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Iniquitous

By @FireLadyA

Flaying

‘‘You heard what I said. It’s spelled N-O — no! I would have thought the best Runar in the nation would know how to spell a two-letter word.’’ Ayra leaned back in her seat, frowning at the old people surrounding her. Poor Elder Mimm was as pale as a ghost, Elder Sorin seemed as if he wanted to throw Ayra into a dungeon, and all the others looked disturbed. 

‘‘How dare you speak to the High Celestial in such a way!’’ Elder Sorin shouted. ‘‘You do not… refuse to be the Impetus! It is an honour, and an inescapable one at that! You were chosen by the heavens, and the High Celestial elected to inform you herself.’’

‘‘I don’t see what difference that makes. I’m horrible at runes — can’t even make a simple Hestia, let alone something complicated enough to defeat Erebus. Go ask somebody else to be your powerful and holy little puppet, because I can promise you it won’t be me!’’

‘‘Oh, my Aether!’’

‘‘Careful, Elder Mimm. Do not say the name of our heavens in vain.’’ The High Celestial finally spoke, for the first time since greeting Ayra. ‘‘As for you, insolent child,’’ she spat. ‘‘You are not yet of age to leave the Order and have no choice in the matter. And I say you will take lessons and you will learn the runes necessary to defeat Erebus.’’

‘‘You can put me in lessons if you want, but it won’t do anything. My rune abilities are helpless. I’m not about to let you waste your precious time on me. Go pick someone who can actually meet your standards.’’ The High Celestial smirked at Ayra’s statement. She stood up, imposing and powerful, and began walking towards Ayra. She drew a rune in the air in front of her, fingertips glowing. The complex shape slowly began to transform into smoke, twisting and bending until it became the shadow of a dragon.

‘‘You forget, Sister Ayra, that your runing abilities are a gift from Aether and I can take them away.’’ The High Celestial stopped in front of Ayra, the shadow in front of her twisting around Ayra’s tattoos. ‘‘Though it is a painful process, I can easily arrange a flaying. So it’s your decision, young one. Would you rather earn a teacher, or lose your magic?’’ Ayra glared at the High Celestial, her head tilted downwards. Standing up, she made a pious gesture and smiled.

‘‘Of course, High Celestial. I will begin tomorrow. Now, let’s go meet my new teacher. Lead the way.’’

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