[M]Would-Be Heroes Off to Help Save the World(IC)
Processes in this world are subject to causes that are supernatural and with powerful entities involved. There was a powerful being to start with in this world, before people were here. Great items of controlling things were around then, but they are hidden now that we don't find them, yet they still affect things in our world. One is known as the Great Rod of Grim. With possessing that and carrying it generally, one is enabled to easily come to ruling over others with the least resistance. Another one is the Overicon of Removal. There were items opening portals to other realms, and ones that were over different sorts of weather, and ones over health and mortality. There is a tan lantern, with which one turns up or turns down daylight. There is a glowing jar, with which one turns the sea level higher or lower. There is a hand held crimson fan, with which one turns the wind up or down. There is a purple pot, with which one turns the heat in the world up or down. There is a lengthening pole, with which one makes stars fall from the sky. Many of them are still active, responding to changes of stress in the earth to be triggered, while they remain hidden, and hard to find. There is one large artifact that could alter the timeline into something else. It would affect everyone, and the exact way to use it would have to be known for a desired effect. Yet anything else might be changed along with that effect, which could not happen in isolation. With an altered timeline, affecting everyone, there are some who would not still be around with that powerful alteration. So it would be very dangerous to use. It was the underground Gebb who had revealed the starholders, the great orbs, and other artifacts, and hid them again finally, at the climax of the archeodragon uprising.
The ancient dragons, archeodragons, came to dominate over all the life, which they did for another long age. But when the Father of Men, Aldin, came, he worked a curse on all of them, archeodragons and other dragons, and they fell to a great plague. Many of them were dying, all over the place, so their bones are found anywhere. But a small remnant, no more than twenty, escaped to the attached island that joined the land at that time, and they went into the cave to hide from the plague. But they were not seen again. The children of Aldin then began to live in the land, working to have the edible things they wanted growing from it. They grew in number, and when those things were not enough, many went to the shore and found lobsters and crabs to catch, and they brought those for their food.
But when some of them were making trips to the shore, they saw that the island with the cave was moving apart from the shore of their land. Aldin told them, the dragon remnant that had entered the cave there were behind it moving. They were not gone for good. That meant they would return, and dominate the world as dragons had before.
In later years the Society of Rescuers of the World formed. It originated from the founders' idea that a certain few of the very powerful artifacts that had been spoken of in records should be found and used for the sake of saving the people of the world from that predicted return of the dragons to come dominate the world again. These devices and artifacts are yet very hard to find, but over generations clues were found, and would be heroes are drawing closer to finding any one of a few of them.
The Academy of Learning Heroic Use of Devices is the premier center where individuals have been preparing for finding certain powerful devices with known clues and understanding ways such might be used. Here are certain promising ones who
are well trained, with a couple of exceptional abilities. They are supplied with a list of clues, which they have studied, for an invested search for any of the artifacts, knowing though that there are many more from the institute sent out at this time, as had happened previously, on the same sort of search.
Belvanaj is a tall young man a little over twenty, slender but with wide shoulders and strong arms, with blond-brown hair growing not much past his collar, and a very short trim beard. He can run especially fast and maintain that run a couple of miles. He received his scroll of the recognition of achievement, his bag of traveling money for the research and mission, the rolled up lists that would help with more likely places and information passed on that must be clues, and remembered secret for use of devices, and a good staff to walk with showing that recognition from the Academy of Learning Heroic Use of Devices.
Elloria is a young woman, about 20 years old, of average height and slim features, with dark skin, darker eyes, and long, smooth, straight hair that is darker still, that reaches just shy of her mid back. She's lithe and dexterous, and in another life would have likely made an excellent thief; however, in this one, she is a recent graduate of the Academy of Learning Heroic Use of Devices. For years, Elloria has been molded into a resourceful creature, quick at thinking on her feet and leveraging a situation to her advantage through either her silver tongue or through intimidation. Since graduation, Elloria has been outfitting for and tasked with finding the ancient artifacts, and would be travelling with Belvanaj after the current clues that they had to work with.
Belvanaj quickly found Elloria after the small ceremony, where there were a couple dozen others. He told her, "Others here are not going to wait, I think we should make the most of our chance to locate one of the powerful artifacts, and go from here now. I will explain my plan. Come this way. He led the way out from that courtyard and toward the exit from the Academy, even as a few others were moving that way, not waiting for the end of the final address and the closing ceremony. Once they were out and away from others who would hear, Belvanaj said, "We know already that the greatest likelihood for the location of any single one of the powerful artifacts would be underground, such that they can be triggered which had caused some effects, but that there would be passages where there was access to any of those locations. My final study that I was really involved in for the thesis I would submit went into the rock that has caves and caverns formed from it, and the places in the world where there are those rock formations. I brought with me a map I have worked on, showing where those are. We should go right away to the location shown nearest to us in this place. We can plan a circuit for where to go next for searching each until we actually find one of them."
Elloria had never cared for ceremonies- they were long and boring, and she had not studied at the academy for a boring life. If something was going to be boring, she always thought, it should reward her at the end with treasure, or knowledge, or something for her troubles instead of lofty promises and platitudes that the future could disprove. So she certainly had no complaint when Belvanaj found her and led her away from the amphitheater, and happily followed him to the gardens.
He had been right about other students not deigning to wait for the last of the ceremony; several others were milling about, or finding their own secret spots to plan in. Don't they know there are plenty of objects? Shouldn't they be motivated by the world being saved, and not the glory of it? Not that Elloria wasn't guilty of that herself, though, to be fair- some immortalization would be an excellent reward for the boredom of the academy, and a likely equally boring hunt through saves, as her companion was suggesting.
"Wait, hold on," she protested. Belvanaj was already planning their route in his head- without any input from her. How rude. "What's so special about those caves? You know, Professor Calnth mentioned a few spots were clues were. Everyone's like to think that everyone else is going to start there- no one wants to go for the obvious. We should start there, before they realize that they haven't found anything. And we'll need supplies, anyways." The academy had prepared them with knowledge and experience, but no food or transit for the expedition that all of the students were leaving for. Not to mention that it was already evening- Elloria suspected that many parties wouldn't leave until the following morning, both for a final celebration of their achievements and an inability to properly prepare at this hour.
Belvanaj looked around at the others in the area of these gardens, who seemed oblivious of both of them, and then toward the limit of the city with the outer houses in sight from there, and grassy hills beyond the farmed fields, and further mountains, and he said then, "Of course, you are right. I found there is a night wagon train, that will go to the village right by the main caves that Professor Calnth spoke of, and that we can purchase the ride for us in that direction, with the sleeping accommodations on it, and wake up there early in the morning, and start looking in those places there. I already expect there could be obscure caves not looked at yet right there, since several are known. Those would be excellent to start with. I think we should go pick up food to bring with us and purchase the rides right away."
Feeling heard, Elloria nodded. "I'm glad you agree. When do the trains leave? I have some copies of the clues that Calnth shared with the class back in my room that I can grab, along with a change of clothes. But we'll still need to find food somewhere, unless we'll be able to buy up stock on the train, which I find unlikely." As she spoke, she kept her voice quiet. This was a good lead, she had to admit, but a large part of her wished that Belvanaj had let her know earlier; they could have been spending days stocking up on preserves to bring with them.
Unfortunately, the two had had little opportunity to meet before then. They had been briefly introduced by the professors when the teams were assigned, but between celebrations of their graduation and finishing up the last of her obligations for the academy, Elloria's schedule had been rather packed. She should have prioritized this more, she chided herself; and now the concern was setting in that everyone else had done better than her, made their plans, and had no need to rush at that moment, for they were all prepared.
Belvanaj saw the excitement, and the concern, in Elloria's face. He knew what had to be done, for them to have the advantage of a headstart over the others, and they would have just the time they needed for this, with this foresight. "We have an hour and a half until the departure. Yes, we do have to get the clothes and things we will bring with us. The food market is along the way to where we would board, and we should buy food we want with us there. We will sleep most of the way as it travels overnight. In the morning we get to that village, and there we would find a number of places where equipment for going through caves are sold, and we can buy things there. My moneybag provided for this expedition is with two hundred megamite coins, I guess yours is too."
He walked on with Elloria toward the dormitory building there across from the gardens, where there were rooms accommodating those who had come and studied there, not walking slowly that way though, and they soon came to the familiar building.
That there was a village on the other side of the journey assured Elloria the most. "Right, then. The market's long closed by now, but we can buy food in that village in the morning. Make sure to leave room in your belongings for what we'll be getting in the morning, then," she suggested, as they made their way towards the dormitory. Once inside, she turned to Belvanaj again. "I'll be quick getting my things. Let's meet back here when we're ready."
Without waiting for a response, the young woman turned and hurried down the hall and up the stairs to her room. Truth be told, she had been doing a good deal of packing that morning before the ceremony anyways. Much of what she had brought with her for during her study she had already given as trinkets to friends, or study materials to younger students, or was already packed. Except for what she had received at the ceremony, the final inspection proved the rest to have no value to her. Elloria brought the rest of her former belongings to the hallway to be picked at by others or eventually thrown away, grabbed her bag upon her final return to what had once been her room, and promptly returned to the meeting point she had appointed.
Belvanaj fortunately had his room not far from where they entered, and when Elloria rushed off he went right there quickly. He had his items already packed to go, with some clothing, a small blanket, snack food, a prized knife, and a torch and a candle, along with lighting tabs for them. He placed the scroll of recognition and the rolled up lists of likely spots to check with the locations carefully shown by his other papers in there among his items in that pack. He saw the sense of bringing a spare bag he had, for holding new things they would acquire after leaving from here. He checked once again for the money bag attached at his side, and took the coat left here in the room to pull over him. He still had games out, here, but he would not need these extra things any more. He brought those out of this room he had been using, to leave in the gathering area along the hallway for any others who would want to take those. With the things he was bringing he left the room and hurried back to where the two of them would meet, near the building entrance. He saw Elloria was coming back to that spot just as he was.
Upon her return Elloria saw that Belvanaj was already waiting for her. She offered him a quick wave as she hastened her step to meet him at the doorway. "Alright, ready to go?" she asked, already starting to open the door and leave the dormitory for the last time. "I've got a tent in here, a couple changes of clothes and a coat, a blanket, couple knives, the money and papers... Oh, and a torch. Ought to be enough to get by, with some food from the train and the market. I'll need to pick up a water skin, though. Unless you think I'm missing anything? Oh, and what've you brought?"
The speech was as much to make conversation with her partner as it was to go over her belongings again, to make sure that she hadn't forgotten anything. Some rope probably wouldn't be bad to have, she thought to herself, but was otherwise satisfied with everything. At the very least, they would always have opportunities to refuel between adventures. And for the current one, whatever was available at the market would also be able to indicate to them what they would need for their current clue; admittedly, Elloria hadn't given much attention to the clue that they had, but she was sure that they would have the opportunity to theorize about it on the train, as well.
Belvanaj looked out toward the garden area further on from which they had come a little earlier. Several others among those who had passed and would be out searching were still chatting in their small groups. "Come, we will go this way, through the market area, on the way to where we would reach the departure area for the overnight train of wagons. I think others are only leaving for the pursuit tomorrow morning, when we will have already started."
With Belvanaj making his determined path that other way from the grounds of the institution and on through the community, into the town area with its market, he explained to Elloria with him, "I have brought with me the clothing I had with me, a small blanket, some snack food of fruits, cut carrots and celery, and small seasoned breads, and a couple of water bottles, a knife I really value, and a torch, and a candle, along with lighting tabs for them. I also have the scroll of recognition from here, and the lists of likely spots to check with the locations carefully shown, with the notes I have with my writing on other papers. I brought along a spare bag that can be used to carry any more stuff that might be gathered, and I certainly have the money bag that will be needed. Look, it seems there are some sellers still open there in the market area."
Once they stepped out, Belvanaj took the lead, and Elloria followed him with no complaint. A part of her was excited that he'd known about this night train- the woman was far from the best rider, and both taking a horse or walking to their destination seemed like subpar options. A train was a much easier route to take, and a night train, she hoped, would be cheaper than one leaving in the morning. Beyond that, it would save them at least one night of either renting from an inn or camping outside. Both would probably be ultimately necessary, but the further that they could be pushed, the better; unless, of course, the train ate too much of their money. But surely, Elloria reassured herself, Belvanaj had made sure that the fare wouldn't be too step for the start of their journey.
"That's a good list you've got," she told him, also feeling more confident in the contents of her own bag. And then they were at the market. "I don't think I'd near those vendors," she warned her companion. "Especially those out on graduation night. They likely look to steal our coin in exchange for worthless trinkets; these sort wish to take advantage of our inexperience away from the school and our worry of the task at hand. Where will the train board?" she finally asked, hoping that it wouldn't be close to the night vendors. The day time vendors were reputable and had enough traffic from the school and visitors to not need to stay open so late; these ones clearly did not have that reputation, and for good reason, from what she'd heard.