Chapter 2:

Part 1. Chapter 2: FIRST STINKS FIRST

Makefits - Keys to the End of the World

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Outside the city gates of Fort Una City, Avlend stretched his legs and tried to keep anyone from noticing him rub his sore backside. It had taken him a great deal longer than he had hoped, but, finally, he had arrived. The saving, the preparing, the weeks in carriages (both horse-drawn and steam-pushed), and even the soreness had been worth it. He had made Fort Una City and his destiny as an anchor was going to begin. He had but to go to the fort and go through the ceremony, and he would be an anchor to a Soul Spirit of his own. His dream of being something more exciting than a farmboy was about to come true.Bookmark here

Confidently the young man strolled through the city gates and -Bookmark here

“Ohhh! What is that smell?!”Bookmark here

The city's trash problem was a thing of legend, and it was easily the worst smell Avlend (who preferred to be called Vlend) had ever smelled. And he grew up on a farm. In a farming community. If Vlend had known then of his future job cleaning up after another person's Soul dragon and what terrifying harm it could do to a Being's nose, he very likely would have turned around then and there and chosen to spend the rest of his days as a demon eye.Bookmark here

After a very long while, he found the over sized, very easy to see Fort Una for which the city was named and built.Bookmark here

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[Vlend] “All the streets look the same, it wasn't my fault!”Bookmark here

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A rickety bridge and disappointingly boring entryway later, a man whose only job was to tell potential anchors to proceed “all the way to the top floor, down the hallway to the end, through the door, round room,” did his job as expected and just as he had been doing for 10 hours a day for the last 7 years. Bookmark here

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{This man understood why he had been punished to this job, but not why he had been punished for so long. What he didn't know is that if he had just gotten the courage to speak to his commanding officer, he would have found out that his commanding officer was too drunk at the time to remember what the man had said about his mother and that the only reason he was still directing visitors to the 'top floor, down the hallway to the end, through the door, round room', was because his commanding officer had simply forgotten the man existed at all.}Bookmark here

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The inside of Fort Una was bland and in desperate need of some interior decorating, but Vlend paid no attention to this. In hindsight, in the revelations that came from a dragon stall, he would lament missing all of the small signs that suggested he was making a mistake, but in the moment, becoming an anchor was all that mattered. All the way to the top floor, down the hallway to the end, and through the door was indeed a round room. After a worrisomely easy sign in process, he was pointed to a specific spot within this round room. Then he waited.Bookmark here

Vlend, like all children, had gone through the Soul touch ceremony when he was three. Some places do it a bit earlier and some a bit later, but it's basically the same for all. During that ceremony, he met the Soul Kings, or possibly a representative for them. Who it was didn't really matter since, like most other children, he couldn't remember that part anyway. The only part he could remember was drums and his mother begging him to sit still and listen to those drums.Bookmark here

An old man entered the room and informed Vlend that “We're running behind. We will be with you soon.” He wore an expression that seemed to suggest that everyone he had met that day had decided to stomp his toes for no particular reason. Truth be told, the man was feeling rather good about the day and was in quite the cheery mood -for him, at least. Vlend nodded and waited.Bookmark here

At the end of the Soul touch ceremony, the child's eyes would change color for a period of about three days. There are, typically, four possibilities here: turquoise for a mage, amber for anchors, gold for conjurors, and clear for seers. After those 'about' three days, the eyes return to their natural color, in Vlend's case, the typical dark black of an elf. Whether one likes it or not, the color the eyes change to sets the course of a Being's future. For Vlend, who wanted to be an adventurer and see more of the world, things worked out well. His eyes turned amber, and it is for that reason that he waited patiently inside the round room at the end of the hall.Bookmark here

A rattle of jingling bells filled the stone hallway that led into the stone room. Moments later, a group of people of varying height and all wearing the same white, gold, and green hooded cloaks and carrying the same staff with two bells at the end, entered and encircled the round room, leaving Vlend feeling slightly uncomfortable at suddenly being the center of attention. One walked toward the center of the room and pointed his staff at a carved etching on the floor. It looked like two offset squares or a diamond laid down over a square. “Stand here,” the voice was gruff and, in Vlend's opinion, entirely too flippant for the situation. On the other side of the room, a second symbol was carved. It looked like a five-spoked wheel set inside of a four-spoked wheel. Between the two was a third floor carving. It was the other two shapes combined together. Vlend was giddy at the implication.Bookmark here

The entirety of the world, as Vlend understood it, was divided into two realms: that of Beings, and that of Souls. The point of an anchor was to be a sort of bridge. One Being formed a connection with one Soul. In the case of an anchor, it was always a mid-Soul. This connection allowed the Soul to enter the realm of Beings. In return, the Soul was to support the anchor in his or her endeavors, which, after a time and Beings doing Being things, had, for the most part, just come to mean the two would be partners in military battles.Bookmark here

The cloak wearers took deep breaths in unison, and then blew as one into the center of the circle their bodies formed. Their staffs began to thump the floor rhythmically. The bells tingled perfectly along. Except for one set that was just a little faster or slower than the rest. For a long period of time, Vlend wondered if he should blame that person for what happened next.Bookmark here

The haze that filled the room thickened into a fog. It became heavy and sank to the floor. The etchings beneath Vlend's feet and those of the wheels across the room began to glow gold. The fog gathered over the wheels and became too thick to see through. A few moments later the bells stopped. Slowly the fog dissipated. Eventually, the fog faded completely, but Vlend never noticed. He was too entranced with what fantastic Soul he was about to become the anchor to. This was it. Whether his eyes turning amber was a glorious occurrence that meant his adventurous nature was going to be rewarded or was in fact the catalyst for the developing of that nature, would never be known to Avlend. Bookmark here

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{If you're curious, it was a little of both.}Bookmark here

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It also didn't matter. This was it. This was the moment he had been waiting for. The moment he had jumped and yipped for since when at the age of fifteen, his eyes turned charcoal and declared him Soul-marked. The wish that drove him to save up the means to finally make the trip to Fort Una years later. He was about to become an anchor, and he was about to meet the great warrior Soul who would be his partner.Bookmark here

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