July 4, 2009
Impet grinned over at Wrin, watching as the thief quickly retrieved her daggers and shuriken. Impet had turned to the path of a thief as well, but still held to her growing addiction to mana. She admired Wrin's adroit handling of the thrown blades. The speed of the flung shivs as they cut through first air then flesh reminded Impet of how fluidly fast she had once been able to cast herself.
Impet chanted the magical words again, enunciating slowly and carefully to call the healing magics, then settled herself to recover her strength. Wrin chuckled and sat down as well, though she didn't appear tired and wasn't injured. Impet watched Wrin tossing a dagger from hand to hand for a moment, then asked what the blade weighed. 'Too much', she thought to herself as Wrin answered. She already carried a set of clothing for fighting, another for her mana addiction, and a selection of tools, potions, and scrolls for when a moment called for an answer only these could provide. And if Impet was to throw weapons she'd want to have a lot to throw. A dozen at least, more likely a score. Extras would be wise as well, to replace when some were inevitably lost. So it wasn't possible, Impet simply couldn't carry enough to be worth throwing.
About a day later, excitement filled the land as heroes and lesser adventures alike gathered to consider, attempt, and attain ranks as explorers across the land. At first Impet stayed back from the areas attracting most of this attention, until a clanmate's call drew her to one of the less challenging areas. She wasn't very certain about achieving the objectives and was more there to assist her friend. Mostly Impet daydreamed between the fights her clanmate selected until a fairy attempting to block their path happened to strike Impet with an unusual little dagger.
The knife didn't hurt much, but Impet thought about Wrin the Wren hurling blade after blade and examined the tiny dagger after the fight. She was thrilled to realize, as she balanced the knife across a finger, that it was far lighter then the ones Wrin threw - light enough that Impet actually could carry twenty or more without much inconvenience. And she was a lot stronger then the diminutive fairy, perhaps she could hurl it with more force as well. Impet spent a while gathering up more of the blades, then stuffed them untested into a satchel. Casting remained more alluring.
A few more days passed, spent mostly in Fflewddur's shadow. The warrior was very tough and quite patient with Impet's desire to pretend she was still a cleric, just a slowly casting one. He also passed equipment to her, encouraging her to consider her potential strength in melee combat, as he had done when she had lived as a warrior-cleric. Fflewddur traveled with Impet from town to castle, from forest to dungeon across the length of the world, meeting the exploring objectives within most of the places they visited easily and quickly.
Then Fflewddur led them to the Mellorian Citadel, an island fiefdom which seemed raided by pirates every time anyone checked to see if there were any problems there. For achievement as an explorer here, the goals were straightforward enough, if truly massive - to defeat the captain of each of the fifteen pirate groups which had been known to raid the Citadel within the time allowed. Fflewddur warned that they had an excellent chance to fail this, as there was no guarantee that each Captain would be raiding the island within the time they had for fighting. If any of these groups were away harassing serpent hunters near Sea's End or trying to steal the ships docked near Derah, it wouldn't matter how many times the two worked to defeat the others raiding here.
For their first effort in the service of the Citadel, Impet dressed as a cleric and Fflewddur started each fight with a toss of weapons between his hands and a stab. Pirate after pirate fell but a great many remained and Impet was growing very tired. There is precious little time to rest during a pirate invasion so Impet slipped behind a tapestry and clothed herself for hand to hand fighting.
As Fflewddur stabbed the next pirate, Impet hurled her first dagger. And a second, followed ever so rapidly by a third. She was good at this, Impet realized, and she'd never realized. The speed and grace of the blades leaving her hands touched the same parts of her that had delighted as a cleric casting fluidly spells. After the fight she gathered the blades and strode off behind Fflewddur, impressed that she wasn't tired at all.
As the next pirate died, Fflewddur teased Impet that their enemy was hurling her thrown blades back at him, then he suggested why not she stab them as well? He'd prefer not to juggle his weapons, and as a thief her stab could be as strong as his even though she was neither a hero nor as well dressed. Impet laughed as she agreed to try, and as simply as that the pace of their mission, and how she thought of herself changed.
She was dangerous stabbing with that knife, and Fflewddur a stronger warrior when just using his sword. Sometimes a pirate died so swiftly Impet was still catching her balance as Fflewddur guided them behind the next invader. One invasion after another, the two worked their way towards completing the lengthy objectives to be considered explorers of the Mellorian Citadel.
And Impet was incredibly happy. To stab, catch her balance, occasionally fling a few blades at the dying enemy... Lost in the surge of combat within the Citadel, Impet eventually realized she wasn't missing casting. This was enough - this was even better. She wasn't a maimed, slowly-casting cleric, Impet truly was a thief.
She shared these observations with Fflewddur as they waited for word of the next invasion, laughing with him as she spoke of her gratitude at how he had guided her from her mana addiction. He turned to scan the bay with a telescope as she stood relaxed and utterly ready beside him, stabbing knife and throwing blades held comfortably in each hand, feeling not even a trace of urge to cast at their enemies to come. Excitement flooded through her as the panicked shouts rose from the Citadel's lookouts warned of yet another invasion. Silently she followed Fflewddur towards the enemy Captain, every fiber of her awareness coiled and ready to stab.
The Citadel Baron shouts, 'All men to arms! The Citadel is about to be attacked by Versette Bilon, the undead Pirate Captain of the Deep Sea! Riches to the man who brings me the head of Versette Bilon, the undead Pirate Captain of the Deep Sea!'.