Shamans In Love
About This Series :
This is a role-play between another author and I that we like to have fun with. We designed characters and used a fictional world we enjoy to set the scene. One of us types a bit of the story, then e-mails it to the other, who types a bit of a continuation, and so on and so forth. Here is the resulting published version.
I own nothing related to the original inspiration for this series. This is a fan-fiction role-play created by myself and distributed with no intent for financial gain.
There will be nudity, sex, gay stuff, kink/fetish acts, etc. Don't like it? Don't read it.
If you would like to reach me or the other author, it's very easy! We both have dedicated e-mail accounts AND have character roleplay tumblr's that you can follow us on!
[email protected] /// jasonbellaraux.tumblr.com
[email protected] /// vladstrelok.tumblr.com
Part 4 - The Confrontation
10 o'clock hit and Vlad's living quarters began to slowly power on. The 'window' display screens showed a sunrise and the small kitchen area came to life. Soon coffee was being made, and robotic arms emerged from access lines along the edge of the wall and ceiling and began making omelettes. R.I.T.A. recalled Vlad's revelation after his conversation with Jason and began deleting recipes, changing others, and downloading new ones from the hard-lined satellite link-up above ground to remove meat-inclusive recipes from the database, but keeping in ones containing eggs and milk, requiring further confirmation from Vlad of course. Either way she would know about Vlad's decision at breakfast. Just in case she also made a second dish of latkas and yams from the leftovers in the fridge, she knew Vlad would enjoy them. As an alternative to coffee, just in case for Jason, she also made smoothies out of the leftover fruit from the night before; she hated to see Vlad waste. Once breakfast was ready, R.I.T.A. allowed the alarm to begin to play, La Habanera from Carmen by Maria Callas, it was Vlad's favorite way to start the day.
Vlad stirred to smell the coffee just as it finished brewing. He also heard the opera as it began to play, he sat up and smiled, it was one of his favorites. He took his time to get up off of the rather uncomfortable floor, and then made his way over to the small bathroom, just across from the kitchen area. "Thank you Rita, let me shower and I'll come eat." he said aloud to no one in particular, knowing she was listening as she worked, even though she hadn't projected herself. He stepped into the small bathroom and over to the shower stall, turning the water on. The old plumbing, magic or no magic, meant that the water always took a minute to adjust but once it was ready he stepped into the stream and sighed happily. He washed himself slowly and ritualistically, as he always did, though today he was a bit more meticulous, going over every inch of his body to make sure not a speck of dirt could be found. When he finished he turned the water off and grabbed his towel, stepping out of the shower stall and began to dry himself off just as carefully as he had washed. He took this time to look himself over in the mirror, seeing the familiar face and frame. He was slight, not enough muscle for Michelangelo but not enough chub for Boucher. He was hairless, save for the top of his head, eyebrows, some peach fuzz on his butt, and the smallest amount of bush above his genitals as if proof of puberty was a requirement of the body and his had only wanted to scrape by. He admired his backside longer than anything else in the mirror, the angle of the shoulder, curve of the hip, shifting of the spine, tone of the calves, and of course the round, o-shape of his butt. He smiled, but being done and dry he tore himself away from the mirror, hung up his towel, and opened the door.
Realizing that not only was he not dressed, but that Jason was asleep on the couch while his dresser sat on the adjoining wall next to it, he was in a bit of a pickle. "Rita?" he asked aloud. "I'm not dressed, please don't look, but could you do me a favor, bring me my grey jeans, and the yellow shirt with the blue art deco squares on them, will you please? As well as clean нижнееш [underwear], if you don't mind."
R.I.T.A. replied, "Of course Vlad." as her arms moved along the tracks to the dresser, pulling out the clothes Vlad asked for, and carried them along to him at the bathroom door.
Vlad accepted the clothes from her gratefully, and re-entered the bathroom to dress. He put on a pair of white briefs and an A-frame undershirt, then his pair of slate grey jeans that hugged his backside, a bit too small for him but he liked the tightness it gave him in the backyard area, and a fairly colorful, splashy polo for himself, again a bit out of the norm, but he felt the desire to be loose and fun today. He figured after such a successful night he could maybe attract Jason's attention away from school and towards something a bit more fun and in Vlad's personal direction. Once ready he went over to where Jason slept and gently shook him awake. "Hey, it's time to get up. Rita has breakfast ready."
Jason opened his eyes as he awoke and blinked away the bleary sleep that clouded his vision to see Vlad standing in front of him dressed in a new outfit, more colorful and casual than the day before. He smiled and sat up, throwing the blanket aside and rubbing his eyes to help wake himself up. A dull pain on the back of his head led him to reach around behind him and feel that he had indeed slept with his ponytail up, which he quickly remedied by removing the ribbon. He took a deep breath, taking in a large portion of the moisture in the surrounding air and checking his energies; double-checking that his strange new surroundings hadn't done anything weird to him.
Vlad watched as Jason did this, feeling the sudden dryness as Jason inhaled, knowing he had done something to the internal atmosphere; making a mental note to himself to ask R.I.T.A. exactly what later, he looked on. He watched as Jason seemed to completely zone out for a while and, worried he fell back asleep sitting up, asked "Is there something wrong?"
Jason's eyes flew open and he smiled again. "No, I've just never spent this much time near this amount of metal and electricity and technology. I've heard of people who live side-by-side with such things their whole lives and never give it a second thought, but I honestly haven't had this kind of experience before, and I just wanted to make sure that I'm not getting sick from it or anything."
Vlad giggled at this for a moment. "I can understand why you'd be concerned, but these surroundings shouldn't have any effect on your physiology at all, much less an adverse one." He turned to the large screen across the room and spoke aloud. "Rita, do a quick scan for us please? Just to be safe?"
The screen flared to life, with R.I.T.A.'s face depicted. "Right away Vlad." A few moments of silence passed before R.I.T.A. spoke again. "Body temperature is at 37.7 Celsius, heart rate is 65 bpm, respiration is 14 bpm, and blood pressure is 110 over 75, all within normal healthy range. I could do a full biometrics scan as well if those results weren't satisfactory, but that would require a physical examination."
"No, thank you Rita, that's fine." Vlad turned back to face Jason. "See? Nothing to worry about."
Jason gave them both an inquisitive look and said "If all that meant that my body is healthy then yes I would agree, but-" Jason sighed and stood up, taking a moment to put away his ribbon, grab the headband he usually wore, and putting his dreadlocks back into order. "Let me show you." He walked over to the kitchen area and turned on the faucet to let the water run. He flew the water into the air, turned off the tap, and let the water dissipate into a fine mist. He willed the mist to surround him and move about in currents, flowing through the air around him.
Vlad watched intently as the mist formed pathways and whirled around Jason, transfixed as Vlad watched him use his magic to demonstrate.
"The Quintessence surrounds us all, connects us all, and is within us all." Jason's began speaking in the unique tone again. "It flows through all existence, certain things make those flows change in certain ways, and we as Mages can delve into those flows and alter them by pure force of will rather than simple happenstance." Jason spread his arms out and brought his hands closer together in front him, showing Vlad that the mist was moving differently in between his hands. "See? The energy reaches out to itself, tries to join back up with itself, so the energy not only wants to stay with myself, but also with itself. If I move the same energy out to you," Jason stepped forward, hands outstretched to Vlad, moving the mist tighter and closer towards his body, "it desires to keep away from other flows and keep its own flow strong or," and Jason moved the mist towards Vlad, causing a stream of mist to flow out from his hand towards Vlad's torso and begin to spread across his chest, "it desires to join back up with a certain other flow that it recognizes as beneficial to join, for whatever reason." Jason dropped his arms down, absorbed all of the mist, sighed, and smiled at Vlad. Jason spoke again, voice returned to normal; "I was only trying to make sure that all of this," Jason motioned noncommittally at his surroundings, "hadn't messed up my own energy flows. I don't know how my energy interacts with all this, so I just had to be sure." Jason turned around, grabbed a plate of food, and moved back to the couch to sit and eat.
Vlad, smiling wide the entire time, grabbed the other plate, two forks out of the drawer, and went to join him. He was excited to learn something new about magic, his parents hadn't taught him much, promising to when he had Awakened, but since that hadn't happened he decided to rely on the school, which up to this point hadn't delivered just yet. Vlad thought that maybe Jason would be willing to swap jobs and tutor him in magic since he was tutoring him in class. Vlad sat next to Jason and offered him a fork.
Jason accepted the fork from Vlad and began quickly eating, wanting to hurry to share the good news about his catching up in class.
Vlad was surprised to see how quickly Jason was eating and wondered what had him in such a rush, but shrugged and began to eat himself.
Jason finished eating a full ten minutes before Vlad did. The meal passed with no words between them, only the sound of each of them eating filled the room. At about the half way point through his food however Vlad turned the large screen in the living room.
“Rita, thank you for adjusting the menu.”
“You're welcome Vlad.” She replied.
He didn't need to thank her, but he liked to do it anyway. Vlad noticed as he was finishing up his meal that Jason was practically bouncing in his seat.
“What has you so excited?” Vlad asked, his curiosity finally reaching it boiling point.
“I'm pretty much caught up. I can finally show that professor that I take the history stuff seriously, even if it is on the boring side. Are you done yet? I wanna get to class.” Jason asked impatiently.
“Almost, I just have to get my bag packed up and we can head out.” Vlad said as he stood. He then took his dishes into the kitchen area and rinsed them off, setting them aside to wash later.
Once he was done in the kitchen he went to his small office space and packed his bag up. In it he stashed his laptop, and a few note books. One was for class, the other was for his observations about the people here at the academy; usually just things that he found interesting, or strange, and in a school like this, the book was pretty full already. He never knew when he was going to see something strange so he liked to be prepared. Lastly he placed a small data storage device into his backpack. His glasses were equipped with a camera in the frames that he used in class to record the lecture, but a transmitter powerful enough to signal into his home mainframe would be too bulky to wear, so he carried the extra drive to hold his videos until he could upload them.
Finally he stepped out of the office and looked at Jason; “Do we need to go to your place before we head to class?”
"Nope, you just need to get me out of this thing; I don't really know how to work your door." Jason chuckled as he gestured toward the vault door.
Vlad blushed and rushed over to the door, "Right, Rita de-activates the lock in my presence, so you simply grab the wheel and spin." Vlad gave the spoked wheel a few turns and pushed the door out into the entryway, revealing the shaft, ladder, and dumbwaiter. He stepped out and placed his bag into the chamber, closed the grate, and hit the switch. He poked his head back into the room and looked at Jason. "Are you coming?" he asked before saying "Goodbye Rita, I'll come back later, don't do the dishes while I'm gone, they're my mess, and I'll clean them."
Jason stood as Vlad spoke, walked towards the door, and stepped out into the little room. He again pressed himself up against the wall to allow Vlad to press up against him to give the door enough room to close.
Vlad did so, and while closing the door was able to feel Jason's breath on the back of his neck while they stood in such close proximity. He closed his eyes and imagined what it must feel like to be pressed up together like this naked. He let out a tiny sigh, letting himself relax slightly, imagining what it would be like to simply be naked with a man.
Jason's eyes widened as he heard Vlad sigh as the door was shutting, then his mouth fell open a little as Vlad arched his back and moved his hips to press his ass up against Jason's crotch, his spiky hair reaching up to tickle Jason’s nose. He turned his head and gave an audible little cough, hoping to relieve some of the tension.
Vlad snapped back to reality, the door already closed and sealed, his ass firmly pressed up against Jason, and a strong heat coming to his face, ears, and neck. He let out a groaning "дерьмооооо..." [shiiiiiit...] as he quickly removed himself from Jason and grabbed the ladder to begin climbing.
Vlad was a few rungs up the ladder before Jason grabbed him by the waist and pulled him off.
"What are you doing?!?!?" Vlad shrieked as he was snatched from the ladder.
Jason put Vlad back on the ground, let go of his hips and reached up for his face. He put his hands around Vlad's chin and neck, and locked eyes with him. "I never said stop." He then pushed Vlad up against the opposite wall, letting his hands fall down to Vlad's waist again, sliding one of his legs in-between Vlad's, and giving a meaningful thrust with his hips to ensure Vlad could feel his stiffening cock through his jeans. "I just think that we should finish our tutor-student relationship before we go off and get crazy throwing other feelings into the mix." Jason gave Vlad a little smile, and then he himself turned around and began to climb the ladder.
Vlad stood at the bottom of the shaft for a moment still a bit dumb-founded by what just happened.
Jason, having reached the top, leaned over the edge and called down to him. "Hey, you coming up?"
Vlad shook his head and called to him. "Y...yeah, I'm coming." He then began to ascend the ladder. Once he reached the top the two of them walked towards the classroom. Vlad remained awkwardly silent through the walk, and once they arrived to the class he hurried to the back of the classroom to take his usual seat.
* * *
Professor Eliade walked in and called for the class to settle down. Once the students did he began his lecture. Some of the material was still rather difficult for Jason to understand, but he found much of it now at least to make some sense.
Vlad however found himself having a difficult time of focusing on the lecture; his thoughts kept returning to his doorway, and the moment he shared with Jason. The tight pants he had decided to wear today were becoming increasingly uncomfortable. Then, his thoughts where suddenly interrupted.
"Mr. Strelok!" Professor Eliade quipped.
"Huh? What?" Vlad stammered back at him.
"Mr. Strelok, can you tell me who re-organized the Order of Reason at the Great Exposition in London and why?" he asked.
"Umm...well... yes, it was Prince Albert, re-organizing the faltering post-Renaissance Order of Reason into the Technocratic Union, what we know today to be the Technocracy, developing the guild of artificers known as the International Brotherhood of Mechanicians hoping to create automatons capable of wiping out Mages under the, as we now know to be incorrect, assumption that we would be unable to defend ourselves against them."
"A fine answer, then what happened?" he looked at Vlad expectantly.
"I... I don't know." Vlad blushed and sunk in his chair.
"You don't know because you aren't paying attention, we went over the artificers last class, do try to focus Mr. Strelok." Professor Eliade turned around and continued with his lecture.
By the end of the hour when class ended Vlad was very glad that he had his glasses to revisit the lecture. The class began to file out and as Vlad went to leave, Professor Eliade called him up to his desk.
"You seemed very distracted today Vlad. Are you feeling alright?"
"Yes, Sir. I was just up late last night with helping with Jason. We made a lot of progress and you'll be happy to know that he is mostly caught up with the class. We finished the Renaissance, and I think with a few tips on note-taking and an explanation of the jump to 1851 with the Great Exposition, he can take it up himself pretty well."
Professor Eliade sighed. "Well I'm glad that you've been able to help him, but you can't neglect your own well-being and let it affect your studies."
"Yes sir." Vlad says, slightly bowing before heading out of the room.
Once in the hallway, he looked quickly around for Jason; spotting him leaning up against the stone wall at an intersection of hallways. Vlad stepped up behind him, grabbed his hand, and started dragging him along to the cafeteria.
"Hey, what's going on?" Jason asked, fumbling to keep up with Vlad's quick pace.
"Nothing... I just wanna finish up our work and get you on the right track to keep up in class on your own." he sighed and stopped, still clutching Jason's hand. "I totally messed up today when I shouldn't have."
Jason put his other hand over Vlad's, attempting to comfort him. "Wait, didn't you get the question he asked you right?"
"Yeah, but it was only because it was the previous day's material. I totally blanked on today, Jason, and these are the things I have to know. I can't disappoint my parents by failing the one thing they've allowed me to do." Vlad dropped Jason's hand and ran his fingers through his hair, exasperated.
"Maybe, but man you have got to relax. It was one little question, no test or anything like that; so no big deal right?" Jason slapped him playfully on the back and headed through the archway into the cafeteria.
Vlad followed and, seeing that the cafeteria was blissfully empty, let out a heavy sigh and collapsed into an empty seat. "Maybe you're right. I just don't really know how to relax; I spend almost every waking moment working on one project or another, or researching this topic or that magic." Vlad finally put his head onto the table, groaning.
After a few moments of silence, Vlad sighed and sat up straight, then stood up altogether. "Come on, let's get grab some lunch and then set up a meeting with your mentor. We've done a lot of work, but we've only told the professor, right? You don't have some kind of telepathic communication with him that I don't know about? I know some Mages more focused on Mind that are in the Celestial Chorus find it pretty handy, I wonder if Dreamspeakers hold the same notion..." Vlad trailed off, walking away from Jason and toward the food, lost in thought, not really about the telepathy, but more about the possibility about making a friend along the way.
Jason chuckled as Vlad wandered off, lost in thought. He stood up from the chair, quickly stepped up behind him, threw his arms around his chest, and shouted "Hold on!"
Vlad gasped as they fell through the floor.
* * *
Jason held on tight to Vlad, holding him close to his own body, never having done this with another person before. He concentrated almost completely on controlling the density of the stone around them, still paying attention to holding onto Vlad, as he had probably never done this before and was probably going to struggle.
Vlad opened his mouth, but couldn't will anything to come out. He knew that Jason was behind him, but everything was pitch-black, Jason had his arms wrapped tightly around him, and worst of all he was unable to breathe. Just as he adjusted himself to elbow Jason in the ribs, Jason loosened his arms and Vlad began gasping for air.
Jason chuckled behind him, letting Vlad go and stepping backwards on the water, ensuring the entire surface was solid enough for them to walk across without problems, and waited for Vlad to get his bearings.
Vlad fell to his knees on some sort of container of goo, like a plastic bag full of pudding; but he wasn't quite sure what it was. He pressed a button on his wristwatch and an LED torch flared to life, he flipped his wrist over, aiming the light downwards onto the object he was kneeling on. His eyes opened wide when he saw his light shine not down onto the object, but through and into it. He was kneeling on water: deep, clear water. He gasped as the light from his watch began to dim as the water itself began to shine with light. He stood up and turned around to face Jason, who had a huge grin on his face.
"Sorry about the sudden transportation, I figured this would be a fun surprise." Jason said as he motioned around.
Vlad bounced up and down on the water, testing its solidity. Satisfied, he stood up and re-adjusted his glasses and turned off his watch now that the water was giving off enough light to comfortably see by. He looked around and realized that they must be in some sort of underground cavern, complete with dripping stone walls and stalactites beginning to form from the ceiling. He began to smile wide, taking in all of the natural beauty that the cavern had to offer.
Jason chuckled and said, "Yeah, it's beautiful in here. Don't worry, we're safe here. It's safe to breathe and to walk around."
Vlad looked down and studied the water momentarily. "You pulled out excess oxygen from the water, changed the density of the liquid, at least at the surface to ensure that it was easy to walk on, and made a portion of the bacteria in the water bio-luminescent?" Vlad jumped up and down again, realizing that rather than a 'bag of pudding' like he had referred to it earlier, it felt more like a waterbed.
Jason chuckled, and said "Not quite, I did change the air and stiffen the water, but just making some of the Quintessence a bit brighter makes it glow enough to see everything else in the room. I see what's in the water easiest right now; I'm still learning to see it completely."
Vlad nodded, noting to look into the visibility of the Quintessence privately later on. "So, why are we down here?"
Jason stepped up to Vlad, and offered a hand out to him. "I have to use a natural body of water to get to my mentor's house, I haven't figured out how to get there without one yet."
Vlad smiled again and took Jason's hand. "Didn't you teleport us down here? How did we get down?"
Jason pulled Vlad in close, this time facing him and looking him in the eye as he wrapped his arms tightly around the boy. "I made the ground softer, and we fell through it, this is right below the school, not that hard to get to. Also, I hope everything you're wearing is waterproof."
Vlad's eyes widened, he nodded, shut his eyes tight, and took a deep breath as the surface tension of the water beneath them broke and they plunged into the water below. Moments later, Vlad felt a tingling all over him as his feet finally found solid ground under him.
Jason chuckled, let go of Vlad, and stepped up onto the shore of the pond. "You can open your eyes now, and breathe!"
Vlad let out a breath as he opened his eyes. He stood on the edge of a large pond, his shoes just barely in the water, yet the rest of him had remained completely dry. He stepped up onto the grassy area and looked around. They were surrounded by dogwood, cottonwood, and willow trees on all sides in some sort of swamp forest. The flora showed Vlad that they were somewhere in the American SouthEast, but there was something strange about the place. In one direction, the trees had heavy-hanging branches full of leaves, in another, they were lighter and in bloom, another direction the trees were barren and the ground covered in frost, and finally one direction held the trees that bore reddish brown leaves, with more covering the ground. Vlad checked his watch and understood that each direction corresponded with a season of the trees; North was Winter, East was Spring, South was Summer, and to the West was Autumn. Seated between the pond and the autumn tree line was a manor, Vlad identified it as a plantation house, a large two-story manor with a wrap-around porch and balcony supported by original, but possibly restored, pre-1830 French-Colonial columns. He also noticed that the house was somewhat in a state of disrepair; the moss was collecting thickly on the edges of the roof, porch, and balcony, the paint was faded and chipping, and there wasn't an established walkway or path in any direction, just wild growth everywhere. The house was holding its own, but Vlad could see that nature would eventually win out and take it back as they stepped up onto the creaky, splitting stairs up onto the porch.
Jason walked up to the front double doors of the manor and touched the door handle, sending a soft message to his mentor within that he was there. He knew that knocking could interrupt something important, and was not yet invited to enter whenever he desired, so this was his way of asking to enter.
Several long moments passed, and Vlad tapped Jason on the shoulder, and gave him a quizzical look.
Jason did not turn around, but simply stood and waited for the door to open, which it soon did, bursting outward nearly knocking the two of them down had Jason not stepped quickly back, pushing Vlad further back as well.
A large, grizzly, Viking-looking older man threw his arms wide and yelled in a booming voice "COMPANY!" He whooped and laughed as he ran up and grabbed the two, picked them up, and swung them around.
Vlad stiffened up at the personal invasion, thinking it to be rather forward and strange, especially considering the man was soaking wet.
"Magnus! Put us down, come on, no fair!" Jason struggled and flailed until he was set down. He sighed and turned to Vlad. "Vlad, this is Magnus, my mentor, The West Wind. Magnus, this is Vlad, the tutor I was assigned for that history class."
Vlad turned to face Magnus, and got a better look at him. Vlad couldn't help but see that the man was mostly nude, with no shoes, no shirt, and only a very tattered pair of shorts on; nothing was really left to the imagination about him. Magnus was quite large in stature, with pale skin, and had a rather muscular build. His hair and beard were long and shaggy, a mix of white and grey, and the slight wrinkling to his weathered face and hands belied his age to be in the late 40s. Vlad nodded at him and smiled sheepishly, already feeling very personal for having been picked up and swung around by the man.
Magnus' smile simply widened, and he ushered the two inside. "Come in, come in, you've come at a great time; we've just been discussing some things." Magnus led the two through the main hall and to the left into the sitting room, where three others were reclining around the room.
Vlad had now confirmed that the manor was in fairly poor shape, with tilting stairs in the main hall, threadbare carpets on the floor, and peeling wallpaper making the once fine mansion appear dilapidated and abandoned. Looking around the sitting room was no different; there was minimal furniture, just round area rug, a falling-apart sofa and couch, a rickety rocking chair, and a barely-lit fire in the fireplace. No paintings or pictures, no extra cabinets or dressers, it felt rather cold and empty. Vlad's attention was almost immediately shifted as he began to study the people in the room, however. Sitting on the floor, in the middle of the rug, was a filthy-looking man with dark brown skin almost like burnt umber, close-cropped brown hair, and a lean frame who looked to be in his early 30s picking at loose threads in the carpet wearing a pair of drawstring pants and no shirt. Near the wall, behind fluttering white curtains was a tall thin woman with pale white skin with a touch of pink in her face and long curly platinum blonde hair, seemingly in her late 30s; staring out the window wearing a dress that seemed to match the curtains, white and flowing and rather sheer. Finally, what shocked him the most was a woman sitting not only near the fireplace, but rather in it, poking at the coals with her feet. She was a small, young woman, about the same age as Jason he would guess, barely 20 years old, with dark brown almost black skin with an ashy grey color covering her hands, feet, forearms, and calves; probably from the fire Vlad assumed. She had extremely short shaved blonde hair and was wearing a halter top and skirt that looked to be burnt, probably from sticking too close to the fire.
The three turned to look at Jason, Magnus, and Vlad who had just walked through the door.
Magnus spread his arms wide again, gesturing to each individual as he spoke. "Vlad, this is Eva." he said as the woman by the curtains turned to look at him, then turned back to look out the window again. "That's Nina." the woman poking at the fire raises a hand up, not stopping to turn around, and lowers it back down again. "And this one is Sage." he walked towards the man sitting on the carpet who looked up and frowned.
"Magnus, we were right in the middle of something. Couldn't this wait?" said Sage as he stood and crossed his arms, barely hiding the glare he was shooting at Vlad and Jason.
Jason stepped up next to Magnus and said "I'm sorry, I know I'm interrupting." He turned to Magnus and continued, "Vladimir here has helped me catch up in class, we're working tonight to help me figure out how to focus and take better notes from now on. I just thought I'd give you an update in person." Jason turned away from them, and began to walk out the door.
"Oh stop," said Magnus as he stepped around Vlad and put a hand on Jason's shoulder. "I appreciate you coming here and introducing him to me. Vladimir," he said as he turned and reached out his damp hand. "Good to meet you, and thank you for helping Jason out."
Vlad reached out and shook Magnus' hand, feeling dwarfed by the size difference and uncomfortable with the wetness. "V-Vlad sir, please, just Vlad."
Jason turned around and smiled at Vlad before putting his hand on Vlad's shoulder. "We will be leaving now, thanks for your time." He led Vlad back around and out the front door, hopping down the steps and headed briskly towards the pond again.
As Jason took hold of Vlad to teleport them home Vlad placed a hand on his chest.
“Hold on. I wanna take some readings...if that's okay.”
“I don't know what information you would find, this is a place between worlds, balanced in both our world and the Umbra..." his tone changing again before he paused. He sighed and continued, "Just don't take down the location." He stepped back to let Vlad work.
Vlad turned to look at each of the directions and pointed his watch. A faint blue light traced its' way up and down the band collecting data. Once all four of the directions had been scanned he then focused on the house, the center of this anomaly. The watch having finally finished its' analysis made a soft 'beep' sound, and Vlad transferred the data up to his glasses, ensuring to delete any data that had to deal with geographic location.
“All right, I'm ready to go.” Vlad said as he stepped up to Jason once more, their feet just barely in the water. Vlad wrapped his arms around Jason's waist and took a deep breath. The sinking sensation returned as Jason began to teleport them back.
* * *
This time, Vlad found it rather enjoyable now that he knew it was coming. When they resurfaced they were in one of the magical gardens near the residential part of the school, where Mages who worked with nature practiced growing things, simulating natural weather occurrences, there was even an illusory sky and sun.
The sun was just beginning to touch the western horizon, making it late in the day. Even though he knew they were underground and this was all just magical illusions, Vlad still found the sight to be quiet beautiful. Jason had started to walk towards one of the larger trees to the northern side of the cavern; but, wanting to share the moment; Vlad reached out and grabbed his arm again.
“Let's watch the sunset, it's so beautiful.” Vlad said as he sat on the grass to watch.
“Sure, I don't see why not.” Jason said seeing the happiness in Vlad's eyes as he gazed into the sun.
As the sun began to disappear Vlad found himself slowly scooting closer and closer to Jason. Hoping that Jason would wrap his arm around his shoulder or something like that. Eventually, right as the widest part of the sun dipped below the horizon Vlad got his wish. Jason stretched his arms out and arched his back, but as his stretch came to an end he wrapped his right arm around Vlad's shoulder and pulled him in close.
“Jason...” Vlad whispered softly, not wanting to disturb the scene.
“Yes?” Jason asked looking down at him.
“Will you tell me more about Quintessence, and magic?” Vlad asked after pausing for a moment.
Jason dropped his arm, and pulled his own knees in close. "Well, what do you want to know?"
Vlad takes a similar pose and looks over at Jason.
"Well, how does it work? Do you channel it? Is it just a part of you? I don't have any real experience with magic so I just have a difficult time understanding it."
"Well, both. The Quintessence is a part of everything, but magic is when we change how it flows and works to fit our desires. We all feel the Quintessence in our own ways, and can alter it in different ways, so we gather in similar groups, just because it helps build a sense of community where we all have a small innate understanding of each other's experiences with magic. Take the Four Winds for example; we act as go-betweens for Mages here on the material plane to get closer to the Umbra, ambassadors if you will. Because we are so much closer to the Umbra than most, we are pretty much loners; but there at the house, the heads meet up yes for strategy and policy meetings, but because it's also nice to share a time and space with others who understand the work involved with such a position in the world. Magnus and Sage are known to go off on cultural expeditions just to take a break from it all, simply because they enjoy each other. He gets along better with Nina than he does Eva because they have more in common with the way they do magic, even though their specialties are so polar opposite. Does that make any more sense? "Jason lay back onto the ground, letting one leg fall straight while the other he kept up, watching the sky darken around his knee.
"It does to some degree I guess. Magic is such a strange thing to me. For some reason I have so much difficulty grasping it, while everyone around me seems to flow into it so easily. Its' kind of like me trying to explain the details of my computers to you or some of the other students who don't have that much experience with tech. I mean...I've noticed how people stare at me in class, with all my odd gizmos and gadgets." Vlad explains as he gazes at the sunset, and the magic stars beginning to twinkle across the cavern ceiling. "You know.... I think this is my favorite part of the day. The sky is so rich with color and everything seems so quiet as the creatures of the day begin to lay down for their rest, and the creatures of the night are slowly beginning to stir. I've even heard rumors that sunset is the time in which we are closest to the "spiritual" world, which I guess is what you call the Umbra. I don't know if it is true or not, but it's a common belief in my country, and it sort of comforts me to some degree."
Jason rolled over onto him stomach, laid his head sideways atop crossed arms, and looked at Vlad. "Has anyone ever explained the Awakening to you?"
Vlad lies on his back, his hands behind his head as he looks up at the stars.
"No...Not really. I've been told it happens at different times with every mage, but other than that I know nothing about it. Can I ask you what yours was like? Or is that getting to personal?"
Jason sighed and began to speak. "That's extremely personal, more personal than most people ever get with someone. Most people never share it, I've only met two people who had ever shared their experiences with each other and that's because they were twins, and had apparently experienced most of it together anyway. It's like a sudden and shocking realization of the world around you. The vaguely odd feelings of Quintessence activity become full-blown awareness of the ebb and flow of it all around you, and beyond that a new understanding of how you interact and even possibly alter that ebb and flow. For me, I..." Jason trailed off, and sighed.
"I didn't realize it was so personal. You don't have to share any details with me if you don't want to. I...was just curious. I always am."
Vlad whispers just loud enough for Jason to hear. He takes one last look at the sun, now barely over the horizon line and with a sigh he stands up and offers Jason his hand. "Time to get going. We should probably be headed to bed soon."
Jason grabs Vlad's hand and pulls him back down. "Not just yet, we have time to watch the stars." He says as he sits up next to where Vlad sat down again.
The two watched the stars begin to twinkle brightly, guiding the way for the smaller, dimmer ones to shine their way through the thick blanket of night.
* * *
Once all traces of sunlight was gone, and the stars were twinkling strong alongside the chirps and twitters of the creatures coming out to play; Jason let out a heavy sigh and stood up, this time offering Vlad a hand. "Come on up, and lead the way."
"Don't you want your lesson for tonight?" Vlad ask as he accepts the hand from Jason and stands.
Jason laughed and said "I appreciate the offer but I think I can attempt to take notes and pay attention for myself. Let's go eat." Jason held onto Vlad's hand and guided him out of the garden, and around the corner towards the general direction of Vlad's home.
Vlad smiles and takes the lead, heading along the stone halls in the direction of his submarine entry shaft. "So what you find most difficult about note taking?"
"The note-taking isn't difficult it's caring really. Until the other night when you say me down and went over it all in a shorter way, I started to understand how it could help us get what the other side does, how the Technocracy thinks, and how to learn from the mistakes of the past."
Vlad and Jason stopped in front of Vlad's door.
Vlad dropped Jason's hand and opened the door, yet again revealing the stone wall behind it.
Vlad pressed his hand up against the wall, and the blue light flared to life, moving across his hand as he spoke aloud "Vladimir Strelok."
R.I.T.A.'s familiar voice was heard to say "Welcome back Vlad." as the stone wall slid away, the electric light flared on, and the ladder shaft was revealed.
Staring down the ladder shaft that lead to his home, Vlad sighed softly and set his pack on the dumbwaiter but did not send it down yet, figuring Jason would want to use it as well. He then began his slow careful climb down the ladder.
Jason waited patiently at the top of the ladder, as Vlad reached the bottom and hit the button to call the dumbwaiter. The door next to him closed and he could hear the mechanical whirring sounds through the wall that belied the moving parts used to carry Vlad's belongings, and then the ding sound announcing that the dumbwaiter had completed its journey.
Vlad grabbed his pack out of the dumbwaiter at the bottom, looked up at Jason, and said "Are you coming?"
Jason smiled and looked down. "You know, every time we get down there, it's always a tight fit. Why don't you open the door now, and then I'll climb down and join you?"
"Oh...yeah I guess that would make things a bit easier." Vlad said; a hint of disappointment coloring his voice as he had enjoyed their earlier contact. He spun the wheel and opened the large door to his home and stepped just inside of the door frame to wait.
"All right, all set down here." Vlad called up to Jason, then turned his head over his shoulder and called to R.I.T.A. "Rita, would you mind starting dinner please. It's rather late and neither of us have eaten yet."
"Of course Vlad." R.I.T.A. said as she moved her mechanical arms along the track on the wall over to kitchen area and set to work re-warming leftovers from the breakfast she had served them.
Jason climbed down the ladder, turned to smile at Vlad, then stepped in past him as Vlad closed the door and spun the wheel again to seal it.
* * *
Jason walked over to the couch and sat down with a sigh. He closed his eyes and lay his head back against the cushions as he spoke aloud. "Rita? Is it possible for you to cook and do some research?"
R.I.T.A.'s hologram flared to life over the table, this time emulating an entire body rather than a floating head. She was of course beautiful, and again so similar to Rita Hayworth it was uncanny, with her slight frame, fair skin, and great smile it was easy to tell who she was modelled after. R.I.T.A. was wearing a casual outfit, a high pant, belt, simple blouse, and a flat sandal. Her clothes and body were did have color, but were still slightly transparent, proving her to still be the hologram she was. "Of course I can perform multiple tasks simultaneously with ease. What would you like to know?"
"Does the school have records you can access?" Jason asked, still not lifting his head or opening his eyes.
"Of course, are you looking for anything in particular?" she said as virtual books and folders began appearing on the table.
Vlad, grasping the idea of what Jason was doing, walked over in front of the table and sat down next to Jason on the couch. "Rita, search for anything relating to the actual experience of the Awakening, preferably with firsthand accounts included."
The image of R.I.T.A. began to go through the files as if she were reaching into invisible filing cabinets physically touching them. She was pulling this file or that file seemingly out of midair and setting them in a large holographic stack on the table, and ending up with a rather decently sized pile. "I have pulled everything the school has pertaining to the phenomenon known as 'Awakening', however found nothing that specifically detailed the exact experience of it. Keep in mind though that they still have a rather large physical collection that has not been transferred to a digital archive."
Vlad sighed and waved a hand through the paper stack hologram, making them disappear. "I'm sorry Rita I don't mean to be rude but that just wasn't what I was looking for. Thank you for your help anyway."
"Of course Vlad." Rita stepped away from the coffee table, turning back to watch over the food.
Jason stood and walked over next to the door, leaning up against the wall, and sighed. "Rita, do you have any ideas as to why Vlad hasn't Awakened yet? They say that the Quintessence has a way of manifesting itself directly into the path of a destined Mage's life, revealing to them the true life they were meant to lead at just the right moment in their lives. Some Mages even spend their entire lives trying to figure out how to alter the Quintessence to do that for the many Sleepers still out there, trying to better the lives of everyone by revealing to them the truth about the world around them and those that exist within it. Why don't you explain to Vlad exactly why you think that didn't happen to him." Jason shot a sideways look at R.I.T.A., whose holographic self had turned away from the stove to face Jason.
"There are a variety of reasons why this could be young master Jason. Would you like me to pull up the information for you?" R.I.T.A. asked before turning to face the stove once more.
"Actually Rita that does sound interesting, will you send the files to my office?" Vlad asked as he finally collapsed onto the couch. He reached down and untied his shoes, setting them neatly in between the couch and the coffee table.
Jason sighed and chuckled derisively. "No, that's not what I mean. Vlad, there was a moment in your life, an important one, when things changed, things shifted. For you, it was so subtle you didn't even recognize it. It isn't supposed to be subtle, it's supposed to be dramatic, big, clearly life-changing; but yours wasn't. Your moment wasn't big and grand and life-changing; because someone stepped in and screwed it up, your moment."
Vlad turned to face him, he looked confused and his face was even showing a hint of disappointment.
"What do you mean someone stepped in? Like someone has taken my ability to be a Mage?" Vlad asked, his voice becoming tinged with worry and fear. He leaned forward on the couch, no longer relaxing. His eyes darted left and right as he raced through his own memories, trying to find the moment Jason was speaking of.
"You should still be able to become a Mage, but you have been lied to, by-" Jason stopped midsentence as R.I.T.A.s mechanical arms swung over across the room and slammed Jason up against the wall.
Vlad jumped up and shouted "RITA?!?! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!"
R.I.T.A.s arms pinned Jason tightly against the wall as her holographic body stalked over to him, much larger than she was before, looming over Jason with an inhuman glow crackling along her body. Her face was full of rage, and she was glaring daggers at Jason. "You have NO RIGHT! Absolutely no right to say another word! You don't know what we've been through, what we've had to endure!"
Jason looked R.I.T.A. dead in the eye right back, not even flinching as the raging hologram drew closer to him, growing larger and wilder by the second.
"I am his protector, I am his only company, I AM HIS MOTHER!!!" R.I.T.A. was directly in front of Jason now, still staring him down.
Vlad ran into his office and punched a few keys on his console setup. There was an audible whirring noise as everything in the living quarters powered down and the entire place went pitch-black.
* * *
In the other room, Jason was now free from the arms of R.I.T.A. so he slowly raised an outstretched hand into the darkness and began to create light in the air. A soft, bluish glow began to speckle the room, making the soft outlines of objects visible.
Vlad walked back into the room, mouth agape. He looked around shocked at what had just transpired. When he had finally collected himself, he said "какого черта?" [What the heck?]
Jason sighed and dropped his hand. "Rita? Come on out, I know, so Vlad might as well too."
A new glow, this one a yellowish-green, coalescing in a person-shaped aura. Just then, a transparent woman appeared amidst the aura, floating in the air an inch or two off the ground. She an older woman, probably in her late 40s, with pale skin, and was dressed in an old-fashioned dressing gown, with long straight brown hair, and a round face twisted in anger as she glared at Jason. She slowly floated down to the ground and landed with a soft pat sound as her bare feet solidly hit the floor, as the rest of her body followed suit, corporealizing her form. Her face softened, and she turned towards Vlad and said "I'm sorry."
Vlad stood in place, his expression one of shock. Then, he slowly raised his hand up and carefully began to walk towards Rita. He reached her, and his hand softly touched her face.
"You... You're real?" He asked her as he stepped around behind her, looking around the room to see if this was an elaborate trick.
"Rita... How... How is this possible?" He turned to look at Jason, then back to Rita, searching their faces for an answer. His gaze switched back and forth between the two as he waited for either of them to answer his question.
Jason stayed where he was, but raised his gaze to meet Vlad's. As Vlad shifted his gaze back to Rita, so did Jason. Jason sighed and said "Vlad, Rita is real, and it is very possible for her to be real, but she isn't your mother. She's a little confused, she hasn't been corporeal for a long time, have you Rita?" Jason asked as he looked back at her.
Rita sighed heavily and fell to her knees on the floor. She put her face in her hands and began to cry. Her hair moved to hide most of her neck and the hands that covered her face, but her shaking shoulders and occasional gasping sob led on to how upset she was.
Vlad knelt down in between Rita and Jason and placed a comforting hand on Rita's back. "I... I don't understand."
Jason crouched down to try and make the two feel more comfortable before he began. "Rita is a ghost, a being whose spiritual being has remained on the material place rather than pass on when their physical body perished." Jason's voice once again took on that mysterious tone. "Some Mages believe that ghosts are not proper beings, but rather echoes left on the material plane by the passing on of a burdened soul. They believe that these ghosts can only mimic consciousness, and can sometimes even recall memories of their mortal existence; but they don't consider ghosts to have a true 'life' of their own. Most Mages therefore have no qualms about using ghosts for their own ends."
Jason stood again and walked over to the couch and sat down before he began again. "It's my belief that Rita here, echo or being, is a ghost that was used by a Mage who was trying to create a more realistic assistant for themselves. She was bound to this technology and it was abandoned. Why was it abandoned? Why did she think she was your mother? Why did her appearance change when she was an image? These are questions only she can answer for you. The most important one of course being, what exactly did she think she was doing by not revealing herself to you, subsequently stunting your growth as a Mage and delaying your Awakening?"
"I... I didn't mean to harm him." Rita said as she lifted her face out of her hands and turned to look at Jason. "I was put into that device by a subordinate of Vlad's father. We had made a deal; because I am bound to this plane and can't move on, so this way I was at least making myself useful. Then, for some reason, I was no longer necessary. I..." Rita's voice broke with a small sob, and she took a deep breath in before she continued. "I was so happy the day Vlad found me. As for my appearance... I used the holographic projection matrix to assume the most pleasing form I found first, which was from the poster Vlad had on the wall when we first met." She gestured towards the movie poster Vlad had framed on the wall. "A quick search for image references for Rita Hayworth granted me plenty of material to work with for reference. I introduced myself as Rita, because it was easier, and Vlad came up with the acronym." She then turned to look Vlad in the eye. "You thought you were just editing my program to improve my capabilities, but you were also, at the same time, actually changing the magic the controlled my manifestation." Rita dropped her face into her hands again and began to cry once more.
Vlad put his other arm around her and continued to comfort her.
After several long quiet minutes, he finally spoke up. "Are you happy with me?"
Rita stopped shaking for a moment, sniffled, and said "Yes... Yes I am."
Vlad sighed. "Good, then I don't care what happened in the past. I'd like you to stay, if you like. I would be happy to have you around as long as you want."
Jason cleared his throat and spoke up. "The 'mother' thing was most likely an old memory of Rita being a mother when she was alive, surfacing because she was upset, and she just got confused."
Vlad stood up and faced Jason. "A latent memory pattern not fully recovered from her previous form. It was very possible that Rita here was once a mother, and her protectiveness towards me coincided with the protectiveness she once gave her own children; it's actually pretty logical."
Rita stood up as well, wiping the tears from her face as she did. "Okay, I'm ready to do this." She once again floated into the air, her body once more becoming incorporeal, the greenish-yellow aura becoming larger and stronger as her form faded away.
Vlad turned and walked back into his office. He connected his wristwatch up to the main console under his desk, and punched in the security code on the face of his watch. The main console and one screen flared to life, prompting Vlad for a confirmation of the command. Vlad once again entered the security code, this time on the keyboard connected to his setup, and leaned back as he watched his quarters power back on. He waited for a few moments, and then stood up and turned around to go back into the other room.
R.I.T.A. was a projection once again, and had chosen to return to her usual holographic depiction of Rita Hayworth. She motioned toward the couch and said "Vlad, please, lie down."
Vlad shot a quizzical look at Jason, who only nodded; and walked over to the sofa to lay down.
R.I.T.A.'s holographic self stepped over to Vlad, and sat on the coffee table, which flared to life as she touched it. Programming data flew across every surface of the table, running toward and away from where R.I.T.A. was coming into contact with the table. She held out her hands, one over Vlad's forehead, and the other over his wristwatch. "Take a deep breath."
Vlad slowly breathed in just as R.I.T.A. placed her hands on his watch and forehead, and he slowly breathed out as everything went black.
If you would like to reach me or the other author, it's very easy! We both have dedicated e-mail accounts AND have character roleplay tumblr's that you can follow us on!
[email protected] /// jasonbellaraux.tumblr.com
[email protected] /// vladstrelok.tumblr.com