(Previous Chapter: http://www.erfworld.com/blog/view/50351/money-makes-the-world-go-round-part-4)


“First off, what do you know of my art? Moneymancy?” asked Drachma, and Parson considered for a moment, tapping his chin with a finger.


“You guys can turn shmuckers into gems, that’s about all I know right off the top of my head, but then, I haven’t had a Moneymancer to ask before. I was told not many sides ever employ a Caster of that sort because they’re useful, but expensive,” he explained, and the old Caster nodded.


“Good, then you’re starting fresh. Always the best place to start,” as he spoke, he rose from his seat, and then walked over to a nearby board, on which were drawn some various battle strategies and the like. Motioning with one hand, he silently asked for permission to alter what was there, and Parson gave it to him with a nod, Drachma picking up the chalk and erasing part of the board with a hand.


“Moneymancy is, at its heart, the magic that controls shmuckers in much the same way a Dirtamancer controls erf, or a Croakamancer controls corpses. It’s about applying something to what is there, altering it, while never touching what it is at the core,” as he spoke, he demonstrated, showing a pile of rocks turning into a golem, or a few corpses rising up to becoming uncroaked.


“Moneymancy can do this in many ways. Some of them very direct, like changing shmuckers into gems. A fast, simple way of altering how money is. Other ways include altering costs of things, like unit upkeep. These are the basics, as any Novice Moneymancer will tell you,” he said, and Parson raised his hand, obviously having a question.


“So, you’re a Master, right?” he asked, and Drachma nodded.


“Indeed I am. I came to understand the way Moneymancy works in ways most of my brethren can only dream of,” he answered.


“Okay, then maybe you can answer me this question. How does Mastery work exactly? I know it’s got next to nothing to do with Levels, but I’m not sure I understand what it means. Do you gain any extra abilities or something?” he followed up, and this actually brought Drachma up short, as he had never met a Warlord who cared about that sort of thing before. More importantly though, there was a Foolamancer Drachma knew was Master-Class sitting right next to him.


“Surely one of your own Casters has explained this to you, Warlord Parson? You have four, from what I recall,” he retorted, remembering the other two, both Adepts if his information was correct. Sizemore the Dirtamancer he’d met in the Kingdom, and a Thinker as well.


“They tried, but Sizemore doesn’t like to talk about Magic right now, Jack is only just getting his thoughts back in order, and Wanda is just all dark and mysterious. As for Maggie, she always changes the subject on me when I dig into Thinkamancy too much,” he admitted, and this caused the Moneymancer to look at the Fool for a moment, before shrugging and erasing his previous drawings, before writing three words on the board.


“Novice is the basic Caster level. We all pop as Novices, with a limited understanding of our role in the world. For most, this means they have only the initial few spells we all pop with, though some are better than others at what they do. Some are even able to learn other Disciplines of Magic outside their starting one,” as he explained, he circled the word on the board, then drew a line down to the next.


“If a Caster survives long enough, they may gain a deeper understanding of their own abilities, or even other magics they’ve learned to wield. This results in many things, for instance, the cost in Juice of spells goes down by a not insignificant amount. Often this also means they can cast more and bigger spells, as well as being the point at which making scrolls with spells loaded into them is possible,” as he spoke, he circled the word Adept, before drawing a line down to Master and circling that.


“Then there’s Masters. A Caster can only ever truly Master the magic to which they are popped, though some do become honorary Masters in other disciplines. At this level, Juice cost for spells is negligible, and you can perform many feats a Novice or Adept would say are impossible. Such as a mass uncroaking of thousands of units, or Foolamancy that can be cast over an entire city,” he explained these and looked towards Jack, who seemed to take the statement as a compliment as he tipped his hat to Drachma.


“Hmm, about what I thought than. And this is completely independent of levels?” asked Parson.


“Well, not entirely. While it’s true a Master could be at level one, in reality, our Juice goes up as we level, both in how much we can store, and how much we regenerate naturally. As such, it’s easier to cast more spells, which tends to help with the understanding part of becoming one,” answered the Caster, and Parson nodded, while picking up a book at his side and writing some things down in it. When he finished, he looked up.


“Alright, now. A Novice Moneymancer can do the whole cost reduction thing. What about an Adept or a Master?” he asked, and to this, Drachma smiled.


“Oh, a Novice can do more than that. Our sense of the world allows us to know the underlying cost of items, units, and the like. Bring a Moneymancer in, and he can tell you how much a side is worth at a glance even at their most basic level. Once a Money becomes an Adapt, they can not only do that, but the sense expands to allow for a foreknowledge of actions. One could, for instance, tell you to the shmucker how much it would cost for your side to take down Charlsecomm right at this moment,” he said, and Parson got a knowing smirk on his face.


“And how much would that be?” he asked.


“More than you’ve got, I’ll leave it there for now. Anyway, a Master can do much, much more. If I were part of your side, it would be like having an administrator bonus in every city you own, on top of the one that you can cause. Also, show me an item, something of mortal make, and I can make a copy of it for the cost in shmuckers. I’ve even done it for units, though that one takes more time and Juice,” he said, and Parson stopped him there, questioning if he could really do it, and Drachma asked him for a challenge.


“Maggie, can you send Duncan down to the situation room?” asked the Warlord, and he got a few words in return. Minutes later, Duncan, Ansom, and Artemis all entered the room.


“Oh, I didn’t interrupt something, did I?” asked Parson as the trio took seats near where they were standing.


“An unimportant meeting, Warlord Parson. An excuse to leave was welcome,” grumbled Ansom, and said little else. Looking at them, Drachma was shocked to realize Ansom was Chief Warlord in this case, and rather than order Parson to him, had instead come himself.


“Ah, okay. Well then, you’ll get to see this too. Duncan, can we see your laurel?” he asked, and the ebony skinned Warlord looked to his Chief, who merely nodded, causing the man to hand the item over to Parson, who then passed it to the Caster.


“Work your magic,” he ordered, and Drachma looked over the thing in his hands. Almost as old as he himself, the thing looked rather plain, all things considered, but then, Hat Magicians, for all people accused them of being as extravagant as Carnys, were in fact mostly reserved.


“Hmm, a nice item. Created by a link of Casters, probably Date-a-mancer and Hat Magician. Cost of it, four-thousand-two-hundred-eighty-five shmuckers,” he said, and then turned towards Parson.


“It will cost that much to make a duplicate, and given this is an interview, I don’t intend on spending my own purse on it,” he said, and Parson turned to Ansom, who looked at the Caster curiously at the word ‘duplicate’. He was very interested now in these proceedings, as the Laurel had proven to be quite the item for Duncan, raising his bonus to almost Ansom’s own level.


“I hereby gift you the funds,” said the former Prince, and the shmuckers were automagically debited from Gobwin Knob’s accounts, and transferred to the Moneymancers.The moment the transfer of funds was done Drachma went to work, placing both hands on the sides of the Laurel of Napster, and muttering an old word. A moment later, he pulled his hands apart, both now holding a copy of a Laurel, so perfect that none could say which was the original.


“Woah,” was all Parson said, as Drachma passed the two Laurels to him. The Warlord spent a few moments poking and looking at the pair from every angle, before handing them both to Duncan.


“Alright, you’ve worn this thing before, I want your honest opinion. Do they work the same?” asked Parson, and Duncan looked briefly towards Ansom, who gave him the go ahead. Within moments, he had one of the Laurels on his head, looking around the room at each unit in it, stopping only when he got to Drachma and Parson, before quickly taking the first off, and donning the second. With another series of stares, he was done, and then laid the one in his hands on the table.


“The Laurels are identical, Lord. They feel exactly as they did, so much so that I would not even venture to guess which was the one I’ve worn all these turns,” he admitted, a note of admiration entering his voice, as Parson himself let out a low whistle, while his eyes sparkled, possibilities entering his thoughts.


“Mr. Drachma, I believe we can do business,” he said after a few moments, and then they, as well as Ansom and the Warlords, all set out to iron out a contract to present Overlord Stanley the Tool.


(Next Chapter: http://www.erfworld.com/blog/view/50443/money-makes-the-world-go-round-part-6)