Main Scenario Quest: "Let's Get Magiteknical" pt. I

 

            The Saints of Academic Logos and Theorem Scholasticate (SALTS) is no longer. The campus and dwelling has been forgotten and burned, overtaken by squatters after its abandonment. Smoke bellows out of the front of the building, and a Roegadyn scholar from Ishgard, Joyous Blossom, anxiously waits outside after being beckoned with a letter from the Scholasticate only a few days prior.

            Inside, there are dead bodies on the main floor and more below in the basement. A Midlander woman is by a fireplace, but she is called out to by another Ishgardian scholar, Mikael Kavahn. A dragoon, Osrich Arkwright, who was called to service when he noticed the smoke, joins them soon after. Mikael approaches her and understands she is there for her husband, a member of the Scholasticate. They return upstairs to search for him and encounter Joyous Blossom on the way. They are wary of each other, but they also agree to work together to figure out what happened and if there are survivors.

            On their way to the dorms, Sterne Evans, one of the founders of SALTS, knocks down the door to the dormitory and startles the group. They ready themselves but realize he is not a threat. He explains he has come seeking something; however, when he saw that the school had been attacked, he sought out survivors and found nothing but corpses. To dispel their distrust, everyone explains why they have come. Of all their reasons, the Midlander woman is most suspicious. However, she is quickly forgotten when Evans runs to put out more fires in the basement. The others join him but very little is salvageable.

            Given a ledger of the Scholasticate’s members, Joyous Blossom and the Woman look through it. Finally, the husband is revealed, but they are still doubtful. She feigns sadness and cries at this. Osrich, the most suspicious, puts her on the spot which causes her to become belligerent instead. They also try to catch her with contradictions and small tricks; however, she has become wary of them and reveals a small glimpse of her true self. Mikael interjects and insists that they do something about the corpses around. Sterne and the others become solemn but agree, forgetting about what was spoken about moments before. They also determine that there must be some way to find out about the murders. They discuss a way to cause inanimate objects to come alive and reveal their memories; however, a new person arrives upstairs which draws their attention.

            The new Midlander woman, Ai Natsume, is seeking work. They insist there is no work: the Scholasticate is no more. Between the Woman and the new arrival, their attention is divided … for better or worse.

 

Chapter 1 - FATE

There she sat at near midnight, her ankles crossed and crossed again as she waited, prim and proper in the Bismarck – the café and restaurant for the Lominsan People. It had already been two gods forsaken bells, she thought to herself as she wondered if he would come.

Surrendering to the wastefulness of her time, she takes another sip of her cold water that washes away the taste of the bloody raw steak she finished not half a bell ago. The corners of her lips give to a frown at the loss. 

There’s a soft thud on the table.

She opens her eyes. The single bright limbal ring around her right eye practically announcing the slow calculated gaze that traces the crumpled parchment. To the fingers holding it down and all the way up the arm to the steely and quietly panicked returning stare from Sterne Evans.

“Is this you?” he nearly demands. The quiver in his voice betrays the piercing stare of his bright blue eyes showing her how stressed he is.

“Ah. Ser Evans, correct?” she replies in the most proper and metered tone he’s ever heard.

“What business do you have sending me this letter?” He curls his fingers crumpling the paper signed Reina Asahi. “Who hired you?”

She blinks calmly at him, communicating that she has no idea what he’s talking about. “Won’t you sit?”

“Who hired you?” He asks again with a punctuation at the end of each word.

“Why would you think anyone would be so interested in your life as to hire me to get involved in your affairs? It’s quite arrogant, do you not agree?” she speaks so pointedly that it humbles him.

He swallows hard and steels himself. Leaning in he speaks in a hushed tone. His blue eyes betray him as his voice did; they glisten having welled up with tears.

“How do you know about my money?” He pleads.

She looks to him without pity and speaks as before. “Ser Evans, I take much pride in my research, my knowledge and my ability to know everything.” Her eyebrows raise ever so slightly as she finishes the sentence. “There is nothing beyond my purview, I promise you. Did you read the letter?”

Defeated he plops into a seat and sighs, searching within himself for a calming place. “I did.” He says simply.

“Good, then are you interested?”

He exhales through his nose an exasperated scoff. “I don’t believe you. How could you have known all of this. I was so careful. . . “ His catches his head in his hands as he lets it hang low.

“Shall I show you?” She sounds so uninterested, but can’t help smiling a little bit as she places a deck of cards on the table.

His eyes and the gilded edges of her cards catch the moon light and reflect it between his fingers, and between hers.

She proceeds to pull each card and tell him a story. The Ewer, the Reverse Spire, and the Spear; his life falls into place before her as she reads aloud to him.

In a rush he stands up using all the strength he could must to lightly press his fingertips into the cloth instead of slamming his palms into them. “Please.” He begs “Stop.”

She does and looks up to him, her legs gleefully swinging as they cant reach the floor.

“Alright. I believe you.” He sighs and crumples, much like the paper in his pocket, into his seat.

As she talks about the Scholasticate she wishes to create, his spine unfolds as he begins to sit erect. He listens intently to every carefully laid out plan she offers, and justification for a donor with pockets as deep as his. His heart leaps as he recalls the brighter days of his time in Eorzea before the Calamity. The good he and his partner did. Could this be a chance for redemption, no, not just that there was more – and she knew about it from the beginning. Her cards, or the stars, told her of Sterne and all he held in his heart.

She’s picked her words carefully, and inside she’s smiling to herself proud with every perfect pronunciation and perfectly placed punctuation that precedes the next sentence.

“I’m certain I’ve convinced you now, just how vital it is that we begin straight away.”

Bells have passed and the sun has nearly come up. The stars seem to have faded into the deep blue above.

“Come with me. I will give you access to my coffers – but know that every gil you withdraw will need my approval. So I’m certain you’ll have to –“

“I’ll have to produce a list of items needed for sometime – basically predict the future of my own needs. I don’t foresee that being a problem.” She says as she hops out of her chair and straightens the hem of her coat.

“No. I don’t suppose you would.”