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A note from SP Chocobo

Pre final edit - 10/18/20

Journal Entry 5

The rift opens tomorrow. Our plans are all laid out. We know what to do.

I said goodbye to Bella yesterday. The past few weeks, months, have been amazing, but I’m about to be in serious danger. I may not make it back. I just…

If something happens to me, I wouldn’t want her to have to deal with that. Break her heart now, save it later. I just couldn’t imagine leaving without having said goodbye.

I imagine all the rift-runners are probably doing the same. Or have done so already. Those who make it back will live like kings. Just have to make it back, first.

 

-Kevra Sharsi

Day 300, 3223 AFR

 

Chapter 5

The night was rather uneventful after the meeting with Miral. Garn was fairly certain that it was an unhealthy idea to get on her bad side. It also wasn’t necessarily a good idea to kill random people on a whim, but that seemed a moot point, given their current situation.

They had a hearty breakfast of eggs in any manner they chose and an assortment of toasts and meats in the manor’s large dining hall. Afterwards, the group decided to make the best use of their time before the appointed meeting in preparing for the upcoming battles. It was in this pursuit that the party opted to split up for the time being. Andras, who maintained an adamant disinterest in discussing his late meeting with Miral, said he had a few friends in the city that he wanted to catch up with while he had the free time.

Maia wanted to seek out the local mage academy branch, or whatever Phirra’s equivalent to it was, in the hope for training of some kind. Garn didn’t know much about magic, but he knew that in order to learn a new spell, she first had to learn the spell seals associated with that given spell. The seals themselves acted like a library cataloguing of-sorts, according to his shoddy understanding, such as school of spell, manifestation of effect, size, strength, behavior after casting, and other un-ending manipulations that a mage could affect. In order to generate a given desired effect, all the mage had to do was run through the desired spells’ seals. The order of their manifestation determined the priority of focus for the magic, so getting the correct sequence was important. Subsequently, memorizing the seals and seal order of a spell was all there really was to it. The tricky part of the whole process was learning how to manifest all the minute changes to a seal that could be devised. One tiny swirl wrong in a spell using the seals for fire, small area, projectile, channelled, and propelled, could be the difference between a torrent of classic fireballs one after the other, and a geyser of fire as one solid stream.

Giving it another bit of thought, maybe he did know a decent bit about magic, at least in terms of broad strokes, if not any explicit details on the topic.

To Garn, it sounded like a lot of memorizing that he didn’t need to worry about. He liked to focus on sharp pieces of metal that could be put into someone, and the associated clothing to prevent sharp pieces of metal being put into him. To that end, he wanted to train a bit. The road had left him feeling stiff, and he wanted to make sure he was loosed up and ready to go once their first matches were to begin. Zaak, disinclined to watch Maia fumble with new seals she was unfamiliar with and risk losing an eyebrow or something in the process, decided to accompany Garn in his pursuit.

As the two explored the city in hunt for a suitable arena in which to train that didn’t reside inside Miral’s manor, they came across a large open-air market square. Row upon row of shop stalls could be seen set up, the calls from the owners hawking their wares a cacophonous roar throughout.

“You there! Yes you two. You look the type in need of some new weapons or armor! I’ve some magical ones too!”

Woah, wait what? The claim immediately got Garn’s attention. Wasn’t that a little carefree for a market like this, to advertise what had to be such rare and expensive goods?

Turning their way to face the vendor, Garn and Zaak began to approach the stall. The man making the call was short, maybe a full head shorter than Garn, and while not fat, was definitely beginning to show a roundness about his midsection that implied a not-lacking diet. His chest was exposed from the un-buttoned opening of his tan, sleeveless vest. He kept a bushy moustache and beard, also dark, the latter of which extended down to his mid-chest. His bald head shimmered under the morning light, and Garn could almost make out a reflection off the man’s teeth as he grinned.

As they began making their way across the wide street towards the man and his stall, they began to hear shouting, different to the normal call-outs of sellers, and turned to face back the way they had come from just in time to see a cloaked figure running. Hot in pursuit were two other figures, clearly intent on apprehending who Garn could only assume was a thief of some kind.

Still several yards away from the stall, Garn and Zaak were too far away from the individual as he slipped past the stall they had been starting to approach. As they passed, Garn could see the figure reach a darkly tanned hand out, and grabbed a jeweled dagger, sheathed in ornate black leather, that was resting on a stand out front. On the back of the outstretched hand, Garn could make out a simple tattoo of a black feather and sword, crossing to make an ‘X’.

Check that, definitely a thief.

The attendant at the stall’s eyes nearly bulged out of his head when he saw the man begin to escape with one of his wares. Reaching out his right hand, a quick flash of seals emerged before his palms before a wall of stone began emerging in front of the thief. As it did so, the thief quickly sidestepped, jumped on top of another stall to his side, jumped again, and vaulted the still rising stone barrier before it was high enough to block him completely.

A pretty agile thief at that. Good for him.

The two guards, unable to imitate the feat of acrobatics, found themselves blocked by the wall intended to assist their pursuit, and gave up the chase in defeat.

Garn and Zaak resumed their approach of the stall, now more-so out of curiosity for the stolen goods than interest in a purchase.

“God fucking, shrimp-dicked, mother-fucking cock smooch!” The clearly over-joyed vendor’s curses could be made out by Garn and Zaak, still several yards away. Garn assumed that they were intended to be under the man’s breath, but the volume they were released with made them less than subtle, however. The vendor, realizing the proximity to his previous sale marks, found a semblance of composure as Garn and Zaak made their final approach. A smirk fought for purchase on Garn’s face, but he was able to quell the urge before coming to a stop at the stall.

The set-up of the stall was simple. A table sat in front of a tent opening, with a gap to the left of the table allowing passage behind and inside the tent. A cloth was draped over the table, and small wares were adorning the table. Several medium to small daggers resting upon stands caught Garn’s eye immediately, as well as a set of matte-black gauntlets and a coiled chain that ended in a glistening, pointed blade. Nothing really jumped out to Garn as must-haves, however, so he looked to the man.

“What was it that that man stole,” inquired Zaak, beating Garn to the question.

“Oh that old thing?” the man responded with dripping sarcasm. “It was only a magic dagger worth about 40 gold. No big deal.” The frustration in the man’s voice was not very well hidden.

40 gold was not an insignificant sum of money. Garn had only paid about one and a half gold for all of the food and drinks the night prior, split up into smaller silver pieces throughout the night. The average skilled laborer made about three to five gold in a day. For that knife to have been worth a month's wages for most men, it must have been something special indeed. Not that that was a lot to Garn, still flush with coins granted as stipend for his trial adventures by Gravos Dinsala, as well as his own savings he brought with him. But still, not a small loss for the merchant.

Zaak let out a low whistle. “Shrimp-dicked cock smooch, indeed. What did it do?”

The merchant blanched slightly as he realized his outburst had been heard. “Oh, heh, sorry about that.”

“Don’t worry about it. It’s understandable, given the circumstances,” responded Garn. Reiterating Zaak’s question to the merchant, he asked the same question. “What did the blade do, to merit such a price?”

“It was a magic blade stolen from the Shirran forces during a conflict in the last rift,” replied the man. “It had the ability to render the user completely silent save for intended noise.”

Garn and Zaak shared a look, before Garn responded. “You know, that does sound rather useful for a thief.”

“No kidding,” said Zaak.

“What’s done is done,” sighed the merchant. “There have been several reports to the guards of the city about that one. Just a matter of time before he gets what’s coming to him.” Brightening slightly, he then addressed the two a bit more pointedly, hoping to make a sale. “I do have many other wares, though, if you’ve an interest?”

“I heard you mention something about magical items, before that one came storming through. Have any others that haven’t been stolen yet?” asked Garn.

“Ha, ha,” responded the merchant in a dry tone. “I do, in fact. What sort of goods are you in the market for.” He extended a hand out to his side, referencing their surroundings. “Literally.”

“We’re entrants in the upcoming trials. Weapons aren’t really an issue, so I was wondering if you had any armor, amulets, rings, or anything else of that nature that can give an edge in the arena?” Garn didn’t have his hopes up too high, but you never know.

Zaak stood by, casually watching the crowd as Garn and the merchant interacted. His instincts demanding it of him, clearly content to let Garn shop for the both of them.

“Ah, I do have a few small pieces. None armor, but a few trinkets you may find to your taste.”

“And just like that, you have my undivided attention.”

The man smiled at this, and entered the tent behind him. A moment later, he returned, holding a metal box with a clasp on the front. It was about two feet wide, a foot tall, and a foot in depth. The man then uttered a few words, and several small seals flashed in his hands as similar ones flashing on the clasp. After that was done, he undid the clasp, and opened the lid. After he did so, he unlatched another small clip on the interior of the box, and the front of the box opened down on a hinge, allowing for a clear display of the contents within.

The man turned the box around, granting Garn and Zaak a good look inside. The interior of the box held a small shelf on each side, with the center open to allow for slightly larger items to reside. Both sides held an assortment of jewelry and curios such as coins and cards. In the bottom rested only three pieces; a silver chalice, a foldable fan nearly the entire length of the box, and a large red egg, speckled with orange and yellow splotches over its surface.

“What are all these?” Asked Garn.

The man smiled as he began his pitch.

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SP Chocobo

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