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Ketani
Ketani
Posts: 13
Joined: August 12th, 2015, 9:04 pm
Ketani

A Journey of Service

Postby Ketani » August 12th, 2015, 9:08 pm

(( The following is a general catch-all story thread, largely inspired by Ketani's current "assignment" for progression within the Twilight Empire. Many posts will be in italicized journal format, though I will try to keep the italicized-only posts to a minimum. Enjoy! ))



"Fel damn it!"

The soft blue glow, tenuous at best, flickered and faded into nothingness. Its death elicited a frustrated growl from the burgundy-haired woman attempting to coax the glow into existence. "Wretched—I know I—" She sighed. "Nether take it, and you, Jhaafenn, for that look." The Fel Hunter in question let out a quiet huff and swayed his tentacles in another direction, no longer interested now that his mistress's magical attempts had petered out.

Ketani returned her attention to the project before her. At the last Steward's meeting she'd promised Aryanna—cousin and Path Leader both—that she would make some progress on her assignment. The nethermancer had thought prodding fellow Imperials to meet with her and discuss their craft and trade skills had been an arduous enough task, but crafting the vessel which would house her gathered information was proving to be even worse. Ketani envisioned an enchanted book of some sort that would return information in response to vocal commands. Input was not a problem, as she had perfected that with her notebook for this assignment—but retrieval was causing issues.

The warlock brushed away some wayward dust, the only remnant of a wasted shard, and took stock of her remaining inventory. A few components were low—almost completely diminished...she would have to acquire some more before making another attempt.

But not tonight.

Now that this avenue of productivity was blockaded for the time being, tonight could be spent in more pleasurable pursuits.

Copper-hued eyes cast about the small apartment housed within the Scryer's Tier of Shattrath City. She could perhaps have more room elsewhere, but these were established and familiar. They also provided close access to her preferred cloth supplier, and Miralisse had proven invaluable in her latest project: the nearly-completed gown created specifically for her cherished cousin's wedding.

The gown's style was similar to, and inspired by, robes worn by Chancellor Skylah. Where hers were red and black, offering almost a sultry appearance, Ketani's creation was pale with blues that would make the bride's eyes shine and muted golds to brighten the glow of her skin. The cloth would shimmer in the natural light of their chosen venue, draping and clinging in all the proper areas. Once complete, it would be an elegant, beautiful work of art fit for the elegant beauty of the woman who would wear it.

Ketani only hoped Katelle would love it as much as she was loved by Ketani. With a soft sigh, the seamstress bent to continue work on her wedding gift.
Last edited by Ketani on August 12th, 2015, 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ketani
Ketani
Posts: 13
Joined: August 12th, 2015, 9:04 pm
Ketani

Re: A Journey of Service

Postby Ketani » August 12th, 2015, 9:10 pm

“Dear Diary” sounds so…quaint. I am hardly a teenager keeping track of her day-to-day musings. Perhaps as a letter? “For the eyes of my cousin, Seneschal Aryanna Anahi” would be more on point, as you shall be my only reader. No? Then merely a scrawled date with which to indicate the passage of time.

Such shall begin my journal of social encounters, as agreed upon to gauge my progression of both successes and failures as they relate to my objective: the all-encompassing "sociability."


Ketani removed her quill from with page, a frown marring her face as the drying ink marred the parchment.

“This is ludicrous,” she muttered, looking to where Jhaafenn lay. “A waste of time.” The Fel Hunter observed her with its eyeless face, silence its only other response. Ketani sighed and turned her gaze back to the journal. “But necessary. I know.”

Friday, August 7th, 2015

I have always enjoyed casual banter, but it is rare I engage in such with individuals I am not already at ease with. Tonight, however, I made every effort to engage Chancellor Mackinzie over the guildstone, hoping to capitalize on her enthusiasm in announcing the meeting of her Ambassadors. I was not disappointed by her willingness to keep the banter going, though upon arrival at the meeting location it became increasingly apparent that she was—


The warlock snorted at the memory. The young priestess had been overly-engaging in more ways than one. Ketani’s initial fears were that Skylah was intoxicated—a fear also voiced privately by Autumn Delenay—and then that she was under the influence of some recreational substance. Katelle assured her it was neither of those things, however, and she took her cousin at her word. It would not do to make such insinuations about one path leader to another, though…

in an uncommonly good mood, and perhaps suffering a touch of sweets-induced hyperactivity, given the delightful array of edibles provided. Throughout the course of the meeting, I made it a point to actively engage in the event discussions and converse with participants when not strictly necessary. All told, it was a moderately enjoyable experience.

The warlock frowned as another memory arose, this one of Skylah’s excited self making the rounds and raising her palm in anticipation of another’s slapping against it. Tentatively, she set her quill to parchment again.

Tonight’s meeting also marked my first participation in a “high five.”

Ketani
Ketani
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Joined: August 12th, 2015, 9:04 pm
Ketani

Re: A Journey of Service

Postby Ketani » August 12th, 2015, 9:11 pm

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Some years ago, Katelle and I had the odd pleasure of meeting a sin’dorei from a group known as “The Jeweled Blood.” Some weeks after our initial (and separate) meetings, Kate visited me upon the Tier and we encountered this sin’dorei again. Plans were made at that point to meet regularly, as this fellow was keen on more friends within the Alliance. Even though he supposedly called Scryer’s Tier his home, as do I, we had not seen him since—until late last month, when I encountered him in the Seer’s Library. We again made plans to meet regularly, the first of such meetings having occurred earlier this evening within the World’s End Tavern.


Ketani reached for a still-crisp apple slice, one of many remnants of the fruit platter she and Demetri had shared, and considered her next words while savoring the apple’s sweet crunch. Tonight, as well as at their last meeting, Demetri had been much as she remembered him: sweet, playful, and carefree. Perhaps there was some truth behind his claim that—how had he put it?—“This is why I did like talking to you in the first place, I can tease you and you don’t generally think I’m an asshole.” She chuckled, ignoring the questioning tilt of Jhaafenn’s head. The elf’s reaction to her response that she lived asshole regularly enough to identify one had been a refreshingly sheepish mix of shock and denial.

The warlock reached for another piece of fruit, popping the morsel into her mouth and resolving to ask the tavern master where he acquired his produce. Quill met parchment once more.

We spoke on a variety of topics over a light meal, ranging from Katelle’s upcoming wedding to social experiences. Demetri—surname Bloodstar, though he dislikes to be addressed by such—has always been jovial and playful in our admittedly limited acquaintance, and this night was no different. Contrary to myself, he seems to “wear his heart on his sleeve,” as it is said, and very obviously holds some level of emotional pain. This, coupled with his insistent, earnest naivety, is perhaps what drove me to match his ludicrous sentiment that we would both attempt to maintain the budding friendship rather than letting it fade to nothingness.

That still troubled her. It was not in the warlock’s nature to agree to such things, but she hadn’t had it in her to rebuff his hopeful earnestness. “But I can make promise that I will do my best to not forgotten be. I and won’t ever forget you,” he’d said in broken Common—a habit, she noticed, he displayed when he meant to demonstrate his sincerity. Such words came on the tail of her admission that she often pushed people away…but it didn’t seem as though he understood the meaning behind her own words, if his response was any indication. Rejection of the friendly overture had been on her lips, the instinctual syllables on the tip of her tongue— “Do not make promises you may not be able to keep”—but instead she’d smiled and replied in kind, correcting his linguistic mistakes in the process. Ketani scowled and resumed her entry.

Such is inconceivably far from my initial reaction, but perhaps it indicates an openness to accountability that may prevent me from inevitably allowing such an acquaintance to fall by the wayside in the future.

My friends are few and far between. It will be nice, I think, to have another.
Last edited by Ketani on August 12th, 2015, 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ketani
Ketani
Posts: 13
Joined: August 12th, 2015, 9:04 pm
Ketani

Re: A Journey of Service

Postby Ketani » August 12th, 2015, 9:11 pm

August 11th, 2015

I met with Councilor Rednaxela Furyswipe this evening in the Blue Recluse of Stormwind’s Mage Quarter. He had been among the first to respond to my initial missives regarding my Steward’s assignment, and yet fatherhood has kept him quite busy.

For someone who supposedly excels at storytelling, Councilor Furyswipe seems to be a man of few words. Perhaps I caught him on a difficult evening. It was not a long meeting, though in addition to discussing his tradeskills, crafting abilities, and hobbies, we spoke of the upcoming wedding and his own thoughts that perhaps he and Diplomat Skygazer should attend to one of their own soon. I offered my services as a seamstress if Julianaz should enjoy the work I have done on Katelle’s gown and took my leave soon after.

Tomorrow will be busy. It will be Kate’s first look at her gown, though I am positive she will adore it. I have not learned nothing of her in her nearly three decades of life, after all.

Ketani
Ketani
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Joined: August 12th, 2015, 9:04 pm
Ketani

Re: A Journey of Service

Postby Ketani » August 18th, 2015, 3:41 am

“Well? What do you think?” She watched as the rogue circled the mannequin, eyes wide and disbelieving. When Katelle reached out a hand to touch the fabric and hesitated, Ketani scoffed. “It’s yours. Touch it.” Her command was obeyed with the gentlest of touches against the soft cloth and the faintest of smiles, and pride at her success flared in the warlock’s chest.

“I love it,” Katelle murmured. The awe in her voice was audible.

“Go put it on.”

“R-right now?” Ketani raised an eyebrow at the question.

“Yes, right now. I need to make sure it fits.” With a sheepish smile, Katelle took the garment and padded off to the bedroom. Ketani sat, taking a quill to her journal while she waited.

August 12th, 2015

I have done it again: Katelle adores the gown. But my musings on interactions with her, of all people, hardly qualify as ones “outside of my social circle,” so I shall move on to more relevant news.

I have agreed to accompany Private First Class Brinnea Velmon and other Twilight Keepers to the Tanaan Jungle a week from now. If they are going after souls, who better to assist than a warlock?


“You included dagger slits.” The observation caused the warlock to look up at her cousin standing in the doorway.

“I know you,” Ketani murmured with a small smile, setting her quill aside. Katelle broke into a beaming grin and spun in place. “So you like it, then?” she asked with a laugh.

“I told you, I love it. It’s perfect, Ket.” The seamstress smiled knowingly and rose, striding past her cousin and beckoning the woman to follow.

“Sit,” she murmured, indicating the chair in front of her dressing table. The rogue did as bid and Ketani stood behind her, working her hands through the woman’s blonde hair and removing the leather strap holding it in her customary ponytail. Ketani gently combed her fingers through the bride-to-be’s hair, arranging it across her shoulders gently as Katelle watched on in the mirror. “We can let your hair fall naturally, and weave those little blossoms you love so much in it. Hm?”

Katelle’s only response was to smile tearfully at her cousin’s reflection in the mirror, and Ketani knew a moment of peace.

Ketani
Ketani
Posts: 13
Joined: August 12th, 2015, 9:04 pm
Ketani

Re: A Journey of Service

Postby Ketani » August 18th, 2015, 3:42 am

August 13th, 2015

Myaka Winterborne came to me this night, inquiring after a gown of proper design for her role in Katelle’s wedding. I had assumed she would be doing so and took the liberty of beginning one I believed she would be comfortable in. Again, I was successful. It should be ready for her by tomorrow evening, aside from a few minor adjustments as needed.

Of greater interest, she has requested my assistance in enchanting her father’s shield so that it will not shatter in combat. It seems she wishes to use this shield as part of her standard battle armaments, a very precarious position for an item of such sentimental value. We have arranged for her to provide me with several similar items that I may practice the enchantment before applying it to the real thing; however, I will need to first determine what materials such shall require and where I can get them.

After relaying this to Myaka, she seemed pleased and indicated that my thoroughness in my craft, and respect for the value inherent in her shield, are the reasons she sought me out rather than another enchanter. I confess to surprise at the notion, given our…rocky association over the course of the past year, but am honored to be trusted with such nonetheless.

If I am correct in my understanding of some Draenic enchanting practices, I may be making a trip to Draenor once Katelle and Zakarnas have returned from their honeymoon and my duties as that week’s sitter have ended. I will conduct some prior research before leaving, but perhaps the materials I need for Myaka’s shield reside in a dimension some decades past.


Ketani tapped the feathered end of the quill against her lips. That wasn’t where their discussion had ended—indeed, while it was the first conversation of length the two had shared in almost a year since Myaka had participated in Katelle’s house arrest, they still held shared animosity for the rogue’s parents.

Well. Her father, to be exact. Ketani’s Aunt Althea wasn’t a bad woman, but had merely caved to her husband’s vociferous demands regarding their daughter. And Jaxton himself…

Jhaafenn was her most common companion, but he had not been the one to put her uncle in his proper place the first time. That honor had belonged to her twenty-something self and Bryyla, her smart-talking, whip-cracking succubus—but nobody needed to know the details of that little game. It would not be difficult to head him off before he potentially made a scene, though, should he make an appearance on Sunday.

We spoke on your father somewhat, as well, dear Aryanna. As I told Myaka, my mother—your Aunt Shiree—still holds contact with him and Katelle’s mother both. They are aware that they are grandparents, but I believe my mother will wait to inform them of their daughter’s wedding until after the fact, lest they arrive uninvited.

It is possible she has told your father about you and your other siblings as well, but I am uncertain. I will inquire if you wish me to do so.

Ketani
Ketani
Posts: 13
Joined: August 12th, 2015, 9:04 pm
Ketani

Re: A Journey of Service

Postby Ketani » August 18th, 2015, 3:42 am

Ketani hugged the young red-haired boy to her side while watching the light of her life pledge her mortal soul and hand in marriage to the odd-haired elf some four centuries her senior. The boy was nervous around so many unknown people, but even still he only had eyes for his adopted parents. He sniffled as Katelle cited him as the catalyst for the love she shared with Zakarnas, and Ketani leaned down to press a kiss to the top of his head.

“Are they really together because of me?” the boy asked her sometime later as they sat against the wall, quietly observing the wedding guests and talking gently amongst themselves and little Sophronia.

“They are, Marzano,” Ketani replied. “Your father saw how much this woman cared for his adopted son without ever being asked to, and it was their mutual love for you that brought them together.” The boy smiled, watching as his parents gazed up at each other. Katelle chose that moment to scan the room and catch their eyes, waving and smiling brightly before blowing a kiss to her son. Zakarnas followed his new wife’s gaze and grinned goofily, causing Marzano to grin right back.

“That’s pretty neat. I did a thing, Auntie Ket.” The warlock chuckled, pecking the top of the boy’s head with a kiss and leaning across him to check on his infant sister as she lay in her basket.

“Yes, my darling boy, you did.”

Ketani
Ketani
Posts: 13
Joined: August 12th, 2015, 9:04 pm
Ketani

Re: A Journey of Service

Postby Ketani » August 21st, 2015, 9:06 pm

"This is why I keep to myself." Full lips twisted in displeasure as their owner stared down at the parchment before her. The utterance continued with the same disgruntled heat as before. "How am I supposed to focus with these--these--these idiocies?" Jhaafenn did not bother to look up at his Mistress, familiar by now with her habit of speaking aloud to inanimate objects.

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Katelle's wedding was lovely. If not for shy Marzano and infant Sophronia in my care, I would have seen for to mingle more. I met the newlyweds sometime after their departure from the reception to return their children. Brewbies Stoutbeard will care for them this week and I will have them the week after, provided everything goes as planned in the Citadel.

I sought the advice of Enchantress Andiala regarding Myaka's shield this afternoon, and intended to spend some time in the Seer's Library to cross-reference their works with the tome the Enchantress lent me. The silence was immediately shattered by a young sin'dorei arguing quite vehemently with Enchanter Salias, one of many Apprentices, about her uncle's need of bandages and the lack of hazard payment he had received from the Scryers for services incompletely rendered due to an attack. Perhaps against my better judgement I followed the girl--what she was doing arguing with a fully-fledged Scryer I have no idea, but she could not have seen more than fourteen summers--and would have offered my assistance if she had not been called at that very moment.

It seems the girl is niece-by-honor to my newest associate, and that Demetri can be effectively cowed by a mere teenaged girl.

His wounds were minor, resulting from an orc attack on his person while attempting to single handedly run supplies from Hellfire Peninsula to Shattrath City. Once I procured bandages and saw his niece (a young magistrix named Eliyah, who seems to think I am "nice") departed, I assisted in redressing said wounds with the bandages and the herbal salve Katelle was able to recreate. We have tentatively agreed to meet again late next week under less pressing circumstances.


"Nice" indeed. Eliyah seemed to be under the impression that there was some involvement between her uncle and this "nice" woman. Ketani scowled. What had he been telling the girl? Was she simply romanticizing things where there was nothing to be romanticized? The warlock had taken their playful banter as exactly that, and nothing more. But his embarrassment was still palpable hours later, and his thanks of her assistance had been almost too profuse. Perhaps he had merely been uncomfortable being caught in such a state, being fussed over by Eliyah like that? Ketani allowed her gaze to lose its focus as she ran snippets of conversation through her mind once more. One in particular stood out, though not for any relevant reason.

"Were that I a Hydromancer..." The utterance had been soft and unintended, and she hadn't noticed the thought had left her lips.

"Is that so? Why a Hydromancer?" The small jar of salve accompanied his query, and she took it without thinking on his question. Long-fingered hands unscrewed the jar as he spoke. "Thank you for this, by the way. Umn...you didn't have to do all this, but yeah...I already told you I appreciate it, so I'll say it again. Thanks." She was too busy studying his wounds to pay much attention to her own response.

"Water is better for wound-cleaning than Fel Fire." The frown that marred her face was not one of concentration, as she made it seem, but consternation: what in the Nether had possessed her to openly admit to nethermancy? She covered her discomfiture with a quick swipe of two fingertips into the jar and the subsequent application to one of the wounds on the elf's scarred back. "And if it makes you feel better about accepting the help, consider it for your niece's piece of mind, hm?" Demetri laughed nervously, and the knowing dismay blossoming in her chest grew.

Even the sin'dorei could uncomfortable when in close-quarters with a known warlock.


This assignment for the Imperial Stewards had shown Ketani a great many responses in regards to her person. Some, who knew her as a warlock, did not seem to mind her presence so long as she kept her demeanor pleasant. Others were more reserved around her once they realized what she was, leaving quickly after their business was complete. Still others had no clue, and one had become outright defensive upon sensing a "Fel presence" nearby--and when Ketani casually stated that even the lack of active augmentations could not keep the presence hidden from one who is sensitive to it, the previously-friendly paladin had withdrawn and told her to keep her demons confined to the Nether while in her presence lest they two have...problems.

Did the woman think her a complete idiot? Who in their right mind would have such companions present in the public eye, especially after having just said they were not upon the mortal plane? Honestly.

And to think these people considered themselves beacons of tolerance and acceptance. Hypocrites. The familiar word danced in her mind.

The sight of the eternium rose upon her desk jerked Ketani's musings back to their original thread. She scowled darkly, looking away and allowing her quill to fall listlessly to the desk. The rose was a gift from her lover, early in their...she hesitated to call it a relationship, but that was as good a word as any. Sylvathil had been absent for a month now, however, the sin'dorei having left in a stupendous huff during an argument. It began as a casual mention of her reconnecting with an old acquaintance and subsequent refusal to humor the elf's inane and jealous questions regarding the nature of hers and Demetri's association. Ketani stared again at her journal, copper eyes heavy with disgust at the entire situation.

Demetri was pleasant to be around, but she desired nothing more. One romantic entanglement was plenty, thank you, and perhaps even too much. She would have to ask him if she was misreading their situation...that would be the proper thing to do, yes?

"This is ridiculous," Ketani muttered viciously. "Absolutely ludicrous. This," she exclaimed suddenly, gaze turning towards Jhaafenn, "is exactly why I prefer dealing with you lot instead of...people." Her lip curled in something akin to anger, eyes casting a final look to her journal and the eternium rose.

"I don't have time for this. There are preparations to be made before we infiltrate the Citadel." With a clipped wave of her hand, Ketani sent the journal floating back to its home on her bookshelf. A second and final wave brought forth a tome of grim content. If she were to be dealing with freeing souls in two days’ time, rather than their capture and storage, she needed to ensure she had not forgotten the proper rituals...Ketani huffed one last time before fully settling in to peruse the tome.

Ludicrous.

Ketani
Ketani
Posts: 13
Joined: August 12th, 2015, 9:04 pm
Ketani

Re: A Journey of Service

Postby Ketani » August 21st, 2015, 9:09 pm

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Last night proved to hold a pleasurable distraction from my preparations for the Citadel. As requested, I lead the Steward’s Meeting—such as it was, that is, with a mere single attendant other than myself. Autumn and I discussed her upcoming “TE Talks” events, I to offer what suggestions and encouragement I could here and there. She asked if I wanted to discuss my own assignment, to which I agreed, and we passed a pleasant half-hour or so in conversation on not only my compendium but Keeper Velmon’s upcoming foray as well.

It seems Autumn does not feel a compulsion to aid the souls of the dead—simple ghosts, as she calls them—against their unfortunate fate. In truth, I cannot blame her. One who does not dabble in soul magic, or the study thereof, or who has never experienced the death of themselves, would not understand. She seems too young to understand the sort of mindset it takes to put oneself at risk for the dead without that sort of knowledge; but of course, that is hardly her fault. I would rather someone so young not know what it means to understand than curse them for that lack.

If she is lucky, young Autumn Delenay will never know the answer to her own question: what does it feel like to become a ghost?


Ketani allowed her quill to drop as she surveyed her home. Everything was in order for her departure, from the perishables in her cabinets being put under a stasis spell to her research being tucked away in orderly neatness. A note for Sylvathil was resting under his rose should she not return, or return incomplete. Brewbies had been informed of the possibility that she would need to watch the children for a second week. Her prepared robes—the one Katelle affectionately referred to as her “stealth regalia”—hung ready in her bedroom. A number of potions were tucked away in her enchanted pouch for emergency purposes. Ketani had even procured a number of empty, unbreakable soul shards in case any of her party wished to safeguard themselves in that way.

The only thing left now was to ensure her own soul was properly protected. The warlock surveyed the sapphire-tinged sphere she now held in her hand.

Soon the inky void at its center would glow with her soul—not for the first time, and not for the last.

Some time later, the dispassionate figure lazily scrawled a message upon the final page of her journal:

All preparations for the joint foray from Lion’s Watch to the Hellfire Citadel are complete. This journal is finished for this reporting period and will be sent via courier to your person, that you may have access to it in the likely event of an unfortunate turn of luck.

Ketani
Ketani
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Ketani

Re: A Journey of Service

Postby Ketani » September 9th, 2015, 9:43 pm

"Father, this is dull." A single brown eyebrow arched itself above a straight nose and high cheekbones, the man's visage gazing curiously at the young girl before him.

"Dull, pet? You are learning the core of power, lessons that will stay with you until the day you draw your last breath. How is that dull?" Ketani pouted, copper eyes flickering with annoyance and lips petulant.

"This is bookwork! I'm not a
baby anymore, but you won't let me cast anything!" Her father laid down his book and looked straight at her, nut-colored hair falling down around his shoulders.

"You are not ready." The simple statement caused the girl to scowl.

"I am too!" The man chuckled, causing her to scowl even deeper. "What's so funny?!"

"You're just like your mother," he said with another small laugh. "She acts just the same when she doesn't get her way. No, my dear. You are not ready for the castings."

"But why
not?" Childish anger colored her words, impotent under the weight of her young age. "I've studied so much, Father."

"And continue to study you will, until I say otherwise." Her scowl turned into a glare.

"But
why?" The man sighed, shifting in his seat to better face his daughter. He waved her forward, and she obeyed without a word. Already, her steps held a hint of the grace she inherited from both parents.

"Do you want power, Ketani?" She nodded, stance firm even as her father met her at eye level like he did when he was about to make a point she wouldn't like. "Power is only for the strong. It is meant to be taken, my little love, but only by those who are able to do so." She opened her mouth to protest that she
could take it, that she would--but she was silenced by her father's long-fingered hand cupping her cheek. "And you will be strong enough--but not yet. You are not strong enough to take this power without it consuming you. And so--" He patted her cheek lovingly and allowed his pale hand to fall away. "We must make you strong. Do you understand?"

"Yes." The single syllable held some lingering petulance, but the man seemed to accept it.

"Good girl," he murmured. "Your mother would kill me if I let you begin before ensuring you are prepared. Just be patient, little one, and we will prepare you
together." Ketani sighed, nodding her small face in acknowledgement, and went back to her desk and her books and her quills.

Her father did not see the look she cast at her left hand, remembering the shadowy energy she had summoned forth not a week prior...nor did Ketani see the look her father cast at her, knowledge of his only child's burgeoning power--and her active seeking of it--burning a hole in his heart.


~~~

"Auntie Ket, this is boring." Ketani raised a red eyebrow at her "nephew," sitting back in her seat and placing a bookmark in the tome she had been purusing.

"Boring? You've never complained about bookwork before, Marzano. What's boring about it?" The young boy shrugged, flicking his quill back and forth.

"I dunno. I just can't focus on it right now. And we used to work with spells, do you remember? Not lately though. This is just...dull." Ketani sighed softly, and her full lips curved into a gentle smile.

"We'll take a break, then. Come here, child." Marzano stepped forward without hesitation, climbing onto the loveseat next to his aunt and leaning against her side. The woman wrapped an arm about his shoulders and bent down to kiss his bright copper hair.

"Do you know why I have you study so much, Marzano?" She felt his disgruntled sigh before she heard it.

"Because this power is dangerous to people who don't know how to use it." Ketani squeezed his shoulder gently.

"But it is also dangerous to those who do know how to use it, and that is why we must all strive to maintain our knowledge of core lessons. I was made to study just like you, dear one, and I still do today. Without that foundation, I may have been consumed a long time ago." Marzano shifted slightly and looked up at her.

"But we used to cast. Why did we stop?" Ketani smiled ruefully, running her long fingers through the boy's hair affectionately.

"Because you learned some things from your parents that you did not know how to control, Marzano. What happens if we cannot control our power?" Both knew that "parents" did not refer to Katelle and Zakarnas, but rather the boy's birth parents. Ketani knew they had been powerful warlocks before their death during the Cataclysm. She was unsure if an aptitude for nethermancy was passed through the blood--her own father was one, but her interests had been initially fostered elsewhere--and yet by all accounts, Marzano's parents had fused a part of their souls with the gem the boy carried in his late father's staff. She strongly suspected this was the source of his abilities, unnaturally strong for one of such a tender age.

"We risk being overpowered by it, and that can hurt ourselves and the people we love." Ketani nodded approvingly.

"When you are ready, we will begin practicing again. We will start with basic magics, those that stem from the Arcane; these will help you more than you realize now. Power must be earned, dear one; those who take it without having earned the right to do so will suffer the consequences. But you must be patient. Do you promise, Marzano?" Copper eyes met violet ones as the boy considered the request. Ketani knew he understood the trust implicit in a promise, and knew he would take it seriously.

If she could just keep him from the temptations of the Fel, his life would be vastly improved. He had already been looked down upon by many of his mother's comrades. One had called for his death some years ago. He was a boy of not even ten summers, and already he was feeling the pressures of society, being punished for the lives of his birth parents and his inheritance from them.

It sickened her. They all sickened her.

"I promise, Auntie Ket." She smiled softly, and bent to kiss her nephew's hair once more. A bit later, when Marzano went back to his studies, Ketani retrieved her journal and quill.

Wednesday, August 26th

This week has proven to be uneventful after my return from the Citadel. I am taking care of Katelle’s two children, overseeing Marzano’s theoretical studies as normal and attempting to keep little Sophie happy. I am unsure when I will return to my normal routine--such depends on if the newlyweds return to
theirs at the appointed time or not.

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