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Suetonius Donatus Invents the Electrum Guitar (Magitek)


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Crowds always made Suetonius Donatus anxious. 


The mourners assembled to pay tribute to those lost in a war instigated by his people were no exception. Having scouted out the tribute venue several hours in advance, Sue made camp on an outcrop overlooking the improvised stage.  His very own perch to view the tribute without disturbance or troublesome small talk.  A place to accomplish work while waiting for the performances to begin.  It helped that work had gradually become easier for the Garlean engineer-turned dentist-turned philanthropist.


Having earned distinguishing honors in most “book-heavy” courses offered at Garlemald’s finest military academies, commanding officers heralded the effeminate, soft-spoken Midlander a future military genius. Ironically, the legionaries of Garlemald observed Sue’s poorest work.  He never studied, cared, or tried. Especially when the subject involved conflict.  More than one centurion excused the Midlander’s lackluster martial prowess, disinterest in pageantry, and social awkward.  Sue had no friends by choice.


Sue avoided social interaction like the plague.  His sole comforts existed in silent, introverted reflection.


Why was Magitek seen as an artifice of war?  How could the Garlean public ignore the atrocities committed in the name of despots?  Were people so afraid that they actually believed life had been not worth living before the empire came to power?


These questions came to Sue in silent moments of self-reflection.  He had no answers.  Dreaming was the only way to quiet his mind. The engineer dreamed of a brave new world where Magitek saved and nurtured life.  He dreamed of art and culture.  Dreams about how things should be.  Silly dreams. Magitek rockets propelling Eorzean and Garlean over the horizon and toward heavily bodies.  Carefree summers spent in breezy meadows.  Music for the sake of music.  


While dreaming, the engineer dabbled with magitek in private, inventing many practical inventions that would be deemed “useless” by his superiors: a ceruleum-powered toothbrush; a magitek toaster capable of browning bread in seconds, and magitek self-inking writing instruments.  Garlean culture frowned on invention deplete of military uses.  Conversely, these were the only inventions that inspired Sue.  


Defecting had been an act of child’s play for the introverted savant.  After narrowly passing physical training after attending several remedial camps intended for the “brainy types,” Sue was shipped to the western front.  Expected to formulate strategies to suppress the local opo-opos that the empire graciously recognized as Ala Mhigans.  No one noticed when the censors and spotlights went dark that night.  Sue even closed the back door.


The engineer soon discovered that Eorzeans had terrible oral hygiene.  Often lacking anything to say and savvy enough to remain silent to avoid potential prejudice, the Garlean oft watched people while they conversed in public settings. Most Eorzeans had terrible teeth. Easy to remedy for a mind that grappled with dreams and magitek innovation.  Why were there no dentists in this land of aether and unseen wonders? Perhaps not all propaganda regarding primitive Eorzean customers was untrue.  


Dentistry proved to be an easy way to earn a living. The engineer exceled at his new profession.  Mostly because his patients understandably never expected him to maintain a conversation during appointments. Dentistry, unfortunately, dulled the senses.  This changed when a new, exceptionally loud patient managed, somehow, to strike a conversation while Sue performed a routine cleaning.


Mr. Sundsteigen could never keep his fat mouth shut.  Every appointment.  Pointless questions.  One after another.  Stupid jokes. Sue smiled and nodded at most.  He showed no expression when comments struck a poor nerve.  The self-described vintner, however, eventually got Sue talking.  First about the weather, then about “classy broads,” then Garlemald.  And magitek. And things changed.


Mr. Sundsteigen offered a generous retainer conditioned on a non-compete.  Sue hastily accepted. Simple work.  Drafting voluminous reports for a loud, impatient man.  A rude but simple man.  Easy to satisfy, zero oversight, and minimal expectations.  And Sue got to work alone while dreaming for a change.

The tribute concert started just after mid-day.  


Sue had been drafting a draft infiltration plan for his employer when the first performer took the stage.  Sue clicked the magitek pen grasped between his frail fingers and looked down to the assembled crowd below.  Even at this distance it made him nervous.  Mr. Sundsteigen and nothing short of a cohort of assorted “lovely female associates” were in attendance.


Sue could hear his loud, annoying employer over the music at times.  Thank the spirits Sue had carved out his private nook.  From his viewpoint, the engineer smiled contently while enjoying the type of music that /really/ mattered.  Music that conveyed emotion.  Music that broke rules.  Music for music’s sake. Gears turned.


The first performer carried an exceptional melody, though Sue could barely make out her voice from the distance.  The second sung a woeful tune that delighted the engineer, but her claws struggled to project the sound of her stringed instrument very far.  The third performance, a quartet of four young women, amused the engineer, even when he overheard Mr. Sundsteigen making several crude comments about how two of the blonde performers happened to be “lookers.”  How Sue hated that man at times.  


Odette Saoirse and Ric Spades.  The fourth performance.  A lover and friend of Mr. Sundsteigen.  He spoke about them both during cleanings somehow.  Sue didn’t care for the vocalist-bardess’ choice of attire.  Slutty.  Inappropriate for a tribute to the dead.  Odette moved her hips and flaunted her bust too much.  It detracted from the music.  More akin for low-brow parlor music reserved for cabarets.  At least Spades, the guitarist, carried a good beat and nailed most major chord progressions.  


But the music pouring from Spades’ instrument too struggled to reach the engineer from his perch.  "A ceruleum resonator could amplify the sound of vibrations from a steel string,” the engineer spoke quietly to himself, “and an Orchestration could amplify those sounds.  A magitek bit could process the sounds between the guitar and Orchestrion.”  Invention.  Sue turned the page of his notebook, flipping past the half-finished report for Mr. Sundsteigen.  During the next performance, he sketched an image of a guitar similar to that played by Spades moments before: but with seven strings; sitting atop a hollow body forged from a conductive metal, electrum.  The electrum guitar.


Sue almost finished his preliminary diagram for the invention spawned from imagination.  Then a symphony of lights enveloped him.  And a voice.  Dozens of small lanterns bearing candles spiraled about him in a dozen directions. And her voice.  The engineer peered down at the woman singing a dirge to the fallen.  Peering through his rimmed spectacles, the engineer confirmed her identity – the Lady Grayve.  A maker of music. 


Sue turned the page from his diagram.  And began scribing verse.  Lyrics came easily.  Music was basically math.  People were the hard part.  Especially performances and sharing music.  But some things were worth the risk.   


((OOC:Special thanks to Ciel/Glace (fairasmorninglight.tumblr.com) for inspiring this post and devoting so much time/effortto promoting public music RP events.  Look forward toperforming with Sue in the future. ))


- sig-ffxiv.tumblr.com

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