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A Month in Kannadi's Journal [story]

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[This marks the last previously-written story that I find worth transplanting from Kannadi's Lodestone blog. Unlike the others, I originally posted it in "real time" from her journal-writing perspective.]



15th, 4A:


Met cousin Zulfiqar & Wife passing the Rudius, & congratulated him re: recent Victories. Received polite thanks from him for recent Services to his siblings. Usual vacant smile, empty nod from Wife.


Further inquired his opinion of Grand Companies, considering rapid all-hours construction of Immortal Flames headquarters caused no surplus of sleep in recent weeks. He seemed quite Enthusiastic, for him, about the prospects of service to the Sultana, but Ambition was clear in his face as it is always in Grandmother's.


Slight chance that he has designs on eventually replacing Mr. Aldynn, in the fullness of time. Would not put it past him -- the desire, not the success.


Kept quiet regarding my own opinion.


Further study of these Companies is needed.


24th, 4A:


Have Recruited myself provisionally into the varied Grand Companies. Valuable insight into perceptions of each re: themselves, others. Limsans too aggressive, Gridanians too proud.


Met Spectre, repeatedly, in course of Duties. Encountered him before, only recently learned his name, that being Urianger; noticed he carried weapon of the Arcanists. Most curious and intriguing ability he had, of summoning Scalekin familiars. Part of an Arcanist's trade, or something else?...


Also ventured briefly into Maws, Darkhold. Remarkable diversity of monster life.


Encountered Garleans elsewhere. Suspect connection with Assassin assemblies in Halatali...


Most unpleasant events surely in the offings. Must provide fullest Support to Immortal Flames when opportunity arises.


27th, 4A:

(Pinned to a notice board, clearly a page torn from a journal…)




Terrible happenings.


Cousin Zulfiqar’s wife Evangeline murdered in home, while Z. himself participated in Gladiatorial event.


Clear assassination. Throat slashed. Nothing of value missing. Culprit entirely guesswork; could be unknown amateur as easily as Shade, Lachesis, Teiatimay &c.


Funeral to be held privately. Priest from her native Ishgard to visit, deliver Rites. Burial impossible there, for various reasons.


Will be occupied with Duties pertaining to funeral for some days.


In lieu of flowers, send nothing, for nothing is needed. Z., & by extension Family, now has small yet lucrative foothold in Coerthan regional commerce, by dint of deceased wife.


Aforementioned Duties to be active prevention of newfound additional Wealth from further Corruption among remainder of cousins, at behest of Mother & Father.


~ Kannadi Albedo


2nd, 4U:


Funeral today.


Multiple Worthies of the city attended, dressed somberly yet expensively, lavishing Lamentation on the widower. Such conceit. There were some genuine grievers, to be sure, but too many too eagerly introduced their Daughters or turned their words to Ingratiate themselves to the man who, unlike them, now has a foot in the otherwise Iron-Barred gate of Ishgard.


Spoke at length with Zulfiqar; no new evidence, but for the assailant fleeing East.


East, where lies Halatali, and the suspicious recent Assemblings of Assassins in the rocks thereof, protected by the land and ravin’d Antlings and roaming Amalj’aa.


Implored him to leave the hunt to the Brass Blades, for whose efforts Grandmother paid well.


3rd, 4U:


That foolish man went on his own. A failed effort. It is a Wonder he was not devoured.


4th, 4U:


Brass Blades returned with new detail, necessitating my insight. They had discovered among the Belongings of a scouting Assassin, several bottles of clear liquid. Two were determined upon testing to be none but sugared water; two others, Antling trail-marking fluid. Two and two made four, so to speak; intent was clear to me.


Very clever of the killers, to tame the wild Antlings to their service by providing them sweet and easy Calories on a daily schedule.


Zulfiqar not deterred by news. Has employed Rasim to devise Alchemical method for bypassing not only Antlings but Assassins. Rarely have I seen him so driven. And little wonder. Surely a Chief of Assassins waits in the innermost of the hide-out rocks. Few others would know more about the murder…


5th, 4U:


Tonight: a pleasant distraction from recent days: a Social Event far afield in the Black Shroud, held by Ms. Blue. Met with some Colleagues; Mr. Meillune handling Academy grounds well. Mr. Naystar looked well, as did Ms. Black & Ms. Nhacara. Mr. Elku seemed distant. Ms. Gjin seemed more at home, contrary to her reticent acclimation to Ul’dah. Ms. Xenedra remains a fine dancer.


6th, 4U:


Zulfiqar remains bent on infiltrating Halatali Assassins. Caught him in a Reverie; heard some worried mutter from him about a Prince, or at least something similar to the ear. Didn’t press the point. So much must weigh on him, the poor man.


11th, 4U:


Academy Meeting, some days past.


Had little to contribute, yet volunteered self for promising Venture with Ms. Blue et. al.


Have of late been assisting Rasim in gathering certain materials. He claims to be nearing breakthrough in alchemical infiltration aides, but will say no more. Typical of him. Zulfiqar grows impatient for results. Typical of him.


Some manner of Event transpiring re: bombs. Nadra positively giddy for it, as it gives her License to run about everywhere in that Swim-Suit without consequence, and puts her into close proximity of Young Men similarly attired.


Leyla reportedly shares my feelings about it. First wisdom from her I've seen in ages.


Post-Script: That shameless -----! Now she, too, gallivants the city in that Getup! Honestly, there are Assassins about, has she no sense?!


What Value could there possibly be in such exhibition anyway?


14th, 4U:




Rasim is a genius! Promoted at once to Favorite Cousin!


Sworn to secrecy, even in this Writing, for fear of someone discovering the Recipes and intricate Alchemical Methods of producing them. Even the Ingredients, he said, must be kept secret. But truly, who ever will read this? And who knew that simple Olive Oil had such potential applications, to say nothing of the rest of it?


The Batches are only a trial sample, of course. Zulfiqar and I will employ them in our Infiltration of the Assassins this very night, for reasons of his impatience. Should all go well, Rasim will personally approach the Flames for distribution among their ranks, and even the Sultansworn. Perhaps the Ironworks could find uses for them as well.


Truly, truly impressed with him. These concoctions will Revolutionize ecological studies. Oh, but more. Silent, scentless, unseen Spies among the Amalj’aa… perhaps even among the Garleans! Brilliant, just brilliant!!


The moment approaches. We depart tonight. Zulfiqar can take whatever Justice upon the Assassins’ Leader he likes; I go only to test Rasim’s inventions, and provide Advice on whatever beasts lie within the rocks.


I daren’t ask my Colleagues for assistance… for one thing, there are neither Oils nor Powder enough for more than two bodies. For another, it is too dangerous to risk any but myself. I will tell them the relevant details afterward.


In the event of Disaster… well, Plans are sufficient to prevent that, but surely this journal will be discovered. I shall leave it here, upon my Desk, with full will and intent to return to it by morning.


15th, 4U:


Mission successful.


The one who slashed Evangeline’s throat was discovered to be the assassin Lachesis. The Sultansworn have added her name to his file.


Rasim is already at work, refining and strengthening his Inventions for to one day reveal them to others.


I will say no more of the matter.



( Nothing else appears on the page. )


( The next several pages in her journal have been neatly torn out. )


( Known to no one but Kannadi, the torn-out pages of her journal are tucked safely in the same folder in the same drawer in the same cabinet in the same Legal Magistrate’s Office as her recently-updated Last Will & Testament. )


( The last page bears her signature and thumbprint in black ink, and personal document seal in red ink. The preceding pages read as follows, in a formal longhand obeying more conventional capitalization rules. )



Account of the Happenings of the Night of the 14th Sun, 4th Umbral Moon, Year 1572, in Halatali:


I, Kannadi Aranmula Albedo, do attest and certify the following account to be factual.


Should I die, and should there be the slightest odd circumstance surrounding my death, I declare the chief suspect to be my cousin Zulfiqar.


The reason will be made clear.


On the night of the 14th, 4U, I accompanied him to a rock cavern being used as a hideout by a large group of assassins, who had cleverly half-tamed local antlings as a carnivorous defense. Zulfiqar’s stated purpose was to locate and slay the assassin leader, whom he had surmised was responsible for the murder of his wife Evangeline. My purpose in accompanying him, requested by him, was twofold:


1). To provide to him advice on how best to evade or slay whatever monsters may have been kept inside.

2). To test the alchemical infiltration means newly and secretly invented by my cousin, and Zulfiqar’s brother, Rasim.


I agreed, and thus went with him.


Rasim’s gifts were his latest inventions: an oil which he called Deodorizer, a second oil he called Silent Oil, and a fine-grained substance he called Prism Powder. They were absolutely indispensible to our infiltration. Using them in generous quantity, the movements of Zulfiqar and myself gave no scent to be tracked, no sound to be heard, and indeed no sight to be seen.


We bypassed the horde of alert antlings outside, and made our way within.


Around a particular bend, we paused to reapply our oils and powder, for they began to wear off. An assassin saw us, whom we subdued. He informed us, under extreme duress, of the location of his leader. Zulfiqar removed the assassin’s head and we proceeded in silence and out of sight.


Soundlessness and invisibility availed us well. We proceeded down into the rock tunnels until we reached the very doorstep of the leader’s quarters. We quickly dispatched the two guards, an activity which stripped us of our boons, and entered.


Within was a surprisingly well-furnished room. There at a desk sat a Midlander man whom I identified as Andrew the Blade Gentleman, the 7th-most-wanted criminal in Ul’dah. There on the desk, carefully nestled in a simple wooden box, sat an egg the size of a lalafell’s head.


Andrew greeted us, and inquired as to what had kept Zulfiqar. I closed the door as the men exchanged banter. Then arguments. Then threats. Then both men drew their weapons and set about a fierce duel, the victor of which was Zulfiqar.


I find my hand shaking as I write this. I cannot commit to paper the words I exchanged with my cousin before and after the duel… but I must give account.


These are the facts, as revealed to me by both Andrew and Zulfiqar:


Years ago, my cousin Zulfiqar married an Ishgardian woman, Evangeline Middlewind. This gained him certain degrees of access to the bastion city-state which were impossible for the ordinary Ul’dahn.


With this access, he eventually came into contact with a tiny sect of Ishgardian heretics calling themselves the Blood of Bahamut. Running in dire contrast to the Holy See, these Bahamutans worship dragons, provide them with food, and sabotage the operations of dragon-hunters.


It was from them, approximately one month ago, that Zulfiqar acquired the egg of a Deep Brachioraidos, one of the most terrible of all land dragons. It was his intention to hatch the infernal dragon himself and raise it as a beast of war. With the Brachioraidos under his command and in the service of Ul’dah, the Garlean threat would, theoretically, be as nothing. That egg was the very same which sat upon Andrew the Blade Gentleman’s desk.


And here lies my cousin’s true nature, the deviousness of which nearly makes me sick…


Zulfiqar sought out the Blade Gentleman, told him the story of how he came by the egg, and feigned second thoughts about holding such a potentially hazardous item. He offered to sell it to Andrew, and accepted a large sum of gil for delivery.


A delivery which he never made, nor ever intended to make.


Enraged, yet ever polite and equitable, Andrew employed the assassin Lachesis to take the due egg, as well as interest –- not in gil or jewels, but the blood of Zulfiqar’s wife.


That man… my cousin planned it all along.


He deliberately reneged his deal, so that Andrew would react by bringing the egg into his subterranean lair.


And the death of Evangeline? I quote him –- my cousin, that is: “She was more useful in death than in life.” And quite so, given that her few yet important Coerthan land titles are now his.


I quote myself, in response to his revelation: “Why bother with the egg at all, cousin, if you just wanted someone to kill your wife?”


This is why:


No one in Ul’dah would allow him to actually raise a Deep Brachioraidos if it became known that he purchased it from heretics. War with Ishgard would be inevitable. But if it were merely an accidental discovery, deep in the uncharted tunnels below Thanalan, he was convinced -- the fool! -- that even the Sultana would look the other way in order to gain such a weapon.


For that, he requested my help, there in the furnished room with the dead well-dressed criminal lying in a pool of blood. Not three minutes distant from telling me that he killed his wife through two proxies, he requested my help.


I quote him again, and I swear upon my life that every word is true:


“All I need is the word of a respected ecologist that I came upon this egg by accident. You have encountered fell beasts in the depths before, have you not? Say that you saw me find the unattended clutch. Say that I destroyed them all, save for this one. You will be believed, your prestige will grow beyond measure, and you shall have a great dragon to study. But most of all, Ul’dah will become invincible. Will you do this for me, cousin? Will you do this for your nation?”


I cast Shadowsear upon the egg.


It boiled and burst.


The fetal dragon inside was reduced to pieces, strewn about the room with egg fluid.


Zulfiqar, enraged, took up the Blade Gentleman’s sword as a trophy and cast a spell of teleportation, shouting withering invective as he vanished from my presence.


Roused perhaps by the shouts, there came a knock at the door. I took hold of the largest shard of egg that remained, and teleported myself back to the Sultanate.


All that I have written is true.


The egg shard resides now within the removable shell of the black ceramic tortoise upon my bookshelf. Inspect it; none but I know it is there.


I have committed these facts to paper, for fear that my cousin may one day seek vengeance.


I thought I knew him.


Now I know not to put any vile deed beyond him.


With the strongest desire that my fears never come to pass, I am and remain,


~ Kannadi Albedo

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