Jonathan, Marion, and I regrouped at the church armory shortly after the meeting, a large warehouse structure on the edge of town. When we arrived, a group of people wearing white colored overalls and safety equipment greeted us and led us to a counter with papers stacked to eye level. The old woman behind the counter had large, thick glasses on her ancient and wrinkled face, and her hands were slightly shaking when she shook our hands.
“Welcome to the churches armory. Maxwell already sent over an invoice for your equipment, I just need you to sign a few papers so we can get everything processed for financing.” The relic of a person takes out a stack of papers for each of us to sign, and three ink pots and quills. Each of us sat down on a long table and passed papers down the line starting from Marion , then me, and then to Jonathan to be finally collected by the old woman. In total, she had us sign about fifty signatures.
“Geez, my hand is killing me.” Marion said as she waved her hands in front of her.
“Yeah, that was brutal.” I nodded in agreement.
Jonathan just gave a warm smile to the both of us as we stood up to leave the armory. As soon as we left the gate surrounding the facility, he began to speak. “I have someone I want to go bid farewell to... I will see you in the morning. Why don’t you to go out somewhere to eat and catch up? Maybe afterwards, go say your goodbyes to your associates and get an early night’s rest?”
“That sounds nice… wanna go catch-up over some lunch?”
Marion stood in between Jonathan and I, blushing as she looked back and forth between the ground and my eyes. “Yeah, I would like that.”
We smiled at each other as Jonathan walked off with a smile of his own.
At a nearby café, tucked into the corner of some forgotten alleyway in the market district, Jonathan and an older gentleman in fine clothes sit and sip tea together. The man in fine clothes laughs as Jonathan talks about his new comrades and how lovey-dovey the both of them are. As they finish their tea, the man in fine clothes smiles gently at Jonathan and gives him a warm hug, then turns and walks away from a stunned, teary eyed Jonathan. His father is finally starting to come around to acknowledge him, but can’t be public with it. This is fine for the young man, it’s a decent start. Jonathan, with a warm smile, walks back to the church dormitories.
In that same market district, Red and Marion browse the shops and look through each window, talking about their interests and hobbies. Most of it is small talk, with neither of them actually making any eye contact. After finding an accessory shop that made Marion’s voice squeaky, the both of them entered and found a pair of silver earrings and decided to buy them. After inserting the two studs into each of their left ears, the two suddenly and magically flew towards each other in a flash of light and became Redion, the vegetable champion of the salad world.
Marion was ecstatic when she finally found a good earring for her left ear. It never occurred to me that she was the type of girl to prefer one earring over two, but it’s of no matter. I decided to pierce my ear in the same fashion to match Marion, who smiled at me as I did.
“Hmm, this won’t get infected, will it?” I blurt out to myself.
“It shouldn’t, the church has a natural boosted recovery aura to it, a lot of people go there to pay their respects because it’s saved a lot of people.”
“Oh, is it like the regeneration field in the arena?”
Marion shakes her head with a smile. “Similar, but no. The regeneration field actively uses the mana stored inside the people within the arena itself, whereas the aura is a passive affect that uses very little environmental mana.”
That reminds me of the mechanics of revival. Typically- well in my game, you would take a party member to a church and have their dead body resurrected for a fee. I can’t help but to wonder if James and Lyn could have been revived if we took their remains with us.
“Hey, Marion, can I ask you a question? It’s of a rather sensitive subject… do you mind?” I grab Marion’s hand and look into her eyes when I say this. She blushes and looks away from me.
“N-no, I don’t mind…”
“It’s about James and Lyn…”
Her hand squeezes mine as her blush fades away. Her cheeks seem a bit drained of color and she looks a bit uneasy. “I’ll try to answer it, Red, but go easy on me, please?”
I shake my head, and sigh, then wrap my arms around her and hold her for a bit. “Nothing... It’s nothing.”
Marion looks up from my arms and smiles wryly as I let go of her. “I think I know what you were going to ask. [Health Magic] only affects the living… that includes taking a life oath for the spell [Total Regeneration], your heart still needs to be beating for your mana to work for the spell to function.”
Mana… from the heart? Wait- “I read in the scriptures that Deitrich comes from the head of Chaos and Morris comes from the heart… What’s that about?”
“A lot of people get confused about that, actually. Mana and Magic are two different things, with mana being the energy that powers the magic that shapes the world around us. Surely, you felt this when you launched a spell, yes?” Marion grabs my hand makes a swirling pattern on my palm.
“Hey, cut it out!” I laugh as I pull my hand away from her.
Marion giggles, and then continues. “You really know how to make me feel better, I’m happy about that. Anyways, your mana commands the world around it using triggers, the [Words of Power], either verbally or mentally. These triggers that you need to memorize and study for a long time cost something in return to use, and that is your mana.”
“I think I’m starting to understand, but how does mana come from the heart?”
Marion nods. “Mana is the spiritual strain on the heart. Once you use up all your mana, you pass out, but it can always be refreshed, so long as your heart is pumping. Once your heart stops for good, there is no mana for the spell to interact with. It’s over.”
Thinking back to the mechanics of my game, this actually makes a lot of sense. The fallen members of your party would retain all their MP, and completely spend it to revive… Though the main character would never experience perma-death, with or without MP
After being in deep thought for a few minutes, Marion pokes me on the cheek to get my attention. She smiles at me and leans in to give another hug.
“Hey Marion, there’s another question I have to ask you.”
I feel my face growing hot as I gather the courage to ask her. “How old are you, anyways?”
Marion snorts right before she begins laughing. “I’m fifteen, almost sixteen. How old are you.. Almost a month old? Why does it matter anyways?”
I roll my eyes, and then pat her on the head as we head back to the church dormitories, saying goodnight as I go into the male side and she goes into the females.
The next day, early in the morning, I wake up to Trisha shaking my arm to wake me up. Weary eyed and groggy, I stand up and yawn. I watch her gaze travel downwards to my nether regions, and she beings to blush and look away… Ah, I’m naked again, and I have morning wood. Scrambling to get a sheet over myself, I apologize to her in a desperate manner.
Trisha, still blushing and avoiding eye contact, begins to speak. “I-It’s okay. I know that young men have that problem sometimes, just be more careful next time. Anyways, I c-came to say goodbye and to wish you a safe t-trip. There are some clothes, your breakfast, and a few little gifts from some of the instructors here to congratulate you. Well, have a good one!” She quickly exits the room, leaving me alone with a solitary candle illuminating a plate of scrambled eggs, a church mage uniform, a wrapped book and a staff with a note.
I walk over to the candle, picking it up with the holder and hold the note just pass the flame and read it quietly to myself.
“Despite your excellent mastery of the elementary tier elemental spells, no good mage is caught dead without his staff! Good luck out there, Red. You’ll do fine. Also, we made a copy of the fundamentals of middle tier elemental spells for you to study on your free time. Take good care of them!
I’ll check them out on the road; it’s much too dark to properly admire my gifts right now. Getting dressed and quickly eating my eggs and packing up, I make my way to the western gate linking to the [Soapstone Highroad]. Waiting there already is a bright eyed Marion and Jonathan in the driver’s seat of the wagon; It is a large wagon that looks like half a Conestoga freight wagon was cut in half and had wheels slapped onto the bottom of it.
“Right on time, Red... Ready to head on out?” Jonathan looks back to Marion and I in the wagon. We nod, sitting side by side, and feel the wagon lurch forward as we start to move.
I hope this month passes by quickly.
- Northern California
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Not much to say... born and raised in California. Age 28. I'm a fan of painting, sculpting, drawing, and writing. My favorite food is udon or pizza. I like cats and dwarf hamsters, but dogs are cool too. Bugs freak me out. I have a son of 5 years old. I havent played any video games recently, but I'm a fan of Minecraft, Overwatch, and Team Fortress 2.