Love, Astrologically

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Forename! You always seem to know the precise moment at which your services are required. Such is the mark of an accomplished astrologian, if I do say so myself!

Which would, of course, imply you are already aware of what I would ask of you! Yet, I shall indulge you with my request nonetheless. It is Master Rufin. Following our return from Kugane, she has been...distant. Well, more distant than usual. Enough to give one pause, at least.


I thought I might ascertain the source of her worriment with the Deck of Sixty, but was presented the usual slumgullion of vague portents and portentous vagaries. By the time I unwrapped my throbbing head from the spread, all I could discern was something about a “dark wind blowing from the east.”


I suppose this could imply any number of things─ill tidings from our allies in Doma, a rainstorm brewing over the Black Shroud, a fire at that fine patisserie near the Arc of the Venerable... Why, I suppose even you could be the dark wind. Ahem. No. Right.
Let us simply say, I am worried about our companion, but am at a loss as to how I might help her. Leveva has been spending much of her days up at the Last Vigil, staring blankly out over the Sea of Clouds. I've attempted speaking with her, but the lady is about as receptive to my concerns as one might expect. Perhaps, though, she would prove more forthcoming with her star pupil?
The Last Vigil was once a lookout for the See's Knights Dragoon, though by the time anyone manning the outpost spotted a dragon, it was far too late to do aught but crawl into a root cellar and pray.
<sigh> It will never work, and I was a fool to think─

Oh, Forename. Just the man I wanted to see.


Might you remember our good fr─ Might you remember Kyokuho? Lanky fellow, disheveled hair, somewhat capable in the geomantic arts? Well, it appears his travels will be bringing him once again to Ishgard.


Seeing as he has provided me with a wealth of valuable insight into his discipline, the least I could do would be to greet him upon his arrival. Unfortunately, I must see to some unfinished affairs near the Architects...
Would it be too much to ask for you to visit the aetheryte plaza in my stead? I shall catch up with both of you later at the Athenaeum Astrologicum.
Kyokuho will be arriving at the aetheryte plaza. You cannot well greet him while loitering here in the Pillars, unless you heard tell he was flying in on the back of a dragon?
Forename! Imagine us, meeting here! Could it be fate? Hah hah hah, I jest!

Slow down, friend. I've only just arrived in Ishgard and already you're recruiting me to some urgent cause? You Westlanders certainly don't waste your time.


I intended this to be but a short visit to discuss how matters have progressed since you vanquished Kinko and aided me in restoring my grandfather's wards. However, I suppose all that can wait.


To the Athenaeum, then?
Why if it isn't...a dark wind from the East!
It is good to see you again, too, Jannequinard. Forename tells me all is not well with Lady Leveva?
Ah, so I see someone has wasted little time in informing every rat in the Brume of matters that I thought it obvious were of a more personal nature.
Oh, save the drama for the stage, my friend. Forename merely recognized that the intimate connection Lady Leveva and I forged in Kugane made me the perfect candidate for discerning what might be weighing oh, so heavily on her soul.
Hah! And how do you propose to do that?
Do it? I've already done it! Lady Leveva's in love!
But of course she is! Wait...what?
Her archenemy defeated, her father's memory honored, and a city saved─Lady Leveva has conquered the countless peaks that rose before her with an air of aplomb that would belie her mere sixteen summers. And now, bereft of purpose, she has turned her eyes to companionship to fill the void that lies agape in her heart.

And I believe I can help. Forename, might you know the lonely lady's current whereabouts?


Those massive stone effigies to raw masculinity!? Oh, it is worse than I thought! We must make haste!
Don't tell me you take that addle-pated moonboy seriously. Lady Leveva? In love? What a ridiculous notion. Unless...
If she is smitten with some unknown individual─and I am, by no means, implying that she is─it is my duty as friend of her father to determine if the cur is worthy of Lady Leveva's attention.
Forename. Might I assume you saw Kyokuho safely to the Athenaeum? Very well. I shall be along shortly.
Look, there she is.
What will you say?
Indeed. There she is. And? Then why are we here?
And nothing. That's the problem. She's just been standing there.

I was afraid you might ask that.


What do you think we should do?


I'm but a humble student of the geomantic arts. I have little understanding when it comes to matters of the heart.
And what, pray tell, are you two doing here?
I, uh...greetings and salutations, my dearest Leveva! Aren't you looking most resplendent this fine evening!
Resplendent? Spent a few bells in the books, have we?

Time will tell if this new vocabulary suits you, but time is not a luxury I am afforded at this moment.


The city's din is positively deafening. It stifles my thoughts and upsets my humours. What I require is clarity─something unattainable within these stone walls. The quiet of Camp Dragonhead, however, may provide me with a moment's respite.


Oh, and you may cease with this ridiculous talk of “matters of the heart.” Love is the furthest of my worries. I, for one, am already promised to another.
Al...

...ready...


...promised!?


How is that even...?
Ah, Kyokuho. There's no need to kneel in my presence. Did I miss anything?
I see. It comes as little surprise that one of her social standing would be betrothed at such a young age. Such is the custom amongst older houses─even in a city as progressive as Sharlayan─and she hails from one of the oldest.
I suppose... It's just that─
Kyokuho! Whither the vim and vigor from our conversation earlier? And all this upon learning Lady Leveva is to be married. A more astute observant might presume a certain emotional attachment to our young protégé.

But that would be ludicrous. I, for one, know that good Kyokuho's feelings towards Leveva are naught but those of admiration for her skill at the astromantic arts. So let us return to the task at hand. We still do not know what is weighing down on the lady's fragile heart.


And what better way to find out than to ask. A novel idea, don't you think? Asking someone what is troubling them rather than assuming─without having actually spoken with them, or even seen them for some time─that they're simply longing for amorous relations.


Wonderful. Kyokuho and I shall return to the Athenaeum where I will make certain he refrains from idle meddlement in any other lives.
I could accompany you to Camp Dragonhead, but one thing my time with Lady Leveva has taught me is that when she has her head wrapped about some vexatious affair, the last person's company she desires is mine.
I fear I have offended the Lady Leveva... Will she ever forgive me?
As persistent as always... Fine. You have seen through my ruse. I am not, in fact, promised to another. I simply implied as much to silence Kyokuho.

Alright, there was a time I was promised to another. We have my grandfather to thank for that. However, since I am now officially deceased, my assumption is that the arrangement will have been annulled. Not that I shall ever bother to actually confirm this assumption.


What is troubling me? <sigh> 'Twas not my intention to involve you or Jannequinard...or even Kyokuho in such matters. However, the discord my silence has sown perhaps warrants an explanation.


Despite repeated efforts following our recent achievements in Kugane, I have been unable to conceive feasible means of blending the teachings of Sharlayan astrology and those of Far Eastern geomancy.
As Kyokuho explained, unlike astrologians who look to the stars above to read their fates, geomancers look to the star below and listen to its songs, and draw their answers from its whispers.
Yet try as I might, I remain impotent in tapping the land's puissance. I've spent my life attuning to the slight variations in the aether of distant stars. So much so that when I look to Hydaelyn and her aether, I am overwhelmed by its potency...its glow, you could say. Think of it as trying to open one of the heavens' gates in a world of everlasting daylight.
What will you say?
A world of everlasting daylight? About that... ......
You have visited such a place? Then my readings were accurate. Exactly where have your adventures taken you, Forename?

Your silence speaks louder than words. As do my readings. The Deck of Sixty has already revealed much and more about your recent foray into distant realms. Now, if you would care to elaborate.


And you had no trouble channeling the aether from that world's heavens despite the fact that you never once physically laid eyes upon them?


Intriguing... But I am a woman of reason, and shall require more than the word of another─no matter how close─to convince me of this phenomenon. A firsthand demonstration, however, might suffice. A single Aspected Benefic, perhaps? But only under the influence of the Diurnal Sect, mind you.
When you are ready, Forename. A single incantation of Aspected Benefic will suffice. But only under the influence of the Diurnal Sect, of course.

Your faculty for aetherially conversing with celestial bodies both far and near is peerless. A most eloquent display...and one I should endeavor to learn from.


I have committed the most grievous of sins by allowing things such as light, distance, and dimension─things that hold no dominion over the realm aetherial─to prevent me from unbinding my full potential.


You, however, helped me to realize the error in my ways. I believe now I might continue my studies.
Just...not here. I am unsure why I thought this would be a suitable location to ponder my predicament in the first place. Perhaps it was the memories of our first lesson here... Ahem. Let us hurry back to the Athenaeum lest we catch cold.
So...my original reading was accurate all along! You were the dark wind! But then why...dark? I thought people were calling you the Warrior of Light...
Jannequinard was right. I was the dark wind from the east. If I hadn't arrived and upset Lady Leveva with my ridiculous notions, we wouldn't find ourselves in this mess...
Foremost, I believe I owe you both an apology. Or at least I owe you one, Jannequinard. As for you, Kyokuho─
How did you arrive at the ridiculous notion that I was somehow languishing in the throes of love?
When Forename and Jannequinard mentioned you were not yourself after returning from Kugane, I simply assumed that─
Do you dare suggest that we had any hand in this, Kyokuho? You were not a quarter bell in the Pillars before you were telling anyone who would listen about the cavernous maw that yawned in the heart of poor, lonely Master Rufin...and how you were to fill it.
Lonely? Pah! I'm far from lonely. In fact, I've already promised my heart to another.
Of course. Already promised to a─ Wait...what?
You heard me, and I've never spoken a truer word.
Whoever could it be? It is certainly not Forename...or, heavens forfend, Kyokuho?
Why, astrology, of course!
What? Who did you expect, Quimperain?
I suppose you're wondering what brought me to Ishgard in the first place. It most certainly wasn't to ruffle Master Rufin's feathers...though it seems I have succeeded in that nonetheless.

Our triumph over Kinko having restored the people of Kugane's faith in geomancy, it was not long before a gaggle of eager mages were clamoring at my door, seeking guidance in the art of wind and water.


To accommodate, I transformed my grandfather's study into a place where I might train those who are willing to invest the time and effort necessary to become masters. Which reminds me... My students are likely wondering where their sensei is! Farewell, Forename!
So he came to tell us of his new school of geomancy? Did we not give him a linkpearl?
At any rate, allow me to thank you once again for the inspiration you provided. Despite being your mentor in matters astrological, I find myself consistently in your debt when it comes to...well, everything else. You are a true friend and confidant, Forename.
And as always, she has once again failed to acknowledge that it was I who first noticed her change in mood, and that it was my reading that predicted your arrival, and that it was my good judgment that eventually pointed you in her direction.

But such is my destiny, I suppose.


I am simply happy that Lady Leveva is back to her normal self. If aught were to befall her, Rufin would haunt me 'til the Eighth Umbral Era.


Thank you again, Forename. I would say we make a fine team, but considering you cover the coeurl's share of the footwork, I will refrain from any further analogies of a sporting nature.