15th of Silver Month, 843, on Cor Island under the Silver Moon
As the tavern door swung open, two figures jovially sprung forth from the small town pub, brimming with laughter and carrying along their final ales as they ventured into the coming morning. Both men, as was observed by the local bystanders, carried themselves exceptionally well, but were not of this island. The larger, stockier man was garbed in a sharply pressed green suit studded with medals, and a hat which would have suited a man twice his size. To all eyes most certainly a ship’s captain of some accomplishment. The other man, however, was a much more slender and lanky individual, with a flowing brown cloak and an unusual full length staff that glowed yellow at the crown. He did not seem to be of a familiar ilk from any one particular location. Nonetheless, they carried on merrily in conversation, as if they had been comrades for many years.
The bigger man laughed, “HAHA, oh yes. I have heard that they can be quite pesky suckers during this month. Ahh…well. I must say, Mr. Volcaire, it has been a most pleasurable honor escorting you these past two weeks. You have, much to my surprise, been the most entertaining guest I’ve had in a very long time.”
“Well I must say, Corat, that the pleasure was all mine. With all of the traveling that I do, inherent as it is with my line of work, it’s very nice to be able to trade the mundane comings and goings of the common vessels for a far more commanding and prestigious one, even if only for a short time.”
“Aye, yes, the West Wind is a fine ship, if I do say so myself. And, I know I’ve said it more than once Aurell, but I still can’t help but wonder what keeps you traveling so much. Even for a diplomat of your stature, I cannot imagine that you are in such constant need to be on the move as much as you have been, especially without some modicum periods of rest. You said it’s been years since you’ve had any roots.”
“Ahh…well in anyone else’s situation, I’d imagine you to be right about that…”
“But if I’ve learned anything about you in the past weeks”, Corat interrupted, waving his free hand, “yours is anything but the normal situation.”
“Hahaha. I get the hint, you’ve heard this before. Yes, you’d be mostly right. My adventures are fueled by far more than just my line of work. Although it does help,” admitted Aurell as he took another sip of his beer.
“You know I cannot deny my curiosity, my friend. So I’ll ask just this one more time before I let it go. What under the six moons, praytell, is driving this seemingly endless wandering? Certainly you could offer even a little hint of light to a new comrade, yes?”
“Mmm…well sir, suffice to say you know that my family… do you know of their history?”
“Well, we have always held tight to the knowledge that there is…shall we say, more out there of my lineage. Knowledge that is connected to us, but has for many generations been but a mystery. My family has, well, made sort of a business of seeking out answers to these mysteries, and others in a manner of speaking, in the hopes of unlocking that great knowledge. My parents spent their lives in this endeavor and it is my honor to continue to carry on in the quest.”
“A most noble cause if ever I heard one friend…although it has left me with more questions than answers in a way that only a true word smith can. Might I be so bold as to speculate that this has something to do with that?” Corat motioned toward Aurell’s staff in his left hand. “If I’m not mistaken that’s yellow moonstone embedded in it.” Corat chuckled, “A SHOCKingly fine piece if I do say.”
“You may, and indeed it does. And if it is acceptable by you, honorable captain, I shall leave it at that.”
“No problem at all my good man. I greatly admire your dedication and fervor.”
As the two man carried on with their discourse, they made their way down the streets of the modest town. A small trading community at the sole port on Cor, an island so small it does not appear on most maps, it holds little significance for most. The locals who call Cor their home were thus, understandably, not accustomed to seeing men of this stature, or character for that matter, wandering the streets. The two continued to the far end of town, headed for the lone ferry dock. It appeared lightly staffed and not an area designed for large volumes of traffic. The two gentlemen strolled straight up to the ticketing booth, still engaged in conversation.
“Are you certain that I cannot persuade you to accompany me on my vessel for a few more ports? There isn’t a need for you to dawdle in these measly ports for any longer than necessary.”
“Know that your offer is most graciously appreciated, captain, but as my journeys continue to carry me onward, I’m afraid that I must continue making my way forward to Tuxix.”
“Of course. It will be my honor as a finial gesture to see you off…” Corat paused, searching for the word, “honorably” he finally decided on. The finely decorated captain then turned to the ticket attendant behind the booth. “My good man, I would like to purchase one ticket for my friend here to gain passage to the next port.”
The young man behind the counter looked up and responded, “Of course sir. Just provide me with some background information so I can process the fare. Name?”
“Aurell Volcaire,” responded the mage.
“Very good, And yo…wait. Volcaire? As in Suten Volcaire?”
“Indeed, he was my father”
“You don’t say! I remember when they settled that dispute on the Chamber Colonies in northern Asido. That…could have lead to an uprising or…well who knows what without both your parents. You know, they even visited these parts before. I was just a small boy but I remember it well. He and Kitan were some of the most influential diplomats of their time if you ask me.”
“I thank you, good sir, for your kind and generous words on my family’s behalf.”
“My pleasure sir!” The attendant puffed up with pride at being thanked by Aurell. “Now just two more questions. Origin?”
“A little island, somewhere in the far reaches of the silver moon. Its name escapes me right now. It’s of no real consequence though. That place holds almost no significance to me, it was not ‘home’ for very much time. For that matter, no island has been ‘home’ for me in a long time.”
“Ah. Now, normally I’d think that an odd response but, given your family, it doesn’t actually seem all that strange. Desired destination?”
“The next port that will get me closer to Tuxix.”
“That’d be…Setters Reef on the Sten Line. Just give me a moment…and done! Here’s your ticket.”
“You have my thanks”
As Aurell took his ticket and began to walk away, the young man behind the counter snagged a dockman about to head out of the office,
“Hey, Jeck! Have a look at this! You know who that is? That’s old Suten Volcaire’s boy, that is!”
The dockman spun in place and glared at where the boy was pointing. The dockman then looked Aurell up and down, eyes darting all over in a hurried assessment of the person in front of him. After a few moments his flustered inspection ended, but his angry stare remained.
“That ain’t Volcaire’s brat,” the dockman finally responded, indignation clear in his tone. “No. Suten’s son’s the son-of-a-bitch what gave me this.”
At that Jeck rolled up his left sleeve to reveal a large scar covering the entirety of his upper arm. The ticket master winced at the sight of it. The damage was quite clearly the result of a severe burn.
“How DARE you speak to my comrade in such distasteful language!” Corat was bellowing out in protest. “It’s outrageous! How could you make such a claim? What’s the meaning of this Aurell? What do you make of………Aurell?”
Aurell was staring at the man’s horrible disfiguration, then looked down at the ground. With a sigh and a look of deep remorse he said, “He’s getting more reckless…and stronger too it seems.”
“Aurell? What does this mean?” inquired Corat.
Aurell looked to the dockman and, ignoring his friends’ question for a moment, asked, “Brunell. Is that the name of the man who did this to you?”
“YEAH! That’s ‘im! That’s ‘is name! You’ve heard of ‘im then?”
Sighing once more, Aurell responded, “He’s my brother.”
“Your brother?” Corat blurted out in surprise.
“Yes. Unfortunately this seems like his handiwork. He has had a certain proclivity for this kind of thing.”
Jeck, with disgust now evident in his voice, interjected, “To what? Ruinin’ the lives of simple workin’ folk just tryin’ ta make their way?”
Aurell decided to continue his explanation despite the dockman’s interruption. “My brother has had an extreme interest in the magicks associated with the red moon from the very beginning. So extreme that some might even call it unhealthy. Our parents wanted to expose us all to the various types of magic in the world and the knowledge that came with it. They taught us whenever they could, and had others teach us what they themselves did not know well. But once my brother discovered the “red magicks” he wanted nothing else. I would have encouraged such drive to master a magical path, and at first I did…but he was always a bit of a wild and outlandish boy. Over time he became increasingly reckless. You remember that dispute my parents settled in the Chamber Colonies that this young man mentioned?” Aurell motioned to the man behind the ticket counter. “Well the conflict was started by Brunell causing a stir. Flaunting his prowess and degrading the people of Asido at the same time. Eventually there were a number of others who took up his calling and it had almost come to fighting between the factions. And as hard as my parents and I tried, we could never find a way to reign him in. After my parents passed, he took the first opportunity he could to leave my sister and I behind. The last I saw of him was in Jen-Kal.”
Jeck’s eyes went wide, “Aye! That’s where he gave me this! Just outside a pub in Jen-Kal North! It was on the outskirts of town ya see so no one was going ta try an stop a man throwin’ fireballs!”
Aurell reached across the counter and gently placed a hand upon the dockman’s shoulder. “I am truly sorry for the suffering which my brother has caused you. It shames me and my family name. It has been a sore spot ever since the day we parted ways.”
Jeck shrugged Aurell’s hand off, quickly rolled his sleeve back down and headed out of the office saying, “Just try ta keep yur family in line, for the rest of our sakes, would ya?”
After a moment of stunned silence, Corat piped up “…Wow. I am sorry, my friend, for the misfortunes you have had.”
“It’s quite alright. To be honest, it hit my sister, Kristell, the hardest. She shared our parents’ dream of finding out what lay in our family’s history. And, also like our parents, she wanted the three of us to continue on together. When Brunell left, she and I continued on for a little over two months, but as time wore on she became disillusioned to the idea of maintaining our search. She thought that if we were not pursuing it together, as a family, then what good would it do?” Aurell paused for a moment, thinking back, “We parted ways, oh, must be about 4 years back now. She settled in one of the larger colonies under the silver moon north of here. We have managed to keep in touch sporadically. She has a nice life for herself now with a good husband and an infant daughter. Haven’t yet had the opportunity to meet my brother-in-law or niece, with my profession running me round the world. And while I’m in my wanderings I try to keep a lookout for my brother…or his exploits, in this case. Suffice to say…I’m rather used to it by now.”
“That’s quite the tale my friend.” Corat said as he looked at Aurell with sorrow plainly showing. “I do wish you the very best of luck in your endeavor and I hope you find all that you‘re searching for.”
Aurell laughs a little snicker of a laugh, “You probably don’t know this, but that’s the second part of an ancient ‘curse’ from the Gux. They say: ‘May you live in interesting times and find all you are searching for’. There is deeper meaning to it, and from what I know something is lost in translation.”
Corat stammers, “I’m sorry Aurell. I meant no offense, but that does not sound like a curse to me.”
At that moment, a blaring horn sounded from one of the ferries floating nearby. Some passengers that had been milling about began to move toward their chosen vessels as the engines came to life and began to loudly hum. Several sailors began helping people load luggage and cargo on board as they began preparations for departure.
“I do believe that is your cue, my friend”
“Indeed it is. Thank you for all of your kind words and wishes along with your assistance these last two weeks.”
Corat removed his large hat and gave a bow fit for court, “It has been my pleasure sir. I do hope we meet again someday.”
Corat straightened up and the two men exchanged a firm handshake. Aurell turned directly about and headed toward the ferry that would carry him one step closer to Tuxix and the next leg of his adventure. As he set foot on the boarding ramp, he heard William Corat calling out from behind him:
“You make sure to have a safe voyage now, ya’ hear?”
Aurell slowly turned to look at his new friend and a large grin spread across his face. After a moment he said, “It’s only a mundane ferry. [[A Wizards work is never done… | What could possibly happen]]?”