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[#12ba89 "Frankly, that isn't surprising. If you were not raised to be a mage, the existence of magic would seem far fetched."] It was strange to him that such a strong child would have been looked over. Surely his parents would have known that he was going to have a magical awakening that would result in some... His gaze drifted over to where the zombie had disappeared to. Surely they would have realized something like [i that] would have happened.
Vaska had to laugh when Cott said that anyone could be Russian. [#12ba89 "You have never been to Russia, have you?"] He asked as he attempted to stifle his laughter. It was unkind to laugh at his ignorance like that. It was clear that the boy didn't get out much. Still, it was difficult to contain himself. [#12ba89 "If you are any other ethnicity than Caucasian, you draw stares. There is a small population that differs from the norm, yes, but the vast majority of Russians glow in the dark."] Vaska sighed softly [#12ba89 "In an ideal world, Cott, that would be true."]
At the mention of staying with him, Vaska's apprehension started to rise until he acquiescenced that it wouldn't be a wise idea. He relaxed and watched Cott scribble something down onto another piece of paper. Someone that owed a necromancer a favor. Just what had the boy done for her? He wasn't sure that he wanted to know, but if she could direct him to a hotel he could stay at in the interim, he wouldn't mind. If worse came to worse he supposed to he could find it within himself to stay with a stranger. He had done worse when he was younger. Much worse.
[#12ba89 "Blood magic isn't something to trifle with, no. It depends on the mage, but a great number of them would not balk at draining you dry just for the power it would give them. I hear that mage blood has strong magical properties, but it's nothing compared to necromancer blood. Probably something to do with like magics complementing each other."] Vaska told him. A thoughtful expression edged onto his features. Perhaps that was the reason the mage hadn't moved on yet? He was going to poach Cott. That was a distasteful thought. Even if he didn't like necromancers very much, the boy wasn't a bad sort. That and the idea of a blood mage gaining the power of a necromancer made his own blood run cold. [#12ba89 "I'll have to give your friend a call then."]
[#12ba89 "..."] Vaska frowned and glanced down at his phone. Since his client hadn't contacted him yet and they were the whole reason that he was there, he didn't really have anywhere to go. Sure, he could probably go shopping for more jewelry, but if his bag was found soon it would be excessive. [#12ba89 "Until my client contacts me, I don't have any pressing engagements actually. I'm not one for sightseeing."]
Cott couldn't help but smile, [#CD5C5C "I'll be honest, I didn't think they were real until I came into my abilities, I've kept to myself since."] He listened to where Vaska was from, a hand instinctively moving long hair back behind his ears. He distinguished the accents, realizing that yes, it did sound different from a German accent, but only barely. [#CD5C5C "Oh, well you may not think you look Russian but I suppose anyone could be, couldn't they? Its not the looks that define a citizen, its their actions."]
Oh, but he was certainly holding Vaska back from what he was doing for the day. He stood at the door with Vaska, taking the ripped paper from the other carefully. He'd tape it up next to the phone later. [#CD5C5C "I would, of course, offer you to take up residence here but with my friend over there and the fact I only have one small loft bed, there's not much place I could offer. However I do have someone in mind that does owe me a favor and would love to have you stay with her."]
Cott didn't have a cell phone but another piece of paper ripped off gave Vaska the number and address to the woman he had mentioned. He should have put it on the first piece he had given. [#CD5C5C "I'll be sure to give her a call to let her know that you might be calling for a place to stay, its not far from here. Thank you for coming in and talking with me, and for the warning. I hear blood magic is pretty scary,"] he grinned.
[#CD5C5C "But seriously, if you need anything, I'll be there. Just for talking to me I owe you a favor!"] he declared, and Cott did his absolute best to keep his word. [#CD5C5C "Any clue where you're going? I could probably point the way, or walk you there if you'd prefer. I can point out landmarks to help you if you take up the latter."]
[#12ba89 "You've also never met another mage before apparently."] Vaska pointed out. [#12ba89 "And I just came up with it."] He told him with a shrug. This man truly was an oddity. He'd never met a necromancer that was so focused on plants- used plants. It was strange. And he'd only ever brought one person back from the dead... He would assume that, that would be the zombie that grabbed him.
[#12ba89 "No, I am not from Dresden."] The mage replied. From his accent it should have been obvious. While his German was generally pretty spot-on, his Russian accent was very apparent when he was upset. [#12ba89 "I was born and raised Yaroslavl. I am odd because... Well... I don't exactly look Russian now do I?"] That was a bit of an understatement. At one point he had, had to leave the country until it was safe to visit again. And now it was becoming unsafe to live there again which is perhaps the reason that he was taking so many out of the country jobs as of late. [#12ba89 "I have been here before briefly for a party and then we went to Brussels... That isn't the reason I'm here today. I was supposed to meet with a client, but it seems as though the universe has other plans."] Vaska sighed and fiddled with his plastic bracelet.
His pride didn't want to allow him to take this man's help, but considering that it would be nearly impossible to book a room on such short notice with limited knowledge of the city, he was inclined to take up his offer of help. [#12ba89 "Help finding a place to stay... Would be appreciated."] There, he'd said it. Now that wasn't so difficult was it?
[#12ba89 "Hm..?"] Another mage in the city? It was possible. Dresden was a very large place. Usually Vaska ignored pulsating magics otherwise he would be distracted all of the time- except for death magic. That was always on his radar. With the new information he paid attention to the resonance in the air. As Cott had said, there was another presence in the city and it was rather large. With a frown he cut off his attention and instead focused on Cott. [#12ba89 "I suppose it's possible."] He remarked, though he highly doubted that the mage would bother killing people to draw attention to themselves. Mage hunters were a very real danger to mages that went rogue- or practiced dark magics. Frankly he was surprised that one hadn't come to visit Cott at all. [#12ba89 "It could be a blood mage, they do seem to enjoy killing."] He sighed heavily. [#12ba89 "Thank you for the warning, but I can handle myself."]
Vaska raised an eyebrow at the paper that was slid over to him, then reached over to take the pen. Wordlessly he wrote down his own number on a free space on the paper and tore it off. He set the pen on the small scrap and slid it over to Cott as he took out his phone to record the information. Normally he wouldn't agree to this, but this kid was obviously hungry for some magical guidance and he'd just happened to come across Vaska. He supposed he could see how earlier had simply been a mistake. Why not throw the kid a bone. [#12ba89 "You should probably hold onto my number as well. In the more likely event of a hunter coming around to sniff at your doorstep or a blood mage looking to recruit you, just retreat and call me."]
He completely ignored the statement about corruption, but he wasn't sure if it was out of admitting he was corrupted or that he simply didn't know if he had been. [#CD5C5C "I've never heard anyone call it that before, but yeah I guess you could say I am a necrobotanist. Really, the only time I've brought someone back to life was when I first discovered my magic...besides, I know a lot about plants, I can sell them and,"] he started, pointing at the books, [#CD5C5C "And knowledge."]
He listened to Vaska in quiet suspense, knowing just how powerful the mage was from hearing the way he trained. A master rank sounded cool, but having all those markings just showing pure rank was far more interesting. [#CD5C5C "I'm glad I noticed them,"] he murmured to himself. [#CD5C5C "Are you from here? This town, I mean? I could show you around if you're not, or maybe I could help you get a place to stay?"]
Cott would do anything at this point to keep the mage to stay here in this town, just so he could get more knowledge from them. But maybe he was getting too excited for this, he had other things to talk about, more important things. [#CD5C5C "To be honest, maybe you'd noticed, but there's another mage's presence in this town, way more powerful than me..."] he murmured. [#CD5C5C "Well, there's been murders around town, people are scared out of their minds to go out at night even in good company. I have suspicions that it might be this mage...I just suggest that you be careful if you are to run in with them, and..."]
The necromancer grabbed a book from the front counter and tore a page out, quickly jotting down a number and an address, [#CD5C5C "If you ever do find yourself in trouble, mages or not, give me a call or come see me here,"] he said, handing the paper over to Vaska.
He laughed. The man truly didn't know about this sort of magic, did he? Perhaps it was mean spirited to laugh, but this was the first amusing thing he'd heard all day. After the shit he'd been through today he needed a good laugh. With a casual gesture he held out a hand and pointed to one of the plants that sat happily in a plastic pot. A light glow entered his eyes as the pot, plant included, rose a good foot off of the floor. [#12ba89 "The quality of the pieces I wear do affect things to a certain degree, but ultimately the jewelry I wear determines what sort of magic I may use."] He explained. The pot turned in a lazy circle to expose a crack that was barely holding the dirt in. Looked like either the plant wanted a bigger pot or that it had been kicked somewhere along the line and hadn't been fixed. Vaska furrowed his brows in concentration as the crack and the surrounding area rippled and then flowed together seamlessly. [#12ba89 "Plastic and other play jewelry allow me to manipulate man made materials. Depending on the materials, the degree of items I can use varies. Naturally."] The pot set itself down gently as Vaska let his hand drop with a bored expression.
[#12ba89 "I see."] Showing off finished, he returned his attention to the bracelet in his hand. With something like this, the magic he could perform would be tremendous. If not for the healing and protective elements, it would have been near cataclysmic if he so pleased. Cott's answer seemed to exclude something- as if he hadn't told him everything, but honestly Vaska didn't care to pry into it. The bracelet wasn't cursed and the man didn't know about jewelry magic. He finally moved to sit down as the necromancer began explaining how he'd found his powers.
[#12ba89 "...Strange..."] He murmured. [#12ba89 "Most necromancers acquire their abilities through corruption of one sort or another."] The mage absently turned the bracelet over and over in his hands as they talked. An almost absent, practiced motion. The motion stopped at the mention of the plants. He glanced over at the fern. Strange. [#12ba89 "What, so you're some sort of necrobotanist?"] He asked with a confused look. Necromancers usually didn't care about plants- hell a lot of the time they drained living things to help animate dead people.
The mage hummed softly in response to the compliment. [#12ba89 "They're a sign of my mastery and rank."] He replied softly. Each one etched itself into his skin with each new rank that he reached; and he reached each at an astounding age. Perhaps it was because he had been raised by unusually liberal parents that allowed him to experiment with his powers from such a young age, or perhaps he was naturally gifted. Whatever the reason, Vaska had reached a master level at a very young age. He stared idly down at his arm, seemingly lost in thought as he continued to speak. [#12ba89 "Not every magic user receives them. Witches do not receive them, nor do warlocks. Even certain mages do not receive marks. I am not the utmost authority, but I do know that they show the prowess of a mage."] He told him. Never mind that he had been asked on more than one occasion to be an authority. That life simply held no interest for him and what was this long existence if it wasn't interesting. Boring, that's what. [#12ba89 "Most receive their first mark when they master their first low level spell. It's usually something small."] He tapped the dot on one of his hands for emphasis. [#12ba89 "And then from there it depends on how well they master the spells that follow and how powerful they become. When you reach master level, generally the markings cease, though in some cases the user could continue to receive new ones- but those are rare cases..."] He trailed off. No need to elaborate anymore. Cott didn't need to know the extent of his markings, nor that he had more than any other mage he'd met and that they still extended the older he became. No. For all Cott knew Vaska was still learning.
Cott listened to Vaska intently. A mage with the ability to use his power to whatever material he's wearing. This was stuff he had never heard of. He knew of basic magics, the ability to control fire or water, but had never heard of a mage shifting his ability depending on the accessories he wore. [#CD5C5C "I'll just assume that the set you wear had little amplifying effects to your magic, then,"] Cott smiled, motioning for them to sit down as the jewel he had given the other was explained. Ironic that he had a jewel that could be his downfall this whole time just sitting next to his bed.
[#CD5C5C "I got that...as an heirloom from my mother,"] he murmured. It wasn't exactly a lie, but it wasn't the full truth either. He made himself sound younger than he was so that there would be no harm done between the either of them. [#CD5C5C "Actually, its funny, necromancy came upon me kind of, uh, accidentally. I was in a bit of trouble and then the next thing I know..."] he trailed off, looking over at Bones. [#CD5C5C "I couldn't just leave him to wander around and I couldn't rebury him, so I brought him home. I use my magic mostly to revive plants, like that fern over there, it's died so many times, very difficult to take care of in this environment."]
[#CD5C5C "Your markings, they're...beautiful. I have never seen a mage with such,"] he said, even though he had never actually seen another mage other than himself, but he didn't have the markings. Another lie. [i You're lying to yourself now, Cott.] The sun on his back had appeared when he first started using magic, coming as painful as a tattoo but becoming little more than part of him, never shown as his back was always covered with a shirt.
Vaska wasn't sure why he had decided to stay, but here he was. The necromancer just seemed so desperate. Perhaps it would give him more things to insult him with. He'd already managed to hurt him deeply- he could tell that much, even without the desperation. Whatever the man was doing, it was frantic. Vaska couldn't see what was going on, but he could hear constant rummaging until the stranger reappeared at the top of the ladder. The mage watched him with annoyed eyes until he presented him with a bracelet.
Oh. This one was nice. The jewelry was calling to him and it soothed his temper. Curse his weakness. Vaska sighed and accepted the bracelet. [#12ba89 "...You're very lucky that I like jewelry."] An understatement, to be sure. He wasn't sure how the man had guessed that this would calm him down, but it worked. [#12ba89 "Just keep that thing away from me."] Vaska told him quietly in reference to the zombie. The bracelet hummed in his hands as the magic hummed to life. He ran his thumb over the large amethyst and let the jewel speak to him. It was quite old, though the worn inner band would have been enough to figure that out. The amethyst pulsed as he used its purifying energy to 'cleanse' his hand from his ordeal, then returned to its regular, dark color. The dark mood that had hung over him dissipated. This stone was very powerful- deep cut it appeared. It wasn't the most expensive cut, but it was the most powerful bit of the stone. The color was very saturated and after years set in this bracelet the energy that had been trapped within the stone was intense.
His eyes dilated in excitement as he brought the bracelet up to examine it more closely. There wasn't a mechanical process that had made this. This had been made by hand. Just how old was this necromancer to have acquired a piece such as this? Was it perhaps an heirloom? Sea green eyes shifted to stare at the necromancer. [#12ba89
"Interesting,"] he began, [#12ba89 "that you would immediately think to give me jewelry to placate me. For all you knew I could have been quite content with this... Set."] He shook the wrist that held the plastic bracelet for emphasis. [#12ba89 "Aside from your earlier bungle I would say that you have a good intuition."] Vaska turned the bracelet over in his hand, still getting a feel for the piece. [#12ba89 "I'm a mage, as you may have already ascertained, and I use jewelry."] He told him.
"On my own, my powers lay dormant and there isn't much I can actually do, but when I have my hands on a piece of jewelry- even plastic pieces, I can work all sorts of magic. It simply depends on the materials that make up said jewelry. For instance plastic allows me to manipulate man made materials- though the effectiveness depends upon how much of the set I am wearing since there is no metal to amplify it usually."] He held up the bracelet for his next explanation. [#12ba89 "This particular piece would allow me to perform strong cleansing and healing magics, purifying objects or people of dark magics."] As he spoke his eyes drifted over to the zombie that lay prone on the floor. [#12ba89 "So it is interesting that you would deign to hand this over to me. Such an old piece. Might I ask... Is this an heirloom, or are you old enough to have picked it up yourself?"]
[#CD5C5C "I-I...Uh...."] he stammered, unsure of what to say to the other now that he had upset him so badly. Cott wasn't used to being yelled at. In fact, he didn't think he had ever been yelled at. He had made a mistake, he hadn't been thinking when he made Bones grab the magic user. [#CD5C5C "Please, wait, I- uh..."] he trailed off again, retracting his hand from the other very stiffly.
[#CD5C5C "Please accept my apology, I'm sorry. It wont happen again, I wont even use my magic around you, please reconsider,"] he begged, desperate. [#CD5C5C "I'll do anything, please. I just want to know about you,"] he whispered.
He noticed the jewelry set adorned on the other. He was adorning plastic. Perhaps he would like better jewels. [#CD5C5C "Wait, wait! Here, one second, please,"] he begged as he climbed up into his loft and opened the chest. He couldn't find a good set stone, not one good enough for the other to genuinely accept his apology. He'd have to hit himself where it hurt. He slipped the band off his wrist, a large amethyst set into it, and slipped back down the ladder. [#CD5C5C "Please accept this as an apology, sir. I wasn't thinking clearly, and have no way to explain my actions, I wont defend myself. I did wrong by you, and hope that it wont further affect your view of this place, or of me."]
He held out the bracelet to the other with a genuine smile, praying and hoping the entire time that his apology would be accepted. He simply wanted to know the other, having never met another 'witch.' He didn't want this one experience to ruin that for him.
If he weren't so morbidly terrified he would have screamed. As it was he immediately wanted to cut off his hand when the zombie took it. The undead was very strong and managed to literally drag him into the little shop as a customer walked out with a concerned, if not weirded out, look.
Even after the zombie released his hand, Vaska remained completely frozen. A zombie had just touched him. A [i zombie] had dared to touch him. He was going to have to amputate this hand. The mage slowly looked at the man who had raised the abomination and wrinkled his nose in disgust. [#12ba89 "...Do not..."] He curled the hand that had been touched into a fist. [#12ba89 "You see me freeze up, and yet, in your oh so infinite wisdom deign to force me to be TOUCHED by that THING."] The mage's voice peaked as his anger finally rose past his terror and disgust. Sea green eyes shifted towards the 'thump' noise. At least that thing wasn't going to be moving around right now. [#12ba89 "I don't care if I'm the only magic user that you have met, this is not how you treat someone."] Vaska took a calculated step back, away from the necromancer. This wasn't something that he needed today.
The mage looked the stranger over with a hard gaze. Sure, he could understand wanting to meet someone else that could use magic if they had never met anyone before. What bothered him was that it was obvious that he had seen that he was uncomfortable with the situation, and yet he had still carried though on his impulse. Perhaps yelling at him was an overreaction, but Vaska did not like being touched without his permission, least of all by a zombie. [#12ba89 "I would thank you to stay away from me, keep that [i thing] away from me, and not think of me again. I want nothing to do with someone such as you."] He told him firmly.
Cott spied through Bones' eyes as he helped his customer with skill. It was just as fast to check him out and get him out of the store as it was to force Bones to grab the stranger's hand and drag him in gently. It was a good thing he had frozen on the spot upon seeing his friend. It seemed the man, now that he was being pulled into the shop slowly as the customer left, was magical in some way. He could see the markings fading in and out.
[#CD5C5C "I never once expected to find someone else who was able to use magic in this town,"] he said as he forced Bones to the back of the store. [#CD5C5C "Sorry if Bones scared you, I realized how you froze back there. You wouldn't happen to be scared of the undead, would you?"] he groaned as he sat down and released the magic surrounding Bones. He heard the body hit the ground with a soft thump. It was exhausting to constantly control Bones, but it was worth getting the practice in. [#CD5C5C "I apologize. My name is Cott, I own this bookstore. I noticed your markings a few minutes ago and got ahead of myself."]
Cott held out his hand to the other, unknowing if his hand would be grabbed or if he'd be rejected. [#CD5C5C "I've actually never met someone else who could use magic. This is exciting for me."]
Well, he had been labeled a witch the first time he had ever used magic in the home, bringing the dead fern his mother had given him back to life. He was thrown out, but kept what he could and continued to practice. He didn't discover he was a necromancer until later. [#CD5C5C "I'd love to get to know you, without my undead looming over your shoulder."]
Vaska had always been different from his frankly unclear roots to his interests. As a child he had preferred to play with his mother's jewelry instead of the toy soldiers that his father had tried to tempt him with. He had discovered his strange powers through that and ever since he had been trained in both his passion and his talents. Despite his 'strange' interests and the fact that his family moved just about every year, he managed to have a fairly normal childhood.
It was thanks to this childhood that he was able to achieve the life that he currently enjoyed. He could wear whatever he liked and had more jewelry than he could ever possibly wear. The man had access to the finest gems and pure, precious metals and only served the most exclusive clientele. His life was appropriately glamorous for one such as himself.
-And yet here he was.
He had flown out to Dresden to meet with a client and somehow the airline has lost his luggage. On top of that his hotel reservations had fallen through and the taxi driver had dropped him off in the middle of a bustling city surrounded by shops. And he didn't even have a spare outfit or jacket to change into. He had worn play jewelry that day because it was easier to deal with for flights and so he didn't have the sort of magic that could help him in this situation. It was most unfortunate, but he was stuck. A bright side, he supposed, was that he had his phone and wallet. Vaska had called his client and had only reached voicemail, so he left a message and tried to make the best of his situation.
The jewelry mage wandered the city aimlessly and did his best to try and enjoy the sights that it provided. It was difficult when it was chillier than he was expecting and he was dressed in next to nothing though. Amidst his wanderings he stopped in front of a book shop and looked around curiously. He sensed something... Or was it a someone? My, it had been a while since he had sensed someone strong enough to capture his curiosity. Now where-
He had begun to look around when something caught his attention. It looked like a someone, but it was definitely a something. A cold shiver ran up his spine. This wasn't a human, not anymore. The magic drenching this thing, this [i zombie] was intense and explained why he had felt it so strongly. If this thing was here, its master wouldn't be far. Vaska numbly stared at the zombie and tried to get moving. It was like lead was weighing down his limbs so despite his heart racing a mile a minute, he couldn't move. Not for the first time that day he thought about how much of a mistake coming to Dresden had been.
He remembered his first dead body. He had just graduated from university for the second time, this time with a masters. He had opened up a bookstore with the money he had leftover from scholarships and grants. He lived there, in that little bookstore, but he was out for once. Friends had invited him to a party and he ended up leaving late, making sure to walk the especially drunk ones home. By the time he was finally making his way home, it was so late that it was early. He had taken to walking through the graveyard. As cliche as it was it ended up being the quickest route.
On his way through, he had been attacked. Two men, obviously out for his money but not to hurt him, had knives. Cott had a feeling they weren't planning on hurting him, since their faces were uncovered and they looked to be in a hurry, but he wasn't about to hand over what he had just because he got unlucky at 3AM. So, out of character, they attacked him.
He fell back against the cold ground and crawled back before a knife plunged into his leg, just enough space for it to miss his ankle and embed into the ground. He scrambled to get up off the ground and make a run for it but the next thing he knew, one of the men was on top of him, making a grab for his pockets. All Cott could do was shout, hands, nails, digging into the soil on either side of him.
It was like the calm before the storm, no sound for seconds as the man on top of him froze, staring ahead at something in frozen shock. Cott raised his head to see the other doing the same thing. Finally, the man on top of him stood and ran, grabbing his friend. They were screaming. Confusion struck Cott easily, for he had never been attacked and then given up on for no-
- - -
[#CD5C5C "Come on, I know you can do better than that. Am I missing a ligament in there somewhere?"] Cott was reclining in the space above the bookstore, the little loft enough for him to keep a bed, a chest, and a small refrigerator. The person he had called out to was named Bones, dressed to the nines to cover up the bare bones and plant that Cott had to throw together bit by bit as he learned to control his newfound power.
There was a time he would have denied magic existed, but now that he could raise the dead with little more than what most would call 'effort,' he would just shake his head. Necromancy wasn't an easy business, and after his encounter in the graveyard a couple years back, he had done extensive research into it. It was a nasty business, especially at the cost of the user, but Cott had found a suitable way around it. Secrets later to be told.
Now he was just trying to get Bones used to carrying things with ligaments made from plants he grew himself. He was moving his hand back and forth, showing the undead where to put things and what to pick up, and currently everything was glass. [#CD5C5C "Try not to break the cup this time,"] he murmured as Bones reached up and gave him a potted plant. The plant inside was dead, but within minutes, Cott had the leaves greening again. He would take care of it the traditional way.
And then the bell to his shop rung and he slid down the ladder effortlessly, quickly, and pushed Bones to the back of the store. [#CD5C5C "Welcome to Botany Books, where not all of them are about plants! What can I help you..."] he trailed off, noticing outside the window, just in the corner of his eye, something interesting. He put a hand behind his back and motioned out of the door. Bones left soon after. The undead was dressed well enough to be taken as a member of society, and Cott could see through his eyes easily enough while tending to his customer.
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