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About Netherpriest

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    Junior Member
  • Birthday 04/11/1987
  1. ZOMG! That's not Tooooooo far off the mark of when they first met... >.>; I like it...I approve. And so does Ashkanne.
  2. Nether, priest of the Light, pauses and eyes the questioner. "Twould be passing strange if a Master did *not* know of his aprentice, wouldn't it?" His eyes would narrow, searching the thoughts of his interrogator, searching for harmful motives. "Don't go anywhere near her, unless you have an incredible taste for frustration. Trying to talk to her...trying to *teach* her...is probably the hardest thing I have done in all my years. She hears but does not listen." With that, Nether turns and walks away.
  3. Nether, priest of the Light, stood aghast as he heard the tale of the fall of the mighty Thoraggar. At first, upon hearing it, he couldn't believe it. No force on Azeroth had seemed powerful enough to bring the tenacious warrior low. As the cold truth sank in, Nether wandered in a dumbfounded haze, to collapse on a nearby bench where he sat listlessly. In his mind, he could see the maniacal grin of his friend, smell the powder-smoke that clung to his armor, hear his bellowing battle cries. He could feel the hot blood pouring from the countless injuries accquired in the defense of the priest and his allies. Though he could count on his two hands the number of times they had had what could in any way be called a conversation, almost all of Nether's time serving the horde had been under the protection and banner of his fallen comrade. Nether now regretted all the missed opportunities, all the things he could have said. After almost an hour of bitter regrets, the priest rose and began walking. He purchased a bolt of pure shadowcloth, which he deftly made into an arm-band. He would wear it always, in memory of the happy-go-lucky orc warrior who had made such an impact on him. Nether tapped his hearthstone, journeying to Orgrimmar and riding swiftly to the home that Thor had left behind. He stopped outside, not entering, just looking. He spent the knight there, in silent prayer to the Light, asking for the safe passage and rest of the truest warrior of the Horde.
  4. ((Jesus....No wonder Xenny is terrified of Nether. =O Excellently done.))
  5. Nether looked up from his meditations. His eyes had taken on a vaguely troubled cast, something that rarely crossed his features during his mental relaxation exercises. He rose and wiped the sweat from his brow. The dimly lit room was warmed by the roaring fireplace, despite the fact that spring was bringing increased temperatures outside. Nether crossed the room in a few strides and closed the grates. He let his mind wander to his meditation. He slipped out the balcony door and into pleasant night air. He drifted over to the edge of the railing and stood gazing out over the wondrous city of Silvermoon. Contemplating that which had just transpired, he wondered how best to act. The gift of prophecy was not unheard of amongst the Priests of his order. Though he had never personally had the makings of a seer, he knew many who had, and counted most amongst his brothers. The fact that most of their foresights were ignored by the leaders of their people made the priests reluctant to speak of it to outsiders, but almost all of the visions they predicted had come true, and the ones that hadn't it was judged *would* in fact have come true had in not been for the intervention of their order. Though this implied many interesting things, Nether was not dwelling on any of them. He had never had a vision, until now. It came to him, not with the blinding clarity of the most zealous of the Priests of the Light, nor couched in the mysteries that often plagued the visions of their more shadowy brothers. It came to him lurking amongst shadows and half-truths. His ancient mind was already sifting through the dross and pulling forth the gems, the nuggets of fact. He looked up at the rising sun. He had already whittled the entire night away in thought. But it had been productive. Nether now knew all he needed to know about the vision in order to act, in order to change his future. There was no doubt in his mind that the mystical revelation concerned his new apprentice, the young (relatively) priestess Vyndette. Nether smiled into the sun as it bathed his face in light. He mentally ran over the favors that he owed and was owed. He may have to call in a good many of them, but doing so would ensure that his plan would come off not only successful, but without a hitch. It would involve the expenditure of many carefully allotted resources, as well as a great deal of time and energy. Was it worth it, he wondered? Nether decided it was. In fact, he looked forward to it. The future was looking bright indeed. Nether looked in on Vyndette. He felt that her mind was asleep, for which he was grateful. Awake, she could be trouble on two feet. He slid into the room like a wraith, and his glowing eyes adjusted to the darkness. The heavily warded bedchamber door made no noise as he passed under it, nor did it impede his progress in any way. He gazed upon the sleeping face of the priestess Vyndette. At least here, within his home, she could sleep peacefully. He was grateful he had provided her with some relief from the nightmares. In repose, her face was calm, the direct opposite of her frantic visage when awake. He sighed in frustration, running his fingers through his long blonde hair. The vision still plaguing him, he let his consciousness drift into her thoughts, lightly probing at her troubled mind. She herself had described it as “a mirror, cracked and broken”. She was not wrong. Though it was not shattered, her sanity was hardly intact. He would have to mend that sooner or later, though it would be a tricky process. Like a mirror, a mind can never be seamless and flawless once it has broken, but there were ways a skilled artisan could forge the pieces back together. And Nether was a *most* skilled architect of thoughts and minds. He let his hands drop, and then placed them on his hips. He pulled his mind back into himself. His thoughts turned again to the plans he was crafting in counter to the prophecy, the ritual he would assemble. Maybe he could expand on its simple purposes, augment them to better suit his needs. He mused quietly about the comparison used by his old master in describing the ritual, that of a forge hammer. There were ways, he knew, that he could enhance its purpose and still maintain its original powers. His apprentice stirred, the morning sun creeping across her sleeping frame. Nether backed carefully out of the room. He began to hurry to his chambers, to compose some messages. He laughed out loud as he added to the whirling design in his mind. A hammer could be useful in forging fortifications, true, but it could also be a weapon... Nether examined the ritual room critically. It was a bare stone room, with blank stone walls, an empty ceiling, and a door of warded oak, sturdy as steel. The only feature of the room was a faintly glowing circle, 3 meters wide, in the center of the stone floor. He guided his apprentice to the circle, and he bade her to kneel within the circle. He cut across her curiosity, his sober mood sending her into a pout. He took a stand, and eventually, she grumped and knelt in the circle. The simple calming enchantment laid upon the glowing boundary helped her focus. He knelt in front of her, taking her hands in his and looking into her eyes. He knew he *must* stress the importance of this to her. She looked into his eyes, the fear and doubt of her mental shadows beckoning her. He instructed her to do precisely as he said. He told her to clear her mind of thought and time, for she must wait here in this circle for many days. He knew she would need no sustenance, but he had to control her temper, her sullenness, and most importantly, her boredom. He gently guided her mind through the motions of the trance-spell he had taught her, again and again, working her into a rhythmic, hypnotic pattern. He stepped back finally, and she continued. He locked the mantra within her mind, and left. He knew she would kneel here indefinitely, until his power broke the spell. And when she did awake, her thoughts would be tranquil and clear, as he knew they must be for the ritual to come. He hurried on. Nether placed his hand in the small of his back and arched himself, feeling the vertebrae pop and crack, unnaturally loud within the workshop. His spine ached with the dozens of hours of work he had put in so far, and he knew he was just beginning. His eyes moved to the scrolls that the Arch-mage Cooney had provided, detailing everything that was needed of him, as well as instructions in preparing them. This would be the backbone of his work, these preparations. But careful, methodical work here and now would ensure that the rest of his operations would go ahead on time. Nether trusted no one but himself when punctuality was in order. All around the priest, piled on the four tables that stood in the room, lay a variety of magical and mundane materials. Seemingly haphazard, their placement was in fact carefully considered, and Nether could lay hands on any given article in seconds. The texts Cooney had provided were over six inches in thickness, and there were a half dozen such scrolls. This eclectic inventory had raised some eyebrows amongst his suppliers, and Nether had vastly depleted his wallet in providing them. But none of the dealers had questioned the priest as to his intentions. They knew better. Hours and hours later, Nether finally placed the finishing touches on the final piece. He looked at the sun through his skylight. He thought, and then judged that sixty five hours had passed while he worked uninterrupted. He had allotted himself seventy two hours, so this meant he could snatch a quick seven hours of sleep, before he began to seek out his colleagues. ************************************************************************ I seated myself in the circle, and began to intone the words needed to send my mind away from my body. The cold air sent chills down my spine, but I ignored them. With practiced grace, my mind soared from me, traveling along corridors of thought to the person I sought. I beseeched the first player in my game to come to me. Within minutes, Cooney had teleported to the city and was at my doorstep. I rose and ushered him in, leading him to my workshop, where the items I had crafted at his direction lay in precise rows. He said very little, but muttered to himself as he moved amongst the rows, poking with his fingers, even as he cast his magic over my devices and reagents, checking for flaws. He found none. He took up what he would need, slates of pure ice-stone procured from the clefts of Winterspring. He laid the stones out on the floor before him, and looked up, a question on his lips. “Yes, I am sure. Begin, please.” I prompted him, cutting across him, having impatiently read the question forming. “If you say so. S'your funeral.” The troll danced his fingers in precise motions, tracing the necessary arcane symbols. He crafted his magic precisely, but from his soul, not from his head. He knew his lore so well he did not need to think about what he was to do. After a time....hours, I realized, though it did not feel so long...he sat up and presented me with the Runes of Binding. Upon the stone, harsh red lettering formed the words of power needed to unleash the magic. Such was the nature of my ritual. It would be formed of so many disparate elements, that there was no way to rationally merge them. Thus, they had to be bound by an over-power. I had turned to the most practiced mage I knew for this, for this was, in truth, the *soul* of my spell. I hardly heard the words he said as he commented on my plans, for I knew very well what I was doing. Seeing my attention had already moved from him, he shrugged again and let himself out. I knew I would have to apologize to the troll later, but that was not in my head just then. After all, the momentum must not die. Onward... I entered the hall of the blood knights where I was to meet with two individuals who would be the next people to aid me. I greeted the paladin Dyriel warmly, and we retreated to a private chamber where we could talk undisturbed. I laid out the favor I needed, and the precise instructions for the making of the next object on my list. His eyes grave, Dyriel questioned my intentions for needing such a potent charm. I assured him that I would only use the item he made carefully, and that my goal was entirely “on the up-and-up”. I told him how that which he would craft would be used for the healing of a shattered mind, engulfed by darkness, and he busied himself straight away. As he worked, I guided him. I thought of the effort it would cost me to craft such a thing, and yet the paladin worked with a surprising adroitness of hand and mind. Before three turns of an hourglass had passed us by, the golden badge I had given him was glowing brightly. The Sigil of Purification was complete, and Dyriel careful appraised his work. He smiled and pronounced it done, then turned and presented it to me. I took it and carefully stowed it within a pouch of mooncloth, to maintain its potency. We spoke of other matters only briefly, and he soon left, and my next appointment arrived. The blood knight Commendance came in, and lounged in the chair across from me. We had known each other for a long while, even during the days where he was known to his enemies as Judge Dead. I had spoken precisely of the item he was to assist me with in my missive, and he had occasionally crafted these items for the creation of potent relics of his order. I laid out the materials I had labored over, and he carefully inspected them, soon pronouncing them fitting. He set straight to work, ignoring me entirely. I watched eagerly as he called upon the righteous fury of the light, and I jumped when he drew his blade and used it to precisely carve the golden badge. Where Dyriel had used a chisel and knife, implements of crafting, Commendance used a mighty sword. He used it no less diligently, however, and in the end, he took no more time. He finally presented me with a grim smile, and extended forth his hand. I took from him the Sigil of Vengeance, and it pulsed in my hands. I know what I am. I am a powerful servant of the Light. But the Light has blessed the paladins with a fury I can never know. I felt the wrath dripping from this badge, and I looked Commendance straight in the eyes and thanked him. Then I strode from the room, sliding the badge into the mooncloth pouch. My next appointment should by now waiting in the tavern near my home, and I did not want to give him too much time to get drunk. I found the troll mage Dormamuz seated at a table in front of the fireplace, waiting on his ale. I quickly went to him, weaving my way unconsciously through the revelers. I quickly assessed the situation, then smoothly settled into the seat opposite him. We exchanged some pleasantries, then got down to business. As he sipped his ale, I telepathically communicated my instructions. He knew of the item I needed. Indeed, it was something he had made before, and was probably one of the least demanding items I required for this ritual. The troll and I rose and made for my workshop. Ensconced within, Dormamuz took stock of my materials, selected that which he needed to work with, and began. His runes would be carved onto a warp-touched stone carved from the edges of the islands that floated within the abyss that is the Outlands. I had polished the slate until it shone, reflecting back the void from which it came, and the void through which it would help my ritual walk. Dormamuz rapidly jabbered away in the troll tongue while he worked, though I did not understand a word he was saying. The mage finally tossed me the stone, upon which his magic had etched brightly glowing blue arcane letters. The Rune of Conjuring complete, Dormamuz bid me farewell, and with a jaunty wave, cast himself into the nether with a teleportation spell. An odd one, Dormamuz, but as I looked down upon the rune stone he had carved me, I knew that he was an artist. The stone was a masterpiece, just waiting for me to unlock its power. Perhaps I could learn a thing or two from his jovial attitude. I shrugged, stowed the magical rune away, and returned to my circle to cast out another summons. They came when I asked, as had known they would. I watched from the balcony as the two women walked along the path in front of my house. At the door, they both cast aside their pets: they knew I would not allow a demon into my house, regardless of circumstances. Alysius, the radiant warlock of my own race, negligently tossed her imp, Jubtik, back into the void. Beside her, the orcish female Teuflisch momentarily wrestled with her powerful Felguard Thooroon, finally unraveling the thread binding him here. He vanished with a wail, and the two women proceeded. I hastened down to the door, to greet the ladies. As they came in, I made them welcome. Alysius smiled briefly, but Teuflisch remained surly as ever. I beckoned them forth, into my parlor, as we spoke of their craft. I have made it no secret, to anyone, that I detest every single individual that dabbles into the craft of summoning demons, with *very* limited exceptions. The two ladies before me were such exceptions. Though at first I was wary to trust her, Alysius aided me greatly when I first returned from the war. I spent many hours with her, and came to know her benevolent nature. The orc Teuflisch was one whom I had heard of, even when my race fought alongside the filthy humans. I had come to respect her power, and we have aided each other many times in the past. It was she who instructed me, via my telepathic capabilities, of the crude language of her people, so that I might be accepted before the eyes of Thrall as a priest of the Horde. Needless to say, I still do not take for granted that these ladies are trustworthy, and every interaction with them is carefully monitored. I will *not* lower my guard in the presence of those who bind my enemies to themselves. I poured the ladies wine, and then discussed affairs with them for a time. Then, when formality had been dispensed with, I ushered them up to my workshop. They sat and listened to what I had planned. I gave Alysius the task of forging the Mark of Souls, from pale diamonds and arcane dust. Teuflisch I gave the task of making the Mark of Chaos, from a single Void Crystal and a spool of golden spellthread. I went over the process carefully, detailing the steps they must follow. They both quickly grasped what was needed. Alysius smiled knowingly at me, for I had given her the more delicate task, requiring more skill and finesse. Teuflisch grinned craftily at me, for she knew that the mark she was to forge was the more dangerous one, and required more power and daring to craft. The two warlocks began their spells, casting enchantment after enchantment, until the hours of day had slipped away. My power illuminated the room clearly and fully, not overly bright but not leaving anything in shadow. Shortly before midnight, both ladies were finished. I took from each the items they had wrought. The Mark of Souls was a formula of arcane writing, inscribed on the very air and surrounded by a powerful lattice of enchanted diamond. The Mark of Chaos was etched within the heart of the Void Crystal, the spellthread snaking around it like an ever-twisting hedge maze. The two marks were placed within glass spheres I had spun for this occasion. I led the ladies to my parlor again, and bid them stay the night within my guest rooms. They declined, insisting that they were capable of traveling by night. I knew that they were, but the courtesies must be observed. I bid the two women goodbye, and left to seek my bed. Tomorrow I would begin the most arduous part of my journey. I rose with the sun, refreshed, and I quickly made myself ready for travel. I seized the magic of my hearthstone, and let it pull me unerringly toward the City of Shattrath, where it felt was home. At the appointed time and place, in an inn in the lower city, I found the two tauren shamans I needed. They were sitting across from each other, each one boasting both of deeds done and yet to be done. I joined them, and explained precisely what it was I needed. Foegorehorn nodded wisely as I told him his part. Spiritraven, growled at me and said that he knew what to do. I showed them the materials I had brought for them, and they both grunted in satisfaction. Part of the kit was a flask of a potent hallucinogen, to aid them in their craft. We all made some brief plans, then I left them. They would go, to meet me at the Throne of the Elements, where I would call upon their bond with the Elemental Lords. I went to the place where I was supposed to hire a mercenary, and that is when my carefully laid plans began to unravel. I searched high and low, but the one I sought could not be found. I despaired, until I ran across the mighty shaman Stelson. I asked him for his aid, and he promised to ask around. It was not long at all before he told me of a warrior who would accompany me, for my fallen comrade-in-arms Thoraggar was an old friend of his. I thanked the Shaman and went looking for Rannoch. I met with Rannoch on the path to Nagrand. We quickly hammered out the contract between us, and I paid him the healthy retainer I had set aside. The warrior would guard the shamans and I as we invoked our powers. We made for the Elemental Plateau, and I was able to witness the warrior in action there. Spiritraven and Foegorehorn informed me that we would need offerings of motes, to appease the spirits. I did as they told me, though Cooney had mentioned no such thing. Rannoch and I mounted up and rode to the top of the hills, where we began our search for the elementals. I held back, and let the warrior unleash his fury on the wandering elementals. As we searched for hours, Rannoch needed healing time and again, for I let him do all the bleeding. I then improvised at the last second a brilliant addition to my plan. Unnoticed by him, I captured a small vial of his blood when I laid my hands upon him to heal his wounds. I slid the vial within my inner pockets, and continued my search for the rogue elementals. Finally, we had enough, and we descended from the mountain to meet the shamans. They assured me all was ready, so I bade Rannoch to guard the perimeter. I took the motes, and first, with the aid of Foegorehorn, called out to the elemental spirit of Water. The water lord appeared, slowly forming. I took a deep breath, and cast myself into the maelstrom of its mind. After what seemed an age of bartering, with the spirit of Foegorehorn aiding me I was able to bind the water lord to a pact, bringing into being from the proffered materials the Ritestone of Water, the material manifestation of the water spirits favor. I wrenched my mind free, and the semblance of the water lord vanished. We then beckoned the lord of earth to show himself. Without hesitation, I threw my mind once more into that alien awareness. The earth lord was more stubborn than the lord of water, but eventually the great spirit was forced into compliance by the power of Foegorehorn. I let my mind tumble free, the Ritestone of Earth clenched in my fist. I let the exhausted shaman rest. Though it was my voice who spoke to them, it was the power of the shamans that brought the spirits to heel. Spiritraven and I then invoked the power of air, and he beckoned the storm lord forth. Once again, I entered the mind of the spirits. Spiritraven's power eventually bound flighty air into a rock-solid compact, made manifest in the very real Ritestone of Air, and we moved on. We immediately summoned forth the final spirit, the great lord of fire. Spiritraven spent every last iota of strength bending the elemental lord to his will, for fire does not lightly let itself be mastered. Finally, our efforts were rewarded with the Ritestone of Fire, and my quest here was finished. The two shamans, spent, invoked their magic and returned home. The warrior Rannoch and I took to flight once more, I on my Windrider and he on his Netherdrake. Once aloft, I dismissed my bodyguard. The mighty tauren bid me well, and rode away with the speed of a zephyr. I flew back to Shattrath, and went immediately to the portals the mages kept open, intent on home. I had two tasks before me, and I must finish one of them in the time I had allotted for rest. I plopped down into the chair in my workshop and immediately began crafting the new things I would need. I used the pommel of the sword of a mighty warrior as the base for my new items, and began to weave a *very* dangerous magic around it. I carefully poured in the warrior Rannoch's blood, one drop at a time, and soon the pommel-gem was as big as a fist. My magic set the ball to spinning, whirling itself out flat, into the form of a discus with the pommel-gem at the center. Finally, an inch thick and a foot in diameter, I judged it done. Using my knife, I carefully honed the edges to the precise dimensions. I held a needle into an open candle, until it glowed white hot, stoked by the holy fire within me, and then I began to trace the needed markings upon the disk. An hour later, I dropped the needle. My work was flawless. Not fancy, mind, but it was without any error. Blood shed in defense of another could, in the hands of the one defended, if they were a talented caster, be used to craft a thing like this, a Seal of Sacrifice. I uttered a prayer to the Light, asking forgiveness for doing this without asking, and invoked the ritual words, completing the spell. When my voice echoed no more, the Seal glowed brightly with white light, symbolizing its readiness. I had scarcely placed the Seal out of sight within my pack and laid my head down upon my desk, when my workshop door opened. Right on time, in walked my next appointment. Urameshi, the Forsaken priest, looked down on me. I rose and went to him, and clasped hands briefly with him. His eyes lingered on my face for a moment, and I knew we were both reliving the days of my “apprenticeship” to Urameshi. The Sin'Dorei priests had to briefly apprentice themselves to the Horde priests, to learn their traditions and ways, if they were to ever be fully ordained by the Horde. Urameshi was assigned to me, and though we did not like each other, we had come to respect each other. I quickly laid out what I needed from him, and he stared at me a long while before agreeing. He went to my tables, and began crafting the final item. Next to him, I took up my materials and began working as well. Side by side, we worked our magics, one priest of Light, one priest of Shadow. After a long while, etched onto brightly glowing vellum scrolls, written in ink of molten silver and molten gold, lay our contributions. The Scripture of Light, my creation, sat next to the Scripture of Darkness, his doing. We each eyed the other's work, checking for flaws. “I trained you well” He said, in his mocking voice. I ground my teeth, but said nothing. He took up that which he had wrought and laid it in my hands. “Favor repaid.” and he left. I stood alone in the room, trying to hold back the giddy excitement which welled through me. It was done. I had everything I needed to unleash the awesome power of the ritual. ************************************************************************ Nether stood, wavering slightly, drinking in the triumph of success. He carefully laid the items he had so painstakingly acquired out around his workshop, his ancient mind plotting his course carefully. He adjourned to his chambers to refresh himself. He supped lightly on mana crystals, and bathed himself. He donned his simple robes (simple by his standards, anyways.) and headed out onto the balcony. He stared out at the setting sun. His ritual must take place at dawn. He did not dare sleep, but could refresh his mind through meditation. He sat and let his mind drift inward, into a calm, peaceful center. An hour before dawn, Nether rose. He went silently to his workshop and gathered the powerful items he had so painstakingly wrought. He could feel each of his allies, their power flowing into him from their artifacts, just the close proximity to each other starting to unleash magic. He held them at bay, and went down to the ritual room. There she knelt. His apprentice, Vyndette, clad in only the white robe of delicately spun runecloth he had provided. She knelt, within the circle, her mind still effortlessly repeating the mantra he had left her with. He went to her, and knelt with her, and lightly kissed her forehead. In doing so, he pulled from her the looping nature of the spell. Her eyes opened, though her mind was a blank slate, as Nether had known it would be. Her entire consciousness was at rest within her, lulled into slumber by his power. She would follow directives, but had virtually no will of her own to speak of. She was totally in the hands of her master. He stood, and his mind commanded her to do likewise. She stood now, in the center of the circle. He broke the spell of tranquility, knowing its power would not hold once he began unleashing the awesome power of his collection. He let his mind roll over the instructions provided, and that which he had added. He took comfort in the fact that his mind knew what to do without reference. He found that, surprisingly, his power was coming to him almost reflexively. He only had to give the command, and his power would act of its own volition, the catalyst for the ritual. Nether let the magic flow, and he called forth the Runes of Binding. The crackling of arcane energy filled the room, and the Rune stones jumped, and dissolved, consumed by their release. Glowing around the perimeter of the circle on the floor, the symbols etched themselves in bright red light. They were ready to harness the coming power. Nether then pulled forth the Sigil of Purification. Its bright white light stained the red light, and Nether directed the energy towards his apprentice. The Sigil erupted, and Nether felt its power marking Vyndette. The holy energy of the symbol, joined with the healing energy of the priest's own power, burned through the shattered “mirror” of her mind, fusing the slagged pieces together into one molten sheet. Nether's foresight was all that prevented the healing magic from cleansing every last bit of thought from her mind. Her blank consciousness allowed the spell to rip through her without ruining her. Upon her brow, there now was etched a silver mark, symbolizing the holy power of the paladin Dyriel. Nether felt it burning there, and he knew he was also marked, just as his apprentice was. His presence in her mind was not without consequence, but there was no other way. The priest rapidly pulled forth the Scripture of Light. He read its words precisely and rapidly, and the scroll burned away as its power was unleashed. The power of the Light, that of the holy priests, burrowed its way within the young priestess, settling within her at the base of her soul. It would rest there, filling the woman with that which she was sure she had lost, the comfort and blessing of the Light. Nether rapidly followed up with the scroll crafted by Urameshi. As the Scripture of Darkness was let loose, the lights in the chamber dimmed and the scroll faded away. Similar to its polar opposite, the power of Shadow nestled within Vyndette. Vyndette's leanings were already heavily in the direction of the shadow, so Nether had asked Urameshi not for more power, but for greater control. Thus was the power of Shadow regulated within the young priestess. Nether drew forth the Rune of Conjuring and unleashed its power into his stricken apprentice. Vyndette arched her back as the eldritch powers tore through her with the force of a hurricane. The whole purpose of the power provided by Dormamuz was to maintain the integrity of the spell, regardless of where it went, since the spell was tied to people and not places. The symbol on the Rune stone remained after its form disappeared, and it etched itself around Vyndette's navel. Nether could feel it burning into them, marking both with its power. An added benefit of this rune, Nether would be able to call upon his power within Vyndette at unheard of distances. Next was invoked the powers of the Mark of Soul. The structure of diamonds was transformed into pure mana energy, and it leaped from Nether's hand, directly towards Vyndette. It blasted into her chest, burning the Mark between her breasts. The purple symbol would protect Vyndette's soul and anchor the power of the ritual firmly there, so that even were she to *die* the powers the priest invoked would not fade. It would travel with her to the underworld, if need be. Nether felt the power carving into his own chest as well, insuring that his spirit had the same bond. His premature death would no more end the ritual than would hers. Finally, Nether drew out the last of the pieces to be imbued within the foundation of his ritual. The Sigil of Vengeance surged and fluxed wildly, desperate to be released. Nether carefully harnessed its violent nature, into a powerful retributive ward that would shield the priestess from the penetrating, invasive magic of others. Anyone other than her Master attempting to manipulate her thoughts or emotions with magic would trigger the violent flux of magic, and it would punish them. The badge shattered into dust as the Sigil's power was let free, and a searing burn on his right palm told Nether that he and Vyndette both bore a mark there. Now, Nether let his thoughts take control of the ritual once more, invoking the powers he had let loose. “Recite the Vow of the Apprentice.” his thoughts told her. Vyndette stood straight and tall, and spoke. “I swear to obey the commands given to me by my master, for my master knows better than I do the dangers I face. I will serve and honor my master, for the harsher duty lies upon him. I so swear to uphold this oath regardless of personal dangers or desires, to be left without power or protection should I play my master false.” Nether knew there would be more than those simple consequences for breaking the oath, with this level of power involved. He felt a rush of power as the Ritual of the Apprentice was completed. Nether stood to his full height, and let his voice sound. “I swear to protect my apprentice, body mind and soul, for the apprentice is a credit to the master. I will teach and guide my apprentice, and raise her as high as her talents will take her. I will never willfully endanger my apprentice, where these two oaths collide, in the name of higher knowledge. My apprentice shall be as my arm, even as I am her staff. I wear to uphold this oath regardless of personal dangers or desires, to be left bereft of sanity and power should I play my apprentice false.” Death would likely be the result if he broke this oath. Nether knew that, and accepted it gladly. He felt his power, mingled with the powers unleashed, burn the oath into his soul, giving of himself, to bolster Vyndette. The Ritual of the Master was completed. Nether gasped in the air needed to force himself to finish the ritual. He drew forth the most dangerous object of all, the Mark of Chaos. He set himself, and hurled the crystal into the sorcery he was working. The power of chaos seared at him, burning its way into the both of him, and Nether suffered for them both. On their left palms was now burned the Mark of Chaos, rigidly defying its nature to take a cohesive state. The power of chaos would imbue their bond, giving it a preternatural longevity, well beyond the lifespan of any mere mortal, for Chaos was eternal. The chaos would also shield the bond from severance, as chaos cannot be easily dispersed. Nether shrank back from that awful power harnessed by Teuflisch, and once again was forced to reassess his friend's cunning. Driving himself mercilessly on, the haggard priest raised forth the Seal of Sacrifice, and broke it in two. The blood sloughed off, eaten away by the magic, and the gem in the center was destroyed. The magic of the ritual seized this new power, pulling it within itself, binding to it the magic of sacrifice. The ancient, dangerous blood magic would burrow into the blood of the warrior Rannoch, tying itself to his life force. As long as the warrior had one drop of blood in his body, the enchantment could never be broken. Even his death would not inviolate the enchantment, due to the power of the Mark of Souls. It would simply break the Seal's power, nullifying one layer of protection. On the warrior's return to life, given that such occurred, the Seal would reignite, burning again in his blood. At long last, Nether pulled out the Elemental Ritestones. He cast them one after another into the matrix of the spell he was weaving, securing the promises of the spirits. Anyone attempting to alter the power or terms of this spell, to any degree at all, would now have to contend with the combined power of the four elemental lords. Their contracts were binding, and final. As the Ritestones vanished, Nether ignited once more the Runes of Binding. The powers of the arch-mage bound within them held, and Nether was able to bring the long, arduous ritual to a timely end. Nether sealed the ritual, and the rushing vacancy of power brought him to his knees. He saw, through blurred vision, Vyndette fall as well, her mind reawakened by the unfathomable magic that had surrounded her. She collapsed, unconscious, to the floor. Nether forced himself to his feet, with the aid of his staff. He stood gasping and reeling for a long few minutes, until he had some of is strength back. He knelt, lifting the fragile priestess in his arms. He forced himself to remain standing as he carried her to her bedchamber, and he laid her to bed as carefully as he could. Assuring himself that she would sleep for *quite* a while, Nether hastened to his own spartan quarters. He collapsed face-first on his bed, and was asleep within seconds. Nether stared out over the city, contemplating his vision. He had prophesied again, that night. He had been successful. The doom he had seen lurking in the shadows had been averted. No more would his enemies come to him where he was weakest, through his apprentice. He supposed he was glad of that, but in retrospect, all his preparations, and the level of magic he used, for something so simple seemed...unnecessary. But Nether was not a man who took chances, and a prophesied warning merited every ounce of effort he could spare. He smiled into the night as he sipped at a glass of wine. His enemies would find new ways to attack him, of course. But one thing at a time. He let his thoughts drift back downstairs, where his new apprentice was still slumbering peacefully. He would have to explain exactly what had happened to her. He hoped her newfound clarity would establish itself quickly. The silly, spontaneous girl-child she had been when she approached him could be endearing, but it was a danger....to him, and to herself. Healing would not come quickly; it never did. But the future was looking bright, indeed.