Feris crouched on the roof next to a smoking chimney. “Nimble?” he whispered.
“Shh!!” Nimble hissed behind him. Feris felt Nimble right behind him, and in a voice so quiet that ‘whisper’ was far too a descriptor “The hatch is locked and warded. I need you to dispel the ward before I can pick the lock.”
Feris nodded, and started toward the hatch as Nimble clamped down on his shoulder. “Quietly.” Feris nodded again, and began to weave his magic. He took his time, and Nimble waited as still as a statue. After agonizingly long minutes, the deed was done, and Feris nodded at his partner.
Nimble’s job was faster, and after unlocking the hatch he oiled the hinges, and then gently began to lift. No light or noise emerged from the small gap, so Nimble eased the hatch all the way open. He then fed the rope tied to the chimney through the hole. As Nimble made ready to decend, Feris stopped him. “Another ward on the floor.” With a wave of his fingers over Nimble’s boots, Feris nodded.
Nimble’s boots never touched the floor. An odd sensation, but it ensured that the floorboards never creaked, in addition to bypassing the magical ward.Feris followed, and they soon found themselves in the display room of numerous treasures. In the center of the room was an ancient grimoire, a golden sword, and a crown of platinum leaves all sharing a red velvet draped plinth.
Nimble and Feris ignored these treasures, and went to the far corner of the room where on a marble pillar stood a small statue. The artfully twisted pair of angels forming a column that cradled a sphere and was encircled at the base with strange runes.
“I thought it was supposed to be a cup?” Nimble whispered.
“It is a cup, it just doesn’t hold liquid.” Feris squinted. “There’s so much magic in here it’s hard to tell what’s what… But I don’t think there are any wards or curses on it. Nimble checked all around before he finally slipped the little statue into the small latched box. “Ready?”
Feris closed his eyes a moment, and muttered another spell. Nimble saw the cup appear back on the pillar, and started to object when he noticed the weight of the cup still in the box. They smiled at each other and went for the door.
The World Cup is an ancient, powerful, but subtle magical artifact. Its power can extend over an entire continent, or be limited to a small city state, depending on who holds it. When it is within the boundary of a state (of whatever size), and the people within know that they have it in their borders, there is a general improvement of the state’s morale and pride. This often manifests as higher production rates, an increased aggressiveness toward their neighbors, and (oddly enough) increased birth rates. The origin of The World Cup is lost to time, but every historical mention of it involves some type of conflict, including wars, games, and intrigue, between nations all trying to possess it. References to Stanley’s Cup are believed to reference the earliest state to possess the World Cup, though one sect, The Canuck Brothers of the Moose, vehemently (and sometimes violently) claims that it is a completely different item.