• Solo • The Smell of Old Books

Job thread, Ashan 718.

Once an isolated and dying township, an influx of academics, adventurers and thrill seekers have made Scalvoris Town their home. From scholars' tea shops to a new satellite campus for Viden Academy, this is an exciting place to visit or make your home!

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• Solo • The Smell of Old Books

Postby Victor Amielle » Wed May 16, 2018 6:28 am

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60th of Ashan, Arc 718
I spent arcs travelling the world, from Lysoria to the frozen plains of the far north and from Rynmere to Scalvoris, an island that was full of strange animals and even stranger people, and in all the time I rarely returned home. Unlike those around me I had never suffered from homesickness – the world had so much more to offer than just Ne’haer and Lysoria - besides, at home I would always play second fiddle to my brother, the lord, a notion that had made me bitter although I loved Stefan, and he had always been kind to me.

I planned on spending the rest of my trials going on adventures, studying magic and making great discoveries along the way. In early 718 I was about to prepare for a scientific expedition into the wilderness of Scalvoris. I wanted study the unusual events that had recently taken place there as I had grown tired of spending my trials within the confines of the university where I had found employment for the duration of my stay on the island.

It was just then that a bit of most disconcerting news reached me though. Tensions between Ne’haer and Lysoria had reached an all-time high. There were even rumors of a war …


The book that was lying in front of Victor, on his desk, was bound in dark-brown leather with golden letters and quite old. Its pages had turned yellow and brittle in places, and it smelled vaguely of wood and smoke and earth, a smell that made him take a deep breath, as if it were the most exquisite of perfumes. He put on a pair of thin cotton gloves - dirt and oil were the enemies of a rare books, and one’s hands, he had learned, could transmit both – and carefully opened it, as if he were dealing with a holy item or a treasure that was valuable beyond measure before he began to slowly turn the pages.

It was a diary that he had taken from the university’s archives where it had been kept in a specialized container as both moisture and light could be detrimental, and it had been written by a mage that had lived about three centuries before and that had travelled the world in search of unusual phenomena, just like him. He hoped that reading those old accounts of such phenomena – as well as comparing them with more recent research – would help him understand what was currently happening in the world and aid him on the trip he had planned to undertake at the beginning of Ymiden.

The book contained drawings as well, of plants and animals and people that the mage had met during his travels, and sometimes also of ruins that he had explored. The colors had faded over the course of the centuries, but Victor had no problems imagining what they had once been like. He could almost see that author that had died long before he had been born in front of his inner eye, sitting by his campfire and taking notes, much like he did nowadays.

He didn’t know what he had really looked like and when exactly he had been born – the author had provided little information about himself - but he pictured him as being in his thirties at the time that he had written his diary, a tall, broad-shouldered individual with brown hair and a short beard, dressed in browns and greens and with a sword at his belt. His diary entries gave him the impression of a man who despised the softness and weakness of his fellow academics. He had, in many ways, been what Victor aimed to become …

He was just about to dip his quill into a vial of ink and take notes as he wanted to avoid opening the book more often that was absolutely necessary when one of his colleagues, a young woman with brown eyes and brown hair that she wore in a thick braid that reached the middle of her back, walked over to his desk, a white envelope in her hand. He put his quill away and looked up at her. “Here’s a letter for you, Amielle”, she informed him and handed it to him. He furrowed his brow as he opened it, wondering what it was about, and then he abruptly jumped up. He needed to talk to his superior, Assistant Professor Alison Jeeve!

~~~

This time Assistant Professor Jeeve was wearing a hot pink skirt, dark blue leggings (because it was still too cool to just wear a skirt), a lime green blouse and leather boots that looked as if she had stolen them off a knight, and she was sitting on her desk, munching on a piece of chocolate cake with strawberries and entirely too much cream, an expression of absolute delight on her face.

When Victor had first met her, all those seasons before, he hadn’t believed his eyes and questioned her sanity – he would never dress like that, not even if he got paid – but in time he had come to appreciate her as a competent researcher and a mage of some skill – and maybe something more - and learned to overlook her bizarre taste in fashion.

“Want some?” she asked him cheerfully. “It’s really good!” she informed him and held her plate out to him, but he shook his head. Upon reading what was happening in his home, he had abruptly lost his appetite. He hadn’t thought that it would come to that. “Okay!” she remarked, shrugged her shoulders, grabbed her fork and speared an especially large piece of cake with it before she abruptly lowered it again and looked at him, concerned.

“Is something the matter?” she wanted to know, and he quietly handed her the letter. She took it and read it, furrowing her brow as she did so. When she had finished, she looked up at him and asked, “You want to take a leave of absence, I assume? I didn’t think that you particularly cared about your family. Sibling rivalry, jealousy and all that stuff. Didn’t you once tell me that you had spent most of the past decade travelling?”

“I do care, and I’ve always cared”,
he replied, although his relationship with his family was none of her business, in spite of how close they had grown over the past seasons. “They are my family. If the situation is really as difficult as they claim, I want to be there. Will you give me your okay – and let me return should the situation not be as bad as it seems to be?” he asked, having already decided that he would leave anyway, if she said no, even if that meant that he wouldn’t be welcome in Scalvoris anymore. This here was more important than his studies or his research. He’d find a new job, eventually. Maybe he would be able to work for the Mage’s Council now that he had reached a certain level of competency – or conduct research for the academy.

“Under one condition”, Alison replied and looked at her cake for a moment as if she were wondering if she should continue eating before she informed him, “You will write a research paper while you are there – and show it to me – and continue your current project as soon as you return – should you really wish to return. But Victor”, she pointed out, furrowing her brow. “The journey to Lysoria takes over one hundred trials. You won’t arrive until late Ymiden, and by then everything may have changed. What will you do about that? The Flutterbus doesn’t fly in Ashan, and I don’t know of a Rupturer that is skilled enough to teleport you …”

“I’ll find a way”,
he replied curtly and extended his hand. She returned the letter to him, and he pocketed it so that it wouldn’t get lost. “I have to. I need to see what is happening with my own eyes and find out if I can do something about it. I thank …” He wanted to say that he thanked her for giving him the chance to return to Scalvoris if he wanted to – although he was not certain if he really wanted to anymore – and be on his way in order to find out how he would be able to shorten the journey. She raised her hand though, thus letting him know that he ought to be quiet, opened the cake box that stood on her desk and cut a large piece off.

“Trust me”, she said and handed it to him. He had to admit, it did start to look delicious, and it smelled absolutely divine. “You need it. It will make you feel better. Besides, you’ll want us to part on good terms!” she pointed out, smiling slightly in order to let him know that she wasn’t really threatening him and patted her desk, inviting him to take a seat. And thus Assistant Professor Alison Jeeve and Victor Amielle, Transmuter, Blessed of Delroth and treasure hunter, a man who was normally quite concerned with appearances, sat together on her desk, ate cake and enjoyed each other’s company, forgetting their troubles for a moment and ignoring the fact that the were employer and employee.

1.551 words.
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Victor Amielle
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The Smell of Old Books

Postby Whisper » Thu May 24, 2018 9:11 am

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