Chapter 2: A Merry Marcana

You reach the location of another one of your trials. You smile to yourself; it wasn't easy getting up this mountain by yourself, but you did it. You stare off the edge of the outlook you find yourself on. You think that maybe, if you squint, you could see your hometown from the mountainside cliff. Behind you, you feel the rush of wind from a cave carved into this mountain.

Suddenly, there is the sound of shuffling nearby. A rabbit? A mountain goat? A dragon? Do dragons live in mountains? You weren't entirely sure of the source—or if dragons even really existed—you never came across one face-to-face before.

…And surely they wouldn't have you take on a dragon for a trial. The Sorting Trials were meant to be hard but not deadly.

"H-hello?" you tentatively call out, hoping that if it were a tiny creature, it would scamper away.

"Oh, no no no no" you hear call back out, flustered. A series of clangs and bangs erupt from the cave. "They said you weren't supposed to get here for another day or two," the bodiless voice says.

"Well… I am?" You are a bit confused on how to answer the voice.

You hear more crashing and stumbling until you see a man stagger out of the cave, smoke trailing off his back.

"You are on fire?" The words come fumbling out of you—you are at a bit of a loss on how to respond. To be fair, you haven't really interacted with anyone in a great deal of time. Sure, you've passed other Unsorted trying to take on the trials, but you just simply did that universal nod of acknowledgement without any sort of continued pomp and circumstance. The trials always seemed like a solo venture, though there was nothing explicitly forbidding you from working in groups.

Have I been doing this wrong? You think right before remembering that there is another person standing in front of you that you were talking to.

"Oh, it seems that I am" the man remarks, in a way that you would think someone would react to you pointing out that their shoes were undone. You see a flurry of hand movements, a whoosh of wind, and the smoke clearing from behind his back.

"You're a Marcana," you whisper in awe. You worry about coming off as rude, but you've given up on all proper social convention at this point.

"Robert. I go by Robert." The man, Robert, corrects.

"Hi…uh… Robert" You introduce yourself.

"Hi Nice to meet you. I don't meet many Unsorted you know. Or well... yet-to-be-sorted? Semi-Unsorted? There's not really a name for you guys…" Robert trails off. He seems just as inept at social interaction as you are right now.

"So, can I uh… do the trial?" You ask after a lengthy and awkward silence.

"OH Yeah… you uhh… Probably want to do that if you are here," Robert looks behind him at the cave. "I'm going to need like, two days still to set it up. If you don't mind waiting a bit."

"I guess there's no harm in taking a break. It's not like the Sorting Trials are timed or anything," you concede, starting to unpack your things on the ground. Climbing a mountain was pretty tiring and you could use some rest.

"Great" Robert brightens up. "We can roast s'mores, talk about magic… it will be great."

And thus began your weekend with Robert.