There was a time before the Peasant Uprising when Jacinto Ibarra uncovered a suspicion that something wasn’t right.
A Simple Task
Ibarra Family Conference Hall
One cool evening by the Noble District of Calpheon lies the Ibarra family home. There, the members of the family gathered together by the conference hall. The members of the family present are Crisostomo, Jacinto, Simoun, Floriana, Montgomery, and Florentino.
At the centre of the conference hall is a large rectangular wooden table with five chairs on the two sides, and one chair at the centre facing the other end of the table with a small stage. As head of the family, Crisostomo is seated at the centre. On his left are Simoun, Montgomery, followed by three vacant seats; on his right are Jacinto, a vacant seat, Floriana, Florentino, followed by another vacant seat.
Crisostomo looks at the people present, “where are Jenesse, Victorina, Ynesita, and the twins Constantino and Lionora?”
“The twins are currently on their way to Sarma Outpost at Mediah,” Simoun said, “Ynesita is with them in that regard. Victorina, well, I don’t know where-“
“I’ve sent her to Duvencrune on the time being,” Jacinto interrupts, “Florentino’s actions in establishing a relationship with the Drieghan leaders have proven great results.”
“And of Jenesse?” Crisostomo said.
“Jenesse is…” Montgomery said but paused and went silent.
“Jenesse… is at the College’s library. Conducting some research.”
“Alright, understood, let’s get started then,” Crisostomo then faces Jacinto, “You may begin.”
“Thank you,” Jacinto stands up and makes his way to the small stage then faces everyone, “Cousins, Calpheon is in crisis, I’ve received information that the lower classes are getting uneasy.”
“Well, that’s nothing new,” Simoun said, “The Kalis Parliament is turning a blind eye at the Slums.”
“I know, but this time someone’s riling them up.”
“A radical?” Crisostomo said.
“I don’t know yet, but my sources said someone with a white robe that-“
“Illezra?” Simoun interrupts, “The White Witch?”
“No, it’s not a woman but in fact a man, cousin.”
“What do we know of this man in the white robe?” Crisostomo said.
About the Wise Woman
“My sources haven’t found that out yet,” Jacinto ponders, “Hmm, yes… Maybe this person my friend said would help.”
“Wow, now that’s something I haven’t heard in a while,” Floriana said, “Cousin Jacinto actually has friends?”
“Surprisingly, yes, yes I do.”
“Cousin, please continue,” Crisostomo said, “tell us about what this friend of yours said.”
“Right, my friend told me that there’s this ‘Wise Woman‘ has the Foresight ability. He said if one has problems, they’d go to the Wise Woman.”
Crisostomo ponders then looks at Montgomery, “What do you think, brother? About this foresight?”
“What? Well… there are some written texts that state some people possesses this ability. It’s quite rare but… it wouldn’t hurt to try.”
“Alright, let’s look into this Wise Woman,” Crisostomo then looks at Jacinto, “Cousin, where is this Wise Woman?”
“Unfortunately, her address is unknown, but my friend told me her last sighting is somewhere at Mediah.”
“Good, we can use that information at least,” Crisostomo looks at Florentino, “Cousin, I want you to go to Mediah and find what you can about this ‘Wise Woman,’ see if she can be of help to us.”
“Eh? Sure, Cousin,” Florentino said sarcastically, “but I’m long passed on trusting myself to some deranged druid who gives her professional address as ‘The Grand Temple of the Great Oracle located right beside the castle of the Great City of Valencia.’”
“Just do it, we don’t have any other leads apart from this.”
“On top of that,” Floriana said, “it’s a woman, your speciality. You won’t have any trouble with her.”
“You give me too much credit, cousin, but this is an old woman I presume. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with older women. My charms just wouldn’t actually… work.”
Floriana smiles, “The more that she is actually ‘wise,’ cousin, If she won’t give in to your charms, then she is actually wiser than most.”
Everyone in the conference room laughs.
“Alright, jokes aside,” Crisostomo said, “Florentino, I have faith in your abilities.”
Florentino closes his eyes and raises his hands as he stands up, “Alright, alright, I understand. I’ll go and find this ‘Wise Woman.’”
Finding the Wise Woman
A few days have passed and Florentino arrived at Tarif. Florentino has dealt with strange things happening when he was assigned to Tarif long ago.
If it’s about magic and other strange phenomena, Florentino thought, I’d check Tarif first.
There, he meets with Eren Ross, the Work Supervisor of Tarif.
“Ah, Florentino, it’s good to see you again,” Eren Ross said, “What brings you here at Tarif again?”
“I’m looking for a woman.”
“Ha! Aren’t we all? But didn’t you and Orwen had a thing? Why did you two end it?”
“It’s… complicated…” Florentino then looks down.
“Oh, I’m sorry I brought back bad memories…” Eren Ross scratches his head, “Come now, cheer up, my friend! You’ll find that special someone someday, you just have to look harder.”
“Right… Let’s get to business, shall we?” Florentino lifts his head up high with pride to hide his sorry state earlier, “I’m looking for the Wise Woman.”
“The Wise Woman? What in blazes do you want with her?”
“Apparently, my cousins Crisostomo and Jacinto resorted to sorcery when it comes to the current issue.”
“The Wise Woman tells no lies, my friend, everything she says came true. She can even see one’s destiny. Heh, maybe she can tell you who’s your special someone.”
“Alright, alright, I’ll consider the possibility. For now, I’m on a mission to find her. Do you know where she is?”
“I’m sorry but I don’t know where she is, but I think Ekta knows. She’s the innkeeper and owner of Tarif Tavern, I’m pretty sure she knows where the Wise Woman went.”
“Ekta? Haven’t heard of her, what happened to the old owner?”
“Well, technically the old ‘owner’ is not the owner of the tavern.”
With that, Florentino thanked Eren Ross and makes his way to Tarif Tavern.
Tarif Tavern is a lively place as ever, Florentino thought as he opens the door and enters the tavern.
Adventures from the western part of the continent make their way to Tarif first then off to some parts of the Mediah territory to unlock the mysteries hidden there. The majority of the adventurers even went as far as travelling to the City of Altinova, the capital of Mediah to find mercenary works.
By the distant, Florentino hears two individuals shouting at each other angrily. His involvement in the past with the leader of Tarif, Ahon Kirus, makes him obligated to step up and to keep the peace. Upon looking for the source of the shouting, he sees a demibeast shouting at a Rhutum.
“No, you horned beast, I never said that!” Cried the Rhutum.
While holding a mug using his left hand, the demibeast points at the Rhutum with his right hand and shouts, “You’re a liar! You know nothing about the war!”
Florentino steps in as the two are now at each other’s throat.
“Hold up, hold up, settle down, you two are disturbing the neighbourhood. Settle down.” Florentino then looks at the demibeast, “You, what is going on?”
The demibeast points at the Rhutum again and said, “This hideous creature thinks he’s a historian!”
Alright, come on.
“Well, you tell him, hooves for feet,” said the Rhutum.
Florentino is almost losing his patience but still remain calm and said, “Tone it down.”
“Sorry,” the demibeast said, “This gentleman right here who greatly resembles a gargoyle-“
“Hey, hey, hey,” The Rhutum interrupted, “You might wanna… hold your horses for a bit.”
“Oh, that’s clever. Where did you get that grin toothy? The blacksmith?”
Finally, Florentino had enough of the shouting.
“I said that’s enough!” Florentino shouted, “Now I’m gonna run you both in if you don’t shut up. Neither one of you is gonna win a damn beauty contest if you want to know the truth of it.”
Florentino points at the Rhutum, “You look like a neanderthal with a mouth of a mongoloid.”
He then points at the demibeast, “And you look like something I hit with a wagon days before when I was on the way here from Calpheon because the damn elk suddenly ran across the road while the wagon was going fast.”
Afterwards, Florentino then rubs his head because of the headache, “If I have a girlfriend or a wife, then she woke up and saw me looking like either one of you two, she’d slit her wrists and dive right into Garmoth’s lair. What I’m saying is, you’re both… exceptionally… ugly individuals.”
“Yeah, I got that…” the demibeast said.
“You made that abundantly clear…” said the Rhutum.
“Ok, now that that’s out of the way, I’m looking for the innkeeper, Ekta.”
“Oh, err… she’s outside,” the demibeast said.
“She’s away? When will she come back?”
“Um… she can’t…” the Rhutum said.
“It’s best if you… find it out yourself…”
Florentino then went outside the Tarif Tavern and think to himself as to where is Ekta.
“Hey you,” someone whispered, “I heard you’ve been looking for me.”
Florentino turns around but saw nothing but the door and an odd painting hanging by the entrance of the tavern.
“Yes, it’s the painting!”
“What in the god-dam…?” Florentino then coughs, “A talking painting?”
“Yes, a talking painting. Come closer so I can have a good look at you. I can’t actually… turn my head.”
And Florentino did so, “Tell me, painting on the wall, are you… Ekta?”
“That I am, that I am.”
“‘Yes I am,’ not ‘that I am.’ You don’t have to talk funny to me. I’m not a tourist. My name is Florentino Ibarra, a Calpheon Noble, and I’m here on official business. Now then, I seek information about the wise woman.”
“The wise woman?” Ekta said frantically, “The wise woman!”
“Yes, the wise woman…” Florentino said.
Ekta continues to talk frantically, “Two things, young noble, must thee know of the wise woman. First, she is… a woman! And second, she is…”
“…wise?” Florentino interrupts.
Ekta then talks normally, “You do know her, then?”
“No, just a wild stab in the dark. Which is incidentally what you’ll be getting if you don’t start being a bit more helpful. Do you know where she is?”
“Of course, she’s on her way to Altinova after which she’ll be going to Valencia via a small cargo ship. Do you have an appointment?”
“No, I don’t…”
“Well, you can go anyways.”
Florentino looks at the painting of Ekta curiously, “Tell me, how did… this… happened?”
“Oh, this? Well, Illezra turned some of the townspeople of Tarif to paintings because… well… I don’t know actually. I was just sweeping the front of my tavern when suddenly a blinding white light appear in front of me and the next thing I know is that I’m now hanging here besides the door. Some of the townspeople are kind enough to take care of the tavern for me.”
“Why I haven’t seen you before?”
“Well, I was getting clean and refurbished during your visits because the paint is wearing out, I don’t want to be swept away from existence until I’m cured of this curse.”
“Oh, well, tell you what,” Florentino smiles, “To thank you for the information, I’ll have your caretakers buy you a high-quality Calpheon feather duster so dust won’t pile up on your… painting?”
“Ohh, I’d love that.”
Meeting the Wise Woman
A few hours on horseback and Florentino has finally arrived at Altinova, the capital of Mediah. Here is where the majority of the mercenary groups, alchemists, and some people gifted with sorcery gather.
By the distant, Florentino sees two people floating in the air using magic.
The two are sorceresses having fun with their training. While floating in the air, they spin around and do tricks.
They’re like birds, Florentino thought.
As he roams around the city, making his way to where Ekta pointed at, he sees a lot of people from different diversity. A lot of whom are people from both the west and from Valencia. Altinova is at the centre of Calpheon and Valencia. Everything goes through Altinova.
Around the afternoon, Florentino has finally reached the arch leading to the docks.
There, he saw a Shai wearing a robe looking down and arms together as if doing a prayer.
Florentino asked one of the dockworkers as to where he can find the wise woman. And finally, Florentino’s search is over. The dockworker points at the Shai above the arch.
“The wise woman is… a Shai…?”
Florentino quietly approaches the wise woman, not wanting to interrupt her prayer.
“Please, Florentino, come,” said the wise woman.
This surprises Florentino, he thought to himself as to how she knows his name. He then approaches her.
“I know lots of things. I’ve dreamed of this, you trying to find me and as to why you want to find me. My name is Sirare, I’m a prophet.”
Florentino kneels down, “Please, I need your help.”
“And you shall,” Sirare then starts walking to the stairs, “follow me.”
As they’re walking towards the docks, Sirare then said, “You know why you’re here?”
“My cousins have resorted to seeking your help on the matter. My cousin Jacinto received information that an uprising in Calpheon is imminent, and the only clue he has is a man in a white robe.”
Sirare stops in her tracks and now is on her knees.
“Are you alright?” Florentino assists Sirare to stand up.
“The man in a white robe? So that vision is finally going to come true…”
“I… I see…” Sirare closes her eyes and now is in a trance-like state, “I can see there’s something coming. Drawn by the noise, and the chaos. And it is… angry. An old god… is returning.”
“An old god? Who is this old god?”
Sirare is no longer in a trance-like state and opens her eyes, “I’m… sorry. That’s all I can see, something is… blocking my foresight.”
“Calpheon is the least of our worries, the whole world is at stake if this old god returns.”
“Who or what is this old god?”
“Kzarka… but Florentino… I see in you something… something dreadful that you’ll be encountering.”
“What is it?”
Sirare paused, “I can’t… I can’t tell you…”
Florentino now raises his voice, “Sirare, I need to know.”
“I’m sorry,” Sirare then rushes over to the small cargo ship that is about to embark.
“What is this ‘dreadful’ thing that you speak of!?”
Florentino then just stood by the docks, seeing the small cargo ship that Sirare boarded went to the horizon while the sunsets.
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Andrei Jarell Vedad is a passionate financial literacy advocate from the Philippines. With a background in Information Technology and currently pursuing a law degree, Andrei combines his knowledge and expertise to empower individuals in managing their personal finances. Through his blog and extensive research, he shares practical tips, strategies, and thought-provoking articles to help readers make informed financial decisions and achieve their financial goals. With a global perspective, Andrei aims to inspire positive change and foster financial well-being, not only in the Philippines but also worldwide.