The youngest of six children by six separate mothers, Sophia was born in June of 2003 to Adrian and Layna Taeryn. However, on her fourth birthday, Layna disappeared from her life forever, leaving her to be raised by Adrian and her elder siblings. It wasn’t a terrible life, growing up without a mother, but it wasn’t the best either. Sophia had two older sisters, and three older brothers with ages ranging from 50 when she was born to 550. Growing up with such a disparity in ages was difficult for her as, instead of bonding with her siblings, she ended up bonding with their children instead.
There were roughly ten children around her age when when her father finally allowed her to enter their compound’s school to learn about her magic, and family lineage. At first, it was strange. She felt as though she should be in a different class since all her siblings were so much older, but eventually she did adjust, and happily learned the information they had to teach her. First, one of the teachers would go over their family history, and explain to them what made them different than the other families that originated from the Sumalt line.
One of the biggest differences was that, after Graivour left Alivarast’s home, he stopped actively teaching his brand of the religion to his children. While he still actively practiced his beliefs, he would only teach his children, or members of his family if they asked to be taught. Never before, and if--for whatever reason--they decided they no longer wanted to learn, he would allow them that choice. Graivour’s top priority was always his family’s safety and happiness.
Once the children learned their family’s origins, they would begin to learn about notable figures in their line. One such notable figure was Athriom Taeryn, one of the illustrious leaders of house Taeryn around 1100 BC. The man, who would later be responsible for creating a whole new way to utilize magic, died in 800 BC. His death occurred when he single-handedly defended the compound from an army that had been sent by one of the other families in a bid to force their involvement in a religious war. It was a war that the Taeryn line had remained uninvolved with for 1,900 years at the time. Without Athriohm's sacrifice, the Taeryn would have been inevitably pulled into the conflict, but instead his actions acted as a deterrent, effectively sending a message to the other families that the Taeryn were not to be bothered again.
When the family history was fully covered, the students moved on to learning and applying actual magic. But, not before they learned one of the key principles of Athriom’s teachings: Knowledge is meant to be shared, not monopolized.
It was in the area of magic where Sophia truly shined. In the history lessons, while she had been quick to learn, she wasn’t forthcoming with information. She was shy. With magic, however, she was able to quickly learn, and apply her anima’s imprinted abilities. Usually, a Descendant being outlandishly capable with magic isn’t unheard of. In Sophia’s case, however, she put not only her classmates, but even her elder siblings to shame with how quickly she was able to achieve things.
When her eldest sibling noticed her talent, he quickly grew jealous of her. To him, she was mocking his children when she would try and help them with their studies. To her, however, she wa simply doing as Athriom would have wanted: sharing her knowledge with others. She had no way of knowing how her older brother felt. At least, not until he attacked her.
One night, after she’d just finished helping his children with their studies, her eldest brother cornered her in the hallway between his room and hers. He asked her if she wanted a private lesson about battle magic. Sophia, not entirely understanding that she was special, happily agreed to be taught by her clearly superior big brother. So, he took her out to the training grounds within their compound, and told her to ready a stance. Before the girl, who was now ten years old, could even start to prep for the fight, her brother hit her with a beam of electricity. The attack sent her body into spasms, leaving her to writhe around on the ground in pain. As the girl’s body seized up from the pain, her brother stood over her, a sadistic smile on his face. He watched her for a few moments before finally kneeling down and whispering in her ear, “You are nothing. Do not presume you are equipped enough to teach mine, or anyone else’s children, ever again.” With his piece said, he left her there, writhing on the ground where Adrian would find her the next morning.
Adrian didn’t question Sophia about who had hurt her until after she had fully healed. He did however, give her the choker that her mother had left for her to wear as a protective charm should anyone ever try something like that again. When questioned about who had hurt her, Sophia didn’t answer, which resulted in her being pulled from classes at their school to study under Adrian himself. Her father didn’t teach her about magic, however, he taught her how to lead. What it meant to be a leader of the family. Being as young as she was, she didn’t understand why he was teaching her such things. Shouldn’t stuff like this have been taught to her big brother? The eldest son?
She wouldn’t learn until a few years later why it was that she was the one being taught. Her eldest brother was being ostracized from the family. According to a conversation that Sophia overheard on her 13th birthday, he had tried to make deals with one of the other families. Something like that was only permitted by the house head, and because he had yet to earn that title, he had broken one of the cardinal rules of their family: don’t go against your kin. Thus, it was deemed, based on her performance in school, and how she handled herself in most formal situations, that Sophia would the next leader of House Taeryn once her father passed.
This decision, which she had no say in, would lead to her being unable to study magic for several more years. In that time, she was taken on liaison trips to the other houses, to introduce her to the other future leaders that she would either be dealing with, or largely ignoring depending on which family it was. On the surface she was very polite to the other heirs she met, as well as the heads of house at the time she met them, but in reality, she hated it. The fake politeness, smiles, and friendly banter made her angry. If they didn’t like each other, they should just be honest, instead of beating around the bush. However, even as a child, she knew that a war would be disastrous for their kind. Even the religious war that had been waged since the formation of the five houses was too much.
If Precursor Descendants wanted to survive, they needed to work together, not secretly plot against each other.
On the eve of her 18th birthday, Sophia brought her views up to her father. At first, Adrian seemed angry about the way she viewed their alliances, blustering about how there was an important nuance that she was missing. However, as the conversation went on, he explained that when he was her age, and was being groomed for the position himself, he felt the same way. His father’s solution was to send him out into the world, to learn about the place that he was hiding in. He explained that learning from the world around him helped him to be a better leader once he returned.
With a deep, but thoughtful sigh, he extended the offer to her. She would be able to come and go from the compound for as long as she wanted to learn about the world she lived in until such time as it was her turn to take over as leader of House Taeryn.
Young, and full of wanderlust, Sophia readily agreed.
Three days after she turned 18, she packed up some of her belongings, and left the compound. It took her two days before she was able to find her way out of their woodland mountain hiding place, and into the outskirts of Ominar. Lost, and confused, she spent her first night in the city in an abandoned warehouse, shivering from the cold. At the compound they had a great many things, electricity, hot water, and indoor plumbing. However, all of it was off the grid, as their sewage, and electrical systems were fully run on magic. Sophia, however, had no idea that that wasn’t how things were done outside of her, or the other families’ compounds. And so, often ended up asking strange people where she could find a Kindling Crystal to turn on water, or turn off lights. Of course, most people had no idea what she was talking about, and would only stare at her in bewilderment, while others would laugh at her.
After a week in Ominar, Sophia got lost between trying to get back to the warehouse her stuff was in, and where she had explored that day. While walking down an alleyway that she thought was a shortcut to her warehouse, a strange, dark figure slithered out of the darkness behind her. Its form seeming to undulate and quiver in the space it encompassed, though she could only see it from the corner of her eye. It reminded her of the lessons on Licentia she’d been taught when she was able to attend school. Unfortunately for her, however, she was pulled out of lessons right before they taught the children how to fight the creatures.
The alley had long been its haunt of choice, as it was a shortcut of sorts that many had once used. As such it was no surprise when someone walked through it on their way through the city. Its eyes opening as it detected said person, a woman it surmised from the scent, the creature was largely indistinguishable from the odd shadows of the piping and other simple machinery that occasionally protruded from the sides of the two buildings that made up the alley. In the alley the Sullicitus watched--whilst emerging from the shadows--as Sophia turned and then stood there, frozen in fear at the creature before her. All she had was her Elementalist spell, in terms of combat power. But, even with that, she didn't know if that would even harm this creature.
As her mind whirred due to his arrival, the Sullicitus grinned, but with its misshapen features, the expression looked more like a grimace for like all of its brethren its form was warped. Possessing a face that was a mockery of humanity--what with its twisted mouth, thin black lips, one eye that slanted dramatically downwards whilst the other looked as if the bone had been crushed around it hiding most of the organ from sight. Its skin was irregular, rough, bumpy, and jet black, almost as if the whole creature was made of different shades of a tar-like material. Its shoulders too wide, its neck too thin and long--about three times as long as a humans, and twisted on itself like a rag being rung out. What could only be its collarbone looked as if someone had broken it in at least five places and then let it heal wrong resulting in a chest that warped inwards, proving too much space for lungs, but not enough space for a heart of any decent size. Some of what must have been ribs actually protruded from its body, piercing its thin flesh where they remained, exposed, the only white on its body aside from thin jagged markings that ran along its arms and sides.
Yet, it moved lithely, like a feline, like a predator, despite its terrifyingly deformed and grotesque body, its three legs and tail shifting its weight expertly as it loomed over her, roughly twice her height, its tail extending behind it, bones piercing out of its flesh here and there as if to offer contrast on its too dark body that seemed to--no actually did--absorb and trap light.
It reached out a gnarled hand, its fingers curled back so that only one of its talons remained extended. “What a pretty little thing,” it said, its face twisting further as it made its equivalent of a smile. Even looking into its eyes didn’t help ascertain the meaning of its expression for they were like black pools of ink with no pupils to speak of. Its voice was like the sound of gravel grating underfoot.
Sophia stared up at the creature as it spoke to her, her body shaking with fear. She tried to find her voice to scream, to call out for help, but the sound never came. Though her voice failed her, her legs moved beneath her, as she willed herself to back away. To turn and run. Her body tried to accommodate her wishes, but the fear that gripped her made her clumsy. Before her other foot could move back behind her, she stepped on a stray beer bottle and fell back with a pitiful yelp as she hit the pavement.
Quite literally feeding on the fear, the Sullicitus’ facial features seemed to become just slightly more recognizably human and for a moment she could see the vestiges of a predatory grin on its face before it moved forwards, its rather large form looming over her even more with her new position. It tried to laugh, but what would have been the sound of joy instead invoked memories of choking, as if something were caught in its throat and it was gagging repeatedly. It bent down and ran its talon over her leg--the closest part of her body to its position. As she jerked her leg away from it, the gagging sound occurred again and its lightless eyes somehow twinkled. “Oh, you’re just precious, and you smell sooo good, I think I’ll take my time with you,” it keened, the sound like nails on a chalkboard.
It took several steps forwards, its torso casting a shadow over her body, its movements too swift for her to retreat from in her state. Then, reaching down, it pinned one of her arms to the hard concrete, jagged edges on its skin digging into her bicep as it did so, even as its sandpaper textured skin grated against hers. In other places tar-like goo dripped off of its torso, almost like partially coagulated blood, to land on the small amount of exposed skin below the hem of her shirt. The stuff was sticky and had far more weight to it than it ought to have had.
The girl’s eyes widened as the creature spoke again, and she whimpered, trying to look anywhere but its face. At the corners of her eyes tears welled up as it pinned her body to the ground with the single hand on one of her arms. She tried to struggle against it, to no avail, her body squirming beneath it. When the tar-like substance made contact with her skin, Sophia jumped, startled by the sensation, she met the creature’s eyes, and the tears that had previously been pooling at their corners spilled over and poured down her cheeks. “P-please… please don’t do this…” Her voice cracked as she begged for her life, a sob catching in her throat.
The licenti laughed, the gagging sound probably only elevating her fear--if not her disgust--as it bent down so its face was right by her ear. “No, I think I’m going to--how is it you humans say it--have my way with you, first.” Then its free arm moved, bringing its talons up to her chin, facing downwards, and it began drawing them down, the vicious claws shredding through the fabric of her shirt. However, before it could make much progress its eyes seemed to widen and then it was gone and there was a thud.
It would take a few seconds, but the fear that had come to permeate her entire body would begin to fade, at the very least allowing her to move.
As the creature sliced open her shirt, and bra, she watched its claws in abject terror. The movement of its hand letting her know that it could gut her at a moment’s notice if she tried to get away now. Then, she watched as its eyes widened with a fear all its own, something that was the same no matter how your face contorted emotions, and then it was gone. Once it disappeared, she quickly pulled her jacket over her chest as much as she could, her arms wrapped around herself.
Slowly, her body still trembling, she began to try and get up from the ground. Part of her was terrified that it was going to come back. That it was toying with her. That, the minute she turned around, it was going to pin her against a wall and carve into her like a cow. Tears still streaming down her face, she started toward the alley’s entrance, slowly, trying to move as quietly as she could.
As she came out onto the sidewalk, turning right, she would see--about 10 feet ahead of her, a well muscled man with dark brown hair and a glowing blue aura, his hand clutching the throat of the horrific beast that had nearly had her for lunch. It was struggling, its many talons clawing at the man’s arm, rending the cloth of his long sleeve shirt and trench coat. Though the figure’s back was turned to her, she would notice the annoyance in his posture. Where before the beast had delighted in her terror, now it was caught in its own. Experiencing, perhaps for the first time, mortal terror as someone else held its life in their hands.
“Let me go,” it screeched, the sound more than grating in its shrillness. The figure’s grip tightened and the blue aura’s color becoming brighter as it flowed around him. The creature began to whimper and beg pitifully as the fist tightened further around its neck. It ceased in its begging, no longer capable of speech due to its constricted neck, yet it squealed and whimpered incessantly, its voice plaintive, pleading.
This continued on for several more moments before, over the creature’s noise, a solitary chuckle rang out across the city street. Traffic had been cut off for the street and foot traffic had naturally stopped as well as people gawked and avoided the scene. For once, at least on that block, Ominar was almost silent. “Heh, yeah I don’t think so,” the man said, his tone a weird mixture of amused, disgusted, and entirely void of sympathy.
The licenti, now knowing that any attempt at bargaining would fail, lashed out more vigorously, its long body coiling up and attempting to wrap itself around the man’s, to no avail. It touched the blue aura and its whimpers became the sort of subdued screams that one made only whilst in intense pain. The blue aura expanded, its color deepening, the glow becoming far more intense, as it flowed over and around the creature. Then the stuff poured into its mouth and it stopped screaming, no longer capable of making any sound at all.
Then, with a sickening crunch, the figure crushed its throat and then dropped it unceremoniously onto the ground, flicking his hand to get the creature’s tar-like blood off of it. Several moments passed as the man tidied himself up, and then people began to move, first one, and then the rest as if they’d all received unconscious signal telling them it was okay to breath again. Some of them, hesitantly, made their way up to the man, giving the licentia a five foot berth as they did so. He shooed them away and then turned, revealing his face to Sophia for the first time, and made his way in her direction, his eyes glowing a fierce blue as his aura had several moments before.
People didn’t follow him, instead they clustered around the dead monster and began taking pictures before they were guided away from it by the authorities which had begun to arrive.
As Sophia stared, speechless at the events that unfolded between the man, and her attacker, she shuddered. Eventually, she moved her body against the wall at the entrance of the alley, and slid down it, until her body was curled in on itself, her knees blocking any stray view of what her jacket and arms couldn’t cover as her brilliant sapphire eyes watched the scene a few feet away.
Moving with uncanny grace as he made his way through the crowd, the man eventually came to stand in front of her, at which point he bent down into a crouch, giving her a few feet of space between them, his expression largely blank though his eyes betrayed him, revealing that he cared more than he was letting on. “You okay? Physically I mean. I know what those things can do to a gal,” he asked her carefully, though he sounded natural as he said it, as if he’d done so before--he probably had.
“...some of that… black ooze got on my skin, but otherwise I think I’m okay…” It took a long time for Sophia to get the words out, but when she did, she visibly fidgeted, clearly uncomfortable. She felt like there was something else she should say, but in her muddled and tremulous mind, the words were lost, and she ended up just looking at the ground.
After a moment, she mumbled, “This isn’t how it was supposed to be… maybe I should go back to the compound...”
He nodded slightly at her first comment, but rather than move away, he picked a spot on the wall next to her and sat down. He started playing with a bit of the blue vis from earlier, before he, without asking, flicked some in her direction. The stuff touched her shoulder and immediately a soothing relief would spread from the point of contact. Additionally, the black goop that had gotten on her would dissolve as the magic spread to wreath her form.
Reaching into a pocket, the man pulled out a cigarette and a lighter, this had been the eighth thing he’d had to hunt today he figured he was due for a bit of unhealthy stress relief. “Coming to a new place is never easy,” he said after taking a puff from his cigarette.
“Of course, usually you don’t almost get gobbled up by a hungry licenti, but hey, some days are good days and some days are bad days,” he said with a bit of a shrug. “Of course, you’re alive and have only got a torn shirt to show for your run in. Not that I’d call you lucky. Sullicitus encounters are always traumatic.” He continued talking while his magic did its best to calm her nerves at least a little.
“Oh, and my name’s Mairyell by the way. You can call me Mai if you want. It’s easier,” he said it casually, like he wasn’t just some stranger who hadn’t just metaphorically pulled her ass out of a fire.
“You have no idea… no one here even knows what a Kindling Crystal is.” Sophia muttered, bitter. She was calming down due to whatever magic the man had used on her, but it seemed to be a slow process. “M’only alive because of you, to be fair…” She responded, shuddering again at the fresh memory of the event.
When he introduced himself, Sophia nodded, “My name is Sophia. Sophia Taeryn. Thank you for saving me, by the way.”
He listened, running through a list of magical items and the like in his mind at her mention of Kindling Crystals and, to his disappointment, coming up blank. However he didn’t say anything, not yet at least, he had a feeling there’d be a later in which he’d have time for that sort of thing--there usually was. When she thanked him he chuckled a little bit, “Naw, don’t mention it Sophia,” he said naturally, her name flowing off his tongue easily. He’d known so many people with so many names--both exotic and mundane--that most names came easily to him after hearing them once. Unless someone wasn’t too memorable, but even then he only forgot theirs after he stopped interacting with them for a good two or three years. “It is my job after all. Besides,” he began with a grin, “...everybody gets one.”
“You… have a job killing things? That’s possible?” Sophia asked, incredulous.
Taking another puff from his cigarette, Mairyell nodded then spoke after exhaling the smoke, which oddly didn’t drift in her direction at all. “Sure is, heh, I can tell you’re not from around here. You grow up somewhere real remote?”
"You could say that. I’ve lived in a compound in the mountains about a 2 day walk from here my entire life.”
“Guess that makes you a country gal,” he said with a faint smile and a light chuckle. It was hard to tell if he was easily amused, or just thought he was funnier than he was. After another minute or so, Mairyell finished half of his cigarette and then put it out and deftly slipped it back into the case he carried before he pushed up and onto his feet before turning to her.
“So, in the interest of making sure you stay alive long enough for you to not regret surviving this, might I escort you back to your place of residence madam?” He had a small grin on his face and a twinkle in his eye as he intentionally injected a measure of humor into his words. He found that laughing, or laughing internally at someone else, tended to help people who’d just gone through something traumatic. It was his way of offering comfort really, especially because he really wasn’t the gentlemanly type. Not usually at least, just didn’t suit him.
Instead of verbally responding to him, Sophia pushed herself up the wall, using her knees as leverage, trying to keep her chest covered as she did so. Once she was on her feet, she just started walking past Mairyell, but he stopped her briefly.
Taking off his coat, which was lighter than it looked, he offered it to her for better coverage. It was the least he could do. In response she stepped into the jacket with her shoulders, and pulled it around her before pushing her arms into the sleeves that were nearly twice their length, and let it fall comfortably where it covered the entirety of her torso, and her thighs.
He nodded a bit and gestured for her to continue. “Lead on,” he said with a light smile, feeling a bit odd without his coat. Still, even if it was just a little chilly it didn’t bother him as he increased his body temperature to suit, immediately feeling better. As she passed him and began walking a few paces ahead, he followed, dutifully keeping an eye out for trouble. People parted around them as they walked and while the authorities tried to stop him once, he merely flashed them his license without even slowing his pace.
He was used to their interruptions and he was also used to silencing their questions. They continued walking and, after about ten minutes of walking, found themselves in front of a dilapidated warehouse. Once Sophia stopped walking, she turned to him and nodded, "Well, this is my stop.” She spoke, nonchalantly, clearly unaware that this was likely both a dangerous area, and a dangerous way to live.
He raised an eyebrow, looking the place over, “Are you sure you want to stay here?” He said, looking down at her and idly sniffing the air. He could smell licentia...hungry licentia.
“It’s...not exactly the safest part of town, or the most secure holding, if I may be frank.”
“It’s served me just fine for the past week or so. Besides, I don’t have any money to pay for any other sort of accommodations.” She responded with a shrug.
He frowned slightly, “Now, I hate to be presumptuous, but if money’s the only thing getting in the way of your safety, then I wouldn’t mind lending you a hand. Trust me, I have far more than any man could ever need. I’d give you numbers, but given that you grew up in the boonies I’m not sure we operate by the same sorts of currency.” He glanced down at her, not a hint of an insult in his expression, just genuine concern.
"I don’t think I could accept that with a clear conscience, Mai. You’ve already done more than enough for me.” She spoke, her voice gentle. They likely didn’t operate on the same currency, considering her family had paid with most things using Pure Vis Crystals which, no one seemed to accept around Ominar.
“Hmm, well you had to have come with something to pay for things,” he began, the slight frown still apparent, though the worry had been replaced with a thoughtful expression. “Maybe you could exchange those for enough to stay somewhere? I could direct you somewhere relatively cheap that’s in a half decent neighborhood maybe?”
She thought for a moment before speaking, "Every place I’ve tried hasn’t accepted it, but come inside and I’ll show you what I have, I guess.” With that, she walked into the warehouse and walked to one of the far walls where a dark grey blanket was laid over the dirt crusted floor, a folded up jacket serving as a pillow. Just a few inches from the blanket was a small knapsack, which she opened and rifled through before pulling out a small wirebound pouch that she handed to Mai.
Raising an eyebrow who glanced at her and then opened the pouch and reached inside. Before he’d even seen what lay piled within, he knew what they were. He quickly sealed the pouch again and handed it back to her, giving her a look somewhere between confusion and tempered amazement. After a few moments he spoke, “I’m gonna throw out a wild guess and say you tried to pay someone with these. Um, while you’re right, no one would accept those as payment, you could sell those to the right sorts of places for quite a hefty amount. There’s actually one not two blocks away from here. You’ll be able to buy a room and stay in it for a few months with what that fetches you, and that’s if you’re gonna live fancy.”
"Really?” The girl blinked in confusion. "But I only made enough to be able to afford food back home…” Her brow furrowed and she stared down at the pouch.
“Wait...you made these?”
Sophia nodded, “It’s one of the first pieces of magic we learn how to do. You… don’t?”
“Wow…. Well, that’s pretty wild. After we’ve got you situated and you’ve rested you’re gonna have to tell me a bit about where you come from. Sounds fascinating,” he sounded genuinely enthusiastic about the prospect. “Now, if you’d gather your things we can get you sleeping somewhere way more comfortable in, say, thirty minutes or less.”
In response to him saying he wanted to learn about where she came from, she simply nodded before beginning to gather up her blanket and other things and stuff them back into her pack.
Once she’d finished packing her things, Mairyell led her out of the warehouse and began the short trek to their first destination. On the way there he made a call with his cell, clearly informing the place of their arrival from the context of the conversation. Before arriving Mairyell had them stop at a corner store. He had her pick out a wallet, which he paid for before they headed to their true destination. About ten or so minutes later they arrived, the place having been a bit further than two blocks away. The transaction, once they’d entered the establishment, was rather quick, taking only a couple of minutes. When they left Sophia was effectively rich. About twenty or so minutes later they had made their way to a hotel and gotten her a nice, small, clean room, booked through the month.
The Hunter assured her she’d be plenty safe and secure in the hotel, before bidding her goodnight and heading out, giving her time to sleep and recover from the day. Of course, he only left after explaining room service and suggesting a few things from the menu for her to try. Then she was on her own for the night and much of the morning of the next day. It was at around 12:30 PM that she’d hear a knock at her door.
When she opened it, there Mairyell stood, his clothes cleaner and no longer mended. “Mornin’,” he said as he entered through the doorway after she’d stepped out of the way.
As he stepped through the door, he was able to see her knapsack situated on the small table beside her bed. Beyond that, there was a table against the far wall that had a plate with a half-eaten breakfast on it. Clearly, she had been in the middle of eating when he’d knocked on her door. Even still, she returned his greeting with a warm smile as she shut the door behind him.
Once the door was shut, she returned to her plate, seating herself at the table with one leg crossed over the other. Before she actually started eating again, she gestured for him to sit down. "Do you want anything? It’s the least I could do to thank you.”
“Naw, I already ate, but thanks,” he responded as he glanced around the room once more before taking a seat in one of the other chairs, but not before he turned it around to sit in it backwards, draping his arms over the top of it. “So, you enjoying the accommodations?” He asked with a small grin, which she may have started to realize was somewhat characteristic of him.
When he declined her offer for food, she frowned a little, but took a bite of the food sitting on the plate in front of her instead of dwelling on the small rejection. If he cared enough to look, he would be able to see that she was eating steak and eggs with a side of sour dough toast. “I like them. I really appreciate you helping me find this place. They have really good food.” Sophia spoke between chewing, trying not to talk with her mouth full.
“So, you wanted to know about where I come from, right? Was there anything specific you wanted to ask?” Sophia questioned the man sitting across from her, her head tilting to the side slightly as she looked up at him from beneath long brown lashes.
A subtle shift in Mairyell’s posture occurred as he leaned towards her slightly even as he glanced out the window, looking thoughtful. “Well, I’d ask what the women are like, but I can guess,” he glanced at her from the corner of his eye, grinning mischievously.
“That aside, hmm. You said creating vis crystals was one of the first magics you learned? What else do they teach you there and why’s the place so remote?” He looked back at her as he asked his questions, his expression becoming slightly more serious as he listened for her responses.
“Mm. I guess I’ll start with your second question first, since it’s a little more involved than the first.” She spoke with a soft smirk on her lips as she met his gaze. She placed her fork on the plate in front of her and leaned back in her chair, keeping their eyes locked. “Well, to start, I’m not an ordinary Human. My people are called Precursor Descendants. My particular line dates back to 3000 BC.” She started, explaining the long history of her family. There were some parts that she skipped, like Athriom, and a lot of their philosophy. But, once she had finished with the history lesson, she began to explain how their technology worked, and just why it was that they were taught how to make crystals before they were taught anything else. Following that, she explained how their physiology made them different than the current breed of Humans, and apologized for not covering that before the history.
“Now, on to your second question. Hm. Well, they taught us how to use our imprinted magic before anything else. It was really fun to learn, but I was pulled out of school shortly after mastering all of the imprinted spells I have.” She explained, and as she did, she began forming a small penrose triangle out of vis in her hands.
All throughout he remained serious, though clearly interested. His eyes did move slightly when she did, following her movements closely--though most of those minute shifts in his gaze would be undetectable to her. When she switched to her second response he sat up and glanced over as the vis construct formed. “Hmm, well that’s a lot to take in. That’s also some fine craftsmanship. My magic is a bit more messy,” he said with a bit of a chuckle. He looked at her for a few seconds and then turned his gaze out the window again, seeming as if he were deciding whether or not to say something.
After about fifteen seconds of deliberation he spoke, “I guess, in terms of society,” he began, looking at her again even as he nodded his head to indicate the bustling city, “...we’re both oddballs. I do mean that in the best way of course. I like different honestly, sure beats normal.” He chuckled a bit to himself before glancing back out the window.
As Mairyell spoke, Sophia listened, intently focused on the penrose triangle between her palms, though her eyes rested on his face. She smiled softly in response to most of what he said, setting down the completed work on the table once he’d finished speaking. “I dunno. Being odd isn’t always a good thing. It put some real distance between me and my eldest brother.” She paused for a moment, fidgeting uncomfortably in her chair. She didn’t know if she actually wanted to say the words out loud, now that she thought about it.
His gaze, once drifting between buildings and following cars, at the mention of siblings, seemed to become a bit more...lost. His gaze stopped following the goings on outside, locked on some unseen point in the distance, like he was somewhere far away...looking for something, or someone. After a few moments of slightly tense and akward silence he spoke, “I can understand that,” he said, forcing emotions down, burying them again. It was harder each time.
“You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to,” he said, and he looked at her again and smiled, far more understanding in the expression than there should have been. Understanding and...was that sadness?
She watched him as he spoke, her eyes searching his features. She scanned the small twitches of his mouth, the lines on his face. What she was looking for, however, seemed to elude her. “No… I think maybe it’s time I told someone. No one else in the compound knows. Or, if they do, they never told my father.” She began, taking a deep, steadying breath. “When I was ten years old, just before we were supposed to start learning how to fight with our magic, my big brother asked me if I wanted a private lesson.” She dared to keep eye contact as she spoke, “When I agreed, thinking I’d be able to get a headstart and help the other students, he took me out to the training grounds on the far side of the compound. Once we were there,” She paused, taking another breath. “Once we were there, he told me to prepare a stance. Whatever stance I wanted. Before I even got the chance to move, though, he shot me with a beam of electricity. Before he left me there to writhe all night, he said something I’ll never forget.” At this point she was blinking back tears, but other than that her emotions were imperceptible to the naked eye. “‘You are nothing.’”
Mairyell, when she decided to--if he was reading things right--bare a part of herself to him, stood up, turned his chair around, and then sat again, leaning back into it, hands in his pockets so his fidgeting wouldn’t be apparent. He listened intently, nodding occasionally so she knew he was really paying attention, his gaze level and serious as he held hers.
He noticed the tears, and he noticed even the tiny shifts in the muscles of her neck, of her face, the small differences in the position of her limbs and her general posture. His brow creased slightly and he took a deep breath with her before she finished.
He tried to speak, opening his mouth a bit, but didn’t managed it the first time. Then a thought came to mind and a steel came into his eyes, his expression relaxing slightly--no longer a frown. “Do you want to learn to fight?” He said.
At first, Sophia was confused. It was like she didn’t understand the question he’d asked. So, she sat in silence for several minutes before it finally dawned on her. Then, another few minutes passed as she thought about her answer. Finally, she nodded, “Very much.”
“I can teach you, but it won’t be fun and it won’t be easy. However, by the time I’m done with you, I can assure you’ll be able to go home and prove your brother wrong.” He smiled a bit as he said it, apparently liking the image a bit. Whatever brother treated their little sister like that deserved to be taught his place.
Almost immediately, she nodded again, “I’ll do whatever it takes.”
He smiled, “I bet you will. Now, got any plans for the day or would you like to see the city?”
She laughed, “You are the only person I’ve met here that didn’t laugh me down the street. No, I don’t have plans. I am at your disposal.”
“Let’s not get hasty now,” he said, getting serious for a moment, “...it’s just a day on the town, I’m not formally hiring you as my butler and trash disposal unit.” He looked at her, still serious as if there was something important about what he was saying, and he held it for about 20 seconds before laughing.
When he made his joke, Sophia immediately broke into laughter, even though his face was still serious. After she calmed down, she got up from the table, and with no shame whatsoever began to change out of her pajamas and into her normal clothes.
He threw up his arms, but didn’t cover his eyes right away, instead grinning, “I’m not sure if I should be turning around, covering my eyes, or staying right where I am and taking this to be a show just for me.” There was enough humor in his flirty comment to make it acceptable...just barely.
As Mairyell spoke, Sophia glanced over her shoulder at him, grinned, and then chuckled before pulling her camisole over her head.
He raised an eyebrow, and decided that he wouldn’t be looking away any time soon. A free show was a free show, and hey, the girl was hot.
After Sophia had finished changing, and Mairyell had finished enjoying her doing so, the two headed out on the town. Like many days that followed, the two had a good time together as he taught her a bit about the world she’d walked out into, the one she’d been missing while cooped up in the mountains for the whole of her life until a week ago.
Over the next 22 years a relationship would bud as he taught her how to fight, and survive. He showed her how to mold her spellwork into more combat oriented things. Her favorite was her bow and elemental arrows.
It wasn’t too surprising, to her, at least when she fell for him. But, before she could admit her feelings to him, one of her sisters found her in Ominar. They told her that Adrian was sick, and that she needed to return right away to take over as the Head of House Taeryn. There was a problem, however, in that, when her sister found her, she was in Mairyell’s bed.
It took everything she could muster to move without disturbing his rest. Once she was out of the bed, she wrote a note telling him what had happened, and where she was going. She made sure to let him know that she’d keep in touch, and would tell him know when she was coming back.
When she returned to the compound, she found that her sister had been telling the truth, and that Adrian was actually sick. It seemed as though he had some sort of ostium attacking disease. Because of this, Sophia spent the next ten years as the Head of House Taeryn. She did all that she could to make sure her father got better before leaving the compound again.
In those ten years, she sent letters to Mai almost every week catching him up on things at the compound. Never once did she tell him how she felt through her letters. She wanted to tell him in person. Even if he didn’t return the feelings, she had to tell him
Her father has been in control of the compound for the last 3 months, and has finally deemed her able to leave again. She awaits her reunion with Mai in anticipation.
Love interest / Partner
Rival / Enemy
Father - Alive - 640 years
Adrian and Sophia are as close as a father and daughter can be. He's there when she needs him, and though they disagree about how certain thing should be handled, they still care deeply for one another.
Mother - Missing/Dead - 70 years
Sophia only knows her mother through stories. Since she left when the girl was four years old, all she has is the stories her father tells of a wonderfully rebellious woman. She was a normal Human before Adrian activated her precursor Descendant DNA.
Brother - Alive - 600 years
Sophia looked up to Corin when she was younger. At least, until he attacked her with lightning under the guise of teaching her how to derend herself. Though she didn't rat him out, their relationship ha never mended.
Sister - Alive - 500 years
One of her teachers when she was in school. They don't have much of a relationship outside of being a Teacher and her student.
Brother - Alive - 400 years
Solomon took care of her when she was really young. He often read her bedtime stories when Adrian was too busy. However, once she started going to school, he stopped interacting with her much. She's not sure why.
Brother - Alive - 350 years
Nabriales was her magic instructor. Nabriales and Sophia have a close relationship, having maintained at least weekly contact for as long as they have been in Ominar. Nabriales recognises Sophia's extreme potential and is keen to continue to teach her magic as he did when they were children - but he realises that soon it will be her having to teach him. The pair work very well together, and always attempt to make time for one another at least once a week. Nabriales also gives Sophia the Family discount of 100% (which he doesn't do for any other member of his family).
Sister - Alive - 100 years
Naori was the family physician. Whenever anyone was sick or injured, Naori was who they went to. Sophia doesn't feel any particular way about her. She likes her eyes, though, thinks they're pretty.
Friend - Alive - 224 years
Her friend, and confidant. For the 22 years that she was in Ominar, he helped her learn how to use her imprinted magic to fight and defend herself. He showed her a world she'd never seen before.