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Big City Lanterns

Big City Lanterns: Journey – Act One

Astra and Apollo carried on orbiting Caradesance. Whilst the two moons sunk below the western horizon for all those who called the Royal Kingdom home. As they did so, Heilbronn rose over the eastern horizon, bathing the nation with a slow-moving warmth. The planet itself didn’t notice the change in the day and night cycle. As far as the world was concerned, it merely continued to orbit Heilbronn and carried on bathing itself in what it called parental love.
The orange parent star, and the only star of that colour in the tiny universe, {the size of a large nebula} insisted on spitting waves of raw magical energy towards its children. Whilst the goldilocks planet was the only child that enjoyed the warmth its parent supplied. The star ignored every event happening in the Cosmos. And simultaneously the planet of Caradesance. After all, interstellar balls of magical plasma do not make great parents. All you need to do is ask the five children Heilbronn had already ejected.

The sphere that was larger than Earth continued to hurtle through the void-sea, never learning about the lifeforms which lived on its surface. Whilst the planet’s grandmother captured a random lost comet, that was basically travelling from nowhere and going nowhere. Caradesance’s grandparent wasn’t a star like its mother though. Instead, it was the entire magical force that held all three hundred stars in one place. Never allowing the stars to drift apart. So far, every object scooped up in the void was safely captured by this force. And these same objects circled around some of the planet’s aunties, playing with its cousins. As they interacted with its relatives, the cosmos carried on expanding. And the orange star resided comfortably in the centre of its own miniature universe.

Certain prominent names in all time and space continued to observe Caradesance from the home of the gods. And as they watched, two D-9’s bounced across a marble table.

A warm morning summer breeze commenced its travel plans across the planet without thought. And yet, as the wafts of air moved, it absorbed the energy coming from the orange star. The raw magic collected by the planet’s weather cycle was usually deposited by light showers, but occasionally more independent breezes could form into colossal storms with magical properties. Which would then become erratic natural forces of nature, creating only destruction. Today was luckily not one of those days.

{Sat on the thatch roof of Old Man Whistle’s farmhouse. Watching the eastern horizon in the morning. You would have seen the sun lazily rising over the tall misty mountains. And if one processed good enough eyes, then one might have been able to see the light pink specks of magic falling. As the planet’s atmosphere slowly captured the specks. Ah. I would love to climb up the village roofs, as a child, to watch the morning sun. Experience the warmth of summer, as the rays bathed my face. To smell the pollen, as the magical flowers open for the warmth. Mmm. Describing it to you now brings back so many memories. Ah well, I suppose I need to move on. Or I’ll be talking about the weather the whole time.}

As the rays of first light hit Old Man Whistle’s breeding coop, a simple rooster was awoken as his finely tuned internal alarm clock went off. Whilst the animal woke up, it began to eyeball its surroundings. The rooster knew something was different this morning. Although the brawny male chicken by the name of Red simply didn’t know what. Going about his normal routine because he might never know what had changed whilst he slept. Red began flexing his wings, as he glanced around the coop once more.

The rooster began to head outside whilst it held its head high. As the animal quickly decided to glance back inside the harem. {Which is what he called the coop filled with his wives.} A strange feeling went down his spine, and Red decided there was nothing wrong. There couldn’t be. Every other morning so far in his life had gone as planned. So his mind, with this point at the forefront, followed his normal routine. Even though the rooster could sense something was off.

Red knew nothing about where he lived though. He knew nothing about what his species was. Or where his life would take him. These sorts of questions, after all, are all the sorts of questions that intelligent beings ask. And this athletic, but simple male Welsummer breed of chicken could only know what his genetics told him. Which were telling him; now that the sun was rising into the sky, that it was time to announce his presence to the world.

So, without any thought about what he was doing. The rooster strutted over to the fence which surrounded his harem. With a simple bit of mad flapping, with a half jumping action, and a lot of kicking at the ground, Red was stood on a corner post overlooking his land. He didn’t have any time to take in the view though. As there were natural urges that he couldn’t ignore screaming from within. So without any thought, Red then began to let out a loud, almost screaming monologue. The words (in High-Male-Chicken.) were mostly bragging about the size of his domain. But as the rooster obeyed its genetics, Red managed to get louder of his own accord.

As old man Whistle forced his both his eyes open. The sound coming from his rooster outside got louder and louder. Which only caused the farmer to bury his head under his pillow. Everyone else in the medium-sized village, that existed along the King’s Main Highway, was roused from their beds as more and more roosters joined in with the choir…

The local butcher however couldn’t wake himself.

{I couldn’t.}

No matter how hard he tried.

{And goddess did I attempt to.}

As the ghostly figure stood surveying the husk of his former self, the almost transparent shape of a butcher finally said something,

‘Damn. I should have laid off the roast beef dinners.’ The apparition of the butcher had been eying his body, since his heart had given out. Which happened at some point in the middle of the night.

{I didn’t even notice it happening. And couldn’t tell you when either.}

As the ghostly figure stood there for well over another hour in silence. People outside in the street began to go about their business. Which some might say, when compared to the butcher at that moment, was simply the business of breathing. But still, what is a ghost meant to do in that situation.

A microscopic ball of bright white light began to form just in front of his bedroom door. As it grew, the ball began to spark with tiny white electrical zaps. Which cascaded across itself as the light began to grow ever larger. The ghost of the butcher was still gazing at his body though, and he felt like he needed to say something,

‘I should have sorted out my affairs,’ was all he managed.

[Sh. This is my entrance.]

A voice answered him. Which the butcher wasn’t expecting at all. Whilst the voice spoke though, the tiny ball continued to grow. Until the inverted ball of light was roughly about the size of a watermelon. The voice though also caused the butcher to turn around. As the ghost did so, he noticed the floating bright rip in all known reality for the first time,

No time for that.‘ The voice said. Whilst the butcher, who was still staring at the light as it grew, didn’t know what to say in reply. So, as is the case with floating balls, it spoke to him for a second time. And as it did so, the ghost began to tilt what would have been a head for some one formed of matter,

Now. If you would be so kind as to climb into the light. We can be off. I am running a bit behind schedule, as you might say.’ The butcher, who’d never speak in such a manner, still didn’t know what to say. Although he also didn’t need to be asked a second time. Especially as the body was beginning to creep him out. The face that looked up at him seemed so familiar. But as the blank face stared at him, all memory of whom this person once was seemed to be fading fast. Then, as the butcher climbed inside the light, someone began to knock on the bedroom door.

Deri Roge was tall. He was also wide shouldered, with a pastel skin tone, long red haired-

[Which is basically the same for every human in Britstana, so move on.]

That was unable to use magic. Although that wasn’t a problem. Only about half of each family could use magic, and no one had ever discriminated against him for being a non-practitioner. Most mages were also so stuck up that Deri couldn’t have cared less about what they thought of him. Which he also knew, because both his brothers were mages, and he didn’t care what they thought of him.

{He’s never gotten on with his brothers.}

[Tell the story, or I pull the chair’s functions.]

Deri’s current issue, or the one that most pressing. Was that his father’s butcher’s shop was just signed over to his older brother Marx. And as this freckly human sat in the attorney’s humble office, which was situated above the local blacksmiths, the middle-born butcher’s son was beginning to get annoyed,

‘So after working for him for the last eighteen years. For no wages, I might add. I am to get next to nothing?’ Deri didn’t feel apologetic about asking. His father had sent his brothers Marx and Prog to a private mage school. Leaving him to work, and basically grow up in the shop. So naturally, Deri had always assumed he would at least own the place after their father’s death. Which also happened in the form of a heart attack, whilst the old man had been asleep three days earlier. They buried him the day after, and then gave the old man a better send off than it appeared he deserved that night.

The elf, who was the only attorney for fifty miles, shifted around uncomfortably in his seat. Somehow he was managing to ignore the looks that he was getting from the three Roge brothers,

‘As I have already told you. According to this last testimonial, you are to be paid ten gold. Then you are to be given your father’s horse with the cart. That is all it states for you.’ Deri frowned at the elf’s answer. In his mind, what he was getting was nothing at all. Which not only hurt a little on the inside. But was beginning to appear on his face. What particularly hurt though was that he’d been helping the decrepit man with almost everything since their mother had died. Whereas his two brothers, who sat either side of him, had been getting the finest education money could pay for.

Still, as the three of them stared at the elf with twigs in his hair in almost disbelief, Deri took the opportunity to use the quiet room to ask,

‘Is that all?’ Marx, his eldest brother, went to say something. Whilst it was Prog who shook his head, and began to talk over the top of Marx,

‘After taking rent and food into account, it is more than your due.’ Deri went to reply, but the attorney cut him off,

‘There is no point in arguing. So if I can just move this along. Then we can all go our separate ways.’ The elf did not look comfortable. No one said anything either, and as such, the attorney smiled before he carried on talking,

‘Now Prog. It says here that you’re to be given five gold. And that you’re to go live with your grandmother. After that, lad’s it says nothing else at all about you three individually. As such, the bank account attached to the butchers is Marx’s, as he was given the shop, and that is the law in these matters.’ It was then Prog’s turn to be angry, as the younger brother imagined his last two years of higher education was still going to be paid for. Although Marx sat there as quiet as a mouse, since all three brothers knew how much the only butcher’s shop in the village earned in yearly profit. Their father, after all, hadn’t died a poor man. Merely a disorganised one.

The attorney sat up straight as he brushed his thick fur robes before saying,

‘I am sorry. But this testimonial is the last wishes of your father. And as Lord Herman Vin Burglan has signed the document. Then I am sorry to say it’s unfortunately the law in these proceedings.’ Prog said something under his breath. The attorney smiled weakly before he replied,

‘I’m so sorry that there isn’t more that I can do for you all. But I simply can’t suggest anything off the top of my twigs. Now I must be hurrying you out. I have two more appointments today that I need to take care of. Oh, and a wedding license to process for the Sheltons. Do you know Mara and Boddi? Such a lovely couple. Their big day will be such a wondrous event.’ Deri couldn’t help but nod. Everyone knew everyone in the village after all. Whilst Deri nodded, his younger brother stared at the elf, who appeared to be oblivious to the threatening expression. The wood elf though simply said,

‘Anyway, here is your paperwork. And you all know what happens next?’ As the attorney showed them the door, Deri felt like hitting Mister Doir violently in the face. Instead, he put his head down and walked out without saying a word. The three brothers didn’t speak as they all marched down the stairs. And as they walked single file through the blacksmiths to the street outside, there was a growing silence between them. Although not one of them even glanced at each other, whilst the absence of sound only grew worse between them. But as the three of them stopped near the inn, Marx finally went to open his mouth. But before he could do so, Prog simply turned and stormed off towards the inn. Marx’s mouth stopped itself from forming words, as he was now left alone with Deri. And whilst the eldest brother began to look worried, Deri surmised it would be better to step away from the situation.

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