You drag your feet as you walk into the tavern, heading straight for the bar, nodding at some regulars that you recognize. You catch the eye of the bartender who’s busy with a customer. “My usual, when you get the chance,” you tell him.
Your heart and head are heavy with the newfound belief in everything Aven has shared with you.
You bought a journal of your own, writing down everything you could remember of her Aunt’s story, everything she has told you that you disregarded as the ramblings of an eccentric – though endearing- saleswoman.
You researched a lot after the night you read Aunt Arven’s journal. Conspiracy theories, mythology, science, theology, even your favorite games, you looked at it all. At some point in almost every subject you looked into, things seemed to get less… well, magical.
You had always chalked that up to getting older but you have begun to see it differently. It’s as if humanity has always been drawn to the idea of magic, but has simultaneously pushed it away – as if trying to recreate what they had lost would somehow fill this void in the world, but never being satisfied with the recreation.
The bartender hands you your beer. You’re wandering to a dark booth, planning on drowning this feeling of emptiness, when you spot something on the wall you hadn’t noticed before. The golden tones of an antique map match with the dark gilt of the frame, but the land-something about it is familiar.
Arven appears at your elbow – quite literally. Up till now, she’s always been seated. Now you see how truly short and stocky the dwarven woman is.
Frustration clear in your tone, you say, “How can you even make it through a day knowing that the world is so blind to what it has lost? That hardly anyone believes you?”
“It’s much worse than that, young one, there are still some who would work against us, the Lich King had his armies too, his followers fight to keep the magic locked away just as we fight to free it.”
She points at the map. “What do you see here?”
“A map,” you say huffily, not in the mood for Arven’s tests.
“Ah yes it IS a map, right you are,” sarcasm thick in her voice, “a map of where, young one?” The look on her face says she’ll have none of your moping.
You look again, this time you recognize the coastline, and some of the names look similar to towns and cities you know. With a gasp, it dawns on you.
“Is this a map of San Francisco?”
Arven barks out a laugh, “It is, in a sense. Not as dense as you like to pretend you are now, eh?” you roll your eyes as she continues, “This map, while it is of a real place, has been reimagined by a wonderful artist I know – and I believe she is attuned to the world in ways most are not. She sees the city’s magic in a way few can and has created this image to share that view with the world.”
You look again, taking in the details: landmarks, stadiums, even airports are listed but looking at this map conjurers feeling so different from the feelings of looking at a traditional map of the city, you can see what Arven means. You can almost see the magic.
“This is why I haven’t lost hope, because of people like her, people like you. Those who can look at the world and see more, see what was lost, what could be again. The odds may seem bleak, but you are not the only one who has had this realization, nor will you be the last.
This is a story that few know, true, but now that you know you may share it as well. And who knows? Maybe these maps of hers lead somewhere, maybe they even contain clues to where the lost magic is! That woman has always struck me as one who could sense more than your typical human.”
“There are others?” you ask, perking up, “Can I see them?”
She lets out another laugh, nodding to her table, “over there on my table, I’ll pull the others out.”
Your steps feel lighter as you make your way to her table, hope filling your heart. If there are others like this map maker out there if there is a chance to find this magic you aren’t going to stop until you succeed.