Name: Magalyte Moonstone Rapier
Class: Swords (Long)
A sword forged in antiquity, this rapier contains within it special magalyte technologies.
This weapon confers the following traits:
This item belongs to a specific individual. This items traits will only function when wielded by said individual, unless it is given up of the owners free will.
This item requires no maintenance. A weapon with this trait will always keep its edge, and armour with it will never need to be polished. Additionally, only high levels of damage may cause damage to it.
This weapon is especially useful at piercing armour. Sometimes, it almost feels as if it is drawn to weak points. Armour is less effective against this weapon, based on the wielders skill in using it.
This item can be used as a focus for wielding mana. The holder may use the highest of their Mana Focus skill or relevant item skill when using this item as a focus.
Leah scanned through the burst of information as fast as it reached her. It… almost seemed anticlimactic. Her expression must have shown to the others, because Cassandra prompted her.
“So? What is it? How good is it?”
Her excitement was palpable, but couldn’t dim Leah’s disappointment. She’d been expecting… Well, she didn’t really know. But this wasn’t it. Wait. Correction, her submind nudged her. She wasn’t disappointed with the weapon. She was disappointed because the feeling of excitement had fled. She recognised the feeling. It was a come down. Was Magalyte technology like a drug to her? Would the desire to learn more always be like this? That was a concerning thought. But at least having such items around didn’t affect her constantly. She shook her head, and explained the weapons properties.
“So, not great, really.”
“Not great? Leah, thats a pretty awesome find for something in a pawn shop. Sure, its nothing special right now, but… what did you say its rarity was?”
“Uh, Unique. Why?”
“There you go. Theres a lot of conflicting information about magalyte items, especially weapons and armour, but the one common thread is that they aren’t considered enchanted items. Thats probably why no one ever thought it was anything special. That means they can be enchanted, on top of the properties it holds. So right now, thats just a high end rapier for you, but if you find the right person to tinker with it…”
“Plus, that Mana Channeling trait is tailor made for you. You couldn’t have found a better fit in this town, no doubt.”
Liam finished off. Leah looked down at her new acquisition, and pursed her lips.
“Well, its paid for now. And I do have to admit, it’s still a nice weapon…”
“Still? What happened to all the excitement from before?”
Leah explained her thinking about how magalyte technology might be affecting her mind. Cassandra leaned back, looking concerned, and turned her gaze to Liam. He sat, arms folded, and closed his eyes.
“I’ve not heard of anything like that before, but you are unique in a lot of ways. Maybe your, uh, heritage is affecting things. At any rate, you say the effect went after you learnt about the item?”
“Yeah, as soon as I analysed it, it left. Plus, when I wasn’t around the sword-”
“Really? Are you going to correct me every time? Whatever. Rapier, the feeling disappeared as well.”
Liam nodded, and opened his eyes.
“Ok, well. That doesn’t change our plans much. At worst, it looks like you are gonna need to learn everything you can about magalyte tech we come across, which is our goal with bringing you along. If anything changes, though, and you feel like its getting worse, you need to let us know right away, ok?”
Leah nodded, and decided to add a little levity back to the conversation.
“Oh, so you’ll abandon me once I stop being useful?”
Liam picked up on it before Cassandra did, and grinned.
“Oh, of course. We aren’t just carting you around out of the goodness of our hearts you know. So you better keep delivering results like this!”
Cassandra gave him a stern look.
“Liam! We wouldn’t abandon you, Leah.”
“I know, I know. It was a joke. And a bad one, apparently.”
Liam shook his head.
“Well, lets add that to the list of things we’re celebrating. Our first, of hopefully many, discoveries!”
He pumped his fist in the air, and the other two joined him.
“Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m just about ready for bed. Speaking of…”
He made for the only bed in a burst of speed, but he was too slow for Cassandra. She leapt on before him.
“Nope. Finders keepers.”
“Wh- I’m paying for the room, you harlot!.”
“You snooze, you lose. Tell him, Leah.”
“Actually, I think I’m going to call in that favour you two owe me, from staying up all night on watch. So, the bed should be mine.”
Liam, realising he would be unable to get Cassandra out of the bed, even if it came to a fight, decided to go for a different tact.
“Well, the lady is right. But thats no reason why only one of us should have it. Why don’t the two of you share?”
Cassandra’s blush was visible even through the dim light of the room, and was only compounded by Leah’s confident answer.
“That makes sense! How gracious you are in defeat, Liam.”
“What can I say, I truly am a gentleman.”
The next morning, Cassandra took Leah back to the guild to finalise her registration, while Liam went off to finish his own business. He remained tight lipped about it all through the night and into the morning, leaving Cassandra and Leah guessing as they walked through the town to their own destination.
“I still say good moneys on a secret lover.”
“Liam? Nope. No way. I think the man is physically incapable of being affectionate.”
Leah gave a sly smile to Cassandra.
“Oh, affection isn’t a prerequisite. Its just a nice bonus.”
“Funny. Anyway, we’re here now, so we can end that conversation.”
“Aww, but we were just getting to the good parts.”
“Its over now.”
The two entered into the guild building for the second time. This time, however, the building was crowded, with lines of people queueing up to be served at the counters. Leah and Cass took their place in the queue, and waited to be seen. To pass the time, Cassandra asked an adventurer in front of them what the deal was with everyone.
“Oh, you haven’t heard yet? Apparently a huge horde of undead attacked a village nearby. Luckily, an adventuring group was there to fend them off, but theres bounties being posted to clear out the lot of them. No one wants the infestation to set in.”
“Huh. Well, I guess we had heard then.”
“You had? Oh, you must have overheard the group making their report or something. Its a shame you didn’t put the pieces together then - imagine getting first pick on this treasure trove.”
“Something like that, yeah…”
Cassandra’s glare got the man to turn away, likely wondering what it is he did wrong. Leah just shrugged at Cass.
“Does it really matter?”
“No, not really. But its still irritating.”
The queue moved quickly, as people left after hearing their chosen bounty had been taken. Leah overheard some talking about claiming the general bounty for proof of undead kills. Well, if they were going to deal with things, it would make Leah’s life easier not having to worry about undead after them again. They were soon at the counter, being seen by a different clerk - admin, Leah had to remind herself - than before.
“Yes, can I help?”
“Yeah, my friend here signed on yesterday. We wanted to know the status of her application?”
“I see. Your name please? Thank you, one moment please.”
The admin disappeared into a back room, and Leah and Cassandra were ushered off to the side by another clerk. She was soon back, holding a folder.
“Yes, it was approved in short order. The proclamation hasn’t been sent out to the wider reaches yet, but that shouldn’t be an issue for you.”
She placed the folder in front of Leah, and opened it up. Inside was a card, and a document.
“Please sign here, to show you have received your guild card.”
Leah read over the document, as she had before. It was, again, fairly boilerplate. Card denotes you as an official - Card carrying, heh - member of the guild, costs go to the individual to replace it if lost, if you find a lost card, please return it to the nearest guild hall. Etc. Etc. Very standard stuff that she’d expected. At the bottom, it told her that signing this document will be used as proof that she had received it, and that all responsibilities for it are transfered to her. She signed, and picked up the card, getting her first good look at one. It was, well, nothing special. A piece of rectangular metal, the size and shape of a business card, with some sort of writing surface pasted onto it and her name in the top left. Underneath that were the words Adventurers Guild, and a rank, hers being one. That seemed pretty self explanatory, so she didn’t bother asking now. They were already being hassled from behind by other adventurers who wanted to speak to a clerk. She could always ask Liam or Cassandra about it later, anyway.
The two stepped away from the counter, and moved away from the crowd to a more empty space. Leah looked over the card, flipped it to check the back - plain metal, it seemed - before tucking it away for safety.
“So, now what?”
“Now, we see how well you handle that new toy of yours. Guild membership gets you access to the training grounds here, among other things, so we may as well make good use of them.”
Leah didn’t see any reason to say no, so the two set off to the back of the hall, passing through a doorway and following the signs marking their way to the training ground. Another doorway opened up into a small courtyard, likely at the very centre of the building, which let in the morning light nicely. A few others were there, hacking away at mannequins while others spurred them on or gave them advice. Cassandra took a few steps forward, then turned to face Leah.
“So. Like before, I’ll start with one sword, then we’ll move on to two.”
True to her word, the training did progress in much the same way as their training in the village had. Cassandra started with one sword, taking Leah through the differences that fighting with a rapier entailed. Leah felt like her skill was aiding in this, which made sense, considering the rapier was also considered a longsword by the systems rules. It took getting rapped on the hands by the flat of Cassandra’s blade to get the training to really sink in though. She needed to stay back and lunge in, parrying strikes that came her way and redirecting them away from her. That was the majority of her training, getting used to redirecting Cassandra’s strikes. Unfortunately, she didn’t see any improvements to her skill. Cassandra had an answer to that.
“That makes sense. You improved your skills through a completely different sword style - with you learning a new one, you’d expect to see some time before you saw any further improvements to your skill. Once you have the fundamentals down, though, and you are actually practising again, then you’ll likely start to see some gains.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t count on it, my dear. It takes weeks of dedicated training to reach level 10 through the use of a rapier, even for someone with… actual talent for it.”
Their sparring was interrupted by a voice that Leah could only describe as someone trying to sound regal. The two turned to face the newcomer.
“And you would be..?”
The man was wearing half plate armour, and stood at about Cassandra’s height. At his waist was a rapier of his own, though not as elaborate as Leah’s. His face, though, was his most distinctive feature. Half buried behind bright red hair, his features could barely be made out. His beard covered most of the bottom of his face, and was tied off into a braid, tucked into the top of his armour, and his hair was pulled back into a tight pony tail. His sneer, though, was clearly visible, on both his face and in his voice.
“Graham Ingram, knight, and if its not too bold for me to say, master fencer. And you?”
“None of your business, ‘Sir’ knight. If you would kindly fuck off.”
Cassandra turned back to Leah, so they could continue their sparring, but froze as she heard the air whistling beside her. Her own blade went up to match Graham’s rapier, just as Leah’s joined the meeting. She hadn’t been idle, and had a good view of what was going on, plus the added benefit of her increased ability to process what was going on. She had seen him unsheathe his rapier, and shouting a warning to Cassandra just as the elf was turning to meet him herself. A trifecta of blades met in the air between the three, their wielders frozen for a moment as they all caught up to what happened.
“Hm. Some small talent then, it seems.”
“I’ll put aside the fact you just tried to assault me if you leave. Now.”
“Assault? Such strong words, my dear. We are in a training ground, after all, accidents do happen. Nothing need be reported, hmm?”
“I don’t see you leaving yet.”
“And you aren’t the one I’m interested in. No, you now,”
He turned to face Leah, withdrawing his sword to his side as the others did the same.
“You do interest me. A beauty wielding such a beautiful weapon… A match made in the heavens! But sadly, such a blade is wasted on your talent. Allow me to purchase it from you.”
Really. Flattery, after that? The man was either full of himself, a lunatic, or both. Leah looked down at the rapier she had barely had time to get to know, and gave it a twirl through the air as if considering her options. Then, she shook her head.
“Nope. Not happening.”
“Really? I’ll pay far and away above the odds for it, I assure you-”
“The lady said it isn’t happening, now kindly piss off so we can get back to our practise.”
Cassandra’s hand went to her other sword, and brought it out an inch as a threat. Graham’s eyes drifted down to the other blade, and he rolled his eyes.
“Oh, really now. Fine, if I must descend to your level - A duel for the blade, then. If I win, I get the sword, if not, well, I’m sure we can-”
“Really? I refused to sell it, and now you think I’ll just let it go for free? You must really think me to be a fool.”
“I shan’t take no for an answer on this matter, I assure you-”
Cassandra stepped between the two, her blades fully drawn now.
“If you are itching for a fight so bad, why not face me down? Unless you, ‘Sir’ Knight, enjoy beating on those who can’t fight back for their belongings? I’m sure that would go down a treat amongst your… nobler circles.”
He looked Cassandra up and down, as if seeing her for the first time, his eyes going to her swords, then to his own. He seemed to do the calculus in his head, and sheathed his blade, grimacing.
“Blast you, the both of you. I can assure you this is not over.”
“Be that as it may, fuck off. Or I’ll be telling the guild about your harassment.”
He turned on his heel, and strode off, pushing past a pair of adventurers who were coming the other way. Cassandra shook her head, and turned back to face Leah, who was smiling at her.
“Oh, nothing. Just didn’t expect you to stand up for me quite like that.”
“Against that arsehole? There was nothing to stand up against, he was all bark and no bite. Besides, you went for his blade when he went for me.”
“If you say so, my hero.”
Cassandra’s blush was worth the whole encounter, and Leah even managed to score some good hits. She really must be distracted, Leah thought, glad that she could think of two things at once.
Liam returned to the church, this time with an appointment in hand. And with a bit of luck, this day would be more productive, and with less time spent sitting in a hallway, with a grumpy priest staring him down. No, this time it will be a grumpy bishop doing the staring. He hadn’t even managed to see a hair on the mans head the day before, so any progress would be good. This time, he didn’t bother to stop in the main hall. He went straight for the back of the church, and damn anyone who tried to stop him. To his surprise, he actually managed to get through the door without a single bothersome priest stopping him, or even asking where he was going. That was a red flag that had him on edge. He followed the hall around to the door he had been sat at the day before. The chair was still there, but this time, the handle turned when he tested it. Red flag two. But no use worrying about that. He had an appointment to keep. He turned the handle all the way, and entered the room, his other hand on the dagger at his waist.
Inside was as bare as he expected of the buildings in this town. Nothing to draw his rogues eye, nothing to slyly pocket. Nothing to even admire. Only a plain wooden desk and two chairs, the one behind the desk inhabited by the only attractive thing in the room. The woman looked up from her papers, and peered at Liam.
“Ah, you must be the one who wanted to see me. And what is it that I can do for you?”
Liam blinked, and opened his mouth to say something, then shut it again, thinking better. She clearly understood the intent, because her face cracked into a smile.
“You weren’t expecting a female bishop, I see?”
“Not exactly, no. I’ve heard church doctrine wasn’t too… keen on the idea.”
The woman motioned for Liam to sit in the chair opposite her, then steepled her fingers.
“Doctrines come and go with the times, and I’ve survived much worse than a mere displeasure at female priests. As evidenced by my current role.”
Liam took the offered seat, his hand still warily on his dagger, but he relaxed somewhat at the forthcoming nature of the priest. Which, he hazarded a thought, might be her intention.
“And I presume the backwater assignment is the compromise you were given for sticking around.”
Her smile only widened at his answer.
“You are a sharp one, aren’t you. I’m not surprised you managed to convince Garret to come see me.”
“Stubborn too. He had me wait the whole damn day for you. I take it you were in on that?”
“Why, of course. My time is precious, I can’t be seen to see anyone who comes knocking at my door. Tongues would wag, soon enough.”
“I take it you didn’t just want to see me for the small talk, though.”
“Of course. Garret tells me you have with you a curse, and a powerful one at that.”
Liam took the vial from a pocket deep within his armour, and carefully unwrapped the padded cloth around it. He lay it gently on the table, fearful of breaking it and letting loose the demon inside it again. Bishop Galston leaned down, her eyes narrowing at the sight of the scroll within.
“Where, pray tell, did you find this?”
“On the corpse of Latasha. Or thereabouts, anyway.”
The bishops eyes filled with shock, ripped away from her examination to stare at Liam.
“You killed Latasha?”
“Yeah. Well, not exactly. I think she was dead when we got there. Of her own hand, no less.”
She looked back down at the vial, and Liam followed her gaze.
“And I am to assume that this scroll was involved with the… incident?”
“Yeah. But, like I said, the damn thing is cursed.”
He pulled off the glove he had taken to wearing again, grimacing as the leather inside rubbed against his still raw wound. The bishop tutted at the sight of his injury, and held out a hand for him. Placing his hand on hers, he felt blessed relief as a golden glow surrounded his fingers, running down his arm and eating away at the red lines on his flesh.
“I see, I see… Not a curse for killing, but… controlling. Who knows what the purpose of it is, but… hmm.”
Her analysis of the injury complete, and the wound healed, she turned her attention back to the scroll within the vial.
“I think you made the right decision coming to me with this. I cannot say what is contained on this artifact, but if it was important enough for the Psychomancer to curse it, then it should not fall into the wrong hands.”
“And I should trust that yours aren’t the wrong ones?”
“I think you should trust any help you can get right now. You are blessedly fortunate that that curse was halted before it reached your mind. I do not think even the Emperors personal healers could recover your mind from that.”
Liam shivered, realising now just how close he had come to ruin from an innocuous object. He would definitely need to invest more heavily into trap detection. Or whatever the subskill was that detected curses. Damn near anything could hold something that dangerous.
“So, you think you can break the curse on the scroll?”
“Myself? No, I do not. However, I have contacts that will. Contacts that can be trusted to be discreet, and understand the danger of what they are working with.”
“You expect me to turn this scroll over to the church?”
“The church, no. But, correct me if I’m wrong, you came from Kryp’s Ford, no?”
Liam nodded, grasping where she was going with this.
“So it was Alistair who sent you. Ah, that man. He should have sent a message ahead of you. No matter. You will not be turning over the scroll to the church, you will-”
“Be turning it over to the Path?”
Her eyebrow raised at his comment.
“Oh, so you walk with us?”
“I take a parallel path, you could say. I’m in close contact with members, though.”
“Ah. Well, if you are aware of the our goals, then you will know what a great boon a scroll from a Psychomancer could be to us. You will of course, be compensated-”
“I don’t need to be compensated. I just need to know whats on it. It has, ah, personal ramifications.”
“I see. Well, I cannot say for certain how long the process will take to complete. Nor can I assume you will be staying here beyond the immediate future. But if you make contact with the Path in the future, I can assure you any brokers will have the information for you when it is ready. That much at least, I can guarantee.”
Liam nodded, deciding that this was the best he could hope for.
“Now, is there anything else I can help you with?”
“Well, now that you mention it…”