Gar sat on a chair, in a room on the second floor of an inn on the Western Isles. He wasn't uncomfortable but he was lost in his own head a little. He had a number of topics he wished to discuss with Mila. But he didn't know where to begin. There was Etruria, the cyclops, current dragons, the dracoshield gift, Xigshaw, spirits, sailing and the arum. The berserker sat silent for a moment or two as he figured it all out. He fell upon a certain topic to discuss first. One that he was particularly interested in. Hopefully, it wasn't too long before he found his voice again.
Gar looked through the corners of his eyes toward his magical axe's form. "How did you know that axe was called Xigshaw?" Mila had called the axe XiggyJunesaw prior to this. Initially Gar thought nothing of it. However,in reflection, he had never addressed the form by name in front of her. At least, not as far as he could remember. Something of this nature understandably would require an explanation. The captain didnt think Mila was being underhanded at all. He trusted her. But at the same time, he was curious to find out a portion of what she knew. Perhaps the knowledge could help him understand June and Xigshaw better.
Gar wanted to know more about Xigshaw and how it was changing June's spirit. If Mila knew anything, he would like to know it as well. "Do you know about this axe and it's..." Gar took yet another moment to find the correct term. " Let's say, it's hunger for battle?"
Mila stretched for a bit. Her spine was getting a bit too accustomed to the straightness of the wall. She waited for Gar to give her a topic to talk about. A question. A comment. Anything really. She was a bit curious about him. Most ship captains she met usually had some sort of ulterior motives when it came to talking to women. But, so far, Gar, wasn't displaying any of the typical flirty behaviors. But, before she could make a comment of her own. The ship captain spoke and the question sort of caught her off guard. She closed her eyes for a moment and took a quick trip down memory lane. She opened then again let out a soft sigh then spoke.
"It's a bit of a long story. But one I am willing to tell. I've met Xigshaw on two occasions. And from two different owners. One was from a former acquaintance turned enemy. And the other was from a young mercenary in Bern." She stopped for a moment.
"Now, I have no idea if that Xigshaw is the same Xigshaw those two wielded. It's entirely possible that there are multiple Xigshaw's roaming around Elibe. A magical weapon while uncommon, isn't rare. A blacksmith can easily recreate a weapon with the right materials, correct blue prints, or incredibly dedicated apprentices. That being said..." She sighed again and shook her head. She wasn't fond of Oya and his antics. But, Gar deserved to know the truth.
"Oya... Oya.. was the first man I met with the Axe. A regular mercenary at first.. or at least I thought he was. Anyway, he had orange hair, and we fought a bunch of skeletons together in Ostia. Or.. rather the few places of Ostia that was habitable at the time. He.. displayed the first part of Xigshaw's properties to me. He explained that to him Xigshaw had a certain power to it. It granted the owner the ability to use the axe. Oya at the time was a scrawny guy. He lacked the muscle to move Xigshaw. So Xigshaw compensated by giving him the power to move him." She let that sink in for a bit.
"After that.. he explained Xigshaw's personality." She took a look at the big axe by the door.
"New.. form.. new soul. And yet.. somehow.. same old Xigshaw." She smirked softly then returned her attention to Gar.
"Xiggy is needy. It WANTS to fight. It WANTS to be the weapon that kicks the crap out of things. And it WANTS to be the only weapon to do so. It's.. so damn proud. So much so.. that it gets jealous should it's owner suddenly switch weapons. Jealous.. as in.. when you go to pick Xiggy back up after neglecting it for a while.. you might find it harder to swing. Sometimes it will shift it's mood in the middle of battle. Or it just might not give you any of it's power at all out of spite." She shrugged.
"The next time I met Oya, he did not have Xigshaw anymore. He also was part of a smuggling ring, I did not know about, and I was nearly kidnapped. And I would have been sold to some disgusting slaver had I not been rescued by a close friend." She clutched her fists. The sage remembered the baker's daughter. She remembered being trapped in a dark place forced to go through a dark tunnel. She remembered the wounds she sustained and the long hard walk she had to make back into the city. She found herself staring at the floor with a bit of a somber expression. She took a deep breath and fought back a few tears. She needed to continue the story.
"The next time I saw Xigshaw.. I was in Bern. It was in the ownership of a young mercenary named Orcleous. He banded together the locals in order to chase off a bunch of Gargoyles from their mountain side village. We fought together along side the Devil Slayer himself and my good friend Yorick. Rode a Wyvern for the first time... and threw up then too. I think that's fate telling me to keep my feet on the ground." She joked.
"I had to explain Xigshaw's properties to Orcleous too. I don't know what happened to him after we parted ways. I don't remember.. Xigshaw ever having Lux properties though. Perhaps that's something.. to do with June."
"Though if that Xigshaw is the same Xigshaw both Oya and Orcleous had. I hope the cyclops squashed Oya and not Orc."
Gar shifted in his seat as he processed Mila’s words. It was a long story indeed, with many implications. It was clear that Mila knew more about Xigshaw’s history than he did. There apparently was the possibility of there being multiple Xigshaws across elibe. Gar was skeptical. It seemed that the weapon was too strong for there to be multiple versions. There would be daily stories about these giant, powerful axes. At least, that’s what Gar told himself to maintain his feeling of uniqueness. Then Mila spoke of Oya.
Gar raised an eyebrow at the mention of the name. He felt as though he had heard the name before. He was a warrior- pirate from the isles if he remembered correctly. Mila went on to mention that Xigshaw gave the wielder permission to wield the axe. It was clear that this was done through the weapon’s strength boost. Noting how heavy the axe was, without the boost wielding the weapon in combat would be impossible. “Hmm, I guess June put in a good word for me.” Gar turned to the axe once again. “Thanks for that. Hahar.” Or maybe that wasn’t it at all. Maybe June had taken over the vessel completely. Alternatively, the two spirits could have fused entirely, creating a new being. But the spirit still bore a definitive resemblance to Junzentaru.
“The need to fight and win... I guess that’s why June’s restriction for fighting only against the corrupt has died down.” Things were making sense. Gar was glad that he had asked about the axe’s recent history. It helped to clear up some of the mystery surrounding Xigshaw. Gar nodded his head in understanding.
Gar clenched a fist as he heard of Mila’s next encounter with Oya. Slavers were a bit of a touchy issue for the once enslaved berserker. If Gar had it his way, he would rid slavers from the seas. Gar furrowed his brow as he saw Mila’s expression. She too had some personal experiences with slavers. Gar exhaled through his nostrils. He attempted to look at the bright side. “I have to say, I’m at least relieved Xigshaw wasn’t involved in all that. I’d have a hard time reconciling using a weapon with such a dirty history. I’m sure June wouldn’t be happy about it either.”
Mila shifted gears to speak of Xigshaw’s next wielder. “Orcleous.” Gar spoke the name out loud. He then had to chuckle at Mila’s preference for solid ground. “The Devil Slayer. Ilheod right? I almost had a chance to battle him in an arena. He lost to a green haired swordsman before I got the chance however.” Gar would’ve liked to test his abilities against a flying opponent. He had yet to do so in a one on one situation.
Gar explained something he thought was fact. “I think youre right. The Lux magic comes from June. But it used to be Luce. Something about mixing with Xigshaw altered it.” Gar shrugged. “It is possible that the cyclops didn’t crush either previous wielder. Perhaps, unlike us, they were wise enough to escape.”
"I'm pretty sure you would have used Junesaw even if it was used nefariously. You and June have something together. A weapon is only as evil as the person who wields it." The sage mused out loud.
"And what's life with out getting your hands dirty every now and then. If one did not muck around in the dirt then we would have not discovered farming. Oh.. gods.. I just realized how that sounded. Please don't take that too seriously." She nervously scratched the back of her head. Once, she calmed down enough she responded to Gar's comment about mixing magic.
"Maybe the mixing of the magic might have had something to do with it. But, then again there was this huge overhaul on the classifications of magic about six months back. Apparently with the 'rediscovery' of older magic they had to reclassify a couple of things. Luce isn't a thing anymore apparently. It got swept under the rug of Lux Eterna and for some reason the entirety of the confidence booster light magic was lost. I think? Hell it might be mixed in with one of the other light spells now. The sleep and nightmare staffs.. fizzled out.. It's been really confusing forgetting the old stuff and trying to learn the new stuff and then relearning the old new stuff." She rubbed her forehead.
"A green haired swordsman. You've practically described 75% of all swordsman's of Sacae." I dobut it's my brother.
"But, yeah, Ilheod. Huh, Now that I think about it.. I never managed to feed his wyvern those apples I promised. Dang it." Mental note. Find Ilheod and feed Asterus.
"Anima has been.. the least.. affected by the change. Which is great for me, for now. Light magic is mostly tied to will power. Dark magic to finite control of the nether. Staff magic is tied to one's endurance. Anima seems to be a healthy mix of all three things. And blah.. blah.. blah.. I am overdue for a trip to any one of Elibe's magical academies to refresh my magical mental knowledge." Now which one of the magical schools.. would be so accepting of me. Hmm..
"No wonder you won. Heh, I think we escaped the island fairly well." she thought for a moment on what to ask.
"Hmm.. how.. is your bond with June anyway? Like in my head I have a basic understanding between magic weapon and wielder. And you are like the fourth person I've met to wield a magic weapon. But, second person to be.. so closely bonded to their weapon. And there aren't too many historically accurate tales of Magic weapons and wielders.. so I figured I'd ask and get some first hand knowledge."
‘A weapon is only as evil as the person who wields it.’ Gar thought for a moment. Is the opposite also true? Could June be righteous because of me? Gar scratched at the scruff on his face. Wasn’t it possible that the spirit inside a magical weapon could dictate the actions of its wielder? These were questions that Gar would have to think about some other time.
“Hahar. I’m no stranger to the dirtier sides of business. Sometimes you have to do what needs to be done. All you can do is hope it all works out for the best.” The conversation continued through June and Xig’s magical fusion. Then through the arena in Bern. Mila then asked about the bond between weapon and wielder.
Gar thought about how many magical weapons he can come across himself. At least three. Vincent, the dark sword user that Vin fought against in the arena and himself. He could’ve forgotten a few as well. “I’m sure it’s different for everyone. But June and I are…” Gar searched for the right word. “Compatible.” They bring out better sides of each other.
“June keeps me from delving into the darkest depths of piracy. No one knows where I would’ve ended up without that righteous voice in my head. I like to think that I help June remain connected to this world in return.” The berserker looked toward his axe once more. Gar felt as though he was spending too much time talking about his weapon and decided to place a fine point on the matter. “In a sense, June is my guardian angel.”
“In return, how about you tell me a little about how you cast your spells. For a combatant, I know embarrassingly little about mages and how they fight.”
“Compatible.” Mila put her hand to her chin and thought to herself. She compared Gar’s talk, to the conversation she had with Vincent. Back, at his home in Sacae. Back when his sword Phoenix Heart was damaged and in need of repairs. Mila felt foolish for her reaction then, she cried because she thought Vincent had lost a friend. She thought that the weapon cold feel pain. Seperation.
“It.. grows with its wielder as it bonds. They influence one another..” She spoke to herself. Both, Phoenix and Juneysaw were light based weapons. And.. they.. Both seem to bring out the good in their respective wielder. I wonder… if the weapons were comprised of elder magic.. Or anima.. What sort of influence they would have had on them.. Would Vincent out on a quest for power? Would Gar have been a pirate king? A pillager of villages and women everywhere? She shook the thought from her head.
“You want to know, how I do magic?” Mila asked. She found herself staring blankly at Gar in response to his question. Oh.. Oh.. Sh*t. How? Well of course she knew HOW to cast magic. She could totally answer his question. Unfortunately, she ran into a situation where her brain couldn’t formulate an appropriate response. She hadn’t had the need to explain the “how”, “why”, and “what’s” of magic in years. And of the few times she did have to explain it was.. To other magi. To other’s who already knew the basics of magic.. Or who at the very least were learning the basics of magic. Mila stared at the floor for a moment. I’ve done magic so many times... it’s like breathing… How do I explain breathing?!
She raised her hand to her face and pressed her thumb and index finger against her closed eyes. She then put her palm over her hand and slid it down her face before. Then she tilted her head back up to focus her attention on Gar.
“I’m sorry. I blanked out there for a bit. I’m trying.. To think of a way to explain it.. To me.. Magic.. Is like normal. It’s like.. moving.. And my head is like... How do I explain that? How do I explain movement?” I.. can’t barely remember my trainee days to begin with..She tapped her finger on her knee for a moment.
“I need a starting point.. What do you know about mages and magic? What sort of experience have you had with magic? The people you've met.. that.. sort of thing.”
Gar scratched his chin. What did he know about magic? Where could he begin? He knew more than he would want in some cases. But also a lot less than he should want in most cases. “I know magic creates things…” Gar didn’t quite say that correctly. “Magic… it, ” Gar moved his arms forward in a driving motion. “Moves things you know?” He shook his head slowly and took a moment to try to explain his understanding.
“A caster of magic takes skill and understanding to .. manipulate the world around them. Depending on the type of magic, it can be fire or wind, perhaps light or even darkness.” Gar had a tinge of dissatisfaction in his voice for the last one. Gar wasn’t a fan of the elder magics. He had a history with dark mages on the seas, not to mention Junzentaru being a spirit of light magic, entirely opposed to the corrupt dark magic.
“In Xigshaw’s case I guess I just try to draw strength and then, there it is. Or I just want there to be light and then…” Gar spread one arm to the side with his palm facing the ceiling. “June makes it happen.” He let his arm return to its resting position.
“But I can’t imagine what I do with Xigshaw is anything like what you actual mages can do.” Gar’s hard light probably looked like a brutish perversion of magic to those who had dedicated their lives to the craft. He spent time bending the properties to fit his battle style while mages spent their time testing and understanding the nuances that lay beneath the magic. In that sense, Gar was most results based. If it works, it works. That said, mages could probably get better results with similar equipment.
"Heheh."She couldn't help but giggle at Gar's words. The captain didn't think what he did was magic in the same sense as a mage. When in reality he wasn't too far off the mark. There were some key differences to be sure but the actual act of casting magic was almost identical.
"Sorry. What you described is it's not so different from how we mages cast. Few things to correct. We don't just 'make things'. You cannot make something from nothing. Magic requires energy. You can call it what ever you like, mana, spirit, focus, soul, it's all the same thing in the end. It's a part of the caster's own energy. It's why I take a while to charge up a big spell and feel utterly drained after I do it. We use our books and staffs like you do June. And each tome is geared to having the caster manipulate what ever element that is recorded in the book. Different branches of magic require different nuances .. ways of handling them." She was sure she explained this before. At least she thought she did.
"Each mage has their own way of manipulating their respective element to their whim. We have to practice our craft in order to understand how.. we feel we do things. How it affects our bodies.. our minds. Sorta like how you would practice with a weapon. You don't become an expert over night." She didn't know if her answers were helping.
"What.. is magic though. Is a subject for debate. Like scholars have had whole real debates in crowded rooms full of other mages to decide 'what it is.' They send angry letters to one another too. And even then they can't agree on what the technical terms of magic should be. It's like trying to compare eggs. No matter what shape, size, or shade it comes in it's still an egg." She shook her head slightly.
"How I cast magic. It's a hybrid of me trying to figure out what I want to do. And then trying to figure out how to do the thing with out taking too much out of me." Try again Mila.
"In the arena. I didn't just make the pitfall immediately. The ground was to hard to do that. I had to plan out where those cracks were, use my energy to soften the ground, and then spring the pitfall. If I had sprung the trap with out loosening the ground first I would have been too tired to have the pointy pebbles chase you. But, that's me. Another mage might have just made the pitfall happen. Or used a different strategy all together."
Gar listened quietly. He intended to absorb all the wisdom Mila had to offer. She was a master of many magics, so it would be foolish not to take this opportunity to learn all he could. That said, he grew more confused than he was to begin with. All he knew for sure was magic hurts.
He shifted uncomfortably at some of Mila’s words. He spoke. “June isn’t the same as… some book. I can hear June.” The berserker pointed to his temple. “June guides me.” The similarities would have to wear thin, unless every sage had a multitude of thoughts running concurrently. Gar couldn’t even fathom an existence such at that. So, he shrugged it off.
Gar furrowed his brow toward another thought. Mana, spirit, focus, soul. Those can’t be the same. Right? Gar breathed slowly. What about willpower, hope, life, rage, anger. Death. As far as Gar cared, the source of the energy mattered. A lot.
All questions and misunderstandings aside, Gar tried to regain his runaway thoughts. He tried to focus on the logistics of magical casters.
Gar eventually understood something. It took time for a big spell to be cast. That was why mages sat on the back lines with archers, healers and those fancy lords. They need ample time to cast their devastating spells. Gar’s wheels were turning in his head. It showed on his face. If he were at sea… How could he possibly interrupt the casting of a dark mage on a different ship?
That was a question for a different time. The captain looked at his hands, surprisingly clenched in fists. He released his grip. He took a moment to gather himself. “I hope you don’t mind. I’m going to head back to the docks.” Gar remained for a moment before he stood. He grabbed Xigshaw and latched it onto his back. Then he reached into his satchel.
“Oh that's right. This is for you.” Gar revealed the dracoshield that he purchased with his arena winnings. It supposedly thickened the wearer’s skin. Over time of course. Gar shrugged. “Hopefully, you’ll be able to take a hit next time we fight.” Gar laughed as he exited.
"June isn't a book. I know. But.. it's.. sorta the same." The sage decided to root through her bag and pull out her Volcannon tome.
"Take, Volcannon for example. It's basically a fire tome's big brother. Fire.. needs two things to survive. Air and dry kindling. When I cast from it, I.. can feel the fire. I can.. feel it's urge to seek out.. new kindling.. it's want to burn.. and survive. And If I were a weaker woman i'd probably be consumed by it's desire to burn things." She then swapped to her Gaea tome.
"Gaea on the other hand. It's magic.. is it's stubborn. It doesn't want to move and when it does it's in hard.. blocks. It.. sorta fills me with a desire to stay put. To not move. To not do much of anything. It's a battle of wills whenever I do need it to do anything." She then put both books away.
"The point I'm trying to make.. is that.. while these tomes.. and their respective elements.. can't speak to me like June does to you. It doesn't mean I'm entirely immune to their influences. Magic speaks to it's wielder in different ways. And it's up to that wielder to figure out how to interpret it." She sighed softly. Mila knew she wasn't being the best explained. But, that's just how she was taught. Half of her magical upbringing was spent learning about magic. Practicing magic. Feeling magic. And the other half was spent grinding through the text in a vain attempt to try and figure out the latter half.
"Mages anima or otherwise... may lose themselves to the wills of their spells. Most snap out of it.. some.. do not." She finished talking and let Gar sit there and process. There wasn't exactly much she could do to help him not process her words. She just hoped that her lecture didn't overload his brain. She was fully aware of her horrible tendency to talk, a lot. But, it seemed that Gar, had finished thinking his thoughts. Then he got up. It seemed that Gar was done talking about magic for the day. And Mila didn't blame him. She probably talked his ear off.
"I don't mind. Thanks for listening. If there's anything else on your mind i'll be here for another day or two." She inched herself off the bed and got up. Then was immediately caught off guard by the tiny shield tossed her way.
"Oh! Hey A dracosheild. Man I haven't seen one of these in forever. Thank you." She hugged the blue tinted shield in glee. She waved Gar Good Bye. Then returned her attention back to the sheild. She held it up in the light. I... I... crap.. I don't know how to equip one of these though.. Does it go on my arm? On my Chest?