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Vansin

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There were a scant few people willing to live on the surface of Valjer town. It had become something of a problem. 

Valjer, never a historically prosperous or even consequential town, had been driven underground many years back by the oppressive forces of its natural surroundings. Winds so cold they burned, mankiller wolves so hungry they lost all fear, and other things, darker things which had lurked in the woodland shadows long before humans, they all had conspired to drive Valjer's never-say-die citizens to occupy the mines beneath their town in a last ditch effort to survive their hostile environment. 

They had over many years sculpted those mines into a new home for themselves, a sprawling web of chambers and tunnels hand-chiseled to accommodate a population that finally had safety enough to grow. A whole generation had been raised knowing the underground as their home, but they had not forgotten the surface and, recently, they had decided to reclaim it. 

Pushing back against the winds and wolves was easy enough. With their new numbers, the revitalized population of Valjer had little trouble spewing forth from their underground home and slaughtering the animals (and even monsters) which had previously overwhelmed them. That wasn't the problem. The problem was that the surface was cold and no one really wanted to live there. As with the decision to go underground all those years ago, the decision to send some people back to the surface to rebuild was decided on by a vote. Yes, the voters said, we do have to go to the surface-- but not me specifically! 

In the end, they drew straws. Some people lost, and had to relocate to the surface. Grumbling, these people helped build the handful of wooden homes that now rest inside Valjer's new wooden walls. None of the houses were built very far away from the entrance to the underground, and many of the families who had been sent up found ways to frequently go back down-- for justifiable reasons, of course. No one begrudged them. 

One above-ground home was more often deserted than the rest. Despite being the most well designed home (Valjer had been forced to re-learn the art of erecting wooden structures) it was not occupied by any family. In fact, it belonged to any visitor who came to serve one of Valjer's two churches. Specifically, the Church of the Foreign Flame. It was a new religion, and the one primarily responsible for the idea that Valjer ought to return to the surface. This well received political move shielded the religion from much criticism (after all, Valjer itself was named after another god, though a far more remote one to be sure). 

So it was that one of the surface abodes became reserved for members of that faith, and so it was that a woman now resided there. A frequent traveler, she was not always present. Yet when she was, rumors spread-- she was a devotee of the god, they said. She was a witch. The god visited her, they said, and taught her his secrets. 

And, actually, they were right. They people hardly believed the rumors themselves but they were right. 

Inside of the wooden house a simple dining room table sat, mostly unused. Few guests visited the place and few dinners were eaten there. The table was clear of all dishes and utensils, even of ornaments save for one: a long wax candle, rarely lit. 

It was lit now, and the fire burned green. A sign. 

 

@yourstruly

Edited by Vansin

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Only one soul lingered in the cold, wooden house. Seated in the shadows, a young witch flipped a small silver dagger between her fingers as her gaze settled on the green flame. Her legs were kicked up on the table opposite the candle. A small smirk tugged at her lips as she waited for the arrival of the only being she deemed higher than herself. She'd been nearly bored to death the past few days as she killed time in the barren, icy wasteland they called a town. She got bored of traveling the clouds on Einar's back and found herself back in the place of the God, hoping for a new task of sorts.

"Welcome Back" She spoke into the empty room, the flame flickering at the sound. 

And as she waited for a response, Myriana knew that the next few days would be anything but dull.

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"Good evening, Myriana." a voice said from behind her. In all of their meetings, of which there had been six, the god had never seemed to come from anywhere, and he never seemed to wear the same body either. 

Tonight, he was a young maid. Perhaps fourteen or fifteen years old. Despite this, the witch would know it was him by the poisonous green eyes. This was the first time he'd come as a woman. Before this the god had come to her as a muscular man-at-arms, and before that as a stout man in fine clothes, and before that as a wizened old man, and before that a little boy. When he spoke, however, there was a masculine steadiness that always seemed at odds with the body it came from. He was authoritative, which seemed a silly thing from such a cute girl. 

Nonetheless the waif trailed her delicate fingers over the unused table and to the candle, sliding it up a melted tear of wax and then, with a sharp gesture, snuffing out the small green flame. 

He had arrived.

"Tonight will be your first lesson, as promised." he said, through the girl's curled lips. 

"Mortal magic can be learned, or it can be unleashed. For most, it is the result of years of careful study. You are not most, witchling. Your blood has more than enough magic for a lifetime of spellcasting, but the use of it cannot be taught like a science. Instead, it must be taught like a song. It must be experienced. It must be felt." 

He stood before her, in such a little guise. He crossed his arms behind the maid's lean back while his eyes burned into his pupil. The expression the little girl wore seemed triumphant. A god's expression. 

 "You will start with the most abundant resource of feeling: cold." he said, gesturing toward the chilliness all around them. Above Valjer's surface, even wooden walls could barely stop the ceaseless freezing winds. Valjer folk were mediocre at building with wood, only just having recently re-learned how to do it. There were gaps in the walls aplenty. The little girl seemed to feel them, there were goosbumps on her skin. The god inside seemed to feel nothing.

Still it was there, all around them.

"Experience the cold. Focus on it. Breathe deep and let it into you. Stand up. Place your feet on the ground. Breathe."

The little girl leaned closer. 

"Do you feel it? Do you sense it? It's like an emotion, a connection to the element. It's not inside you, but that's where you'll feel it. That's where you can speak to it, not with words but with wants. It responds to your desires, and focusing those desires focuses the cold. Focus it in front of you, into a long, thin shard. Want it sharp, want it strong. If you want hard enough, it will pull the cold from all around you and make it. It's in your blood, only let it out and see.

Right to business, this god was. But after all, he was rewarding her for her last service. He was nothing if not a god who paid his dues. 

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The Witch stood from the chair, her simple wool cloak fluttering behind her as she dramatically bowed. A mocking smile crossed her features as she examined the body the god "borrowed". 

"I can't focus on the cold if I can't feel it." She mused, ever the resilient thing. "Might we take this outside?"

Myriana's tone was respectful, but her eyes glinted mischievously. Dancing with death seemed to be a hobby of hers. She often tested the god's patience, toeing the line of respect. She knew she can handle any punishment doled out, but the teasing was merely entertaining for her. The Witch had an odd habit of treating everything as a game, tossing jokes in every which way. Nonetheless, the god seemed to have a never ending patience, and perhaps he was amused by the odd behavior. 

She strutted to the door, ready to open it for the small-bodied god if need be. 

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The god's green eyes looked around the drafty wooden house at the warped gaps in the walls whistling with airflow, at the never-quite-closed windows rattling under the stress of the ceaseless winter winds, and then back at Myriana. 

 "Ok." he said without a speck of girlish charm. 

Myriana opened the door for him and he walked the little girl's body out into the knife-like cold. With godlike self control, he suppressed a shiver. 

 "Now, if you are satisfied, plant your feet in the snow--" the snow was, at that time of night, up to their ankles, "--and gather the cold feelings in your hand until you have a sharp shard of it." 

Easy to say, harder to do for someone as cocksure as she was. It took a certain subordination to master the art of calling forth magic. While the art always eventually gave way to a sense of supreme (and as far as he was concerned, unwarranted) confidence, the first steps of learning it required humility. 

They were, with little more than sheer willpower, shaping the basic elements of nature, after all. 

 "A witch in winter ought to have no trouble forming such an elementary magical effect. Ice runs through a witch's veins, isn't that what they say?"

It was a quick comment cast casually, yet he knew the implication would spur her on. She rose to challenges. It was one of her redeeming qualities-- the bit of himself he saw in her. 

 

 

Edited by Vansin

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The Witches black eyes narrowed at the god's vessel, swiftly detecting the challenge in his statement. She considered reminding him that Ironteeth Witches are born with no magic, just odd physical abilities, but decided now was not the time nor the place. Instead, she silently planted her feet in the snow, an almost pleasurable chill running down her spine. The cold was her element. Whether she was wandering amongst snowy mountains or cutting through icy winds on the back of a Wyvern, she enjoyed it all.

Myriana mulled over his words once more, trying to focus her mind on the cold. She waited for some sort of sensation, something indicating the rise of magic, but nothing happened. Closing her eyes and taking a deep, icy breath, she tried once more. She tilted her head to the side, picking up sounds from underneath the earth, down in the mines. The wind whistled in her ears, whipping her hair across her face. But the Witch ignored it all, and instead, focused on the feeling of cold that brought goosebumps to her pale skin. 

Nonetheless, nothing happened. Just a small tingling sensation running down her arms, but that might have just been the cold settling into her bones. Cracking open an eye, Myriana looked at the girl and sighed deeply. 

"I don't think it's working...Nothings happening." She mumbled, refusing to be embarrassed by her lack of skill. 

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"Then it seems you will need my help." the little girl said in his proud way. 

 "But the magic I can give you comes with its own costs." he added, "Easier to use, yes. Perhaps even more powerful. But to accept it is to accept me. Fully, irrevocably. That is the bargain made by all gods. I give my magic at my pleasure and I take it back when I am displeased. But through me such power could flow from you."

 The little girl touched her chin, a hungry smile on her wind-whipped face. 

 "Are you sure you don't want to keep trying this way? You may yet make the ice."

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Her lips pursed into a moue as she mulled over the decision. He made it seem like a treacherous decision, but how dangerous could it be?

"Accept you fully in what way?" The Witch asked, crossing her arms over her chest and narrowing her gaze at the girl. "Would I be a vessel as well"

Myriana was not one to be controlled, and if accepting his power meant relinquishing her body to him, then she would have to decline. A decision like this could not be made so easily. She would undoubtedly need more information, and she should probably try to summon magic on her own. A Witch isn't known for her patience, but she will need to take her time with situations as delicate as this one. 

 

Edited by yourstruly

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"Hah! No! To accept me the way this girl has wouldn't help you at all." 

 Indeed, she had not accepted him at all. He was a god, and needed no permission to slither into the minds of hapless mortals. Yet once he had, the result was always the same: death. All that was keeping the little girl standing was the thin tendril of power that the god had slipped inside the vacancy where her soul had been. 

 "To accept my magic you must do me worship, spread my word, and obey my requests. It is little more than the accord we already have. I have never needed to force you to obey me, nor ought I ever. You wish to roam, and I shall let you. You wish to have power, power I can offer. You wish be be learned, and secrets I can tell you. I see many things, and I show them to those who wield my magic." 

The little girl still smiled. Would it have disturbed the witch to know that the smile came from what would soon be a corpse? 

 "Moreover, to use my magic would catapult you to the highest ranks of my faithful. You would have divine right, enforced by me. A freedom in my lands nearly unparalleled. It is not without benefits, I assure you. But you and I would be wed, in a fashion. United by a stream of power I would give to you forevermore."

 

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Her thumb moved to rest on her nearly blue bottom lip, a habit that arose whenever she went deep into thought. She made her decision eagerly and quickly but pretended to think for a while longer. Myriana fixed her stance in the snow, already feeling her boots beginning to soak through. Her nose and cheeks were red from the biting cold, and her fingers were nearly completely numb. Yet she stood quietly for a solid two minutes, thinking and rethinking her decision. 

"Fine. How could I resist a sales pitch as enticing as that." She said, finally breaking the silence with an expected bite of sarcasm. 

Moving back towards the door, the witch glanced behind her to where the god still stood.

"Best come inside before the poor girl drops dead." She spoke over her shoulder, before making her way into the house. Plopping into a chair, she removed her wet boots and placed them near the wall before calling out. "You know, you should really consider becoming a salesman" 

 

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The time to worry about the girl was past, but there was no reason to admit that. Still, there was nothing wrong with getting out of the cold. The bodies he captured were not his, and he tended not to put too much of himself in them unless he had to. This left him forced to experience all the hurts and pleasures of mortality with few godlike protections to ease them. 

 "Well, I suppose tonight's lesson is going to be somewhat different, then." He said to himself as he walked the little girl's body back into the house. 

 "Darling girl, I am a god. A good salesman should want to become me."

 The little girl looked down at herself as the mind within considered. To gift this witch with his power he would need more. The little body was an unsatisfactory conduit, and there were no better ones around. Valjer town was devoid of any notable mages who might have made better vessels. 

 It would have to be the more dangerous option, then. He looked around. It seemed safe enough. 

 "Forgive me a moment. I have to do something some consider unpleasant."

 What a gentleman. 

And then, the girl reached up and gripped at her hair with both hands. Her green eyes glowed and she pulled mightily on her scalp. With a horrific rip, she bloodlessly tore her skin apart. She pulled it away and down, divesting herself of it like a garment to reveal a bent back. 

The back straightened itself, revealing a figure far too tall to have fit.

It was a man, and as soon as Myriana saw him she'd know immediately that his was the face that imperious voice had belonged to all along. Towering over six and a half feet tall, with shimmering black hair that fell down his naked chest and a pair of curved, polished horns curling up from either temple, the god finally looked the part. 

And apparently it was normal for gods not to wear clothes. 

 "Ah. Better." It was the closest he had felt to his old physical life in a long time. I'm fact, the last time he'd manifest like this had been for the same reason: to gift his power. 

 

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The Witch raised a brow as the girl tore her own flesh apart. She was careful to keep any emotion from flickering across her face, but try as she might, she could not help the smirk that spread across her lips. The god was truly something else.

"Unpleasant? I beg to differ" She mused, her eyes drinking in the sight before her. 

It was a scarce occurrence, seeing a god in his physical form. She quickly recovered from her blatant gawking and sketched a dramatic bow. Myriana never quite knew how to act in front of authoritative figures, for it was rare to find someone she considered above herself. Her attention was focused on the horns protruding from the god's head. She'd never seen anything remotely like it, and to say she was intrigued would be an understatement. 

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The god looked down at himself, then back up at her. She was bowing, which he found appropriate. 

"Hah! Of course you do. I'm glad you enjoy the view. I haven't enjoyed it myself for a long time." 

After all, though he had imparted a significant portion of his essence into the body, making him a rival for any power on Genesaris, he was now at his most vulnerable. While hiding in the bodies of others he was untouchable. Like this, he was, well, touchable. But wasn't he just so touchable? Aside from the cascade of darkness which framed his lean, long face Vansin was a hairless sculpture of muscle and bone. He bore a broad chest and his thighs in particular bulged with strength. He was obscene, really. Yet somehow the thought of him wearing clothes seemed even more offensive-- he needed to be naked, he was too good not to show off. 

Where it had been cold before, it was now warm. The whole town was probably warm. It radiated off of him, a wave of pressure and heat that sunk into the skin of anyone remotely near him. Myriana was standing before the light of a gentle sun, for nowhere did this intense heat burn. 

"If you like what you see, I can appear this way more often." He said, suggestively, "But I wouldn't want to distract you from your studies." 

He stepped closer. 

"Now, my power is a bit different than the magic I was going to teach you. It's about a close, personal connection. A level of trust and familiarity. You understand? It's a relationship between patron and artist. I will give you the paint and the brush, and I will ask you to paint a bloody world in my name. You can do that-" he said, close enough now to touch her, to trail a finger under her chin, "-can't you?" 

 

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A predatory smirk cracked the witches icy expression, her tongue gliding over her dry lips. She was having trouble focusing her mind with the god standing in such close proximity. Her eyes kept traveling across flesh without her mind's permission. Flexing a muscle in her arm brought out the iron nails that attributed to her name. She tilted her head, the god's words still swirling in her mind. 

"But of course." She purred, keeping her eyes on his face but trailing a sharp nail down his chest. "After all, blood is my favorite color."

A cheeky grin replaced the smirk on Myriana's face. The smile looked foreign, as if such an emotion couldn't belong to a person as inhumane as she. Her blood hummed with excitement at the promise of carving his name into the minds of the mortals. This was definitely an opportunity she had no interest in declining. 

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Without warning, the strong fingers of his hand were threading through the hair on the back of her head. She would not remember him reaching for it. It was strange-- one moment he was not touching her, and then immediately he was, as though for him the concept of moving to do something was a tedium he was at leisure to avoid. 

His fingers curled in her hair, gently dragging against her skin. Her own metallic fingertip would feel, if it could feel, wetness at it dragged down his chest. Blood, perhaps? It was warm. Yet if she looked down, there was no wound. Puzzling. 

The real and the unreal seemed to be mixing between the touch of their bodies. She might feel feverish from the waves of heat, half-mad as the unbridled presence of a god sunk in to the world, playing havoc with the rule of natural law.  

He gently leaned her head back, a thousand promises whispered behind his smile, and he kissed her. His full lips threw the warmth into her. She would feel a wildness grow in her heart, an unwelcome fluttering of mortality. If it was not fear, it was close-- the sense that the world was not as it seemed, that nothing was guarenteed, that everything that seemed true was a lie, every certainty a falsehood. 

And more, she felt his magic. It slipped into her like a lover, a violent kiss of power that laid her bare and naked before him, unable to resist. The walls between feeling and sight melted, and afterward she would be wholly unable to say what had been done to her more than the kiss. Yet in the moment there was no denying the raw sensation of him pressing down on her. Inbetween form and thought, the god unleashed himself on her soul.

And she suddenly knew his name, and it was Vansin

The word sliced through the confusion. It was the love of power in two syllables, a word and a chorus at once victorious and alien, an anathema to the world. He was the bitter medicine of change, and he was her god for now and forever until they both shall die. 

Vansin. The word was a name. The word was a spell. With it, she would have him when she needed. With it, she could ask and he would give. 

Vansin reared back, wet lips glistening with the slightest tinge of green, like his eyes. And those eyes, they glowed more brightly than anything she had ever seen. 

And he smiled. And the world came back into focus. 

Edited by Vansin

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