Hideout, outskirts of Minora, 7:20 am, Mia Benton, Psionic Resistance training
"Hahaha! Burn! Yes, all of you burn and scream for me!"
The voice of a woman, laughing at the scene before her. Mia watched, choking back her horrified pain, as her home, her family, went up in flames. The doors were barred, trapping them inside the flaming building. No one around made any move to help, despite the agonized screams of her mother and two younger brothers. Mia finally screamed out to her 'instructor'...
"Stop! I give! I can't take anymore! My... heart... my heart hurts..."
The effects of the nightmare dimension faded away, returning Mia's senses to normal. No more stench of acrid smoke, nor whiffs of burning flesh. No more dancing flames, nor crackling sounds... no more terrible screams nor feeling of scorching radiant heat upon her skin.
"I'm going to hurt a lot more than your heart if you don't put some effort into this, Mia!" the short Elvan woman before her admonished threateningly now. She stepped forward to where her Fae 'student' sat, restrained, in a chair, head down, tears dripping onto her blue linen pants.
"It's my family, ma'am... I can't... it's just... you make everything so terribly real... I can't even tell myself it's an illusion..."
The Elvan simply slapped her. Not brutally, but instead, 'harshly', with nothing but scorn in the strike.
"You are relying too much on your mental faculties! Your heart hurts because you are not resisting me properly! You are trying to reason your way out of my Exodus. Are you a fool? Resist the effect, Mia! You cannot 'tell yourself it is not real', because I am making sure that your mind is telling you it is!"
The young Fae cringed under her teacher's harsh words. Even now, she did not truly understand what she was being told, or even why she was being scolded. She could not see any other way. The first part of her Psionic Resistance training had been focused on exactly that. Strengthening the mind in order to break completely free of mental probing.
Then, things had changed. Her teacher had changed. No longer was she resisting the invasive effects of Nebiltua Inserus. Now, her nightmare had begun, and her new teacher was in no way as understanding or 'merciful' as the Human had been.
"This is your last chance, Mia. If you do not manage it this time, you will regret it," the woman said coldly now, her spirit energy rising again.
"R-regret it? You'll cut me off?"
"Worse than that, little girl. I've been holding back. If you don't manage to get yourself out of Exodus in time, I'm going to let you feel what it's like to experience this from one who is truly trying to break that feeble mind."
"Wait... no! You can't do that! I-I-"
The Elvan woman grinned darkly, "Then just do what you have to do, Mia."
She murmured a dark chant to herself now, something Mia had never heard her do before. She also stood much closer, lessening the 'range' that buffered the effect so many times before. Mia felt her consciousness haze. It was starting again. Her attempt to resist the initial 'connection' was useless at this range.
Now, the scene was not one of flames, nor of her family. It was much simpler. A scene of her old school, and of a group of her friends. Before her, she watched another version of herself walk up to that group of friends, and sit with them. Now, she was confused. This did not seem like any nightmare. This was actually close to one of her most pleasant memories.
She watched as the 'other her' interacted with her friends, saying things she would never say, revealing secrets she would never reveal, laughing as the group of friends dissolved into a gaggle of hurting, angry people. It did not stop there. Beyond the humiliating secrets, there were lies, deepening the rift. Soon, she could practically feel the hatred festering from the group, and it was not long before the 'other Mia' got up, dropped one last comment, and ran off.
One of her dearest friends turned to another and tried to choke them. Soon, they were all at each other's throats, drawing weapons and lashing out in anger. Suddenly, she found herself able to move again, and ran forward now, to stop the bloodshed unfolding in front of her.
Of course, this meant nothing. For to see the one who had set them all on edge, again, did no good. Her pleas fell on deaf ears, and she felt their hatred, especially that of her closer friends, turning toward her, especially after a few of them had been slain.
Now, they expressed their 'real opinions' of her, as 'she' had just done to them. Mia's mind totally 'forgot' that this was all unreal, and as their weapons struck her body, the pain wracked her physical form, causing her to shudder and twist uncontrollably in her chair.
When it was over, Mia lay dead within the nightmare, and her physical body teetered on the brink of letting her soul depart from it.
Denela released her lock on the girl's mind, and moved over to the table, calmly writing a note for Mia. It read:
"To my dearest failure student,
It appears that you cannot grasp the simple concept of resisting from your soul rather than from your mind. What you experienced today was a tiny taste of what a master of my essence can do. We recreate reality for you and then shatter it around you, bringing your soul unimaginable pain. My advice to you is to withdraw from our cause, and find a way to forget that you ever joined us. You are not worthy of the revolution.
She left this note where she was sure Mia would see it, and, on her way out into the night, gave the lookout instructions to check on Mia in half an hour to make sure she was not dead...
Outcome: Mia Benton has failed the harsh Psionic Resistance training of Denela Siris (taken 97% 'soul' damage)
Info Alert: Mia Benton gained 34 DSP exp.
Info Alert: Mia Benton gained 44 FCS exp.
Info Alert: Mia Benton gained 4 Psionic Resistance exp.
Leor Imperial Capital, 1:39 pm, Teron Mobius looking for work
Teron had managed to stumble into the suburbs of the capital at two in the morning before collapsing on a grassy incline near a small recreational area. The few people that had noticed him had not figured he was a vagrant, but as he seemed to be merely sleeping and not desperately in need of help, they simply let him be. He arose before dawn, feeling slightly better, though sore, and wandered into the Capital, where he looked around for an hour before he could find an inn willing to take him in as he currently was.
Sienna Fern was a tall, almost stereotypically beautiful Elvan woman with a nearly constant slight smile on her face. On this particular morning, she had been overseeing a delivery outside when she spotted the exhausted Teron, and would not let him go any further. She gave him a room and an old sheet to sleep on, just this once, to avoid soiling the bed with the blood from his wounds. Teron had thanked her and fallen almost directly asleep.
He had healed himself up more after his rest, and used the baths at the inn to get clean. Sienna had smiled and told him she had expected him to clean up so well. Teron had expressed his gratitude, then told her a little of what had brought him to the capital. He had also asked her if she knew where he would have the most luck looking for work, information she had readily provided, leaving Teron to venture out into the noonday sun.
He had been wandering for over an hour and a half, finding not much luck. The problem was not his lack of skill, but rather his lack of references or native connections. Like most wanderers, he would need to take a simple job until he was settled in, as Sienna had suggested. This led him to the warehouse district, for if there was one thing you could count on a man of his build to be useful for, it was heavy lifting.
Even there, he had only moderate luck, with the first three warehouse managers he had met simply not needing any floor workers. The fourth told him a similar story, but unlike the others, Ms. Lanchell Burrows had at least another possibility for him.
"If you don't mind," the blonde Human told him, "You could work as our Night Watchman for awhile until you find something better. Since you say you're not only strong, but a trained fighter too, I'd feel better knowing that someone who could actually defend themselves was guarding the place."
"What about the guy who does it now?" Teron asked.
"He's no fighter, and he'd probably be better suited to something a little more business related. No offense, but he's more qualified for something like that, than you are. We just didn't really have anyone to replace him and Night Watchman is one of the worst things to 'ask around' for. You'd just end up with some thief whose friends would clean out the place three nights later."
"No offense taken, but... then what makes you trust me?"
"You didn't come looking for a Watchman job, and I guess you just don't seem the type who'd be up to shady business. Especially with no connections around here."
Teron hesitated, causing Lanchell to scratch her head of short dark hair and laugh at him.
"Not what you were planning on, huh? Tell you what, then. I'll be here until around seven this evening. Stuff to do. If you decide to take the job, or don't find anything better, come on back. If I don't see you, I'll assume you made out okay with some other job."
Teron nodded, and extended his hand to shake hers, thanking her for considering him, then turned and made his way back out into the early afternoon sun.
Outcome: Teron Mobius has at least one potential job lined up.
7th Floor Study Room, Verpett Tower, 4:55 pm, Eli Rodden and teacher Alzo Berge
"And that's why we charge them so much, and why you've heard about us making so much money. We make alot on sales, but not alot of that is actual profit. What you've been hearing, numbers wise, is just some guy bragging about the amount he managed to sell a single piece for," Alzo laughed now, finishing his explanation.
Eli had been conspicuously silent since the Dracan had corrected his notion of huge profits after all his 'hours of studying'. Now, Alzo's laughter died away, and he regarded the younger Daemon before him with much more serious an expression.
"Hey now, don't tell me you seriously thought anyone was going to pay anyone else hundreds of silver for what's usually barely a day of work, most of which is preparation and reading. Everyone in the world would be trying to become an Enchanter at that rate."
"I... thought that it was a matter of being intelligent enough to do it... and that most people just couldn't and Enchanters got paid so much because... they were rare..."
Eli's words came out as if they had been drowned in his disappointment and washed up on the figurative 'shore' of his tongue.
"No, son. Sorry to say, the reason Enchanters are rare is only half about the amount of intelligence and training needed. The other half of the issue is simply that people want to get rich quick, and halfway through the process of learning, most of them go 'well if the money is in the MiurreWood or the Spiritsteel or the rasmes, why don't I just provide those instead of the service and save myself all this studying'?"
"You have to admit... it'd make a bit more sense, wouldn't it...?" Eli sighed.
"Are you crazy, kid? You know how much you have to learn before you can make Spiritsteel? Or how rare MiurreWood is? Let's not even start on how often you find a rasme gem or get your hands on some proper, energized obsidian. You'd spend your whole life just chasing materials. Best to let the fortune hunters do the grunt work, and let the money come to you. It's a pretty sweet life, after all. Did you forget that I actually am rich? Do you think I go out and find Meteorite on my own time? I think not."
Eli looked down at the spirit resistance charts laid out in front of him. Each explained, in detail, how much spirit energy could be channeled into a material before it degraded or was otherwise destroyed, wasting the Enchantment. At the bottom of the list, the sixteen most 'accepting' materials in the world, other than dragonscales and the elemental gems known as 'rasmes'.
MiurreWood, accepting of anything other than Fire or Lightning energies. Spiritsteel, which resisted nothing at all, the perfect enchanter's material, save, of course, for being no stronger than steel itself, really. Kibir Coral, perfect for binding Water, Radiance, or, oddly, Lightning essences. Energized Obsidian, accepting Fire, Earth and Shade wonderfully, and Meteorites, which accepted anything but Water and Ice.
The incredibly rare Zoma crystals, originally thought to be some form of rasme themselves, but rather that which accepted Ice, Earth, Light and Shade with nearly no strain on the Enchanter. The scales of the giant Fearwing Moth, found only in the Republic of Molmoresa, a perfect medium for Light, Wind, and to some extent, Ice essences. NeveWood, considered a viable alternative to MiurreWood despite rejecting of all elements other than Aesl. Non elemental essences could be configured into NeveWood items without much difficulty.
These were the eight that a well known enchanter could expect to see within their lifetime. The other eight were so rare that five of them had been relegated to be mere legend, and of the three known to actually exist, nearly none of them were outside of the control of rulers.
Lumina, the Spectral Meteorite, said to fall to Mesdos only once every six hundred years when the planet crossed paths with a Comet. Gemeros, supposedly the heart of a Dark Gemenoid that had lived to be more than a thousand years old. Volcano's Blood, a legendary rock from the heart of a distant volcano that no one dared approach. The Eternal Ice, a mere legend, probably an untrue one, of ice chunks, from another comet, with cores colder than any point in the universe, which could never be melted.
Mesdos Iron, metal from 'bubbles' in the core of the planet itself, said to be tossed onto the surface once per millenia by a volcano that grows suddenly and then explodes. The World's Wind, almost certainly a legend, that told of a rock that exists only at the eye of an endless unmoving tornado. Similar to this was the Eye of the Deep, a gem said to be at the bottom of an eternal maelstrom in a sea far away, and finally, the most abundant and confirmed one, at least four real specimens in existence, the Immortal Kalmoross' horns, the horns from legendarily powerful members of that species of dragon, said to have lived so long that their horns took on otherworldly powers.
Eli looked over the charts one more time. The gap between items that would accept powerful enchantments and those that would not, was dauntingly large.
"So at best, I make maybe four or five incredible items a year... and spend the rest of my time binding really weak Swifts into people's smelly shoes..."
Alzo sighed. Another student who would either give up, or follow the path of the fortune hunter. His suspicions were confirmed by Eli's next question.
"So, exactly where does one gather Zoma crystals, anyway?"
Outcome: Eli Rodden has paid Alzo Berge 30 silver for three hours of theory lesson, but has decided not to continue his ambition of becoming an Enchanter.
Warehouse 4D, 6:45 pm, Teron Mobius & Lanchell Burrows
There was a knock at Lanchell's office door. A vaguely familiar voice called out.
"Come in," she responded. Teron Mobius pushed open the door, looking slightly sheepish, but trying to hide it as best as possible.
"No luck, huh?" she said, then, sincerely, "Sorry. I would have figured you'd have made out better. Still, to be honest, I'm kind of glad you're here. Now, here's the key to the guardsroom. You won't get a key to the main warehouse, it's not really necessary. If you lose it, let me know immediately, but no need to freak out. It's marked, so no reputable locksmith will even try to cut a copy. The two shifts are the usual. Five until midnight, midnight until seven in the morning. Even if I stay late or someone arrives early, you're still on duty. Let me know in the morning what shifts you'll be working so I can--"
Her explanations went on for some time, leaving Teron with a lot of information to absorb. He would be starting work the next night, and, unsurprisingly to Lanchell, he had offered to work both shifts, his first night.
Outcome: Teron Mobius has been employed as a Night Watchman at a rate of 4 silver per hour.