Arcana X: 3rd Assignment – Cruelty and the Beast Chapter 1 Pt.1

To see how the story began, click the links at the bottom of the page! Click on Willow below to order your copy of Arcana X Vol. 1 – available at Amazon.com

Click the image to order your copy of Arcana X Vol 1 at AMAZON.COM

Edgewood Inn is rather lavished for a hunters’ lodge in a merchant town such as Tulpex. Horns, skins and taxidermized heads of various animals and beasts decorated the lodge. Wooden furniture, floors and countertops gave the lodge a rugged look. Amidst the masculinity of the decor, beautifully crafted vases, statuettes, and other trinkets lined the shelves of Edgewood. Their gold trim and silver accents conflict with the animalistic decorations yet somehow, they are harmonious with one another. The clientele at Edgewood Inn is mostly hunters and the like however, other people—merchants, travelers and messengers—have also settled in to enjoy a good meal in the presence of friendly company or stay in one of the available rooms upstairs, be it for the night or short interlude, with one of the waitresses most likely. In the back of the inn is a butcher shop that also serves as a trade post. The man running the butcher/trade shop is carefully examining the fresh kill presented to him. It is a beautiful Agilor buck, a species of deer noted for their golden-brown fur and massive antlers. The females of this species have white silver fur. It is no wonder the Agilor deer are known as the “treasure troves” of Devon, a traverse town located in the Kanto region. Their pelt is very valuable. Fur traders will pay top money for Agilor deer pelt so long as it is in good condition. The merchant, with assistance from the huntsman, turns the buck over. He carefully looks the animal over. There is some scarring in its side, likely made from a fight with another buck. The merchant then looks at the buck’s majestic antlers. Like the fur, the antlers also have a golden hue to them. He counts. Fifteen points on the antlers. This full-grown buck is in excellent shape. The huntsman works out a deal for the fur as long as he gets the meat. The merchant agrees and calls for his assistant to help carry the deer to the back. He can fetch a pretty penny for the pelt and antlers.

The dining hall is nearly filled with patrons. Huntsmen, huntresses and travelers alike eat and drink, merrily enjoying each other’s company. The huntsmen would tell stories of their glory kills with artistic exaggeration with the huntresses befuddling them charmingly. The travelers listen attentively. They have heard many stories and tales, but the story woven by a huntsman is always entertaining. Sometimes there are fights between huntsmen, usually due to them trying to outdo each other in the telling of their hunts with one trying to emasculate the other. Some of these fights end up being nothing more than displays of testicular fortitude and almost always end with a drink and a laugh. The more intense fights have to be brought to an end and it’s the huntresses that help with these. True, the waitresses try to charm them into calming down but only a huntress knows how to handle a huntsman. At times, the matter ends up being settled in one of the lodge’s rooms on the second floor.

Ecks finishes putting his left boot before securing the buckle. Willow exits the other bedroom. She slips on her bodice and begins tightening the laces. Most of yesterday was spent gathering information about Elga’s disappearance and apparent suicide along with the disappearances of Larissa and her friend Aerith. So far, they have learned that the neighbors have not seen her in nearly a month, however, her brother Tremont and best friend Elanhor claim to have seen her in the last few days. Upon their arrival in Tulpaar, Ecks and Willow met the local seamstress Elyzah Turbin who told them the disappearances began over two months ago. She seemed to have the best knowledge about the disappearances since she brought them up before Willow mentioned anything. Right now, she is their best lead in finding out what is happening in Tulpaar. Because of Tulpaar’s animosity towards anyone from Arcana, Ecks and Willow got a room at Edgewood Inn in Tulpex. The merchant town is far more considerate than their blacksmith neighbors. Of course, again, they were presumed to be a couple by the owner of the inn and his staff and Ecks had to inform them that he and Willow just work together. Willow finishes lacing and tying her boots while Ecks slides on his coat and then grabs his harness.

“Hey, you ever get back to His Grace?” Ecks asks Willow.

“I’m actually going to do that right now,” Willow answers. After making sure her boots were fine, she takes a couple steps to the middle of the main room. Willow then gets into a stance with her right foot in front of her left and holding both arms down at her sides with her fingers spread. She closes her eyes. A soft glow wraps around her, starting from her feet and gently rising.

The White Sage, Xehtus Alpex is once again in the library going through the book of his predecessors, learning all he can about the Arcane Relics and the battle between Balthazar Xamot, his three-hundred-year-old predecessor, and the Dark Priest Vevito Carnello. He is currently reading about the latest Relic that has been brought to him, the Bracelets of Samantra. According to the notes of another White Sage, Jericho Weiss, these beautifully crafted bracelets are supposed to have once belonged to a divine Goddess of Light. Anyone who wears them will receive a fraction of that Goddess’s light magic. Should they be worn by a spell caster, their magic powers will be greatly enhanced. Xehtus is glad that the bracelets have been acquired. In previous notes he has read, the White Sages are supposed to be descendant of the Goddess of Light. As he reads on, young woman dressed in a deep purple skirt, white bodice and wearing cloak stands from the table to his right and turns to him.

“Your Grace,” she says. “It’s Miss Willow.”

The White Sage looks up at her. “Very well then. Thank you, Miss Novell,” he says, standing up from his chair. He walks over to meet the young woman over the large depiction of the Red Star Crest on the floor in the middle of the library. “Tatianna, open the Astral Flow,” says the White Sage.

“As you wish, your Grace,” she responded. Tatianna Novell turns her back to Xehtus Alpex. She gets into a stance and brings her hands up to her chest forming an upside-down triangle with her fingers. A moment later, ethereal light envelopes her body. “Opening Astral Flow,” says Tatianna. Tatianna Novell is a wiccan healer from the village of Villiers in the Uutalh Region. Like all wiccans, she has learned about the various plants used for medicine. Wiccans not only use medical plants for treatment, but they have also incorporated white magic as well, hence why their name means “White Witch.” Like nearly all practitioners of magic, the Wiccans can communicate across the Astral Flow, the celestial plane where magic gathers. There, they can establish an Astral Connection with other mystics. Though this is an innate skill, it takes years to master. Tatianna is a special case, however. She could connect to the Astral Flow with ease at an early age and mastered the ability in a few weeks’ time. She came to Arcana Kingdom as a request from the White Sage when she accidently contacted him over the Astral Flow. Impressed with her talent, he invited Tatianna to join the Medical Corps and serve as part of the Communication Corps as well. Since then, she has proven to be a valuable asset to both. “Connection with Miss Willow established,” says Tatianna.

“Thank you, Tatianna,” replies the White Sage. He, too, can connect to the Astral Flow, but His Grace will admit that the young Wiccan is more proficient than he. Tatianna can connect with non-mystics as well where His Grace cannot. The White Sage places a hand on Tatianna’s shoulder. “Miss Willow, thank you for getting back to us. And I do apologize for earlier,” he says mentally.

“No, it is alright, Your Grace,” Willow replies. Lord Xehtus had contacted Willow while she was washing up earlier. His Grace was embarrassed for intruding on her. Tatianna, however, only regretted that she hadn’t learned Perception magic yet.

The White Sage asks Willow how their assignment in Tulpaar is progressing. Willow tells him about the mysterious disappearances that have been occurring over the past three months with the most recent being to young female merchants. She also informs him that one of the girl’s mother was found dead in her home from an apparent suicide. Where the neighbors have not seen her in weeks, the woman’s brother and close friend claim to have seen her in the last few days, however, even their stories conflict each other. The White Sage is also told that the only reliable lead they have is the local seamstress Elyzah Turbin who knows about the disappearances, seemingly more so than anyone else.

“That is interesting. How long ago did Elyzah Turbin say the disappearances began?” asked the White Sage.

“About three months ago,” answers Willow.

“Hmm, and Miss Elga supposedly died just under a month ago,” the White Sage says, thinking.

Tatianna, able to sense what His Grace is thinking, interceded. “Miss Willow, didn’t you say that Elanohr claimed she last saw Elga four days ago?”

“Yes,” replies Willow.

“And when did her daughter Aerith and Elga’s daughter Larissa vanish?”

“About the same,” Willows says. As the last words leave her lips, she is struck. “Wait, you suspect there’s a connection?”

“From what you have reported, Miss Willow, there is little doubt that the two incidents are not coincidental,” says the White Sage.

Willow ponders what the White Sage and Tatianna had said. She did think about the possible connection between Aerith and Larissa’s disappearance and Elanohr claiming to see her friend a few days ago when in fact she had been dead long before that. But hearing it spoken out loud makes her wonder even more. “You think whatever happened to Aerith, Larissa and Elga has something to do with Elanohr?” she asks.

“There isn’t enough to support it, but we cannot rule out that possibility,” Tatianna replies.

“That’s cute and all. Unfortunately, I’m gonna hafta punch a big hole in your theory,” Ecks interrupts, surprising everyone.

“Lieutenant Ecks,” Tatianna says with disdain.

“Hey Tina,” replies Ecks with his usual light-hearted banter.

“It’s ‘Tatianna’,” she groans.

The White Sage chuckles lightly at the small exchange. “Lieutenant Ecks, thank you for joining us.”

“Your Grace,” Ecks responds politely.

“There is something you wanted to add,” asked the White Sage.

“Yeah, it’s about this theory you all came up with. It sounds tangible but only on the surface.” Tatianna asks what he meant and that if he had another theory. Ecks continues to explain, “It has to do with something Willow hasn’t mentioned. When we went to Elga’s home and found her body, Elanohr was in total shock over her friend’s death. She was so distraught that she couldn’t think clearly.”

“No disrespect intended but that could have been a clever performance. Similar situations have been encountered before,” Tatianna said doubtfully.

“True but Ecks is correct,” says Willow. “I remember holding Elanohr back as she pleaded to get Elga’s body down. There was a look of horror, disbelief and urgency in her eyes. This was no act, I am certain of that. This woman’s emotions were real.”

“Plus, when I met Elanohr, I saw a mother desperate to find her missing child. I believe that Elanohr is also a victim, just like her daughter, Larissa and Elga,” added Ecks.

“On those grounds, I guess that no longer makes Elanohr suspicious,” Tatianna says, sounding nearly deflated. “But there’s still the matter of the disappearances.”

Ecks and Willow’s story begins in “Arcana X: Gunslinger Swordsman!”
Chapter1- Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Part 7
Chapter2- Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Chapter3-
Chapter4-
Chapter5- Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Chapter6-

The adventure continues with “Arcana X: Bitter Suites to Succubi!”
Want to know how their second assignment started?! Click the links below!!
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 1 Pt.1
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 1 Pt.2
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 1 Pt.3
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 2
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 3
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 4 Pt.1
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 4 Pt.2
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 5
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 5 Pt.2

Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 5 Pt.3
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 6 Pt.1
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 6 Pt.2
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 6 Pt.3

Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 6 Pt.4
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 7
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 8 Pt.1
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 8 Pt.2
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 9 Pt.1
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 9 Pt.2
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 10
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 11
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 12 Pt.1
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 12 Pt.2
Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 12 Pt.3

Arcana X 2nd Assignment: Chapter 13