|The War of Wishes
Author: CortseaM PM
A young teen. A normal life. An unexpected event. Thrust into a battlefield of shadows and blood. A hidden war waged in our very own modern society. Be it magic, technology, or religion: all things have a place in war.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy - Chapters: 38 - Words: 121,151 - Reviews: 29 - Favs: 20 - Follows: 11 - Updated: 08-22-11 - Published: 06-25-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2821738
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Blithe General Hospital Head Office: Second Floor
What was important to note, of course, was what was behind the heart of the just-stabbed Mark Chen.
Rena's sword, piercing Mark's body to the utmost, had also pierced the right shoulder of Dave Roland.
Cleanly right through. An impossible feat for a normal girl or a normal sword. A sword cut, stabbing through a person's body, dislocated and removed Dave Roland's right arm.
"AHHHRHHGH!" A scream of shock and pain. Or perhaps not so much pain. After all, the human mind and 'perception of touch' is based on a collection of nerves known as the 'nervous system.' If all nerves are simultaneously severed in one go, would that create the feeling of intense pain? Or would it merely be no feeling at all?
Either, it's got to be a shock to see your recently severed arm on the floor, pooled in your own blood.
In another split second, Rena removes her sword from the bodies it pierced. Mark falls to the floor, blood quickly pooling from the wound in his chest. For all intents and purposes, his death is assured. Dave Roland clutches the stump where his right arm had once been, still recovering from the shock.
"You crazy bitch!" Xenos, having witnessed an absolutely illogical scene, grabs for his spear.
Unfortunately from him, he is far too late. In the office's confined space, it takes Rena less than a second to go from Roland to Xenos. The close distance between them almost completely seals off Xenos' offensive capabilities, especially with one of his hands still on Lita's shoulder.
An instant and a cut. Xenos' arm, which had been holding Lita captive, falls to the floor.
Not even giving him a chance to respond, Rena's sword flows effortlessly. The hand holding onto the spear is severed also.
In just 20 seconds, the entire situation had been reversed. Rena, who anyone would have said was at a disadvantaged, was now just moments away from killing yet another rival in the Ritus.
"STOP. Xenos, RETREAT. " A voice, raw with shock and pain, emanates with intense magical power.
The voice fills the entire room. It is neither quiet nor loud, but it cannot be misheard. What backs the voice is neither volume nor intensity, but power. The voice, the command, it rings with the 'truth' of power; it is simply to be obeyed.
"Tsk." Gritting her teeth, Rena shows perhaps for the first time, something similar to the emotion 'annoyance.' As if struggling against some great wall, she can no longer move forward to kill Xenos. Nor can she move backwards and finish off the one who projected said command.
"So...my 'Persuasive Word' still has an effect on one as powerful as the maiden of the Alistross clan...albeit such a reduced one." Struggling with the words, Dave Roland walks unsteadily towards the elevator door. "Xenos, come."
"But boss, the gir-" Xenos' interjection is interrupted.
"Forget the girl! My power won't hold Alistross much longer, or are you blind to that in your pain? COME, your hands must be treated quickly!"
As Roland predicts, Rena's sword hand is already twitching erratically, as it struggles to break free of Roland's words. With her experience and the amount of magical energy she has available to her, such a low-ranking binding cannot possibly hold her for longer than a minute.
Quickly, sensing the urgency now, Xenos grits his own pain, spits on the floor, and runs bleeding to catch Roland in the elevator. In the elevator, an incantation circle opens, signalling the transportation spell that had no doubt been pre-prepared for just such an escape.
Roland's power over Rena ends, and she quickly moves towards the elevator door. But she's too late, and the two injured comrades are already half-way dematerialized by the incantation.
Roland casts one more spiteful gaze at Rena, and voices his thoughts just moments before they are both gone.
"Do you think you have emerged victorious, Alistross? Do you think you've WON? So you have rescued the girl! So what? I know your true objective, Alistross, and I tell you here, neither of us is victor here! I have lost my prized captive, but you have lost your partner! And these injuries? Nothing in the long run!"
And the final thing he says, he imbues unnecessarily with the power of 'Persuasive words,'
"Mark my words, Alistross. This is not the end."
And they're gone.
INTERMISSION X CONTINUATION
Back in the office room, there are only three people left. Well, two and a half at best.
Rena Alistross, foiled from her kills, accepts the situation immediately, and calmly walks towards Lita Zhang.
A quick cut from her blade, and all of her bindings disappear. As soon as she is free, she quickly bends down to Mark's side. The despair in her posture are easy to decipher, and fresh tears are in her eyes.
"W-w-why! Why? HOW COULD YOU KILL HIM?" Rage, anger, fury. These are not emotions fitting for Lita Zhang. No, her question is asked in pain and confusion, choking on the gruesome reality of the scene.
"He is not yet dead." Rena's emotionless responses never change. Where previous (such as in the school setting) she would have faked her emotions for the sake of her peers, such as Lita Zhang, Rena now decided that for Lita, this was no longer necessary.
"How can you just stand there! Why don't you do something? Call for help, save him, something! Why don't you at least TRY!" Biting back more sobs, Lita tears her eyes away from Mark's body. The blood is now literally like a pool, surrounding him on all sides. His eyes have no consciousness in them. Could such a corpse-like thing really be still alive?
Instead Lita's eyes turn towards the classmate she thought she had known, albeit for a short time.
"Or are they right? Are you just a monster, willing to sacrifice your partner to save yourself?"
Impassively, Rena shows no sign that she has been affected by the implicated insult.
"Save him. Restore him. Otherwise, he will die."
"UGH!" Unable to accept cool, unfeeling words, Lita Zhang falls into despair. Turning back to Mark's bloody chest wound, she clutches his shirt, and cries, leaning over his body.
Crying. Confused. Consumed with despair.
The tears continue to fall. Her pain is expressed through a thousand tears. Because Lita Zhang is naturally a gentle and caring person. Because Lita Zhang is naturally inclined to heal rather than hurt; to see light rather than darkness. So to see a person in this state whom she had known, even just briefly. To see a person who had come to rescue her, suffer far greater than her. To see Mark Chen, dead because of her, it was the harshest pain for Lita Zhang.
That is the moment a miracle occurs.
Something like a whisper, the barest whisper of a thought, or the tiniest cry of a deeply buried mind, fills her. It whispers to her, like the dull and constant flow of a stream. And finally, after being quiet for so long, it whispers to her so that she can hear.
Your awakening, child, is now. Awaken, and know your destiny.
Too filled with grief, Lita Zhang does not notice the whisper. Or even if she does, she pays it no heed. What is a trivial and vague saying compared to the dead reality before her?
"You've done very well for having just awoken." The voice of a new intrusion into the office room. A young male, with a white collar shirt, thin-rimmed glasses and a book in his hand.
"Ehh?" Lifting her head, Lita's eyes widen in disbelief.
The previous open chest wound was closing! In no more than two minutes, Mark's chest wound was completely closed, with not even a scar to show where he had been pierced. Similarly, the blood previously flowing from the wound was stemmed, instead only showing where Lita's tears had hit his chest.
"I expect it'll take a few more moments for the natural blood regeneration."
Impossibly so. A corpse, previously thought dead, was suddenly revived. A cough of blood, as the heart reboot itself inside Mark's body. Without waking, Mark soon falls into a laboured breathing pattern.
Rena sees this all without a change in expression, giving only the slightest of nods to acknowledge Atticus' presence, and another when Mark breathed.
"I must admit I'm rather late this time around...quite my bad. Very busy week you know; it's getting harder and harder to meet our deadlines. Anyway-"
Here, Atticus turns to speak directly to Lita Zhang. Lita meets his gazed, still naturally confused. After all, she had never seen this man in his life.
"Anyway, this is rather late, but the circumstances deemed it so, I suppose. Welcome, Lita Zhang. Welcome, to the Votum Ritus."
"Welcome, the one who is ranked 29th."
Dream Visitation END
Some time later. Two familiar 'partners' hold a conversation concerning the events of the day.
"You knew you were going to live."
"I didn't know. I made some very educational guesses. I hoped. I decided the balance of probabilities was with me. Besides, would it have really stopped you from acting as you did if I hadn't?"
"Perhaps not. Then, you received my message."
"Ya, uploading that document onto the hospital server was genius. Thanks for that. I'm just glad my mind had already processed it before Roland injected me with that serum."
"So what will happen now?" A rare occasion, where this girl phrases a question implicating lack of knowledge or doubt.
"About what, Roland? Or Lita being in the Ritus?"
"Well...we don't know if he can manufacture the formula without Lita's blood. If I was him, I would have replicated the chemical such that it could be synthesized in labs...but I don't know if all the same rules apply with this. It's magic, after all."
"He will return, and not depreciated either. He will take this time to build his strength, and refine his weapons. His power-base has not been destroyed much; the hospital was but one of his bases." Her analysis.
"Ya...I think so too. But we can't do much about that without another lead...besides, I think we'll all be on a break soon." His agreement.
"Now, the girl."
A small intake of breath. The smallest sign that he is affected by the topic.
"Ya, can you believe she's a competitor? And she's STILL ranked higher than me, haha."
"She is one of the chosen 30. She is inevitably our competition."
Hesitation before replying. Unsure if he wants to continue.
"Are you saying we have to...defeat her?" He cannot bring himself to use the other word.
"...The girl has no offensive capabilities. The 'Phoenix Deity' reincarnation cycle has always been half-broken. The previous incarnation was ranked 8th in the Ritus before the last. Even if we do nothing, she will be quickly destroyed."
"So what, you want me to leave her to the hounds?" A bitter tang enters the boy's voice.
"No. We will protect her."
"Huh!" Surprise from the boy, who would have never expected such a sentiment from his partner.
"The healing capabilities of the 'Phoenix' should not be underestimated. She has already saved your life once."
"I planned that...or guessed it, anyway."
"She would be a valuable ally to have for the duration of the Ritus. Better that she be with us than for her to be a slave to another competitor, or dead prematurely at another's hands."
"And what happens at the end, when everyone else is defeated?"
"The same as what will occur between us."
The boy bites his lip at that. He had already accepted that at the end of this, should the both of them survive, he would have to face the girl, possibly to the death. But...to drag Lita into this...to protect her only to have to defeat her in the end...
That was when he swore silently to himself, "I will not allow her to die. I will save her, no matter what."
It would not be impossible, after all. The rules of this contest allowed it. He would just have to be patient.
I didn't remember much after Rena ran through me with her sword. I had recovered just enough of my mental faculties to recall the important document that Rena had no doubt uploaded after her last battle. After all, why else would it have taken her so long to show up during my conversation with Roland?
Using that knowledge, and the situation, I had orchestrated a sure-fire way to put Rena in the advantageous position, securing the rescue of Lita. Or I bullshitted my way through the whole thing by appearing about as scared, confused and frightened as I really was. Whichever one works for you.
Anyway, after the whole incident, I woke up some several days later in my own bed, in my house. Somehow, Rena had gotten me here...explained some lie or other to my parents...changed my clothes...ya, ok, let's just stop there, shall we? I shudder a bit just thinking about it. She filled me in on everything that happened after I went under, from Lita's awakening, to Atticus' appearance, and otherwise. My parents seem to have bought whatever story Rena told them, and I was all set to resume school in another couple of days.
Or at least, that was what everyone expected. I had some unfinished business to take care of.
That very night, I fall to sleep and drift to that realm I hadn't dreamt of in more than a month. I wait patiently in my dream of swirling colours and unfathomable realities. I patiently wait the appearance of the one I'm expecting.
I don't have to wait long. Mere minutes after my dream has started, she materializes. That exceptionally attractive girl with deep blue eyes and waist-length blonde hair. Dressed in the same gothic dress and attire I had seen last time, she is once again accompanied by her pure black cat.
"Well well well...we haven't seen each other in quite a while now, have we?" Her voice is even more suggestive than I remember. Maybe that's just the fatigue and my recent near-death experience talking though.
"No, as I recall, the last time we met, you pretty much crushed my dignity."
A mirthful laugh, "It was a small lesson, nothing more. Now, why have you called me here, Mark?"
"What makes you think I called you here?"
Rolling her eyes, she calls my bluff, "You went to bed with nothing else on your mind, with the full intent of dreaming for this express location. Not only that, but your eyes scream of a hidden purpose or goal. There is only one reason to go into your dreams like that. And that's...to see me, of course."
Well, cat's out of the bag now. Might as well dive straight in.
"That technique you used during our fight. What is it?"
"Oh?" Her eyes narrow and a slow smile spreads across her face, "Why do you want to know?"
"That technique...it's not magic, is it?" This was the truth I had concluded.
"And what makes you think that?"
"I couldn't 'see' it like I usually can. I can kind of see an aura of gold around magical energy. That ability...it looked red, and it didn't 'feel' like any type of magic I've ever read about. But at the same time, it wasn't physical...so it must be a power of some sort."
"Hm...well, your understanding of magic seems to be slightly incomplete. But...I'll give you that. You're right. That technique of mine...isn't magic."
This was what I had desperately hoped to hear. This was...my best chance.
I then did something that surprised even me. Taking a deep breath, I bowed deeply towards this unknown girl from my dreams.
"Please...please teach me that technique!"
"Huh?" For the first time, I hear the sound of her voice while she is surprised. "Why in the world would I do that?"
"You came here to talk business once. To take me out of the Ritus...to protect me in exchange for a favour. I'm willing to do that favour, but instead of protection, I want you to teach me." This was essentially my only bargaining chip. I only
An interesting expression crosses her face then. It is like a mixture of curiosity, puzzlement...and excitement.
"Before, you absolutely refused me. You completely rejected my offer...so...why the change now?"
I only have the truth as my answer.
"Power. I want power. Power to beat my enemies. Power to protect the ones I care about. Power to DO something, anything...I want power, as much as I can get."
Our conflict with Roland had taught me a lot. I realized now that up until now, I had been living a fancy fairytale. I depended on Rena to save me, comforted by the fact that she would be there to bail me out of sticky situations. And even though I had cursed my own weakness, even though I charged in like a fool, I had depended on her.
But never again. The game had changed. There were other things at stake. And while I had never been able to get magic down (nor did I think my proficiency would ever increase), I had found a chance at an alternative.
"Yes...you have changed." Her blue eyes pierce me, as if reading my thoughts. "Something...someone has changed your perspective. How...interesting. But you know? This technique of mine isn't for everyone. I developed it myself...for most other people, learning magic would be easier."
"Not for me. I can't master magic. And I don't think I ever will. But that technique...I think I've done it before."
"What?" Again, a little bit of surprise in her voice.
"When I was fighting someone...the other day...I saw that flash of red, and I deflected a spear aimed to kill. It reminded me of your technique...I actually thought that you had come to save me, if you'll believe that." I chuckle at my own past's foolishness.
From the widening of her eyes, and her body language, I know that she has somehow confirmed this to be true. And that's just the more shocking for her. Then, in an instant, her calm returns to her, as if she's made her decision.
"So you want me to teach you instead of protecting you? To arm you instead of merely removing you from the equation? Could it be perhaps that you've found something you want to wish for from the Ritus?"
"Think whatever you want." I don't see any reason to explain my motives.
"Hmm...curious. You do realize of course, that in order for me train you, you will have to leave your dimension and come with me, right? That you will leave this contest for a period of time, perhaps even equivalent to the time I would have protected you for."
"I'll do it!" No hesitation. No worries, nor pauses. I want to convince her (and myself) of my commitment to this.
"And I will still demand the equivalent favour as your payment of the bargain, just as before."
"Agreed." I reply quickly, without giving it any thought. I can't afford to slip up now, with my mind made.
"And we will leave now."
A pause. My own damn hesitant mind.
Here she smiles, like a cat playing with her food, "Yes, now. This is a limited time offer, you know. If you want me to teach you, you leave with me tonight. When you wake up tomorrow, you will be in my castle."
Could I do it? Could I abandon my normal life completely, and leave with this absolute stranger in my dreams? Could I leave my parents without any explanation, skip school for gods-know how long, and escape from the eyes of the Historians?
It would raise a lot of questions. Probably too many questions. Rena wouldn't be able to cover for me for any extended period of time. Heck, what would Rena think, with me leaving without at trace? Would she think I had been kidnapped? Attacked in my sleep? Spirited away? Granted, the last one would be pretty accurate. At the very least I should have been given enough time to leave Rena a message.
But seeing the cruel smiling face in front me, I knew I would have on such opportunity.
By all means, I shouldn't go. By every logical angle, I would be at every disadvantage to leave. I would put Rena at risk unnecessarily, not to mention leaving it up to Rena to get Lita to join us (can you imagine that, Rena trying to convince someone to partner up with her? Oh wait...).
I shouldn't leave.
I should find some other plan, some other way to power up. This isn't some shounen manga, where only one chance a season appears before the main protagonist. There's always another way, right?
"Agreed. Let's go."
I guess I really do read too much manga.
Nodding at me, her expression grows gentler. As if she respects the hardships I went through to make my decision. She extends her hand towards me. Before I grab it, I ask:
"By the way, what's your name?"
"What, you mean 'master' isn't good enough for you?" God damn I can't believe I have to learn from someone like this.
"Of course not, 'mistress.' " I touch her open palm.
"Haha...witty and obedient at the same time. I like it...and that's Mistress Saya to you." Our dematerialization begins. The world of my dream begins to fade. The transfer between dimensions begins.
And so we go.
When I started this journal, I told you that it was the 'month' it all began and it all ended. Well it looks like my predictions were pretty off back then. I really have watched too much anime...to just try and fit this fantasy combat scheme into a predictable time-line like Fate/Stay Night. Because everything is just starting now. This is the beginning. Or in other words,
This is not the end.
The backyard of Mark Chen.
"You're not going to go after him?"
"It is impossible. The 'Night Princess' castle is an impregnable dimensional fortress; no one enters except by her whim."
"The 'Night Princess' huh...that's not her real name, though."
"Indeed, she has several aliases."
"How are you going to explain it to his folks?"
"A memory displacement spell."
"He won't like that. The thought of you messing with their minds like that."
"It is the most logical solution."
"And I suppose that's all that matters, right? So how long have you known about me, Rena?"
"For as long as you have known about me."
"All the way back then, huh?"
"When will you begin to move?"
"Whoa whoa, calm down. I'm not planning to fight you guys first. Besides, how do you think the Historians will react to this?"
"It is their responsibility to ensure the contestants stay with-in the city limits. But the 'Night Princess' movements are different, hard to predict. She lives outside the rules of the Ritus, with power rivalling the majority of us. "
"Aren't you worried about him at all?"
"Of course not. I do not feel 'worry' for anything."
"Huh. You really are a weird one, and that's coming from ME. Well, I expect there won't be much happening until he returns. Most of the major powers are still shoring up and plotting. That is of course, assuming that he will return, right?" The last question is asked with a hint of concern, as if the one posing the question worries that there might be a chance that Mark is gone forever.
"He will return." Rena's absolute reply, "We are still connected. He will return. After all-"
Here she looks up at the sky, as if seeing some unknown meaning behind the moonlit stars.
"This is not the end."
A/N: And that is the end of Series 1 of "The War of Wishes." I would have never thought when I first wrote chapter 1 of this story (WAY BACK in grade 9...ya, I'm an exceptionally lazy person) that it would become something like this. And despite all my little grammar errors and spelling errors (which I don't intend to fix, sorry), I've actually stuck it out to the end. Well, not really the end...since I'm just ending it here cause I thing this is getting a bit long, and it's easier to start the next part of Mark's story as a separate story.
Well, either way, when I find the time, I will dive right back into Series 2. Hopefully THAT will be better proof-read, with less grammar and spelling errors(not likely). Until then, thanks to everyone who stuck it out with me from chapter 1 to chapter 37! You know...all...of...like...the 5 of you.
Oh and before I forget, here is a compendium of character profiles, with the newest added ones first. By the way, I'm totally not doing this just to make an extra long chapter for the last one.
Rank: 20th Height: 5'' 8 Weight: 165 lbs
Strength: D Agility: D+ Magical Energy: B
Luck: C- Endurance: B
Innate Magic (Rank C)
Inborn magical talent, surpassing mere "competence" or "ability to learn" magic. The user who possesses this trait will find learning magic and its nuances to be much simpler than normal. At Rank C, magical energy rank is boosted half a grade. At higher ranks, innate magic may completely replace formal magical education.
Persuasive Words (Rank B+)
A high ranking hypnosis technique, the user of 'Persuasive Words' can make its listeners both 'want' to do something or 'be forced' to do something. It is not quite like manipulating the emotions, but more akin to 'appealing to a person's sense of reason.' Twisting the natural logical operations of the affected person, 'Persuasive Words' can effectively control the target in a physical sense. At rank B+, exceptionally gifted magus can resist 'Persuasive Words', and while their physical body will still be affected, their mind will consistently work to break the binding. In addition, this ability is particularly weak against "Rena Alistross" because of her 'Curse of the Unfeeling.' While not dependant on emotions to operate, "Rena Alistross" reportedly does not possess the sense of 'want', and so 'Persuasive Words' effectiveness is cut in half.
Rank: 29th Height: 5'' 1 Weight: 90 lbs
Strength: E- Agility: E- Magical Energy: A+
Luck: A- Endurance: E-
The legendary phoenixes of old were said to live forever, constantly re-birthing themselves in the fiery ashes of their own deaths. One such phoenix was said to have been hunted by a name long since forgotten to history. This mysterious hunter, after killing the phoenix, made his then-dying daughter swallow it before it completed its rebirth. The result was that his daughter was revived, but with an interesting consequence. His daughter now shared her mind with the phoenix, and displayed remarkable powers and knowledge beyond her years. But it was not until after this girl's eventual death that the most amazing thing happened. This girl's daughter, at the age of 14, coming into her own adulthood, found herself able to hear the mind of the phoenix. And so it is said that this twisted reincarnation has continued down the annals of history. The phoenix lays dormant inside the mind of a young maiden, until it is awakened, where-upon a fraction of the phoenix's accumulated ability and knowledge is shared with the current incarnation. The amount varies between incarnations, for reasons unknown. In Lita Zhang's incarnation, all of the Phoenix' defensive and offensive capabilities seem to have been lost.
Phoenix Down (Rank A+)
A legendary ability, whose roots obviously stem from the natural healing properties of a Phoenix. It is a straight-forward healing ability, brought to it's absolute extreme. Cell regeneration, life-span extension, and all forms of resuscitation are possible. At Rank A+, the user could almost be said to be 'able to bring back the dead.' Given the nature and source of this ability, there is no almost zero magical cost involved in using this ability. Instead, strong emotions and a desire to 'mend, heal, and restore' are required to use this technique. A pre-requisite to use this technique is the possession and awakening of 'Phoenix Mind.' This technique has limited use on the user, and usually will not save the user from death. Therefore, 'Phoenix Down' has historically been considered an 'inferior' magic by beings seeking power, considering its limited availability and the fact that it's amazing life-saving abilities cannot be used on the self.
Annnd, here are the rest of them, in numerical order:
Rank:10th Height: 5"5 Weight: 110 lbs
Strength:A Agility:A Magical Energy:C-
*EX ranking refers to something 'beyond' the ranking system: it is either so high or so low that it cannot be measured.
Combat Mastery (Rank A-)
Combat ability forged through endless training and repetition. Not so much an ability as it is the result of a lifetime of combat practice. It could be said that at this rank, no normal human being should ever beat her at armed and unarmed combat. It eclipses all physical parameters such as strength, speed, and reaction time.
Aegis of the Immortal (Rank EX)
An EX ranked technique that is said to be descended from the gods. Its roots have been traced back to Athena's Aegis, but there is some debate as to the legitimacy of such claims. Under this spiritual aegis, all physical damage to the user can be repaired, and all injuries and diseases save death can be cured. The body in question is permanently encased in a temporal 'bubble' that takes in energy from the user, and reverts the body's condition to a previous state. This ability is active at all times, no exception. Temporal reversal will begin immediately after a damage threshold is passed. Use of this technique requires an extremely large amount of magical energy; if the user fails to supply the necessary magical energy, the technique will drain their life-force instead.
Curse of the Unfeeling (Rank ?)
An impediment of Rena Alistross, which presents itself in a way similar to a cursed soul. Under this condition, the bearer of said curse will possess no emotions. They will feel no happiness, no sadness, no joy, no sorrow, not even the melancholy of unfeeling. In addition, the bearer feels no pain, and subsequently no pleasure. The limits of this curse and its effects on Rena (example: can she still 'feel' touch, or the air, or the skin of another?) are currently unknown. There is some speculation as to whether this is linked to the previous ability, 'Aegis of the Immortal'.
Rank: 17th Height: 6'' 0 Weight: 100 lbs
Strength: E- Agility: E- Magical Energy: B++
Luck: E Endurance: E-
Necromastery (Rank B+)
Necromancy is a magical sub-set that involves manipulating the life-energy of living (and non-living) beings. Currently, it is classified as an "incomplete art" (Magicus Apparatium, Vol. 55) , due to it's many physical draw-backs to the user and its failure to accomplish the original intended goal of the art. The original goal of Necromancy is true immortality, with the ability to call up even the dead to full health. As of right now, there is no recorded Necromancy practitioner capable of such. Usage is mainly limited to raising minions and 'brute-force' soldiers for familiar use. Rank B+ is the highest recorded rating of Necromastery in the current age. It is said that one who achieves Rank A+ Necromastery will have mastered the "incomplete art."
Innate Magic (Rank B)
Inborn magical talent, surpassing mere "competence" or "ability to learn" magic. The user who possesses this trait will find learning magic and its nuances to be much simpler than normal. At Rank B, magical energy rank is boosted one grade. At higher ranks, innate magic may completely replace formal magical education.
Shamanistic Healing (Rank D+)
A reminder of a past life. Witch doctors and shamans share an ancestral pre-text when it comes to their healing. The ability has largely degraded over the years, but Mar-Kai still maintains the ability to heal small wounds.
Rank: 22nd Height: 5'' 8 Weight: 145 lbs
Strength: E+ Agility: D Magical Energy: E-
Luck: E- Endurance: D+
Beserker's Rage (Rank D-)
An adrenaline-related skill, Beserker's rage is aptly misnamed. A skill that drives a body to its physical limits over a certain period of time, bit by bit. In this way, it is an incremental skill, whose theoretical upper limit may as well not exist. As the user's adrenaline pumps, more and more of the body is synchronized with Gaia's life force, and the user's soul. Because the soul uses significant energy to manage the body, this skill is able to free up some of the energy used by the body, transferring it towards faster, more accurate movement speed and attacks. At several points in history, this skill was considered the "epitome of human ability", and mastery of it meant you had reached the highest level of combative ability obtainable by a human being. The user is restrained by two things; mental stress on the user, and the human bodies own physical, inherent limitation. Because the human body is not perfect, such a skill cannot alone match up with anything of higher magical ability, nor can it challenge most beings that are not completely human. At higher ranks, this skill's mental stress is managed easily by the user, and a state of 'enlightenment' can be reached. Unfortunately, in today's world, there is almost no one who possesses this skill with a high enough rank, and as a result, the name 'Berserker's Rage' has become more common.
Rank: 21th Height: 5'' 7 Weight: 135 lbs
Strength: D Agility: D+ Magical Energy: C-
Luck: C- Endurance: C+
Territory Creation (C+)
Ability to create a personalized 'workshop' or dimensional space. While with-in, the user's magical abilities are bolstered. Defense and survivability parameters are also increased. Access to higher-level spells and faster incantation are granted. At this level, it requires approximately a day and a half to set up a territory. In almost every case, a properly constructed territory should ensure an overwhelming advantage for the user.
Ice Field (Land of desolate cold and barren illusion) (C+)
A technique passed down by the Nikita line of magecraft. Unless the user has mastery of this technique at A rank or higher (extremely unlikely, as it would require a prodigy possessing more-than-the-normal magic circuits), usage is normally restricted to inside a boundary field or territory. The user is able to project himself as near-perfect ice-formed clones while with-in the field. The exact number is dependent on mana supply. Manipulation of ice and related elements is almost perfect, with minimal effort. At this rank, clones formed are 45% of the original in terms of physical strength, and the user suffers no negative feedback from their deaths.
Rank: 19th Height: 5'' 5 Weight: 128 lbs
Strength: C Agility: B+ (C-) Magical Energy: B-
Luck: C- Endurance: C+
Affinity: Wind (B+)
Human beings born with a connection to Gaia (or in common words, a gift with 'magecraft') often hold specific affinities with aspects of the world. An affinity with one of the 5 major elements is considered rare, and often the user will possess significant magical potential. Magical affinity with the major element wind will make the user capable of near-instantaneous learning of wind-affiliated magecraft. In addition, the user's 'agility' parameter is raised. The level by which it is raised is dependent on the amount of training put into 'wind' magic, but generally at least half a grade is granted just by possessing an affinity with this element.
Body of Wind, Sword of Air (B-)
A skill created by Raziel. Using wind as an unorthodox extension of one's very body, Raziel is able to perfectly manipulate the air around him. He is able to change the wind velocity, movement direction, and to some extent, pressure of all air surrounding his body with-in an approximate 3 cm radius. In order to attain the level of accuracy and control he employs, he has trained for the majority of his life. Common uses of this technique by Raziel are to create both 'shields' and 'daggers' using his hands. A fearsome technique, because the minimal requirement for execution is merely air which, barring that the fight occurs in zero-gravity or on the ocean floor, there is always an abundance of.
Rank: 27th Height: 5'' 1 Weight: 106 lbs
Strength: E- Agility: D+ Magical Energy: E-
Luck: B- Endurance: E+
Natural Concealment (A)
Ability to become unseen in a given environment. Though the word 'natural' is used, it is not restricted to nature environs. At this rank, the user could walk into a household and pose as a guest or forgotten relative. Examples of usage include blending into crowds, quick concealment into various groups, or few questions asked when the user implies he is part of one group or the other.
Hands of Loki (B+)
Named after the trickster of Norse mythologies, this ability gives the user fast hands when it comes to the art of deception and thievery. Magic is used to enhance the speed and reflexes of the fingers. At this rank, the user can pick a lock in under 25 seconds, steal a wallet without notice in under 3, and even hack into a computer without previous computational knowledge (foresight granted by the gods).
Battle Reset (C+)
Resets the battle to all starting parameters. All buffs and negative buffs are removed. Rituals and limitations are removed. Can only be used once per week. At this rank, fatal spell, pure, demonic, or divine damage cannot be reversed. A reset will apply all effects of the skill, but damage done will still be present on the user.
Rank: 30th Height: 5'' 7 Weight: 120 lbs
Strength: E Agility: D Magical Energy: C-
Luck: C Endurance: E
Molecular Displacement (Rank D+)
An ability that appears to break down the user's body into individual sub-atomic cells, transforms them into a data footprint, and then transmits them over a two-way data connection (the internet being a common pathway). What is in fact happening is the user destroying every physical manifestation of his being, leaving the soul under the temporary protection of Gaia. Then, through sheer memory and force of will, the user's soul is transported to the desired output location, and the user recreates himself/herself, down to the last atom of their physical body. The soul is then re-administered. All of this happens at such speeds that the user rarely realizes the soul is missing from the body. At lower ranks, this skill leaves the user suffering heavy after-effects, similar to a hangover.