Flippin' Tables - Part 1Date Posted: June 16, 2019
This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
The beaches were quiet, with only scattered dots of people roaming the sands as the visiting season had waned to a close. With no healing of sun-sickness and reef-cut arms, Scylla’s days had been quiet. The idleness, even in the relative beauty of Shirogane had a way to drive her to the sad thoughts of a lost world and family. She instead turned her devotion to the study of what became of the Allagan people.
The young mage struggled to hold her page against the strong breeze coming off the whitecapped ocean bay. Scylla spent the morning after chores sitting in the small beachside pagoda, rummaging through the pile of books that she had brought with her.
It was nicer to study outside near the coolness of the waters during the hottest parts of the day. Time seemed to pass slowly in Shirogane as the spring melted into an apparent summer. Seasons were far more subtle than those in her home in Gridania. But she did notice that some of the pink and peach blossoms had passed away to the darker green cover of lush, filled-out woods and ferns.
Over the short season of time, she had grown to know the Eorzeans that had made up the small free company. Mocho, though quiet, had shown her a few moves with the sword. Though she thought herself sloppy, the aged Lalafell seemed convinced that she had some coordination. She did find beating up the straw dummy was seen as better than taking out her frustrations on the resident bard.
Then there was Ben, the mysterious handler of the awakened Allagans. Though charged with oversight, he was often away for long periods of time. When healing was needed, he did let her join on some of the more difficult adventuring hauls. Though the Elezen was warm-spirited and forgiving, there was something otherworldly and mysterious about his aether-signature that left the white mage with a slight feeling of unease.
Koh often was some of her best company, helping her to familiarize herself with the shops in town, and finding the best spots for tea. She did not have the same feeling for Noah, the High Allagan rector that had hijacked the poor girl’s body.
Noah was known for her ungoverned and reckless leadership at the Emperor’s Archmage Conservatory, one of the oldest institutions in Allag. Only those in the direct line of the emperor and the hand-picked few were in Noah’s clique. Being 37th in line of succession to the throne did not qualify her for an invitation.
How things have changed… Noah would never have been forced to sweep a floor or gather vegetables at a market. How the mighty have been brought low!
Scylla chuckled to herself as she took a sip of tea, flipping through another book, and scribbling notes with her short feathered pen.
Amon strolled down the paths of Shirogane, eyes fixed on the slip of parchment in his hand. It was a statement from an aetherologist – a fellow the Elezen had never met, but had been recommended to.
We’ve received your aether sample and payment. We will proceed with testing, as requested. Once we’ve confirmed the results, we will be in touch with you about the outcome. Thank you again for your patronage.
He wasn’t all the comfortable about bottling up what little aether he could afford and sending it to some stranger. But Amon was finding he had less choice in the matter. Though his choker helped keep the flow of energies around him more or less harmonious, he’d witnessed moments of things slipping through the cracks more and more.
What he saw when that happened deeply concerned him.
Finally, swallowing his pride, he’d taken his concerns to Ben, and gave what details he trusted the mage to have. That’s when Amon had received a recommendation for an aetherologist who specialized in reading aether patterns, someone who could possibly offer a suggestion on the best course to take going forward.
The Elezen frowned down at the confirmation in his hand. Aside from talking to Ben, no one was aware of his situation. He was able to keep things low-key and quiet. That’s the way he liked it.
Amon’s steps brought him down towards the little tea shop that he’d discovered near the beaches of Shirogane. It was a good place to visit when he needed to be alone. The tea and the ocean breeze were usually calming.
Lost in his thoughts, he didn’t realize until it was too late that there was already someone occupying the deck. That someone was Scylla.
He took a step back, but not before the slip of parchment dropped from his hand to the ground. Hoping she’d not caught wind of him yet, the Elezen scrambled to reach for it, only for a breeze to carry it straight to the table where his once-rival sat.
Scylla was deep in study of the tales of the Warrior of Light – the hero who had bested the Crystal Tower and left it back in sleep. Ben recommended the collection to augment her current studies on Allag.
Rumor has it that Ben knows the Warrior of Light personally… not that I want another audience with the fellow.
She knew that the section on the Allagans was towards the back of the book, but her mind was drawn to the recurring puppet master villains found in the beginning of the tales.
The tales spoke of their immortality and power over nations. Beast-men rose up in rebellion at their word, governments fell at their direction. The mage let her finger trace around the sketch of a shadow-robed figure as she whispered under her breath. Scylla shivered as a sudden breeze passed across the sands, but didn’t notice the piece of parchment wedging itself under her foot.
What followed was a wild, clamoring sound of a tripping mass of ears and mopped hair broke her concentration.
Still is struggling with his coordination…
Though she hadn’t threatened Amon lately, he had maintained his distance from her. Much had been revealed in their past tragedy of errors, it did nothing to erase the nightmares of the Allagan direwolves that remained in her mind. Still, she did her best to remain civil as to not make the living situation worse for the others.
“Amon!” Scylla shook her head, sporting an icy frown at the Elezen. “Can’t you see that I am trying to study here?”
Amon’s eyes followed the parchment’s trajectory, mulling over how he could retrieve it without drawing too much attention to the contents it held. Of course it would lodge itself somewhere he wouldn’t dare to reach.
He might get himself bit if he tried.
“My apologies for walking down this public street, Princess,” the Elezen tried to keep the sneer out of his voice. He wasn’t really in the mood to pick a full-on squabble as he had more important matters on his mind. But Scylla’s own-all-she-touches attitude always grated on his nerves. “Shall I take care not to share the same air as you, too?”
The Bard frowned sharply, then decided to do a full-on invasion of personal space. “I was simply passing by. I come here often as I do enjoy the tea.”
Amon plucked a book from the table, inspected the spine, then opened it and paged through it without scholarly purpose.
“Trying to find a way to get rid of me, I suppose?”
She could see Amon was in a particularly bold and cheeky mood. It was as if they were at school once again, with Amon grabbing things that didn’t belong to him. Bad things often happened to her belongings that ended up in his possession.
But it was different now. There was no clockwork attendant that would stop her from blasting him off the bench and upside down into the sand. But she had promised Ben that she would work on self-control, no matter how appealing that was. Scylla bit her lip, giving Amon a dangerous stare.
“I don’t speak for the air… nor the tea…” The white mage grabbed the book and tugged from one end. “But not everything belongs to you anymore, oh great and masterful technologist.”
“Belongs to me?” Amon arched an eyebrow. “You’re the Miss Allagan Royalty here. Not I. Since when did anything belong to me? Us technologists were simply the civil servants of the Empire.”
The Elezen tugged back further on the book, waiting to see if she’d pull harder, baiting her for the big let-go.