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Rewriting History

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Re: Rewriting History

Post  Audi on Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:14 pm

She let herself be led, finding it rather hard to follow him because of his slow and irregular pace. If only he didn't have too much dignity to let her carry him again.

When he started prattling on, Audi listened, quiet and focused. So, he didn't know more than an average person would. She wasn't sure why did she expect he would, but hearing the ignorance made her feel slightly weird.

It was all a secret, that much she knew. Her master had gone into exile to preserve what he'd learned from prying eyes and ears, which meant that his silly human need for talking would have gone unfulfilled if he did not have the trustworthy company of his ratfolk. They didn't particularly care to listen, but it was simply part of the job; they did not reply much unless he directly told them to. At some point, he had stopped. Audi was pretty sure that at that point, if they all died or went away, he would have continued talking simply to himself. Such were humans.

Now, of course, all that she had absorbed then came in handy. Without it, she would be quite lost, and she suspected that the knowledge itself had something to do with the abilities she possessed. The problem was her current situation was one his words didn't shed much of a light onto, his situation being vastly different. Audi was out of the Guild's jurisdiction -- basically a freelancer -- and she didn't know how much of what she knew she was supposed to keep to herself. She had to be very careful. Even with Tony. Especially with Tony.

Oh, it was all so confusing.

Audi mulled over things for a bit, walking in silence, but failed to come up with any plan. She would just have to wing it.

"Is it far yet?"
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Re: Rewriting History

Post  Tony Sharp on Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:14 pm

"Not far, not far!" he quickly chirped as he reached the top of the stairs, before looking from left to right.  Yes, it was on this floor. After the quick assessment, he scurried around the balcony, before approaching one of the far bookshelves on the outer walls.

All of the books on that shelf seemed to be of varied languages. Crouching down next to it, he tapped his fingers against the spines in turn before selecting a particularly old, rugged book, thankfully near the bottom. He tugged it out, wiping off some of the dust that had accumulated there. The Voynich Manuscript.  It was exciting to hold it again, especially with the knowledge that he could actually make some decent progress this time. That was exactly what he intended to do this time - no giving up.

"This," he said in demonstration, before pressing it towards Audi.  "This is it! Please, take a look. I'm certain that observing some of the contents for yourself may enlighten you to the sorts of mysteries that we're yet to encounter."
His hands knotted together as he expectantly looked to her.
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Re: Rewriting History

Post  Audi on Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:48 pm

Audi walked after the librarian, a rather stark contrast to his enthusiasm, with ears perked up alertly due to her uncertainty and wariness. It wasn't that she didn't want to... it was just intimidating to be completely on her own. Especially when the plantperson looked so eager as he shoved the book into her hands.

Her gaze traveled over the cover. The tome seemed to be old, and when she carefully opened it, she could see the paper was of good quality. If she didn't know any better, she could have thought it was the original. Lightly, she traced a line of text with her claw, brow furrowing in focus. That... made no sense. She read the line over and over again, but to no avail; it was nothing like the cipher that she knew. Of course... Why would it be?

Without looking away from the text, she slowly dropped to her knees, as if dragged down by the heavy feeling in her chest. And she had been so sure... Quickly, she thumbed through the catalog of plants, but the pictures were of little value without the accompanying writing. This would be harder than she'd been expecting.

Tony's presence was, for now, forgotten, as she continued turning the pages, skimming over them in hopes of seeing something familiar. Something recognizable. A starting point.
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Re: Rewriting History

Post  Tony Sharp on Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:33 am

As Audi accepted the book, Tony moved to stand behind her shoulder, joining in with her exploration of the many pages of the old book. The way she flicked through each page was interpreted as some sort of eagerness or excitement to get started, which was of course, highly encouraging.

"There's a lot, isn't there? You'd think with such a volume of pages, that there'd be at least one small thing that could be interpreted! But it seems it refuses to be... Though, I have no doubt, of course, in the combined abilities of myself and the best student in my course." He stopped to give her shoulder a pat. "But just think - if we decode just one sentence, the rest will shortly unfold! All that's needed is one answer, then every other answer will reveal itself. This manuscript could have everything!" The weight of that was inspiring, if anything.

He almost practically draped himself over the student's shoulder, as if desperate for feedback, even if she'd barely looked for that long.
"Well? Do you have any clues?"
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Re: Rewriting History

Post  Audi on Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:13 pm

One small thing. Yes, one small thing would be good, but at the moment her outlook on that wasn't positive. It was nice of him, and she knew she should be pleased, but as she looked over the incomprehensible pages the praise sounded hollow to her ears. Her fur rose slightly to his touch, as she found herself not entirely comfortable with it. It was strange, her kin were big on physicality, but she supposed it was only natural with how far she'd strayed from them.

Not giving an answer, she continued flicking through the pages and pages of images of plants, until she reached the circular diagrams. She squinted and examined them for a moment. That was... slightly more readable, though without knowing how the author used the symbols, it would still be of little use. She went on, and then the squat little figures started littering the paper, and Audi let out a small squeak. "Homunculi." she said, tapping a claw against one of the small people. The writing around it remained ever mysterious, but at least now she could guess it described the process of creating artificial life.
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Re: Rewriting History

Post  Tony Sharp on Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:29 pm

Tony wasn't particularly struck by her lack of answer, mostly because he understood what concentration was. That, and he was quite fond of the sound of his own voice anyway.

Though, at her squeak, he found his attention had quickly been captured. Had she seen something noteworthy? He too, peered at the page, before nodding intelligently. "Ah, yes. I believe this gestures to the creation of a human being? No doubt, the letters must provide further analysis of this, perhaps a method or explanation... But why must the pictures be so ambiguous? So... Imprecise?"

He sighed, crossing his arms. "The author is surely teasing us! Or, authoress, if I must expand my horizons. Though, with the high content of feminine beings, I must express that I believe it is written by the male kind, for I'm aware that they take interest in female humans." After a moment's squinting, he shook his head. "Or perhaps, the gender of the human is an important factor in the creation of human life..."

He glanced to Audi again, given that she'd only uttered one word through the entire thing. "Resume as you were? I made have interrupted you, and if so, I do extend my sincerest apologies, as I would love to hear any thoughts you may have gathered thus far, although I do express that mine must also be shared if we are to decipher this with the highest degree of accuracy."
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Re: Rewriting History

Post  Audi on Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:40 am

To be honest, after the first sentence or two, she had slightly zoned out and only listened to Tony's blather with one ear, focusing on the Manuscript instead. One thing that he said, though, caught her attention. It was hard to imagine an alchemist having any sort of an interest in -- or time for -- the opposite gender, but the latter idea may have been just right.

If only it mattered at all. Homunculi didn't interest them, plants did. Right now it was not what they were looking for, so she hardly felt enthused for the familiar field of study. She would check it out later, regardless.

"Irrelevant." she said as she continued flicking through the pages, until it was back to the diagrams and plants. The book was almost on its end, and Audi felt a slight tightness in her throat. Had it been entirely futile...? She was about to turn another page when something caught her eye. While the earlier content showed the whole of plants, this part seemed to detail their roots, with pictures of them as well as what looked like cross-sections. Weird roots. Roots that looked like they had tried to... have limbs.

Audi stared at them for a while, then slowly looked to Tony without a word.
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Re: Rewriting History

Post  Tony Sharp on Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:48 pm

Irrelevant? "Well, it's not quite as irrelevant as you might think, I mean, who could ever tell if one thing or another might eventually lead to answers? It could be anything, of course, and I..."

He trailed off as soon as he realised that Audi was looking at him. At that, he slowly looked to the book, seeing the diagrams of the rather bizarre looking... roots. He blinked at it quietly for a moment, bending over for a closer look, before raising his head to look at his own hands. "...Well...  This has to mean something," he said, fully aware of the unhelpfulness of his remark. "It could be referring to mandrakes of sorts, which I, uhm... I..."

He trailed off, focusing again on the page, eyes trailing from one diagram to the next, desperate to discover the link between them. Maybe then, he would be able to figure out exactly what it meant. But the diagrams were so strange, so bizarre, so out-worldly that finding a logical connection between them just seemed to be flat-out impossible. He twitched.

"Let's see what the next page says," he said, reaching to turn the pages for her.
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Re: Rewriting History

Post  Audi on Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:35 pm

She gave a low hum. It was irrelevant, she was pretty sure. The Manuscript seemed chaotic enough to simply contain notes on both the subject of plants and homunculi.
Its author found a way to create lackeys and recorded it -- every great wizard needed lackeys, of course. One day, she would get some, too... but that thought was irrelevant for now as well.

As he looked to his hands, so did she, comparing them to the illustrations. None of the plants looked exactly like him, but they certainly looked... related. "...You are. Yes." she finished for him. An odd mix of a human and plant, with good things taken from both, and weaknesses all of his own. It did sound somewhat... artificial.

The next page had drawings of odd roots as well. The pages following, which Audi reached to turn to, were just writing with rows of stars or sigils drawn beside them on the margins. And then, the book was over. That was it. Audi stared at the tome for a moment, then heaved a sigh. "More new questions than answers."
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Re: Rewriting History

Post  Tony Sharp on Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:53 pm

His eyes remained locked on the pages, and he didn't bother to rattle away at something meaningless as they neared the end. When they finally met with the cover again, there was a short moment of silence, until Tony turned his head towards Audi again. "...You mean to say, more questions to find the answers to, do you not? Of course, the answers must exist somewhere within the novel, I'm sure..."

He looked to the book again, his eyes tracing over it, doubtfulness dawning on him once again. What wasn't awful were the questions. The questions were fine. Questions made one think. The problem was the complete lack of signpost gesturing to any sort of answer. They'd be tumbling blindly through an undergrowth of trial and error, uncertainty and experimentation. There was no clear starting place. A Rubik's cube beyond merely twisting the colours in place.

"...There are, perhaps, some sort of answers, aren't they? I mean, certainly you're bright enough to pick some up," he said to her, intending absolutely no pressure at all. Almost.
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Re: Rewriting History

Post  Audi on Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:55 pm

Audi didn't look away from the tome, or reply immediately, the only response being the nervous thumping of her tail against the floor, loud in the quietness of the library. There was so much to think about, so much to consider, so many possibilities, and her head felt like it was full of air. There was nothing in it, and the harder she looked, the less there was to find. "I--" she stuttered. "You are--"

You are what? What was he? And what was the plant that he'd created? Those were the biggest questions -- were. Now, there were also the important questions of whether the Manuscript could help them at all, and if so, how to read it. And then... what if...? What was the link to alchemy? Had Tony's species simply been studied by an alchemist, or...?

There was just too much they didn't know. Audi's fingers tightened on the book nervously as she struggled with the urge to run and hide. She... needed to take it slow. You couldn't make a tree fall with one bite, you just had to chew and chew and chew... bit by bit. She took a deep breath.

"This book..." she said slowly. "Was written by somebody who familiar with alchemy. I... am too." She didn't look at him. "I may be able to understand some of this. I will need time." She took the book, clutching it to her chest firmly as she stood up. Once she had started, she somehow knew what to say, even if she could've sworn her head was still empty. "And help. Research ciphers... old herbalist books and bestiaries... homunculi, too." Finally she braved facing the librarian again, but her focus was clearly elsewhere as her gaze slid over him. She knew he was going to ask questions now, too many of them, and she wasn't going to let him. "We'll take turns with the book. Compare notes." She nodded. "I go first."

With a last, sidelong glance as she turned away, she started to the exit. There were some things she needed to do alone.
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Re: Rewriting History

Post  Tony Sharp on Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:49 am

With his attention exclusively pinned on her, he blinked at the mention of alchemy. Well, it certainly explained all those demanding questions during the Winter Ball, but he couldn't help but wonder how familiar she was. As she clutched the book to her chest, he was moments from chipping in with his own personal misgivings - then Audi corrected them before he could.

Nothing could escape him but half-hearted stutters and starts to sentences that didn't lead anywhere. He stared with slightly dumb silence as the student began to head off, already intent on solving the mystery right there and then. "Ah... Well, good luck then!" His voice was tentatively raised, for this was still, in fact, a library.

He couldn't blame her, in fact, he could do little but mentally applaud her for taking initiative. There was hope, and the little ratgirl seemed to know what she was doing. Or at least, she had a vague idea of what she was doing, and that was good enough for Tony. With hope stirring in his veins again, he turned away with the intention to find all of those books that she had listed. All of them.
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