Telara breathed in deeply, a slow smile spreading across her face. Aeon’s air had that same electric taste to it as the rest of the Starscape, blended with the tang of the city’s ambient magic, and the first lungful was always special. The wizard knelt down, twisted a face of the brassy cube at her feet, pocketed it, and strode off. Her footsteps lacked some of their usual confidence as she tuned in to the subtle tremors and vibrations of the vast star beneath her that gave the city life. As fantastical and vast an ecosystem as Meriden was, The City Among The Stars dwarfed it in all aspects — an adjustment period was always necessary.
The streets buzzed with activity, strange and wonderful individuals travelling back and forth as starsails passed silently overhead on their business. Though she enjoyed the notoriety of the Spire’s Eight, it was refreshing to go unremarked now and again. Navigating the streets more by feel than any cognitive understanding of the city’s layout, the arcanist soon found herself at her destination. A small bell rang over the doorway as she entered.
“Ok, let’s make this quick, I haven’t all day.”
The vortai behind the counter smiled wide, his long teeth glinting in the dim light of the shop. Barely enough to see by, but the wizard had to give him credit for at least a cursory attempt at making his customers welcome.
“Divinerrrrrrrr. Pleased to see you.”
Telara looked at Zar’s blindfold and opened her mouth to say something, but thought better of it.
“I have what you seek,” he hissed, standing up and lifting the flap on the shop counter. He began to make his way through a beaded doorway into the back room, beckoning the wizard to follow. “We have visitors from your realm so rarely, how was your journey?” he said as he led her into a small room lined with shelves of curios and esoteric tomes. In the centre of the room stood a small round table, a shimmering cloth draped over it and bare, except for a small metal box.
“The usual. Gates aren’t exactly taxing on the system. Instantaneous, you know?”
Zar gave no reply, retrieving the box from the table before turning to face her.
“Now, a word of warning—”
“I think I’ll be fine.”
“With all due respect,” he said, drawing out the words like he was savouring them, “a little foresight would not go amiss with this one.”
The Arch-Diviner stared at the salesman for a few moments, eyebrows raised.
“I know you wizard types,” he said, tapping his four thumbs on the box clasped in front of him as he spoke, “and you would be well to use it for the intended purpose only.” The vortai held the box out in one pale crimson hand with a bow, and the wizard took it from him.
“Naturally,” Telara said with a smile, then turned on her heel and left.
Zar was not filled with confidence.