Tree of Life

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Tree of Life

Post by Orcapon on 2nd November 2016, 11:16 pm

Ohai there, here is this year's NaNoWriMo and latest fic, Tree of Life! It is based on Etrian Odyssey 4, which is a great game if you haven't played it. One of the things I love is how much room it gives for your imagination, which has helped me come up with nice moments, as well as characters I like. Hope you enjoy it!

Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: Welcome to Tharsis (scroll down)
Chapter 2: The Old Forest Mine
Chapter 3: Birth of a Guild

Chapter 1:
Chapter One: Welcome to Tharsis

As divine verdure fertilizes; The malign verdure corrupts. What is left is a holy husk. Hollow ones cling to faith; Fanged ones honor power; Foolish sages protect a lie. But the medium's song remains, guiding you to yggdrasil. You hold the wings to soar in this tempestuous saga. Winds of beginning, blow now...

It was a day unlike any other as the caravan reached its destination. The sound of the horses whinnying filled the air.

"Alright, everyone out!"

The driver shouted at the passangers, each one getting out one by one. The sun was still high up in the sky, they had made good time. One of the passengers, a young man who could be no older than his early twenties stepped out, piece of paper in his hands.

"Tharsis, and not too far from here...heh..Yggdrasil, and with that, fame and fortune!"

He stared off into the horizon at the massive tree far off in the distance. Nobody knew how far away it was, or how to even reach it, but what they did know were the legends concerning it. Yggdrasil was the holy tree, a gift from the heavens that would guide humanity to prosperity, to a paradise unlike any other. Tharsis was the closest town to it, the lands ahead having proven to be far too dangerous for a safe home to be possible. This very town existed only to attempt to reach Yggdrasil, the number of soldiers and explorers wandering the streets made that clearly visible. The young man marveled at the sheer number of warriors walking around.

"Damn, this might be tougher than I thought...No matter, I'm sure none of these bozos will reach it first! Now where the hell is the....c-count..."

His voice trailed off as he reached a massive mansion. This had to be it, the home of the Outland Count, the man in charge of the town. He was the one who had started it all. The rush of explorers, each with a desire to reach Yggdrasil, and the reason he was here. The count had promised countless riches and fame to whomever could find a path to Yggdrasil. The man smirked as he greeted the guards at the gate.

"Hey there, name's Lux and I'm the explorer who'll reach Yggdrasil!"

The gaurds stared at him for a moment before chuckling at his words.

"Listen 'ere kid, ya 'ave any idea the number of people who come 'ere saying stuff like that? Everyday a new face, everyday a couple new graves. Ya best be leaving."

As the guards tried to shoo him away, Lux stared blankly at them. Did that many people really die out here? He thought about what he was going to do for a moment before speaking up.

"...Fine...but I came all the way out here to Tharsis so could I get an audience with the count anyway? I'm sure I could help the town out."

The soldiers looked at each other before nodding and letting him through.

"We need all the help we can get, too many foolish soldiers out there think they found a path to Yggdrasil and rush off to their deaths...I'm sure the count will get ya a good job."

"Thank you."

Lux gave a slight bow as he stepped into the mansion and was greeted by a blonde woman sitting at a desk. She stared at him from behind her glasses and said something, but whatever it was Lux did not notice. He was in awe of the splendor within the mansion. Beautiful paintings, ornate statues, and a mesmerizing chandelier all took his attention away. It wasn't until the sound of the doors slamming shut behind brought him back from his fantasies that he remembered where he was.

"I said what business do you have with the count?"

"Oh right! I'm Lux and I'm here to speak to the count about getting a job working here."

She stared at him for a moment before she made a small ball of light appear in her hand. She whispered something into it before blowing it away. Lux watched it float around the room before it vanished, and moments later a new one appeared by the woman. She held it up to her ear and nodded.

"The count will see you now."

With a skip in his step, Lux walked past the woman and approached a pair of large doors and knocked.

"You may enter."

Lux opened the doors and stepped inside, and was caught off guard by the loud yapping of a small dog. Instinctively he reached for the bow on his back before noticing the man who sat at a desk in the room. The man held a small bichon frise in his arms and had a kind look on his face.

"I would appreciate it if you didn't shoot my dog, she's just excited to meet a new face."

Lux's face turned a bright red as he lowered his hands.

"I-I'm sorry. A-anyway, I'm Lux and I'm here to help find a path to Yggdrasil!" His face beamed as he spoke, and the count seemed to share his emthusiasm.

"That's splendid! Might I ask which guild you are working under? Could I also get a look at your ship?"

The red returned to Lux's face at those questions and the count was quick to catch on.

"So another newbie huh? Listen, are you sure you want to do this? So many have died attempting this, what makes you any different?"

Lux stared at the floor as he thought about it. The guards had said the same thing...

"...What makes me different? I'm the best damned sniper you've ever laid eyes on!"

He held his head up high, cocky smirk on his face as he tapped the goggles on his forehead. The count responded with a hearty laugh.

"Such gumption and heart! Alright, I'll give you a small test. Should you pass it, then I will provide you aid on your quest."

"A small test? What do you mean by that?"

"In order to search the land properly, and cross these vast distances, you will require an air ship. Unfortunately the only ship we have available is not in working conditions. This is why I will need you to go to the near by mines and find some iridescent ore."

"How will that help fix the air ship?"

"Pay no mind to that, I simply require you to go fetch it."

"Alright, no problem!" Lux was about to head out the door when the count called out to him.

"Before you head out I have some things to give to you. I will provide you with half of the reward up front so that you may purchase any equipment you require," the count pulled out a small bag of coins and tossed it to Lux, who quickly began to count it. It was a fairly generous amount considering he had yet to do anything, "I will also grant you the aid of one of my assistants."

The Count produced a small glowing orb and let it fly away. In a few moments the doors opened up and a young woman walked in, wearing a light blue cloak, the same color as her hair. On her head was a wool hat, more fitting for a winter night rather than the warm weather outside.

"You requested my presence count?"

"Yes Melody. This is Lux," the count motioned towards him, and Lux responded with a nervous wave. She didn't seem to pay him much attention. "I want you to accompany him to the mines and help him find some iridescent ore, we can't have him just buying some off a merchant. Besides, I'm sure some time outside would benefit your magical studies."

"Yes sir." Melody bowed to the count before glaring at Lux. "Well then, shall we go?"

"One more thing! Could you show him around town?"

".....Yes sir..."

She walked out the door, and Lux ran after her. She didn't turn back towards him as they left the building, as they walked past the guards, and as they walked through the streets. Lux attempted to start a conversation with her but was ignored time after time. This continued until they reached a building which had multiple hammers hanging outside.

"This is the Berund Atelier, the only shop you will need to know as an explorer. Here you can purchase weapons and other items you may need. I will wait for you outside while you go i-"

"Oh! If it isn't Melody! Ya 'ere ta get that new staff or ya still don't 'ave enough cash?"

A young girl stepped out of the shop, carrying a hammer in her hands. She was dressed like a blacksmith but she couldn't... could she?

"Wynne, you know I don't have enough yet..."

"Then what brings ya 'ere? And who's this? Ya boyfriend or something?"

Lux began to blush as Melody explained, "No, he's another wannabe explorer, the count wants me to show him around then take him to the mines..."

"Oh! Then ya gunna buy something or ya just looking around?"

Lux walked past Wynne and looked around the shop, marveling at all the weapons on display. He grabbed a few bottles of medicine, but noticed Melody staring at a staff behind the counter.

Lux placed his items on the counter as Wynne ran to the register and began to ring them up.

"Melody, what's with the staff?"

"Huh? Oh, I've just been meaning to get myself a staff, its supposed to help strengthen the effects of my runes..."

"Runes?"

Melody sighed as she made a few shapes in the air. "I'm a runemaster, I use runes to control mana. Normally I'd have to draw the rune on something, but with a staff I could probably just make the shape in the air."

"In that case, Wynne, I'll take the staff too! I should have just enough with what the count gave me..."

"What? Aren't you going to buy some arrows or something?"

"Nah, I don't need any arrows, besides, if you're going to be with me in the mines, I don't want to have to spend time protecting you!"

Lux handed the staff over to Melody as he walked out of the shop. Melody stared at him confused before she ran after him.

***

"Why are we here?"

Lux looked around the bar nervously. This 'bar' seemed less like a bar and more like some spa. There was a large stage where a group of bards were playing music, and a few tables where people were eating. Couches with exquisite pillows were scattered around, and beautiful chandeliers provided the light. This place easily rivaled the count's court in how lavish it was.

"We're here to find a friend. As we are now, we'd never make it far in the mines, we need someone who can fight."

"I can fight!"

"Judging by your choice of weapon," Melody pointed at Lux's bow, "you can shoot. I doubt you can take much, if any, punishment..."

Lux was going to talk but could not come up with a defense. He really wasn't suited to hand to hand combat, which was why he stuck to his bow. It was far better to take out the opponent before they could even reach him.

"So then...how do we find your friend?"

"Easy, she runs the place."

Melody walked over to the bar and waved at a dark skinned woman who was serving a few drinks. She smiled and walked over towards them, Lux's face turning red with each step she took. Not only was she beautiful, but she was dressed more like a belly dancer than an owner of a bar.

"Melody! What brings you to the Dancing Peacock?" Gosh, even her voice was beautiful....

"Hey Kirtida, the count wants me to take this new explorer over to the mines. Do you know if there are any explorers who could give us a hand? We're both ranged fighters so..."

"Not a problem, there are a couple soldiers who were looking for a part time job earlier, you could talk to them." She motioned over to a table where various people, all clad in armor, sat.

The duo walked up to them, Melody taking the lead.

"I heard you were looking for a bit of work! How would you like to join us on a trip to the mines?"

The group all stared at the two before smiling, "Aye, that sounds like an easy job. How much ya offering?"

"Lux, how much you willing to pay?"

Lux looked into his bag and smiled at them. Without a word he placed the bag on the table with a soft jingle. He pushed it towards the men as he spoke, "For helping us you can have all this..."

The largest of the group peered into the bag before his face turned a bright red. "What do ya take us for?! There's only 100 Entals here!" He tossed the bag on the table as the few coins fell out. "You can take your loose change and head off to the mines alone!" The group stormed off, murmuring about cheapskates wasting their time.

"Lux, what the hell?!"

"I-I didn't think they would actually look in it first!"

"I mean don't you have anymore Entals? What did you do with everything the count gave you?!"

"I used it on supplies..." Lux sheepishly tried to smile as Melody continued to chew him out.

A few tables over a man was watching them before he walked up to them.

"Hello there, name's Lief. If I heard you correctly, you're offering a job?"

Lux looked at the man as if he had just saved his life, "Yes! Though I can only pay 100 Entals..."

"Don't worry about it, there's plenty we can sell from the mines. You can use whatever money you make to pay my fee. So, will you hire me?"

Lux looked the man over carefully. He had plenty of blond hair, and wore a white tee with red sleeves. He seemed to be quite strong, and the sword and shield he carried at least made it clear that he preferred close ranged combat.

"Sure! So now that we have some help, where to next Melody?"

"Now? We head off to the mines..."

Any help with fixing grammar would be great as this is a NaNo project, I don't have time to fix stuff like that XD


Last edited by Hackapon on 13th November 2016, 12:56 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : I was a dummy and Lief never introduced himself)
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Re: Tree of Life

Post by Orcapon on 7th November 2016, 11:54 pm

Chapter 2:
Chapter Two: The Old Forest Mine

"Ugh, I hate being outside Tharsis, plants, bugs, and the hot sun..."

As the trio walked through the thick forest, Melody's complaints filled the air, overshadowing any sound the wildlife tried to make.

"Thankfully its not too much farther from the mine... Anybody know how to get there?"

Lief and Lux came to an abrupt stop at her words. They looked at each other, then back at Melody.

"Hey, I'm new to this area..."

"And I thought you knew where it was, you were the ones to hire me..."

"Wait, so now what?!"

The three began to frantically look around, hoping for a sign post, or anything that could help them find their way to the mine, but it was all in vain.

"Damn, this is pointless..." Melody let out a soft sigh as she looked up to the sky, "The mines have been abandoned for months now, the monsters in the area probably destroyed any signs that weren't removed..."

"The mines were abandoned? Then how does the count expect us to find any ore here?! Was this just a wild goose chase?"

"Not at all..." A new voice got the attention of the three. Standing before them was an older man, relaxed expression on his face. His messy gray hair helped make his laid back attitude clear, if his voice hadn't already given it away.

"You see, it was thought that all of the ore was already taken out from the mine, thus everyone left, but a few days ago a few explorers managed to find some more ore. I assume the count just wants to confirm the rumors of there still being more to find here..."

"H-how did you know we were here on the count's orders?" Melody glared at the man who did nothing but smile at her.

"Because you're Melody! The only reason you'd leave the court would be if the count himself sent you off somewhere right?"

"How do you know who I am?" Melody gripped her staff as she took a step back.

"Ow, I'm quite sad that you don't remember me. I'm Whirlwind! I've seen you plenty of times when I went to visit the count, though you always had your nose in some book... That probably explains why you didn't recognize me..."

Melody's face turned red. Lux took a step towards the man and held his hand out.

"Pleasure to meet you. Say, you wouldn't happen to know how to get to the mine from here?"

"Know where it is? I'm just coming back from it now. Here, I think I have something that can help..." He searched his bag and pulled out a piece of paper with a pen and placed them in Lux's hand.

"I marked the mine's location on here, that should help you out! Anyway, I best be off, hope to see you in town!"

As Whirlwind left, Lux stared at the paper he had recieved. Indeed there was a circle with the words 'iridescent ore', but that was the only thing written on it. "What the hell am I supposed to do with this?!"

Lief took the paper from his hand and looked it over. He smiled as he pointed over to a glowing triangle.

"This is a magic map. It shows where we are... and that's about it..."

"What use is that?!"

"Well, that means we just have to head straight to reach the ore right?"

Lux's eyes lit up as a smile spread across his face. Before anybody could stop him, he took off running. Not wanting to be left behind, Melody and Lief ran after. After a few minutes of running the two caught up to him. He was standing at the edge of a fast moving stream, staring at the other side.

"I can see a few tools over there, I bet that's where the ore is! ....Though this stream is going a little fast..."

Indeed, the current was quite strong, the fish that came and went with the water making it clear that swimming across was not an option.

"Crap, now what?"

"Now we follow the stream. If there are tools over there, then people found a way to cross. If we follow the stream we're bound to find a way to the other side."

Lief led the way, Lux and Melody close behind. As they walked, Lux stared at the map, watching the little triangle that represented them move around the page. He had begun to draw the path they had taken, after all, the map would be much more useful with terrain actually on it.

They walked for a few minutes before the sound of a woman's screams got their attention. Before they could consider a course of action, Lux had began running towards them. Melody was the second to follow, and Lief the last as he shouted to them to stop.

Lux paid Lief no mind, he had heard somebody in trouble, and he had to help them. Soon he came to a clearing where a woman with purple hair was running from a giant grasshopper. She was holding her bag tightly as she rummaged through it, only to trip. The creature continued charging at her as she screamed once more. It leaped through the air... and fell to the ground with a thud.

"That was a close one..." The woman looked over at Lux who stood not too far away, bow in his hand. The grasshopper moved towards him, the arrow in its side slowing it down. Lux smirked at it as he pulled on the bow string, an arrow appearing in place. He let go and chuckled to himself as the arrow hit its mark once more. The giant insect began to limp away, only for three more arrows to hit its abdomen, killing it.

"Name's Lux, who might you be?"

The woman jumped up and started running around, looking at the ground. After a few seconds she stopped and picked up some glasses. Once she put them on she stared at Lux, and his two companions which had finally caught up.

"I'm Violet! Thanks for the help back there! I was here looking for some herbs when that... thing, attacked me."

She gave a slight bow as Lief examined the grasshopper. "This 'thing', as you call it, is quite weak... Why are you here alone?"

Violet started rummaging through her bag and pulled out a mace. "I'm not defenseless! I just couldn't find my weapon..."

"I think Lief's question still stands... if you couldn't draw your mace in time, then clearly you aren't trained to use it." Melody glared at her. "So why are these herbs so important that you'd risk your own life to get them?"

Violet let out a nervous chuckle as she pulled out a book. "W-well I'm not really a fighter, I'm more a medic but got seperated from the soldiers who were escorting me. You see, I need the herbs to be able to make some medicine... and to sell whatever I have left over."

"Well, if you need money you can sell these in town..." Lief drew his blade and cut off the grasshopper's legs. "I'm sure these can be used for something..."

"But not for medicine! Say... since you three are apparently strong, why don't you help me find the herbs? The deeper we get the more dangerous it is so you might need somebody to patch you up, and I can cure whatever ails you!" Violet struck a pose as she said that, leaving the other three stairing at her.

They got together in a huddle and began to go over their options.

"I say we send her back, we don't need someone weak enough to be afraid of a giant bug..."

"But she did say the herbs could be sold, we kinda need the money to pay you Lief..."

"Besides she did say she was a medic, might be usefull to have around."

"You saw how close the mines are! I doubt we'll get in much trouble!"

"Better safe than sorry right?"

"I hate to say this but Lux has a point, we have no guarantee that we'll only run into grasseaters..."

"...Fine, but let the record show that I was completely against this! Don't blame me when she turns out to be some evil queen who betrays us and tries to kill us..."

The group looked at Violet, who was clearly nervous, and Lux spoke first. "We believe that you can help us make it to our goal so... welcome!"

Violet's face lit up at his words. She hugged Lux as she began to ramble, "Thank you thank you thank you! I'll make sure that I show you how useful I can be! Trust me I know plenty about healing people and I even have some healing magic!"

"Alright you two, we shouldn't dawdle, the dead grasseater is bound to attract more dangerous monsters."

With that the group set off once again.

***

The group had been walking for a while, their bags starting to fill with all the spoils from their battles. So far it had been nothing but grasseaters with the occasional roller, but they had posed no problem. Lux and Lief had been all that was needed against them, and Violet had done well in fixing any injuries they might have received. Melody had mostly hung back during the conflicts, occasionally using her magic to help out.

Outside of combat they had been listening to Violet explain what each plant in the forest was, and how it could be used for different purposes. There was the Explorer's Friend which could was constantly filled with water and could be nibbled when a drink was needed, and some small flowers which were good for medicine.

"Stop!"

Lux held his hand out, and drew his bow. "I heard something..."

He looked around carefully when a glint in the trees caught his eye. He took aim, but was interrupted as a blade struck his shoulder and a strange liquid came from the knife, getting into his eyes.

He stumbled, trying to see what was going on, but was shoved out of the way by Lief.

"Show yourself!" Lief looked at the knife that had hit his shield, realizing what they were up against, and turned to the girls, "Get Lux out of here!"

"What's going on?!"

Melody grabbed Lux and began to pull him away from Lief when a knife hit her leg. Lief ran to the group and stood guard, waiting for... now! Lief blocked a knife and charged towards the source, a shadow behind a tree. He slashed at it, and the darkness turned into a torn cape, and a man jumped out from the trees. He wore a dark colored longcoat along with a similarly colored hat. He was glaring at the group as he pulled out another knife.

"Release the girl..."

Ignoring his words, Lief charged forwards at an incredible speed, only for the man to avoid each blow. He then drew a sword and began to fight back once more.

"I will spare your lives should you return her to me..."

"What the hell are you talking about?!"

"Don't play dumb with me! I know you kidnapped her! I'll make sure you scum p-"

The man jumped back as an arrow flew past him, giving Lief an opening to attack, and get a direct hit. The man clutched his chest where the cut was and looked at Lux, who was smiling, bow in hand.

"You're pretty bold thinking you can take us down. Think you have what it takes? Or shall we do to you what we did to the monsters we ran into?"

The man grimaced as he pulled his coat up, and blended into the shadows. His voice seemed to come from every direction, "You too are quite bold, kidnapping the poor medic... Her group offered me a handsome reward to bring her back, so I'm sure you understand. There's nothing personal here, just business..."

He lunged out from the trees and rushed Lux. He attempted to take aim but he was moving too fast. As the blade came forwards a single voice filled the air, "STOP!"

The man stopped as Violet glared at him, "I wasn't kidnapped! I joined up with this group after they saved me from some grasseaters!"

The man sheathed his blade and gave a bow to the group, "My apologies, the soldiers who hired me told me that you had been taken away from the group and to find you at all costs... I will now go inform them of your current situ- oh no..."

The man was looking at a stone he was wearing around his wrist which was turning red. Lief noticed it and his face turned pale.

"Is that?"

"Yes... Something big is coming..."

"We aren't prepared for this! Everyone ru-"

Lief was cut off as a loud howl filled the air. He turned around, in time to see a giant baboon knock over a tree and glare at the group. It shouted at them before it charged them. Lief immediately began to run, leaving the others behind, and the man stood in front of the group, blade drawn. Lux began to unleash a barrage of arrows as it neared. The large ape brushed them aside and continued on its path. Melody made a shape in the air with her staff and a fireball flew at it, only for the beast to run through it. The man ran forwards, and as he began to swing his sword, the baboon knocked him to the side with one blow. It turned towards him and began to swing wildly at him. He moved as fast as he could, barely avoiding the blows before another hit him, knocking him into a tree as a loud crunch was heard.

Violet ran to his side, her hands giving off a green glow. As she placed them over his injuries they began to heal. The ape raised its arms to unleash a barrage of blows on Violet, but stopped as an arrow hit its eye. It let out a pained cry and turned towards Lux. His hands were shaking as he tried to take aim.

"Melody...you should run..."

"What about you?"

"Don't worry, I'll catch up..."

Melody nodded as she took off. Lux grabbed his goggles and lowered them over his eyes. He would need to aim his best. He pulled the string back... and fired, hitting the baboon's arm. It ignored the arrow and continued running towards him, until a knife hit its face. It howled in pain as a black liquid seeped out from the knife. Lux quickly recognized it as the same trick used on him. He saw the man and Violet running in the direction Lief and Melody had gone and followed. He looked back only once, in time to see the monstrous ape pull the knife from its face and head back into the trees.

***

The group of five sat around a small campfire as a pot of stew was cooked over it. Violet was still treating their injuries and nobody had spoken a word. They had all done nothing more than give quick glares at each other. It continued on this way until the newcomer spoke up.

"I'm sorry for having attacked you. My name is Nedox. I am work as an assassin and must commend you for your bravery and skill. It is not many who would be willing to stand up to a nomadic ape."

"We wouldn't have had to stand up to one if you hadn't attacked us..." Lief did not look up from the stew he was stirring as he spoke.

"Perhaps the ape could have been defeated if the landsknetch hadn't run in fear?"

"Oh come on! Both of us know how dangerous that thing is! It would have killed us if we stayed!"

"Yet we are all still alive..."

"That's because you all ran too!"

"Enough..." Lux stood up and glared at the two of them. "Bickering won't help anyone. Instead, I say Nedox helps us get to the mining site, he does owe us for having attacked us..."

Nedox gave a nervous laugh as Lux glared at the two warriors. "Alright, though I'm not entirely sure as to where we are now..."

"We're not too far, though the ape is still close. It doesn't seem to want to fight us though..."

The group turned towards Melody who was sitting back, looking over the map Lux had been drawing. "According to Whirlwind, the spot we're after is right here... and we're here... See, not too far." She then pointed to a strange glowing point that was moving around the map, not too far from where they were. "I assume this is the ape. I've been watching it wander around for a bit, and the closer it gets, the redder Nedox's bracelet gets, yet when it moves away it turns blue."

"H-how do you know about my bracelet?"

"With how much you've been staring at it, its not too hard to assume its a Formidable Opponent Echolocation device..."

"A what now?" Violet stared at the bracelet confusion clear on her face.

"A Formidable Opponent Echolocation device, or as is more commonly called, a FOE detector. The magic in it is quite simple, it senses the strength of monsters in the area, and changes to red the closer it is. I assume similar magic was used on this map if its visible to us..."

"So... with this map, and the FOE detector, getting to the ore should be a piece of cake!" Lux smiled triumphantly as he poured some stew in a bowl he pulled from his bag. "But for now, I say we eat, I'm starving..." As he took a bite of the stew, the sounds of everyone's stomachs filled the air, "...and I guess you guys are too!"

With that, everyone grabbed some stew and began to eat, albeit some with more enthusiasm than others.

***

"Alright, quick behind the trees!"

The sound of rustling foliage filled the air as the giant baboon waltzed through the area. Everyone was in hiding, holding their breath, waiting, hoping, that they went by undetected. Lux was staring at the map, keeping an eye on just where the ape was. As soon as he saw it pass them he began pointing forwards. Without wasting any time, they all began running. As they ran Nedox kept a close eye on his FOE detector, and then stopped running once it turned blue.

"I can't believe we're okay..."

"Don't be so shocked Neddy, it all went according to our plan right?" Lux smirked as he walked. "And according to the map, we should be getting quite neaaaaaaah!"

With a splash Lux fell into a stream. He looked up at the others who were all chuckling. He smiled as he splashed water onto them and then stood up in the shallow waters. "So this can only mean one thing, the ore should be somewhere around here..."

Lux began to look around, only for Melody to point towards a shining spot in a large stone nearby. "Remember what the ore is called, iridescent, meaning it gives off light. I'm willing to bet its that over there."

"I wouldn't bet against her," Lief inspected the glowing area and felt the rock, "This is indeed what we're after. A pretty decent amount too."

"Step aside..." Nedox drew his sword, and was about to strike at it when Violet stepped in the way.

"Leave this to me!" She held her mace over her head and brought it down with a mighty swing. The stone cracked, and Violet was about to strike again before Lief held up his hand.

"That's enough, any more and we risk damaging the ore. Besides... with one good... tug..." Pulling with all his might he managed to yank a chunk of the ore out of the stone. The sun's light playfully reflected off of it as the group looked it over. Lux's eyes followed the lights, coming to a stop on something else that was reflecting light near the stone.

"The heck is this?" Lux picked up the object and looked it over. It was some kind of locket. He was about to open it when Lief called out to him.

"You shouldn't pry into other people's possessions. I say we leave it here and the owner will come back eventually."

"That sounds like a good plan." A familiar voice got the group's attention. Whirlwind was walking towards the group, the laid back expression on his face. "That locket belongs to me. I'd appreciate it if you didn't take a peek."

He snatched it from Lux's hand and was quick to tuck it away.

"Thanks for finding it, and it looks like you found what you were looking for." He pointed over to some of the ore which was still in the large stone. "People thought this place was all out of ore until I found some more while exploring here."

"Wait, it was you who started the rumor? Why didn't you inform the count!?" Melody glared at Whirlwind, who didn't seem to mind.

"I wasn't sure how much there was so I came back to investigate further, but was unable to head back when I realized my locket was gone. Now that you confirmed my findings, why don't I show you a quick way back to Tharsis before more baboons show up?"

"Wait, more baboons?"

"This area is actually deep in their territory, its kind of a miracle you didn't find any here. Last time there were a good three wandering around h-"

Whirlwind stopped talking as a rustling in the nearby bushes got his attention. He motioned for the group to follow him, and they all complied. He led them to a spot near a large stone wall. He moved some vines out of the way, revealing a crevice.

"If we go through here then head straight, we can make it all the way back to Tharsis, you all ready to head back?"

Silently they each stepped through the crevice and began to make their way back home. Lux was the only one to speak as they walked.

"Whirlwind, thanks for the map. It really helped us out."

"No problem, you can keep it if you want. That map has more tricks which might come in handy later." He gave a knowing smile.

"Just one question... why did you give it to us?"

"Oh, I just had a feeling. A feeling that you would be capable of doing great things..."

Whirlwind took off ahead of the group, and Lux thought about his words. Capable of great things...He couldn't let him down, he had to be the one to find Yggdrasil, no matter what.
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Re: Tree of Life

Post by Orcapon on 13th November 2016, 12:56 am

Chapter 3:
Chapter 3: Birth of a Guild

"Wow! Yous got all this stuff from da mine?"

Wynne was looking over the items Lief had presented her. Lux was confused as to what kind of value they could hold. They were just parts from the monsters they had defeated, mosty grasseater legs.

"Yeah, and we're willing to part with it if you have the entals."

"How does this sound?"

Wynne placed a couple coins on the counter and Lief shook his head. She placed a couple more coins on the table, and Lux watched as Lief turned her down once more. Just how much was this stuff worth?

After a few minutes Lief finally accepted Wynne's offer, and she snatched up everything they had offered.

"Man, if we could get that much from just some grasseater parts imagine what this is worth." Lux had pulled out the iridecent ore and was looking it over, the sun's light reflecting all over the shop. Wynne's eyes lit up upon seeing it and she began to pull out more entals.

"Oh! Sorry Wynne, it's not for sale. Lux was just about to put it away so that we wouldn't lose it on the way to the Grand Court, weren't you Lux?"

Upon hearing Melody's words Lux was quick to store the ore and apologize to Wynne. She looked disappointed, Lux couldn't hold back and began to talk, "Don't worry Wynne, there's plenty more at the mines, I'm sure we can go get some for you lat-"

"The hell are you doing?! Don't rope us into having to go back there! We got lucky to only find one giant baboon!"

"Ah! Sorry Melody, I just wasn't thinking..."

"Don't worry guys, if you're right and there's more ore then some other guild will bring me some later." Wynne's smile showed her confidence as she returned to storing the grasseater parts. The group decided they wanted to leave before seeing what she would use them for. Sometimes one was better off not knowing.

***

"Wow, you really did it!"

The count was looking over the ore with a loupe. He smiled as he pulled out a small bowl and some papers. He began ripping up the papers and tossing them into the bowl.

"Melody, be a dear and light this would you?"

Everyone looked at Melody, curious as to what the count was planning. Melody shrugged at them as she pulled out her staff and drew a small rune in the air. A fireball flew into the bowl, lighting the paper ablaze. The count smiled and placed the ore in the fire. Some ligher smoke began to come out of the bowl and the count smiled.

"It's the real deal alright. Would you care to put the fire out? I'd hate for you to have to return to the mines so soon."

Melody made another rune in the air and this time a small amount of ice formed above the fire, quickly melting and then putting it out. Once the fire was out, the count pulled out the ore and handed it over to Lux.

"I promised you another reward for having obtained the ore. I will prepare it immediately, but before you receive it, perhaps you should form your guild?"

"F-form a guild?"

"Or would you much rather join one? You seem to have already made quite a team."

He pointed at Violet, Lief, and Nedox who were all waiting, some more patiently than others, for the meeting to end. Lux looked at them and smiled.

"Would you guys like to join my guild?"

"Eh, you look like you could use the help." Lief smirked as he stepped over to Lux.

"I still owe you for the trouble I caused you." Nedox sheepishly walked next to Lief and gave the landsknecht a glare.

"You'll need someone to patch you up!" Violet ran over to the group and put and around Lief and Nedox.

"Guess I really am making my own guild."

"Excellent! I'll need you to head over to the guild center and register there. I'm sure you'll do a great job!"

"Thanks!"

"Yeah, I'm sure you guys will do great out there, now go knock em dead!" Melody smiled as the group began to walk out.

"Melody, I have an assignment for you."

"Yes sir?"

"I want you to accompany them."

"Wha- Why?!"

"I spoke with Whirlwind earlier. He thinks they have what it takes, and if they find anything that could lead us to Yggdrasil, I want you to be there to report it back to me, think you can do that?"

Melody looked at the count and grumbled out, "Fine, I'll go, but I won't like it..."

As Melody went after the group, the count smiled to himself and looked over to his dog which had been sitting in the corner the whole time.

"What do you think?"

"Arf!"

"Yeah, I'm sure this is exactly what she needs."

***

The group stood staring at the man in charge of the guild center. He seemed so full of energy despite his age.

"What the hell are you doing here?!"

His harsh voice snapped Lux back to attention. "U-uh, we'd like to register a guild?"

"Was that a question?!"

"No sir! I'd like to register a guild!"

"Ahaha! Then you should speak up kid! Leave no doubt as to what you want, that's the explorer's code!"

The man ran around the large room looking for something. The large room had white walls, but was mostly windows looking outside. After a few minutes of searching he stopped and handed a paper to Lux.

"Fill it out and then get it back to me... Now I know I had a few extra medallions somewhere..."

Lux looked at the form and began filling it in. Leader, Lux, members, well, he had Lief, Nedox, Violet and Melody. Base? Now what could he put for that? Then there was a section for a ship, and then the toughest of all, the name. Lux decided he'd focus on that and mulled over it.

He would write something on the page and then show it to the others who would shake their heads. He'd then erase it and try again, and again... and again. When the guildmaster returned he looked at their form and frowned.

"Honestly, you don't have a name yet? Listen, I don't have time to wait around for this, there are some newbies out there that need training. Why don't I just take that as is and you can add a name once you get something you like?"

Lux nodded before the guildmaster handed a small coin to each of them.

"These tokens are evidence that you are a guild stationed at Tharsis. You can use these to identify yourselves while out and about, though I doubt most people would give you much trouble anyway."

"Th-thanks.."

"What did I say earlier?!"

"Thank you sir!"

"That's more like it, now get out of here!"

***

"Why are we back here again?"

Lux looked around the Dancing Peacock nervously, though he wasn't interested in the layout of the room like before. Instead he was looking for someone.

"We have a squad of five now, and we're a guild too! We don't need more p-"

"You really must be new at this..." Nedox was leaning against a wall smirking. "Think about it, if this place is the meeting ground for plenty of explorers then..."

"Oh I know!" Violet swerved around in her seat at the bar and smiled at the others. "It means that people who have requests should be here too!"

"Not bad Violet."

"Thanks, though I only new that since I was one of those to request things."

"Either way, we should start looking for a client. If we can't get the entals, then we can't fund our explorations." Lief was looking at a bulletin board covered in requests. He was frowning as he read them aloud.

"Find a lost cat, do some weeding, paint my roof? The heck are these requests?"

"If you are looking for more... interesting requests, then you are sadly out of luck. A group of explorers just took the last one."

Kirtida smiled at the group as she cleaned out a cup. "The only quests left are small fry like that. Its late, why not return in the morning? Perhaps then we'll have something more to your liking?"

"Guess it is late... Alright, I'm heading back to the court, see ya in the morning!" Melody waved to the group as she left the bar.

"Yeah, think I will hit the hay. Where are all of you staying at?" Violet stretched as she got up.

"The Saehrimnir Inn, best place in town if you ask me." Lief continued to look over the requests as he spoke.

"Same with me."

"And me too! What about you Lux?"

"I... kinda don't have a place to stay..."

"Then just follow us to the inn. If we're all there then we'll be able to head out earlier." Nedox smiled as he motioned for the others to follow him. "Trust me, once you try Dalla's food you'll be glad you came."

***

"Welcome everyone! Hope you had a great day!" The woman smiled at the group as she carried a large steaming pot.

"It was an interesting day Dalla, and I found out these cool guys were staying at the inn too!" Violet beamed as she began to describe how the day had been. Then she got to the part about how Lux needed a place to stay.

"Hmmm, well I do have a room open, why don't you take it? And seeing as this is your first night in town, I'll even give you a special discount!"

"W-well since you're offering, sure!"

"Then it's settled! Now could everyone please come to the dinner room, I'm sure you're all starving!"

Dalla led the group to a large table where a small group already sat eating. "I'm quite glad to see that you'll actually be eating with the rest of us. Normally Lief just grabs some food and runs out while Nedox eats alone in his room."

"I'm usually busy working on a request at night, so no time to sit around eating."

"And I normally require some peace and quiet..."

The two looked at the boisterous scene before them. Claiming they were messy eaters was an understatement. Not to mention how loud they laughed, it was clear to see why Nedox didn't stay around much, though Violet seemed right at home with this group as she took her seat and pointed to three nearby empty spots. They each took a seat as Dalla served some stew.

"I hope you don't mind stew, haven't had many good ingredients in the market as of late."

"Don't worry Dalla, you cooking is always great!"

Dalla blushed as Lux took a spoonful. He smiled as he looked up to her, "She's right, this is much better than what we had earlier!"

"Oh, you're just trying to butter me up so I keep giving you a discount right?"

"N-no, I really mean it!"

"She's just joking around Lux, everyone knows Dalla is the best cook in Tharsis."

Lief was speaking between slurps of his soup. "So eat up, I'm sure Kirtida will have some good requests for us in the morning!"

***

"Who gave the request again?!"

The group stood around Kirtida as she held out a request for the group. They had enjoyed a great night's rest, and had arrived at the bar first thing in the morning. They had found a seemingly simple request but the person who submitted it had left them confused.

"I told you, the count requested it. He does run the town so it makes sense that he'd want some kapok trees. They are quite useful."

Even with the explanation they read the request over again. It was a simple one, find a grove of kapok trees.

"Why would he need to put in a request though? Doesn't he have an army for this sort of thing?" Lux tapped his thought as he considered what could possibly be going on with this request.

"The army is usually busy, ya know, protecting the town from monsters. They don't have time to go wandering around looking for trees." Melody sat at the bar eating her breakfast. While the others had eaten at the inn, she had been sent by the count to drop off the request. "Besides, I'm fairly sure he expected us to take it."

"Though if that's the case, then how does he expect us to traverse the land?"

"Oh, before I forget, the count said that the second half of our reward is ready at the cargowarf. He probably had something flown in for us." Melody was staring up at the ceiling as she contemplated what the reward could possibly be.

"In that case, Kirtida, we'll take the request. We'll figure out the details later, for now I say we pick up the reward and check it out."

***

The cargowarf was a massive area, full of large hangars which housed airships which had just arrived from wherever it was that the crew had taken it. Lux was amazed by the sight of them. He had a goofy grin on his face each time he saw one land, or take off.

"Never seen an airship before have you?" Lief tried to hold back a chuckle as he watched Lux. "I remember my first time seeing them. You don't really see much of them anywhere but here. Wonder why that is..."

"The answer is in this." A redheaded man walked up to the group smiling. He was holding a chunk of shining ore. "Iridecent ore when heated up enough creates a nice amount of a special lighter than air gas. We use it to fill up the large balloons above the airships, letting them reach some great heights despite the weight. You can't find this stuff in too many places, thus, airships are limited to around here."

"T-that was right, but who are you?" Melody glared at the man.

"The name's Ciaran, I'm in charge of this place. You must be the guild the count told me about. He said to look for someone wearing some nice goggles." He pointed at the goggles Lux wore and then to a similar pair that was on his head. "Anyway, if you'll follow me, your reward is in here."

He led them into one of the large hangars and motioned towards a docked airship.

"This here ship is for you guys. The count said you had plenty of ore to fly it for a while so go ahead and take her for a spin. If you can sail a boat then you should be able to handle her."

The group stood there staring at the ship.

"W-why would he give us an airship? All we did was get some ore..."

"And even then, it's not much..."

"Either way, it's ours now... guess we know how we're going to search for the kapok trees now..."

Lux gulped as he climbed onto the airship. It was so similar to a boat. The only differences he could note were the balloon in place of the sail, and the large propeller in the back. He put his hands on the helm and then looked back at the others.

"So... any of you know how to sail a boat?"

"I've sailed a few vessels." Lief took the helm, and Lux walked over to what looked like a boiler under the balloon. He looked towards Ciaran for guidance. He made a motion as if putting something down and Lux realized what he meant. He pulled out the iridescent ore and put it inside. He stood there confused for a moment when Melody pushed him aside.

"Seriously, you can't figure this part out? We burn it!"

She made the same rune she had made before and a fireball shot into the boiler. As the balloon began the fill, the ship shake. Everyone grabbed onto a railing as the ship began to fly.

Lief looked at the various levers at his disposal and tried to think about what to do. Yes he had sailed ships before, but this was his first time with an airship. Ciaran smiled from the ground and began to shout. It was hard to hear him, the shouts of panic from the others drowning him out. Did he say lever?

Lief grabbed one of the levers near the helm and pushed it forwards, and a loud whirring filled the air. He looked back and saw the propeller was spinning now, and the ship moving forwards. He smiled as he tried to keep it steady, and as the ship left the hangar he looked towards the land beyond the town.

"So... where should we search first? ...Guys?"

Lief looked back and noticed what they were each doing. Melody was clinging to the railing for dear life, not budging one inch. Nedox was holding his hat as he inspected the ship. Violet was peering over the railing, letting out squeals of joy as they flew through the air. Lux, he was staring towards a mountain range, no, he was staring at what stood beyond it, Yggdrasil.

"I see... Well then, I guess if we're after some trees, a giant tree is the best place to start!"

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Re: Tree of Life

Post by Lief Katano on 13th November 2016, 11:02 am

Probably the only thing I'd recommend changing thus far would be adding some descriptors of who's speaking; while it's fine for most back-and-forth, sometimes it can get vague.


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Re: Tree of Life

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