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Initiate Auramancy by Devon Kubacki Featured Image

Initiate Auramancy – a LitRPG Adventure

Chapter 2: The Construction Site

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This chapter is, ironically, under construction Released early so there is a bit more to the story. Future chapters will also be like this, so keep that in mind as the story takes shape!

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“Heeey, Rogers!” A man called out from the top of some cedar scaffolding as he saw me approaching from the dirt road. Behind him was an impressive building, our project for the last two years, the new Auramancer Guild Hall. The walls were decorated with carved livewood in ornate sigil patterns and housed several stained glass windows in various places dyed various colors. They created a spiral pattern on the inside when the sun was in the sky around 4 bells, and were a personal request of our clients. It was of a gothic style, without the gaudy gargoyles.

The spiral was the guild’s crest and was the defining feature of the building. The clients were very particular with getting it just right, they even intentionally delayed things by several months and ballooned the cost of materials because there was a minor imperfection for the light spiral cast on the intricately carved wooden dias. They said it had to be perfect, so we redid it until it was.

“Hey, Steve!” I half-shouted over the cacophony of hammers on wood.“Nice day, eh? See anything interesting up there?” I asked. The man was perched upon a bit of scaffolding forty or so feet up. Most of the scaffolding was taken down by this point, but there were three more left, each in place to affix the final details.

He was sweating, and his short blonde hair and blue eyes glistened in the sunlight. Steve was a bit older than me at thirty-four, and had a lean build. A scar on his hand was the only other notable feature, from an accident with sawblades when he was still new to the trade. He wore the Foremans outfit, and was inspecting the fasteners on one of the support beams.

“Aside from dirt, workers, wood, and more dirt? Nah. How’s the family?” Steve replied in the same half-shout, laughing at what he considered to be a funny reply. 

I guess you have to laugh at something, so I forced a short chuckle in reply, “Yeah, well, that’s life, eh? Dirt, Wood, and work. Nervous about our new neighbors?” I asked, tapping a piece of lumber meant to be carved into a sign for the new guildhall. I pointedly avoided his question about my family though, and he raised an eyebrow, but let it slide. He was a good friend.

“The Auramancers? Nah. Nothing to worry about there. Nothin’ but a bunch of pajama-wearing pansies anyway. At least they have a big bulging sack of Starils to help turn a blind eye to that.” He laughed heartily, tapping his pouch laden with the final payment for the construction of the hall. “Don’t tell me you’re worried?” he said in mock sarcasm. “‘Fraid they’ll read yer palm and tell you your love life will be nothing but skirt chasin’?” he chided playfully.

I let out a snort of laughter, and colored my reply in mock sarcasm, “Yeah, I’m for-ev-er cursed to wander the monk’s life.” I smiled. “Need a hand?” 

He smirked and gave a small chuckle. Then he waved his hand “Come on up here, then.” and pointed to the ladder leaning against the wall across the yard. 

My eyes tracked where he was pointing, sifting through a blur of sawdust and discarded lumber on the ground, and midway through I caught a glimpse of a pair of yellow-slitted eyes in the distance. Odd…  I thought to myself. Genevieve was home, right?

Just then, a worker bumped into me as I was straining my eyes, trying to resolve whether it was Genevieve or some other stray, and breaking my gaze. “Oh sorry,” the man said, and carried on his work.

I grunted at his reply and began searching for those feline eyes again, but they had vanished from the spot I had seen them. Looking around for the cat, I spotted David Barriston, one of my co-workers, and remembering why I was there, I called out to him.

“Hey, Dave, come give me a hand with the ladder,” Dave is a big burly man with a bald head, large black beard, a squashed-looking nose, and brown eyes. He perked up, hammering in the last hand-wrought nail into the frame, then answering a quick “Aye.” and quickly made his way to the 40 ft ladder with me. 

“Blasted thing’s a burden, eh?” Dave said, straining from the effort of lifting his load of the ladder. It must have been around one hundred and fifty pounds and made from native oak. “Yeah, No kidding. I can’t wait until we finish this project and don’t need to use this again for a while.” I grunted the weight of the ladder straining my body.

Setting the ladder down in the pre-notched holes, in a piece of holding board with high grit sandpaper at the bottom for grip, we leaned it against the frame Steve was on and tested to make sure it was secure. I began climbing, Dave holding the ladder at the base to secure it with Steve at the top holding the other end. Did I mention I hate heights? Well, I do. I made it a point to look at Steve the whole way when climbing up.

As I made it to the platform with Steve, he gave me a high five, then reached down, grabbing something behind some lumber. He held out his hands as if presenting something grand to a nobleman. Dave left the ladder there and went back to hammering in fasteners on some other last-minute project.

“Welcome to my humble abode, your grace!” He said with a mocking tone and smirked. He then shoved a hammer and some nails in my direction.

“Here, you can work on this.”  When I grabbed the tools, he handed me a small leather work belt with iron tools for wood carving. A second later, the beginnings of the crown molding that was being glued and nailed at the top of the frame. 

“Ritzies have to have nothin’ but the best handiwork, and that means you. Have fun!” He said. The fact was, I really was the best engraver at the worksite. At least, the one with the fastest hands for quality work. Others could match my quality, just not the pace at the same level.

The melodic tone of a chisel and hammer began as I quickly carved the last strip of crown molding according to the patterns the Auramancers sketched out. A sigil, as it were. The shape was simple enough but needed to be consistent for 15 feet. Steve was watching my handiwork in awe, his rough hands lacking the dexterity mine had to do the same level of quality as quickly as I could due to his aforementioned past injury. Within 20 minutes, the piece was finished. 

“Damn things near-perfect,” Steve remarked. He lined the flat side with adhesive waterproof caulk and secured the molding to its final home atop the ornate wall carved with strange symbols that the auramancer guild specified needed to be on the walls.

My work finished, I began to descend the ladder when once again, those haunting yellow eyes appeared in the corner of my eye.

I snapped my head to them and locked onto them…then I heard a deafening crack, and the ladder began falling backward, with me still some thirty feet up.

“Oh, Shi-STEVE!” I yelled to the man, he saw the ladder beginning its descent backward, and leaped to his feet to grab onto the ladder. He managed to grab onto it, and locked his feet in a gap between the planks, using that for leverage to pull the massive ladder back in place.

“Fuckin’ ay, that was close. Alrigh’ there, Eithan?” Steve said his accent in full display from his nervousness at was almost happened.

“Y-yeah. Hey, have you seen Genevieve on the worksite today?” I asked. My hands were shaking. “You nearly fall to your death, and all you can think about is some cat? I envy your nerve!” He replied. “No, I ain’t seen your cat here. Why, did she get out?”

I looked around in the direction I saw the eyes, but couldn’t see them. “Eithan?” he asked. “You sure you are alrigh’?”

“Yeah, thanks,” I replied, my focus once again ruined. This cat will be the death of me. Almost was. “Hey, hold onto the ladder so I can get down. I really don’t want to be up here longer than I need to be.’

“Sure thing. Be careful, eh? You’re the best damn carpenter we have, and the best damn friend a man could have. Don’t need  you pushin’ up daisies.” Steve replied and secured the ladder as I made my way down once again. When I reached the bottom, I inspected the source of the crack. The holding board failed spectacularly, looking like a small explosion took place. I shuddered. Dave was just as shocked as I was.

“Eithan, the board looked like it exploded. That normal?” he asked.

“Probably not. But with all of the sigils around here, it wouldn’t surprise me if one of them exploded because someone carved it wrong. I didn’t see one before I put the holding board down, but you never know.”

— Story Under Construction

There was no sign of those eyes for the rest of the day. Work continued at an amazing pace, and I finished carving their guild sign. Our contract was complete. The Auramancer Guildhall now resided in Kerribor, my hometown.

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