Haven

Vignette: Ritual Shopping

Lanyk is sound asleep in his quarters when Vestas bursts into the room.

“Wake up! We’ve got a long day ahead of us!”

A quick glance out the window confirms that the sun has just barely peeked over the horizon. But before Lanyk can really register that fact, he’s being dragged through town. “Where are we going?”

“To Jupus!”

The ritual vendor is on the cusp of a major revelation. For years now, he’s been harnessing the unfettered power of his dreaming mind to explore the deeper nature of existence. It has been a painstaking process. Each night he makes infinitesimal progress as he plunges his mind into the depths of chaos, expending tremendous mental effort to extract the barest wisps of truth. But tonight, all the bits start to come together. There is clarity where previously there was only confusion. Connections form between seemingly unrelated parts. A vision of something grand and unifying, something that gives meaning and beauty to all things. Something about coconuts…

“Jupus!”

Jupus awakes to Vestas shaking him and yelling, and immediately punches the ardent in the face. He looks over at the gnome and tries to decide whether another punch is warranted.

Vestas doesn’t miss a beat. “Ah, Jupus, I’m glad you’re awake. We need to see your ritual books right away.”

Jupus stares for a second. Another punch is indeed warranted, and hits Vestas again, this time knocking him off his feet. “They’re in there. Go away now.”

Vestas becomes almost giddy as he approaches the shelves. He pulls down one of the tomes, sits down at the small table, and starts flipping through the pages excitedly. “Ohh..” He intently scans a page. “That’s interesting… I wonder if…” He grabs another book and searches through it, occasionally referring back to the first book. Soon he starts taking notes.

After about 15 minutes, he seems to have reached a conclusion. “Yes, I’m quite sure now.” He stands up. “I don’t understand one bit of this.” He moves aside and offers Lanyk his seat. “Your turn!”

And so Lanyk begins reading through the rituals, describing them briefly to Vestas, who stands nearby staring at him and waiting patiently. For each one, they discuss how useful it might be and whether it’s worth the effort to acquire them. They are in agreement most of the time, although Vestas is more inclined to include somewhat frivolous ones than Lanyk, who has to do all the actual work of copying them.

“But in what circumstance is that useful?”

“We might suddenly find ourselves in need of a bunch of flowers or something.”

“What? How?”

“I don’t know. Maybe we meet an angry, misunderstood stone giant who would stop terrorizing the local villagers if only his garden would flourish.”

A few hours pass, and their progress slows as Lanyk visibly begins to tire. Vestas walks out and returns promptly lugging a giant soup pot in his arms.

“Here, this will help keep your strength up.”

“I don’t even like soup.”

“Soup? This is Hog Spit Ale from The Pig and Whistle. They just didn’t have any big enough mugs.”

Night approaches and they’ve finally exhausted Jupus’ supply of rituals. As Lanyk finishes making copies of the last few rituals, Vestas has an idea.

“Wait, so you can use this one to summon a small spirit person?”

“Yes…”

“And then you can give that spirit person a simple command to convey to someone you can name and picture in your mind?”

“Well, yes. The spirit still has to travel to the person, and it only sticks around for about a week… But they’re pretty quick.”

“Call one.”

“Now?”

“Yeah.”

Lanyk makes the required incantations and arcane gestures, and a spirit fetch appears before them.

“Who do you wish to command?”

Vestas steps forward. “Dolovar Gray.”

“And what command do you wish to send him?”

“Tell him, ’We’re coming for you. In the meantime, go fuck yourself.’”

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