Laughing, “That was awesome! I don’t know what you are going to do to attract attention Auntie; I am going to ride my light cycle over to the Explorer’s Association and then vanish! That should get tounges wagging and provide enough of a distraction for me to get my base settled and finish my other errands.”
Auntie Giggles and replies, “My escort should be here any minute!”
“Oh, going in…” I’m interrupted by a loud pounding on the front door, followed by a clear voice, “Auntie Emma, High Priest of Nirvana, his Highness King Henry honors your appointment and places his royal guard at your disposal, to protect and escort you on Nirvana’s business while you are here in Horn Point!”
Auntie says, “Perfect. Wardrobe, outfit eight.” Now she’s dressed in a fancy set of robes; greens, browns, and flashes of yellow. While she’s changing, the explorers open the door. Grumpy says, “Her excellency will be out shortly. We’ll be ranging ahead,” Mason closes the door after exiting.
“Oh, that’s nice. Guess it’s time for me to dress up too! Wardrobe, Tron Armor. One of us will be back to clean up breakfast. Allow me to present you.” Nodding, she smiles and walks to the front door behind me. I step outside and rap the butt of my staff three times on the slate entryway to draw attention. It’s unneeded as the centurion of soldiers in brightly polished ceremonial garb stands at attention, blocking the street and waiting for Emma. In a loud voice, “I present her excellency, Auntie Emma, High Priest of Nirvana. It is your honor and privilege to escort her excellency on Nirvana’s business. Today, You will witness miracles and magics never seen before in Nirvana. Take hope in Nirvana’s new message and rejoice that a new Age is upon us.”. While I was speaking, Auntie stepped up beside me.
The captain said, “We have a coach prepared for you, your excellency.”
Auntie says, “It will not be needed. I am to see and be seen. We will be going to the beach on the south side of the docks. Captain, if you would have half your men take the forward position, I will walk between them. Please do not stop non-hostile citizens from approaching me as we walk. My friends are announcing our parade as we speak and will meet us at the beach.”
“It will be harder to protect you,” replied the captain.
“Today, Nirvirna grants favor, and you are to be part of the pomp and circumstance. I hope you are pleased by the idea of going for a walk through town,” asked Auntie?
“The king rarely does this kind of thing, so we’re happy to be representing his majesty on such a nice day,” he replied.
“Well then, I’ll leave you to your part while I take care of a few items. Captain, would you have your men ‘make a hole’ for me?”
Looking askance at Auntie, she responds, “Jebediah Walker is Nirvana’s Oracle; all of Nirvana will learn of him tomorrow. For today, he speaks with my voice.”
Loudly, “Company, make a hole – three men wide!” The captain then looks at me.
“Later today, then.” My staff vanishes into my inventory, and I draw the baton from its leg holster as I walk down the few steps. At the bottom, I split it in half, leaned forward, and rode off between the men, witnessing them break their stoic expressions as they saw the light cycle for the first time. Perfect, just the response I wanted. Using the minimap ARC has displayed in my vision, I head to the Explorer’s Association.
The light cycle is completely silent, which startles other drivers and animals as I enter traffic and pass the slower vehicles; it’s attracting attention as I make my way to the association. People are gawking and pointing as I pass.
This thing is a dream, more responsive than any motorcycle I’ve ever ridden and smooth even though I am riding across cobblestones. I rise up as I pull up in front of the association, the bike deconstructing around me, leaving the split baton in my hands. I snap it together and place it in the leg holster, taking my staff from inventory as I walk up the steps to the front doors.
The Explorer’s Association’s edifice has wide steps leading up to double doors that stand open, welcoming people. Guards are gaping at me by the doors, and some adventures standing around are now calling out. “That’s an awesome ride!” “Where did you get that?” And similar statements that I blatantly ignore as I walk into the association, across the granite floor, and up to the reception desk. My attire continues to draw eyes as I approach the desk. “My name is Jebediah Walker, and I was told that a token would be waiting here for me.”
The gnome behind the desk looks at me and says, “Well, siamese cat beastkin matches the description; please show your public screen.”
I accommodate him.
|Caught My Eye V (L)|
“Well, that title explains a little. My name is William, and I manage this property for the association. Treasurer Gilden and Secretary Mason personally approved your membership at the silver level. Unusual, but given your title, I can see why. I’m also sure it won’t take long for you to advance to gold if you can continue to do feats that earn legendary titles. Do you want to avail yourself of any services at this time?”
“No, thank you, William. I have many tasks to accomplish today. May I make an announcement from the steps?”
“Sure, but if you become a public hazard, the guards will ask you to move away from the entrance. Politely, at first, of course,” William replied.
“It won’t take long; you might even want to come closer to the doors and hear it,” I said, smiling at him. I walked across the floor, back through the doors, and out onto the top step. I whisper, “Sculpt Sound – Amplify,” as I exit the building. A small crowd of people who noticed my ride and grand entrance gathered around the steps. Many of them look like they are hoping to talk with me. They are going to be disappointed this time. In a loud voice, “People of Horn Point, I am Jebediah Walker, Oracle of Nirvana. I bring you the news that at this moment, Her Excellency, High Priest of Nirvana, makes her way to the south end of the harbor to perform a miracle in Nirvana’s name. You yet have time to get there and witness the dawn of a new age. Come and see wonders of magic never before seen in Nirvana and take in her glory. I go there now; witness my legendary magic! Dimension Door!” I step forward and vanish, appearing deep in an alleyway about a thousand feet away. After looking around, I shift my wardrobe to my adventuring gear, cancel Sculpt Sound, and cast Disguise Self, taking on the coloration of a mountain lion.
ARC, change my public page to “Pretty Kitty” and “Jinglemaster .”Ensure that full data defenses are online. I’m sure there will be plenty of people scanning everyone soon enough. Just to get names of witnesses, if nothing else.
Oops – I put my staff into my inventory and take out my ranseur. Unusual, but not unique. Time to go shopping and then we’ll return and rent a room. I continue down the alley, heading to a furniture shop ARC helped me select last night.
Walking up to a brick and wood building that’s close to three stories tall doesn’t take long. A sign above the door says, “Home Comforts.” I put my ranseur back into inventory and enter the building. Opening the door causes a bell to ring, as does closing it. It’s an antique-style bell, fitting the decor. As I stand near the door, looking around, I see that this place will do just fine. Soon, a tubby halfling emerges from behind a set of shelves with vases and other bric-a-brac on them. “Good day to you, friend! My name is Dan. How may I be of service?”
“Dan, I do not mean to be rude, but I am new to Nirvana, and there are many things I do not understand. Why are you overweight?”
Dan laughs, “What self-respecting halfling wouldn’t be? Going with the classic Tolkien, halflings were creatures of comfort, enjoying fine food and drink and nothing more than an afternoon in an easy chair with a pipe. It’s only right if I am going to sell the comforts of home that I epitomize what those might lead to and hint that you’ll find them here!”
“I see. In that case, Hail and Well Met!”
“Excellent, excellent – I can see we’ll get along just fine!” Dan asks, “I am sure you came here looking for something, allow me to help you find it.”
“Please do! I will be taking a suite of rooms at the Explorer’s Association, and I would like to purchase furnishings for the suite and have them delivered tomorrow.”
“Perfect, now, friend, I don’t mean to be insulting, but I must ask, since you stated that you are new to Nirvana, do you have the funds needed for a large transaction such as this? Few new arrivals do, so there is no stigma to be without,” Dan said.
I pulled out two gold coins and said, “My early adventures have already borne fruit. I intend to invest it in my needs in case future adventures are not so kind.”
“Wise, so very wise,” Dan exclaimed! “Then Mr. Kitty, I can indeed help you.”
Looking a little offended, “I have not told you my name. Did you scan me?”
“No, no, nothing like that. The doorway is enchanted so that when you enter the shop, your nametag will display for 5 min, and he pointed up, above my head.” I followed his finger and saw that it was indeed on display.
“A common enchantment?”
Dan nodded, “Fairly common among higher quality shops.” It makes it easy to address our customers adequately and to recognize those individuals of note – based solely on the title they chose to share. A rare title like yours certainly indicates that you are not common. Even more interesting is that I have never seen its like.”
“A demonstration then! Do you partake of the ‘twosies’ tradition of halflings?”
Dan smiled, “Of course! If nothing else, it’s a great reason to have a sit and cup of something soothing.”
“Then, allow me to provide a treat! I will need a large bowl or a clean bucket for use.”
Dan happily waddles away, “I’ll be right back!” It only takes a minute before he returns with a large silver bucket. “Usually, you would chill wine in this – will it work?”
“Absolutely!” Taking the bucket, I hold it down low so he can see and say, “It’s finger-licking good!” His eyes bulge as the bucket fills with crispy fried chicken, small tubs of mashed potatoes, gravy, and cole slaw; warm biscuits steam on top.
“Mr. Kitty, I can see how you have made a name for yourself and earned a small fortune. Would you care to sit with me, partake of your treat, and tell me of your needs? I am sure I can add a fine beverage to go with this!”
“That would be excellent!”