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Sylvana Ward

"I am a witch. One day I will see a world where that is not a curse."

0 · 1,695 views · located in Vandose

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

Description

Name: Sylvana Ward

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Quote: "Unacceptable to the Shadow Sage because I hold the power of white. They made a mistake in not killing me."

Nickname: n/a

Age: 22

Gender: female

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Magic: Yes, white

Extent of control: Extremely well. Very easy to manipulate, hasn't been much she can't do yet.

Special Abilities: Can take black magic into her own and change it to white. Takes a lot of concentration and the toll on her body is hard. On a good day, she just passes out, on a bad seizers and coma. Learning how to transport not only herself, but others.

Marks: Has a small t-shaped scar on her left cheek. It is barely noticeable unless someone is right in her face.

Place of Birth: Just outside of Pikelee, Eliradia, Vandose.

Skills: Hunting, fighting (hand to hand as well as with her weapons), and being able to pretend she's not a witch.

Weapon(s): Two daggers, one larger than the other. Bow and arrow.

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Appearance: Sylvana stands at about five foot five inches tall with long brown hair to the middle of her back. She wears it down with the front pieces braided and pulled back from her face. The two pieces are then braided together. Her eyes are a catching green. Her normal dress attire is a combination of a dress and pants. The upper half is a long sleeve dress that flows down to the middle of her thighs where it stops. Connected to the under side of the dress are pants that extend past where the dress stops all the way to her ankles. Over her midsection she has a brown leather corset top used as protection from weapons. She has ankle length brown leather boots and a cloak. On her sides are two holders for her daggers. She carries around a pack with food and on her back is a quiver of arrows for the bow slung across her shoulders.

Personality: Very reserved and off putting. She can be really sarcastic and blunt at times. Extremely guarded and suspicious by nature. Sylvana grew up with a superiority complex until the age of seven, then it became fear and worry. She was constantly looking over her shoulder, a trait she has yet to lose. In a way she still believes herself better than normal humans and she's out to prove as a white magic user that she still has immense power and she will do it by any means necessary. She pushes people away knowing life has no value and anyone can be taken from the world in a matter of seconds. What she seeks is a world where she no longer has to hide who and what she is and can be accepted by others.

BIO: Sylvana was the first born child to her parents. They lived in a small little hamlet just outside of Pikelee. When she was very young both of her parents died of a sickness that spread through the land of Eliradia. She was taken in as an orphan, but quickly taken off to be raised by the Shadow Sage after someone saw the scar on her face. From then on she grew up with the black magic users.

When she was seven years old, she came into her powers. Only they weren't black. They were white. She told no one for fear of losing the only home she'd ever known. Her hiding and training alone in secret having watched and learned everything by day went smoothly until she was nearly an adult. Someone found her practicing and told the leaders. She was kicked out.

On her own with no way to get a job and unwilling to marry, she started wandering the land taking food and making clothes as she could. But still she was restless. She knew what her old family had planed. It wasn't right. She wasn't going to let it happen. So she decided to start the journey for the Witches' Fortress. If she could get a hold of their knowledge before the members of Shadow Sage, she would be set.

No more innocent people needed to die. Even if she stood alone against her fellow witches, she would fight and die if it came to it. Sylvana choose to no longer live her life in fear. She would either be killed for being a witch or die at the hands of the people she once called family.

Other: N/A for now.

So begins...

Sylvana Ward's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jacob Hemlock Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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A harsh, cruel, resounding laugh pulled Jacob from his own attempt to shut out the world. At first he thought it was his master, though he never heard Raven laugh like that before.

That thought was quickly quashed with the sudden powerful pressure accompanying it. Heavy weight fell on him, and he gasped for air. This power sought only to crush and destroy. NO! He shouted in his mind, and his magic answered. A grey cloud rolled over his entire body and then appeared to turn to glass. Jacob could reach through the glass, but no others could reach in.

Wyatt broke the chains! The monster he became plowed through the elders and his father. The same father who was going to watch him die. Jacob snarled, and since his magic also wasn’t completely controlled, a shard of grey glass aimed for the father. He reeled it in, somewhat, not that anyone in the room fighting for their lives would notice.

His master fell to the beast, and Jacob swallowed a lump in his throat. Raven was the only father he ever knew.

Then the beast came for him! He pulled back defensively and pushed all his strength to shield himself if nothing else. He wasn’t going to die today! The beast didn’t attack, but pushed its own strength forward. That crushing strength! Jacob’s fear showed in his cold blue eyes, but he was indeed still alive. The monster pushed him away like a fly. He hissed as he hit the stone floor, curled up and protecting his head. The magic glass broke around him and he laid still.

Jasper too, far away from the proceedings, screamed and rammed his body against the hinges of his cage door. He didn’t have time for caution. Fear! Pain! Death! They pounded against him like heavy stones. He needed to heal. He needed to help!

Suddenly, the door ripped out of the wall. Jasper froze. Surely… Before he could finish the thought, he found himself in the middle of a white room stained with blood. It looked eerily similar to the room where that woman abused him every day since he arrived, but it had a variety of strange and terrifying contraptions. The six bodies scattered around the room captured his attention the most. Who or what would do this? The only person still on his feet was Wyatt. The healer shuddered. This was that terrible cold and darkness he felt when they met.

Heal her. A strange but pained voice pressed on his mind, directing his eyes to the one body in the room directly in front of him. It must be Sylvana, but her body was so damaged he almost didn’t recognize her. As a healer though, he couldn’t deny the request. He swallowed back both bile and tears, and kneeled down in the pool of her blood. It was a good thing he wore red robes over his clothes.

Closing his eyes, he pressed his right hand over her chest, where most of the blood was coming from, and rested his left hand on her head. Just like the last time he tried this, the magic pulled him under and he cried out, but he remained aware of himself too. He gritted his teeth against her pain. This felt worse than what Jacob did! Broken bones, terrible wounds, and bruises. Her heart!

Under the magic trance, Jasper’s body was outside of his control. The tears he tried to hide flowed freely. His stomach convulsed, but the bile did not fall on his patient. He could hear and see nothing beyond him, but he felt his brother, and pulled him in too. Jacob couldn’t resist in his unconscious state, but the magic did no harm to him. In the same way, it came to Jacob’s defense when he was in need, the magic bolstered up its other half. The twins would no longer be separated.

Jacob cried out and pulled up when the connection between them broke. The beast, his brother, and the white witch were gone. Abandoned again, he shouted, “Damn you all!”

The door burst open to his mother with a contingent of guards. He froze and met her eyes. The woman was only two inches shorter than him, with her grey-streaked brown hair pulled in a bun. She scanned the room and guards wrenched his arms behind him. As he was the last one standing, he got the blame again. He snarled and fought fruitlessly with the guards. Not again. He wouldn’t pay for Wyatt again! “I had nothing to do with this!” He shouted to his mother.

Because he was physically no match for these burly well-trained guards, he gave up temporarily and twisted his head to Raven’s body. “Look there. My master.” Pain edged his voice, but he refused to cry like his brother. “Why would I hurt him?”
Morgana, his mother, didn’t want to take orders from her adopted son, but she had reasons of her own for wanting to know. She tried to hide it, but her eyes darted in Raven’s direction, and a choked gasp came from her throat. She took a moment to recover, and her voice returned burning like poison. “What did happen?”

“A monster.” Jacob grunted back. “See for yourself.” He lowered his head and his stomach clenched. He despised letting his defenses down, but he had no choice if he wanted to get out alive. “See with my eyes,” he finally whispered and closed his eyes. Forcing his resistance back even as the first thorny probes pierced his mind, he clenched his teeth against the pain. The thorny probes forced him to relive those moments of terror, and he squirmed in the guard’s grip. No further than today, woman!

Stubborn child! She let him have his way that much though. “Very well. Let him go.” She said out loud to the guard holding him. Jacob rubbed his shoulders when released.

“Release me to avenge my master, and…” he paused and turned to Akane when he heard the big man groan. “I’ll get the information he wanted too.”

“What is that?” his mother interjected.

Jacob curled his lip in disgust. “I’ll tell him…” he pointed to Akane. “…and no one else. Master Raven didn’t want anyone to know but those in this room, and that one is the last one left.” Since the guard released him, he stalked over to Akane’s body. “I admit, I’m surprised he showed you mercy though. If I was in his shoes, I wouldn’t.” Jacob pressed one of his feet on one of Akane’s injuries, intending to induce greater pain, but he held himself back from killing the old man too. “Before I go, let me tell you something. I hated my father for abandoning me to die, but I have to grant him one thing. He didn’t stick around to watch it happen. You, on the other hand…” the slighter witch pressed his weight harder on the injury. “You would have done the deed yourself, if allowed. I hate you for that, but I have to thank you too. Your words at lunch yesterday set me on this new path.” Jacob released the man and returned to Morgana. “So, Mother, have I your permission to leave?”

Morgana met Jacob’s cold eyes, and swallowed. She saw something there she hadn’t before. “You realize you only have two options now: Success or death. Death either by the monster’s hand or ours.”

Jacob nodded solemnly, but that fierce look in his eye hadn’t wavered. He posed a question to her, and she answered but no others knew of the exchange. “Very well.” She directed one of her retinue of guards to make sure Jacob had everything he needed for his journey, and called the rest to help her prepare the bodies. “I will succeed,” the boy called back and thus answered the call of his heart and magic to meet his brother and party.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jacob Hemlock Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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The pristine colored snow around the three of the witches was turning red and pink around Sylvana as Jasper continued to work on her. Her skin was nearly the same color as their surroundings. She’d lost too much blood. Her body had been put through the ringer over the last two days.

Wyatt paced back and forth wearing a path down in the thick snow, but still it didn’t calm his nerves down. It only made the passing of time much more noticeable, enough so that his gut told him his best friend wasn’t going to pull through. The wind whipped through him and he winced. He could take the cold, but the others…

Putting himself to use was going to be the only thing to keep himself grounded. Going over to their stuff, he dug out the cloaks. He put Jasper’s around his shoulders before draping both his own and Sylvana’s over her ice cold frame. Finally with nothing left to do, he collapsed down across from the gray magic user.

His own pale hand reached out to touch the white magic user, but he stopped just short every time he got close. I have no right to touch her. No right to be near her at all. I failed her even worse than I thought I ever would. How could you ever forgive me for what I’ve done? All I tried to do was get us out of there. But without access to my magic, I couldn’t control it. So many years of fighting the inner magic and this is when I lose control. When I have none to begin with.

“Syl…Kyla… I’m so sorry.” Tears fell down the male’s face as black as the color of his magic. “I never meant… I’ve controlled the beast for so long, but without access to magic… Please, Kyla, please. You’ve pulled through so much more before. I’m not Eth. I’m not your brother.”

He’d never been so emotional before. His mother would have been stomping him into the ground for the way he was blubbering on. Before he’d ever been reunited with the white witch, whatever he did, he did. He was never sorry for anything. Until her. She’d opened his eyes to the way he was raised and taught him the other side of things. And now when all he wanted was the calm retreat, he was given the openness she’d taught him.

Being so high up the mountain, the wind whipping around them, pressing the cold down, they were easy targets for the creatures that called the place home especially in the pitch blackness. As much as he hated to leave them, he had to find wood or at least something he could burn even if it meant poop.

So Wyatt set out and returned a few minutes later. He set up a small fire between a couple of rocks so the heat would stay trapped within the small space and keep the group warmer. Next he moved their supplies to the small base camp and then returned to Jasper and Sylvana. All he could do now was wait for the gray magic user to finish trying to heal his best friend. And then hope against every fiber in his being that she was going to survive.

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The smell of death and blood filled Akane’s nostrils before he even opened his eyes. He was alive. Whatever small miracle that meant. Being killed by his own flesh and blood would have royally sucked, but as it stood being defeated by him as a lot worse. Of course, Akane knew for a fact that his son was stronger than him, but he had never seen power like that before. Even drawing on Milla’s black magic, it hadn’t been enough to stop him.

But he knew exactly why he was still alive. The boy would have recognized the feel of his mother’s magic. He now knew that he controlled the woman’s magic. A damn shame that secret couldn’t have stayed away from him. It wasn’t like he didn’t already hate him and while he wasn’t too fond of his mother either, the boy hated his sire a lot more.

Akane growl out as Jacob came over and pressed down onto one of the wounds making the already searing pain worse. Why hadn’t he gotten tossed around too? It wasn’t like they were friends or anything. Why spare the gray magic user? He wasn’t going to ask especially not with the male’s foot in his bleeding wounds.

It was, however, Jacob’s words that caused some of the pain to lesson. He laughed as he raised himself to his feet, allowing his black magic to heal himself. It would take time, much slower than if another user did it, but he preferred not having to lean on anyone else.

“Good to know you took something to heart,” he smiled as he straightened completely up to his full height despite the pain he was feeling. “But unlike your weak father, I would much rather have done the deed myself of killing the boy. I never wanted him in the first place, but orders are orders. Go find him and learn his truths. Just be careful what you wish for.”

The black magic user didn’t wait around. With all the elders dead including Raven, which was a major blow, he was the highest ranking official in the tower. He wasn’t taking orders from anyone. Let the brat do as he wanted. He didn’t care. What he cared about was finding Milla before news of what happened leaked to her from anyone but himself. Once outside of the room, he transported himself away to where he knew she was, based solely on the connecting feeling of their magic.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jacob Hemlock Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Jasper also grew pale as he fought both the pain and the consuming power of his untrained magic. Even with the fur cloak Wyatt draped over him, his body trembled. Sweat dripped from his head and face, landing on Sylvana's body. As it landed it seemed to melt into her skin. A sharp cold fear lanced in his stomach. What if he couldn't do it? What if in trying to save her, he died himself? Those thoughts only increased the trembling and sympathy pains plaguing him. No! He couldn't let those fears win!

Even though the cruel woman in the tower took away his freedom and caused him pain, one thing she gave him was a better knowledge of his own magic. He could feel that magic consuming his body and Sylvana's. The magic was hot and powerful, while the ground below him was cold and numbing. Inside the consuming magic, he couldn't move, but his thoughts remained his own. He focused those thoughts on healing her most life-threatening injuries. Anything left after the magic had done its work could be handled manually, will be handled with the knowledge his father taught him. They will both survive. It was still a strain on him, but his fears and doubts no longer got in the way.

During what felt like many hours, the healer felt more pain than he knew in his entire life. It hurt to breathe; it hurt to move. His head felt heavier than the mountain where they landed, but he couldn’t give up. Wyatt, Sylvana and his family needed him now more than ever. He was so tired, so tired… He collapsed next to the girl with an arm around her for heat.



Even though he heard the older black witch's words, Jacob forced himself not to respond. The old man confirmed Jacob's suspicions about him and laughed about it. Well, he decided, for my next freelance mission, I'll finish the job Wyatt failed. So far this freelance thing felt surprisingly easy. Of course, his mother knew she was no match for him, and Raven... Jacob swallowed tightly and more vigorously tossed his traveling gear together. I am NOT my brother! Not only were his emotions interfering with him, but he felt his magic was fighting again too, which only worsened his mood. He dealt with that by waspishly ordering the guard to help him pack his bags. His mother's orders were to make sure Jacob had what he needed, so ordering the pest to help him was perfectly within those orders.

After both Akane and Jacob left, Morgana had her own struggles. She didn't let any of the remaining guards touch Raven. He'll curse her for her weakness, but she didn't want any strangers touching her brother. She held one of his pale hands in both of hers, and rested it against her face. He tried to pull away. He's still alive! Hmmf! Jacob wasn't paying as much attention as he usually does, and Morgana smirked. The consequences she told him still stood, but he'd probably like to know the truth. The truth. Akane said something about truth before he transported himself away.

"Brother, you're a bloody mess. Had both me and that pet of yours convinced you were dead." She let go of his hand and rested it over his chest. If he was to stay alive, she had work to do. The guards officially confirmed the other elders were dead, which could be expected, as both were at least ten years older than Raven, and physically weaker in general. One of Raven's own complaints about other elders was that they didn't put enough effort into their physical fitness. Morgana frowned as she attempted to patch his injuries. She noticed at least one thing that would keep Raven from his own fitness routine, but she kept it to herself as she transported them to a room where she knew more of his pets could be found. Most of Raven's pets were grey magic users with varying strengths. Jacob was stronger and older than these, but they were stuck with them."Children," she called to the startled young witches, "Take care of your master." She left them no room for questions and disappeared again.

Finally he was ready to go, and met Morgana again. "I'm already on a mission and I won't stop until its done. Don't interfere!"
The woman smirked again, this boy. "I won't interfere. I just wanted to bring you something, so you can contact me with your progress on the mission." She handed him a small hand mirror.

"Is this one of...?" the boy choked on the last word.
"Yes, he wants you to have it."
"What if..."

"You said yourself you won't fail, so why should you be afraid of your master's gift? You wanted to go on this mission to avenge him and get the information he wants, so why would I or anyone else want to stop you? Press your hand to the face and see for yourself how this gift works and why it was given." Jacob did so and his mother stepped out of his path. In the mirror, he saw Raven, as he was now. Alive and being tended by other grey witches, some Jacob knew. He smiled a genuine happy smile at the sight. "It works two ways. You can see into this tower, and we can see you, so step carefully, boy!" Jacob pressed his hand against the mirror again and it went blank. His master is alive, but he still didn't trust him. Hmmf! Well, i'll show them all!
"Thank you," he spoke aloud and transported himself out of the tower. The mirror he tucked in his knapsack and kept it there as he followed the call of his magic to the mountain where his enemies waited.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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While Wyatt wasn’t exactly known for his patience, his mother had instilled in him the ability to appear calm even when his insides were a wreck. Hell, she’d even taught him how to control his insides especially when in battle. But having to sit by and do nothing while he watched Jasper try and heal Sylvana was probably one of the worst things he’d ever been through. His nerves were a wreck and had he been any other person, he probably would have been pacing through the thick blanket of snow with sweat running down his face.

It seemed like an eternity had passed before a stir in the air alerted the black magic user that anything had changed. He studied the other male more closely seconds before he lost consciousness. With the only person who could heal his friend now out of commission, he could only hope that the white magic user had been healed enough to survive.

Moving the few steps over towards them, Wyatt bent down and picked up Sylvana first and moved her over to the fire. He adjusted the cloak around her to keep her as warm as possible and then headed back for Jasper. He did the same for the male once he was near the fire. Knowing he would need to prepare food for him to regain his strength, he didn’t want to make it too earlier, not knowing when he would stir.

But at least Sylvana had seemed fine. Her heart rate had been steady beneath his finger tips and her skin tone had even regained some color. He knew she probably wasn’t safe yet, but at least for now she wasn’t dying. The scene from the dungeon replayed over and over in his mind. He could still hear the beast laughing at him the whole time. A lifetime of fighting it back by always being in control and one slip up had nearly cost him everything. He didn’t feel remorse over the lives of the elders. They probably deserved much more than they had been given.

And then there was Akane. He’d have been dead too had it not been for their short fight. His magic had sensed something familiar inside of Akane’s magic – Milla’s. And even though the black magic user wasn’t sure why the beast still hadn’t killed the man, he was extremely grateful. Until he could get to the bottom of that situation, he needed to make sure the man who sired him stayed alive. After that, he would be fair game again. Only this time, the level of pain he would put him through would rival anything he had dished out on the boy growing up. Simply because he had touched Sylvana.

But for now, all the black magic user could do was sit and wait for the other two to regain consciousness and tend to the fire. Alone with his thoughts had never been a good thing, but it was time he stopped running from the creature he feared the most and did his best to tame it – his own magic.


((sorry it took so long.))

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jacob Hemlock Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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For a few moments, the beast didn't seem to realize he was there, but Jacob didn't push. He simply waited to be properly acknowledged. It's not like he was in any hurry. He had no deadline on this mission. The most important thing was that all of them got out of the cold and away from night hunters. Yes, all of them. If he wanted to be on Wyatt's good side, he couldn't harm either of those he considered his inferiors. The smaller witch hid a grimace at that.

With them both unconscious presently, it was too easy to finish them off, and he wouldn't be as messy about it as the elders. All it took was stopping the heart, which he was perfectly capable of doing on his own. It would even be merciful compared to what he witnessed these last couple days. Mercy? When did he care about mercy? He glared at his brother's face, not that the idiot could see it. What's that? Did he flinch? In an unplanned use of his life-sight, Jacob caught a slight flare up of his twin's energy. Even knocked out, his twin recognized him, and he didn't like it. Jacob ground the toe of his boot in the snow next to him. Playing nice will be more difficult than he expected.

Quietly he turned back to Wyatt, when the beast answered him. Apparently, the monster didn’t want him dead yet. He even sounded tired, which surprised the smaller grey witch. “I see.” It was simply an acknowledgement that the black witch spoke to him. There was another long silence, before the other spoke again. Jacob merely nodded. Even though the words weren’t a question, he could guess Wyatt wanted to know what he planned, but the grey witch wouldn’t explain his reasons out in the open.

Suddenly, a stronger voice replaced the tired one, an angry cold voice. Jacob jumped as he felt the tinge of fear again. Would he kill him anyway? No, Wyatt was looking behind him. Behind him? Slowly, he turned his head not sure what to expect.

Seriously?! As if spying on him with a magic mirror wasn’t enough, someone sent a stupid human babysitter after him too. He growled under his breath and balled his hands in fists, but he still knew he was physically no match for a guard. For the sake of expediency, he incapacitated the guard as quickly as possible, but didn’t kill him. Someone else will most likely do the job for him, anyway. This was Jacob’s absolute last chance to make a name for himself, and it was a fair guess anyone with him would face the same consequences he did. “There done. “ He looked back to Wyatt and rubbed his hands together. “Even if I left him be, he wouldn’t be able to follow us to where I plan on going, but I don’t want nosy jerks around either. So if you want me to help you find a safer campsite, get the wild witch and I’ll hold the girl.” He paused and met Wyatt’s black eyes, anticipating a protest. “She’s lighter than he is, and I’m obviously not as strong as you.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jacob Hemlock Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Knowing that Jacob was right about getting them to another place, Wyatt had no choice but to yield. Only he wasn’t going to roll over like an obedient dog that he’d been raised to be. He stood with a shake of his head. There was no way he was going to allow the gray magic user to be the one with Sylvana, but on the same token he wasn’t sure if he could trust himself with her anymore. He’d betrayed her in the worst possible manner and yet he knew she’d hold no grudge against him.

The black magic user glanced to the sky where the full moon was slowly starting its decent. With the moon would go his increased powers. Everything would go back to normal and the beast would be contained. He had access to his magic and his control was back in place, but he felt like he was shattered into a million pieces. His own magic had managed to do in a single second what the elders hadn’t been able to do in days. Break him.

“I’ll take both of them if you’ll take the gear, but know if this is a trap, I will make what the elders did child’s play.” The soldier was still present under the mask. He couldn’t afford to allow it to slip now. He couldn’t trust Jacob’s intentions even now. They would never truly be safe until the other learned the truth for what it was. How he reacted and did would say more about his character than anything else. Would he stay loyal to the organization or would he break away as the other two had done.

Without another word, Wyatt went over and put Jasper onto his back, using a piece of extra material from his bag as a strap to hold him on as well as the cloak to stay up. Next he bent down and picked up the white magic user bridal style. He could have used his magic and saved his physical strength, but he didn’t dare trust himself yet.

The only thing going in their favor was that Jacob had taken out his babysitter and well at least now the two unconscious people would get his body warmth while they were out in the cold.

He’d left Jacob to gather up the gear and put the fire out before turning to him, “Lead the way.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jacob Hemlock Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Jacob was retreating away after he’d yelled out, so Wyatt did his best to give him his space. It wasn’t like he could go somewhere else, so just appearing normal was about the best he could do. When he thought the other male was done brooding over the fire, it appeared as if his words had finally clicked in the gray magic user’s head.

“It’ll all make sense when we finally tell you everything. And believe me; the elders know a hell of a lot less about magic than you think they do, especially since they just woke up one day as adults with theirs.”

Wyatt sat back and listened to Jacob tell him how he should have done things. It was funny being able to see just how well the mask he’d fashioned for the Shadow Sage had actually fooled everyone. Maybe that was why his betrayal came as much a shock. But yet within seconds, Jacob was back to acting like he normally did. He was cutting off the conversation and telling him to sleep.

Fat chance of that happening. It wasn’t just not trusting Jacob. His body never needed much sleep. So resting his eyes would be as far as the black magic user went towards sleep. He would still recover strength and his magic just at a slower rate.

“Jacob, you might not believe this, but I never cut anyone who was dead weight back then. You never saw where I took them or what I did with them. I’ve changed less in the past five years than you have. I see now she was right that we should have told you, but your love for the organization was too strong. You never started to question things until now and for that I am sorry.”

But he was going to rest and wait on both Sylvana and Jasper to wake up. Then Jacob would get the answers he so desperately sought, even if they weren’t going to be what he wanted to hear. Only how could he explain what happened in the dungeon? How could he explain what it was like to fight his magic every day without letting him feel the beast?


______________________________________________________________________________________________________


A low groaning started out in the back of her throat. Only it didn’t hurt so bad. More like a severe case of cotton mouth. Her eyes felt heavy as she fought to open them. When she did Sylvana wasn’t quite sure where she was. The last place she remembered being at was locked in the dungeon of the northern most tower of the Shadow Sage. Where were they now? What had happened since she’d lost consciousness? Just how long had she been out?

The first thing she noticed was the fire going not too far away and then the fact that it looked like they were surrounded by walls of ice. She thought it would be cold, but the fire was giving off a nice amount of heat within the space. Another groan tore from her throat as she forced herself to sit up.

Wyatt was leaning against of the walls, his arms crossed at his chest. A normal resting position for him. He was looking at her, asking if she wanted help, but afraid to move towards her. Why?

Across the way was Jacob. What was he doing here? And then there was Jasper not too far from where she was at. Why were they all in an ice cavern? Was she still dreaming?

Sylvana shook her head as she fought to get into a sitting position. Her mind was a whirlwind of activity. She remembered being suspended again. Her shoulders had been on fire and then laugher. An evil, twisted laugh. Finally, it dawned on her. Without being able to use his magic, Wyatt hadn’t been able to control it when the full moon had hit. But what came next?

She glanced over to her childhood friend who refused to meet her gaze. He’d done something he wasn’t proud of, but what? The scene was a blur in her mind. There were grunts, groans, cries of pain and the moans of the dying. She could see new blood added to where her own had laid. Then she saw a tall, dark figure completely shrouded in black coming at her. She remembered the words just on the edge of her throat about forgiveness and then nothing but pain.

The white magic user crawled painfully over to where Wyatt was sitting, grabbed his head with both her hands on either side, forcing him to look at her. His black eyes were down casted. He was ashamed for having lost control.

“Xin,” her voice was forceful despite the lingering soreness covering her entire body. “It wasn’t your fault. The moment the moon rose, you were gone. I will never fault you for something out of your control.” The male started to protest, but she cut him off. “And I don’t want to hear your lame excuse about ‘I should have had control no matter the situation’ crap. Without access to your magic you have no control over what it does. Now stop.” She leaned forward and brushed her lips against his before pulling back.

Wyatt’s hands had clenched his pant legs. Not from the action itself, but to keep himself from reacting. Jacob might have believed he’d run away with the white magic user, but that day in the woods when he’d attacked the source of magic he felt, had been the first time in five years they’d seen each other.

Sylvana pulled back and as if for the first time noticing or rather remembering there were two other people there, her face flushed red and she moved away to lean back against her own portion of the ice wall.

“What are we doing here?”

“Waiting for both you and Jasper to wake up. We also need to tell him the truth.”

The girl’s eyes widened and she looked at him as if he’d become a devil of old lore, her head shaking as quickly as she could make it.

“No, no, no.”

“We have to. We should have done it years ago like you wanted.”

“He’s changed too much. He’s under their control completely now. All of our hard work of taking his missions and giving him the stuff that kept him under the radar went down the drain. He’s been exposed to the evil we tried to keep him from…”

Suddenly she remembered the male in question was still there and her face turned an even darker red. She sunk into herself as she’d exposed something she knew he probably wasn’t going to like and that Wyatt was right. They had to tell him.

“Fine. But if he decides he still wants to work for them, you know what we have to do.”

The black magic user nodded his head in understanding.

Jacob would have to die.

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"I'm stronger than I was five years ago," Jacob mumbled as he curled up in a blanket and unconsciously separated himself from the rest of the group. He wasn't strong enough to stop what happened in the dungeon, though. Was he strong enough for what he set out to do? He curled up tighter, but said no more. There was nothing he could say in response to the elders insult. Because he always had his magic, he was incapable of comprehending that magic could suddenly appear later in life. Nothing Wyatt said made much sense to him right now, but the only thing he could do was wait for the girl.

Hmmf! Why shouldn't he love the organization that saved him from freezing to death, raised him, and trained his magic? Shadow Sage was his family, whether Wyatt liked it or not. Yes, Jasper was related to him in blood, but abandoned him just like his father. As a result, Jacob had no attachments to any blood relatives. If it weren't for the magic, they would have completely forgotten about him. He didn't know how, but he was absolutely certain that his twin only found him out here because of the magic. Why wait so long, though? Nineteen years! He knew about him for nineteen years. Why didn't he come for him sooner? Biting his tongue, he completely turned away from everyone. They can't see any sign of what's going on in his head, and he needed to focus on the task at hand anyway. Jacob closed his eyes and waited for the spinning wheels in his head to slow down and let his body rest.

Several hours later, a painfully familiar sensation came to Jasper's attention. This time, he didn't rush though. He remained still until the worst of the pain and dizziness passed. Ugh! How could he finish his job like this? With a groan, he rolled over and absently registered the different texture of the ground below him. It didn't seem as hard as the stone he remembered from his cage, and made a crunching sound when he moved. Snow! Damn! How long was he out? Why wasn't he cold? How did he get outside in the first place? He opened his mouth and closed it again. His throat hurt, but he thought he heard low voices nearby.

Keeping his eyes closed, since he remembered how painful light was last time, he crawled a little closer. The cloak wrapped over him slipped off his shoulders. Without thinking, he opened his eyes to put it back in place. He hissed and squinted against the light reflecting on white walls. Wait! How was he on snow and surrounded by walls? Pressing a hand against his head, he attempted again to speak and failed.

"Take this," an irritable yet also familiar voice brought him back and plopped something warm in his free hand.

Jacob gritted his teeth against what he overheard the girl saying about him. Both Wyatt and the girl's embarrassment at his presence, also reinforced the fact he already knew they were lovers. Forcing himself, he pushed a wooden bowl towards her, but he didn't actually put it in her hand, like he did for his stupid disoriented brother. After he woke up from his own nap, he started cooking a hunter's stew and toasted some bread with honey over the fire. "Eat, then talk." He turned to Wyatt, "and in addition to the questions I asked earlier, I also want to know why you think you had to protect me. I lived in Shadow Sage my entire life, and both of you were outsiders. Granted, I was still an apprentice when you arrived, but I'm pretty sure I knew more about my family than you thought."

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Graciously taking the warm bowl of food, Sylvana sat with it cupped between her fingers just staring down at it. This wasn’t going to be easy to do. She wasn’t even sure where to begin with the story. Going straight into what Jacob wanted to know was likely to confuse him more than anything.

Finally, she started munching on her food glad that the meal was giving her a reprieve to try and think about how to go about the whole situation. It would have been a lot easier to do five years prior, but now there was nothing that could be done about it, save to get it over with.

“For you to fully understand everything, you’re going to need to know where magic actually came from.” Wyatt began.
The white magic user looked over at him. Once upon a time it had been her telling him the story while they sat in the open field having just ended their first fight with the two blue magic users. This was her lesson to teach.

“Once upon a time there was a name named Gordon,” she laughed at herself. This wasn’t a fairy tale. “Gordon craved power above all else. He devoted his life to finding it and searched all over the kingdom eventually learning to harness said power. It was found within specific areas, each one different from the last.

The first magic he ever created was blue. But because he was so power hungry it only satisfied for so long. He continued his search until he had white magic. Only even with these two people didn’t fear him. So he went until he found and harnessed black magic.”

Sylvana sighed lightly as she took a small bite of her food. She was skipping out on a lot of details, like where each of the powers had been found. She didn’t think they were important in the long run at least not to the whole of the story they had to tell.

“When even the black magic failed to keep him happy, he started playing around and experimenting. He alone created gray magic only possible in their base forms. You see normally the two would fight it out until one magic over came the other, but in a pure state the two merge perfectly together.

But Gordon was just a man and even with all his powers he couldn’t live forever. As he was nearing death, he wanted a way to preserve his magic. Shadow Sage has it all wrong. They search for the crystals of the Witches Three, but they aren’t… what they search for were Gordon’s stones, each one containing the powers of the magic spread across the land in hope no one would ever find them.

Only you see, the elders know the stones don’t exist anymore because they ordered their destruction.” Sylvana shook her head as her mind wandered further into the story. Where the crystals were actually destroyed and all the effects it had afterwards. A place she would eventually get to, but that still cut too close to home.

“Over time, long after Gordon had died, the stones started leaking powers into the nearby populations. Its why there are still certain areas today where one type of magic is seen most. Except blue. It’s still a mystery even to us. We’ve only seen two people with it and they were twins. But here’s where it gets interesting. You see, so long as the stones were intact, the powers people received were limited until something called The Counter was born.

The Counter had both the powers of black and white later on in his life. He wasn’t born with the powers. He received them and the title after having died and been brought back under magical meanings into the form of a cat. A cat who traveled with a woman named Soren who had only white magic since the time of childhood. That man was my grandfather and the woman my mother.”

“My own mother had her own reincarnated companion in the form of a wolf. She had black magic. Milla.” Wyatt interjected.

“You see, both of our mothers had powers beyond what anyone had ever seen. And now the villagers began to fear the magic. Curse it. They were always hunted.”

“Meanwhile unknown to almost everyone, people who had woken up one morning with the ability to do things no one else could started forming a group called the Shadow Sage, where only black magic users were allowed to join. They didn’t have very much power and they sought to increase their numbers and powers through training. Pure in nature, the good members including those of white and gray magic created the Witches’ Fortress to train the new witches so they wouldn’t cause problems in society.”

Sylvana nodded her head slightly at the black magic user’s words. He knew more about the organization than she did. He had literally been born to serve it.

“But both of our mothers traveled the world freely. They didn’t know what was coming. But they had their stones. A white and a black one. They were called Counterparts, having received the most powers from the stones. The Counterparts were the most powerful beings in the world. And technically there four, but only three ever found. Just like there were four stones and maybe only one left intact.”

She hoped they weren’t over whelming either of the two gray magic users. This was only the beginning of the story Jacob wanted to hear. If he couldn’t handle the beginning of magic then he was never going to accept where the story turned and the evil that had possessed the minds of those who were in control.

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One thing Jasper had no trouble with was eating. Once he smelled the food in his hand, he devoured it. Before Sylvana even touched hers, he finished half of his. Never before was he so hungry, and neither did he question it right now. The meal improved his mood and situation immediately. He could look up without pain, and much of his dizziness faded.

Returning to the outside world, he noticed that Sylvana hadn't eaten much of her own meal and opened his mouth to ask her how she felt, but then she started telling the story that Jacob apparently asked to hear while he was out of commission.

Jasper said nothing while she spoke. The beginning of magic? The healer had no knowledge or experience of magic, except that it scared people, before meeting these two. Any knowledge at all was water in the desert for him. Because he had no previous experience or biases, he easily accepted Sylvana spoke the truth, but he still had questions of course.

His twin was a different story. Jacob still didn’t comprehend the idea of not being born with magic, and frequently shook his head during the speech. On top of that, the girl was talking about magic simply being found or created by one man and witches who control more than one type of magic. The one thing he did fully comprehend was what Wyatt said. “I know for a fact there are at least one dozen grey witches in the Northern Tower alone. Even though it was founded by black witches it is NOT just open to other black witches.”

Jasper gave his brother a sideways glance and shook his head. "What does who's allowed into Shadow Sage now have to do with the story?" He paused then as the paler twin's comment, however obnoxious it was, only brought more questions. "Why did they only want black witches?" The healer had none of the biases Jacob did; and therefore no issues, outside of the fear, regarding the color of his own magic. Despite the oddity of a single man finding or creating different types of magic, which honestly Jasper didn't fully understand either, he would be proud to have either grey or blue magic. As far as he did understand, they were the purest forms of magic.

Asking the first question stirred up all the others he held back, and Wyatt now had a taste of Jasper's overwhelming curiosity. Last time he went on a rapid-fire interrogation spree only Sylvana was available, because Wyatt was busy with Jacob. "If they ordered the stones destroyed, why do they still claim to be looking for them? Why did they want to destroy them? Which one is left? You said each of your mothers had a stone, but three of four have been found. Who's the third owner of a stone? Are they safe? Are your mothers safe?"

When he paused to take a breath, he stared at his hands and remembered what was said about the Witches' Fortress. In a more sober tone, he finished, "You also said the Witches' Fortress was founded by grey and white witches so there wouldn't be problems. Is it truly dangerous to be a wild witch?"

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"That is because your magic is black based. His," Wyatt pointed towards where Jasper was sitting. "is likely white based." Sylvana understood what he was saying as her father's gray magic was also black based. But she sighed as Jasper's question knowing she was going to have to explain part of the story she had left out - where the magic had been found.

"Normally it wouldn't matter. Magic is magic. Only each one was found in different places around the kingdom. Black magic came from one of the worst war torn areas that ever existed to date. It made it powerful and dark. It made people fear it. What better way to rule over other witches and humans? No one feared white magic when it came from the remains of the holyest people in the world. Until people saw that they could still do all the same things regardless of the magic type.

They destroyed the stones because at the time it was believed that those who held the most power from them, The Counterparts, would die when the stones were gone. Why wouldn't they want to take out the two biggest threats to their organization and their goals?" The white magic user asked with a small smile on her face. They would be getting to that part of the story soon enough.

"They send people out to look for them so it would never be discovered that they had two of them destoryed and as a result the one they held was destroyed too. The third stone belonged to a gray magic user. The fourth even we haven't heard about it being found, but we would have to check the cavern to be sure; it was the blue stone." Wyatt took over knowing most of the history from his own questions many years ago. It seemed so long ago now, but he had once been in their shoes.

When the final question came out, the black magic user frowned and shook his head. "There's no one there anymore. The three leaders gave themselves up trying to save the vast population when Shadow Sage killed the heir. Everyone else either fled or was put to death by the king. It's been empty ever since but all the training knowledge is still there."

"I need to finish a bit more. It should help. I hope." Sylvana muttered as she took a bit more of her food to calm her nerves. Never before, outside of Wyatt, had she told anyone the whole truth. "Milla and Soren traveled together. They were friends if you wanted to call them that. One day they ran into a man named Ondin. He was a gray magic user and none too nice. But they all three ended up together. Milla didn't trust Ondin and Ondin believed Milla would betray them.

Somewhere along the line of their travels, Milla met a man named Akane who worked for Shadow Sage. He brought her on board to their side and then things started to go down hill. The elders ordered the destruction of the white and gray stones. It would take out both Soren and Ondin then no one would be strong enough to stand up to them again. Only their plan didn't work so well. Yes, the stones were gone and with it their powers, but they weren't dead. I can't tell you everything about this part because it goes back even further. Just know that my family has guarded a sacred object for generations. With it they got their powers back, Milla's stone destoryed and Milla's brother back into a human form. Remember he was the wolf that traveled with her."

"Milla kept her powers because the elders had taken her magic from it. No one knew where until now." Wyatt's hands clenched into fists. He'd only found out because the beast had been uncaged. He'd felt it then. His father would die by his own hand. He'd see to it. "We'll save that for later."

"My family went about recovering and Milla had gone back with Akane to the Shadow Sage. But the elders were worried. What would happen if the white and gray Counterparts had children? They feared the possible magic any child would have. Because with the stones gone, the magic was allowed to reign free as it once had. No longer were the amounts controlled. One person could get the smallest amount and another become the most powerful in the world."

"So they ordered my parents to have a child. Only their first didn't have the correct about of black magic and was deemed a failure. They still use her, but she's not me. Six years later they had me and were forced to marry and raise me in secret to eventually serve the organization when I was ready."

"Meanwhile, my parents had Rhys first, the same age as his sister Jord. Then Eth came two years later. I would be born three months early four years after him. So yes, because I came early, I'm older than him." Sylvana managed a weak smile, taking another bite. They had skipped a lot of the story, but the finer details weren't needed.

"Both of us had extreme levels of powers, at least according to legends. But the Shadow Sage had someone to fight against me should they ever need and he only lived about a mile and a half from our family's mansion."

How many more questions and disbelief had they created? They hadn't even gotten to their dealings with the blue magic users. This was only history, not the present. The Shadow Sage was still going behind their members' backs and betraying them. Using them and they hadn't even made it there yet.

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"Black-based, white-based What does that even mean?" If grey magic is formed from the purest forms of both black and white magic, according to what Sylvana said earlier, how could.... Jasper paused in his thought process and realized he answered his own question. He chuckled to himself. White-base and black-base meant one or the other was stronger in the mix. So white-based holy magic? That's what his incredible healing powers were? He never lost a patient in his entire life, and returned Sylvana and perhaps even that little boy poisoned with too strong a potion from the brink of death.

Jacob interrupted his brother's calm analysis of the statements. He jumped up and started pacing in the space he allotted for himself. "Stop it! Stop lying!" He shouted and grabbed his head. After a few more minutes of irritated grumbling, he turned back with a completely different demeanor. Throwing up his hands like he was begging, he pleaded, "Shadow Sage doesn't destroy other witches because they're different, but because they prove themselves untrustworthy..." He paused to glare at Wyatt, and then turned to the ground and continued, "...or not strong enough to do what is required." He turned to Sylvana. "They want to restore the witches back to their proper glory. We have powers that humans can't use and don't understand, and because of that they hate us. Because they hate us, we have to fight them to protect ourselves. Why can't YOU understand?" He sent a glare over all three of them, and remained standing. Why did this discussion induce the same agitation he had a few days ago that wouldn't let him sleep?

His twin, unfortunately also felt that agitation, and reached for his head again. Ugh! Jacob's attitude was hurting him. "Jacob...please, calm down." This was the first time Jasper actually spoke his brother's name in his presence. Despite Jacob's aggressive attitude, the healer's voice was completely calm and even reassuring, but the stubborn brother refused any assurances.

"You don't know anything!" Then he moved to smack Jasper, but didn't take into account that because he is a wild witch, Jasper always depended more on his physical skills than his magic. He also had significantly more experience dealing with temperamental children, which is what he believed Jacob was acting like right now, though he kept those thoughts to himself. Jasper grabbed Jacob's wrist, before the blow landed, and pulled his brother down without hurting him.

"You are correct that I don't know anything, and because of my ignorance, I need you to sit down and calm down so I can understand something. I'll be perfectly happy to hear what you have to say AFTER Sylvana and Wyatt are finished." He gave a mild smirk, and added, "As for being untrustworthy, you haven't proven yourself very trustworthy yet."

Jacob gritted his teeth, and tried to squirm out of his twin's grasp, but only once he gave up did Jasper release him. He pulled away from the group again, only more agitated and embarrassed, because his 'weak' brother outdid him, but he did quiet to let the annoyance hear.

The healer returned to his own food, while the rest of his questions were answered. The statement about the Witches' Fortress saddened him though. No teachers were left, but their supplies remained. Maybe that would be enough to help him use his magic and remain conscious. He didn't need to hear his brother's earlier damning assessment of his powers to know that he needed training.

Looking up, he said curiously, "Blue magic isn't running rampant like the other three, because its stone is still intact? But shouldn't the magic of the stone still be leaking into the population where it's located?"

Jacob interrupted again during the story of Milla and Sylvana's family, but he was more controlled. "That means..." He bit his lip and flushed a little, "Your father is Akane Sumner." The slight grey witch's eyes went wide. All his life, he was afraid of the names Akane Sumner and Milla Silas, but when he actually faced Akane in person, he threatened him...TWICE!

If he wanted to, Akane could have killed him for insolence. Then he shook his head. The rest was lies, so Wyatt's parentage must also be a lie. Besides, if their own black magic users were powerful enough to build up all the towers and bring so many other black and grey users into their ranks, why would they need Wyatt as a weapon? On the other hand, how was Wyatt so powerful that he killed two elders and came close to killing a third? Akane and Milla are known to be very powerful witches, powerful enough to be elders even. But because Wyatt did kill those two elders, that meant... Jacob gritted his teeth again. He can't let his fear win!

Jasper wrinkled his nose. Bearing a child just to use him was disgusting! His appetite faded, and he put his wooden bowl on the ground. "I understand my less than stellar opinion of Shadow Sage was correct, but if you already knew all this history, why did you join them?" The healer's voice was calm for the most part, but a faint hint of his one true bias against Shadow Sage showed itself.

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At least Jasper was smart enough to answer his own question. It was going to make things a lot easier when it came to the telling of the rest of the story. Because the two witches knew the rest was going to be hard to swallow. History was one thing to accept, the on going cruelty was another. Only the other twin wasn't going to make things easy. He was on his feet, pacing back and forth by his side of the fire.

Sylvana paused as she watched him. The feeling in the pit of her stomach started sinking. This couldn't lead to anything good. The feeling only got worse the more she listened to the words coming out of his mouth. A hand reached over and touched her arm, wrapping around the flesh. It was only then that the white witch realized she had been shaking.

Wyatt cleared his throat as he looked up at the gray witch. His voice was that of the soldier, calm and cold as he began, "I'm only going to say this one time, so listen well. We aren't lying. The Shadow Sage you believe in doesn't exist not with the current elders in control. They don't destroy due to being untrustworthy or even not strong enough. They destroy because they want something the other witch has. They build up their pick of the crop and then take away what makes them a witch. Do you understand that? The Raven only wants you for what he can eventually take from you once you've met his goals."

"Witches have rarely had a former glory. We have always hidden in the shadows of society. Yes, humans fear us because the majority follow the Shadow Sage and cause nothing but strife within the world. We fight to protect ourselves only because of the few who started a war. I grew up in isolation, but I was protected. No one hunted me until the Shadow Sage sent me on missions that put me at risk. It is you who doesn't understand." Sylvana continued for Wyatt. Again she was shaking. She wanted to blurt out the whole truth. To stun him, to make him see what he was refusing to.

The black magic user started to move to protect Jasper until he saw that the wild witch could handle himself. Good. He wasn't useless at all. He had skills and powers that just needed to be honed. Given time and effort it would happen. Maybe not at the Witches' Fortress, but looking at Sylvana he saw the man he'd feared growing up. Possibly Ondin could train him? He might have black based gray magic, but he was the best healer he knew of. But even then the man hadn't been able to cure his daughter, only the power of the orb had cured the heart problems the white magic user had been born with.

Sylvana turned her attention back to Jasper when he started speaking and nodded her head. "We thought so, but we haven't found a single other blue magic user since we ran into the twins. Either they found a way to hide the location, or to control how it leaked its powers out, we have no idea. It could be possible that they came from another place. The only way to know for sure is to check the fortress or to go back into the cavern and ask the Wall of Knowledge."

Wyatt glanced back over at Jacob at the mention of his father. "I'd rather he not be, but there is nothing to be done about it." Then he allowed the other twin to continue before he answered him. "We didn't know everything. A lot of things we learned after we were allowed into the Shadow Sage and put into the higher ranks with more clearance than other witches. That was when we started planning, but we'll get to that soon. Once you know exactly what they've been doing for years."

"I hope its safe to continue," Sylvana gave Jacob a pointed stare. "My parents put a barrier up around the mansion to keep me from seeing Xin anymore. It didn't keep my brothers in. They have no powers. You see, magic knows other magic even if it hasn't expressed yet. So... Jacob its likely one of the elders knew your father and forced him to give up who he believed was the strongest twin..." She let it hang there. It wasn't speculation. It was fact, but she doubted he would believe it.

"After many years, the barrier finally fell and I took a trip with my brothers. I ran back into Xin and this is where the story really begins. My brother tried to murder me and was stopped. It caused a great rift in the family and I used our family's secret to bring my brother back into the fold, only it worked for just a short time. Eventually, the both of us ended up together. He asked if I wanted to join his organization. I said yes, because I was angry at my family for not trusting me with my own magic and I wanted my heart to get stronger."

"Milla and Akane left to ask if she could join. While we waited we were put inside of a blue magic illusion. It was strong and the only thing we could do was run. After a while, once we were out of it and far enough away, we transported to the nearest town. We stayed for the night and then after an early morning argument we ended up outside in the plains held by the magic we'd ran from earlier the day before." Wyatt had skipped out on the more embarrassing details, like the white magic user almost dying from exposure and her having to sleep next to Wyatt's bare chest and for that she was grateful.

"The two introduced themselves as Tomas and Gemina. They knew about the Counterparts and who we were. They had knowledge we didn't know how they knew. Of course, I knew it from all the stories my mother had told me as a child. I only thought they were stories until that moment. We ended up in a battle with them."

"A battle we basically lost because of you," Wyatt frowned at the girl for a second. "She used too much power, but it still worked to our advantage. Because they thought I was unconscious. I learned about part of their plan. They had wanted to test us and see if we would be a threat to them. They didn't believe so."

"After recovering a bit, I told him much of what we're telling you know. About the stones, Gordon, the Counter, and the Counterparts. Everything. What happens next is purely the story we lived through. What we would eventually learn about their plans that we stopped, but Shadow Sage has been doing since before we were born without the results they wanted until after we took out the blue magic users."

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jacob Hemlock Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Wyatt's statement about Raven struck a nerve and he stood up again. His own voice was cold, but his eyes stung. I am NOT my brother! He balled his hands in fists and growled under his breath. "I'm only alive today because of Raven and Morgana." No matter what these liars and traitors said, Raven was his father and Morgana his mother. Raven called him son. No one else in his life said that.

Why the hell did he let these traitors in his haven? Now it wasn't safe or comfortable any more. He already blew any chance of making these people like him to get information. They were telling him things, but he can't believe them. This story can't be true. Shadow Sage was his family. Family doesn't hurt family, but his family kicked him out. He couldn't go home. If he went home empty-handed, his mother told him he would die. Jacob didn't want to die. How can he stay here and listen to this?

Surprisingly, he actually did believe what the girl said about her brother trying to harm her, and it pissed him off too, despite her inferior status. Family doesn't hurt family, which is why he rejected his blood family. Sitting still was now beyond him, and he started shuffling about the ice cave, cleaning up any blankets or other things laid on the snowy floor, but he stopped when he saw Jasper's plate. "Finish it!"

Even when confused, this Jacob was snappy. Jasper had to grit his teeth to keep his temper in this situation. He wasn't used to fighting his anger. To some degree he pitied his brother living a lie, and being kept in the dark about important things, but on the other hand he had an attitude problem that pushed people away. Because Jacob was his brother, he loved him, but he tried his patience more than any other person he met. "Why?" he challenged the brat.

Jacob closed his eyes again and took several deep breaths, damn! He wanted to hit him again. "I know for a fact your magic is depleted. Eat that food to recover." He grumbled a little, but said, "Same goes for you, white witch." She glared at him, but he nodded to her next challenge, and packed up the bags while she kept talking. He could still hear her, but he didn't have to sit still while she continued.

Both twins stopped whatever they were doing when she said that Shadow Sage may have pushed their father to let go of one of his sons. Jasper put his plate down again and stared at it for a few moments in silence. He did want to know what happened that he was separated from his twin, but it hurt to think that there was any reason his father would ever consider letting go of one of his children. "My..." he paused and glanced over to Jacob, who appeared to be trembling, "...our father would rather die himself than put anyone else in danger." Jasper lifted his head. "I learned my code of honor from him." He swallowed and reached over to Jacob, who then pulled away. The healer let his twin be, but added, "How could he possibly give up one of the children he loved? What kind of threat would be more terrifying than losing a child?" Jasper trembled and Jacob tried to force himself back to busy work.

Either his father chose to abandon him in the cold or he was kidnapped by Shadow Sage. He shook his head, refusing to believe the latter. His entire life he knew his father didn't want him. He favored the weakling over him. For over twenty years, he survived the cold thanks to the organization taking care of him. Both Sylvana and Wyatt were outsiders. They couldn't understand that. They'd never understand. There's no point arguing any further. "I'm getting more wood. Stay here!" He snapped at the remaining three and headed for the door they all came in. Of course they still don't trust him, but whether they did or not, he'd never tell any other SS members about his havens. He used them to get away from all those people. Now he needed to get away from his unwelcome and distrustful guests.

Jasper remained frozen at the shock of the possibility Sylvana proposed. Even though she meant to shake up Jacob, it affected the other twin too. Jasper loved his father and his family more than anyone else, and even though he knew they were just human, he didn't want to believe his father would be willing to sacrifice any of his children. If he was forced into it, he obviously wouldn't be willing, but it still felt wrong.

The twins' father clearly wasn't part of the main story, as they continued further about the blue magic users and Shadow Sage history, but the comment about their father broke his concentration.

Jasper raised his hand for a pause. "I don't mean to be rude, but do you mind going back to father? If Shadow Sage is effectively hunting witches..." he squirmed in his seat remembering that feral look the brown-haired man gave him. Now he understood that look. The organization would have wanted to use him also for whatever their dark purposes. "...and they knew our father, is there a possibility he was also a witch?" Jasper paused again. What did that mean? Could his powers be the reason behind the twins' separation? Would he believe that by handing Jacob to SS, it would protect him? Did Jacob express magic before Jasper did? Jasper, in a similar pattern to his twin, groaned and held his head in his hands as the troubled thoughts raced and tumbled over each other in his mind.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jacob Hemlock Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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There was nothing to be done about Jacob. He was refusing to believe anything they told him. He had been so wrapped up within the organization and their lies, Wyatt wasn’t sure they would ever break through his barriers to reach him. It was a scary thought that after all was said and done they would have failed the boy and to keep themselves and others safe, they would have to kill him.

It was a thought he really didn’t want to dwell on.

“You are alive because of them, sure. But your life is not what it could have been if they hadn’t have interfered.” The black magic user didn’t know any other life beside being trained in his magic to fight for the Shadow Sage. He only compared it to what he’d seen from Kyla’s. Neither one of them were normal, but her life definitely was better than his had been.

But now all he could do was chuckle. Jacob barking orders at Sylvana was the worst mistake to be made. He’d learned that one a long time ago. She was just more opt to disobey because she didn’t take orders from anyone. Especially not someone she didn’t like and constantly belittled her.

The look on her face said he was right. Even though they both knew he was correct. Only it wasn’t her magic that needed restored; it was the physical body. The only thing that would fix her there would have been to sleep, which is had done quite a bit of. Now they would just have to wait it out, so she would struggle on insisting that she was fine.

Sylvana glanced down at the ground beneath her as Jasper started speaking. “Uh… there are many things that are worse. By now you should see the level to which the elders will go to get what they want. It’s possible your father didn’t even know he had twins. I understand that men aren’t allowed into birthing room, so the fault could lie with your mother. I can’t say for sure because I never asked. I know only what I overheard once before.”

The white magic user watched Jacob storm out of the cave. She wondered if they were now trapped here or not. Sure they could probably bust their way out, but it would be a waste of magic they didn’t need to use. She forced herself from her thoughts to try and answer the other twin’s question.

Sylvana shrugged her shoulders. “I really don’t know. I’m sorry. Both of our family has magic that has been passed down for generations. Other families can get one or two users while everyone else is normal. It’s hard to say. You two could be the only ones. Jasper… I’m sorry we got you into this mess. It’s been our fight since the beginning. We never meant to involve anyone else let alone get them hurt. After we go to the Witches’ Fortress, we will take you wherever you want and leave you. You’ll be safer away from us. Trouble always seems to find us even as children.”

The young woman hung her head down before pulling her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. She didn’t want to tell either of the gray magic users what was really going on within the organization, but it was a necessary evil. She wanted it over with, but with Jacob not handling the situation well, she wasn’t sure he’d be able to take the whole truth. What was meant to become of all of them eventually. She particularly liked her magic and being alive.

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Jasper attempted to stand up and go after Jacob, but as was practically his habit the paler twin pushed him back. He sat back and sighed. Wyatt called after him, but Jacob didn't respond at all.

Sylvana curled up and made apologies. The healer got up and held her shoulders gently. "Don't blame yourself for my choices. Everything I've done since meeting you has been of my own volition. If I really wanted to turn around and go home, I would have." He let her go and sat back, "At this point, It's too late for me to turn back anyway. Before we were captured, Shadow Sage didn't know I existed. Now they do, I am also a target. I need to learn how to defend myself from them, and protect my family back in Eastleigh, and..." He paused and glanced to the door. "...and Jacob too."

Jasper hugged himself, realizing for the first time what a great burden he now held. To protect his family, he needed to keep Shadow Sage from recognizing their existence, and to do that it was now impossible for him to go home to Eastleigh. Caleb would have to take over the family business and look after their sisters, but he needed to tell his younger brother. "I don't know how or who, but someone or something protected me from them most of my life, and I have to return the favor. I'm the only one who can. I don't know of any other witches in the family. Heck! For a long time, I wasn't even sure I was a witch, but I had suspicions."

The healer uncurled and stood up, resting a hand on one of the frozen walls. "My entire life I had..." he paused to figure out how to explain himself. "...double memories. I've seen this cave and others like it in dreams. I've felt the ferocity of a blizzard on the tundra, yet this is my first time this far north. Since I was five years old, I've seen Jacob's face in dreams and I wondered if he was myself or someone else. My dreams about Jacob were more vivid than other dreams I've had. I told my parents about these dreams... and they .... reacted badly." He went silent and sat back down to gauge Wyatt and Sylvana's reactions. That was the first time he said anything about his visions since the bad reaction.

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Sylvana looked up at Jasper when she felt someone touch her. At first she had thought it was Wyatt only to find it was the gray magic user. His words didn’t really make her feel any better. All it did was stir the memories that telling their story had brought to the surface.

"You need me. Like I need you." The words floated around in her head. She had gone after the black magic user even when he’d cast her aside and well they’d been together ever since at least until they’d chosen to separate thinking it would protect each other.

“We can easily set you and your family up somewhere to protect all of you.” Wyatt responded. They had managed to stay hiding for five years. Even though Sylvana had constantly been on the move, her family had not. The Shadow Sage had known where they were since long before she was born and still they did nothing.

Both of the magic users nodded their heads. They didn’t really know what it was like to not know what they were, but they understood where Jasper was coming from. In the end, they would probably go about doing the best they could to help him. After all, if Wyatt hadn’t gone to his room that day, none of this would have happened to the gray magic user.

The white magic user looked up at the male as she bit down on her lower lip. “You two are much more connected than anyone would like to think. It means we have to keep the two of you as far away from the elders as possible. Once you’re magic is trained, both of you together will be a mighty force to reckon with. They are going to want our powers and we can’t let them get either one of you.”

Now they just needed Jacob to cooperate and understand what they were saying weren’t lies and believe the true evilness that was within the organization he loved so much. It was betraying him and if they didn’t do something soon it would destroy him too.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jacob Hemlock Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Jasper was quiet for a time. It was a relief that they didn't react the same way as his parents, but he didn't expect what else they said. They would really do that? Set up a safe haven for his family? His elderly parents, if they still lived, and his younger brother and sisters? What about his Elizabeth? What could he say to her about disappearing? She accepted that he was a witch, and didn't turn him in or run away knowing the danger from the human king's soldiers. Could she handle the knowledge that they were other witches who would hunt him too? Could he even put her through that? "We live in a cruel world," he said seemingly from nowhere. "I don't want to be a burden that exasperates it." He sighed and glanced back to the door. Jacob still hadn't returned, but Jasper didn't feel anything was wrong with his twin at the moment. He turned back to his remaining companions.

One thing he did know, Sylvana had been severely injured. He got up again to retrieve his medicine bag from the corner where his brother left it and sat back again next to her asking, "Sylvana, how do you feel? Are you still in pain?" His depleted magic told him nothing about her current condition, but his own eyes saw that she was upset. He had no idea what he could do to help emotionally, but if there was any further healing to be done, he knew what he needed to do to help there.

Jacob may not have answered Wyatt's statement when he left, but that didn't mean he didn't hear it. Now he sat outside in the cold twilight. Because this valley lay below the treeline, there was no shortage of wood and there were also some animals on the forest floor, if he wanted to do some hunting. He sat in one of those trees and gazed into the distance towards the Witches' Fortress. From his place, he couldn't actually see it, but he knew where it was and even how to get there from his home tower. Jacob switched position and looked toward the tower, that he also couldn't see directly. "Your life is not what it could have been." He examined those words. Did he want something different?

While Jasper told Wyatt and Sylvana about his double memories, Jacob, though outside, also considered strange experiences of his own as a child. He never admitted it, but he also had strange dreams. At the time, he thought he was going crazy, and was not allowed to admit any weakness. Even children were punished for weaknesses in Shadow Sage, so he remained silent and coped with what he considered onrushing madness through art and building his safe havens. The artist of the creased and worn portrait he showed them in Evanpool was Jacob himself, but the time he made it was too dark and threatening for him to admit, until now. His stupid brother!

Ever since his brother showed up in person, he felt himself coming apart. Feelings and thoughts he didn't understand, things he would rather forget pushing to the surface, and now his present exile. No longer had he a home. No home and cut off from the only family he knew. The only place he could go was back to the cave with people he didn't like, who told him things that he couldn't believe. Why was his life like this? Dammit! He wanted to calm down, but he can't! With another useless huff, he climbed down from the tree and actually starting doing what he said, collecting wood. The only way he could hold back these frightening things was working.

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Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jacob Hemlock Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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With a heavy sigh, Sylvana glanced up at Jasper as he sat back down beside her. She ran a hand through her hair before turning to face him, nodding her head in response.

“I’m fine. Had worse.” It wasn’t a lie. The amount of wounds she had over time very just as equally large as the history that accompanied them. During the course of most of their stories, they had both kept out the more private details. Like her being born with a heart condition. A condition that had kept her from using the full range of her magic for many years. It had almost gotten the both of the magic users killed many times. It had gotten them captured and even though it had worked in their favors it still was a hindrance.

It wasn’t until the day she’d been murdered that her heart condition had been taken away from her. The cost had been great, but in the end it hadn’t mattered. She’d been allowed to live without the condition and still kept her love. Nothing had been better until things started going down hill in the Shadow Sage.

The white witch realized Jasper probably wouldn’t accept her answer. So consenting to be poked and prodded was likely the only thing that would make him content with her answer. Sure, she was still in pain, but it was only a dull ache now. What hurt more was that she hadn’t seen it coming. The beast that was Wyatt’s magic was extremely strong and without the black magic user to control it especially during the full moon, it came as no surprise as to why it had gotten out of control.

She was lucky to be alive. She knew that, but a long time ago, she’d been promised she be protected, safe. Wyatt had never let her down before, even now. While he’d caused her injuries, he was the one who’d gotten her the help to be saved. If only Jacob would come back so they could make him understand what his beloved organization was doing and he believed them, then they might be doing okay given the situation.

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Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Wyatt Silas Character Portrait: Sylvana Ward Character Portrait: Jacob Hemlock Character Portrait: Jasper Galen Character Portrait:
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Jasper gave a small frown and raised his eyebrows when Sylvana said she was fine. That's what they always said. He believed her stories about Shadow Sage and her own history, but every time a person he knew was injured said they were fine, he always took that statement with a grain of salt. No, he was definitely not satisfied. "Until now, I was completely ignorant about magic, but I trained my entire life as an apothecary and healer. I hope you don't mind if I confirm that statement to my professional standards." While he was speaking, he turned a corner of his mouth up in a small smirk. Now focused on professional work, troubles about his family and situation faded away.

Covering her with extra blankets, he checked all the places he remembered sensing broken bones and other injuries during his magic trance. His manner was incredibly gentle and deceptively easy. Jasper made no unnecessary movements to avoid causing any further pain. As he conducted his careful ministrations, it impressed him as to how much he was actually able to do in the desperate rush to save her. Powerful magic. They said, with training, he would be a powerful force to reckon with. Jasper pushed that back and focused.

Loaded down with firewood, Jacob's mood had improved. Successful tasks usually did that to him, even if it was something as simple as collecting firewood. He touched the marker of the door and announced his presence while his brother's back was turned. "The wood should last a few days, but I doubt you want to stay here too long." He glanced at Wyatt and walked his load to the far back of the cave where it should be driest. He still didn't like these people, but for now he resigned himself to their presence and didn't bother to hide it. As soon as he dropped the wood, his shoulders slumped and he didn't meet anyone's eyes. He watched what was going on with his twin, as much as he could, more curious than anything else, since he never saw anyone healing before.

"Jacob, it isn't polite to stare." Jasper said without turning his head. To Sylvana he said, "It's my professional opinion that you're improving." Once he finished his ministrations, he looked up to Jacob. "I must say your timing is good though." Whether he liked it or not, Jasper offered his twin a slight smile. Any anger he had before the other man left had also disappeared. Because of how he was raised, Jacob was suspicious of this behavior and tensed up. "Relax. I'm a healer. It's forbidden in my profession to harm you." This behavior confused Jacob further, and did nothing to help him relax. Jasper sighed when he noticed his brother retreating again, but there was nothing he could say right now.

The paler grey witch decided to change the subject instead of analyze more of those feelings and thoughts he didn't understand. "So did I miss anything?"