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Sandy Earth
Topic Started: Jun 12 2017, 11:53 PM (385 Views)
Balmung6
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Varriden walked along the sandy shores outside the Akane Resort, dressed in swim trunks, a plain t-shirt, and swim shoes, enjoying the summer weather and looking around at everyone else enjoying themselves. Being at a 'beach party' - albeit one paid for in full for fighters that survived the war - wasn't something that Varriden was really used to, as he was usually the one to hang back and remain at the Academy during spring break and other party-heavy holidays, but given that it was a country-wide effort, he felt that skipping out might send the wrong message, so he came to enjoy the vacation. Might as well have some fun while I'm here, even if doesn't involve studying much, Varriden thought.

He swung by a food stall and was walking away a few minutes later, taking a bite out of a watermelon slice he'd just picked up after watching the guy slice the fruit into pieces. Wonder if that guy used to be a swordsman, or he just has years of experience with that, because that was some rather impressive knife-wielding, Varriden thought to himself as he munched on the watermelon slice, spitting out a seed and flicking another one from the exterior of the slice before taking another bite. Maybe the others from Oak Town are around here somewhere.
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Grond
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Despite the fact that Beryl considered herself social enough not to be awkward as far as human relations were concerned, the fact that she was at a beach party was slightly mind numbing. The Seveni girl realized to a little sensation of horror, that while she was quite comfortable with one-on-one interactions, integrating herself into a party atmosphere was more daunting. She wasn't used to parties; she'd never considered them of importance. Now she wondered why humans bothered to engage in such futile (bar the recreation part, if one could even remotely refer to all the stress and self-affliction as recreation) activities.

Having only recently arrived at the internationally acclaimed Akane Beach Resort, Beryl was quite impressed by the grandeur of the place. Just how much money had been put into this place? While her guess would just be about as good as many others, one thing was certain: the owners of this place had most likely been getting their returns comfortably. Else they'd never have dared to host a celebration party for the brave souls who had survived another chapter of the ongoing war.

Okay, so why a beach party? Frankly, Beryl was sure she wouldn't complain if they'd given monetary rewards and left everyone to their own devices. Yet, maybe all the noise and socialization and distraction had value. In any case, most of the facilities were free, and Beryl had never been to Akane, so why the hell not? She was sure she could learn a thing or two while here in this money sink. Most times, the most interesting tidbits of information tended to float by when one was least prepared for them.

Well, having committed herself to wasting the next few days of her life, and hopefully not irresponsibly, the first thing she would have to do would be do a bit of shopping. Beryl had packed little while coming, not because she didn't have enough foresight to determine what she would need, but because she had predicted she could get everything she needed, and wanted, here. And she hadn't been wrong. The best part was, with the free invitation to Akane, most of the shops were on heavy discount mode, in order to make people want to buy a lot of stuff. Buying stuff seemed pleasant to many. So having dropped her major luggage in her room, she'd found her way to the beach in simple, unremarkable clothes, to be changed once she found a clothes store.

This task wasn't in the least challenging, and the Seveni girl had more trouble determining which shop to choose to patronize than locating where to buy clothes. In any case, she made up her mind quickly, and set to work with the process of apparel selection. After a bit of mind searching, Beryl settled on a swimsuit set. In terms of description, it was a neon-pink, two-piece item with a lot of strings, and whatever else bordered on scandal. As an afterthought, Beryl bought a white sundress, which she wore over the swimsuit, although the dress was all high hemline and low neckline. A wide-brimmed straw hat and a pair of sunshades finished the ensemble. Footwear was unnecessary, due to the fact that Beryl would mostly be walking on sand.

Stepping out of the shop, she began to search for something interesting to do, or a vantage point from which to watch the beach goers. Then an apparently unlikely setup caught her attention. A mini bookshop, on the beach? Momentarily losing interest in the world around her, the Earth mage drew towards the vendor, and his pockets of information.
Edited by Grond, Jul 23 2017, 09:43 PM.
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Balmung6
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Varriden walked idly along the beach, munching on the slice of watermelon he'd gotten until it was down to the outer shell, tossing it into a nearby trash can, which had wisely been placed periodically along the beachfront to help discourage littering. Makes alot of sense, Varriden thought. A beachside resort is alot less appealing if garbage is floating in the water and scattered across the sand.

Varriden swung by another foodstall on the way down the beach, this time one that was selling grilled items from a portable grill that the owner had brought, apparently powered with a mix of actual fire and fire-enchanted lacrima. Varriden got his item, a small pork loin on a stick, munching away at it as he continued to walk, glad that he had found a stall offering something a bit hearty to follow the light fruit taste, but without having to sit down to eat it.

As he walked, he noticed something that would have caught his eye even under normal circumstances, but did so to an even greater degree here - a bookstore in stall form on the beach. I told myself I wasn't going to just put my nose to the books while I was here, and actually enjoy a day at the beach, Varriden thought, slowly turning towards the bookstall. But technically, they brought the bookstore all the way out here, to show to people who they know are focusing on having fun, so I suppose it couldn't hurt just to look around for a bit. Varriden knew full well that he was likely going to lose track of time in that bookstall, but that thinly-veiled excuse was ideal for him to claim he had a day at the beach while still pursuing his usual hobbies.

Varriden walked in, already taking note of the kinds of books on display, skipping past the fiction and looking to see if the non-fiction had anything magic or research-related. Thankfully, no crowds, as a bookstore wasn't the most popular spot on a beach. There was one person who caught his eye, though, because she looked familiar - after a moment, it clicked, as he hadn't realized at first because of the different attire. "Beryl? Is that you?" Varriden asked, curious to see if it really was the earthen mage he'd fought a giant into submission with, now walking the beach in a dress.
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Grond
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While the presence of a book vendor on the beach was a bit unexpected (the vendor himself didn't even have a relatively decent-sized shop, possibly indicating that even he felt it would be unlikely to snag a fair number of customers), it would be such a shame to simply pass by and ignore the books. If Beryl were any more paranoid, she would have assumed that the pages were calling to her, enticing her, eroding her will. She would have to attend to their summons....

While a small establishment, the vendor seemed to have a reasonable share of good reading material. There were many genres present, ranging from boring treatises on how to spend your own money (really, who needed help doing that?!) to tomes detailing information on a wide range of eclectic subjects, to pages recounting tall tales of imagined events in climes and cultures alien to anything but the mind of an avid imaginationist (totally not an English word there).

As Beryl entered the bookstore, she could see the staff's face register mild surprise on seeing her. Most likely because someone looking like she was would probably have her interests where human interactions were more rife. Unless she had had her share of socializing, and wanted to probably unwind by selecting something that would appeal to a person with a flighty fancy for romance stories. Acting on this presumption, he indicated that there were a number of bestseller novels of that category.

"Do you have anything more research-oriented, maybe with geography as a subject?" Beryl replied, secretly enjoying the look of utter confusion that momentarily registered on the man's face, although, to hand it to him, he seemed to recover quickly, and pointed her in the right direction. To be honest, some of the titles there were unexpectedly of high quality. Beryl was about concentrating on picking whatever books appealed to her, when she heard a voice call her name specifically.

Spinning round, she came face to face with the Archive mage she'd met on that gruesome trek to Reinhardt. "Varriden!" the young Seveni mage exclaimed, a bright smile appearing on her features. "What are you-- okay, I won't ask; it's probably the same thing I'm doing here." She looked the silver-haired man up and down momentarily. "You look well. It's nice to see a familiar face in a place like this. How are you doing? Well, I hope, steep temperatures trying to roast everyone here into a crisp aside? I wonder how some people can enjoy this weather...."
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Balmung6
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Varriden was browsing the book selection at the stall (which, unfortunately, was limited by the simple fact that it was a stall for books, not a full store, as it had to be mostly portable to be relocated to the beach) when he spotted Beryl looking over books in a nearby shelf, and called out to her to make sure he had the right person.

Sure enough, it was indeed the earth mage he'd briefly fought alongside in dealing with some green-cloaked hoodlums that were trying to get their claws on another mage and their magic. She seemed surprised to see him there, then realized the obvious - the reason he was there on the beach was the same reason every other mage and knight was there right now, the mass vacation for the fighters in the Boscan War. Nevertheless, a bemused smile crossed Varriden's face. "There's something oddly amusing about a mage with earth-based magic looking into geography books." he said with a slight chuckle.

Despite her attire, however, Beryl voiced a few opinions that made her sound like she felt almost as out of place on the beach as Varriden himself was - in fairness, they were the only two browsing research books during what was essentially a spring-break vacation. "Admittedly, I prefer the cold to the heat, but given the lengths they went to in hosting this, I felt showing up was as much a show of support as it was an actual vacation." Varriden said with a slight shrug.

"Not that I'm unappreciative of the business, but I'm going to have to ask you to either finish that up outside or toss it." the merchant said, gesturing to the pork loin Varriden had on the stick, half-eaten now. "The sand alone is an issue, but food is another, and I'd rather not get anything on the books."

"A fair enough point," Varriden said, turning to walk over to the entrance to the tent, stick held lightly in one hand. "I can just finish it up quickly out h-" Varriden was beat to the punch as a white blur swooped down and suddenly the pork loin - and the stick it was on - were both gone. Varriden glanced aside just in time to see a seagull swoop away with what was left of it. "....Well, guess the problem's solved, at least," Varriden said after a moment.
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Grond
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Varriden's statement about Beryl's choice of books made the Seveni girl chuckle. Funnily enough, her interest in the geography books had very little to do with her magic type. "Right you are there, although my interest in the subject is not so much sponsored by my elemental magic form," she replied, realizing that until the silver-haired archive mage had mentioned it, the correlation between her current reading interest and her magic had not been considered by herself.

Her interest in geography was actually a lot more prosaic than the exalted desire of the scholar to engage in mind-bettering pursuits via education, that, she was sure, being Varriden's purpose for approaching the mini bookshop. Fiore seemed to have a plethora of ancient structures and ruins; there was always the advantage in discovering such places and their peculiarities before paying them a visit. Of course, Beryl's reason for visiting these places of interest went beyond tourism, but who needed to know?

The book merchant seemed worried that Varriden's snack had the potential to mess up his wares. It did, actually, although Beryl considered that the warning would have better results with younger careless brats; Varriden seemed to be the sort that had respect for books. In any case, he proved this by taking his food outside to finish it there, rather than argue with the merchant. And from a cynic's view, he got rewarded for his rectitude by having a seagull swoop down and snatch the meat right out of his hand.

"If it's any consolation," the Earth mage said, walking up to him, with her book of interest having been paid for and in her possession, "that winged thief is probably grateful. Okay, on second thought, it's most likely not. But as you so optimistically put it, problem solved. So, what types of books are you looking for? And is it only books you intend to spend your time struggling with here? I think the word used was 'vacation', not 'study trip'."

While that could sound hypocritical coming from Beryl, she was sure she wasn't known for being an avid scholar. Besides, there were things she could gladly engage in that people regarded as fun. She wasn't sure if Varriden could say the same thing about himself.
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Balmung6
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Beryl seemed amused at Varriden's statement about her research subject compared to her magical skillset. "It's always interesting to hear of the interests of others, even when they lay outside the boundaries of magic - my own area of interest, admittedly," Varriden said with a slightly apologetic shrug, "But while this place might have some good books on geography, you should consider holding off, or at least be ready to go shopping again later on. After all, 'geography' deals with the landscape and its changes, both natural ones and those of human origins, and with a war like this going on, there's a very real possibility - either because of an eventual peace or escalated war - that the maps might need some re-drawing before this ordeal is said and done."

What Beryl didn't know is that Varriden's own interests weren't completely isolated from her own. Varriden himself had a bit of interest in ancient ruins and the like, remains of other civilizations to some extent, but like two tourists visiting a city with different sights they planned on seeing, the Archive mage's intentions for looking into the past were different than the earth mage's. Varriden's interest, as he himself had partially admitted, was magic - both current and forgotten magic. As he could wield any number of magics, given the right circumstances, it benefited both his personal interests and his job security to keep tabs on anything that had a potential relation to the arcane.

After their conversation was interrupted by the merchant's concerns about food on his books, Varriden went outside, only for a seagull to steal what was left of the treat. Varriden glanced at his empty hand for a second before letting out a slight sigh as Beryl walked up. "I have no doubt that it's grateful, but given the sheer number of people on the beach, I highly doubt it was on the verge of going hungry." Varriden pointed out. "As for my trip here, I did, admittedly, tell myself I'd try a few things that didn't involve my usual research tendencies. But when I saw the bookstore, I decided to take a look and see if I had tried to make that decision too soon or not," Varriden admitted with a slightly sheepish smile. "I don't intend to spend my 'vacation' in here, but I thought that a look couldn't hurt, just to see if there were any good books on magic laying around in this collection."
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Grond
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The fact that war, especially the type fought with weapons of mass destruction and magic types that could warp the very fabric of creation, could drastically alter the landscape had been overlooked by Beryl. Perhaps it was due to the general human assumption that everything would eventually return to the way it was before, that hope unfounded on anything other than the fact that its bearer was still alive, and therefore still capable of kicking, even if vainly, against fate.

The Seveni girl stared at Varriden, her eyes slightly wide with realization, though the sun made it difficult to open her eyes fully. "Good point," she stated, pulling out her sunshades and putting them on, "although most of the places in which I am interested seem to have quite few human visitors, so they'll most likely remain after the war, because they don't seem to be favorite spots in which the dominant sentient species may disembowel, eviscerate and slaughter others of their kind to their hearts' content... unless a Seveni-style cataclysm occurs in Fiore... and I pray that never happens."

From the Archive mage's words, so far, like Beryl, Varriden had probably had other things on his mind, when the allure of the bookshop captured him and drew him like a moth to incandescence, except that, unlike the moth, the incandescence would not prove destructive. Yet how would one know when the search for knowledge would eventually prove destructive, or yet, when the information one sought crossed the line from safe to forbidden? In any case, there was something the silver-haired man had said that caught Beryl's attention.

"I almost find your last sentence shocking. So, where do you intend to spend your vacation, since you don't want to spend it here?" she asked, raising an eyebrow, an expression of mildly amused inquisitiveness on her face. "You did mention trying a few things that were not in the scope of your usual research tendencies. So, at the risk of being a busybody, what new things do you want to try out. And don't you dare say strolling along the edge of the surf."
Edited by Grond, Jul 23 2017, 09:46 PM.
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Balmung6
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From the expression on Beryl's face after Varriden pointed out the flaw in the timing of her book hunting, the earth mage hadn't considered that, though she did point out that the areas she was interested in weren't the kind to be visited by humans much, if at all, due to their remote locations, lest what occurred in Seven happened once again in Fiore. "I doubt any mage would be that foolish...or rather, that's what I'd like to say, but given the events at the Castle, some fools of that nature still exist in this day and age," Varriden said with a slight sigh. "That very cataclysm - and the sacrifice behind it - is likely one of the key reasons that Fiore hasn't thought to extend an offer to Seven for assistance in the war, as it would put Bosco on edge from two fronts. Though I think 'national pride' is also in play here, after being attacked by the Boscans as a nation."

She didn't, however, seem to believe that he was going to truly ignore research during his time here, even if he was on a beach. "Well, to be perfectly honestly, I didn't have any particular activity in mind," Varriden admitted, "Just that for the sake of this particular vacation, I was going to attempt to keep my nose out of the books, and not just spend the vacation reading on the beach, though as you can see, that part isn't working out quite as planned," Varriden added, gesturing to the books around them. "I wouldn't be against visiting some remote locales myself, but I'm afraid those are rather few and far between here, as a popular beach resort is about as far from 'remote' as you can get."
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Grond
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Beryl was more or less on the same page with Varriden as regarded the reason Fiore had not called on Seven to send aid in the war, especially as Bosco and Seven were particularly low on the mutual positive diplomatic scale. He was probably right about the 'national pride' thing about Fiore; the Seveni mage was sure that Fiore would not like to display any signs of weakness to the other nations on the continent while battling Bosco, lest some opportunistic invaders planned to make moves when the war was over. Yet troops from Seven would most likely bring a decisive conclusion to the Bosco-Fiorean War...

...if Seven even had such troops to spare. From Beryl's growing years in Seven, whatever joke that referred to itself as government in Seven was only there more or less as a sort of figurehead. Most of the communities in Seven made their own rules and governed themselves as they pleased. So for the Seveni government to mobilize an army, Beryl was sure a series of small-scale 'unification' skirmishes would have to occur.

"Well, if Fiore even approached Seven for help, I doubt Seven would have the power to so much as help in a single battle, even if Seven was desirous to do so," the Earth mage stated, idly toying with a lock of her hair, "Seven has no army. And yet the reason Bosco hasn't overrun my country is at best freaky and at worst unbelievable. And no one even knows exactly what it is...."

Beryl shook her head in mock disappointment as Varriden stated that he had nothing particular in mind on spending the vaction. "Tsk tsk, Varriden," she exclaimed, "you're almost as bad as myself. No, I think you're worse. At least I wasn't thinking about visiting remote places; I was planning on spending the entire vacation sleeping at home. Well, unless we want to spend this free time doing exactly what you didn't plan on doing as far as spending vacations is concerned, we should soon escape from the source of temptation."

Beryl had a feeling she would still probably come back to the bookstore....
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