DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Night 60: North of the Institute
[the fight in me]
girlsandgadgets wrote in damned
[From here.]

Edgar crossed the wall with relative ease, his hand slipping from the stone as he fell. The snow cushioned his landing, crunching beneath his boots. He had to admit that the military's shoes were preferable for snowy travel to the slippers issued by the institute. Though the chilly wind nipped at his bare face, the fire in his chest kept him warm against the falling temperatures. The cold was soothing, that flame always lapping at him from the inside.

A good night to test out his abilities, then. He surveyed the landscape around him: the rocky terrain, increasingly so as it headed toward the quarry, was hidden by the white that blanketed everything it touched. He listened for a moment, but heard nothing to disturb the stillness. That made it all the more unnerving: there should have been wildlife about, bringing some minor disturbances to the area, but there was nothing at all.

However, no noise also meant there might be no one else around, and given he wasn't sure how his abilities would behave or if he could control them, that was something Edgar had been hoping for. He had barely contained them only one night before- they were suppressed now, but that didn't mean he couldn't lose control. He couldn't risk hurting others; he could only hope his spells would be of some use and that they could be mastered quickly, before he became a slave to the infusion himself. That was not an option.

Trekking from the wall, he chose an area clear enough for his work. It felt so different from the magic he had learned: the words came no easier, but the energy itself dug further into him, teasing his senses as it twisted its way through his body and down to his fingertips. He could already feel changes between the cast from the night prior, the spell taking more energy as he worked his way through the incantation. It would wear on him, but it had to be done.

He could feel his palm sweat as seconds ticked by, his concentration wearing thin. Keeping at it was going to be the key- good thing he had never been one for giving up so easily.

[Rita! Sorry this is way late, man. D:]
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[from here]

When Rita reached the top of the wall, she stopped there, surveying the area as best she could with the snow that was being tossed about in the wind. Below, she could see footprints leading away from the wall, out toward a clearing.

A single set of footprints... That was unusual enough by itself, considering how most patients were adamant about the need to stick together in groups. Was this person reckless, or did he know something Rita didn't about the area? She was starting to get curious.

Another blast of cold wind whipped against her face, and Rita dropped down to the ground to get some cover. She leaned against the wall until the wind calmed down, then started forward, once again stepping inside the footprints of the person who'd passed before her.

It wasn't long before she spotted a figure standing ahead in a clearing. When she drew close enough to make out a few of the man's general features, Rita realized she was near enough to be spotted herself. Not wanting to be confronted, she darted off to the side, ducking behind a tree. She peered around the trunk, hoping to get some idea of what he was up to.

The incantation on his lips, Edgar was unaware anyone had approached the clearing, his concentration on the spell necessary to cast it. He had never been much more than competent as a spellcaster; he not only felt rusty, but knew whatever kept the patient's powers to a minimum— or had dwindled them to nonexistence, as had been his case before his sleep study— was working against him. Another moment, and he had it- he called the fire spell by name, feeling the magic build in his palm before it sprang from the ground before him. The flame skittered along in short bursts, one right after the other, before taking hold of a tree in front of him, lapping at the trunk with a scorching tongue.

The conjured fire continued to burn as his knee buckled beneath him, forcing him to kneel. He pushed a sigh through him and brought himself to his feet with a hand on his chest, annoyed momentarily at his own ineptitude. It had only been a basic fire spell, yet it left him weary. Only one night prior, he'd cast a higher level spell, and had been left with energy to spare. Suppressed powers, indeed.

But at least the potential for more powerful magic was there- a minor blessing. While his exhaustion was fading quickly, it was still something to concern himself with, should it become necessary for him to cast in a fight. He was confident, with practice, he'd be able to cast more, get an even better handle on the flame that burned in his chest. The problem was getting said practice: whether it was the infusion, the suppression, or some combination of both, he was having trouble simply catching his breath again.

Edited at 2012-01-02 10:14 pm (UTC)

He was just standing there. It didn't look like he'd found anything or was going anywhere. Rita was beginning to wonder if she was wasting her time, when a spark of light brought her attention back to the man... and to the stream of flame that appeared before him.

So that's what he was doing.

Between the look of the spell and the way the man fell to his knees immediately after casting, Rita could only assume he either lacked experience with Landel's, or with magic in general. She had to wonder what kind of magic that was, though. This looked like a good time to find out.

Rita stepped out from behind the tree and began to approach the man, snow crunching beneath her feet.

"I was wondering what would bring someone all the way out here by themselves," she commented loud enough to announce herself, stopping and crossing her arms once she was close enough to talk without raising her voice. There was a self-assured smirk on her face. "What kind of magic was that?"

Edgar spun as he heard the crunching of footsteps in the snow, sweat running down his temple as his breath slowed, each one marked with a cloud of steam from his mouth. He eyed the stranger warily as she addressed him: a girl, not much younger than Terra- the smirk on her face was more reminiscent of someone else he knew, though. Confidence showed on her every feature, from her voice to her smug look. The fact that a girl of her age was so far from the institute alone said that much- she was apparently assured in her own ability to survive the dangers presented by the night. Whether or not she actually had the ability was yet to be seen.

He straightened his posture, crossing his arms to match hers. "You sound like someone who knows something about magic, so why don't you tell me?"

Edited at 2012-01-05 09:29 am (UTC)

For looking so worn out, the man was surprisingly direct in responding to Rita. One could never tell how someone might react to being followed and confronted by a stranger, so she at least appreciated that he didn't get overly defensive.

Her smirk widened slightly at his comment, pleased that it was so obvious that she was knowledgeable on the subject. But for her to figure out some kind of alien magic after one distant glance? "That's a tall order, even for an expert like me." A pause, and then she continued. "But let's see if I can narrow it down." Drawing closer to the man, Rita circled him once, all the while looking him over. She stopped in front of him and folded her arms once more as she prepared to give her appraisal.

"For starters, it doesn't look like you're using any kind of magical instrument or tool, so whatever energy you're using, it's something you can interact with directly. I'm guessing the source is either something in the atmosphere, or within your body."

Unfortunately, she could only make those kinds of assumptions based on the magic systems she had observed up until the present. There was no guarantee that all future magic she encountered would follow the same principles. "Am I close?" she asked after a moment.

Edgar watched her carefully as she circled him, appraising him with a keen eye. He'd read her correctly, then- she was someone who knew a fair deal about magic, and from the way she described the casting, her knowledge was greater than the limited amount he had on the subject. Her boasts of being an expert weren't empty, after all. But that led to a question of what was her expertise. Was she a spellcaster as well? Or simply a scholar? Either way, she had correctly judged how his spell worked, and that made her very interesting indeed.

"Very good," he remarked with a grin, his composure regained. "Especially considering you only had a moment's observation. I know I wouldn't have gotten that much from just a simple glance, but I am no expert in magical matters."

He gave her a proper bow. "I'm Edgar, milady."

Edited at 2012-01-08 05:22 am (UTC)

This had to be a lifetime record for the number of times Rita had been called 'milady' or something similar in a single day. Rita didn't bother reciprocating the bow with any sort of polite gesture of her own, simply replying with her name. "Rita Mordio."

This had been an unexpected encounter, but also one that Rita could use to her advantage. She continued. "I research magic and magic technology. Since coming here, I've been investigating the different kinds of magic used by people at the institute. Yours isn't something I've seen before." Which, naturally, meant she was interested in getting acquainted with it.

"Maybe we can help each other out," she suggested. Though Rita couldn't be sure what Edgar might want in return for sharing information, she was confident that with her knowledge and talents, she had a lot to offer.

A scholar then, one versed in both magic and Magitek, or the equivalent thereof in her world. This meeting with Rita was turning into quite the convenient happenstance, if she was half as knowledgeable as she seemed. Her confidence was certainly encouraging.

"Perhaps we can," he said. He eyed her up and down one more time, judging her trustworthiness. It was impossible to tell, but he was a good judge of character. He had a hunch she spoke the truth, or what she believed was the truth. Perhaps she could be of assistance, after all. The cards were in his hand, now.

"As I'm sure you've surmised with your keen eye, I am not an adept magic caster." It was an admittance he felt he could and should make, especially if he wanted whatever aid her expertise could give him. While he wasn't happy to admit his incompetence, Edgar wasn't too proud to deny he was going to need help in learning to control the magic forced into him by the infusion. He trusted he could handle it on his own, with time; however, with someone who knew more about the inner workings of magic, even magic from another world, his chances of mastering his new condition with greater skill and speed improved. That was the important part, especially when time was not a luxury. That, and keeping his mind intact.

"My abilities came from a process called Magitek infusion," he continued. "Have you heard of it?"

Magitek? An abbreviation of 'magic technology'? That sounded promising. If the phrase was common enough that it had been shortened, it had to be a well-developed field in Edgar's world. But 'Magitek infusion'?

"No, I haven't," Rita replied, shaking her head but not looking particularly discouraged. "What can you tell me about it?"

It sounded like Edgar wanted help in mastering his abilities - something that would be challenging for someone who'd never encountered that exact magic type before. Fortunately for both of them, that kind of challenge was right up Rita's alley. If she could get enough information on what the source and nature of that magic was, Rita was sure she could work out an efficient - or at the very least functional - spellcasting process.

He'd not expected she would know of it, but it didn't hurt to ask. Given the number of patients, and assuming most were from completely different worlds, there was the chance similar technology had been developed elsewhere in some fashion, even if it had a different name. He wasn't about to think Espers were completely unique to his homeland.

"Where I come from, magic is derived from Espers- beings who live in another realm and are gifted with magic. One way for humans to gain such abilities is through a procedure during which they are infused with the blood of an Esper. It's... not known for being the safest method."

Edgar kept his eyes on Rita, gauging her. He was reluctant to trust her with such information, especially when it was so personal to him; however, given his state and the necessity to command his abilities as quickly as possible, lest they dominate his mind, he knew he was going to have to take risks.

Espers. Another kind of magical being, it sounded like. While Rita would have liked to press for full details, she knew they had limited time, and she'd need to infer what she could and prioritize her questions. For one, if these Espers possessed blood, then they had to be corporeal beings, unlike the spirits of Rita's world.

"Then the Espers are the source of magic?" Rita asked to confirm. It may have seemed redundant, but it was important that this part was clear. "And with Magitek infusion... that would mean that the source of your power is within your own bloodstream. Is that correct?"

It wasn't a surprise that the procedure was apparently risky. There were a great number of risks involved with blood transfusion procedures to begin with: overdrawing from the donor, infections, bodies rejecting the foreign substance... and adding to that mix a substance with magical qualities, that could somehow alter a person in a way that would allow them access to abilities unnatural to them? There was great potential for complications.

"What sort of risks does the infusion carry?" she asked after a moment. Though there was a chance that the question would be a touchy one for someone who had faced those risks, for Rita, she was merely putting together as many pieces to this puzzle as she could in a short amount of time. To assure the man she wasn't digressing from the main issue, she added, "It might help me understand how the substance interacts with the human body."

Edgar hesitated, but finally settled on giving her a straight answer. She didn't know who he was, and had little to gain from learning a potential weakness as opposed to hearing more about his abilities. They were both patients, presumably working toward a common goal. In the same vein, he had little to lose telling her about the infusion process, and much to gain if she could help him.

"The benefits of it are great, the reward a soldier capable of using magic as if they were an Esper themselves. The risks, though..." His tone turned dark. "One notable case drove a man well past the point of insanity. He is a danger to himself and everyone around him, now."

He rotated his neck, still feeling the heat burning in him, making him sweat in spite of the biting cold around them. "I suppose other effects would depend on the properties of the blood taken. Not all Espers are alike in the magic they have."

Insanity... Even though Rita was treating the information in a detached, clinical sense, it was hard not to be a little disturbed. As someone who valued her mind above nearly everything else, she was grateful she was able to perform magic without having to take such a terrible risk.

Anyway, she needed to focus on the facts. The part about different Espers carrying different properties in their blood was a bit surprising. It was also an extra variable, which made calculating risks - and understanding Espers in general - more difficult.

"So you're able to cast spells intuitively?" she asked, though she quickly realized the question could use some clarification. "By that, I don't mean easily, but without a specific formula or chant. Basically, how do you cast?"

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