Final Sacrifice

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Magi Customs

Beren grimaced as he followed Vex and Ragnar into the dark forest. His spectral form as it appeared, had no true night vision and was rather lack luster as he floated through branches, his mortal instinct reminding him to duck regardless of his dilemma. Ever so often he found himself simply phasing through a tree or across a boulder on the forest floor. The sensation of moving around in flesh made it seem like he was partially alive. Regardless of it being a decrepit corpse shambling onward by his own means. He could not guess how long they had been walking but took note of their rather quick movement through the forest now that they had no one to slow them down. The forest air felt less thick as they soon left the bulkier undergrowth of the forest. It opened up slowly into more larger trees with various fern and bushes littering the ground. The green grass and mud prevalent as the trio moved onward leaving footprints and signs of life.

“Riken you are not fooling anyone!” Vex stated suddenly as she crossed her arms and pointed at a tree trunk where a swishing tail could be seen. The two guarding corpses near the same tree crumpled together as if fatigued into an eternal slumber once more. Ragnar stood vigilant as he took out his staff and eyed the tail.

“We have company?” he asked as he appeared to conjure a water like substance into his palms, his staff spun forward as if preparing for a fight.

“Calm down. It is just my pet he likes to hide.” Vex stated with intent as she put her hand on Ragnar’s pole and used her other hand to make a sharp whistle. Without missing a beat the ghastly abomination known as Riken hissed loudly as he trudged over a large root and galloped quickly to the group. Beren watched Ragnar, curious if he would fall prey to fear itself, but soon became baffled as he simply stood still in vigilance, his posture never changing. Vex calmly cooed at Riken as she rubbed his bony skull smiling with her pointed teeth as the green in Riken’s eyes lit up, an obvious sign of being pleased.

“We are not far from camp now, but I think we have been followed, I would prefer we camp here for the night and move out in the morning.” Vex stated as she patted Riken who was attempting to lay down on the ground, she herself pulling out her grimoire. “Odds are they are scouts from another goblin settlement nearby curious of their neighbor’s demise.” She giggled before eyeing Ragnar with interest.

Ragnar simply turned around and eyed the small clearing they happened to be occupying. Taking his staff he struck a nearby rock as it rung clearly in the air like a bell. Beren took notice of odd vibrating waves in the air he had never seen or sensed before. Ragnar soon afterwards clasped both hands together as more blue liquid formed around his hand. He quickly shot it out like a crossbow into the darkness of the forest where it collided with a soft thud, moment latter the sounds of something falling into leaves.

“There was only one following and now… well it is dispatched.” Ragnar declared before picking up his staff and waving his hand forward as if beckoning Vex to continue. Vex cocked her head to the side as she pushed on Riken to stand up, her curiosity bewildering her. Beren floated nearby as he attempted to look into the dark of the forest pondering if Ragnar used some sort the strange vibrations to see into the darkness. A skill worth noting even for one not attuned or adept into the magic of the world.

They moved onward in the forest soon after, Vex riding atop Riken yawning loudly as she leaned back eyeing the two following behind her. She grinned oddly as she turned over looking at Beren first. “Say Beren, can you posses this Ragnar fellow?”

Beren continued to levitate onward unabated from her odd question. Other than her presence he had not come into contact with another living individual since his death and rebirth. Looking at the cloth clad individual he could visualize himself entering Ragnar, but sensed an ominous aura about him not normal to other mortals he came across. A sensation he could pin point or understand fully.

“Did not think so!” Vex stated loudly her voice echoing off into the night bounding back to them seconds later. “You have used a few different magic techniques that would envy a scholarly mage. I have been watching you little undead, you use spirit energy don’t you!” She exclaimed as she crossed her arms and legs giving the man a look of having been found out.

Ragnar simply remained quiet his facecloth hiding any expression he would have if flesh were still present. He continued to walk onward behind Riken using his polearm as a walking staff almost trying to ignore Vex were it nor for her pestering stare.

“It is a bloodline magic little pygmy. A type of magic that gets passed down by a pure bloodline unique to the lands of Alistair.” He inevitable stated as he looked up to Vex. His blue eyes striking a gaze, the moon’s faint light illuminating them into a beautiful hue.

Beren pondered Ragnar’s words as he attempted to remember where the lands of Alistair were. He knew he lived in the northern woodland fields of Wemar and that to the east was a vast sea mostly controlled by the scorn empire. Across that sea Beren had heard of outstanding nations that have kept the onslaught of the scorn at bay keeping their independence in check and unmolested.

“Alistair. Hmmm.” Vex called out tapping her chin and looking up into the sky as if attempting to find stars amidst the forest canopy. Her eyes flitting from side to side slowly almost lost in thought.

“And so the prophecy for told. When the followers of scorn wared against the nations of old. Their reach scattered far into the corners of the earth. Finally taking all the land into their girth. Yet from the ashes they arise. Four heroes from the land of Alistair in disguise. The son of Chaos soon awakes, shaking the might of the scorn and her takes. The hand of scorn withdraws and Wemar burns under a guise of her fallen. Hell soon opens and Scorn appears and falls masking and eclipsing our reality.” Vex stated almost singing as she rolled her head side to side in tune to the movements of Riken going over rocks and undergrowth.

Beren eyed Vex unsure of such an odd poetic song. He grew wary as though, as he had heard something similar as a child. A verbal curse upon the earth that human mortals refuse to recite, whispered only under breath by sooth sayers and hand maidens. His gaze turned to Ragnar who appeared to be shaking his head almost in a rather annoyed fashion.

“That is only a scattered version of the prophecy. In fact, there are more parts if you would be entertained by it?” Ragnar asked his proper language apparent leaving Beren pondering a possible nobility heritage. Vex simply slid forward on Riken’s back and leaned on her hands eyeing Ragnar with fascination not saying a word.

“I do not know the proper translation since it is of Karozinian dialect.” Ragnar began as he closed his eyes and walked forward in toe behind the abomination making barely any sound, his footsteps precise and calculated. “ The empire of scorn eventually takes over the world ransacking Alistair. By this time the last fae will be born and helps forge the pillar of the earth to protect it.” Ragnar taps his nose as he eyes Vex as if beckoning her to remember that part. “The child of Chaos awakens and stirs the cinders to burn the scorn. The heroes of Alistair approach Wemar to see her burning where they beat the hands of Scorn creating peace once more.” Ragnar stated nodding his head as if approving his own narrative. Vex simply rolled her eyes and rolled off of Riken upon seeing the crypt, its grey stone shining brilliantly in the moonlight.

Beren floated above a nearby headstone watching Vex open the door ushering in Riken. The beast slow moving clapping its hooves on the cobblestone made for an eerie sound that matched the cold atmosphere. He waited for Ragnar to enter from behind before following in pursuit, his read aura a dull red almost pacified.

“So tell me Ragnar of Alistair.” Vex began as she locked up Riken to his stables his leash attached to one of the many hanging chains on the walls. “Humor me on that curse of yours.” She stated as she pointed to her lips tapping them. Beren turned his attention to Ragnar curious of the nature as well, it appeared rather inhuman and more of a scar over a curse.

“It is a price I paid for gaining some power.” Ragnar began as he sat with his back to the wall his polearm resting across his lap. “I am not here to tell you all my secrets little cultist of death. You are a follower I presume, show me something from your grimoire in exchange for one question. So are the customs for magi.” He began as he opened his hand palm upward leaving Vex to be enticed. Beren pondered the odd custom having never been in the company of those practicing magical arts.

“Fine, understandable.” Vex began biting her lip as she pulled out her grimoire opening to a random page before setting her hand to it. “Ghost glow on flesh and its binding.” She began as she drew in the air an odd symbol unfamiliar as it glowed an eerie green.

Ragnar simply smiled as he crossed his arms nodding as if reassuring himself. “In exchange for that I offer this.” He began as he opened his hand and began drawing a blue symbol into the air unfamiliar to Beren as he watched with curiosity at the exchange of magic. “Spirit awareness.”

Vex simply eyed the symbol in the air as she furiously scribbled into her grimoire thirsty for the knowledge presented to her. “I have never met someone who uses spirit magic so freely. Normal users need a soul artifact or to be blessed by an aspect.” She began finishing her sketch and scribbling before opening her book to another page her finger tracing the words quickly. “Flesh preservation.” She stated coldly as she traced a series of cross marks in the air.

Ragnar raised an eye brow upon seeing the symbol showing sings of interest as she leaned forward. “Flesh preservation is something I never knew to work. It seems you truly are a protege in your line of work little necromancer.” He stated as he rubbed his chin thinking of a magical secret worth sharing of this caliber. He slowly traced a symbol in the air similar to a circle with three crosses running through it. The magic in the air shimmering, his gaze slowly turning to Beren. “Don’t be fooled you are trying to adhere to my condition, enticing me with spells to help. I can do the same, I know you trying to bind that spirit into a new body. Am I wrong?” He asked as he turned his gaze around the room taking in the instruments and body parts strung out around the room. “I will share this next spell If you exchange a spell I have been looking for.” He states his cold blue eyes transfixed on the pygmy, her mouth slightly agape surprised by his intuition.

“What do you want for that information.” Vex stated her voice rather low realizing she lost the upper hand in the exchange of secret magic. Ragnar simply crossed his arms eyeing Vex in a stern gaze as if expecting Vex to know. The room remained silent only the rummaging of Riken in the corner gave any inclination there were those in the crypt. After a moment of silence Vex hung her head as she drew a vile looking symbol in the air her hands shaking and mouth tight.

“Blood siphon.”

Ragnar smiled widely as his eyes sparkled with excitement. Standing up he raised his hand forward as if embracing the symbol in earnest. “I have searched far and wide, even dueled a few mages for hints. They said the necromancer of these woods may know. To think it would be this easy!” Ragnar began as he brought his arms across his chest. “With this I can perhaps continue for a bit longer.” He stated as he tapped his face hinting at his curse.

Vex shook her head as if defeated. “Do be careful with that information Alistairian. Blood magic brings only strife, I only have it to transfuse bodies, I do not know what it does to a living host or to your own mind.” She began shaking her head smiling with a slight scoff. “Nonetheless your turn.”

Ragnar simply nodded as he traced a symbol in the air, the blue magic a dull hue compared to his other symbols. “Soul manifest.” He stated clearly, the words ringing in the air echoing off of the walls. Beren squinted his eyes doing everything he can to understand what was transpiring.

Vex appeared to be smiling oddly as she bit her lip once more scribbling into her grimoire of the strange symbol. Her hands moving side to side fast her gaze only changing to imitate the symbol drawn in the air. “You realize you gave me information not knowing whose side I am on right?” She began as she closed her book cocking her head to the side as if curious.

Beren eyed Ragnar who simply rolled his head to the side as he sat back down leaning his head on the wall closing his eyes in the process. “If the Fae city was not razed by the scorn this would be a general display of magi customs Vex. Alas this is all that is left of those traditions thanks to the scorn. And besides I doubt a little bit of green fire and raised corpses can best me.” He retorted with a heavy sigh. “However, I am sure once you applied what we traded, you will create something formidable for sure.”

Vex simply nodded with a shrug as she rushed over to her work bench and began placing her crude instruments in a precise order as if readying to work through the night. “ Ragnar, I will be seeing my matron after I complete Beren’s body. Perhaps you could join us along for the ride and we can continue this charade?” She asked peeking over her shoulder her little horns leaving a shadow on her temple.

“If you are heading to the next town I will be obliged from there I can not guarantee a long travel in company.” He stated opening his eyes to stare at Vex before closing them once more. “I do have a debt for getting me that ghost glow. Perhaps we can come to some sort of agreement when we cross that bridge.” He ended his voice trailing off as if slumber was becoming his being.

Vex simply nodded as she eyed Beren with a smile before pulling out the small box containing the ghost glow from earlier. Beren felt the same odd sensation emanating from it as she pulled it out and sat it inside a mortar and pestle tool. She quickly turned to a page within her grimoire and began mumbling to herself in an odd language unfamiliar to Beren. She traced her fingers along the words before she turned the tip of her finger green and gentle touched the petals of the ghost glow. It began to slowly burn as she took the tool and began mashing and grinding the material together in deliberate motions. Beren remained silent watching her work feeling rather anxious hoping he will finally have his own body by the time the night was over.

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