Half Remembered HazeStarted by Atenra Lancaster at Apr 06, 2019 1:25 am
Einmanudur 1, 76
Atenra was not quite sure how he'd ended up where he was. Golden eyes peered around the dim space - it was a supply closet, he realized after a moment. The one in the kitchen. Okay, but why was he sleeping in the supply closet exactly? The teenager shifted slightly, endeavoring to straighten his back out slightly, because it did not like the way he was currently curled. ... Which was funny, he never slept curled up like that for precisely that reason.
Okay, okay. What did he remember? He remembered doing the dishes last night with Leon. And then things got... hazy. There was the strangest impression of seeing the world from almost flat on the floor and then not much else. Okay let's think about this logically for a moment, there were an extremely small number of reasons for him to have ended up in a supply closet over night. And most of them would have left some other memories than the ones he had.
Er. Wait. He was naked in the supply closet.
Breathing for a moment, and thinking about it. Okay, last night was a full moon. So that probably meant he'd transformed and... ended up here. Okay. Um. Well that was fine, he hoped nothing terrible had happened last night since he couldn't remember anything and would be relying on what people told him about what he did.
About there Atenra poked his head out of the closet to see if he could figure out where his clothes were at the moment. Getting dressed sounded like a great idea.
That was an exciting night. Things could have gone much worse, to be sure about it. Leon was just glad Atenra hadn't bitten him, not that it would've-well, it might have killed him, depending on how much venom Atenra loosed, and how quickly he could viably get-okay, that wasn't the point. The point was, the cobra didn't bite him, just looked like it might, and then changed its mind, and... if Leon remembered right, the snake had darted into... this closet. Ah. Just in time.
Leon smiled, kind of lopsided, straightened out and put one hand on his hip. His ears went straight up. "Good morning," he greeted. "I thought to get your clothes after you fled. But I brought you a change of clean ones." The ilim set the neatly-folded set of clothes on the table by the door, and then backed up. Some humes were very strange, and had a thing about being naked and seen that way. Some weren't. Leon wasn't entirely sure which one Atenra would be. (Yes, he knew Atenra was a were, but he was raised hume, so in manner, he'd be mostly hume.)
"If it makes you feel any better, you didn't bite anybody." That was a bonus! Oh, wait, he probably didn't even know what he was. "You're a cobra." Of course, that likely made more sense of not biting anyone being a very good thing, yes.
Atenra blinked up at the Ilim for a moment. Well, it made sense that if he was in the kitchen supply closet Leon would know he was here. Ilim tended to be good at that. "Good morning." Carefully.
He didn't really remember what happened last night, but the logical thing to assume had already occurred to him. Since the last thing he remembered was washing dishes with Leon, he was just going to hope he hadn't managed to hurt him. But the smaller creature looked to be just fine.
"Thank you." Genuinely grateful for that. Atenra did reach out to grab the clothing before retreating more completely into the shadows to dress.
"That's comforting." Not biting anyone was good. He didn't really want to turn anyone against their will or anything like that. ... Er. Well that made it even more important that he hadn't manged to bite anyway. "Huh. I wouldn't have guessed that." Ah, no.
But it did explain why he'd suddenly been viewing the world from the ground. After a few moments he stepped out of the supply closet and into the kitchen properly. "So I just... immediately hid in the closet then?" It made sense. Instinct would probably have been to get away from the larger creature if he was given a path to do so.
Snakes generally didn't want to attack anything as large as even an Ilim. They weren't prey sized.
Yes, Leon thought he might appreciate clothes, without having to dart across the manor to get them. Not to say that would've ended badly, Kassandros was quite serious about that no-touching-anyone-without-their-permission thing, but that certainly wouldn't make it any more comfortable a thing. Anyway, the bright side was, Leon had thought to get him a change of clothes, and everyone side-stepped the awkward. Funny story, or maybe unsurprising story, the ilim didn't really know what clothes were, until humes arrived from across the sea.
"More or less," Leon answered. "Well, you did hiss at me. The good news is, I can handle most wild animals, backed away, and you, I guess, figured out you were in a weird place, and darted under the closet door. ... how's your back, anyway? I can't imagine turning into a snake was particularly comfortable for it." He may have been wrong, who knew. Maybe it didn't carry over like that... see, Leon knew a lot, but there were still some things he didn't know.
"Since you and your brother were born weres, you can turn out to be anything. Which is odd, because when a were is sired, they turn out something related at least, to their sire's animal form, like you're not going to get a cobra out of a lion that way. You know, ilim made the weres, but frankly, I've yet to meet an ilim that really understands how they work." But then, it wasn't as if they needed to know, mostly.
Oh! "Hey, maybe you should ask your dad, I bet he knows." If nothing else, he probably had a better idea than Leon did.
Well Atenra did feel a bit bad for hissing at Leon, but at least it hadn't gone badly. No one had been hurt, and he could be relieved for that much. And Leon didn't seem to be upset about it so that was a positive as well. He'd just let that go, and accept the fact that apparently during the full moon that was something to look forward to now. He was going to turn into a snake and apparently needed to make some arrangements for that instead of being out and about, at least until he had himself completely under control.
"Uh. A little stiff actually. Probably because I woke up laying curled in a ball." Which if he was a cobra, of course he had, that was basically their default napping state as far as he remembered from reading. They curled up to avoid being stepped on which made sense given the damn things could easily be as long as he was tall. Still human spines didn't appreciate the same sort of abuse with any kind of grace. "But it's not bad." Nah, moving around would set him right, that was all.
Along those lines, Atenra did stretch a little now that he was out of the closet to restore some of the range of motion.
"Did they? That's neat." It was yeah. ... To be fair though if a born were could be anything then apparently it wasn't so odd that he'd come out so different from his father. On the other hand, it was interesting that sired weres were similar and born ones weren't. Wasn't that how biology usually worked? Eh. It probably didn't matter too much.
"I might, actually." Maybe. "If nothing else, curious what he thinks about it." Surya had been around a long time and probably had some thoughts at least, even if he didn't have an exact answer.
His being a bit stiff was not surprising. The good news was, it'd work out, eventually, as he moved around. Now, of course, eventually he'd do that again, but over time, he'd get used to waking up curled in a ball that way, and it wouldn't lead to undue stiffness in the morning. Leon gave a slightly apologetic look, but he didn't say anything to that. There wasn't much to say.
At that, Leon nodded. "Ilim are small, see?" he explained. "The weres were Galace's defenses, the first one being the king of Saqqara, the second, his sister. Weres are the defenders of the forest. Now that you've shifted the first time, your senses will get stronger. You'll smell things you never knew had a scent in the first place. You'll hear things you didn't know made any sound. But it's okay. It won't be all at once, and you won't have to learn on your own." Leon paused, a moment, and then added, "Most weres eventually gain an affinity. You'll be a mage someday, but weres seem to be immune to the mage insanity like ilim are thought to be. ... we're actually not, it's just rare that it sets in too deep and we can't drive it back out." He wondered if that'd make sense. It probably didn't.
"So, I've got breakfast made and stuff, if you're hungry. I think Gannicus is still lounging around on the floor as a lion. He seemed to have decided to just, stay a lion for a while." For some reason, but it wasn't as if Leon really understood why. Maybe it was more comfortable for him, or maybe it was kind of novel. Or, maybe, he hadn't really been able to stay a lion for very long, and was taking advantage of Kassandros not really caring any. That was possible. ... all three, really. Far be it for Leon to try and tell him what to do, but maybe he should lounge around in his lion-y glory somewhere besides at the foot of the stairs...
Well yes.... Ilim were small, that was hard to miss. Atenra said nothing to that, seeing as Leon didn't really need him to respond, but he did listen to the rest, curious how this was all going to tie together. And of course, it ended in him learning more about weres than he'd ever heard before which was.... probably a good thing to know, actually, given he was one now.
So his senses were going to sharpen to an extreme. That was.... kind of a weird thought but it didn't seem to bad either. The warning would probably help keep it from being too overwhelming but then again he didn't remember how things had gone last night so it's possible that his senses would regularly overload until he got used to it. .... At least it wasn't something that he would have to face too quickly or all at once. Little bits at a time would probably make it managable. Probably.
At least he wasn't alone.
"That's.... great." He'd eventually be a mage, but he was probably-mostly immune to the insanity. But only mostly? Atenra frowned a little at the phrasing, considering it for a few moments. "So you aren't actually immune after all." That was an odd thought, and yet... it was almost scarier. Though Atenra did have to wonder if that meant the Ilim or the weres just knew something that the humes didn't as far as the insanity went. Something to think about maybe, but maybe it wasn't necessary for him to ask quite yet.
On the other hand, forewarned was forearmed, or something along those lines.
"Well I'll let him enjoy his time shifted then." Atenra said quietly. It wasn't like they couldn't talk later. That was, after all, one of the positive things about this house. They could, they weren't working in stolen moments or something like that, it was practically encouraged that they spend some time together. And that was weird to Atenra, but he did at least have the presence of mind to realize that it was sad that it was strange.
"Breakfast sounds nice." He admitted sheepishly. "Is there anything I can help you with afterward?" Since Atenra's assitance with the dishes had apparently been interrupted by his suddenly becoming a snake it seemed like a reasonable thing to ask.
No, ilim were not exactly immune to the mage insanity. Actually, nothing really could be. There was no such thing as a "mage insanity" immunity, now wasn't that a right kick in the ass. Most also probably figured the "messiah" would be immune to it, if nothing else, but the truth was starkly different-actually, they were more susceptible to it, because the more aura you had, of course, the more you attracted.
Hey, who needs stupid stuff like your worldview remaining right side up?
Then again, perhaps it wasn't important right this second. Wherever it was, it hadn't rooted here too well, but the lack of magi down here did have an unintended side-effect of not giving the corruption anything to latch onto. It was merely delaying the inevitable, and it wasn't anything Atenra or Leon could fix, so maybe it was best not to worry about it right away. And even if it did get down here, it'd be Kass that fell to it first, then he and Merenwen. ... well, maybe Surya would be second.
... actually-"It's a long story," Leon said, making a wry expression. "Mage insanity doesn't come from where humes think it does. You know the concept of how aura works, right? Aura is only borrowed, and when the time comes, you have to give it back. As a side-effect, aura cannot be created, or truly destroyed, only changed. A mage does sorcery by learning to change aura itself, but they must work within the confines of our reality, and the easiest way of changing aura is through emotions and intent. The problem is that intent rubs off on aura all the time, even when one doesn't intend for it. The end result is, whatever people send out into the universe doesn't just disappear. A lot of people have been sending out a lot of negativity for thousands upon thousands of years. Imagine how much negative aura all that negative intent has made. Now make it kind of sentient. Now you know where "mage insanity" really comes from."
It was, of course, a tiny bit more complicated than that, but only a little. "It seems to only affect mages, because mages are the ones that can sense it-and be influenced by it-easiest. The more aura you have, the more you attract, good and bad. Ilim learned a long time ago to change this negative aura into positive, or at least neutral, so we don't seem to have trouble with it like humes do, but we still can. I think Kass would fall to it first. The second might be Gannicus, so if he starts acting weird, like nonsensically vicious kind of weird, you come let me know." A short pause, and he added, "and don't worry about helping. Estelle got bored so I ran her around this morning." She could zoom almost as quickly as an ilim! But then, young humes often did have a lot of energy.
Was it? Oh. It didn't come from where humes thought it did. Well that was admittedly kind of a strange thought but Atenra was willing to follow it to see where Leon was going. Atenra nodded along with the bit about Aura because he did know that much, in essence. Just, he didn't have any practical experience with it, so the teen listened intently to the Ilim.
Emotions and intent. .... oh. See, after Leon finished a lot of things really did make more sense. The world wasn't a great place, terrible things happened to a lot of people. And of course that would rub off in perhaps unpredictable ways now that he thought about the fact that the aura was a substance that was always there, even when there weren't people around who could actually manipulate it. It was, after all, a natural force. That was just something that was awfully easy to forget from time to time. "See that does make sense." It wasn't comforting by any means, but it did make sense, at least.
Thousands of years was a long time for those negative things to build up, and it made sense that they were paying for it now, sort of. But.... slightly sentient? That really did sound like some kind of a recipe for disaster. Which apparently it was so go figure that one. He didn't say that.
"...I'll keep that in mind." But man did Atenra hope it didn't come to that because the very idea was rather terrifying. Good morning, apparently we were going to have our basic understanding of mage insanity shaken up. Which, by the way, completely removed any comfort he might have gained about the idea of potentially becoming a mage eventually. Because no, he wasn't immune to the insanity by virtue of being a were, and given ... a lot of things, honetly, about the way he and Sepheres grew up, he had to wonder if they wouldn't be... rather more in danger than some others in similar situations.
Atenra didn't say that. He'd have to trust those around him and just.... try apparently. Not like worrying about it would fix it.
"Mm. Okay, if you're sure." Atenra would just jump in and help some other time then. It wasn't like it wasn't a relatively common occurance for Leon to need help with something because there were a lot of people and he was one Ilim.
Yes, he did figure that was quite the bomb to get dropped on him randomly. Leon did look a little apologetic about it, but only a little. The aura-corruption complications weren't really his fault, but he also understood only learning about them now tended to be a bit unnerving in many ways, and it wasn't something Leon could say was really surprising. Things happened. Often for a reason, but even knowing that reason didn't really make it much better.
"It's okay," Leon said. "Wherever the bulk of the corruption is, it doesn't seem to be here. ... unless, of course, that's why the vast majority of Dalmasca is insane, but that wouldn't really make sense. Hmm." The gods, so the stories from Galace, what little of them he'd heard, had made humes of chaos and light. It was possible that the chaos referred to a dormant connection to the planet, not unlike the anchor magi gained. Perhaps all the corruption was leaking into, and coming back out of, mens' hearts. Certainly, the ilim hadn't had much trouble with corruption overloads before humes, so it sort of stood to reason, but if this hypothesis was correct, that meant Leon actually had very little idea how this actually worked.
And that was problematic, because if Leon didn't know, maybe other ilim didn't, either, and that was potentially a serious problem, considering the ilim were the only ones that really knew anything about this mess.
"The more aura you have," he explained, "the more you attract. Most of Dalmasca is regular hume, or at least, supposedly. So either there are more mages in Dalmasca than we believe and they potentially outnumber everyone else already, or the corruption is targeting ilim and weres, or there's a flaw in the way we believe aura fundamentally works. I guess only the Free Cities would have any real idea of that; they're the ones doing the aura research." So, hey, maybe they were all doomed, anyway.