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Jan 30, 2023 12:53 PM
allegra is transported to the bronze orchard
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Claro accepts the drawing. 

"If you have no other modifications to your design, I'll get to work carving the stamper. Learning your world's magic is already wonderful enough, but learning about your items is even better." He's beaming with delight.



"I should probably sit down and write out a catalog once we're through the preliminaries, just so I don't forget anything - rituals, spells, items - then we'll at least know what we're aiming at."


"Sounds great. I'll leave you to Conradia, then," he says, and then returns to his worktable.


"Now that that's done, I can take you to your room now."

The path to Allegra's room is long and winding. The corridors here are somewhat narrower, and the ceiling is a much more reasonable height – just a single story. Her room is numbered 'E22'. There are twenty-five rooms in the corridor that she's in: the layout is similar to a hotel or an apartment block. The aesthetic remains similar to that of the canteen.

Inside, the room is rather tight, but it's clearly meant for only one person. There's a writing desk and chair, a bed, a cabinet and drawers, and a bathroom. Most of the furniture is wooden with metal finishings. On the table is Allegra's rod and buckler, and everything she might have left in her cell from yesterday.

"Here's your room. You'll be expected to clean it yourself, of course. The bed and chair also have the shifting enchantment. Oh, and the toilet flushes, it's not a chamber pot. We have indoor plumbing here. The Damianites are all about comfort, see, so they wanted to have piped water and shifting furniture and everything, and since they've already worked to set all that up, we accepted it as well. You're living in the Conradian section, although you don't formally belong to either one at this moment."

She says 'gusni', and the lights in the room turn off. "The Light spell in the room is controlled by a command word, so just speak 'gusni'" the lights turn on again, "to manage them. That's the command word we use for most of the Bronze Orchard's lights."


"Oh, lovely. Where are cleaning supplies kept? I think that's the last thing I need to know before I sit down and make sure I at least get an overview of what I want to teach people onto paper, before I fill my head with your magic. There's a lot that I'd normally expect to be able to look up and I don't want to lose anything we might need later.

Unless for some reason you want to hang around the entire time I'm scribbling notes, how does handing me off to someone else for the geas work? Presumably we need to go together to hand me over, the ceilings are quite high and sixty feet isn't that much."


She chuckles.

"They're in the cabinet in the bathroom. It would be great if you were a quick study in our world's magic, because once you pick up Prestidigitation, you can just use that to clean things. You can even use it to clean your skin and clothes. On that note, laundry is also by Prestidigitation: there's a laundry area nearby where a wizard is stationed. Just ask them to clean your clothes for you.

Ah, yes. I picked out this room because Agnes is next door, so I can have her stay with you." She'll probably remove the minder requirement the next time she casts Lesser Geas on her to refresh it, it seems more trouble than it's worth.

"You can work here if you want, or I can take you to the library. By the way, there should be a printed map of the place in the desk drawer. The person who brought your things should have seen to that."

Meanwhile, she knocks on the door to the left and talks to Agnes once the door opens.


"Wherever's more convenient for Agnes, although here might be better to get it all down uninterrupted to start with," replies Allegra, checking the desk is well supplied with paper and hopefully some pencils, she might have to recopy it later in ink but unless the pens are really good here she'll make a terrible mess writing at speed.

Maybe she should be doing more due diligence first, but there's food and it's comfortable and they aren't going to get much out of the notes if she's not around to provide the underlying theory, if it turns out they're secretly doing something intolerable then writing this isn't going to make much difference.


"I hereby reassign your minder to Agnes Alsina," she says.

"There, the Geas should have attached to her now. I've told her not to disturb you while you work – she plans on staying in her room to read for the next few hours. If you need to go somewhere, you can knock on her door. I have to go to work and enchant items now, so I'll see you in the late afternoon. There should be a clock in the cabinet."

She leaves promptly.


Okay, so apparently that was brunch; just as well there was plenty of stew.

Allegra sets to work writing slightly cryptic notes to herself on everything useful she can remember - lists of rituals, by name when she can recall it, realm and effect and magnitude where she remembers; magic items, focusing on the ones that take no special materials; the affinities and dissonances for each Realm, all basic known spells and their effects, not that she thinks she'll forget any of those but it would be embarrassing if she did. The constellations, although she's increasingly unsure they are going to work here; what she remembers of the music of the spheres, although she could never get it to actually work, and the few runes she has memorised.

The Highborn cast by paragons, the Freeborn just by doing a bit of a song and dance, it must be possible to just make up a ritual metaphor. She adds a few notes on dramaturgy, that is probably quite adaptable, it's not like she can remember the full list of personae and stages anyway.

She scribbles down a few more magic item descriptions where she isn't sure if they take materials or not, and the properties of the magical materials that she remembers.

Then she starts copying out some of the most important bits, rituals and items, more neatly. She's not going to get through doing a neat copy in a few hours, but nor is she really noticing how much time is passing.


Conradia returns eight hours later, and it's early evening now.

The door to Allegra's room is unlocked, but Conradia knocks and waits to be let in before entering. 

"It's Conradia," she shouts. She had already picked up her arcane stamper – it has an extra purpose as a key to your room – and she plans on getting Allegra to the armory before she goes to sleep.


Oh right! Time has passed, her hand actually hurts quite a bit, and she's starving hungry again. Oops.

"Come in!" she calls. It's going to take her a moment to successfully get up from the desk and she doesn't want Conradia waiting for her to get her neglected limbs in order. Her right hand has a huge graphite smear where she has been writing too much and there is paper covered with scrawl all over the desk and a smaller pile of neatly written pages.


Conradia demonstrates how to use the arcane stamper to operate the lock on the door – the stamper has a cover which, when removed, exposes a regular metal key. Simple and easy. The door locks from the inside.

"Apologies, it took me a little longer than usual. We can stop by the canteen to get something to eat, and then get to the armory. Alternatively, we can do it the reverse way if you don't want to rush – the canteen is open indefinitely unlike the armory, and they will just leave the food out if anyone feels like eating in the middle of the night. The food won't spoil: the clerics cast Purify Food and Drink on it before the canteen closes."

If Allegra wants to eat now, then they can eat quickly before the armory closes, and then walk briskly over there.


Allegra feels like she has some reputation for poise to make up, and probably isn't about to faint or anything, she tells herself sternly.

"Didn't the geas prevent me from visiting the armoury?" she asks. "And, uh, have you swapped back in for Agnes? I'm sorry for checking all the time, but I'm sure neither of us really want it to go off."


"The geas prevents you from entering the armory proper, but it doesn't prevent you from going near it. We won't actually be going inside, we'll just be going to the window where you can check out items from the armorer, as well as the changing room afterward. And yes, I've already swapped for her. Don't worry, I've done this a few times before." She makes a smile she hopes is reassuring. The last part is a lie – she's done this many, many times before.

"I'll swap Agnes back in when we get back, and you can just knock on her door tomorrow if you want or need to go anywhere. She's not an items enchanter, so her schedule is freer, and she was very willing to be your minder. I probably won't be interacting as much with you after today, except for when we have magic lessons or research."


That means she only has a limited time available to impress her.

"Okay, let's get to the armoury, then," she says.

It's clear that Allegra is putting some considerable effort into making her movements look smooth and effortless and covering for any physical weakness from spending eight hours straight writing at a desk - although at least the furniture is unusually comfortable here, if a bit weird to get used to.


Well, she did offer to let her eat before going to the armory, but whatever. She's not going to press the issue.

While on the way, she asks her a few questions.

"Wizards of my world don't wear armor, because it interferes with our spellcasting. Is it the same with you? If so, do you have training to spellcast despite wearing armor, like magi? What weapons are you proficient with? Here, junior wizards learn how to use crossbows, since offensive cantrips like Acid Splash or Ray of Frost are useless against demons."


The armory booth is a large rectangular opening in the wall with a desk on it, similar to what you might find at a bank. Behind it are rows upon rows of weapons, armors, and other things Allegra probably wouldn't recognize. There's an older gruff looking man attending to the weapons, who comes over to the desk when Conradia calls for him. Apparently, his name is Selm.

"Ah, the new guy. Welcome, welcome. You're quite special, it seems. New recruits usually don't get one so early."

He presents a note written by Rendon to the two of them, which says that Allegra should be permitted to requisition one of the spare Headbands of Vast Intelligence +2. 


"Armor disrupts the flow of magic, yes. I could make you a set of mage armour - I'd normally use gloaming but if you've got enough kinds of gemstone and leather I can probably find something that works - but it'd take some practice for me to actually use it. We haven't worked out how to just cast in normal armour at all.

Basic training covered what to do with a sword as well as a rod, and I did a bit of work with maces too; I can shoot a training bow but not something with the draw strength to really hurt someone."

Allegra smiles politely at Selm, then has entirely run out of energy to contain her happy surprise at the note, although she doesn't embarrass herself by actually saying anything - she thinks it'd come out as an undignified squeaking noise if she tried right now.


Selm smiles and gets one of the headbands and places it on the desk. It's an inch-wide strap of light brown leather studded with sapphires, with a metal buckle. At the end, there's an arcane mark denoting it as belonging to the armory – it's 'ARMORY' in big letters. There is also a small maker's mark on it, carved into the leather: "BALLESTER AND FERRER WIZARD CO."

"You put it here," he gestures to the top of his forehead, near the hairline, "and then tighten it until snug. It will work immediately, but you'll need to wait a day for it to have the full effect. I don't advise you taking it off after that, because it might disrupt your spell slots. Actually, I don't even know if you have spell slots, but in any case, most wizards never take theirs off. Don't worry about damaging it in the shower: the enchantment prevents it from being damaged by mundane water and soap.

"What type of sword do you want? We Conradians prefer greatswords, but that's not really a wizard weapon. We have shortswords, longswords, estocs, glaives and rapiers. We also have maces. You can check out one of them, but you can swap it out if it turns out that our weapons are a little different from yours and it interferes with your usage. All of our weapons are masterwork quality," the way he says it implies that it's a technical term, "but we won't give you an enchanted weapon until later. Generally, we don't bother with giving wizards enchanted weapons, since they're full spellcasters."


"We have a spell called Mage Armor which functions similarly to armor, but doesn't interfere with spellcasting. It forms a layer of force near your skin which deflects blows. Our magic can be reworked to operate even while wearing standard armor, but it takes a long while to develop that training, and for most wizards, it's not worth it."

Yes, she recognizes the headband delight. Rendon is kind, which is probably part of why he wanted to give Allegra the headband, but he probably also wanted to entice her into not leaving using it – leaving would mean parting with one's most precious headband.


Allegra takes off her citadel guard uniform headband, hangs it near her elbow where she won't immediately drop it, then picks up the new headband with some trepidation, now she's actually about to put it on.

It's not like they can't just cast weird mind affecting things on her whenever they like, though, and at least this one should be interesting. She follows Selm's instructions in putting it on.

The initial effect is, kind of like activating a circlet of falling snow? Everything is just that bit - clearer. It kind of makes her want to try writing some more things down, but there are questions to answer and she supposes she shouldn't rudely ignore them to contemplate the effects of the headband.

"Which of those has the best one handed reach while being as light as possible, probably a rapier? I really do have pieces of damp string instead of arm muscles," she responds. "That spell sounds exactly like our mage armour works, although it's an item rather than a spell - you wear a few key pieces and it extends a field between them, but it takes a bit of practice to move around without disrupting the effect, especially in a fight."


"Rapiers aren't exactly light, but they feel light in the hand because their center of mass is nearer to the hilt than other swords. It's the sort of weapon that suits someone who relies on Dexterity than Strength, though, so that's a good idea. Many magi here use rapiers."

He clicks his tongue. "Has anyone told you about the fitness exams? Conrad was Strong and Fortitudinous for a wizard, and He really didn't like unfit wizards. So, he made it such that everyone has to pass a fitness exam every season or they'll have their pay held. It's not hard, but it's not something you can cheat – spells are banned during the test. No Bull's Strength or Bear's Endurance, or Unseen Servant to help you lift things."

He guffaws. "You can join the people in the gymnasium in the morning and the evening if you want to fix that."

He places a rapier on the table with the same arcane mark and maker's mark. It's remarkably well made. He writes down her name – by now everyone has heard of her – plus the items she requisitioned on a ledger. He points to an empty rectangular space to the right of the entry.

"Place your stamp there, and you can check out your two items."


She sighs. 

"Yes, the fitness exams. Those are, sadly, a thing. I can do running just fine, even though I'm older now – I have Age Resistance on – but asking me to do pushups and situps is just ridiculous. Still, it's been there since even before They ascended, and not going to get abolished anytime soon. I'm so sorry."

She really does seem very sorry.


Ugh, she thought she'd done her last press-up years ago in army basic training.

She carefully slips the rapier against her hip, held in by her somewhat worse for wear but still functioning belt, and awkwardly starts to operate the stamper. "Is it possible to get, like, a satchel bag or something? I don't really want to just put the stamper down somewhere."

She misses her nice army satchel bag a lot.


"Yes, of course," Selm says. He adds the satchel bag to the entry, and places a leather one on the desk. 

"Most people use a string or rope to tie it to a belt, or sometimes a necklace or bracelet. Do you want one? I'm surprised the wizards haven't already put that in." He places a thin string that can be looped around a hole punched in the stamper on the desk, for Allegra to take if she wants it.

"I'm not sure if anyone else has told you, but you can buy any piece of equipment from the armory at cost as a member of the church. I don't know how much you're getting paid, but if you do buy your equipment, you can keep it if you decide to leave. The masterwork rapier and headband would usually go for 320 gold pieces and 2000 gold pieces respectively, but the cost to make them is just 157gp and 1000 gp. So that's the price we'll give you if you want to keep them for yourself.

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