World Fair 3

Darius Lonewander was thrilled, perhaps more thrilled than he had ever been to be wandering among such an immense crowd. He had, after all, waited eight years for this. When the first World Fair was held in 900, when he was nine years old, he'd begged his parents to take him to First Village for the event, but they'd both been far too busy with work. Darius insisted that, since the Fair was going to last an entire month, surely they, or maybe another relative, could spare a few days. He thought he was being quite reasonable, trying to make a compromise, since he really wanted to attend the entire event, but he understood that that would be impossible. However, they reminded him that even if they only attended the Fair itself for a few days, the trip between Triscot and First Village would take about two weeks, each way. Darius said he'd heard of magical transporter services that could make the trip in less than half the time, but his parents said that would still be more time than they could afford to take off work, besides the fact that the service itself would be incredibly expensive. Darius argued that his father used to travel all over the world, before settling down in Triscot. He also argued that because they were rich, expense shouldn't matter. He even knew that lots of common folks would be making the trip, people who could much less afford taking time off work than his parents could. People who could much less afford regular transporter services than his own family could afford magical transporters. At least his father should be able to take time off, since he was the president of his own company. But his father, Adam, insisted that he had to set a good example for his employees, show them that he didn't believe he or his family deserved special privileges that anyone else in the company wouldn't be afforded. "Then just give them time off, too!" Darius demanded. "A paid vacation for anyone who wants it! You could afford that, and they'd all love you for it way more than they would enjoy just seeing you make yourself as miserable as you're making them." But his parents did not relent, and Darius threw a tantrum, which ended up getting him grounded for two weeks.

It was hardly the first time Darius had reacted badly to disappointment. But during those two weeks, he had a lot of time to think, and he came to realize his parents were right. Part of him had known that even while he was screaming, and rolling around on the floor. In fact, though that was probably the most intense tantrum he'd ever thrown, it wasn't even the worst he'd ever felt. Usually the things that caused him distress were even more trivial, fleeting things. Yet even when he knew he was blowing things way out of proportion, he couldn't help it. There were just countless things in life- little things as well as big things- that felt utterly unacceptable to him. He knew that everyone experienced frustration and disappointment and sadness, often over things they couldn't control. Things that were just unfair, and all one could do was accept them. But what confused him was how most people seemed to accept the unacceptable so much more easily than he could. On the other hand, he also knew there were people who were even worse than he was at accepting things they didn't like. Some of those people were children who threw bigger fits than he ever had, and some were adults who engaged in deeply destructive, even criminal behavior. He suddenly began to fear that he could become such a person, if he didn't learn to control his emotions. So, he asked his parents if he could see a psychotherapist, and they agreed. He had a number of sessions over a few months, but while he learned a little bit about his condition, it didn't seem like much could be done to actually help him feel better. And after a few months, he quit therapy. He believed that he was wrong to feel the way he so often did, and therefore decided the only thing to be done was to push those feelings away. He convinced himself that his feelings simply didn't matter, all that mattered was that he learn to interact with people in a healthier way- by which he meant a more "normal" way. This new course of action led to more frequent and severe bouts of depression, but eventually he learned to live with that. After all, it wasn't like it happened all the time, and he reasoned that acting normal even during those periods when he wished he was dead was still preferable to becoming a criminal.

Meanwhile, over the next few years, a number of changes began coming to the world, changes that were being suggested by the Order. In fact, these changes had apparently begun the year before the first World Fair, with the establishment of InterVil and an inter-village court system, as well as the introduction of adult licenses. And starting around the time of the World Fair, travel and trade between villages began steadily increasing. In 901, Sorreters began selling spell devices to wealthy clans and individuals around the world, including Darius's family. These and other innovations all- or mostly all- seemed very good to Darius, and he started thinking that it would likely be far easier to attend the second World Fair, in 904, which was to be held in Tonad. (The Fair would be held every four years, in the month of Su'mo', each time in a different village.) Unfortunately, Darius's family, particularly Adam, became increasingly troubled by the changes to the world, and took a position quite the opposite of Darius's. Especially in 902, after Bishop Toros joined the Protestant Movement that had been started by Bishop Therman, and convinced Adam to do likewise. Darius himself had always quite liked and respected Toros, but not even he could convince young Darius to change his thinking in these matters. Although, it's not like Toros, Adam, or anyone told Darius everything they knew about what was going on, all the political and social upheaval that they saw just on the horizon. He was, after all, still quite young. It wasn't until he listened to speeches delivered by an adventurer named Vallus of Kimrin, that Darius began rethinking his position. He realized he knew very little about other villages, and thought that travel would do him some good. When he turned 13, in 903, he asked his parents if he could go stay with his Uncle West in Tanq for awhile, and to his surprise, they agreed.

While he was in Tanq, a major battle was fought on his clan's estate in Triscot. It was reported that his entire family had been killed by the army that had been organized by the Order, and it was then that Darius finally decided his father had been right all along. West brought Darius back to Triscot to see what had become of the clan's home, and found it razed. Everything was gone. Soon thereafter, Darius moved in with the family of his old friend, Rob, and in 904, they began attending school together. It wasn't a situation Darius enjoyed, in part because the school system had been organized by the Order, or at least it had been one of the Order's suggestions, as part of their "Plan," which Vallus had claimed began years before the war, and extended indefinitely beyond it. The Plan itself was concluded in 904, the Order's goals achieved. But they had changed the world forever... and most people thought they had changed it for the better, a fact which now galled Darius, even though he once would have agreed with them completely.

There would be a three month break from school, every summer. It was during this break that the second World Fair was held, in 904. However, Darius was no longer rich, nor was his host family. So, even though he had once thought he'd have a better chance of attending this Fair, in fact he had no chance at all of doing so. Rob and his other friends spent their summer break doing lots of fun things, enjoying a temporary return to the carefree days that they'd been used to all their lives, before school had been invented. But Darius spent most of his vacation moping. Finally, he decided he'd had enough: when the autumn semester began, he would demand they give him a test which might give him a chance of graduating early, so that he could set off on his own, and become an adventurer. And when he turned 14, that's exactly what he did. He spent the next four years traveling around the world. His social anxiety meant he kept mostly to himself, and because of that he was more comfortable than he'd ever been in his life. Now that he had no home, he felt more at home than he'd ever thought possible. And yet, he did still occasionally meet people, and make new friends. And as much as he enjoyed the time spent alone (or with few traveling companions) between villages, he also enjoyed seeing what the world's other villages were like.

And now, finally, here he was: Sorret, which would have been cool enough just for being the home of magic, but cooler yet for being the site of the third World Fair. Eight years ago, nine-year-old Darius had read all the news he could get his hands on, about the first Fair. Four years ago, thirteen-year-old Darius had read all he could about the second Fair. And in Su'mo' of 908, seventeen-year-old Darius was thrilled to be experiencing the event in person.

note: maybe he's with Lor.

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