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- Chapter One
- The Crystal Beneath The High Church
- "My boy, are you paying attention?" It was Ludwig, looming over the booth where he sat.
- "Sorry, sorry. What now?"
- "I asked you to help me get this place ready for opening. Oktoberfest is tomorrow, we'll have guests pouring in by the hundreds, and you're still rubbing the dust from your eyes. Come now, Arthur, let's get to work. No time like the present."
- With that, Arthur watched as Ludwig ventured out into the tavern, navigating through the many tables and stools set aside for customers later. Arthur quickly turned back to the table set for the booth he'd been seated at, using what little candle light was left to read over the only entry in his leather bound journal. The pages seemed to be fresh, as if the journal was made only yesterday, Arthur's voice mumbling the only entry three more times.
- "Seek out the crystal beneath The High Church of Noxukha. There you will find your destiny, what your true purpose is." Arthur paused after repeating it for the third time, unable to contain the questions flooding every square inch of his mind. "The crystal beneath the high church. What does it mean, though?"
- "Arthur! Let's go!" The booming voice of Ludwig tore into the thoughts, reminding him of the duties for today.
- "Coming! Coming.." One last glance at the book before it was closed, stuffed into the back pocket of Arthur's blue jeans. It'll just have to wait until later. That was the only reassurance Arthur could convince himself with, venturing off to begin the days tasks.
- After mopping the floors, washing the stools, tables, and booths, Arthur finished up by tossing firewood into the central fireplace. "Geyol." The logs slowly caught fire, filling the room with a warm glow. Though magic was strictly forbidden in Noxukha, The Holy City of Ithoros, parlor magic was allowed. "That should do it, pops."
- "Just in time, too. Head on back to the kitchen and get some fresh ale brewed, I've already set the food to the side for preparation." Arthur turned to see Ludwig's massive figure outlined by sunlight, though it was just beginning to rise. "Oh, Arthur? No magic, my boy." Arthur nodded, noting the festive wear Ludwig was sporting today. A red, yellow, and orange t-shirt, black work pants, and grey boots. Shoulder length white hair, always tied up in the back. Facial features were where it got complicated. Not so much that Ludwig wasn't human, no that much was very true. There was a scar around his left eye, though, as if someone had swung a sword and grazed him. Both of his eyes were almost feline, orange with black slits in the center. No matter how much Arthur pressed it, Ludwig wouldn't speak of it.
- "Alright. I'll be out in a bit." Arthur slipped between three stools, dodging one of the tables Ludwig had set up in the middle of the room, finding himself behind the bar. Sunlight crept slowly through the tavern windows, his adventure continuing as he walked the length of the bar and into the back. A stone stove sat, cool to the touch, accompanied by a smaller wooden table against the right wall. On the left wall was a longer wooden table, covered in herbs and spices. Realizing he'd gone too far he stepped on the other side of the wall, looking down at the overwhelming stack of ale kegs. Chancing a glimpse around the corner, Ludwig was nowhere in sight.
- "No magic, huh? We'll see about that." Hunching down behind the counter, Arthur drew a glyph into all the kegs in the dust that had collected over night. It looked like someone had drawn the letter 'x' on the keg twice, connecting both of them by having one placed on top the other. "Bo." The word was whispered, all seven kegs rising in unison off the ground. The incline was slow and gradual, Arthur holding his left hand in front of him. Palm facing the kegs, both his index and middle finger stood straight while the others were tucked into his palm, this allowed him to channel his own magic energy into the glyphs. Very slowly his frame stood up, the kegs following the incline, as Arthur walked around the corner and set them upon the bar. One after the other, spaced out evenly, the kegs were set upon the bar. Everything was going smoothly, and Ludwig wasn't there to stop his use of magic.
- "No magic, boy." Ludwig was suddenly there, behind him, which broke his concentration. With his left hand Ludwig caught the keg effortlessly, his right smacking Arthur across the back of the head.
- "Ow! Hey, what gives? The work is still getting done, isn't it?"
- "Boy, how many times do you have to be warned?" Ludwig set the keg down on the bar, finishing the task. "The High Church has forbidden all forms of magic from this place, naming it The Sanctuary of Ithoros. Your magic radiates energy, leaving a traceable aura for the guards to hunt down. Do you want to be taken before The High Church, Arthur? Is that what you're trying to do?"
- "No, I just tho--"
- "That's the problem, you're not thinking. I wont say it again. No magic, got it?" As much as Arthur hated admitting it, Ludwig was right. The guards were extremely strict about what types of magic, if any, were allowed in Noxukha.
- "Yeah, I got it." Ludwig pulled Arthur into a one armed hug against his left side, sighing heavily.
- "Come on, son. I'm just trying to look out for you."
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