A gentle shake to my shoulder attempts to rouse me gently. There is no reprieve in the waking world and I desperately try to claw back at sleep before it becomes too elusive. My soul itself still feels exhausted. Headaches, sore muscles, or burns are a different kind of discomfort from what feels like your very soul is tired with life and almost unwilling to go on.
Another shake and I turn my head from my arms, still no pillow… Blinking the sleep slowly out of my eyes, it is still pre-dawn light and I can barely make out the visage of Akira through what light is filtering into my room.
Blinking slowly more and more furiously as I look up to Akira, trying to place something. Wait. Akira’s waking me up? Akira’s in my room… Bolting upright in bed and clutching my sheets to my chest, a bit of panic goes through me. Akira’s in my room, watching over me as I was asleep. I rub quickly at my mouth to ensure that I was not drooling and shoot him a pointed glare.
“You should not have entered a lady’s room. Out!”
“As you wish, your two friends are waiting downstairs for you.” He says as he backs up and exits the room quietly. Why was he being so quiet? Another slow mental click makes a connection in my sleep riddled mind. Oh, shit! Dad… and I just yelled loud enough to wake him up.
Getting dressed as quickly as I can into something that would be comfortable for traveling in the still spring weather. I look over to my desk where my tiny little grimoire rests. Reaching over and passing a couple of fingers over the cover, I can almost feel my soul sigh in relief and some of the soreness completely recedes.
Grabbing my Den-izen side bag and ensuring that they are still happy, I grab the last few items off my desk. Making sure to secure my soul pouch filled with 160 embers to hang off my belt. Having tried to place the soul pouch or the grimoire in the compartment, it just does not feel right and so I grab a thin strip of leather and pass it through my grimoire. Tying a knot so as to secure it along the spine and looping it onto my belt, I can still feel the elation of my very being at the proximity of the grimoire.
Looking over my desk one final time, trying to think if I am missing anything. I glance over my engraving tools and a bag with some jet black river stones just waiting to have my hobby applied to them. Reaching down I collect a few of the tools and while it would be stupid to run around the countryside with a bag full of rocks, at least I can maybe use the tools to help bass sometime around a campfire.
Taking everything I have and heading downstairs I am greeted by a grumpy Jessica and an all too chipper Zoe who’s possibly trying to keep quiet so as to not wake my father, and failing miserably. Her natural state is bouncing and being talkative. It must pain her to try and be sneaky or simply quiet, as opposed to Jessica where she normally can be shy and subdued and if she feels like I do, I do not blame her.
I lead the party to the kitchen where the four of us sit down to eat a quick breakfast before we head out to the town of Golthal before noon. It is at this time that my father makes his way into the kitchen as well.
“Morning girls.” He says with a big yawn.
“Thanks for waking me up, I wanted to make sure I could wish you good luck.” There is a hint of melancholy in his voice as he addresses us.
“Yesterday, when those paiges came to deliver the messages for you all, I presume that all the parents and guardians were warned in no uncertain terms that the guild master was pushing for us to not be able to provide aid to you all.”
“He can bloody sod off for all I care. Now if possible, I’d deck you all head to toe in armor, but I doubt that’d be good for walking out in the sun for several days for you all. However, I can let you all take a weapon of your choice to hopefully help guard against wild animals or any possible issues. Sometimes, just openly carrying a weapon that fits you could discourage any would-be trouble makers.”
“Thanks for the offer Mr. Foregess, however, I’ve already got a small bow which is the preferred weapon for wind mages.” Zoe chimes in and snaps a hot glare at Akira who sneered at the possible use of a bow while he muttered under his breath.
“I will not be! You’ve never seen me use a bow!” She shouts at Akira for his untoward comment.
“Not you, the weapon choice.” Akira quickly says in defense, however, it’s dad who comes in and breaks up the possible bickering.
“Now, now, tiss okay little Zoe, he probably just prefers the feel of steel in hand, many warriors feel naked without a sword or shield. You at least got a dagger there on your hip which looks to be good.” He motions towards the dagger she has which is her father’s memento.
“I’m okay as well.” Jessica chimes in shyly.
“Jessica, listen, you need at least a dagger, just in case.”
“No I’m fine, I don’t want to hurt anyone or anything. I want to be a healer and I think I’ll maybe aim to make a stave in the future.”
However, it is Akira that chimes in at this point to try and convince Jessica.
“A dagger still has its uses for a healer. To cut away clothing or to sometimes make an incision to remove a foreign object. Sometimes a healer is required to cause some harm to alleviate more harm or to allow the body to heal, a dagger is a must unless you’d plan to try and dig into a wound with your fingers to remove a broken fang or other items.”
“O-Okay, but just a small one.” She concedes and dad is more than happy to go grab one of his better light daggers to give to Jessica.
That leaves just me and I feel stuck. I’ve never actually had any training with a bow like Zoe may have, nor have I really practiced or used anything dad made. I could maybe use a hammer, as I had practice at wielding one for helping dad out or when he tried to teach me his craft. I also use smaller ones for engraving sometimes, however, I don’t like that idea. I’m not sure why, but it would feel like using a hammer in such a fashion would taint the crafting tool that I like to use to lose myself in my hobby.
“Akira, what weapons do you know how to use or could you teach?” I ask as I’m truly stuck and maybe I should just grab a small dagger, like Jessica, but that does not feel right. I want to be able to protect her if it came down to it.
“What?” I ask for clarification.
“I’ve trained with all weapons to a sufficient level of aptitude.” This statement earns a scoff from William at Akira bragging in front of all the girls, however, he does not call him out on it as he’d rather they feel safe on this small foray and not demoralize them out the gate.
“Well if that’s the case I can lend you my best work, a claymore by the name of Ness, to help protect my daughter and her friends.”
“No thank you, I don’t need a fire-poker.” Cara stifles a small laugh while not being able to look her father in the eye, remembering that Akira had been using ‘Ness’ to poke the embers in the forge the day before.
Her father gives her an odd look at why she might be laughing at ‘Ness’ and before he can go find out what happened to his pride and joy, I quickly change the topic.
“Well… What weapons are you most proficient with? Could you teach it and would it be something we could learn?” Now I’m interested if it is just perhaps a spear for range or perhaps he’d be using a shield and sword to guard kings and queens previously.
“The best? The best one has always been a division-sword. Learning is not easy but even a minor aptitude in it can be quite effective.”
“Boy. I’m a blacksmith and I’ve never heard of no ‘division-sword’. What are you going on about?”
“A division sword is a weapon that reigns supreme in all battlefronts. It is a sturdy sword when needed and… also similar to a bladed whip, capable of circumventing defenses and attacking blind spots. Extremely difficult to guard against and as long as you learn to not cut your own head off, a remarkable tool to guard your friends.”
“Even if it is a whip, that’s only medium range, a bow is still better potentially at long range. You still have a small chance of taking out a fire mage if they are unaware, and it is safer.” Zoe tries to defend her choice and is still a bit bitter at Akira’s mention of it being useless.
Akira shakes his head at that before saying.
“Unless the projectile you are shooting is alive, any beast or mage can simply block the projectile out of the air and store it in their soul space.”
Heading off another possible bickering session, William steps in with a gruff tone.
“Well I don’t have any ‘blade whip swords’, nor have I ever seen one. Not sure how that cannot simply be cut if extended and then you are left with a nub. I can offer you any other weapon in my shop.”
“I am fine with the single sword I borrowed already. I also have several division-swords stored in my own soul space. Once I can access it without harming Cara I can provide them to the girls and help teach them how to use it.”
“That’s the second time you mentioned a ‘soul space’, is that like a storage artifact?” Zoe asks.
“Yes, though not an artifact, simply a part of your soul capable of carrying anything that is not alive.”
“And you cannot prove that you have one?” Zoe asks again, now curious, potentially the inner merchant that her uncle had ingrained in her now coming out at the possibility.
“Yes, while mine is very large and unable to be used without having Cara suffer mana poisoning, the three of you would be able to develop your own soul pockets in time.”
Zoe seems to deflate a bit at that and I finally notice that she gave the sidewall of the kitchen an ugly look. Following her small reproachful glare, I see that she was subjecting the four heavy packs to it. Realization dawned on me, we’ve got the heavy packs and if we had something as useful as a storage artifact… or four… it would make traveling a breeze.
Akira moves over to the packs and starts to rifle through his own and tosses most of everything, only keeping a fire starter that I showed him how it works and some dried rations, a waterskin, a small amount of rope, a single tent, soap, and a blanket.
William, however, is deep in thought after the mention of the storage artifacts and how Akira confirmed that he kind of has one, but one that is a physical object but something more personal that could not be taken away. Also, he had mentioned that the three girls would be able to have their own in time. He’ll need to bring this up with the other two girl’s guardians, as this could be really bad.
Looking over at the heavy packs for myself and the other two girls, I can see that they are incredibly heavy with cast iron skillet, pots, small shovels and a whole host of other items that make them almost half of any of our weights.
Akira tackles the last three bags for us and removes everything except the food, water, blanket and soap.
“What do you think you are doing!?” Zoe asks in protest.
“If we have only one tent, you are expecting to sneak in with us girls?” Finally understanding what Zoe remarks as the problem, I cannot help but remember this morning that Akira was in my room and my face quickly heats up in embarrassment.
“The tent will be for the three of you, it will be tight and I’ll carry the weight for the journey.”
Zoe hesitantly relents and agrees, though is still thinking that Akira is possibly looking for an excuse to maybe sneak in during the night or to try and create the perfect set of circumstances where it could not be helped. Well, even if he did try, I’m sure Zoe and Jessica would be more than able to kick him out.
Jessica and Zoe grab some extra clothes that they brought in a separate wrapped leather and store them in their bags. I quickly toss my engraving tools inside my bag and run upstairs to grab a few clothes to allow me some changes over the coming days.
Returning downstairs, I find Jessica finishing up her packing with some dried herbs and salves that her parents most likely gave her. We grab our now much lighter packs and while dad is still lost in thought we wish him goodbye and set out. He gives a small goodbye as we head out the door.
As we walk down the street, Jessica and I do a quick tally of what funds we have to ourselves. The packs had a lot of stuff, but no comforts. We could not afford a deposit to rent a carriage, much less a wagon.
“I’ve got a few Dens as well, but my uncle was warned heavily from financing us or setting up an escort caravans. He’s actually been barred from placing any trade requisitions to drive that home.” Zoe mentions sadly, as our predicament seems to be having larger ramifications for those around us.
After discussing a little bit more, we decide to try our luck with the tailor and see if she is open this early in the morning. Zoe watches us as we both slip a hand into our hip bags and with a rune stone and try to coax our Den-izens to help alleviate some of our Den issues.
As long as we do not use everything, we could recover some along the road and we decide to use a quarter of our mana to compress some embers and match them up with our internal mana to help our Den-izens produce some silk manes.
I keep an eye on Jessica who keeps referencing her grimoire. I want to ensure that I do not exceed her and that if we do a trade that it is equal and from what I remember from her grimoire, we have the same mana regen rate, but my mana’s depth… depth… I see why it can be considered that… My mana’s depth is deeper.
Jessica’s grimoire still shows that she has 50 some odd embers while last I remember, I was up near 160.
|HP||100 / 100|
|Mana||570 / 900|
|Stamina||100 / 100|
|Soul Bound Artifacts|
|Grimoire (0 pages)|
|Soul Bag (58 mana embers)|
I match Jessica as she forms and compresses 11 embers and checks her grimoire to see that she ended up using 220 mana to do so.
I follow along and spread my mana and embers amongst the Den-izens. We both are able to very quickly have 55 silk manes formed for us. Jessica checks her grimoire once more and we see that she had only used 330 mana for this venture.
She scrunches her brow while trying to do the math. I think she was aiming to use a quarter of her mana to form embers and that another quarter would end up using all of the embers to use up exactly half her mana. Half her mana should easily come back in two hours time, while we are on the road.
We continue a bit more and balance between compression and silk manes until she ends up compressing another four embers and is able to make another 20 manes before we even get all the way down the street. We both now have 75 manes each and after checking her grimoire one final time, she’s happy at using half her mana and not having her legs feel like rope.
|HP||100 / 100|
|Mana||453 / 900|
|Stamina||100 / 100|
I had matched her throughout and I’m surprised by what I see within my own grimoire when I sneak a peek.
|HP||100 / 100|
|Mana||703 / 1,100|
|Stamina||100 / 100|
|HP Regen||0.2 hp/day|
|Mana Regen||265 mp/hr|
|Stamina Regen||400 stm/day|
|Soul Bound Artifacts|
|Grimoire (0 pages)|
|Soul Bag (160 mana embers)|
We had essentially started at the exact same time on this journey and I’ve managed to pull pretty far ahead already. I can see that I’ve only used 400 mana instead of Jessica’s 450 and while it is only a little more than a tenth of savings. My mana is sitting at a very comfortable 700.
I don’t recall that our current level of mana was shown from yesterday. Almost as if simply requesting to see the information, our soul’s comply and communicate with us through our grimoires.
Looking through my grimoire a bit more to see where else the difference is, I can see that my mana compression is one stage higher, and in the few seconds that it takes for me to wonder why that is, I can see my grimoire’s inner cover morph to reflect my desires and shows me a small counter.
|Mana Compression (Lv 5) (391 / 729)|
|The soul as the forge. Compress the intangible. Birthed within this world.|
|Compress 10 mana into reality from 10 / (0.1 + 0.1 * Mana Compression) (16.7 mana)|
Interesting… Trying the same thing with [Mana Depth] and [Mana Pulse] I get a much less useful set of counters for those two.
|Mana Depth (Lv 10) (10 / 11)|
|Deep stretches the soul. Unearthing its potential. A burden to fill.|
|Increase mana by Intelligence² * Mana Depth (1,000 mana)|
|Mana Pulse (Lv 7) (7 / 8)|
|Tortured soul. Deprived of life. Struggling to breathe. In need of respite.|
|Increase mana regen by Psyche * 0.001 * Mana pulse per second (0.07 mana/s)|
I had been lost in thought trying to go through the differences while we finally approached the tailor’s shop. Zoe had been bouncing up and down asking Jessica all sorts of questions about the process.
In the front window of the store is that kind lady from the day before sipping some tea and looking out into the street to see us approaching. She cocks her head to the side and gives a small smile before she approaches her shop’s front door and unbars it to greet us.
“Back so soon dearies? Oh, and you brought another friend! Are you wanting to buy something? You look about ready to head out. Perhaps a travel cloak? Surely you cannot be selling more silks?” She says with a gorgeous smile.
Giving an awkward chuckle, I pull out 75 manes that I had just made and Jessica follows suit. The kind lady’s eyes grow wide with incredulity at first before she reins her emotions in and opens the door more for us to enter inside.
“Well, this is quite a surprise. You must have found a colony or something?” She says while taking all of them away from us and putting them on a small scale to count them out, using small squares of silk to counterbalance the silk manes.
“This is wonderful! I’d offer to buy the location of the colony, however, nobody ever does sell those. If by any chance, you do decide, I request that you think of me first.” She says while quickly weighing out 150 Dens for both Jessica and me.
“Apologies! I hope you can understand…” I begin to say.
“No, no, not a problem dearie. Here, let me give you all some of my apprentice’s travel cloaks. Nothing special, but enough to give a few extra pockets and prevent the sun from burning your shoulders or arms.”
We try to refuse, however, she seems to be looking at us almost predatorily and insists. After a few failed attempts to leave, she finally gives us a few rough shoulder cloaks that only go halfway down our backs.
Akira refuses and the woman does not bother a second time. Zoe is a bit flustered for being gifted something for having not done or provided anything. However, as we leave the store, Zoe is now adamant about giving her hand a shot at starting her own colony of Den-izens. Her inner merchant coming to the surface after witnessing us simply walked up a road and used some spare mana to make 300 dens as if it was nothing.
Zoe is really good with math due to her being raised in a merchant family, where wind mages are often employed to speed up caravans in their delivery of goods. As we walk along the roads heading to the northern exit of the town, she is bouncing and skipping beside Jessica while doing math.
“So with your regen and using a two to one ratio of mana for embers and igniting them to get silk. You can make eight embers and use them to convert that into 40 silk manes an hour and still stay near topped off on mana if you pace yourselves. Your regen of 265 is amazing and it will only go up!? By the devourer, this could break the market if properly leveraged with uncle Taddy’s help.”
She really enjoys the prospects of making money, as though it had been ingrained in her from birth and after we exited the town’s northern border she’s bouncing from one side of the road to another trying to spot a rot weed plant or more silk caterpillars.
After being unsuccessful for the first good stretch of the road, she gets tired and the grueling march along the uneven dirt road is finally setting in.
“If I was the devourer’s cousin, I’d probably just give you some slak and toss you in a dungeon to constantly churn out Dens as if it was nothing.” This final comment made Jessica’s complexion change to a bright red at the mention of a dungeon.
“Hey, don’t go quiet on me like that Jess, or I’d think you’d maybe like it.” Zoe continued to tease Jessica further.
“It is a common case for plant mages that cannot protect themselves to be locked up and forced to produce resources for military conquest.” Akira chimes in, which puts a heavy damper on the jesting that Zoe was doing.
“I-I’m sorry, I didn’t know… I didn’t mean…” Zoe starts to stutter as before we are able to assuage her that it was not a big issue and that Akira was just being a spoilsport.
We continue the long trek and after a while, Jessica and I finally recover all of our mana as we try to pace ourselves for generating some extra silk before we reach Golthal.
Akira is keeping a vigilant eye on the surrounding spotted woods at all times, however, I’m positive the noise that Zoe is making would be scaring away all possible wildlife in earshot.
Zoe is practicing on her own, to try and make a sound with her mana and there are periodic low thrums, almost like a very deep growl which she’s quite happy about these partial successes. While it is not the words that she keeps shouting and whispering through her hands. The deep growl like sound can be pretty scary in these northern spotted woods if we did not know it was her doing.
As we get more and more into the woods, we are all doing our best to keep an eye out for some caterpillars and rot weed plants for Zoe and Akira. During our walk, Akira forms an ominous black ember before storing it away in some hidden pocket of his leather chest piece.
I try to hide it, but Jessica notices my melancholy and moves beside me to give my hand a little reassuring squeeze.
I’m just feeling down at being stuck on this road, unable to practice, now that I can see my grimoire, being stagnant becomes so much easier to see. I also feel pity for Akira, who can only make a single mana ember once every four hours because I’m not strong enough to support him.
Jessica’s support helps to keep many of the dark thoughts of ineptitude and guilt at bay and I simply enjoy her presence at my side as we continue along our trek north. Even while carrying much lighter packs, it still takes us several hours to arrive at Golthal.
The spotted woods give way to small farm plots before we can see the short waist-high walls of Golthal. It is not quite a town, but more of a resource stop before heading into the much more dangerous northern woods. The little town is only single-story shacks, or small establishments, where the mage guild here is much smaller than our own and just two stories, the tallest building in the entire town.
Jessica and I now have an extra 40 silk manes each and Zoe has stopped using her mana to do ominous growls that could possibly spook any transportation animals that are pulling various wagons or carriages to and fro.
We had left quite early and made good time with the lighter packs. We still have an hour before our supposed meeting with the client in front of this town’s guild.
We walked around a little bit to go through and check several very bare bone stalls. It seemed that most items in this town were meant for large purchases and transport, where the guild would be used mostly for escort requisitions.
After a brief look around, we did not find anything that drew our attention and instead decided to simply go sit down at the guild’s steps to rest our weary feet.
Watching from the shade, we saw multiple groups come and go, all either going towards the northern forest or escorting a caravan or two east or west along the main road out of the town.
It was slightly past noon when we could smell our caravan before we saw it. The rotten smell crept across the entire town and had many people gagging or taking shelter in several of the small abodes or stores.
This is not a requisition, this is actually meant to just be a cruel punishment for the four of us. After a little more time, we can finally see the source of the offensive odor, due to the haze of flies and insects that loom in the west as it approaches us.
There are three giant wagons connected to each other being hauled by a giant beast. It slowly lumbers through town on short thick clawed feet. It’s a reptile of some sort and is slowly flicking a long tongue out to capture hundreds of insects at a time as it whips an entire wagon backwards. The beast has a very wide face and maw with four eyes looking in multiple directions. It looks absolutely derpy if it was not pulling the combined weight of three wagons carrying whatever refuse has attracted so many insects.
I see Zoe quickly take off her cloak and repurpose it as a face covering to try and block some of the fetid air. Jessica and I see this and follow suit. While it does little to help, anything is better than what we are facing.
I briefly contemplate running away, however, I remember that Jessica was afraid of being kicked out of the guild and that if we did abandon this requisition, we’d probably be facing an equally bad punishment.
Gritting my teeth and trying to put a grin on under the face covering. I remember father mentioned that sometimes when he had to work with some strong-smelling yellow crystals, he always told me that ‘grit your teeth and grin through it’, that somehow that helps to prevent you from gagging.
I give my best try as we wait for the slow-moving creature to approach. There is a man sitting on top of the beast, covered head to toe in wrappings. As though he was some untouchable person.
I could see him trying to stop the beast, however, it kind of ignored the order and kept lumbering ahead before finally stopping as the third wagon came in front of the guild.
We got up and approached the man. I truly feel sorry for him and his choice of work. Looking at the wagons as we pass them to approach him, I am revolted by the fact that each one of them is filled to the brim and in a heap with rotten food. They are not only rotten but also covered in bugs and insect eggs and a final soiled tarp over top meant to keep everything from falling off.
I can hear Jessica gagging behind me while Zoe is desperately swatting at insects that are trying to assault us. It would be amazing if she could use the wind to cover the stench or keep the bugs away, as I quickly swat at a few that try to go into my eyes.
Finally approaching the man, he looks down at us. I can only see his brown eyes and they are none too happy.
“Hello- *cough* We are your requisition guilders,” I say while coughing as taking a breath to speak made me taste whatever was in the air.
“I never hired four of you! If the guild thinks they can raise my rates by hoisting more people onto me. I refuse to be charged extra for extra people I did not request. I’m going to give the guild a piece...” He moves to get down to possibly go complain inside the guild while there are some bystanders hollering at him from doorways to get a move on already.
“No! No need! There will be no change to the cost of the requisition and you get four people for night shifts.” I say quickly, not enjoying the angry crowd that is gathering in doorways, yelling at us to get the hell out of town.
He seems to hesitate, as he is also wary of the growing crowd and the guild also has a few guilders that have exited, appearing none too happy with the delay. There’s a small bit of panic in the man’s eyes but he quickly turns around and starts to kick the sides of the beast repeatedly. The beast seems to ignore everything for a good long while as the man yells back at us.
“Fine! But all of you walk in the back and protect the caravan from scavengers!” He says. It is almost comical as he keeps kicking the beast to get it to go and after an embarrassingly long time, the monstrous beast starts to lumber forth.
Looking at the beast as it passes by, I feel sorry for it as I can see that where the tail ought to be is a huge scarred nub.
The wagons start to finally roll forward again to the jeers of the angry crowd still hiding in their doorways.
I turn back to the party, to see Akira lazily swatting flies and other insects from his face while Zoe is frantically searching through her bag for something.
“Ah-ha!” She exclaims while fumbling with a bar of soap, before tossing it into her face covering and taking a deep breath.
“Well, it’s a little better, but I think I’d rather clean the devourer’s latrine instead of following behind this.” She says to the group in a defeated fashion.
Jessica and I quickly follow suit with our own bars of soap and it is as Zoe mentioned, a slight improvement.
We give the wagons a good head start as I look overhead at the noonday sun that is baking the rotten cargo.
“Zoe… I don’t mean to rush you… *gag* But as a wind mage, could you… like… get rid of the smell?” Jessica asks in a pained and pleading voice, looking over at her possible one ray of hope in this punishment.
“Well… I did have some practice trying to get rid of black smelly smoke…” With that one statement, Jessica’s eyes were temporarily shining with hero-worship before Zoe’s next statement sent her back down into the devourer’s maw.
“However, that was a column of smoke, this is like… everything and I know I cannot do that.” She said as she could see a little bit of Jessica die inside.
We continued to follow the hot steaming pile of refuse out of the city and breathing the scent of pine soap was at least helping. Though the sheer amount of insects in the air was a plague on the land and our hair.
I’d prefer to walk in front of the caravan, but our employer told us to be in the back so we will. I tried to distract myself as I kept swatting at the flies while looking out into the sparse woodland as we continued east towards the mountains in the distance. A few days, it is just going to be a few days. I gently stroke my grimoire, trying to draw strength from it before deciding to try and spend some time making silk for the long journey.
“So Akira… You mentioned we’d be able to have our own pocket artifacts?” Zoe asks, as her inner merchant starts to heat up and is able to ignore our current predicament while in search for a possible edge in mercantile endeavors.
“Yes, you could be attempting to do that or learn how to map your surroundings with your mana.”
“But how, what’s the first step to making one?”
“You already have it, in Cara’s rune stone that she gave you.” He said while Zoe quickly whips out her rune stone to examine it.
“But I thought this allows us to disperse mana into the ground or disperse it for compressing it?”
“The rune is the bottom-most layer of a sphere, where the circle is somewhere in the middle and then it all joins back up at the top into that rune once again. You are simply dispersing mana, however, what is as the center, is the target.”
“Okay, but what does all the middle stuff look like?”
“I don’t know.” He said which had Zoe stumble a bit on the road at the unexpected reply.
“But I thought you had one? How can you have one but not know?” She asked accusingly.
“I know my own, but the base rune is the only thing we all have in common, the shape of the circles is all dependent on your souls and how they alter and manipulate the base element.”
“But then how will we know? And where do we engrave it?” She asks pleadingly, as the hope of having a pocket artifact begins to slowly become further and further away.
“The three of you will engrave it within your very souls. Using the mana within your soul and while holding your intent and the base rune is drawn within, you will feel for a wrongness or rightness. The difficult part is holding the intent of a soul pocket while trying to piece together your own personal version of it.”
“Oh, so we need to draw it in the void of the soul space?” Jessica asks as she repositions her bag on her back. Looking over, she now has six vines coming out of her hair swatting lazily at the insects trying to keep them away from her face.
I’ve got to say, each day that goes by, I become more and more jealous of Violet. She makes the cutest hair ornaments constantly for Jessica and is even able to help keep some annoyances away from her, as I am stuck here swatting constantly in front of my face.
“Yes, with your embodiment of mana within your soul space, you will form and then carve the soul pocket. The easiest part is that within the inner void of the sphere you will need to simply emulate the stars in the night sky.”
“Wait, what inner void?” I ask. He gently takes the rune stone from Zoe’s hand and points at the central most circle.
“This here will run throughout it.”
“WAIT! I thought you said it would be different for each of us!?” Zoe is almost livid as she stomps her foot and takes back her rune stone.
“Well… There might be some patterns that are present in all, but most of them will be unique to you.” As he mentions that the central circle will start off small as it does and gets bigger and then smaller as it traverses the magic sphere.
“Well those kinds of details are important!” Zoe harumphs while Jessica and I giggle at Akira’s plight of having offended someone like Zoe. I swear her temperament would better suit an unstable pyro, but then again, she does flit from topic to topic with almost an almost unfathomable amount of energy.
Ha ha ha. If I didn't know better, I’d actually say that Zoe was fickle like the wind. Constantly on the move and is a lot of fun to have in our group.