(1874-09-18) Stone and Fire
Stone and Fire
Summary: Ludovic and Alia practice against and with one another.
Date: 2018-09-18
Related: None
NPCs: None
Alia  Ludovic  

Glade, Hellmouth County
Lots of open space, trees, a dead campfire.

Having sent word to Alia that he has a favor to ask and would like to meet her within Hellsmouth when it was convenient for her, Ludovic arranged for her to be brought to him when she arrived. He's been doing what he normally does in the meantime and when she arrives she is soon guided a ways up several steep bridleways until she reaches the mountain meadow that Ludovic has picked out for practicing. His horse is tethered near the entrance to the meadow but Ludovic is much further inside. He's dressed no different to most days out in the saddle in his mustard yellow coat and segmented half-plate but he's not mounted instead on his feet playing with his magic. As Alia goes to approach he is trying to move a massive rock slowly from one side of the field to the other. It's somewhat erratic in its progress and when he sees Alia it thumps down. The lapse is soon covered up with a grin as he strides towards her. "Good! You made it safely. I trust you didn't have to much trouble?"

Alia had received the request for her presence, and had sent word back that she would make the journey to Hellmouth as soon as she was able. It was not quite two days, when the scouts received word that she was moving though the Pass, and bringing her usual guard with her. She'd had no trouble, as the d'Korbina men had been warned of her arrival, and so the journey to the County seat, and the escort, without her guards, had been smooth and easy. Now, she walked across the hewn grass, still dressed in her usual working attire, black riding pants, sleeveless shirt, even in the growing chill, and her lorrica. There was a curiosity in her expression as she watched Ludovic practicing from afar, but it was replaced by warmth, when he turned to meet her, "No trouble at all. The world is quiet today. It is good to see you, Ludovic."

"Lets pray that they are all quiet from here on after." Ludovic returns before grinning again and admitting. "Although. When I think on that. I see /me/ starting something." he chuckles. "So maybe I shouldn't go praying for it just yet." He reaches out to grasp her forearm in a handshake. "You look as if your new duties suit you well enough. Come. I'd offer you some tea but we're all alone up here. I have some wine hidden away though. Well." He smiles at her. "When I say alone I mean that theres nobody to brew the tea. You saw for yourself that I can't go nowhere these days without a guard. Well I'm sure I could. I'm still the viscount afterall." he gives her an amused grin at that. "But you know how people who love you will get after you lose an eye in an ambush."

"But perhaps not too quiet, or else I will have to return to Four Corners. And I have rather enjoyed being away from the city." She glanced away, taking in the valley, "There is so much more scope for the imagination here. And a fair few less flammable structures." She accepted the handshake with an equal sentiment, "You should have brought some. Perhaps next time. I have quite a talent with tea. But perhaps we will find the wine together later." There was laughter, as she moves to stand in step with him, "All the coddling, I can certainly imagine. But I don't think you brought me here to give your guard something to do. So why am I here, Ludovic?"

Ludovic chuckles at her suggestion of returning to Four Corners. "You've responsibilities now." he points out. "I don't see the Imperial Military letting you go just like that." He smiles again at her answer. "I've learned better than to take tea with me on the road. Comes out like sour sludge." He pauses a moment when she asks his exact reason for coming here and then says. "I want to show you something. Two somethings actually. One i'm hoping will help teach you to defend yourself better. The other I'm hoping will help me." He looks at her for a long moment and then chuckles again. "Hark at me being all mysterious. You ever learn how to counter another sorcerers magic? Its something I'd no idea was even possible before Teleko did it to me. I'm not sure if Darius knows. When we were fighting I wasn't trying to use my magic against him. The time I slipped I didn't do it like this either. I just used my magic to make a barrier to stop the effects of his." He frowns and then looks at her. "Guess that don't totally make sense. What I mean is that when I fought Darius all I did was make a ridge of earth to counter the flow of fire. It wasn't actually turning the magic around. I'm not even entirely sure I understand how it worked. Thought it might be good if we tried to work it out. Then, or maybe before that, I want to show you the axe from the Qatunax and ask you a favor. When I showed it to Darius he said they'd put fire inside the axe somehow. I'd like you to try and do the same thing with something I make."

"No, I do not imagine that they will. They allow me to return when I need supplies or to do business, but I imagine when and if they return to their own lands, I will not likely see these lands again, save at greatest need." As for the estimation of tea on the go, well. "Then when we meet next, only bring the teas, fresh water, and a pot. I will provide the fire and the cups." One did not actually make a very good apprentice unless one knew how to serve their master. "I have not. Though I spent many years at the Academy in Four Corners, they did not know such things. And I am still in the very infancy of my studies with the sorcerers of the Legion." There is more than obvious interest in her expression, "I would be glad to learn what you know, and to help you as I may with what you need. I will certainly look at your axe and make the attempt."

"I studied at the academy." Ludovic tells her. "After that fire sorcerer turned up in a battle during the west war and Altair beat him through his own gifts it just seemed.. prudent. Besides my father thought it might help." he shrugs. "I think it did. Although not really at helping me use it." He smiles at her. So. I learned this when I tried to attack Teleko and he took my magic, turned it back around, and then slammed me in the chest with it. I mean I dunno if that's exactly how it worked but well, that's what it felt like, and when he attacked me later I tried doing the same thing and had some level of success. So I cant say it will work exactly because, like you'd imagine, I've not had any other experience actually fighting with magic. That's why I thought I'd ask you." He gives her an hopeful smile. "I think I gotta actually aim it at you for it to work though and you the same. So I'm kinda worried we might hurt each other."

"I think most of the years I spent at the Academy were really about learning how to hide my gift and to preserve my safety. They lacked access to proper training, and what we did learn outside of that seemed purely my happenstance. But I do not begrudge the years I spent there." Though it was more that likely that the two had met there, such dealings were always clandestine, and even when it were possible to identify someone afterwards, etiquette dictated that such secrets were kept. "I have never encountered another magic user, much less a vampire who also wields magic. That you survived, I have no doubt, is a testament to your strength and will." Alia listened, silently, as he made his proposal and then nodded, stepping back to remove the crossbody bag she always carried with her, "I have such healing supplies as might help us, if we do injure each other. I would rather make the attempt than not at all." As with most sorcerous things, they were usually a trial by fire.

"What can you do when everything that might have helped had been burned?" Ludovic asks her seriously. "And that's even assuming that those burned books help anything useful in the first place. Given what we had to work with, I think it helped a lot." he nods. "But you are right that it was almost all about hiding though. Saying that.. until you can learn not to destroy a building should you really be learning how to?" He nods at that. "Outside the academy i've met a few. I've known someone who wields lightning, someone who wields ice, someone who could crush rocks with their bare hands and Altair, you and Darius of course."

At the flattery he gives her an appreciative smile but doesn't go into it more. "Its different when you attack someone indirectly." he says. "Least I have always felt it is." he waves her towards the field. "I'm going to use this attack." he stops, furrows his brow and makes three spikes erupt from the ground between them. "But obviously I'm gonna try and make it less dramatic. Since impaling you would be bad. Maybe try to set me on fire? If I throw a rock at you or you throw a ball of fire at me. Its not quite the same."

"You go looking for other avenues of learning, if you are no so terrified of losing your life to take the chance." Which was, in a very real sense, what Alia had done when she chose to join the Vir Sidus Empire. The cost of her service was, obviously, one she had been willing to pay. There was no judgment, however, as she moves to step away from Ludovic, moving to a fair distance so that they had room to square off at each other. "I will see what occurs to me." There was actually humour in her voice, as she paused long enough to set down the bag out od attack range, as it were, before she settled into position. "Very well, then Viscount," and now, there was humour in her voice, "Let me see what you can do."

Ludovic nods and takes several steps away from her. "Sorry I can't think of anything that will hurt less if we mess up. It's kinda like training someone how to dodge by shooting arrows at them. Lets limit it to half an hour today? We don't wanna risk getting sloppy. Besides. We'll probably both be suffering shock from the efforts by then" He gives her a quick grin. "Oh. I brought a whole pot of stew. So. Ready?" He waits for confirmation and then gestures for her to make the first attack, struggling to sense the moment she grabs the Fire so that he can respond before he gets burnt for his trouble.

Sometimes it works. Mostly it doesn't.

Alia…did nothing. She simply stood, staring at the man across from her, her opponent, for the time being, though, in a way, though they two were not at war, it seemed that someone looking in from the outside that they stood in place of their kingdoms, Aequor versus Vir Sidus. And then, in an area about two feet in circumference around Alia's feet, the grass began to crisp and brown, a swath of scorching spreading out from where she stood, widening around her to about five feet in either direction, before it began to drive towards Ludovic, as if some creature, called up from within the earth seemed intent on reaching him. There was a softening, a shimmering in the air above the ground as the destruction moved in his direction, a…softening, of the bedrock that lay between them.

"Nice move." Ludovic moves away from the heated air and ground. "But that wasn't how I meant." He frowns at the hot spot. "I gotta be missing something. I don't get why everyone elses elements seem more able to do stuff with stone than me." A glance up at her. "What do you think I should do to counter that? I mean all I can think of is to build a wall between us."

Alia considered, the ground beneath her still green and unburned, though it too, was beginning to crisp around the edges, "I do not know, Ludovic, I have not encountered many stone sorcerers. My thought, in my attack, was too make the stone too soft for you to be able to form it into spikes." She looked down at where she stood. "But I am now in a sea of soft stone, on stable ground that you can still move. If you shift the ground beneath me quickly enough, I would most likely end up falling to the burnt earth, and the heat would certainly not be something that I could protect myself from." Because fire, once it left her body, was just, well, fire.

Ludovic rubs at his hair for a moment. "Ah. So you didn't understand. I wasn't talking about setting up defenses. I meant that when someone is actually attacking you, directly, with magic you can feel it and kinda use your own power against that force. Like if someone tried to freeze you then you could turn it about on them." He shakes his head. "Hard to explain I suppose. That's why I wanted you to actually attack me. So I could try and do it so you'd feel it." He looks to the area of burnt grass and earth and then back to her. "The idea of softening the ground doesn't stop me though." He licks at his bottom lip, nods to himself and then grabs the earth with his gift and forms a ridge up in the area between them both that's almost a foot high. "Honestly its easier. I guess hot rock is still rock."

"I was not attempting to set up a defense. I was testing whether or not my changing the softness or hardness of the ground would make it more or less difficult for you to use your own magic to manipulate it." Alia did not seem put off by the instruction, she simply responded to it, "In the same way that you might feign an attack to learn something more about your opponent, before you move in to press your own initial attack when you do not know your opponent's strengths and weaknesses." The earth mound that rose up before her was daunting, but Alia simply lifted her hands, flicking her wrists to catch the deadwood in the trees that had begun to appear, as fall began to settle on the land. Unlike Ludovic, she had to have the element around her to use, if she wished to be efficient. She could summon it from herself, as she had done, but it was taxing. The few flames that sprung up on the branches seemed to detach themselves from their source, darts and licks of flame darting in to attempt to shower down on him.

Ludovic needs the element around him even more so than she does given that he cant, as far as he knows, create the element. Then again he did chose to have this particular challenge on his mountain where there is more than enough rock for anyone. "Honestly I'm impressed." he admits. "I didn't know you could do that." He doesn't even seem to notice that extra fire until it's practically on top of him and at that point he grunts, reaches out for it and.. realises he has no traction on air, plant and fire. "Damn it." He growls as he bats an ember out of his beard. "I'm terrible at this." He scowls at the air for a moment then looks directly at her, narrows his eyes and makes a sweeping gesture with his hand. "Remember. Idea is to retaliate through my attack." His attack is almost subtle. There is merely the surge of his magic and then the ground beneath her starts to pull away. It seems he's changed his mind about the spikes and instead plans to simply have her fall into a knee-deep hole.

"It was Darius who gave me the idea," Alia offered, as she gathered more of the flames from the trees, the heat of them crisping even the still mostly green leaves. "When we were in the keep, he took the heat of flame that was inside of his body and channeled it into the wood to destroy the door between our forces and the Qatunax that were within." Alia felt the shift beneath her feet and the flames darted down from the trees, growing into balls that seemed intent on falling around his feet, in the hopes, perhaps of making it too hot to stand where he was. "Not terrible. Our elements simply are not ones which, I think, oppose each other well. They are too complimentary." She had no defense against the hole, of course, save to attempt to jump out of the quickly crumbling ground, even if it meant that she had to dart or land on the ground that was still superheated by her sorcery.

Ludovic gives a terse nod. "Maybe." He stops pulling the earth away as she moves to escape "I get the feeling that the best thing I can do to another sorcerer is just bury them. Let me try something? You'll have to stay put for a moment. I've not practiced doing this so its not going to be fast enough to actually trap you. We'll have to work out if it even can be that fast. And other than doing the same thing for myself I cant think of any way to protect myself." He sighs. "No that wouldnt work neither. You'd just bake me. I've no immunity to heat."

Alia did manage to get mostly clear of the heat, though there was, at least in her vicinity the smell of scorching hair as her arms took some of the brunt of the heat, before she came up to her feet on a clear patch of ground. "This is only practice. Do what you intend to do, and then see how quickly you can do it on subsequent attempts." She did not raise her hands to rub her arms, that would only make the burns worse. The flames fell, as her hands directed them, harmlessly away from Ludovic. "Nor I to stone."

"Stay still then." Ludovic takes a step to the side and then starts slowly circling her. As he does so he uses his sorcery to coax the stone beneath her into flowing out from under her and up to the sides, building walls even as the ground falls. In the end she's just stood there in a tube of solid stone a good six foot high. "That." He says from somewhere just outside the area. "Took a lot of effort. But. I'm betting your pretty much harmless right?"

Alia watched with intense curiosity, as the earth moved around her, rose high enough that she could see nothing, save for the sky directly above her head. At Ludovic's question, she nodded, despite the fact that he would not be able to see her. he was taller than the wall, but she was far shorter, "Yes. I cannot see you to call fire responsibly, and if I try to do anything within the stone, if I were to try to help it, I would roast myself before I managed it, I suspect. And the earth is too smooth for me to get a handhold to try to climb out. And you could simply throw rocks at my head as I emerged besides."

More than that Alia's now at least partly underground. Ludovic moves over and grins at her. "Well." he points out. "Ther'es nothing to stop me putting a roof on it. Cept the fact I don't want you to die." he offers her a hand. "I don't know about you but i'm hungry now. Besides there's still the axe I wanted you to work with."

There was something almost humourous, in the scene, as Alia offered both hands, so that Ludovic could lift her out of the hole she was in like a child being lifted out of a very odd crib, feet scrambling for purchase so that she could climb out and be handed down after. "Well, it might be a solution to consider. And you could probably practice on objects you place on the ground, to improve your speed and control." She offered a smile, as she was set back on her feet, "Something to eat would be wonderful."

"Don't think that's going to be much of an option." Ludovic tells her. "Unless someones holding them down. Suppose you could grab another fire sorcerer and then I could bury you both. Not much of an option." he admits. "But better than leaving them to torch half the army." He moves over to where he's got a campfire set up and takes some embers out of a small box to quickly restart the fire. "There's a bowl just to your right." He offers as she sits down, most of his attention already on pouring out a couple of cups of watered down wine. The cup is offered to her. "This axe was made by some combination of earth and fire magic as far as I've been able to work out. I'd like to work with you to try and recreate something like it. I thought maybe we could try and make you a copy of that." he gestures at her sword. "I was told a sword like that can be cast so I want to try casting it out of this rock I've found works. Its not the same stuff that this axe is made out of but its good and sharp. Bit light but there's not much I can do about that. Try as I might I've not been able to work with metal."

Alia was thoughtful, as she moved to retrieve her pack, carrying that over to the momentarily dead campfire, "If you did it in two runs, I suppose. But not if your aim, on the first attack was to raise the earth and cover them over with it, to encase them with it." She offered a grateful smile, as she saw him light the fire the old fasshioned way. She was too close to being at the end pf her rope to manage anything else or more. "And the objects would simply be placeholders for the enemy, to see how quickly you could form the prison." Alia retrieved the bowl, though once she reached over to retrieve it, she took the second as well, setting it one into the other, so that she could handle the serving of the stew, while he managed the wine. "I would be happy to make the attempt. As I said before, I think earth and fire are quit complementary elements. "Though…a sword for me? Should we not make something for you?"
---< [LOG: 13 - POSE: 230] End of Alia's pose >----
=================<* [LOG: 13 - POSE: 231] Ludovic has posed *>=================
"I've been making a hammer for myself." Ludovic tells her. "But I can't give it to you unless I want to go unarmed - and if i just buy myself a new hammer then I might as well just get another made from lightsilver." He turns to the bundles at the back of the part log he's sat on and pulls out a czekan style warhammer - which is to say a warhammer with a long enough handle to be used on horseback with a head that is a hammer on one side with a curved, bladed 'axe' on the other - which is made from something that is technically black but has lots of brown and golden undertones, much like coffee, hidden within its glassy finish. "Here." he offers it over to her with both hands. "I did the same thing I just said. I had a smith help me with a mold. Then I used that to help me shape it. Took a long time and I'm still not entirely confident it will stand up to the normal sort of punishment. But I know it wont just shatter. It's not glass. Its." Again he goes back to his bundles but this time he picks out a chunk of dark stone and offers it to her. Whilst the axe is transparent the stone itself is a solid black although there is a nice sheen to it. "This is what I made it from."

The Qatunax axe he lifts from his belt and offers it to her too. "This is the axe that the Qatunax made. It's glass I think. Glass with fire magic in it somehow."

Alia seemed, at Ludovic's words, entirely confused, "Why would I need another weapon than this? I have no skill at wielding two swords at once. And Darius has given me the use of this one until he can have one made for me for my own. I was under the impression that the weapon we were going to be working on would be one for your use." She did set down the bowls, and the cup of wine, as she took the axe into her hands, turning it over to study the construction, setting it on her knee before she took the rock he offered her, "I am not familiar with this stone." Gems and minerals were not truly her specialty, though there were some that were used in alchemy. "But it is beautifully done." The rock too was set aside, as she took the glass axe, "Glass is melted sand. Perhaps they used the fire to melt it so that it could be crafted."

"Well." Ludovic says. "I figure that if you manage to do it. Then you'll want to keep it. So it might as well be something you can used as opposed to some random dagger or something that we use as a practice piece." He reaches to stir the stew reheating on the new fire. "I don't know if it will be any good as an actual sword unless you can 'put fire in it' since you cant, well, the reason I want it is that I can try and do some tricks like what Darius proved is possible but I cant work with metal so I needed to work out how to do it with stone."

He gives her an amused smile at the comment about the piece of stone he gave her. "it's just tin ore. I just found I could get a really nice edge off it and its not as light as the other ones I tried. It's still not as heavy as I'd like though."

"Volcanic glass." Ludovic tells her. "And I don't think it was melted into that shape. Working glass is easy."

"Besides if you feel it." Ludovic says. "With your magic. You'll be able to feel that there's two magics in it."

"You are wrong in that. Just because I managed to do something, does not mean that I would then want to have it for myself. What would be the point of that? That seems entirely selfish to me. And you forget that I am an alchemist. I have spent my life making things that are for other people to use. I do not have any particular attachment to my work, save pride in when that works is done well. "Volcanic glass I have seen before, though not in this form. But you said that you could shape rocks with your magic, making stone kittens, I think you said. I imagine that a sorcerer with enough skill could take base obsidian and reshape it to their desires. Especially such glass as has been made from fire."

"I see." Ludovic says. "I just assumed you'd want the best weapon you could make yourself but we can try with a dagger first if you want? I'm kind of assuming that we both have to do whatever is being done at the same time so its probably a good idea. Just.. that axe, the Qatunax one, it cuts at least as well as sidhe steel. Might not do anything else as well but." He gives her a quick grin. "You gotta admit its better than stone kittens." He holds his hand out. "Want me to make you something?"

Alia smiled, a softness there, as she considered, "I am not a warrior, as you are, Ludovic. I have no attachment to weapons either, or desire to craft what I use. This sword serves me well, and I feel some affection for it, because it was gifted to me by Darius, and was both a thoughtful, and a kingly gift, but if it were taken from me tomorrow, I would simply find another if I could." Alia set aside both the glass axe and the stone, retrieving the chunk of tin and handing it over. "I will help you. And…I would not know if it were better than a stone kitten. You have never made me one."

"I'm not exactly a sculptor." Ludovic turns the stone over in his hands as he talks before simply pulling it in half and dropping half down besides his booted foot. "I was practicing making shards for weapons. I'd break a piece up into sharp pieces and then try and throw them all at a target but i'd spent so long just hiding and trying not to be a sorcerer that when I needed to do it it took me forever. So I would go into the caves and make them from the stalagmites. Then I took Imogen down there to show her the lake and I made her a horse. Looked more like a lame goat but well it was the start. I'm a lot better now." he offers her a little horse made of the same coffee coloured gem-like material as the axe. "But i'm still not much of an artist. Its a good thing I can just copy stuff."

Alia watched Ludovic working with the stone, clearly impressed, despite the fact that he was downplaying the significance of what he was doing. She accepted the horse with obvious delight, lifting it to her eye to study the planes and lines of its body. But something in the act of watching him work seemed to catch her attention, and she set the horse aside, retrieving the bit of rock he had cast off, offering to him, "I would like to try making something together. You will craft the stone, and I will try to help you."

"Sure." Ludovic offers her his hands. "Just tell me what I'm supposed to do."

Alia laughs softly, as she sets the stone remnant in his hands, "In truth, I do not even know what I am supposed to do. Work the stone and I will try to focus on it and channel my magic into it, but only a little. I do not want to hurt you." So only a small thing, a trickle of will, she could try that, and hope for the best. "But if it feels warm, or dangerous, drop it."

Ludovic looks at her and then back at the piece of stone. Huh. Well.. "I'll try and make a rock shard then." This time he shapes it as slow as he can manage, which means it takes a couple of seconds, and choses to shape it into a simple spike or elongated pyramid. He withdraws his hands when he's done so that she is left holding it. "There?"

Ludovic would have been able to feel it, that trickle of her power, that heat that warmed the stone, as though some beast lay within it, blood warm and shivering with potential. Alia did not remove her hands from his, only sitting quietly, all of her attention focusing on making the fire go where she wished it, and not doing Ludovic harm. When they were finished, he would feel her magic retreating, curling back into her. And more than that, he would feel her baking, heat rising off of her in a wave, as she battled for control, "It's beautiful." And it was, for all its simplicity. "Perhaps this will be the spoke that repays the vampire for the injury he did you."

Ludovic probes at the new object, curious what if anything changed. He looks to her then. "I'm not much motivated by revenge. I'd like to take that creature down but when it happens it wont be just me that does it" He offers her the spike and then turns to his bowl and leans to ladle out some stew before gesturing her her to help herself and making himself more comfortable. "Whilst we are resting. Why don't I tell you a story about the bandit we called Redcap"

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