Chapter 3 Part 1 of The EmVee
Real Time: 2054 APRIL 28 9:03 AM
Dark Haven: Rivenwood 12:15 Local Time
“I am the wizard known as Nomra,” Lawrence said, giving Luda the name of his character. In order to maintain the sanity of the Artificial Intelligence he was only going to interact with the SEN while in character until he felt safe sharing reality with them; if such a time ever arose. “I work for a very powerful organization that is in need of your help. You, and only you are capable of-”
Lawrence stopped talking as he watched Luda. He leaned forward and waved his hands at the half-elf that sat across from him but couldn’t acquire their attention. Luda was distracted by… everything. They spent several seconds staring at the fire in awe, then at the bricks near their head where they sat. They ran their hands over the rough wood of the table, then looked at Lawrence with a questioning expression.
“You’re aware of the world, now,” Lawrence said. He extended a hand and pointed a bony finger at the necklace around Luda’s neck. “That magical artifact has opened your eyes to- reality,” He paused to observe the irony of his words. “This is the exact same world, nothing about it has changed but you. Wearing that pendant grants you a magical perception of the world around you. It makes you unique amongst the rest of the people here.”
Luda looked at Lawrence for a long period as their face contorted through a series of emotions; confusion, curiosity, disgust, anger, curiosity again, and acceptance.
“Luda,” Lawrence reached across the table to take the half-elf’s hand in his. “I know you, amongst all others, are equipped to handle this. Remember your training.”
Lawrence’s last phrase brought a confused expression to Luda’s face, they tilted their head slightly toward their shoulder and raised their hands to imply they didn’t know what that meant. They tapped their forehead with their fingers, then swooped their hand downward, shifting their fingers into a fist with their thumb and pinky sticking out, before poking their chest with their thumb.
‘Why me?’ Luda mouthed, silently as they performed the accompanying hand signs.
“There is… something spreading across the worlds. We don’t know what it is but it is very dangerous. It is attacking people, consuming all that it can and growing in power.”
Luda raised their hands, palms toward Lawrence to suggest he stop talking. They crossed their pointer fingers, then arced them up and away from each other before repeating their earlier motions.
‘But why me?’ Luda signed, silently. Their hands moved from one position to the next, flowing through one gesture to another as they continued to sign. ‘I am an apprentice. Why not ask M-U-N-F-A-R? Why not ask the many adventurers? T-O-R-R-O-F-R-O-N has an adventurer’s guild full of experienced fighters.’
Lawrence nodded as he watched Luda’s hands. He considered his response for a moment before leaning forward and lowering his voice.
“Because, Luda, I know who you are. I know your history.” Lawrence paused as he watched Luda’s eyes narrow. He wasn’t sure if they were agitated or frightened by his words.
Luda took a deep breath and exhaled slowly through their nose before raising their hands to reply.
‘I am L-U-D-A, an orphan of R-I-V-E-N-W-O-O-D taken in by the kind blacksmith. I have no history.‘
“No,” Lawrence insisted. “You have a history. You were born in Eroux, the only child of Lucian, the head of House Adularia and-” As Lawrence mentioned the city of Eroux, Luda’s jaw fell slack.
Luda’s eyes widened and their whole body suddenly shot forward. Their hand darted across the table in a quick, blurred motion to take Lawrence by the robes just below his chin. Lawrence was yanked forward halfway across the table as Luda grabbed the spoon from their bowl and brought it to meet Lawrence’s neck. The rough edge of the spoon pressed to Lawrence’s flesh.