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Jasper Galen

"Mysteries and secrets define my past, but hope defines my future."

0 · 1,502 views · located in Vandose

a character in “Battle of the Witches”, as played by FyreT1ger

Description

Name: Jasper Galen

Image

Quote: “I see your face but I know not who you are.”
Age: 24
Gender: Male

Magic: Yes, gray
Extent of control: His magic comes naturally without much effort, but he does need more refining. In general, he can't always distinguish between what he does with magic or other means.
Special Abilities: Jasper can speed up the Healing process of both humans and animals through manipulation of life energy, but he doesn’t get sick himself. He also has visions of another like him.
Marks: none

Place of Birth: Eastleigh, Asiali, Vandose

Skills: Through training with a well-known Apothecary most of his life, Jasper can identify all presently known poisons by smell and appearance in their raw form. He can also make medicine from raw materials wherever he goes.
Weapon(s): Gnarled wooden quarterstaff used for walking and fighting if necessary.

Appearance: Jasper is about 5'8" tall and slender with callused and herb-stained hands. Frequently he has to brush shaggy blond locks out of his chiseled face and blue eyes. As an Apothecary he wears a russet robe over his normal clothes including a green tunic and brown pants.

Personality: Jasper would prefer not to fight if he can help it. Despite this, he is very skilled in using his staff to defend himself. Generally Jasper is a private person that keeps his history and his goals to himself, but he would be willing to talk to people about superficial things and teach anyone about his work. He is also pretty generous with his time and has patience for most people.

BIO: Unlike others of his kind, Jasper doesn’t remember feeling a great deal of fear or threat in his life. Because his father’s business involved making healing potions and unguents, Jasper’s ability to heal others quickly and his lack of common sicknesses was attributed to his father’s skills and teaching. The boy was named his father’s heir and as such learned his father’s trade as soon as he was able to understand it. He was close to his father and his family life was fairly comfortable, but from the age of five he had strange dreams about a boy or man that looked like him but wasn’t. In innocence, he asked his mother about the dreams and she completely freaked out. It scared the boy and he never mentioned it again, but the dreams persisted despite efforts to forget them.

As a grown man and Master Apothecary, he has left home to make his own way and seek the answers to that question he had as a boy: “Who is this other man in my dreams?”

So begins...

Jasper Galen's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jacob Hemlock Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait:
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Yes, indeed, this Wyatt would surely test his patience. Jasper was already feeling a twinge of annoyance at the flow of the conversation between him and his glowing-eyed friend, or perhaps the fact that the dark traveler had already talked about killing him twice in less than an hour. The blond cursed himself for a fool, but he thought he'd gone too far to head back now.

He picked up his staff and gave the ladies a bow. "I can assure you, ma'am, I am a healer and apothecary first and would rather die myself than put someone else's life in grave danger. That is the reason why I am here."

He could tell them that he was also a witch, but for some reason the words wouldn't come. His strange dreams and visions were the only proof that he had any magic. It wasn't something physical like the glowing eyes of Wyatt's friend, or the other woman's fireball. Perhaps that was the real reason he never had any troubles growing up. To all affects he was perfectly human. There wasn't even a birthmark or brand or any mark on his body for anyone to see. He couldn't force them to believe him, and he didn't really want to force anything.

The glowing woman asked if they were going to the Witches' Fortress and Jasper's eyes widened. Was it really real, not just a fairy tale? If that was the case, there must have been a time of true peace with witches. He gave a little smile at the thought. Despite his apparent excitement at the prospect, though it might be too dark to see, he narrowed his eyes and straightened his stance, as Wyatt asked him if he still wanted to go with them. "Considering how easily you speak of killing, I don't know if I can really trust you, sir." He dropped his shoulders and gave a sigh but continued, " yet I will. I'm honor-bound to continue on this path... for all our sakes." He turned away for a moment and whispered, not expecting to be heard, "Perhaps we can finally have peace..."

~~~

This was better than he ever expected! Jacob had to hold himself back from laughing out loud. He decided to see where his target was before leaving the building, because it would be easier to capture the target if he could surprise them. His main target was a few miles north of Whitemouth, but with that one he recognized other targets as well. The Raven would certainly be impressed if he could bring them all.

By himself it would be tricky, but he swore to keep his mission a secret and to keep his target alive. Why the Raven wanted them alive was a mystery to the pale blond, but he didn't ask questions. It wasn't his place to, at least not yet. It was in his best interests to stay on good terms with all the Shadow Sage leadership, and he also liked to think it was in everyone's best interests to stay on good terms with him. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. That was true on all sides in this war.

Before he gave himself away to the sleepers or night watchmen, Jacob pulled himself out of the scrying spell. This time without adverse effects, only because he ended on his own volition. Despite the late hour and amount of magic he used since sunset, Jacob wasn't tired at all. With a wide grin and a honey cake in hand, he silently waited for the changing of the guard and left the tower undetected, heading south. Without Jacob's knowledge, the Raven also grinned and whispered in the night, "Do well, my son."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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"I guess it's nice to see a human who doesn't care if they're in the company of witches or mind saving them." Sylvana muttered lightly as she shook her head. It wasn't that she didn't like Jasper. She just was used to being haggled because she was a witch or running for her life, hiding what she really was. Now she was free to do as she wanted.

She watched Jasper's reactions to the Witches' Fortress. She smiled largely, the normal hyper energy of the young woman present once again. This was the Sylvana Wyatt knew so well. So hard to handle, stubborn, hard headed, and a fierce fighter, but like Jasper she cared more about others than herself. If the two of them spent any amount of time together, Wyatt feared for the outcome.

Sylvana wanted to start speaking but as soon as Jasper opened his mouth, her energy died down into a simmering rage. She marched over to him, her hands curled into fists until she was right in his face only shorter than him by three inches.

"Listen here and listen well. Wyatt may threaten all he likes, but he would never hurt someone who didn't deserve it. So unless you make the first move against him, he will never raise his hand to you. Learn to show some respect."

She spat out the last word as she turned away from him, huffing under her breath.

Wyatt glared at her and she ducked her head slightly, unspoken words between them being all that needed to be known. She had angered him if the tick in his jaw was any indication.

"Forgive Sylvana. She doesn't take to slights of character very well, but she will be on her best behavior from here on out." The latter half of the sentence directed at the white magic user.

"Now that I'm not hiding what I am from you, I won't have to threaten you, but I couldn't take the chance of you finding out about my magic and freaking out. So peace be with us." Hopefully this was the end of the problems between the two males. Wyatt just now had to keep the peace between his old friend and the apothecary. The girl had always considered the black magic user to be her only friend and had stuck with him even when he didn't want her around. But frankly there was no one else he'd rather have at his side. While his depth of magic and ability to use it far outranked hers, she was by no means his inferior. She was creative when it came to fighting, unpredictable and that alone made her dangerous.

This was a very rag tag bunch. He only worried about how they would fair the closer they got, but the needed to get a move on before they lost too much cover from the darkness.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Without flinching, Jasper met the fierce woman's eyes when she spat her angry words and intruded on his personal space. He did move his walking stick between them for a moment, in case she planned on hitting him with something other than words. Otherwise he remained perfectly still and nonthreatening until she finished, which whether she noticed it or not was actually a respectful gesture. Then he waited again until she resumed a more polite distance, before he said anything more. "Respect and trust must be earned, my dear. To earn trust and respect takes time, and as I have barely met all of you, including Mr. Wyatt, the transition isn't yet complete." Jasper only moved to return his staff beside him as he spoke calmly and gently.

The blond healer smirked a little as Wyatt stepped forward to protect his friend, "And I don't take threats to my life well..." he paused to turn back towards Sylvana, "...nor the lives of others. As it is an offense to my trade to decide any class of people is less worthy to live than another." Panning his blue eyes over all three of them, he did step back to bow again. "Though I should also ask for forgiveness, as I haven't properly introduced myself. My name is Jasper Galen and I already stated multiple times that I'm a healer and apothecary. My highest concern is people's lives, so I am honor-bound to do everything in my power to preserve your lives as well."

Standing up again, he turned fully to Wyatt and smiled, "I fear no magic, and though we had a difficult start, I am willing to take a chance at trust and will accept peace between us." He reached out his hand to shake the darker man's. Attempting to include the women, he added, "Are you willing to take a chance on me?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Sylvana stood where she was looking over at Jasper. She took a deep breath, keeping herself calm. The last thing she wanted to do was anger Wyatt anymore than she already had. So she kept her mouth shut and only nodded her head.

"Sylvana Ward." The woman muttered after a few seconds, knowing she wouldn't be well to speak any more words. Wyatt was her only friend and while he allowed others to say anything about him they liked, she could never stand it. He was the most decent guy she'd ever met and the only one who could ever put up with her for long periods of time. Not that she herself was a bad person, she just tended to be hard to handle by others.

Wyatt watched all three of the other members of the group making sure everyone was going to get along. He still wasn't too sure about the other female magic user, but so long as she didn't try anything they would be fine.

"Let's get going. We'll reach Evanpool within a few days.

Those days went by slowly. Moving with four people undetected wasn't the easiest thing to do. Wyatt kept them away from any other people who were near the roads and kept watch most of the nights. His inability to sleep or rather not needing sleep as much due to his magic kept him as the leader for the time being.

They were definitely going to need supplies once they reached the hot spring town. It would be weeks before they actually reached The Witches' Fortress and there was no telling if any dried meat supplies were left. He doubted anything else would be good to eat. So they'd have to hunt along the way to keep their supply intact otherwise they would starve to death.

Sylvana had gone out on her own more than once and brought back small game for them until they reached the outskirts of Evanpool. They were about a mile south of the gate, waiting until it was safe for them to head inside.

Wyatt leaned back against the tree trunk, his cloak pulled around his shoulder as he munched on a piece of fruit from his pack. His breaths came out in light smoke colors, but it wasn't as bad as he knew it was going to get. He looked around at the group.

"We'll wait until morning to head to Evanpool. If we show up in the dead of night we'll be taken into custody without question."

Sylvana nodded her head as she laid her head on his shoulder, closing her eyes. She was tired, cold, and wanted a real warm meal. She shivered and the male beside her, wrapped his arm around her shoulder pulling her under his cloak. He remembered the time she'd gotten exposure from a training exercise and nearly died. Would have died had it not been for him. This trip couldn't be easy on her and he was surprised she had tried to go at on her own.

What he really wanted to know was what happened when she left. Or why Jasper reminded him so much of another Shadow Sage member the two of them had grown up with.

"Hey, Wyatt... Does Jasper remind you of someone?" Sylvana whispered to him, though he couldn't be sure if the others didn't hear her or not. They weren't that far away. Though he seemed he wasn't the only one thinking that Jasper was a lot like Jacob only not the same personality - far from it. He liked Jasper a hell of a lot more than he did the gray magic user.

"Keep it down." he replied back.

If you want to talk about Jacob being a lot like Jasper physically, than do it this way.

Why?
Sylvana questioned back not moving her head from where it was to look at him. The mind connection between them was enough.

Because I know you well enough. Yes, they look exactly alike, but Jacob said he had no family.

What if they got rid of one of their sons? You know twins can be looked down upon in certain circles.

Not magic ones they're not. Twin magic users are stronger together.

That means if Jacob is related to Jasper then their parents didn't know they had magical children...


Sylvana glanced over to where Jasper sat. "Hey, Jasper, I got a question."

"Sylvana, don't." Wyatt's voice was firm, commanding, but she didn't heed his warning.

"Do you have any siblings? A brother your age?"

Wyatt just shook his head knowing he couldn't undo the horrible can of worms the woman had just opened.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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After the first rough night or two, Jasper eventually got used to Wyatt's pace, but he was always dead tired when they stopped. Even though he knew it was wise to set up a watch, he couldn't manage it. It was downright embarrassing that he was probably the weakest in the entire group considering all his fine words when they started. Lucky for him, they didn't run into any bandits or witch hunters. They also carefully avoided the major roads, which could have something to do with it.

Jasper did get a somewhat pleasant surprise through their travels, his dreams of the blond man freezing in the snow were coming less frequently than they used to. At the same time, he had a growing excitement and anxiety as they drew closer to Evanpool. Maybe it meant he was doing whatever this man wanted. He still hadn't told his traveling companions about the dreams or that he was a witch as well. He wanted him to think there were humans at least sympathetic to their cause, even if they were too scared to help. Jasper himself knew at least one, and he loved her for it. His beloved knew he was a witch and loved him despite it. Just reminding himself of her existence pained him.

To distract himself, he turned to taking inventory of the supplies he had left. He was a little surprised at the amounts of some things he hadn't used, but he wasn't going to give them up just yet. While he was doing so, the healer heard Sylvana, Wyatt's glowing friend, ask him a strange question. He looked up in confusion, but saw no reason not to answer the question. "I'm the oldest of four. The only brother I have is 18 and I left him home to look after our sisters. I have no twin. Why do you ask?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Katherine looked up when Sylvana asked Jasper about his family. Something in her tone made Katherine think there was more to the question than simple curiosity. What Sylvana was actually getting act though, Katherine wasn't sure. She was still new to this world of magic and knew very little of it. Unlike Sylvana and Wyatt it seemed. Whatever reason Sylvanas had for questioning Jasper, it was probably a good one.

Turning away from the conversation, Katherine looked up the road. Evanpool wasn't so far away now. She could feel her stomach tie itself in knots. If she had her way, they would arrive at Evanpool late afternoon and be on their way by early evening. Knowing her luck, she would run into someone she had known in her childhood and there would be questions that she couldn't answer honestly without putting them all in danger. Katherine cleared away some snow with her foot and sat down, waiting for the conversation to continue. Katherine made a small flame in her hand to keep away the worst of the cold. So she had an affinity with fire? She thought back on Wyatt's words. There were other things she could do, but fire was where her true skill lay. And now she knew why.

She looked around the small band that had gathered together. Without speaking, Wyatt seemed to have become the leader of sorts of their little group. She wasn't sure what her role was in the group. Sylvana had proved to be a skilled hunter and Jasper was a healer. Katherine sighed, her breath misting before her, "I'll start a fire." She said. Perhaps that was her role in the group. The fire maker. It was better than being a hanger-on.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Wyatt put a hand on Sylvana's shoulder and squeezed it. His warning not to open her mouth and say what she was really thinking to the man. Did she listen? No. She never listened to him until after the fact when he was cleaning up her messes.

"Because you look like someone we know. His name is Jacob -"

"Sylvana enough." The man seethed out through gritted teeth as the hand squeezed her shoulder tighter. The woman winced but didn't say anything more. She knew Wyatt would use his magic to keep her silent if it came to it.

"Never mind..." She muttered under her breath.

I told you the first time not to open your damned mouth. Why can't you ever listen?


Sorry... I just...

Didn't think. His reply was blunt, but he let the mind connection fall back when she didn't reply.

Sylvana readjusted herself so she wasn't depending on the black magic user for warmth as much. Her way of saying she was upset at him for putting his foot down. She'd get over it - eventually. She glanced over towards Katherine as she made her announcement before angling her head up to look at Wyatt.

"Is a fire safe?"

The man nodded back in reply. "With us being this close to Evanpool it would look odd if we didn't have one going. We'll have to be extremely careful once we leave though. It'll be even colder than this and if anyone sees the fire they will come to kill us without thought. Anyone who goes past Evanpool is automatically deemed as a witch and put to death on spot."

He looked around the group as the other woman began the fire creating warmth for all of them to share. Truthfully it felt great, but it made him long for a hot meal and a nice long bath. Maybe they should visit the hot springs before they left. It would allow them to blend in more with the general population if they did. Just tourists here for the baths.

"If that happens while we're out there, don't anyone hesitate to put them down," he gave a pointed stare in Jasper's direction knowing the man's profession wouldn't allow him to kill with intent. "If you don't, they will kill you."

He'd seen it happen in other parts of the world before. He had no need to see it happen again. He detested fighting, violence, but he'd been bred for it. Bred for the Shadow Sage to be their greatest asset. Instead he was out in the woods with a witch they'd cast out, another witch he knew nothing about, and a man he knew had to be hiding something. Why else would he agree to travel with three witches to the fortress?

Sylvana wasn't the only one who was bothered by the likeness of Jacob and Jasper. He wouldn't have put it past the parents to know something was wrong with one of the babies. Jacob tended to be like that and not even open his mouth. They'd done their family a favor, but he'd had to grow up with the boy and train along side of him. People like Jacob needed to have been killed in the cradle, something his parents probably thought had happened. However, he'd been found in one of Shadow Sage's many hideouts and brought to the main core to train his powers.

Life sucked sometimes. Their group would be fine so long as they didn't run into any other Shadow Sage members.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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He looked like someone named Jacob? Perhaps even another witch? Another feeling joined him, fear. Why would he fear meeting this Jacob? Darn it! Now his curiosity was piqued, and apparently there was tension over who this person was. He didn't know what went on between Wyatt and Sylvana, but over the last few days, he noticed they were usually pretty cozy with each other. So Sylvana mumbling something the blond didn't catch and pulling away was unusual. Before any more was said, the subject changed.

The fourth member of their group offered to start a fire, and Jasper smiled gently with a nod in her direction. "Thank you. Perhaps I could even make some tea for everyone." He soon turned to his inventory taking again, but now with a genuine purpose. The healer pulled out a small kettle, only large enough to wrap his two hands around. It couldn't hold a lot, but so far it's been enough for his purposes. Out of the kettle, he removed a scented pouch, and then started scooping snow into the pot.

He paused when he heard Wyatt's warning. The healer met those eyes and sent back, "Death is not always the best way to remove a threat. I know other ways and will use them. I do not understand how one can truly be at peace with themselves, knowing they have blood on their hands." Then he dropped his eyes and resumed busying himself with the kettle.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Wyatt scoffed at Jasper's comment and shook his head. But before he could open his mouth, Sylvana looked over at him a small, sad smile on her face.

"I knew someone like you once... They uh... choose other methods over killing someone. Once when we were running, we were coming back from a supply run and people were following us. So Emil used his powers to knock them out... We didn't make it very far before one of them had woken up. We'd stopped to rest and the man caught up with us," The woman chewed on the bottom of her lip as she stared down at her lap. "The man butchered Emil where he stood," she turned and looked Jasper straight in the eye. "Damned witch, damned witch. Death to you all, that's what he said covered in the Emil's blood. He laughed. Emil choose to spare the humans' lives and in the end it took his own. No, I would rather live with someone else's blood on my hands than to see a friend murdered for something they were born with."

Silent tears fell down the woman cheeks and she wiped them away quickly. Wyatt squeezed her hand as he shifted his attention over to the other male.

"Don't think we are this way because we want to be. We kill to protect ourselves. It's the cold brutal truth. That until witches aren't seen as evil, we will have to kill before they kill us. And remember I was going to take your memories of me before I killed you. Unless you come at me with death in your eyes, I won't kill you. I defend not attack."

While, he knew Jasper wasn't likely to understand where the two witches were coming from, he knew that during this trip the man's conviction was going to be put to the ultimate test. No one had been to the Witches' Fortress since all the witches had been killed within it. There was no telling what they were going to be walking into.

"What about you? Have you had to kill to escape with your life?" The black magic user asked Katherine.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Katherine listened as Sylvana told the group, mostly herself and Jasper, about what had happened to her friend. It was brutal and made her blood run cold. No one deserved that kind of treatment, whatever they had done. She looked away as Wyatt moved to comfort Sylvana, feeling that she and no business to witness what would otherwise be a private moment.

"What about you? Have you had to kill to escape with your life?" She heard Wyatt ask her. Katherine looked up to him, shaking her head. She had never taken a life.

"I've never had cause to take a life and I don't think I ever would be able to. Injure, yes, but never kill. Blood begets blood, that's what I was taught growing up. If we take a life for whatever reason, there's nothing to stoop their friends or family thinking that we are monsters. Killing never solved anything." Katherine paused for a moment, "I know why people feel they must, but I'm not one who can," she said with a small shrug. Katherine turned her attention back to the fire she had volunteered to build.

The small flames began to flicker and grow into decent sized fire, Katherine moving her hand over the flames, keeping them in check until she was sure that the fire wouldn't burn out. She looked to Jasper, who was filling a small kettle with snow. Katherine pulled a handful of sticks she had been using to cook food during her travels and pushed two of them into the ground either side of the fire, waiting until Jasper had finished filling the kettle so she could hang it over the fire. After days travelling in the wilderness, something as simple as tea sounded divine.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Jasper hid his expression as Sylvana spoke, but one may have noticed a pause in his activity, a slight shaking of hands. May it be perceived as either anger or fear he would not clarify. "I'm sorry about what happened to your friend. I'm sorry that you must bear that grief and pain," Jasper said solemnly, though he did not approach the younger woman. He was still generally a stranger to her, and figured it inappropriate.

Her story did increase Jasper's burden for peace and freedom. Truly when he became an adult and began planning this journey, he only thought of himself; his future, and the future of any children he may have. He only waited until his brother was mature enough for independence before he left. It would be against his honor to his father's house to abandon his siblings, chasing after ghosts in his mind. Since he left home, Jasper's purpose evolved beyond his own little world as he realized how far and deep this senseless war extended.

Mindlessly he continued filling the kettle and then handed it over to hang between the sticks Katherine provided. "Thank you again," he said carefully and tried to smile, but he could not manage it. The blond healer was silent for a time, as he tried to recover from the painful scene Sylvana brought to his mind, and give her a chance to recover as well.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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"I guess it's all in the matter of how you grew up and what the world has taught you." Wyatt muttered with a shrug of his shoulders. Growing up in the Shadow Sage, not killing wasn't an option. The humans had come and killed every witch they could find for the deeds of a few. Why shouldn't they be treated the same way? It was a lesson beaten into him at a young age. He might not like taking other people's lives, but when it came to his living or theirs, he always picked his own.

The group seemed to fall into a sort of awkward silence as they waited on the tea to finish. Having something hot in their stomachs would do them some good. They also needed to think about what they were going to be doing once they reached the town and of course the path afterwards.

"Once we hit Evanpool, we need to blend in as much as possible. That means visiting the hot springs as its the only real reason people come up here." The black magic user began.

Sylvana nodded. "We'll also need to restock our supplies. As much as we can carry on ourselves. The last half of this is brutal."

"We also won't know if any of the supplies left in the Fortress are still good or not. We could end up facing running out while we're there and having nothing left to return on."

It could mean the death of all of them. Wyatt kept those thoughts to himself. He didn't need to say them for the others to know the truth. But there was something that kept bugging him, a nagging feeling in the back of his mind. Something was wrong. He wasn't sure if its because he was now traveling with people he barely knew, having met up with Sylvana, or just the danger of the road ahead.

Something was wrong or would be, but unlike when the white magic user had used magic, he couldn't feel any disturbances to alert him. So with a shrug he simply passed it off as nerves.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Katherine looked up towards the path to Evanpool, a growing sense of trepidation gnawing at her gut as she thought of returning to the place of her birth. Had her old friends remained at Evanpool? What questions would they ask of her and would she be able to answer them honestly? Probably not. The thought of lying to her childhood friends didn't sit well with her, but how many of them could be trusted with the truth? Very few if any. But she needed to pass through Evanpool to get to the fortress, where she belonged, with others like her.

Katherine listened to Wyatt and Sylvana hatch a rough plan of their time in Evanpool. She was grateful that Sylvana hadn't mentioned that she was from Evanpool. Whether or not the abscense of information was intentional, Katherine didn't know, nor did she care. She was just grateful that neither Wyatt or Jasper knew they were close to her first home. Katherine turned her attention to the fire, making the flames a little hotter so the water would boil quicker. Heavens only knew how long it would be before she got another decent drink on the way to the fortress.

"I imagine we'll need an early start in the morning," Katherine said, pulling her cloak tighter around herself, "Give us more time to see to our business." She really wasn't looking forward to the morning, but it had to be done. Time to grin and bear it, as her mother would say.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Sylvana had watched everyone from the corner of her eyes as the rest of the night went by. She knew they should have been resting, saving their strength for the weeks to come, but it seemed they were all wide awake. She knew why she was. It was purely excitement. She was so close to the Witches' Fortress she could nearly taste the old tomes within the walls and all the knowledge they held. Though it would likely only be dust she was touching. The others, she didn't know what kept them up, nor did she really care. Evanpool was the last stop before the only thing that stood in their way was the wilderness.

Wyatt glanced to his companion knowing she wasn't going to be sleeping. Resting her body maybe, but never sleeping. He could nearly feel her bouncing up and down with excitement. He just shook his head. Typically Sylvana. It was nice to see she hadn't changed much. He, himself, wouldn't be sleeping either, but it was merely a precaution to keep watch. Not to mention the fact that his magic kept him from needing a whole lot of sleep to begin with. Resting his eyes was enough to keep him going for a few days and even when he did sleep it was only for a few hours at a time.

But all too soon, the sun started to rise on the horizon. The black magic user got to his feet and kicked dirt over the embers of their fire as he grabbed his stuff and make sure everyone was ready to go. They could get a hot meal in the town. Plus a room or two if they could afford it. If not simply a visit to the hot springs and supplies, which is how he preferred they did this, but he wasn't the only one he had to account for now.

How much coins you have on you? He projected into the white magic user's mind. She didn't reply right away, but shrugged her shoulders.

Not much at all. I'd only had a small stash before...

Wyatt nodded his head not needing her to continue. He knew exactly what she was talking about. He had enough to cover the two of them for the bath and probably a bit of supplies. The other two would be on their own. He hated that fact feeling like he had to be the one to take care of the whole group, but it really wasn't his job. Neither was Sylvana, but no one was stopping him from making sure she would make it to the Witches' Fortress alive.

"All right. Let's go." The woman said with a smile on her face as she grabbed her gear and lead them towards Evanpool. Because they were so far north, there were no guards, no questions to answer at least at this time of day. Any earlier and the nightly guards would have been present.

As the small group entered, the woman's face lit up. She loved small towns compared to places like Whitemouth. But it was also her falling into the character that kept others from finding out she was a witch. She'd always been sent on missions into cities for supplies because she was the least likely to get caught out of all of them.

"Hot spring first?" She asked looking to Wyatt, who simply nodded his head, his mouth set in a grim line. He hated being around so many unpredictable variables.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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When ready, Jasper served the tea into whatever cups or even bowls were available to share with his companions, until the hot water was gone. The simple action almost made him homesick. It reminded him of winter evenings when his father returned from work for the day. Jasper's mother always had tea or hot cocoa boiling in a kettle, and served it precisely five minutes after his father came in the door. A sad smile crossed the blond's face, but he didn't say anything about it as he put away the things.

As night faded into dawn and then sunrise, the healer slipped into a very light doze that was quickly and easily broken. After a few times of trying, he gave up and simply waited. The anxiety, excitement, and yes, even fear he felt earlier only grew stronger. It felt like years and his limbs grew stiff, but finally he saw burning fire on the horizon, marking sunrise. It looked strange, but even from his seated position he raised hands to greet the sun. He lingered there for a short time, but rose up slightly slower than Wyatt, which was normal for him anyway. Jasper figured it was because he never had to run for his life before. How long had these witches been running? He didn't know and didn't feel comfortable asking.

Jasper gave a smile of his own as Sylvana marched ahead of the group through the gate, unguarded at this hour. He turned his head all directions in admiration of the small town, which perfectly placed him as a tourist. He didn't even have to act the part.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Katherine followed behind Wyatt and Sylvana as they entered Evanpool, keeping her head down so no one would notice her, while her companions looked around the city in awe. She hand seen many like them when she had lived in Evanpool, though the sites held little wonder for her now. She'd much rather leave as soon as possible, but Sylvana insisted on visiting the springs. She followed suit, hoping and praying to which ever deity deemed her worthy to listen to that no one would recognise her. It seemed the gods were not on her side.

"Katie?" She heard a female voice yell across the village. Katherine's blood ran cold and her stomach dropped, "Katie Fletcher? That is you isn't it?" The owner of the voice had now caught up to them, and placed a hand on Katherine's shoulder. Now she couldn't pretend to have not heard her childhood friend. Katherine turned her face to see Arianna standing next to her, positively beaming. Arianna had barely changed since Katherine had left, her face was still as round and child-like as ever, the only noticeable difference being that Arianna had grown a little taller, but that was the only major difference.

"Ari!" Katherine forced herself to sound cheerful as she embraced the girl, hoping she bought the act. If she didn't, Arianna didn't say anything about it. "It's been so long. How have things been?"

Arianna shrugged, "Same old, same old. Thomas and Yana married last week, a few babies have been born, but beyond that, not a lot has been different. What brings you back to Evanpool?"

Katherine looked at her friend, wide-eyed, "Oh, well I've been travelling, and my companions," she looked around behind her for the others and saw that they were heading to the springs without her, "wanted to visit Evanpool so I offeree to show them around and should probably catch up with them. I'll talk to you later Ari." Katherine lied smoothly as she ran back to her companions.

"Be sure that you do!"

Katherine fell back into step with the rest of the group, "Sorry about that. It might happen again while we're here," she said, more for Wyatt and Jasper's benefit than Sylvana's. She followed the group to the springs. The springs were difficult to miss so her guidance wasn't necessary to get them there.

Arriving at the springs, Katherine felt a sense of calm come over her that she hadn't felt in a long time. The springs had always done that to her. There was something so peaceful and serene about the place that she couldn't help but feel at peace in the place. While she knew it was an illusion, Katherine could feel some of the troubles and aches of the last few days melting away. She looked around the people gathered there. There were one or two familiar faces, no one she knew by name, but the majority of people were tourists. There was no one here to recognise, not really. Katherine sighed and let her guard down for the first time in a few days. Evanpool wouldn't be so bad, she promised herself, she'd cope with a day or so here just fine.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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It didn't take the small group long to make their way to the entrance for the hot springs. They each paid their own way in with the money they had on them. Sylvana found herself out of money, but honestly, she wasn't worried about it. She'd stocked up during her last stop and she hoped that it would last her until they could get to their destination.

Wyatt watched the other members of the group from the corner of his eye as they entered the front to change and then head to the springs. It didn't take him long to learn that the hot springs in Evanpool were co-ed. Not that it bothered him and he imagined it wouldn't bother the others. None of them lived in world where they were separated from the other sex simply because they were different from each other. But he couldn't help but think that one day the world would turn out that way.

Within a few minutes, he was slipping into the water. The hotness immediately taking some of the weariness out of his bones. They were almost there. The journey was almost over. It wouldn't be long now. All they had to do was leave and then brave the wilderness. It was a comforting thought that the days of hiding were almost over. Out in the snow covered mountains there wouldn't be a need to hide his magic from anyone.

He cracked an eye open when Sylvana came into the water beside him. He didn't say anything as he watched the play of emotions on her face. She felt as great as he did. Maybe he should have come here sooner. But words his mother had beaten into him came back. Relaxing one's guard was dangerous. It might he could get killed. Worse, Sylvana could be killed, or even the other two members of the group which was something he wasn't going to allow to happen.

As soon as everyone was done with their baths they would get their supplies, maybe a hot meal and then be on their way. Because despite the amazing work the hot springs were doing on his body, his mind still felt something forlorn. He was rarely wrong. He just didn't know why he was feeling so bothered when there was nothing he could point to as the cause.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jacob Hemlock Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait:
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Jasper did look over to see what happened to Katherine when he heard a shout, but when she rejoined them, he nodded acceptance to her explanation.

Though he was more cautious in getting to the springs with the young ladies, as something reminded him of his younger sisters. His hometown of Eastleigh was always busy with people traveling through from both continents of Asiali and Eliradia and he always felt he had to protect his siblings. Neither Katherine nor Sylvana were his sister, and he understood that they were good at protecting themselves. They wouldn't have made it as far as they did otherwise.

He shook his head and then just laughed at himself. Caleb, his brother, and Annemarie, the older of his sisters bathed together as children. His youngest sister was significantly younger than both, so she bathed by herself. His youngest sister though was the one he worried about most. Jasper shook his head again, since there was nothing he could do. Caleb had to take care of her until he returned from this journey. The healer had absolute faith that he would return.

Eventually he slipped under the water and sighed in pleasure, as the stiffness in his limbs melted away. Leaning his head back, he closed his eyes though he didn't sleep. He felt like he could stay here forever. An uncomfortable feeling in his gut changed that though. He opened his eyes and looked around.

Jacob didn't visit the hot springs the first night he was in Evanpool. There were too many other things to think about as he gauged the best place to set up his plans. In the morning he woke early and started talking to townspeople and tourists, throwing out a net for news as he did every town he came to. Any news at all was important to him, not just news specific to his mission, as he could use any tidbit in the future.

On his way to the springs for the promise he made to himself that first night, he paused to chat up a pretty young maid. That feeling under his skin grew stronger and he was downright uncomfortable by now. He couldn't hide it anymore, so he said his goodbyes to the girl with a kiss on her slender hand and she went away giggling like a fool. He smiled as pleasantly as he could until she was out of sight and then tensed up. He appeared to be staring into space.

At the same moment, Jasper also tensed up, "Who are you?" he whispered, though it was unclear who he spoke to.

Hello, brother, came the contemptuous answer inside his head.

"My brother's at home. Who are you?" The second time Jasper's question was louder, and he temporarily broke his trance to climb out, not long enough though as the voice he didn't recognize spoke again.

I'll find you, brother. Don't move and you'll see yourself. The voice cut off and Jasper collapsed on the ground unable to move or speak. Struggling through what felt like heavy mud and pain, he gritted his teeth and forced his body to stand back up again.

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Having had enough of bathing in the springs, Katherine jumped out of the springs and went back to the changing rooms. The contrast between the temperatures left Katherine with goosebumps and sharply woke her up. She pulled her dress back on and braided her hair, leaving the braid to hang down her back, the weight oddly comfortable. Making her way back to the waterside, Katherine sat on a bench close to the edge of the water, keeping an eye on her new companions. She thought about the journey ahead of them, the provisions they would need. She was sure she could all in a few favours from some friends to keep costs to a minimum. Perhaps returning home before the last leg of their journey hadn't been such a bad idea after all.

Katherine frowned when she saw Jasper fall. Katherine stood and cautiously made her way to Jasper's side as he struggled to his feet, "Jasper? Are you alright? Are you hurt?" Katherine looked around, some hidden sense telling her that something wasn't right. Searching the treeline, Katherine couldn't see anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps a few people milling about, but that was nothing unusual in itself. None of them were looking this way, none of them were particularly suspicious looking. Katherine wanted to call for Wyatt or Sylvana but she didn't want to draw too much attention to the group. She sensed that magic had something to do with this, but her inexperience stopped her from being certain.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Katherine Fletcher Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Wyatt turned around at the feeling of magic. Only three people that he knew should be able to use magic. That was when he saw Jasper on the ground with Katherine rushing over to him. He shook his head as he jumped out of the water, not caring that he was completely nude. He was used to it. He went to the healer's side. He could feel the magic, but not which kind or even what had been done. So either Jasper had lied to them about being normal or someone had done something to him.

Katherine, maybe? They didn't know a whole lot about her. But doing something to him a town didn't seem like her style. It would draw way too much attention and the risk of getting caught was extremely high. The black magic user went over to them grabbing a cloak from a near by stand and wrapping it around Jasper as he lifted the man and brought him inside away from everyone else.

He sat him down on one of the chairs before turning to Katherine. "What happened?" Reaching over he handed Jasper his clothes, so once he was stable he'd be able to dress himself.

Sylvana walked out of dressing area. She stopped short when she didn't see the rest of her group. Her frowned deepened before she started walking around looking for them. It didn't take her long until she spotted Wyatt leaning over Jasper who looked extremely pale compared to his normal composure.

The woman walked over to them, her brows furrowed in confusion. Something happened. That was easy to be seen. But what? She heard Wyatt's question. It worried her that even he didn't know what was going on. Growing up she'd always turned to him for advice and to know exactly what to do. If he didn't know she feared the worst, but knew she couldn't let her over active imagination get out of control now. He might have just spent too much time in the water. But an uneasy feeling was washing over her. There was something more going on.

A lot more.

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