Awakening | Act 1, Chapter ?: Playing Cards |

I’m back. Next chapter today or tomorrow if I get it done, and I’ll be releasing the character profile document later today.

The empty vessels the day before, were now housed with life. Eight wizards that had escaped with their lives, and left their mark on a tattered wasteland. The first caravel carried the fighters, as a dozen loaded the second with boxes of goods, marked for trade and for use. Filled with weapons, food, and all sorts of equipment fit for adventure and future dangers. A bright beaming morning sun was cast upon all of them, and the fresh air of a new peaceful day blew through everyone’s hair.
People scurried about, dealing with tasks of their own, ordering and following each other in grand harmony. “Sucks that we have to leave this place.” said Joyce, as she leaned on the railing of the deck, gazing at the crowds of moving people and boxes. Her wavy hair blew harshly against the ocean breeze, getting caught up in her face. “We can’t stay forever after all. Lance is probably pissed off right now, and plus we’ve already done enough damage to this place.” replied Julius, appearing behind her. He took his place beside Joyce, leaning on the railing as well. He quickly glanced at Joyce’s voluptuous figure. The lack of armor made her outlines all the more visible. Joyce glanced over at him and pouted. She raised her hand to slap him, but let go with a light sigh. “We never even got to do much.” Julius responded back with a questioning look. “What? Did I say something wrong?” complained Joyce. Julius stepped up and pressed a finger to her nose. “You’re forgetting one thing!” Joyce pushed his finger aside and placed her own on his nose. “Oh yeah? And what might that be?”

“The fact that Kaladin, Jin and Asura literally destroyed a huge portion of the Underground Oasis, I somehow managed to destroy several buildings, Vega and Scarlett took some buildings out too.” The two locked heads as the spark between them intensified. “So? It’s just some buildings!”
“Buildings that people lived in! Shit that people owned and sold! We destroyed them! That’s what we did stupid!”
“I’m talking about fun stuff! Like shopping, checking out the area and, and,” Joyce stammered.
“That doesn’t matter if we get caught in a fight to the death!”
“Did you stare at my boobs while we were fighting to the death?”
“That’s not important right now!”
“Uh, it sure is!”

The two of them growled and continued to bicker, refuting each other’s arguments before eventually bursting into a catfight. A fiery presence stepped out from below deck with a smile and a laugh. “I wish the Gods were still alive, so I could pray to them that you two would stop being at each other’s throats for at least one day.” said Vega. Joyce and Julius immediately stopped their fighting, and let go of each other. “I’ve finished cleaning below deck. You guys are free to just chill down there once we’re off.” chuckled Vega, still amused by Joyce and Julius. “Thanks man. Are you sure you’re still okay with your injuries?” Vega rolled his shoulders back and twisted his hips. “That one night’s rest was enough for me. I’m practically ready for the next battle!” He manifested a magic circle, and fired a fireball into the air.

It retained the size and power of a true fire mage. Always burning hot and bright. “Sweet! All we gotta do is wait for the others to come.” Joyce groaned and plopped down on the wooden planks. “That’s going to take foreverrr!” Julius grabbed her hand and pulled her back up. “I’m sure it won’t take long. They left to gather supplies just ten minutes ago. Once they get back from their long-ass trip, we can say bye bye to Aisha and Akshan and we’re finally off this stupid island!” “And I thought you liked Aisha.” added Vega. “Still do! But,” Julius turned towards Vega. “As you said yourself, there’s plenty of journeys that await for us beyond the horizon!” Vega remembered that day. It hadn’t even been a month yet since their adventure had started. It was those words that prompted them all to agree to setting sail in the first place. Vega smiled back at Julius. “Better start working your ass off then. I’ll be off to the blacksmith!” He sneered back and shot out a mild fireball towards him. Caught off guard, Julius took the hit directly and was sent flying into the sea. Joyce rushed to his aid as the commotion took the surrounding gazes off Vega, letting him disappear to the busy streets.

Elsewhere on the Oasis…

Color was rampant among the marketplace. Just days after death, came rebirth and new life as townspeople and members of the militia assisted in rebuilding structures and shops. Kaladin gazed at the large signs that were hung up, and the repetitive messages of “OPENING SOON.” spelt out in front of every vendor. “So this is probably the closest thing we would’ve experienced if we came here on any other day,” said Scarlett. She walked close by Kaladin and Jin, making sure Kaladin remained in the middle of the pack. “Well we did kind of experience it when we landed,” said Kaladin. “Yeah, for like a second.” Jin said scornfully. The two had already put up with Jin’s depressive aura for several minutes. Perhaps he’s still hung up on last night. thought Scarlett. “Rough night Jin?” she asked.

Jin turned around to face her. The timid concerned look sliced through the other faces and dust among them. Scarlett was a gem. Always someone who stood out brightly amongst others. He simply nodded at her. I’m sure you already know how I feel right now. Even with no magic… no, that doesn’t even matter. You’re just perfect. Jin blushed lightly, before picking up the pace. The two followed him as he made twists and turns. All of them quickly eyed for an open vendor, looking for any sort of supplies they could nab before their trip home. Kaladin’s eye drifted to the right. A particular symbol caught his eye. He stopped all movement immediately, and Scarlett crashed into him. His eyes were still fixated on the symbol. Jin doubled back, just as curious to Kaladin’s discovery.

A loose door, entrance to a sandstone building, marked with dark green paint that took the form of a castle wall. Kaladin cast a magic circle. Scarlett gasped at the sight. The symbol on the door, and on the center of his magic circle were a perfect match. Kaladin pushed forward. The door creaked open, as the three of them awaited the contents inside.

A sea of dust and sand greeted them. Not even a splinter of wood remained buried in the sand. Kaladin immediately stormed out. “Sorry for wasting our time. Let’s just keep looking for a vendor. I’m starving.” Jin and Scarlett followed him with no words to say. They walked across the streets in a horizontal line, rather than single file. They continued to walk straight, exposed to the variety of people and culture. It was refreshing and immediately took their minds off the blank discovery.

Scarlett caught a whiff of the pungent scent of meats hanging on a rack. The shaking of salts and a burning fire. “Around the corner guys!” she shouted. They picked up speed, turning left. Scarlett’s senses proved themselves correct. A newly rebuilt meat vendor had already begun taking orders, and the three of them would waste no time to get their feast.

1 hour later…

Sigh. “It’s so boring just waiting for everybody!” Joyce popped to the ground and rolled across the deck. “Too bad Joyce. We gotta be patient” replied Julius. “Pfft. Says you.” pouted Joyce. She rolled across the length of the deck twice whilst speaking. Their complaints settled into silence, and both of them felt a strain of awkwardness between them. “So, Julius.” began Joyce. “Hmm?” Julius looked over his shoulder, eyeing Joyce laying on her stomach. “What are we going to do after?”
“After what?’ He nonchalantly replied, not even batting an eye to her.
“After we leave you idiot!”

Julius paused for a moment, before turning to face Joyce. He placed his arm on his nape, and smiled with guilt at her typical ‘angry’ face. “Well, we still have training with Lance right? He promised us a full two months. We’ve hardly even reached halfway. After that, I guess wherever Lance takes us next, but if not then,” Joyce looked up towards him. He seemed dreamy and hopeful as he gazed towards the flock of people working around the clock on repairs and cargo deliveries. “Maybe we could adventure some more, and after that I guess settle down, and find some purpose in our lives?”
“Wow Julius. That’s probably the most philosophical thing you’ve said in your whole stupid life.”

Julius stared blankly at Joyce, before the two burst out into laughter.
“What’s going on here Marie?” said a womanly voice. Joyce bounced up and shoved Julius away from her. “Hey sis!” Joyce immediately eyed the stack of meats wrapped up in tropical leaves. “Ooooh! Give me some!” She dashed off like a wild boar off the caravel, and straight towards her on the docks. Scarlett stopped her charge with just the palm of her hand. Not budging a bit. Joyce squirmed around and pouted. “Hmph!” Scarlett laughed aloud. “Don’t worry Marie. We’ll all be getting our share once we set sail.”

“Yeah speaking of which, where are the others?” asked Julius, getting up and rubbing his head. He hopped off the caravel and made his way towards the returning trio. “They should be here shortly” replied Jin. “Asura left a while ago to get some supplies from Aisha, and Kaleigh should be returning from the blacksmith. Honestly, I thought they’d be here before us.”
“Yeah. It’s rather strange isn’t it?” The five of them boarded the caravel and took their seats. Julius manifested a deck of cards from his leather pocket. “Where’d you get that from?” asked Kaleigh. “Don’t worry about it. Let’s play.”

“Hey guys we’re back!” shouted a friendly voice from afar. The sound of trotting boots differed from the walking pace of the working crowd. Vega, Kaleigh and Asura made their way to the dock. Everyone turned their heads over to face their direction. Scarlett and Jin hopped off the caravel, while Julius continued to hand out cards “Alright. Scarlett, Jin I’ll need your help here.” spoke Asura, as he unstacked a pile of wooden crates. Inside the containers were all sorts of brightly colored tinctures and concoctions stored in vials and beakers. “Carry them slowly and just store them below deck by the stern.” directed Asura, as he carried two boxes of potions with him, leaving two for both Scarlett and Jin to carry each.

Scarlett stacked the boxes and picked them up with ease. She looked over at Jin, struggling to lift up his stack. “Here I’ll take one.” offered Scarlett. She set her own stack down, and placed one of Jin’s on her own. “I didn’t ask for y-” Jin paused. “I mean, thanks for the help. Are you sure you’re good?” Scarlett lifted her three boxes with almost no struggle. I guess that answers it. Jin told himself. He picked up his singular crate and caught up with Scarlett. “Hey Scarlett, I’m really sorry about the other night. I shouldn’t have said that. It wasn’t your fault that Vega was gravely injured.” said Jin, switching his glances from her to the floor periodically.“Jin, please. You don’t need to apologize to me like that. It’s not like you to just be so heartfelt all of a sudden.” she started to laugh, nearly losing her balance. Jin immediately dropped his crate and stepped in behind her. “I’m alright! Thanks for being there.” They picked up their crates and continued walking.

“To finish on what I said earlier, I don’t want to accept your apology.” stated Scarlett. “What? Why not?” questioned Jin. He tightened his grip and pressed harder on the ground with each step.“Since you’re right.” A gust of ocean breeze blew between them. “It’s no lie that Vega’s injuries were indirectly caused by me.” Scarlett slowed down her pace, inviting Jin to listen. Jin slowed down as well. “If I was a bit stronger I could’ve held back the Quartermaster, and he never would’ve had to expend so much magic energy on his mode spell. Fuck. Maybe if I was even born with a magic, I could have done so much more.” Scarlett paused as she propelled herself up on top of the caravel. Jin quickly followed behind her, and the two set down the crates below deck. “Whew! That was tough work. We’re all done Asura!” shouted Scarlett. “Thanks! Julius stop trying to cheat and deal the cards properly!” shouted Asura from above. Scarlett and Jin both giggled.

“Since I don’t have a magic, I know I’m the weakest here.” continued Scarlett. She bent over and clasped her hands behind her back. She looked at Jin endearingly, her eyes shimmering from the faint light that passed from the small hatch leading into the lower deck.

“I promise to work hard, so please protect me and help me until I’m stronger. Please?” Scarlett extended out her arm to him. Jin took a step back. He was stunned at her gesture, and felt frozen in place, yet warm and cozy. He slowly put up his arm, and reached out towards her. Scarlett grabbed his hand, and shook it herself with the most shining painful smile he’d ever seen. She laughed and walked forward. Jin extended his arms to wrap them around her, but Scarlett instead walked straight pass him, and headed up the deck. Shit! What am I doing? Why did I just try to hug her? He slapped himself, and pressed his palms to his temples. She was kinda cute… “Hey Jin! Are you still down there?” A pair of boots walked down the steps to the lower deck. Julius grabbed Jin by the collar, and dragged him up. “Hey! Julius! What are you-” Jin found himself on the upper deck, and Julius began tossing him cards. “Finally, we’ll be able to play!”
While the others got caught up in their own activities, Vega and Kaleigh hauled the pieces of newly repaired armor and gear towards the caravel. “You really didn’t have to help you know,” said Kaleigh. He lifted up heavy pauldrons and knee guards made of an arcanium alloy and tagged behind Vega as they stepped onto the dock and made their way towards the caravel. “Well I had nothing better to do. Plus everyone else had already accompanied each other with a task so might as well right?” replied Vega. “Right… Hey Vega, I have an odd question for you,” Kaleigh said hesitantly. “Dude, just fire away.” insisted Vega with a balanced tone. He made sure not to come off as annoyed. “O-okay. S-so. What do we do after this?” stammered Kaleigh.

“After we return back to the training island?”
“Well, yes.” Kaleigh’s eyes lit up in surprise, as if he’d awakened a new skill. It was mysterious to him how easy it truly was to ask a question without a straightforward answer. He awaited Vega’s response, as he pondered while they continued walking.
“Alright I got my answer. So of course, we’ll still be training with Lance. We still have a couple more weeks to go after we do our final test. Afterwards, I want to explore. I want to see what other islands and people are out there.”
“I like that answer. But won’t we be caught up between the warring kingdoms? I wouldn’t want to run into a Gladiator mid-adventure.”
“Me neither. But that’s why we’re training right? So we can grow stronger. Who knows. Maybe along the way we’ll uncover some cool hidden mystery that will power us up.” Vega spoke with a shifting tone, raising his voice higher and lower so as to not sound so mundane. It eased Kaleigh’s nerves.
“I want to get stronger so we can all be protected and safe. You guys are my first priority. I don’t have anything else” murmured Vega.
“Did you say something?” asked Kaleigh.
“Nope. Must’ve been the ocean breeze.”
“I guess so.”

At last, the group had finally reunited as the two hopped onto the caravel as the others were completely drawn into the game of cards Julius had rounded them up for. Kaleigh and Vega neatly set the armor pieces and clothing flat on the bow. “Hello? Are we invisible now?” shouted Vega. “Vega shut up! We’re playing! We’re just waiting for Vega and Kaleigh to-” replied Julius, before the stroke of realization hit him. “You fucking dumbass.” commented Joyce, accompanied by laughter from everyone else. All of them mutually paused the game, and went to equip their fresh sets.

“Woah. We look stunning.” said Scarlett. “You sure do, girl!” shouted a voice from below. Aisha stood alongside her brother, and they made their way up to the side of the caravel to greet all of them. Each of the wizards stood in a line side by side, facing Akshan and Aisha. “All of you warriors, you have my thanks. It is with great honor that I title all of you, Saviors of The Oasis. Traditionally we would host a ceremony, however I’m sure you can all understand the circumstances.” Akshan and Aisha bowed before them, and the wizards bowed back in return. Vega stepped forward. “I can’t thank you enough. I promise to find the source of all this. We’ll stop it together. Once we do so, I promise we’ll return.” Akshan smiled at him.

“Man what is Vega saying? Those were some cringe-worthy words right there” whispered Julius. Joyce elbowed him to his side, and he let out a yelp of pain. The wizards promptly returned back to their game area, and Vega took the wheel. Aisha swiftly moved around the dock to unhook the ropes. Scarlett widened the sails. The ocean breeze slowly set them going. They all stood at the stern, waving back towards Akshan and Aisha. All of them continued to wave, until the individuals on the dock were visible as just dots on the horizon.

Julius was the first to leave, as he promptly returned back to the area where cards were splattered onto the floor. “Finally! We can play now!” Everyone laughed and followed suit, and the game of cards continued.

4 Likes

cool but could use a couple more paragrgraphs

Could you elaborate?