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Aug 10, 2022 11:26 PM
An Acolyte of Fire lands in Kislev
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It seems the troll has a habit of carefully storing away every broken manufactured good he's ever owned - the camp has a couple boxes full of blunt and rusted knives, broken chainmail, buckets with holes in them, threadbare blankets, and broken wooden cutlery.

"This stuff." He will show the acolyte to the boxes. 

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Well, some of this is definitely more within the Acolyte's wheelhouse than others. First, the knives, which he wields knowledge of Flames to expertly clean and sharpen, basically good as new. For the buckets, he can cut some plugs from nearby trees and force them into the holes while holding the rest of the bucket tight. It's not perfect, and long-term it will probably cause the wood to split further, but they should be usable for now. After that, though, he's lost most of his utility. with his final task being to carve some simple knitting needs from spare wood and attempting to knit the blankets together into something bigger and less hole-y that might be of some use to the big guy. For the broken woodware, the best he can do is make replacements, and there really isn't anything he do to fix the chainmail unfortunately. Probably it's significantly later in the day by the time that's all said and done.

"I think that's all I can do for this. I hope my service has been satisfactory?"

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"Ah! You are hag!" Exclaims the troll at the sight of magic being used. "Mother was hag." He says, by way of an attempt to make conversation. 

The troll is very pleased by the Acolyte's service! "Yes! Very good server!" 

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Hm. Mother was a hag, eh? "A hag sent me down this way, a human one, though I don't know if she expected us to meet. If your mother was a hag, maybe you have a bit of talent. Would you like me to try and teach you a bit of the magic I used?"

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"Don't see winds, Mother checked. Hag rare and ... expensive? No, wrong word. Valuable? Don't know human hags."

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The Acolyte nods some more. "I don't see the...winds, either. My magic is different, though, it's hard to learn in its own way.."

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"How is different? How is learned?" 

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"I'm still learning all the ways it's different. My magic is knowledge, thoughts, that you can think to make things happens, or to change how they happen. As for how it's learned, let me try and show you..."

The Acolyte will recall how he himself first learned knowledge, how it was both the culmination of many long mercenary campaigns as well as sudden epiphany which came to him on the battlefield. In the present he has a deeper and broader understanding of Flames, of division, though, and it's what he used to clean and sharpen the knives and cut the wood. He guides the troll through imagining all the times he's seen or heard or felt things being cut or separated or divided or anything like that, and provides examples via his own knowledge of Flames, as well as attempting to describe the sort of sublime moment when all these facts, this information, clicks, and becomes knowledge, becomes real, and how once you know it, you can find it in your mind, retrace the steps, and bring it out into the physical world.

It's a lot to take in, especially with the language barrier and doubly so if the troll isn't used to this kind of intellectual gymnastics. But, there's always a chance that he can figure it out. If he does, it will start small, but it will be real.

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The troll does his best! He understands how powerful magic can be and is eager to learn. They study together for the rest of the day, and the rest of the night, and then into the dawn. The troll mindset towards injury and fire is certainly strange - fire is a danger, the only thing that stops the regeneration they apparently have, but that regeneration makes injuries, especially things like clean cuts, generally a non-issue to the troll, something he can take many of in a battle and still emerge hale and hearty. The Acolyte can even learn a thing or two himself, having to reframe his Knowledge for that mindset, and produce definitions for words he normally takes for granted.  

And then, eventually, in the dawn, the troll gets it. A single moment of clear insight, the memory of a cut taken in a past battle, and he slices open his own hand. And then is extremely concerned, since the wound is healing slower than he expected it would. Not failing to heal at all, though, so it's probably fine. After a few more tries, he manages to externalise that same cut into a piece of wood instead, leaving a long score into it, less than even a single axe-stroke. Still! Magic! 

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Magic! By the good in men's hearts the Acolyte knows no joy that is quite as sweet as raising a pupil up into magic. "Wonderful, wonderful! This is cause for celebration!" He has no idea what sort of celebratory traditions trolls have, but he does know food is always good, especially since he barely ate yesterday. Perhaps the two shall make for a remarkably strange hunting party?

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Food is indeed the basis of any good celebration! Of they go to hunt, and hopefully it does not take so long that success at the hunt needs to be it's own separate celebration! 

(It does not; a deer can be found and magically dispatched in good order, and they can have roast venison!) 

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Delicious! Boy does eating your fill of roast meat after not eating for almost a whole day of relatively strenuous work feel good. Once their celebration is complete, the Acolyte will clean himself roughly, and speaks to the troll before he goes. "You are a fine student. Before I take my leave, I'd like to know your name, if you have one. I do not, but I am known as the Acolyte of Fire."

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"My name is Klomm. You are good. Meet again?" 

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"I hope to find you again, once I've completed my current quest. I don't know how long it'll be, though. I am headed to Praag to challenge the Fire Spire there, so if you have need to call on me, go to wherever you spend your coin and pay to send a messenger to there, tell them it is for the Acolyte of Fire, and tell them where I should meet you. If nothing runs afoul and I receive that message, I will make haste to wherever you've decided to meet."

As the Acolyte does a final look around the camp before leaving, he notices the knives from earlier. "One more piece of advice. As you practice your magic, you probably won't be needing those knives for much longer, since you'll be able to cut with magic instead. You might be able to trade them for coin or other tools once you get to that point."

After that, barring further interruptions, he will find the proper trail he encountered Klomm on, and then onwards, south and towards Praag.

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The Acolyte continues on his journey! After just a day or two (and only one encounter with a forest-monster that wanted to eat him, this time a snow leopard), the forest starts to thin out, and he finds himself on the steppe. Another half-day of walking, and he finds himself on a road, running from the north-east to the south-west. 

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Roads! Amazing what a week of hiking through the rough will do to a man's opinion of roads. This isn't the first time that he's returned to civilization after a stay in the wilderness but you never really get used to it.

Praag is allegedly south, so he'll go ahead and take the road south-west. He's faster than a man ought to be on his feet, especially now that he's on flat ground, so it's possible he might catch up to a carriage or cart ahead of him, particularly if they happen to be stopped or taking it slow.

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After a day of thusly walking, the Acolyte finds himself catching up with a set of caravans moving slowly down the road, flanked on either side by a force of men with long-guns and halberds. When they notice his approach, these guns will be pointed in his general direction, and after a word in a tongue that is not the local tongue, someone will move towards him and shout "Who are you and what is your business on this road?" 

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He quickly comes to a stop and raises his hands in a placating gesture. "I am the Acolyte of Fire, and I am traveling to Praag to challenge the Fire Spire which I've heard tell stands there."

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The person who shouted will translate this into Cathayan, and then translate back the reply - "The Caravan master has heard of the Fire Spire! We are also traveling to Praag. He wishes to consult with his astrologer." 

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It's good to hear that the stars of this strange land are as gossipy as those back home. "I will await your caravan master's decision," he replies, lowering his hands and leaning on his staff.

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After ten minutes, a nervous-looking man with arms full of star-charts will report to the caravan master. After a few layers of transmission of information, the translator will report. "Apparently, you're good news. The caravan master has invited you to dine with him tonight when we make camp!" 

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"Excellent!" He'll go ahead and join up with the caravan then. There's maybe another hour or few of light in the day before they make camp, and during that time the Acolyte will happily chat with anyone who speaks Gospodarinyi or tolerates his just-functional Cathayan, about himself, about his journey, about Knowledge especially of Fire, as well as about where this caravan is from, what it's carrying, other news, that sort of thing.

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People are happy to talk as they walk about a variety of matters, though the caravaners are reluctant to discuss their cargo in any but the most general terms - spices, porcelain, tea, and unspecified other things, but everyone is happy to talk about thier own stories. Some of the people here are Kislevites, locals hired as guides or people from Praag or Erengrad who signed on with the caravan when it was last here, doing a round trip for rich pay, while the core and many of the works are from the distant land of Cathay, ruled by a god-dragon-emperor and his many descendants. The talk of knowledge of fire reminds many of them of the Fire Mouth, a volcano-god worshiped by the ogres whose territories must be navigated to travel between Kislev and Cathay, or of the dark magics of smoke and flame used by the evil chaos dwarves, which this caravan chose it's path carefully to avoid entirely. One of the guards armed with a rifle brags about how he shot and killed ogre cultist of the Fire Mouth - they were apparently three times the height of a man and could breath gouts of fire that would destroy an entire platoon at once, though this is clearly somewhat exaggerated, based on the looks on his friend's faces.

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There is still quite a lot for him to do here in Kislev, the Acolyte thinks, but once he is done here those all seem like valuable places to visit. If they're going to brag about combat achievements, though, the Acolyte will revisit the various fights he's had since his arrival here in Kislev. While the Acolyte can't breath fire, he will also be happy to demonstrate his Flames, if the caravaners have challenges or tests for him.

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They will put his flames to all the normal challenges of marksmanship that they would put a bragging marksman to - people will take turns to point out distant objects, and ask them to be destroyed with precision. There is some discussion about how they might test his capacity for mass destruction, but in the end, nothing worth destroying in such quantities is in evidence ("- even destroying the grass would antagonist the local nomads", says one kislevite marksman). 

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