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 Kestiel, Half-High Elf Red Dragon Magic Sorceress

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Kestiel

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Posts : 26
Join date : 2009-11-09

Character sheet
Level: 9
XP to Next Level:
16950/20500  (16950/20500)
Hit Points:
62/62  (62/62)

PostSubject: Kestiel, Half-High Elf Red Dragon Magic Sorceress   Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:43 pm

PART I

The young woman was terrified.

She crept cautiously through the darkness, a small globe of magical light her only source of illumination as the oppressive shadows of the underground passageways seemed to press in all around her. It had been hours since she’d left the surface world behind, and she prayed that the rumors that had led her here were true, for if so, it meant that the key to indescribable power lay somewhere just ahead.

And she needed that power.

She was a pretty thing, beautiful actually, despite the dirt and grime that had attached itself to her pale face and her thick, red-brown hair, which was pulled and held back by a thin circlet of silver, revealing the slender, pointed ears that were the hallmark of her heritage. Large eyes of nearly luminous blue reflected the mage light, making them appear even brighter and more mysterious than they already were. With one hand she held up the hem of her long, flowing indigo robes, cursing herself for having worn such ridiculous garments on this particular quest. Feeling a sudden chill as she realized just how far from help she was if something happened to her, the stunning young woman hugged an ancient leather-bound tome to her chest, praying that the magical arts that she had at her disposal would be enough for the trial that she knew lay ahead.

Moving further down into the darkness, the elven-blooded woman wondered―not for the first time―what her mother and the other women of Heva would think if they could see her now. Having been raised among the high elves in their capital city, the auburn-haired half-elf had lived a life of rich comfort, for her mother was quite well off. She had been taught all of the “important” tasks that a wealthy and well-born young woman could possibly need to know, and it was assumed by many in the community that she would eventually marry a suitably influential young man, and that every aspect of her life until the end of her days would be filled with gladness and luxury.

Of course, those were only the thoughts and surmises of the elders of Heva, who were apparently blind to―or simply didn’t care about―the actions and words of their boorish children. It had been an unfortunate act of fate that had put the half-breed young girl in amongst the purebred children of Heva, for they had been quick to point out and act upon the fact that she was “only a half-breed.” True, the adults and elders of the city had never once looked down upon her for her parentage, but at the same time they had remained seemingly ignorant of how the actions of their children had made the girl’s life a living hell. Considering how unhappy she obviously was there, it should have come as no surprise to anyone that, as soon as she was of age and had the means, the half-human young woman had left Heva to seek her future and her fortune out in the wide world.

Now, though, after nearly twenty years of roaming the nations of Elaria and selling her services as a mage for hire, the hopeful young woman had found neither fortune nor fame, and she still had not made a name for herself. As far as magic went she was a mediocre practitioner―despite the fact that her human father was supposedly one of the most powerful spellcasters in the world―and what little tricks she had gleaned from the ancient, musty tome that she’d unearthed deep within the archives of one of Heva’s many libraries did little to gain her notoriety. Still, though, she could manage to whip up a nasty storm, or cast a surprisingly powerful bolt of energy if the occasion called for it, and she managed to find enough work to keep from starving.

Of course, her looks didn’t hurt things either, for there had been times when she’d managed to charm a shop keeper or inn owner into giving her a free meal, or a place to sleep when funds were low. She knew that, all things considered, she would probably be able to make more money from her staggering beauty than she ever could with her pitiful array of spells, but she found the work required to be far too demeaning. She may have only been a half-breed, but there was enough high elf in her that she had her pride.

Snapping out of her reverie, the young woman could sense a change in the air around her and she knew, somehow, that she now stood at the entrance of a massive, subterranean chamber of some sort. There was magic here too, of that she was certain, for its presence hung heavy in the air like a mist, though it felt old and subdued. Still, the fact that it was so potent despite the ancient quality that it held was staggering. Closing her eyes, the beautiful half-elf reached out with her other senses.

She could feel a slight stirring of air around her, which meant that there was some sort of ventilation here, allowing air from the surface to flow through these ancient tunnels. As she breathed in slowly, she could make out the faint scent of something, though she couldn’t quite place what it was, and she could taste the dust that permeated the air here. Straining her senses further, she let out a slight gasp, for she had heard something that made her certain that she had found exactly what it was that she’d been seeking: the slow, steady sound of something breathing in the darkness.

Something large.

For a moment, she doubted the sanity of her plan, and she had to force herself to stay where she was, for every instinct she had was screaming at her to run. Shoving her fears aside, the half-elf waited a while longer, listening to make sure that her slight exclamation of moments ago had gone unnoticed. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the woman was satisfied that neither her soft gasp nor her small globe of light had betrayed her presence; whatever it was that rested here, so deep beneath the surface, remained blessedly oblivious to her existence.

Quickly, before her nerves could get the better of her, the young woman entered the chamber and went about her business, all the while refusing to look at the massive, monstrous form that lay in the center of the cavern, unmoving but for the heaving of its sides as it breathed. In the scant illumination provided by her mage-light, the creature appeared impossibly large, like a small mountain in its own right, and though she managed to keep from staring at it as she went about her work, she couldn’t ignore its presence. Moving as silently as possible, the auburn-haired half-elf scuttled around the chamber, pausing every so often to kneel down and draw an arcane symbol upon the floor of the cavern with a slender piece of white chalk. Each time she did so, she would also flip open the tome that she carried and quietly read an incantation, praying all the while that the sound of her voice wouldn’t awaken the beast who slumbered so close to her that she could reach out and touch its scaly hide.

At last, when she was content that she’d done everything in her power, the blue-eyed woman strode purposefully to a point that she judged was in front of the sleeping monster. Raising one arm above her head and still clutching the tome to her chest with the other, the half-elf paused for a moment.

It isn’t too late, she thought to herself, her stomach churning with worry. You can still just walk away from here; just return to the surface and go about your business the same way that you have for all these years… But, deep inside, she knew that doing so would kill her just as surely as this beast would if her plan didn’t work. The life that she’d been living these past two decades had been no kind of life at all, and she would rather die than simply go on existing, for that’s exactly what she’d been doing: not living at all, merely existing. Even if her plan went awry, even if this monstrosity awoke and swept away all of her hard work in an instant and killed her… It would still be a better fate, she admitted, nodding with determination. There’s no going back!

Suddenly the young mage fed more power into her light spell, and it rose until it struck the high ceiling of the chamber, spreading out and growing in intensity until the walls shone with a nearly blinding white light. For a moment, the woman second guessed herself again as the slumbering red dragon was fully revealed to her in the light of her magic. It was easily half again as large as she’d thought it to be, and it exuded enough power to make her skin crawl. Each time it exhaled, the force was nearly enough to knock the woman off her feet. Still, as she studied it closer, she realized that despite its power and its imposing presence, it had obviously seen better days, for its scales were faded with age and dust, and its ribs stood out prominently with each breath that it took. Seeing this magnificent creature in such a condition did a great deal to bolster the young woman’s confidence.

“Dragon!” she shouted in draconic, her voice strong and clear, and echoing throughout the cavern. “I am called Kestiel, and I challenge you for the right to learn your secrets, and to gain your power! Arise and face me,” she went on, “or by your silence prove your own cowardice!”

The dragon’s response was instantaneous. With a rumbling growl, the creature slowly stood to its full height, the pair of horns upon its head nearly striking the ceiling. Moving stiffly, as if in pain, the beast let out a deafening roar, and the cavern shook with its ferocity. Despite this display of strength, it was obvious to the half-elf that the dragon was old and infirm, and when it opened its eyes, they were dull and faded, marking the creature as blind.

Please, please hold, the woman silently prayed, her eyes straying to the dozen or so wards that she’d placed around the dragon as it had slept. She could sense the monster’s power testing the wards, and she struggled to send enough magic into them to bolster them. Even as she did so, though, she realized her mistake: she had been sure that, in its weakened state, the dragon would never be able to muster enough power to break through the spells she’d set in place, and she would soon have to pay the price for her vanity and overconfidence. Pain erupted in her mind as she felt her wards being torn down and swept away, and she staggered, struggling to stay on her feet as the dragon roared once again, gouts of flame shooting from its mouth between teeth as long as swords.

Then, to Kestiel’s utter horror, the ancient red dragon shattered her wards and turned its full fury upon her…
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Kestiel

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Posts : 26
Join date : 2009-11-09

Character sheet
Level: 9
XP to Next Level:
16950/20500  (16950/20500)
Hit Points:
62/62  (62/62)

PostSubject: Re: Kestiel, Half-High Elf Red Dragon Magic Sorceress   Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:10 pm

PART II

He awoke in pain.

Slowly, his ancient body barely feeling up to the task, the dragon stood to his full height, raising his head and unleashing a stone-crushing bellow that shook the cavern and caused dust to rain down from above. Throughout all of this, the dragon continued to feel the strange, pulsing pain that had caused him to awake in the first place. Whatever it was, it was sending low, irregular shocks all throughout his body, more of an ache than a true pain, but still enough to cause the ancient beast no small amount of discomfort. He looked about the cavern, for though his physical eyes had long since gone blind, his mind’s eye was still as sharp as it had been in his youth, and he could easily see the pulsing flows of magic that coursed around his lair. After a moment of searching…

There, he thought, proud that he was still able to detect the magic wards that had been placed around him. Whoever set these did a horrendous job, he realized, for the spells that had been layered in the wards were all wrong, as if set in place by someone who understood only the rudimentary basics of magic. The arts required to properly set these wards are far beyond the means of he who did so…

Suddenly, the old dragon was snapped out of his musing by a voice, loud and clear, that seemed to echo through the cavern around him. He turned his attention away from the wards and scanned the chamber, his blind eyes coming to rest upon the small form of a person―a woman, and an elf, by the smell―who stood defiantly before him, yelling at him and threatening him in terribly broken draconic. He was stunned for a moment, for the tiny creature was exuding an amazing amount of Mage Talent, though she seemed not to fully know how to use it. Had she, then the wards that she had placed about him―for he had no doubt that they were her wards―would have been far stronger, not to mention the fact that they would have been prepared properly.

Still…

The dragon sent out a small tendril of power, just enough to truly test the strength of the wards that were meant to keep him in place and subdued. They were strong, quite a bit stronger than he’d expected actually, and he could sense the young woman forcing more and more power into them each second. He’d have to end this, and soon, before the wards became too powerful for his depleted magics to break. Focusing, he sent his energy outward, letting it break over the wards like waves on the shore, pressing them to their limits in his attempt to undo them.

Stronger than I thought, he admitted in frustration. Or, more likely, I’m just not what I used to be…

Gathering as much magical power as he could from the air around him to supplement his depleted natural reserves, the ancient red dragon lifted his head, roaring and shooting out a blast of flame that―in his youth―would have lain waste to cities. With this newfound surge of strength, he easily swept aside the ill-constructed wards as if they were nothing, though it caused him a brief moment of pain and dizziness to do so.

No, I’m definitely not what I once was…

Still, he seemed to have had the intended affect on the young would-be mage, for as he shattered her hastily-set spells, she reeled back, staggering and nearly falling to the ground. Quickly, before she regained her senses enough to launch an arcane assault of her own, the dragon’s head shot forward, his mouth gaping as he prepared to end this struggle before it even began. He was simply too old, and too tired, to find himself in a long, drawn out mage duel, honor be damned. One simple snap of his jaws, and this intruder would be no more.

It will be so, so simple…

Or so he thought.

As he prepared to strike the woman down, a sudden influx of arcane power around her caused him to hesitate, and he was caught completely off guard as a burst of raw energy shot out from her diminutive form. The impromptu attack was stunning in its ferocity, not to mention completely unexpected, and the force of it struck the dragon square between the eyes, knocking him backward. He lay sprawled upon the ground, unmoving, cursing himself for being so rash. He knew that the vaunted powers of his youth were no more… He knew the elf-witch had possessed a powerful mage Gift… He knew that, in situations of extreme duress, those with sufficient magical power could simply lash out like that!

I was foolish, he realized bitterly, his senses reeling. Had I simply taken the time to incinerate her, or to magic her away, I wouldn’t be in this predicament. He heaved a deep breath and suddenly felt very, very old as he thought, Then again… perhaps it would have made no difference…

I’m not what I used to be.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kestiel collapsed.

She lay on her side on the cold floor of the cavern, panting for breath, watching the unmoving red dragon through clouded eyes. The half-elf had no idea what had just happened, for one moment she had seen the beast lunging toward her, and the next it had been hurled across the chamber by an invisible explosion of force.

Now, both dragon and half-elf lay in stunned silence.

Slowly, the light emitted by Kestiel’s earlier spell began to waver, then to fade, and she whimpered in fear as she found herself surrounded by an all-concealing darkness so oppressive that not even her preternatural sight did her any good. In the gloom, as if her other senses had been heightened by the lack of vision, she could hear the dragon breathing, deeply and slowly, as if asleep.

Please, please let him just die, she silently prayed to any god that was listening. Don’t let him get back up, please… If he does, he’ll kill me, I know he will! She clenched her eyes shut as hot tears streamed from them, rolling crookedly down her face. Oh gods, gods, what have I done?

A slight scraping sound, one that would have been barely audible under other circumstances, seemed to echo loudly throughout the subterranean cavern. Kestiel strained her ears for any other sound, and she trembled inside as the scraping she’d heard moments before was followed by another, and then by a deep rumbling. She opened her eyes, and though the chamber was still black as pitch, she reached out with her mage senses, cautiously scanning the cave to see what might be occurring, though she feared she already knew the answer.

He’s coming… He’s coming for me…

The stunning young woman bit her lip to stifle a cry as her Mage Sight proved her assumption to be correct. To her magical senses, the dragon appeared as a dimly glowing aura of pulsing, blood-red energy, with two darker, deeper pits of red light where its eyes should have been. In those two orbs of crimson, Kestiel could feel the massive creature studying her with its own arcane vision, and she shuddered with terror as the mountainous beast slowly, almost cautiously approached.

I’m going to die, Kestiel realized as her Mage Sight slowly dimmed to equal that of her mundane vision. I’m going to die…

With that, she drifted away into unconsciousness, certain that she’d never awake again.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The dragon watched.

He crouched on the ground before the unconscious woman, studying her with his Mage Sight. What he saw astounded him, for she possessed the potential to be a truly awe-inspiring spellcaster, should she ever come to control that potential. His magical vision also revealed the presence of her tome, the massive, ancient, leather-bound book from which she’d learned all of her spells, and through which she channeled them.

Curious, the dragon thought, dredging up old memories from times so long past that few upon the world of Elaria could even comprehend. He tilted his head to the side, thinking, How very unsuited this tome is, to one who possesses a Gift such as hers… He knew that there were those practitioners of magic who were too weak-willed to simply control the arcane powers, who had to rely on study and practice to coerce those forces into obedience, but this girl was simply not one of them. With her potential, she could very easily just command the flows of magic to do her bidding, without all of the rituals and techniques needed by the more “learned” practitioners of the arts.

Such power, he thought. Such great potential… An idea slowly began to form within his mind, and he was shocked that his thoughts had so naturally turned in such a direction. I am getting old, far older than the others of my race, he silently admitted. I need an Heir, a successor to my powers, and she is the first of those who have come to challenge me who has sparked such interest…

How many times over the thousands of years in which he’d dwelt in this self-imposed exile had he faced off against those who sought his power? It had happened so often in his youth that he’d lost track, and though the number of challengers had dropped off more and more each year since, he had still found himself locked in combat several times, even within the last century or so. Most of those who had sought him out had been of his own race, other dragons who were determined to best him, not only to claim his powers and his horde, but to gain notoriety for themselves as well. There had been a handful of humans and elves, and even several dragonborn as well, but all had fallen before his fury, and none were worthy of what he could teach them, and give them.

But her? he wondered, shaking his head. She is not of my kind, and she is not nearly as accomplished a warrior as many others who have sought to best me… Still, there was something there, something that he couldn’t exactly understand. Something about the girl called out to him as nothing had in thousands of years, and he knew at that moment that he had at long last found his destined protégé.

Finally, I can pass on my knowledge and my power, he though with relief. And when we are finished, I can finally leave this world behind…
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