I walked silently through the darkness of the streets of Magnimar. It’s easy to get lost in this city, the grandness is dizzying. You can’t ever lose the bridge though and that’s where I was headed. Well, under it anyway.
It was a hot day. Almost all of them are hot in Varisia, but the breeze was blowing off the ocean tonight and it skimmed the heat off the land. I walked confidently toward the Underbridge. No one looks more suspicious than the unconfident. If you don’t ask permission then it can’t be denied to you. Well, at least until you get caught. I never got caught in Thronestep, but then again, I had friends there. And family, a lot of family. None of which were here.
In any case, no one is really preventing anyone from entering Underbridge, so this shouldn’t be too tough.
I thought about the letter that I had received from Master Neb and what it meant. For as long as I remember my family had hidden their gifts and their worship of Nethys. I’m not sure why they did it. It was dangerous in Thronestep. No god was to be worshiped in Thronestep other than the living god Razmir. Perhaps it’s just in my family’s nature to thumb their nose at authority. Perhaps when they emigrated to Thronestep from Varisia they were willing to give up everything except that book, their worship of Nethys, and the powers it granted them, no matter what the cost. I know the book is old, certainly older than the city of Thronestep’s meger 35 years, so it must have been brought.
Master Neb said that he had two tasks for me. The first was easy. Gather 4 items to use in the creation of my arcane focus. Despite not being classically trained, I know what that is. My grandmother and mother both had rings that they used to help them focus their energies. I would have the same. I actually still had my grandmother’s ring, and I know that she would want nothing more than for me to use it to create my own.
The other three items were pretty easy to pick as well. No one ever said I wasn’t decisive. To represent my past, that awful statue of Razmir that I carried around everywhere. As if the tattoo wasn’t enough. It was always better to have more evidence of your innocence than less – especially if you’re guilty. I carried that damn stone trinket for years of my life. It had evidence of years of oils of my skin from holding it, rubbing the stone until it was smooth. It was a very convincing trinket, and I hated it. If that hate could power my magic, I’d be a very powerful magic user indeed.
The third item, to represent my present, also was easy enough to pick. I’d use my Pathfinder badge for that. I had joined the Pathfinders perhaps for…not the most savory of reasons, but the years invested here have been interesting. Certainly the most recent weeks have been even more … something. Exciting isn’t quite the right word.
My companions Dorne, Virian, and Vale are certainly different than I’m used to. Well, Virian is perhaps the most familiar of the bunch. He’s a fucking liar. A committed liar, for sure. He says he doesn’t use magic, doesn’t know any, despite having cast spells in front of us in more than one occasion. I’m not even sure that places him on the same level as a liar anymore. He’s a fucking lunatic. I know better than most about having two identities, but his are blurring, and blurring badly. One moment he’s the face of every shy weasel ever born, and the next he’s fucking ruthless, evil, coersive. I prefer the latter. That I can understand.
And he might be breaking down that barrier for me. He came up to me and offered me a deal, some measure of arcane power (yeah, you fucking don’t know any, alright…) in turn for my eye color. I forget the exact words of the deal, and in the future I’m not going to make that fucking mistake again. But really, it hasn’t been that bad of a deal. He stole my eye color for a while. Now they’re fucking purple. Violet. At least dark enough that most people won’t notice. At least I wasn’t that attached to what it was before. Shit brown. Maybe I can learn how to fix it at the school, or at least hide the purple. Purple isn’t really a bad deal, might make it easier for seducing…whoever. Purple is a bit shocking and unique, and a surprised target is an easier target.
The last item for the focus is a bit more tricky. Something to represent what I want my future to be? I certainly don’t have a pile of gold and a crown to weave into my arcane focus. I’d settle for having my family be safe enough to have more than one active worshiper of Nethys. If I were reaching, I wouldn’t mind tearing down that would-be god down from his throne. Easy enough then, plenty of bricks laying around in Underbridge. A brick for the fourth focus. Because I wouldn’t mind if that was all was left of his fucking city. And I wouldn’t mind if that was all I had to start with for the rebuilding.
Passing that freeky tower now. Haunted they say. Well, I certainly won’t test the theory.
The second task. Picking a sector of magic that I want to focus on. I guess the first lesson of wizard school was in the letter. My mother and grandmother never bothered putting their spells into categories. I’m not even sure which ones go where. I guess the names will be fine enough to go by.
Necromancy is straight out. That stuff is creepy. Sometimes things need to be dead, and that’s just how it’s got to be. But I don’t want to go around playing with the dead things after they’re dead. So easy, one out. Seven to go.
Divination. Sounds boring. Sounds like I’ll be sitting around in room staring into a bowl of water a whole lot. Not for me.
Illusion. Potential there. Very easy to trick people into doing stupid things if they are misled by something false. Maybe.
Enchantment. Do I need to use magic to seduce people into doing what I want? Do I want to seduce that many people? Sure there are some that are pleasant to seduce. But others…I’m not sure I’m friendly enough to make dazzling people my focus.
Conjuration. Making stuff out of thin air, pretty fantastic. Might impress some folks at a bar. I don’t know of anyone who can create gold out of thin air or make a king disappear. Or is that illusion? Conjuration, probably not it.
I had to stop thinking about magic for a moment because I had arrived at my destination – the dirty burnt out hole that had once been Natalya Vancasterkin’s abode. I looked down at the filthy water and choked back some bile.
Yep, I was actually going to willingly go back into that. I took off my clothes, all of them. No point in ruining perfectly good clothing. And certainly someone who was soaking wet with sewage water would attract more attention than one who just smelled like sewage. I had to push away some burnt down pieces of lumber, but luckily we didn’t throw the armor that far into the muck when we got rid of it. I walked into the lake of sewage and felt around.
I didn’t think it was likely that anyone had found the armor in here. The place was ablaze when we left, and the sewage would deter most any thief from exploring. It had hurt me deeply when we threw it into the muck, but there wasn’t any way that we were going to be able to transport a woman in golden armor across the city to give to the local Sczarni gang. So, in it went.
I felt the cold, diseased water encircle my ankles and thighs as I walked deeper into the pit. I felt around for the armor with my feet, loathing having to go in deeper than my knees, but I knew even if I found it I was going to have to submerge most of myself to pick it up. I found an endless amount of bricks and lumber in the water, and was certain that my toes were going to be bruised forever before I felt the smooth heaviness of the armor. I tried at first to pick it up with my feet, but it was far too heavy. So I reluctantly bent down, submerging my arms and most of my thighs, slowly gathering the pieces of this almost priceless suit of gold.
Finding a fence for it wasn’t going to be easy, I knew that if I couldn’t find a blacksmith to melt it down here in Underbridge that I was probably going to have to settle for a much less profitable trade. It was worth it. For some armor I could actually wear, or a wand, or…if I could get it melted down…sending a large portion of it home… that would be worth this incredibly sickening situation.
I managed to get out of the water without injuring myself. I shivered and knew I stank. I removed a towel from the backpack I brought, and wiped myself off, and then wrapped the armor in the same towel. In only a few moments I re-clothed myself, put the armor in the backpack, and was on my way.
Back to magical schools. Abjuration? I’m not even sure that means. Yeah… I don’t know.
Evocation? I’ve heard of this one before. It creates fire, and commands power. It hurls missiles, but also protects. That’s it. That’s what I’ll pick.
Alright. Now to fence this armor.