The Twin
Campaign Name
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Book I: The Ghost of Winter's Past
Prologue
The Twin

Featuring

young-arnon.jpg hokuto.jpg

Synopsis

"Valeaforadan!" A sudden crack of electricity flows in an arc through the air, striking the metal rod at the end of the stone corridor. The charge dissipates through the engraved iron, flickers down through the floor and becomes unseen. The young woman thirty feet away curls her fingers towards her palm, a static charge still tingling in her fingertips. She turns to look up at her instructor, a stern looking half-elven man with copper-colored hair whose true demeanor is betrayed by an easy smile.

The girl's pride and happiness seems infectious.
 
 
 
 
 
 

« Akrabahadran, the College of Shadows | Some Time Ago… »

 
 
 
 
 
 

"Excellent work," he praises, stepping over to lay a hand on her small shoulder. "But you still need to work on your defensive form," comes a moment after, and the instructor places his hands on the girl's wrists, drawing her hands closer to her chest. "Like this," he explains, glancing down at her before looking to the lightning rod. "Don't leave yourself so open, an attacker would put a sword right between your ribs while you're distracted trying to pick a target. Always be ready to deflect an incoming attack."

"Thank you, Master Arnon." The young woman offers a small, weary smile and looks down at her palms as Master Arnon leans away. Eventually, she looks up from her hands to the long, stone corridor and to the lightning rod sticking up from the engraved rings of eldritch writing on the floor. Arnon can tell a question is brewing before she turns to ask it. "Master?"

Arnon crosses his arms and lets his head tilts to the side, regarding the greem-eyed girl looking up at him. One brow raises, a wordless agreement to hear her question. The girl shifts her feet awkwardly, then wrings her hands together and furrows her brows. "Hokuto?" Arnon urges her to speak up, offering a reassuring smile.

"Will I have to fight?" The question causes Arnon to tense up and avert his eyes to the floor for just long enough that Hokuto can tell he's uninterested in answering her honestly. They both know the futility in that.

"We live in dangerous times," is Arnon's vague answer, "I hope none of my students are forced into battle, but ours is a world of conflicts great and small. You've been blessed with a gift that can be used however you wish. But, at its core, the gift you've been given is one that would find use in warfare. People will seek to exploit that."

Hokuto's teeth worry at her lower hip, and the girl crosses her arms and looks back to the lightning rod. "Will Seishi have to fight?" Arnon makes a noise in the back of his throat at that question, stepping beside Hokuto and ruffling a hand through her short, messy hair.

"That will be her choice," Arnon explains softly, "and yours. But right now all you have to worry about is hitting that target, and keeping your stance guarded." Arnon's hand sweeps down to cup Hokuto's cheek and his head shakes slowly, smile a bit more wry than it was a moment ago.

"Is this about what happened to Liasha?" Arnon's question is delivered carefully, delicately, the way in which grief is uncomfortably handled in its rawest form. Hokuto's expression scrunches up and her brows furrow, eyes watering up as she looks down to the floor. Arnon hates himself for even bringing it up, but her reaction shows necessity in his inquisition.

Moving his hand to one shoulder, Arnon guides Hokuto away from the practice floor and towards a wood and stone bench near the door. She sits, reluctantly, hands on her knees and shoulders slouched forward, head bowed and bangs hiding her eyes. Arnon takes a knee in front of her, quiet for a moment after hearing the tiniest of sobs escape his student.

Bringing a hand to her chin, Arnon tilts her chin up so that she's lookig at him and not the floor between her sandled feet. "Everyone misses Liasha," comes with the unmasked grief like that of a parent trying to cope with the loss of a child. "She was the best and brightest of us all, and— Hokuto— it was an accident, what happened to her." Arnon's thumb brushes a streak of tears across her cheek.

Hokuto nods once, but the noise in the back of her throat that she makes indicates that she doesn't entirely believe him. Arnon isn't sure he believes himself either. "As a teacher here, I'm the one who is ultimately responsible for the well-being of the students. The Headmaster had the diviners look into what happened, and…" and he knows a technical explanation of what happened isn't reaching her. Instead, Arnon leans in and draws Hokuto into an embrace, letting her head come to rest on his shoulder. Small arms reciprocate the gesture, and she just cries into the coarse fabric of his robe, fingers curling desperately tight to the same material.

Resting a reassuring hand at the back of her head, Arnon stares at the wall behind Hokuto, but his mind is further away than that. "Liasha wouldn't want you to fall apart," are words that escape Arnon's mouth with awkward cadence restraining difficult emotions. Hokuto nods a few times, sucking back a wet sob before pulling her head away from his shoulder, drying her eyes with the long, white sleeves of her robe.

Arnon brushes Hokuto's hair from her brow, then slowly rises to stand up straight, offering a hand out for his student. "She'd want you to graduate," is a firm reminder of where she is, "she'd want you to show everyone how much you've learned, and remember how much she wanted all of you to succeed."

Once she's collected herself and calmed fitful breaths, Hokuto looks up to the offered hand and the stylized eye tattoo on the back of the palm. Her lips curl up into a faint smile, a weary and damaged one, before taking the far larger hand in hers and getting up off of the bench. She knows Arnor is right, knows what she has to do to prove it.

"Okay," Hokuto offers with a whisper of confidence, turning to look back at the lightning rod. After a moment of staring at the target, Hokuto cupping her hands together she and draws them close to her chest. Arnon takes a step back as tiny bolts of electricity begin gathering between the young girl's fingers, larger bolts arcing between her palms. Hokuto draws in a slow, contemplative breath and clasps her palms together, a buzzing electrical noise reverberating through her bones. All her anger has a direction.

"Valeaforadan!"

Continued In The Locksmith
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