The Skill Shop, the second phase of the Twilight Festival. A place where every other adventurer had a chance to feel coveted in a way.
“This is a status plate.” Vivian said as she turned to face the members of Mystic Tower. The senior members already knew the drill, so she mostly explained for the sake of Agni, Katrin and Shula.
“This plate is a temporary item. One that summarizes your status as an adventurer. What’s more it lists off your accolades without giving out any detailed information about your build as an adventurer. In short, it only displays the information you wish it to.” Vivian said as she handed each of the blank status plates to everyone who wanted one. The list was rather short, Oliver, Gigi, Gates, Merri and Ariadna all declined. Katrin accepted one, but Agni knew it was mostly out of curiosity. Shula eagerly grabbed a plate and Agni realized it was purely to be antagonistic. She took one as well, but only to see what would happen upon activating it.
“This Status Plate will disappear at the end of the Skill Shop, so roughly three hours from now. To activate it, just drip some blood on the surface of the item.
The small metallic plate in Agni’s hand reminded her of a dog-tag. It was rectangular in shape with a raised edge. The surface was completely flat and held a dull sheen in the glow of twilight. The Status Plate had a small leather loop attached, allowing one to slip their wrist inside and easily carry the trinket.
Vivian followed through with showing them all how to activate the Status Plate. She pricked her own finger using a metallic hair pin and allowed a few drops of her life’s essence to splash along the metal of the item. Almost instantly it began to emit a faint blue glow as words and symbols formed along its surface.
“It’s this simple. The device is pre-programmed with magic sequences, so it has four settings. You can choose to show the bare minimum or up to three other amounts of information. It’s up to your discretion.” Vivian said as she slipped the Status Plate around her wrist and jiggled it during her explanation.
“What’s the point of these?” Shula asked as she eyed the item suspiciously.
Agni had somewhat of an idea.
*Reverse Auction?* She thought inwardly as she held up her own Status Plate. She had no intention of switching chapels-- but she was curious about what else might be out there.
“I’ll show you. Activate your plates.” Vivian responded, awaiting the trio to fulfill her command. To Agni she was immediately reminded of the process required to awaken Shula. At that time she needed to give a piece of herself and infuse the item with her magic. She could still remember the sensation of her horn being snapped. It was a strange numbing sensation that made her forehead throb simply from recalling it.
She pushed the thought out of her mind and used a fingernail to cut a small slit on her pointer finger.
*I wonder how people use sacrificial daggers to draw blood. Just this much hurts.* She thought inwardly as she dripped three droplets of red essence upon the Status Plate. Up close, the process of awakening the Status Plate was even more of a sight. She could see the words forming dynamically, starting with her name. The rest of the information flowed quickly, her level, skill set, and a bunch of other analytical info that Agni had never seen. It all flowed so quickly that Agni was surprised to find she could keep track of it.
If she had to guess, it was a form of magic. It felt like the Status Plate was reading her, her perception of all things slowed somewhat despite the second or two which passed. When all was done Agni was staring at a plate which held only the most basic of information about herself. Katrin and Shula looked just as surprised at the preceding experience.
“Good. Now, follow me.” Vivian said as she turned to lead the others towards the festivities. The Grenvale town square had once again been transformed. Dozens of stalls, some large and others quite large, lined the perimeter of the area. The center of the square was now also home to stalls, but these seemed to be refreshment stalls, unlike those along the perimeter.
As they walked both Gates and Vivian explained how things worked. Apparently the stalls in the center were for people who just wanted to mingle or relax with good food. The stalls along the outer part of the square were set up by chapels. Much as Agni suspected, this was indeed a reverse auction of sorts. The goal of the Skill Shop was simple, instead of trying to acquire talent, it was now up to the chapels to sell themselves to any adventurer who passed by.
All around them there were groups of people making all sorts of appeals to passersby. Chapels of all types existed in Grenvale, but it never occurred to Agni just how many. As they moved she found herself drawn to the sight and sounds of people displaying their Status Plates and being catered to by the subsequent exchanges.
“Arbor’s Gate is the best battle oriented Chapel in Grenvale. Come and see what we’re all about!” A female warrior shouted. At least Agni *thought* she was a warrior, upon second look the lady resembled someone cosplaying a warrior.
*So that kind of thing happens in a fantasy world too huh?* Agni thought as she passed.
“Arbor’s Gate? Never heard of them. And you guys don’t even have a Church. So much for the best of anything.” A gruff looking adventurer said as he stepped towards the young woman. She was undaunted and quickly switched gears.
“Our stats speak for themselves.” She said as she motioned towards a large hanging placard. Agni was surprised to find that the words on the sign changed dynamically, much like her Status Plate.
“Only 1,200 Grimlock slain in the last year? That doesn’t sound very active to me.” The gruff man commented. He then waved his hand before the placard and the surface rippled like liquid metal as words formed.
“And only four members? Hmm.” The man said as he rubbed his chin, apparently reconsidering his earlier comments. Shortly after Vivian and the others stopped at a nearby stall, a rather large one at that.
“This is Mystic Tower’s Skill Shop stall. This is the Chapel’s Status Plate.” She said, pointing to a large metal placard, much like the one Agni was recently studying.
“I guess the best way to explain this is…” Vivian paused briefly as she searched for a particular word.
“Analytics. It summarizes all of the accomplishments, no matter how large or small, of the Chapel. This info can then be seen in a more helpful, summarized format.” As she spoke she waved her hand in front of the placard, causing the information there to change. The Chapel name, number of members and general ranking amongst other chapels appeared on the surface of the metal sign.
“In other words, as long as you have a Status Plate you can view analytical information about prospective chapels and they can also pitch themselves to you directly. This is an alternate method to match adventurers who may want to switch Chapels in a more convenient manner.”
“But..” Vivian said, her tone suddenly shifting.
“I don’t expect any of you want to jump ship….right?” She asked, her hands suddenly positioned on her hips.
“What? No..” Agni replied. The stern energy being directed towards her by Vivian was somewhat overbearing in nature. Through it she could clearly understand Vivian’s message.
“Don’t you dare.”
For Agni it wasn’t a problem, she had no intention of moving around. She was almost a hundred percent sure Katrin felt the same way, as for Shula -- well, Shula would be more prone to cause a scene simply for her own amusement.
The voice of a woman caught Agni’s attention, as well as everyone gathered nearby.
“Oh, you.” Vivian said as her eyes locked on to the nearby lady.
“Yes. I was wondering, Doyenne Lex. Can I borrow your Succubus for a moment?”