|Tales of the Ocean City
Author: awakendreamer PM
Coming from Lagaard, a zodiac will learn to conquer the labyrinth while at the same time not letting the revelations it brings wear her down. Joined by others in this endeavor, what will they find in Yggdrasil's depths? T for possible swearing later onRated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Adventure - Chapters: 4 - Words: 15,316 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 01-06-12 - Published: 08-17-11 - id: 7297302
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I suppose I might as well start this journal while I have time; besides, there is nothing else to do and it would be nice for someone to know what happened to the future guild should something happen to it. Anyway, me and someone else I met in Lagaard are heading to Armoroad, after hearing about yet another Labyrinth there. At this point, I'm really starting to wonder just how many there are; first one in Etria, then one in Lagaard, and now another in Armoroad? It just seems a bit odd, to me...someone must have made these Labyrinths too, since from what I can tell, they're all alive in some way.
Anyway, the other person with me appears to be from an eastern land; at least, her clothing suggests so. From what I can tell, she's a shogun, though she isn't talking to me all that much...I wonder what could have happened to make her so quiet? It's obvious she's been into Lagaard's Labyrinth, so that could be it...that place is full of horrors that some might not be able to handle. I get the feeling that's not why she's quiet though. Anyway, she and I met through the reputation of the guild I was in that was exploring the Lagaard Labyrinth.
Indomitable Heights was the name of my guild; I didn't go on a lot of explorations with them, but my guild was the one to conquer the Lagaard Labyrinth. I don't know exactly what went on down there on the bottommost depths of that place, but soon after getting to the depths of it, they left, or at least, the main members did that were still alive; they were heading to Armoroad. I, meanwhile, didn't know what to do; after all, Lagaard was where I had lived for the last few months...and I didn't think I could go back to my homeland. True, I hadn't lived that long; I still haven't lived that long, since I'm still a kid.
After a while, I came to the decision to follow after them; this wasn't too difficult. Despite my desire to adventure, I was still royalty; true, I wasn't at my home often at all, but it was still my home. I easily booked passage to Lagaard, and that was when I met Afia, the girl with me right now. She somehow recognized me as part of Indomitable Heights, and correctly guessed that I was heading to Armoroad now too. She didn't reveal much(in fact, she revealed nothing) about why she wanted to go to Armoroad, but she begged me to take her with me.
I don't know why, but I decide to do so; a gut feeling, I suppose. She's just as young as me, but like I mentioned earlier, something had to have happened in the Lagaard Labyrinth for her to be so quiet now. I would hazard to say that she's thinking, just as much as I am thinking right now. What exactly am I going to do once I'm in Armoroad? It's likely my former guild ventured into the Armoroad Labyrinth, which means if I want to find them, I'm going to have to do the same.
A zodiac sighed as she closed the book she had previously been writing in, and she cast a glance towards the other occupant of the room. The other occupant, a shogun, was just as young as the zodiac, about the age of 11 or 12, and unlike most other ronin or shoguns that the zodiac had seen, she had forgone the ponytail a lot of them sported and instead opted to just let her black hair hang down. As for her armor, it was obviously in an eastern-style, or at the least, eastern inspired, and the zodiac had the feeling that it was mostly for show; it did look rather ornate, after all.
The zodiac herself, meanwhile, also sported long hair, although her hair was straighter than the shogun's rather messy hair, but it was just as black. She had a yellow eye color, though it looked a lot more like gold than yellow, and she wore the usual attire of zodiacs; a dress with a yellow star in the top center of it, with the dress being silver in color. Her attire was simple, yet at the same time elegant; that was probably due to the tights the females wore. The mechanical rig that looked somewhat like wings that all zodiacs had was currently beside the bed the zodiac slept in during the sea journey, with the other device on her hair currently turned off. As for the book with a star on it that, again, all zodiacs had, that was also near the mechanical rig.
"Are you going to tell me yet why you want to go to Armoroad, Afia?" the zodiac questioned of the shogun, who was also currently writing in a book; the zodiac briefly wondered if the girl was doing the same thing she was before returning to the task at hand. "No, not yet, Murdia. If you need to know, I'll tell you." Afia responded to the zodiac known as Murdia, who let out a sigh at the response. Murdia hoped that, by the time they neared Armoroad, the girl would open up some more; there would have to be complete trust between the two of them if Murdia wanted Afia to join a new guild with her.
"Should have expected that answer," Murdia commented, before placing her journal down on the bed she had been sitting on and standing up, stretching just a little. "I think I'm going to go out on the deck for a little while before going down to the recreation room," Murdia told Afia, who merely nodded her head in response as she went back to her writing. After a moment, Murdia left the room, muttering something about the stubbornness of shoguns under her breath.
"Maybe the stars will reveal something," Murdia told herself as she went up on top, being greeted by the sight of experienced sailors, a seemingly endless ocean, and the night sky, glittering with stars. Murdia smiled just a bit at spotting the stars; they were, after all, the source of her power...and besides that, they were quite majestic and beautiful. Murdia chose a relatively lone place on the deck before closing her eyes and going into a sort of trance. Thankfully, no one bugged her while doing this; she had done it often on the journey.
"Silence is broken at a journey's end?" Murdia muttered to herself a moment later, opening her eyes and glancing up to the stars. "That's suspiciously obvious..." she muttered; to the soldiers that were watching her, it would seem like she was talking to the stars. I have the feeling that prophecy means more than just Afia opening up when we near Armoroad Murdia told herself as she stood up. A short time later, she was doing just as she had told Afia, heading down to the recreation room.
It seemed like forever, but within weeks, the ship the two were on were within sight of Armoroad; the sailors saying so was almost redundant since many people were already rushing to the deck to catch sight of the grand city. Despite the Calamity a century ago, the city was prospering now, probably due to all the commerce it was getting from adventurers coming and going, although most of them never left Armoroad for one reason or another. Murdia, throughout the entire journey, had been attempting to get Afia to tell her why she wanted to go to Armoroad anyway, and finally, it seemed like the shogun decided to speak.
"Since we're almost in Armoroad, are you going to tell me yet why you want to go there? I'd say it has something to do with something that happened in the Lagaard Labyrinth, but what?" Murdia questioned, frowning as she stared intently at Afia. Just as it seemed like their usual habits would occur, Afia did something different for once and put down her journal.
"It's simple, actually. My former guild ventured into the Labyrinth one day and never came out. Another guild later found the dead bodies of a majority of them, although one of them somehow escaped whatever had killed them. I wanted to get through the Lagaard Labyrinth for their sake, but then...well, your guild came along and did just that...so I decided the next best thing I could do was defeat a different Labyrinth in their name," Afia explained; Murdia could see it had taken a lot for the girl to say just that.
"But I can't do that on my own, and I didn't have any money to get a ride to Armoroad...so, well, that's why I asked you to take me with you, since you had been part of the guild that defeated the Lagaard Labyrinth." Afia went silent after that, staring at the ground for a while before noticing Murdia had moved; she was now sitting on the same bed as Afia, next to her, also staring towards the ground. "I think you can do it," Murdia finally settled on saying that, casting a glance to Afia. "You have a lot of inner strength...I don't have that. I'm just going to Armoroad to chase after my guild; I think I'm rather lost without them," she admitted, letting out a small smile, although to Afia, it seemed to be a bit of a sad smile.
"I think we should get through the Labyrinth here together." Murdia said, and after a moment, Afia nodded her head. "Yeah...I think we should too. Plus, along the way, we'll both achieve our goals." Afia replied, and Murdia also nodded her head. To seal the trust and friendship the two had just made, Murdia mustered up her courage and gave Afia a small hug before pulling away and returning to her own bed. Suffice it to say that was a bit of a surprise to Afia; she wasn't quite used to having friends or getting hugs; most shoguns were solitary people.
"Do you think your former guild is trying to conquer this labyrinth too?" Afia questioned of the zodiac who was just pulling out her journal. "Yeah, probably...I can't blame them either. These labyrinths are unnatural...they shouldn't exist," Murdia replied as she opened her journal. "Plus, they're just plain dangerous. Stupid adventurers easily get killed inside the labyrinths, no matter which one they venture into." Murdia added a moment later before going silent and beginning to write in her journal. Afia wondered whether she should speak more before deciding to go for it.
"You know, there is another reason why I decided to beg you, instead of other people at the docks," Afia said; at this, Murdia looked up from her journal in puzzlement, obviously wondering what this other reason was. "I'm a shogun, and as such, I ruled over people at one time, despite my young age. Thing is, I'm pretty sure I've seen you somewhere before, at some event between my people and people from a northern land," Afia explained, watching Murdia carefully. The girl was still looking at her, although her look of puzzlement was gone; instead, it looked to Afia as if she was trying to hide what she was thinking. "You were, or rather, are, a princess, aren't you?" Afia decided to ask.
"Yes, I am a princess, of Aeaea." Murdia admitted, before looking back to her journal, obviously not too keen to discuss the subject. "I take it you were sent to Lagaard to investigate what was going on there, due to the economy Lagaard provided Aeaea. I don't think they'd send you to Armoroad, since the trade route between the two has been severed for quite some time...don't you think they're gonna renounce your title as princess if you're going rogue like this?" Afia asked one last question. "You're right about everything you just said." was all Murdia said in response.
Finally got Afia to open up to me; apparently, she wants to conquer this labyrinth in the name of her last guild, who perished while exploring Lagaard's dungeon. She didn't have any money to get to Armoroad, hence why she begged me to take her along; she figured that since I had been a part of a famous guild, I had some money. While that is true, it isn't as much money as she probably thinks. Now she looks as if she isn't done talking, so I'll write a little more when she's done.
Well, she just got done talking; she's a lot smarter than I figured her to be, all things considered. She looks just as old as me, yet she's already managed to be in control of a country, or something similar? Granted, it was(or is) probably a small one, but still. Plus, she managed to figure out my heritage as princess of Aeaea; just my luck that one of the few events I attend happens to have had that girl at it.
Anyway, all of that aside, we should reach Armoroad within the week, at the most. This is a reassuring thought; if I spent more than another week on this ship, I think I'd be permanently sick. I might not show it, but I'm not one for prolonged travel at sea. Plus, there's an anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach and I don't know why...I think I should consult the stars about this.
Just finished consulting the stars...I still get the feeling that Afia thinks I'm weird for doing the trance needed to consult them. That doesn't really matter though; I might just be imagining it. Anyway, apparently I should "watch out for the little fanged one". Now what in the world is that supposed to mean? It seems so obvious, but at the same time, there's so many things it could be talking about...some sort of monster in the labyrinth, perhaps?
"Murdia...wake up; we're at Armoroad," was the voice that greeted the barely awake zodiac. A series of unintelligible noise came from Murdia before it looked like she went quiet again. The next instant, Murdia was aware that someone had just yanked her by her feet clean off of the bed. "Ow...what was that for?" Murdia grumbled to the exasperated shogun as she got up. "I had to wake you up; otherwise, the ship would have left port with the two of us still on it, and I don't think either of us would want that." Afia explained. Murdia knew the girl was right, but she still let out a sigh as they headed for the door.
Once up on deck, Murdia stopped for a moment to take in the sight of Armoroad. They had seen it before from a distance, true, but it was much more majestic and magnificent up close. In Murdia's opinion, it was almost more beautiful than the stars; she had a feeling that, at night, Armoroad's beauty was amplified even more. "Come on, come on, get a move on Murdia. The captain looks annoyed that we're just standing here." Afia said, poking Murdia in the back a little to get her moving. "Oh, um...right, sorry," Murdia replied before continuing to move towards the exit; it was at that moment that she caught sight of something small and white dart across the deck of the ship.
"Hold it...what was that thing?" Murdia asked, gesturing in the direction the thing had been. "What thing?" the captain asked, now within hearing range of the two young girls. "It was small and white...and it darted across the deck. That's all I saw..." Murdia explained; Afia seemed to think Murdia was imagining it while the captain believed her. "I've been getting reports from sailors on deck about the same thing...plus, rations keep mysteriously going missing. Some sort of animal probably snuck on board before we left Lagaard." He explained, before gesturing to the gangplank again, obviously waiting for them to get off so an actual search for the creature could be commenced.
It was at that exact time that Murdia saw the same thing, except this time it didn't dart across the deck; no...instead, it was walking straight towards her. Now that she could clearly see it, she saw it was a small, white kitten...and when it meowed towards the three of them, she could see rather sharp fangs on it. Watch out for the little fanged one...these prophecies ARE getting too obvious... Murdia told herself. "So...it was a cat terrorizing everyone...odd." Murdia commented before heading to the gangplank, trying her best to ignore the cat.
"I think it's following us, Murdia," Afia said to her as they attempted to leave. Murdia glanced back towards where the cat had been and could see that it indeed did appear to be following them. "I also think he's not gonna stop..." Afia added once they had crossed the gangplank. Again, it seemed Afia was right, since the small creature was still following them. "I suppose we have no choice but to take him with us then..." Murdia commented. The cat seemed to understand this and, with another meow, it followed closer to them as they walked along.
A short while later, the two humans and a cat found themselves inside of the Explorers Guild; from the outside, it looked like quite a big place, and inside, it was the same. It was also a very busy place; so much so that Murdia clung to Afia's arm so that the two of them didn't get themselves lost in the crowd. The reason it was so busy was because that guilds without a headquarters were provided one in the huge Explorers Guild; hence, people of different guilds were coming and going.
In the center of all this chaos was a large, tanned man talking to an apparently new group of adventurers. This man had strange taste in clothing, at least in Murdia's opinion; aside from his clothing, the only other distinctive thing about him was a scar that ran across his nose. The man finished speaking with the new group; at that point, Murdia, Afia, and the cat approached him. "New explorers, I take it? How are you enjoying this fine city so far?" He asked in a bit of a gruff voice, though Murdia detected warmth and life behind the gruffness.
"It's a beautiful city; just as beautiful as my hometown, though my town specializes in forests and trees, not the ocean." Murdia commented. "We're here to start a new guild!" Afia proclaimed, in a bit of a...cheery voice. Murdia cast a glance towards the other girl before looking back to the guildmaster and nodding her head a little. "Ah, well, you better take these. I give 'em to every new guild, so make good use of them!" the man replied, handing the two girls four documents. He waited for them to finish examining them before continuing to speak.
"First, you have to write your guild name on the certificate; the big, rolled up piece of paper with a red seal on it. You should think a little bit before writing your name on it; your guild might be famous one day, like Indomitable Heights, or Lounging Fang." he informed them. While the two of them went off in a relatively quite area to talk to each other, the man greeted yet another new group. "Mmh, he seems like a cheery sort. Wonder where he got the scar." Murdia commented dryly. "Psh, doesn't matter right now. We can't keep him waiting too long; got any ideas for a name?" Afia asked.
"Kvnui." Murdia said simply before starting to unroll the certificate. "Kvnui? But...why that?" Afia asked, frowning as she watched Murdia. "It's an ancient, ancient word that means 'bright', Afia." Murdia explained before writing down the guild name on the certificate. "Huh...bright. I guess that works; Kvnui sounds a lot better than just plain bright, after all." Afia said, agreeing with the name before the two of them returned to the guildmaster. "Kvnui? Huh, that's a bit of an odd name," He commented, rubbing his chin as he read the name on the certificate before returning it to them, this time with a stamp on it showing their guild was approved.
"Obviously, the next step, and the last step really, is to register adventurers into your guild. You might have to hire a few folks, but you have the option of joining the guild yourself as well." He told the two of them. "More adventurers...hm, well, it's really only the two of us at the moment..." Murdia said, and soon after she said that, she heard footsteps approaching them. When she turned to see who it was, she could tell it was a hoplite, at the least, and the girl's attention seemed focused on them.
The woman looked to be about 20, at the very least, with a rather striking hair color; it seemed to be either gray or a very light purple. Her hair style was rather simple, yet it added to her appearance too; twin ponytails with black ribbons holding them in place. The other striking thing about her were her eyes; like her hair, they were of an unusual color, which was red. She was also tanned, and other than that, one couldn't make much else out of her physical appearance since she had on heavy armor, with what seemed to be some sort of dress or, at the least, skirt on underneath.
"I'm willing to join the two of you. I have been looking for a new guild to join anyway." the hoplite said as she approached; after a moment, Murdia nodded your head. "What's your name?" Afia asked, just before Murdia was about to ask the same thing. "I'm Eda; I've been in the Labyrinth before, but...I seem to have amnesia, since I don't remember much of anything that happened after the 1st stratum." she explained. "Really? That stinks...hopefully you'll get your memory back while with us," Afia said, before turning back to the guildmaster; before she could speak to him, another voice called out.
"Hey, if Eda here is gonna be joining you, I think I will be too," the owner of the voice told them. This time, it was a monk, or at least, his appearance suggested it. He had just about the same hair color as Eda, though in comparison to her, his eyes were yellow, though more golden than yellow. He seemed a little older than Eda, about 22 or 23, with glasses perched on his face and rather white skin compared to Eda. He also had on some sort of pants that Murdia hadn't seen before, with a top on that had its bottom half in the back flowing so that it went against the back of his legs.
His hair style, meanwhile, caused Murdia to try and suppress herself from making some sort of comment about it; she never liked bowl cuts, which was what his hair style was. The only difference was the fact that he had a rather long ponytail. "And you are?" Murdia asked him, still trying to suppress her comment about his hair. "Ignius the great, at your service! Eda is an old pal of mine, ain'tcha?" he proclaimed. "Ugh...for the last time, no I'm not. I've known you for...what, two weeks?" Eda replied.
"Aw...c'mon, don't be like that. We really hit it off when we first met!" he exclaimed. With a sigh, Eda looked away from him and towards Murdia. "If I were you, I would let him join. He might be a bit unusual, but he is good in the healing arts," Eda said, casting a glance at the man before looking back to Murdia. "Though, he does have a bad habit of getting hammered every time he comes out of the Labyrinth...so that might hinder forays into the labyrinth." Eda told her, and in response, Murdia nodded her head. "You," she said, pointing a finger at Ignius. "I'll let you join so long as you don't get drunk every time we come out of the labyrinth. If you do that, it'll take years to fully explore it." Murdia said. After a few disgruntled comments from him, he nodded his head.
"Well, looks like we have four people. Anyone else here going to interrupt me before I'm about to speak to the guildmaster" Afia commented as she looked around. After a moment of quiet, she looked back at the man. "Well, that's our guild for now: Murdia the zodiac who is also the leader, Afia the shogun, Eda the hoplite, and Ignius the monk." she told the man. After a couple of scribblings on a piece of paper, the man nodded his head. Before the group left, they decided to speak with the guildmaster one more time.
"Eh? You want my advice? Well, you should head to the Senatus next; old Flowdia will probably want to talk to you. Oh, and about the documents I gave you with the certificate? If I were you, I'd read them carefully; I think they'll be helpful if you plan to go far into the labyrinth." he informed them before waving them off. With that said and done, the group left the guild and, after a couple of moments of deliberation, the group next went to the Senatus.
The woman they met was in stark contrast to the guildmaster; she was a bit hunched, had white hair, and although Murdia felt this was paranoia, wasn't sharing everything with them. She was leaning on a cane when they entered, and had on quite a bit of jewelry; she also had on a yellow dress with some kind of red fabric near the upper area of it.
"A new guild, I assume? Were you drawn here by the Labyrinth?" the woman said before they could speak. The only thing they could do was listen to her; she did have a rather commanding presence. "Then remember this: you are in the core of Armoroad's government, the heart. You are in the Senatus. I am the one who has the power to manage people like you," she told them, giving the four of them a stare before continuing. "This is where skills are tested to separate cowards from actual adventurers. If you want to prove your skills, accept the mission I issue to all new guilds." the woman finished. Murdia was again trying to restrain herself, this time to not let her temper about getting called a coward get out.
"In the end, your mission is to draw a map of the first floor," the woman continued after they had accepted her mission. "The guard on the first floor will tell you more; of course, you will need parchment to write your map on," she said, before rummaging through a drawer and producing a blank map. "I expect to see you back here soon." the old woman said as she handed the map over. "Er...yeah, see you soon." Afia responded as they left. "Man, that Flowdia...she has such a commanding presence, doesn't she?" Afia was saying to Murdia as they headed for the inn now.
"Mmh...indeed. I wonder what this labyrinth will be like." was all Murdia said in response. "Hey, Eda, guess what?" Ignius said to the hoplite. "Ugh...I have the feeling I'm going to regret this, but what?" she said in reply. "Well, we're the two adults here, right? And they're kids. Kinda like we're the parents, eh?" Ignius said with a chuckle. "...You're drunk already, aren't you?" was Eda's response to his question. Ignius' response to that was a full-out laugh instead of just a chuckle.