An otherwise nondescript door in the middle of London. An old, heavy door from one of the last remaining Ottoman buildings in Trikala. Just one of the hundreds of apartment doors in the Palmolive Building in Chicago. A still standing archway in the ruins of Persepolis. So many doors, all leading to the one place. It was the Winter Solstice, celebration of the death and rebirth of the Sun, and time for the annual family argument at Telchines Manor.
"Andi!" Eleni, known to the world as the heroine Circe, calls out to her little sister. "I'm not mother, I can't read your mind if you're not talking to me!" She implores to little effect. Andi was still stomping off in a huff, which had been the usual result from having to talk to her parents for years now. Just as it always fell to Eleni to go calm her down again, the job of the big sister. "Come on!" She follows behind, making a few ineffectual grabs for her sister's hand. Andi, undeterred, continued on her storming out.
The manor, both immense and magical, had rooms enough that there were still many places hidden away. It is only after a couple twists and turns that both girls find themselves in a cold, dark, brickwork basement. It's here, feeling more comfortable, that Andi slows down enough for Eleni to catch up properly. "Huh." The older sister looks around at the new chamber, muttering a spell that causes candlelight to flash into being in the palm of her hand. "Trust you to find the undercroft, I guess." She smiles. Andi, turning around, doesn't seem happy at all.
Every time! Andi signs with a frown on her lips. I see mother and every time, I have done everything wrong. The scowl on her face almost said it all. She doesn't mean it. That is just how mother is. Eleni signs back, less confidently than her sister but still well practised. You do not get it! You are the first born, you are the big famous hero, you have it all. All the magic, all the skill, all the luck, and they love all of that poo poo. I get born under the Black Sun, cursed to never talk, my spells do not work, nothing. And they act like it is all my fault! The anger emanating from the young sorceress was palpable, and the tattoos along her wrist begins to glow. She silently shouts, lashing out against a nearby pillar with a punch. Her fist is surrounded by mystical hellfire, burning a dark green, and shakes the whole room.
"Andi, it's not like that!" Eleni rushes forward and wraps her sister in a hug before she can damage the manor's foundations any further. "I know I've had it easy, but that's not everything. That's boring. But you? You're amazing, you know that right?" She loosens her grip enough to look Andi in the eye. "You've had to take the hard road to get anywhere, but you've still made it. I remember mother bringing out every hidden scroll and ancient tome under the sun to try and unlock your magic so you could cast a spell; and nothing. The great Asteria was powerless, but you?" She puts a hand over the tattoo that started on her shoulder, drawn along her leylines. "You found your own way. Doesn't matter if she hates it, it's your magic not hers."
Andi finally cracks, unable to keep her anger bubbling in the face of her sister's unrelenting positivity. She breaks into a smile and nods, very quickly returning the hug. "…plus, you know what? I would kill for the freedom you have. You think mother's strict with you? If I went and got even one tat she would actually burn it off me." Eleni admits with a wan smile, letting her sister go. "Yeah, she's got me under a microscope. Being groomed to take over the family, if I'm anything less than perfect it's going to make her look bad. And you know mother, if she has to move heaven and earth to make herself look good…" With a more self assured smirk, she knocks Andi in the shoulder. "But it's worth it if it keeps mother off your back. Plus, when I'm in charge around here? Not going to let anybody talk poo poo about my little sister."
Girls. Comes thundering into both their heads, almost as if it had been drawn by mentioning her at all. Come to the conservatory, please. Right now. Vasiliki Telchines, the legendary hero Asteria, mistress of mental magic, mother to Eleni and Andreja, and not a woman anybody keeps waiting. She stood waiting over a trough of valerian saplings, weaving the stems and leaves with untold magicks. Through the glass ceiling of the conservatory one could see that the manor was not actually anywhere on Earth. In place of the sun and the sky was just a swirling maelstrom of lights and colours that betrayed the manor as slowly swimming in-between the planes. Yet somehow, these cosmic powers provided all the plants here needed to survive and thrive. That and a sprinkler system, obviously.
As the sisters enter, they are quickly stopped in their tracks by something floating in mid-air. "Andreja." Their mother coldly addresses her youngest, back facing both younger heroes. "I went to the immense trouble of binding a voice to that necklace, you will wear it." Exactly whose voice and how she did it, neither sister knew. Or asked. They had learnt a long time ago to not pry into these kinds of questions when it concerned their mother. Well knowing the futility of trying to argue further, lest the chain get bound to her neck, Andi slowly reaches out to reclaim the necklace she had tried to throw away earlier that evening and fastens it around her neck once again.
"You will need to communicate to be part of a team, and nobody at the MDF will be able to read your mind like me or understand your signing like your sister." Asteria continues quite matter-of-factly. "You will wear the necklace and you will do your all to make your time with this new team nothing short of exemplary." She downs her magic and turns to face her children. Even in old jeans and a gardening apron, the imperious look Asteria wears could freeze blood in an instant. "Am I understood?" Firmly cowed, all Andi can muster is a nod. "Yes, mother."
Thankfully the gaze shifts to one more capable of weather it. "And Eleni. Andreja is never going to be up to your calibre, but I expect you to provide her with only the best example to follow. It is only because of my reputation and your recent efforts in the Grimward that Andreja was even considered for this." Looking at both of her children, she puts hands on her hips and sighs. "Being your mother it is my duty to tolerate these… infantile tantrums on occasion, but it all stays within the family. Out from behind closed doors neither of you will embarrass our family like that. Yes?" She levels Andi and Eleni with withering looks each.
• How did you first meet your mentor?
You mean Asteria? Umm… I was in her womb?
Seriously, what kind of stupid question is that? Vasiliki Telchines is my mother, and if you think having an actual member of the Paragons as your mother is a good thing then you need a reality check. From the moment I was born she has been training me, because when you start from as low as I did you need a lot of work. Yeah, that's me, a terrible disappointment before my first birthday. I was born under a Black Sun and cursed see, if you don't want to study for a decade to understand that then just think 'oh no magic happened' and you're pretty close. The curse blocked my mana and robbed me of my voice, which in lay-mans terms meant no magic for me. But I'm a Telchines, so that was never going to do.
Like I had a choice. I'm a Telchines and my mother takes nothing more seriously than the reputation of our family. She was never going to accept a daughter of hers having less magical ability than some commoner. And as much as I hate her, there is nobody more determined than her. If anybody was going to perform a miracle, it was my mother. As soon as I could read I was put to studying spell book after spell book, because surely one of them was going to be the key that broke my curse.
• When and why did you choose to train with them?
Asteria is a proud, vain woman. She loves being famous, being powerful, and coming from a grand old mystical family. My older sister, the firstborn, was everything she could hope for. Smart, pretty, talented, a prodigy. Me? I was something halfway between a disgrace on everything she holds pride in and a challenge she is determined to overcome. Anybody else would have been given up on a long time ago, but I'm her daughter and no Talchines is going to be left magicless while she has any say in it. I might be garbage but I'm her garbage, you know?
• Why did they agree to train you?
I think that's why it pissed her off so much when I found my own way around the curse.
• Who else, outside of the team, knows about your training?
Well, I guess my sister? Eleni Telchines, but you'd only know her as Circe from the Grimward team. She's the firstborn which if you don't know magic stuff basically means she is the heir apparently and inherits everything. If I'm the disappointing black sheep, she's the golden child that gets held up as the very best the Telchines family can offer. Basically perfect in every way. I don't mean that in a mean way or anything, it's just kinda the truth. I have every reason to want to be mad or jealous or whatever of her, but she's been nothing but nice to me this whole time. Mother always just used magic to read my thoughts, but Eleni actually took the time to learn how to sign with me just so I had somebody to talk to. She can't understand at all what it's like to go through what I did, but she was still there for me anyway. But Circe is really busy with the Grimwald hero team now, so it's not so easy to keep in touch anymore.
Bit of a whole story here. Mother didn't think much of my idea for finding a workaround for my curse and just giving up on breaking it altogether. I thought maybe if I tapped into my magic a different way than what we've been trying, like a totally not Telchines way, maybe something might happen. And then went and got it done. Full body tattoos along my leylines, using an ink made up of ground orichalcum. I'm not sure what she was angrier about, the fact I got it done despite her forbidding it or that it kinda worked. I can't cast spells without my own voice still, but my blood is magic enough that I can power the tattooed symbols on my leylines into being.
• Why do you care about the team?
Of course, that means I can 'do magic' now. So there's no reason I shouldn't be following in the family footsteps, like her and my sister. Being a hero in a hero team. So now it's either play nice with a team and show I can be a 'responsible hero' with my 'new powers' or I'm looking down the barrel of being grounded with a binding spell until my mid twenties.
The Protege posted:
Hero Name: Hekate
Robodog fucked around with this message at Jan 17, 2018 around 21:03
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