It was a small group for Norman Trunast’s taste, but that did mean he would be able to give a more personal tour. Large groups brought a sea of personalities that usually bashed into one another. It was always a challenge to find the parts of the city that would interest the majority of the group, but Norman Trunast did not shirk from difficulty. Alas, with only four it would be simple as air.
But easy was no grounds for laziness. Norman glanced at his only everflame on the shelf. It was a pricey investment, but it kept Norman perfectly on time and was an eye-catcher itself. The fire mages would eventually saturate the market with the new lamps, but for now, they were a commodity. The everflame was still orange with a yellow tip. Norman had about ten minutes still. Time enough to make a plan.
Norman slid back his hidden panel and watched his four marks mingling in the anteroom. Two men and two women. How very balanced. The silver-haired man and woman were clearly from the Isle of Coumoor. While only a few Lunarists traveled to Elridge at a time, they always found Norman’s tour. How could they not? Norman Trunast was the best historian of all the city guides. Open eyes and relaxed smiles told Norman these two fit the stereotype and would be pushing him to show them every bit of the city. Lunarists never got enough sightseeing.
The second woman looked to be from nearby, perhaps visiting family. Her tapping shoes showed plans for later and would want this tour to be on time. She had likely been in town before and would be looking for the more reclusive points of Elridge’s history.
The last man was wearing a jacket with bright yellow embellishments all over it. If Norman didn’t know any better, the man was from Tegguard. Norman raised his brow at that. Tegguarians never came to any part of Seilucia and especially not it’s capital. There was too much magic here for their taste. And indeed, the man had a permanent scowl as he examined the everflame. What would Norman do with a Tegguarian? Almost all of Elridge’s history was related to magic or the Sein. But fidgeting fingers sparked a memory. The man was here for new ideas and possible technological advancement. Tegguard may say Seilucia was too waterlogged with magic to create anything with their minds, but every so often an inventor came abroad to discover if there were any hidden secrets.
No, this was not an easy group to guide. It was indeed a challenge. Four individuals with vastly different cultural backgrounds. All that was missing was a mage or a witch. Two wanted an information overload, one was for a timely tour of older history, and one looking purely for technological advancements who would likely raise his nose at anything less. Norman checked the time again. It was past time to begin. The local would be getting impatient. But where to go? Norman Trunast couldn’t afford to bore any customers. His reputation was on the line!
Thinking quickly, Norman planned out a route through the city’s four districts then changed the path again and again. He had to show at least something from each part of the city, the elemental mages who claimed each section had vastly different styles of living and creating. Each side of the city was like a new world in itself. Norman placed a hand on the door that would begin his performance and calmed himself as he made his final touches.
Constant movement would help the local feel timely, so Norman would have to make his small comments as they walked. They would head to the river first. The waterwheels might interest the Tegguarian along with the slim boat styles. There wasn’t a lot of water in Tegguard for them to build upon. The earth mage’s flowing stone architecture was popular with many, but only the Lunarists would enjoy examining them much. So a flyby through the stone corridor. Norman would let them believe that the stone architectural style was so common here, it wasn’t unique enough to mention. And they could wonder at that. They would have to skip climbing to Castle Koniglich. This group wasn’t light-hearted enough for Norman’s gossip of the nobility. And the castle wasn’t really part of the city anyway.
Instead, they would journey to the University, not for tales of magic but to examine the sacred glen. They wouldn’t be able to go in, but the serene feel of the place would calm even the Tegguarian while Normal told the tale of Sein meeting here with the Legendary Goddreal. It was more myth than history, but there wasn’t a bard that could tell it better than Norman Trunast. That part of the tour would never be skipped. It truly was the one constant thing in Norman’s life.
Next, there would be a bit of adventure. They would head to the flame district without a plan. Plans never lasted amid the fire mages anyway. That part of the city was chaos and never failed to excite Norman’s customers. Perhaps they would dip their toes in the hot springs, find a gaggle of fire mages showing off to each other, or maybe get arrested by the ridgeguard. The prison was a surprisingly popular stop. Then to soothe all panic induced by the craze of the city, they would end at the sky cliffs. The view from there sets all hearts a-soaring and the Lunarists would be begging for a private tour while the local runs off to the rest of her day feeling fulfilled. Perhaps the Tegguarian would start drafting plans right there on the cliffs with gliders in the air for inspiration.
Yes, that would do nicely. Norman Trunast squared his shoulders and waltzed onto his stage. His epic had begun.
Photo by Marius