There were great strides that could have been made. The trances of the Vesperati could be adapted, the healings and creatures of the Kai'Draen could have advanced, and the myriad forms of light that empower the Calixa's art could be studied and examined. Yet the concerted efforts of the Eight had cast that aside. We are lucky that Eironn-an had been stopped, otherwise the Sidhe would be rendered as far behind as we had been. But soon. Soon, the age of miracles will come again, without the venom of the Eight's power.
-The Necromancer's Notes, Codex 554-Q, Page 2, Philosophy Wing
The four of them sat in a crowded inn room, and Karik'ar knew they were being watched.
They weren't being watched by mortal eyes, eyes of the flesh. Well, they were being watched by those eyes, but the eyes of flesh were not those that concerned Karik'ar. He felt these eyes peer over his soul, felt them peer over every crack and crevice of the spirit and psyche.
He had felt that feeling before, and had instinctively known what to do, how to shadow and mask his soul so that the peering eyes found nothing of use. He relaxed, cleared his mind, and the eyes slipped over his spirit.
He had felt that before, and now knew what it was. They were eyes that peered under the skin, into the soul, and by relaxing the mind and by clearing thought from his soul, he left it nothing to read.
Karik'ar looked up and opened the eyes of the soul. He had learned that technique before, seeing the souls and spirits of others. There was no way to describe it, no way to do so if he relied on the words that came from seeing through the eyes of the flesh.
People thrummed with anger, lust. He could see the emotions radiating off them, like a flame, and when he saw these flames, they shone with no light or color, but as he peered at the parts of the soul he could read, he could feel those emotions, feel faint ghosts of them like an aftertaste in his mouth, but not a taste. It was an aftertaste in his mind, an afteremotion.
But that didn't reveal the eyes. Karik'ar saw the souls of others distort, as something rippled through the air by them, taking up a physical space as well as an aetheric space. And there was a way to see these things, as his book had taught him. He took a deep breath, and opened the eyes of his soul, or the eyes inside his eyes, as parts of his book called it.
What he had done first was attune the eyes of flesh with the movements of the soul, so it could see into the shallow parts of the aetheric realm. But while the physical world was land, the aetheric world was like an ocean. He had tread in the shallows, but had not yet dove into the deeper abyss.
The world faded and became blurry, colors muting, emotions getting sharper. They grew colors too, as his brain, conditioned for the physical world, tried to make sense of what it was seeing. Fire reds and verdant greens filled the grey space, surrounding blurry silhouettes of people, flames that flickered between them, shifting and transforming and moving like liquid color. He turned his eyes to the thing that had watched them.
He recoiled in horror and disgust. They could say the creature had a body like a frog. But frogs didn't have a dozen legs, nor did they have hundreds of beady eyes over the top of their head. Small tubes, like fungi, poked out over its back like spines. They were ears, Karik'ar knew just by seeing it. Ears that crossed into the physical world. It could only see souls, but it could hear everything.
And snaking far away, as nebulous and fragile as a ribbon of incense-smoke, something silver coiled through the room. There were myths about a silver cord that bound one's soul to their body. The book Karik'ar read postulated that the silver cord bound one's soul constructs -the spirits they made- to their maker, to the one whose soulstuff they had been born from.
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When Laidu, a half-human, half-dragon Ranger, rescues a mysterious girl from slavers, he doesn't know it but he's in for a world of trouble. Teaming up with an insane scholar, a chatty assassin, and two mercenaries, they go to take the girl -Kyra- h...