Hriob was able to sense when Caleb's chant had been cut short.
He had felt when Caleb's screams had rung out from the attacks of the Nine-Tailed woman.
He had sensed when Ran had left this realm, and realized it was towards the Islands of Fate.
He honestly felt it was beyond him to try anything further.
I had best stick to simply working on what he had seen, and working out any and all possible counters. I may not be a tactician, but I'm no idiot... regardless of what the others may think.
Ran and Caleb's attack on him had hurt him beyond the mere physical wound on his leg. The fact he had to replicate a crutch to walk with using the room's Key was almost insubstantial to him.
I spend a whole year in total isolation, training and researching how to push my limits far enough... for what? I cannot help, and they do not let me.
What is the point of all this work if I cannot help? If I cannot contribute? If I cannot do anything at all because I am not allowed to?
He breathes in, then exhales heavily, trying to keep his frustration, anger, and depression in check as he writes down notes and equations, hypothesis and wild guesses...
And tucked under everything else, a will... Just in case.
Night's body suddenly cocooned itself in bright light, the tips of her hair and her eyes freezing over. She ran outside the tavern, Misery and Demitri at her heels. She ran over and quickly knelt beside Caleb. "Caleb! Caleb" Night said, a worried look on her face, rain bouncing off a sort of veil of power around her. Misery slowly sat at his other side and helping her sister, placed Caleb's head on Night's lap. Misery's face was more solemn while Night seemed calm on the outside but inside her heart was filled with panic. Demitri stood behind Misery, starring down and the man, bloody and broken at his feet. His eyes appeared dull, unchanged, as if this was no concern of his. The blood caused his dark red eyes to lighten but he maintained his composer, something many vampires failed to do. Night placed her hand on Caleb's chest and his skin shimmered blue. Crystallized drops of powder rose off his wounds as the intense bleeding began to slow down. Misery stared at her sister for sometime before she too gently pressed her hand on his chest. This time Caleb's eye lids flew open, his eyeballs bursting forth with blinding white light. Both sisters began to chant a song, their souls breaking free from their power barriers, meshing together and vibrating the air about them. His wounds and soul being stitched back together, Caleb looked less pale and his heart began to beat at a more normal, healthy rate.
The twins had watched from the door, silently standing beside one another. "Even though he can be so cruel towards her, she still loves him like he was family....I don't think I'll ever understand her" Hunter said rubbing the back on his neck, breaking the uneasy silence. Xavier chuckled, pushing his glasses up his nose, "Night is a very caring person, I feel bed for Misery, she had never actually met Caleb, only seen him out and about the tavern. Yet because she's so sensitive to her sister's emotions she can't help but feel a kind of connection with this stranger. I mean look at her, she isn't even sure she should be touching him, but she does it anyway because she feels like she has to, there's a bond there she can't get over. I have to admit, Ice carvers are very interesting" Hunter nodded then looked behind him, "Speaking of interesting, isn't there another kind of interesting pouting in his room?"
The twins disintegrated and reappeared beside Hriob. Xavier and Hunter didn't display their usual proud demeanour’s, they were rather humble and slightly more silent. They sat on the floor against the wall with their legs bent up loosely. "Betrayal and violence isn't the best way to solidify a friendship but holding a grudge shows a stubborn side people tend to look at as a weakness. I'm not saying forgive them but I'm saying don't hold anything against them. They don't deserve your emotions to be wasted on them, not if they won't show the decency to look out for your well being. Nightmare knew that Misery would be inclined to interfere so she stopped her, not because she was afraid for her sister. She knew what Ran and Caleb were like and didn't want Misery subjected to that kind of behaviour. Yet no matter how bipolar the man seems to be Night still respects and takes care of him........She's a special girl you know, you're luck to have her" Xavier smiled, looking through the ceiling and up at the stars. Hunter smirked in agreement, knowing all to well Xavier said all there was to say at that time.
Hriob turns his stool around to look at the twins, his face worn and moderately sickened with how the day has been going... but with a calming breath and a mild slumping of his shoulders he wordlessly nods at the two. "You're right... I shouldn't take it to heart. But still... it may have been crazy, but I had thought he might have been close to a father figure: someone I haven't ever had the decency to have in my life. Somehow I don't feel like I can consider him the same way that easily anymore." He looks down at his hands for a moment, then picks himself up using his crutch and starts up the stairs. As he passes them, he smiles at Hunter and Xavier warmly: a kind of instantly understandable look of many thanks in his eyes, and a smile worthy of a close friend on his mouth. "But... Ancients know I'll still try. I'm not that stubborn, I hope."
In a minute or so, he reaches the Tavern Door. Looking at Caleb's current state wrenches at him in many ways: much of him is worried for the man even as he is healed by the Frosthavens, yet a darker thought of he deserved this, somehow clings to his heart, despite his best attempts to drive the thought out.
Ashamedly, he shuffles over and sits at one of the benches on either side of the door. The rain continues, matching his mood subconsciously thanks to his elemental leanings.
The twins popped up at each side of him grinning, "We'd take Caleb as our father over our father any day" They both laughed though there was a surge of pain in both their hearts. It was rather undetectable but this was the way they were, doing and saying whatever they had to to make sure the person they're with feels better. Demitri noticed the two vampires and the twins looked over to him. They straightened up and their eyes turned cold. Demitri held their gaze, a power emitting from him showing a kind of hostility. The twins didn't seem fazed however, their power outmatching his by a fair amount. This didn't discourage Demitri though, he still held his head high and his stare didn't falter. Misery sighed, standing up and leaning back against him. He wrapped his arms around her waste and she turned her head around. She was holding a glossy sort of look in her eyes. Demitri understood what was wrong, she had been connected to all of Caleb's emotions while in contact with him. She saw his pain and it made her sad. He turned her around and brushing her hair from her face kissed her gently. He then pulled her into a hug, letting her slightly sob as she gained control over her own emotions once again.
Night was also emotionally unstable but she was also being pushed onto her feet by a certain group of voices she could really live without. You must get over this, you saved him and he's healed up well. Stop being a baby and stand tall, like a grand oak tree in an evergreen forest you must show your wisdom Nightmare! She sighed heavily and stood up. "Xavier, Hunter, take him quickly to his room and get him some water for when he wakes, he'll be dizzy from the healing" The twins appeared at Caleb's sides, then touching his shoulders disintegrated, poofing up in his room where he now lay in his bed. Xavier placed down the water and then they walked out his room, closing the door lightly before tiptoeing away.
Misery and Demitri walked inside wet and tired. Demitri picked her up and sat down on a couch. She laid back and snuggled close to him, letting her puffy eyes rest. Night walked over and sat down beside Hriob. She wrapped her arm around his and rested her head on his shoulder. That's when she sensed the tense feeling in his heart and the pain in his leg. Kneeling down in front of him she unbandaged his leg and winched at the sight. With stern, concentrated eyes she picked up snow and as it melted into icy water it formed a sort of tadpole shape. She gently rubbed it along the wound humming softly to herself, water dripping off the roof onto her head and shoulders. As it closed up and healed she smiled warmly, "He did deserve it, getting beat might do him some good, maybe he won't walk around like he's all powerful anymore" She chuckled faintly, kissing his leg, sending a wave of blue energy over it to numb the internal pain so he felt nothing, "No but he's a good man, he gave us a roof over our heads, a place to call home. I thank the masters above every day for his kindness, because without it I never would have met such amazing people like the two of you" She stood up and kissed him on the forehead, then looked into his eyes. She stepped back and tilted her head up, her long silver hair wet and draping down over her shoulders, dripping water that seeped into the seems of her jacket. She let out a long sigh while relaxing her shoulders, her breathe swooshing out like a puff of white smoke.
Hriob seems to slump a little more in his seat, his tense back and heart loosening up and seeming to melt as he simply does his best to let everything go. I may not be able to forget, ever... that's one of the downsides to the blessing I was given as a mage. But... I can forgive. I've had to in the past to stay sane enough to work with people. I don't like holding grudges, ever; even if my heart wants to rage at the things others do all day, it never seems to hate the people behind the actions, not truly at least...
"Thank you again. Funny how it seems you're always the one to pick me back up and put me together again." His emotions aren't all that plain on his person, but if you looked closely enough it didn't take an empath to see the slight tearing of his closed eyes and faint curls of a grateful smile on his face.
However, the weather matched it better: the rain doesn't stop yet, but the clouds part enough for the sun to shine through the falling drops. A large rainbow forms through it all as he simply moves on in his heart.
A minute later, he realizes he needs to regroup with Diane: The bandits will need to be handled in the morning still yet. I suppose that can wait until morning though, when my leg's more workable.
Sitting a bit there with Night, he eventually stands up without the crutch, if still slightly wobbly, and hugs her from behind for a few, long minutes. Then, as the sun sets behind the clouds, he turns in for the night.
His sleep is deep and restful, but still pockmarked with recurring nightmares; facing Caleb in fights to the death in his personal wasteland, running through dark crypts only to find the mangled corpses of Night, Misery, and all three of the Vampires, facing himself in vicious combat he always loses... and combating a chuckling darkness whose shadowy hands are marked only by the emblem of a dragon wreathed in a circle of its own fire.
However bad these dreams are, though, his body keeps him from suffering in his sleep from these nightmares.
Caleb was wincing in pan. It had been so long since he had been at the receiving end of such a powerful attack. He shook his head as he took a look around. That was...intense.... She was even more powerful than that vampire dude.... He sighed to himself. Taking a deep breath, he tried to regain his composure. Though healed, he could still feel the pain, and he ended up wincing to it. ...Ran.... You are tough to read, aren't you? He shook his head. Then again...battle does speak of one's true intentions...and I never once felt like you really wanted to kill me after all.... But that's just sad Ran. That's just sad. He closed his eyes again and lets himself recuperate. It seems I am not joining you today Allie.... And I was ready too....
Hriob eventually woke early the next morning, well before sunrise. His leg still felt a little weak compared to the better one, but his wound had healed completely and there was no pain.
He takes a minute to look over his notes, paying close attention to those he made concerning Ran's true abilities, and those of his progress on his project concerning Night's issues with emotion consumption.
A minute later, he heads down to the kitchen and grabs a quick breakfast of English Muffins and butter, adding a dab of honey to the tops as he quickly eats them with a glass of orange juice.
After another minute, he heads into the duelist room for more practice. I need to be absolutely sure about the capacity of this new spell.
As soon as the door closes behind him, the room a simple hallway with a huge statue at the end of it, he starts focusing heavily... not with his energy, but with his very soul.
Most of his spells were meant to use energy, were intended to draw from natural energies, but this was different. All my life I've been marked with the essence of Void, but I never really made use of that... didn't know how to. After all this time, though, Caleb and his near-godly magic finally gave me the clue:
I don't use anything to fuel my magic this time... I just use my heart, mind, and soul to will it to happen. I'll probably never get to the levels Caleb can, I won't ever be able to create... but I think this will still do fine.
His heart racing, his head pounding, and his spirit starting to feel the strain, he nevertheless manages a milestone feat: in front of him opens a void more perfect than any the assassin had made that one night a week or two ago... it is a manifestation of the Void Between Worlds itself, perfect in its nonexistence, and impenetrable even to the magic of the duelists room trying to fill it back up like it was supposed to.
The void taking up a sphere the size of a small boulder in front of him, he focuses and maintains this for about 25 minutes... then breaks it off, letting the void collapse again into normal space as the room righted itself.
He walks back into the lobby and sits by the firepit, starting it back up again with a thought and a spark of lightning. He frowns, covered in sweat and with both a massive migraine and a racing heart that threatened to skip a few beats. With a ripple he pulls a spare remedy from his room to his hand and drinks it, sighing as it takes effect to heal the strain. Will this be enough? Can I go farther with this... or is that a suicidal path? I still can't tell... even if you could, Ran... or especially you, Caleb.
He readies himself to rejoin Diane in a few minutes, recovering himself to make sure he will be at his peak again.
A puff of black clouds signaled the return of Lily. She had her small book with her. It seemed thicker than before. "Oh I hate talking magic with the older wizards." She said and dusted herself off. She was standing on the bar area's counter. Her dress was black with a short flower lace design on the end of it. "But it should all be worth it. Now. Hmm. The duel room." She looked around quickly before tele-porting to duel room. She copied it to the same way Hriob had showed he so it would create those pillars.
She went into the room and sat her book down. The tiny person was only a few inches shorter than the entire book. "OK. Here it is." She said as she flipped to a page inscribed with runes and markings. "I hope it all goes well." She was stating it out loud to give herself confidence.
Mulling over his strong fatigue still, Hriob didn't quite react fast enough to greet Lily as she made her return. However, he does manage to make himself move after her, opening the door after she closed it. "Morning, Lily. Welcome back." His voice seems slightly weak, but not very, and his demeanor reflects this as well: he has to lean on the doorframe slightly to stand without swaying, though he does not quite seem like he could pass out at a moment's notice.
"You missed one hell of a fight, I'll tell you that. It seems like everything is calmer around here again though." He glances at the book, and his eyes light up at what he can see of the current page. Looks powerful... though its a shame I can't read it immediately. Probably just needs a bit of translation... He smiles softly, anticipating something impressive from his friend...
Lily jumped nearly all of eight inches when Hriob spoke to her. "Fight. I don't fight so it's good that I missed it. Right?" She said turning pink noticeably as she was shocked to see someone. She turned back to the book shaking her head as she did. She needed concentration for the spell. It began as she started to read it. A black cloud appeared six feet above her and a large black lightning bolt struck Lily. It was outlined in red. The was no thunderous roar like normal lightning or heat. The language was one made for homuculi. It was for inscribing new powers or spells into created creatures. As she read the spell the words began to burn away along with the page until it was ended. Then the cloud disappeared with the lightning in a thunderous roar.
"Ok." She said and sat down feeling a little exhausted from the ordeal.
"That was... interesting. Powerful too, I could tell." Hriob had seen the raw power of spiritual transfiguration in the spell, but he had not been able to determine the purpose or effect of it all still yet. His eyes glowing a mild Indigo in the dark of the pre-sunrise Tavern, he notes Lily's aura is still much the same, but while there is a small 'tweak' in her animus it is too complex and subtle for him to read in any sort of detail.
With a sigh his eyes seem to cease their luminescence, and he simply shuffles over to the firepit again and sits down, still favoring his left leg slightly. "Sorry to make you jump like that, Lily. I hope you don't jump like that all the time though; if someone arrives here looking for room and board, it'd be best if you aren't shocked at strangers coming in behind you." His words are truthful, but not very serious; like a friendly classmate who had teasingly reminded their peer that their shoes were untied, or that it was indeed meatloaf day and they had best avoid the lunchlines if they wanted to live. "I mention the fight more because I'm glad you missed it than that I wanted you here for it... but just be careful around Caleb. I still don't know how he's going to take this loss... and he was hurt much worse than me." He fails to note that his injury, though all but gone now, had been by Caleb's hand... but I don't want her worried about that already she just got here. He looks slightly uneasy... mostly because he had yet to know how Caleb would treat him when he came to... and he was still unsure how he should react to him in turn.
He exhales softly, then speaks up again conversationally. "I just hope we get a new customer sometime soon... this place could use it."
Lily blushed so hard from the little teasing that even her hair turned a slight pink. "Well. I don't see Caleb that much so I'll pass on going out of my way to bother him. As for the spell. I hope I did it right. The page is gone." She smiled and ran around to the back side of a pillar. There was a large surge of black mist from behind the pillar followed by a loud cheer of joy. "It worked!" She cried out.
A five foot three tall Lily walked out from around the pillar. She wore a black bikini top and a pair of shorts that hugged her skin. It wasn't out of wish but out of need. Her magic at changing cloth could only change that tiny dress so much. "Well what do you think?" She asked blushing a little bit. She lightly pushed on the pillar with one hand and it fell back into the other pillar only causing her blush to grow.
Turning around in his chair with some effort, he looks at the 'new' Lily with some interest, surprise, and silent congratulation... until she blushes at accidentally toppling a stone pillar that took huge amounts of force to do the same. Dear lord, I think her strength has increased in proportion to her size increase... those pillars must weigh a literal ton each... Her clothing was noted, but not really something that would make him blush... in the end, he was actually very loyal to Night in that respect without consciously being aware of it. He does, however, make note of her mild embarrassment. "I can get you more clothes with you if you want, and perhaps you should consider spending more time in that size to get used to it... I wouldn't be surprised if you could cause a small earthquake with a hard enough stomp right now." His tone is a bit more conversational now, but also much more serious and matter-of-fact: he doesn't want to see what she's capable of if she got much more flustered.
Lily nodded to Hriob her blush fading away. "New cloths. I would like some. This is all I can make out of that dress." She said and turned back to the pillar. "As far as getting used to this size. That's why I came here instead of trying it out in my room or out in the bar. I would hate to break the fine tea cups. Or the metal pan I use for cinnamon rolls." She said and went to the next pillar and tried picking it up only for it to begin to crumble under the stress. So she threw it sending it more than ten pillars away. "I didn't want it to fall on me." She looked at him a little upset.