep warm, and see the slight mist that came from her breath. To the side were pictures of fires on ice, and crystal sculptures of fire which resembled ice lined both sides, the size of a head, with that much room between each. The fire light danced about, glittering about the room in rainbows of colour. She through the fire forward, it quickly hit a wall and died, she now knew that the hall curved under the spire. It also sloped downwards.
“Fier, could I see your stave?”
Nelzlyn held a tone of puzzlement.
“Most certainly, but for what?”
Fier held a tone of trial.
“I recognize it now from the Burning Flames.”
Even while she was speaking, she felt it being handed to her. She soon lit a flame, and pulled out Burning Flames. She looked through the index, went to the ward section and found the page on the Light Stave was 396. It read,
The Light Stave is a ward in which only a fraction of thought need be used in order to channel surrounding vibes into it. Once activated, the Light Stave will remain in its recycling function until it has been isolated from a sufficient density of pyrovibes. Skilled pyromancers, like I, Darlz, emit enough of a vibe so that our staves would never stop glowing were we to never isolate them on purpose...(The text continues with how to create Light Staves and more self glorification from Darlz.)
Nelzlyn grasped the stave and channelled vibes into it, she noticed that its barrier was the same as the wall’s. It easily lowered itself as soon as she attempted to override it. And then it glowed. It grew in brightness, until it shone with a light which made it hard to look at. Within the maze, it found many vibes. Fier passed his sack to Nelzlyn, who then set the stave in it and set at her back, balancing upon her arms and neck. The rainbows shone again, in a stronger magnitude, and less flickering and dancing. Nelzlyn continued to walk down the hall, looking at the walls as they became visible and floor’s dark bricks. The walk was long, and she began to wonder how deep they were. She kept walking, until she noticed that one of the flames were missing. She walked to towards the vacant slot and looked at the ground, a text was left.
The path ahead only leads back, sacrifice must be made to see the unseen door.
Though the text seemed real enough. Nelzlyn went over the possibilities in her head. First there was the path section. It could be a trick, thinking that ahead was the way she had come from. That was unlikely though. It could also be literal, in which it would return to the beginning of the hall. Due to the last phrase about the unseen door though, it was likely that the system that returned to the entrance could be bypassed. How it would be bypassed would have to be chosen once she observed how the system worked. The middle is what struck her slightly. Sacrifice?
Nelzlyn decided to see what was at the end of the hall first, before making a choice. When she reached the end, she found that the wall was warm, enough to make her step back from the wall, and it reminded her that the hall had a cold chill. Nelzlyn thought a moment, and decided to transfer the heat of the wall into the hall. From within the wall, Nelzlyn could sense a ward reacting. Soon the hall closed itself from Nelzlyn and Fier, a lever appearing from a slot that had been hidden. Fier pulled the lever, and the elevator began to raise, slowly.
“The elevator is controlled by weights, the lever controls a larger lever which then shifts a weight along the axis, which effects the pulley. You may want to look at it in Burning Flames, later.”
After a bit of a wait, and some thought on the matter, Nelzlyn had figured that it was possible that the elevator was an obstacle, and that she would have to sacrifice Fier. He had been able to activate the elevator without her taking any action. Again they walked down the hall, Nelzlyn decided to count the flames this time and came to a total of 9999. This made it that because each flame was 15cm, as Burning Flames stated, and there was 15cm between each flame, that there was a total of 15000m to travel. This was exact, because if the missing flame had been present, there would have been 10,000 crystal flames.
“Fier, I’m going to have to ask you to take the elevator alone.”
Nelzlyn looked at him in his eye, and saw that he had a grin. This gave her the notion she was making the correct choice. Without saying a word, Fier activated the elevator. As the cubicle left the ground, Nelzlyn could see a shrine appearing.
Zyx had set residence at one of the homes of the murdered. There, she had investigated the home, which had been left alone by officials. The body had been removed, and preserved at the court. She had observed it, and found that it had no wound. The death had been caused simply by pain. The necromancers with permits had verified this. Zyx had also asked citizens, and could tell that the event had already been deluded into a rumour of Bane being summoned by the activists so they could slay him. Zyx was not ignorant enough to believe such ideas. When she met Narsh, they quickly chose to head to the Tomb of Shade. The setup was perfect for a diversion. Narsh had already researched the tomb prior to his leave after his interview with Lyle and Slorm.
“If Bane were to enter the tomb, he may gain much power. In fact, we may have a harder time defeating him if he became a Dark Lich. Shade had gained such status, it is believed the secret to unlocking such power is hidden within the tomb. Bane probably didn’t think he would escape our search for long, but we don’t know how much time he needs. I’m guessing he has already researched it deeply, which would make entering it not much trouble to him. Also, I believe that his being of a lich has already helped him enter it, many academics in the subject think that is the key to the tomb. If he had wanted us to go to the tomb, so that he could escape, he wouldn’t of made such a bold action here.”
A pyromancer who agrees to this pact will gain the power and teachings of Darlz Spire, while being unable to use vibes in ways which break these rites intentionally. Agreeing to this Rite of Rights will develop the mind’s potential to learn. Set your hands within the coals and read the pact you have embraced. The only rule you are obliged to follow is that the art will not be used to cause harm, indirectly or directly, until after one has need to defend.
If you disobey, the privilege you receive from it will be withdrawn. One of these coals will stay with you, it will cease to burn if you disobey.
Nelzlyn raised her hands, swelling from the heat they had endured. In her left hand, she grasped a coal. Around it was an iron chain. She grasped the heat it gave and set it around her neck. The pain remained, but eventually subsided.