Description: In her new disguise as 'Edith,' Dizzy finally comes to Biyu to thank her for the inspiration on picking up the Italian language. There, Dizzy uncovers what Biyu has been studying, as well as the name of the forgotten land: Illyria
The Sacred Order's quarters, even in a place such as the Vatican, are... not exactly luxurious. Or at least... Biyu's aren't. But she doesn't really worry about that so much. Her room is fairly large, but it doesn't particularly look it--the bed is a standard twin size, with functional sheets, shoved into a corner; a n armoire sits opposite it for her clothes, a peg on the wall holds her sword when she isn't wearing it. The rest of the room is given over... to academics. Books, mostly, in stacks, often with bookmarks inserted, heavy-duty, acid-free paper bookmarks with notes on the tabs for easy categorizing--some in English, some in German, some in Chinese.
A desk that dwarfs her bed in sheer surface area holds more of the books, plus a laptop computer, and a reading lamp; next to it, and on the wall adjacent, are corkboards with various articles pinned on, yarn used to connect various articles to each other. It almost looks more like the room of a conspiracy theorist than an Action Scientist, really.
Biyu is in, of course, her door cracked open--her 'sign' that she's in and available for anyone to come chat with. Her nose is deep in a book, not because she needs glasses, but because she's examining some archaic, faded script very closely. From her computer wafts some classical music on low volume, something soothing and pastoral.
In the midst of Dizzy's mistake, she missed the chance to follow up with Biyu.
Having brought in outsiders to the Sacred Order, Dizzy was in the aftermath of how much of a fool she was, how she brought herself and others into danger. And after losing herself, and hiding in the belltower, Pukai managed to calm her down, and talk her out of her own wallowing. And now, she finally had the chance to talk to Biyu again, to tell her what happened, and how... what could happen next.
Of course, she was in disguise now.
The Command Gear is in a new set of clothing; a long black dress, going all the way down to her ankles, where she wears a conservative pair of heels. She doesn't entirely avoid the buckles, with two thick belts over her shoulders. Her hair is done in a long... poorly done braid, all the way to her back, tied in a yellow ribbon at the end. Her wings were hidden, out of sight in the form concealing dress. She moves very stilted, her back straight as she shuffles into the door, peering in. She... didn't know if what she was doing was right, but as she creeps up on Biyu, she clears her throat.
"Ciao! Soma... Edith!" Dizzy says with a strained air, as she tries to make the Italian sounds.
Biyu looks up at the throat-clearing. At first, she squints, both getting her eyes used to looking away from the bright light of her lamp, and then at Dizzy dressed up like a nun. She... continues to squint as Dizzy attempts Italian.
A pause. Biyu puts down the pen she was fiddling with, and swivels in her seat.
"... Dizzy? Is... is that you?" She sounds kind of, well... kind of dubious, like... she isn't sure what is going on here, why Dizzy is dressed up like this. But... she'll humor her with whatever is going on.
"What can I do for you?" she asks, leaning back in her chair a little, legs crossed at the knee. A favorite pose of one of her professors, back in the day.
Dizzy suddenly looks a bit crestfallen.
The damnable pressure comes, as insecurity floods the command gear. And yet, she draws in a breath, and turns her crimson eyes back upon the woman she considered her friend. "Oh, no, I am not Dizzy, did.... did I say it wrong?" Dizzy says warily, uncertain at her own language skills. "I mean, I am Dizzy, Biyu, but I am trying to disguise myself as not a monster, so when humans come by, I do not scare them or cause the Sacred Order any trouble. So I am calling myself Edith, and- and I look just like a human in this clothing, right?" Dizzy gives a small smile, averting her eyes again. "Maybe... I wanted to..."
And she tries to introduce herself again.
"Ciao... Soma.... Soma Edith!" She repeats again. "THat is supposed to be 'Hello', and then 'I am Edith! In... In Italian." She explains, brushes down her dress uncomfortably. "I... I was practicing because you told me humans use different languages; I was reading them in a book, and I tried to listen to the sound of the voices. And then I found these people like me in Rome, and they did not speak English, but they spoke Italian, so I spoke to them, and I- I wanted to thank you." The back of her dress swishes, her tail poking out nervously.
"I wanted... I wanted to thank you for letting me learn about different languages."
Well... that's a bit of a surprise to her. Dizzy didn't even know about languages... how is that? Yet she speaks at least one language... Biyu keeps most of this from her expression, as she processes the dialogue. "For... letting you?" she repeats, after a moment. Then she smiles.
"Dizzy... part of being free is being able to do what you want, not just what people 'let' you do. I only gave you the knowledge that we humans have more than one language. But I'm always happy to help you expand your horizons of knowledge. I am, after all, an academic..." She trails off, then adds, almost sheepishly, "of a sort. Besides, the more you know, the easier it will be to live here, right?"
The Chinese archaeologist abandons the reclining pose to sit forward, elbows on knees, hands clasped together loosely and hanging down a little. "Have you... enjoyed your time here, Dizzy? I know that this is a lot to take in. Earth is a complex place with a lot going on... even when we aren't getting embroiled in wars and battles."
At best, she was on a tourist level. But how many days has it been? How focused was she learning? Her eyes and presence was like a child, and yet... maybe Biyu was touching on something more. But Biyu reaction was on less the intelligence, and more the authority. She looks at Biyu, growing more uncomfortable in her turning. She asks the pentrating question, though. Does she like it here?
Dizzy sigh, the mask slipping.
"I don't like how everything I knew is gone. I don't like how... how my life has changed so much. I feel very different here than in the village. I don't like how I went out to do what I thought was right, and made Leo Whitefang very upset. I don't like how when I do things, it can hurt the people around me, or myself. I want to go back to not worrying about that. But..." The smile returns to her lips.
"But I like my time here."
She turns away from Biyu, he eyes drifting around the room. "I like having new friends. I like Pukai, she is very kind, and gentle. I like Sophia; she asks me a lot of questions, and I like people so interested in me. I like Ky, he has a soft lap and pets me like a kitty cat. I even like Leo Whitefang, because he is so patient with me. And I like you, Biyu." She glances back over her shoulder, nodding her head. "I like learning new things most of all. I like how many books there are here; I like reading books, I just feel like... like I need to apply what I learn." Her eyes cast upon the map of the connections, before coming down on the books she has. She bends over very slightly, her tail poking out again. "You also like books too... That's what an academic is, right? Someone who learns a lot from books." She tilts her head back at the wall of the yarn, with the articles, peering closer at them.
"What do you do with what you learn, Biyu?"
Biyu nods, sympathetically. As if to highlight what she's about to say, that golem arm, the technomagical construct that she's been bound to, floats to an idle position near her. "I understand that. I've been through... something similar." Absently, she reaches out, petting the arm on the knuckles lightly.
"It wasn't quite as dramatic as... what happened recently, but to me it was just as much of a bombshell. It's hard, having your life turned upside down and shaken out for you to pick back up. It's not an easy thing." Biyu sits back again, but more relaxed; she gestures to her bed, the only other place to really sit in the room, to provide Dizzy somewhere to sit.
"But you can take the good from it as well as the bad. New friends, new experiences.. a chance to expand upon yourself, to learn. Learning about the world will teach you more about yourself, in a lot of large and small ways." As Dizzy glances at the books, Biyu smiles.
"I do like books. I've always been an avid reader and... what I do aside, a lot of archaeology is reading, not going out on wild adventures. As for what I -do- with what I learn..." A glance at her laptop.
"Mostly I write about it. For the benefit of others--for the benefit of myself. What we're doing here... what the Sacred Order is about... this is new to me. I never... I never set out to be a hero, to... fight monsters. I learned how to fight because that is my family's tradition."
A moment later, Biyu clarifies, "Martial arts, not brawling. And it gave me the discipline I needed to be able to get my degree. Now I can't really publish my papers, but I still write them. And... maybe I can help the Sacred Order out. Ky, Leo, Alma... they're great guys but they're not _researchers_, necessarily. I'm not as strong as they are--I want to be able to help in other ways."
Dizzy's attention fixes on the arm.
She observes it, studying it carefully, her curiousity just... pulling everything from the room, everything Biyu had. There was a deep fascination, almost child-like need to play and explore the room. Of course, Dizzy was trying her best to not to touch things. She touched stuff in Leo's office, and knocked everything over. Biyu was nice to her right now. And yet, as she explains what she does? Dizzy can't control herself.
Dizzy almost gasps, as she straightens up. "Oh, that sounds like something very important. Are your books here? What is archaeology? Is it fun to write about? Are these what arcehtlogy about, with the pretty patterns and the strings that connect the different newspapers together? And you write about it?" The frenzy of questions come, as Dizzy claps her hands. "I... wait..." She trails off.
"Fight monsters?" Dizzy asks, confused. "Why would heroes need to fight monsters?" She asks, tilting her head. "I... I thought they help monster here. Like Pukai is different, like me, and they saved her from those awful humans that wanted to kill her. And Ky Kiske saved me." She furrows her brow, as that presence builds.
"Am I just... misunderstanding you?"
"Books? Uh... no, not yet. Papers... are different. I'm not ready to write a whole book yet. That's a pretty major undertaking, especially in my field, and, anyways... like I said, publication is not something I can work on right now, for other reasons." Biyu doesn't mind Dizzy staring at the arm; it doesn't really -react- the way a pet would, for example, so after Biyu stops petting it it goes still, just hovering in the air.
Biyu smiles. "There are... welcome to the complexities of language, Dizzy. When I say monsters... I don't mean..." She sits back again, thinks.
"We define monsters by more than one thing, Dizzy. A human can also be inhuman... a man may be a monster simply by the way they think, or what they do. It doesn't mean they're a 'monster' in the same way as we'd think of, say..." She searches for an example.
"... like humans would call a werewolf, or a vampire, a monster. The word can mean different things. And... some people... some monsters... can't be helped. My training is to fight only as a last resort. To fight to protect... not to hunt. But it's a fine line."
"Oh, so you write parts of the book."
Dizzy didn't quite grasp the depth of research. But as Biyu explains the complexity of language, Dizzy's concern fades away to rapt attention. She listens to Biyu's lecture, clasping her hands together. It was a dangerous place to be; it was almost like Dizzy was looking for a reason to lash out at her benefactors. And yet, maybe it was just the curiosity to understand. To correct. And as Biyu points out the fine line? She gives a great, solemn nod.
"... I think I understand."
"Monster... means different things." Dizzy looks towards the strange arm, reaching out towards it generally; keeping herself from touching at the last second. "How one acts, instead of how one is. And in the language... to call someone inhuman, is a bad thing. Because calling someone human is a good thing to say. Inhuman means you do bad things." Dizzy frowns a bit at that. "That doesn't sound like very nice language. But... if someone calls me a monster, that doesn't mean I am bad. It may mean I am just not human." It was confusing language, yes, but Dizzy seemed to grasp the fundemental of it.
"... But the worst non human I met would sometimes throw rocks at birds."
Dizzy seems more distressed, a mite, with a dawning thought. "The worst human I met killed my friends, my... my family, because he wanted to find me. To find me as a weapon." She pauses a moment on this thought. She loses control of herself, as she finally places a hand on a book, running her fingertip against the ridges of the pages. "That man was a monster..." She trails off.
"That man was inhuman, then, Biyu?"
Biyu nods. "Yes, Dizzy. That man was inhuman--even though he was human as well. Not being human is different from being a monster or being inhuman. It isn't a matter of how you were born or what you look like... The worst human I've ever known threatened my family as well. Not just my family--my friends. My teachers. But I haven't met him yet. Not just yet. I'm... not ready for that."
In an effort to brighten the mood somewhat, Biyu turns to a different subject. "So, what else have you been learning other than Italian? Has anything else caught your interest? Cooking? Music? There are a lot of things to learn about... and I'm not even talking about Earth, but just here, the Vatican. But I think you'll be fascinated by the whole world, Dizzy. Really, it's a beautiful place..."
Dizzy begins to see that there were good humans, and bad humans. The flicker comes. Humans to purge, and humans to protect. The stark black and white, wrapped around her. If only she would decide. There should never be inhuman humans. Only good ones, peaceful and passive like livestock. People like the one who hurt Biyu. Dizzy didn't know who did it. But it made her angry. A building pressure wraps around her-
Dizzy snaps out of her daze. "Like... I have been only learning Italian, as a language. But there are many other things to read. Not Cooking or Music, but from books I..." The whole world. What did the whole world mean for Dizzy? "The whole world is just so big, Biyu. So far, so wide. I... I understand how I crossed many oceans, and- I was miles and miles over water, Biyu. I... I just feel so small now, in a big world. But books are small, and easy to read. And there are so many books. I wanted to learn more about the Geomancy like Haruna said, but I didn't find many books... but I did find some on Geometry instead." Dizzy sighs. "But books are my interest!" She tugs at one of the books, looking at Biyu pleadingly.
"Could I... read this one?"
"The world -is- big, Dizzy. So big that very few people will ever see it all, much less experience it all. Most humans... never see very much of the world. People like you and me, like Alma, Ky, Leo, and everyone else... we're kind of... the exceptions. It isn't really normal for people to travel to other countries like we have, to venture forth and do what we do. But..." She smiles.
"But that's also what makes life exciting for people like us. For me, it's... about what's around the next corner, what I -haven't- discovered yet, what's out there underneath the surface of things. I've always been curious about things--if I hadn't been an archaeoogist, I would probably have been an engineer, or some other kind of scientist. I'm sure Alma would express it in the same way, though with different goals. For him, I think, it's all about the people. Who he meets--who he touches, who touches him, and how. He's a man who is dedicated to helping others simply because he can." Then, Dizzy tugs at a book.
Biyu tilts her head to the side, and looks at the spine. "Hmm... I don't see why not. I've done with it. It's a sort of... collection of fables, about an empire and some ancient dragons that lived somewhere in Europe. They aren't stories I was familiar with, but they were very interesting. Oh, but... that's all in Italian. Hold on..."
Biyu rummages around a little through a stack of binder-clipped sheaves of paper.
"Here we are. This is my translation of it. There's five stories in the book." She pauses a moment, then adds, "They claim to be a historical account, but the country they mention isn't one I'm familiar with... at least in the ancient context. Actually, that's one of the things I'm researching right now."
Dizzy opens the book, peering into it. She... understands very little, at a first glance. She turns the first page, back, and forth, and back, and forth, her forward furrowed. Her eyes dance so quickly, that it's not clear if there is any clarity. "I... just want to take in the world slowly. In little pieces. I am very small, even if I'm special. I do not understand this book." She says, sadly. But as Biyu breaks out the binder... she carefully puts the book back, to look at the translation. She opens it... and begins to turn the next page.
And the next.
Her eyes were dancing across the words, as understanding glows over her face. She turns another page, before going back to the first one, her crimson eyes focusing. And then the next, and then next, the careful studying and analysing focused on her. There is too long of a silence, and yet too short, as she devours the notes. The depth of her understanding isn't clear.... until the end, as she reaches it.
"Illyria." She says, finally.
"That is the country, right?" She hugs the binder. "... I will need to read deeper, but it's Illyria. I... Can I... help?" Dizzy asks pleadingly. "Does research help if more than one person does it, Biyu? I like reading. I don't understand things very well, but if I read something on Illyria, would it help if I share it?" Dizzy's innocent almost sounds like a child, wanting to help their professor parent. Except, of course, the volume of digestion and the speed. If nothing else?
She could read fast.
"Illyria, yes. I'm trying to find more on it..." She trails off, as Dizzy asks to help. Certainly, sifting through the mountains of records and books and other such things the Vatican has stored away is a monumental task. Dizzy is a fast reader, she's eager...
"Of course you can help. Anything you find, we can add to the record. If we do that, then we'll start to see more. To put together the picture." She makes a mental note to go find a jigsaw puzzle or two to give Dizzy, later, as an illustration for what she just said.
"There's a lot to go through. We need to find out where Illyria is. Or was. I think..." She turns, and sweeps an arm out at the various stacks of books and papers.
"I think, for all the questions I have about the place, ultimately the only way to find out what really happened--or to get as close as possible--is to go there. But if even a fraction of what I've read is true, it's... dangerous."
Dizzy begins to grow a widening smile.
As Biyu says she can help, she feels... like she can be useful in a way that doesn't cause more trouble. Dizzy wanted to help, as she returns back through the binder, she nods at it. Naturally, once she discovers a puzzle? She will then love puzzles. And yet, Biyu points out the heart of the problem: where was Illyria? Dizzy ignores that part for now, because when Biyu says it is dangerous? She responds almost too hastily:
"Then we can go together."
The back of her dress twitches. Dizzy reaches around, holding it down. "I mean, not alone I think, and only when we find it. " The twitching stops. "Sorry, Undine and Necro don't like it when I put myself in danger. But..." Dizzy draws in a breath. "I think it would be safer than me staying here. We can ask Leo for permission, but..." She says, with resolution. "If people are going to be looking for me here... then I shouldn't be here. And helping the Sacred Order discover things would be good. I could protect you, and anybody else interested. If everyone is scared of me... then they can be scared away. I do not have to be afraid."
"But how can learn where Illyria.. could be?"
"I'd like that," replies Biyu, with a smile. She muses for a moment, tactfully ignoring the twitching under the dress, "If Illyria is a country of any size it'll take more than just us to explore it. And if there really are dragons--actual dragons--then it'll take more than the two of us... and we know that people are chasing you. So... we'll have to bring it up with the heads, but I'd like to mount a full expedition. We don't know what we'll encounter there."
Or where there is.
"Well, Dizzy... that's what research is for. I think I can safely say that Illyria, when it existed--if it doesn't still exist now--is somewhere on the European continent. So that's where I'm focusing most of my research. Half my time is searching for clues to Illyria's location, the other half is trying to decode what happened there. Why it isn't... a known location anymore."
Dizzy's optimism seems to be pouring from her.
As Biyu explains the problem to her, the command gear nods with her. "I... I think that makes sense." She says. "I like it if we all come then. Ky Kiske could come with us then, if it is dangerous. I mean... dragons do not sound very scary. Well..." She pauses a moment. "... Undine thinks they are very, very dangerous and scary. Necro... Necro's making funny noises, and telling me that Dragons are okay, and I should try to find them as soon as possible." She pulls at her dress uncomfortably.
"I think that means they are very dangerous."
"But that doesn't matter unless we find it!" She clasps her hands together. "Then... we can divide it up! I don't know what happened there, but... I think I can focus on clues on it's location! You can focus on what happened! I... what would I need to look for, Biyu?" She looks to her academic superior for direction and answers; as a student to a teacher... or a researcher to her professor.
It seemed that Biyu has found herself a student in her field.
"Mmm. Well... that's a complex subject. What we're looking for..." She turns to her papers, rummages, pulls out a folded map of the European area. She unfolds it and uncreases it, then grabs some sticky putty, mounting the map to a bit of spare space. "We know, from deduction, that Illyria has to be somewhere in Europe. But... Theoretically, we know every inch of Europe, more or less. It's been occupied for centuries. More than a millenium of recorded human history, in fact. And yet..."
Biyu turns from the amp to the Command Gear. "And yet, Illyria doesn't really get... -mentioned-, anywhere. We don't have any sense of what kind of place it was. French, English, German literature--if anyone emigrated to those areas from Illyria, they don't see fit to mention that fact, or to have brought any of Illyria's culture with them... that we know of."
A brief pause, then Biyu gestures. "There are many books and sources of knowledge we don't have access to, that may be clues to Illyria that were just missed by other scholars. It is a mystery--probably the biggest mystery--as to why Illyria isn't known, basically. So... if you think something mentions Illyria, see if they mention anything. Any landmarks... large mountains, particular forests, anything like that. Anything that might let us define its borders."
Dizzy seemed to appreciate these kinds of complex subject.
She was bounding on her heels, like a child. But as Biyu hands the map to Dizzy, she unfurls it, casting her eyes over it. She studies carefully, trying to intuit any meaning from it. Another twitch behind her dress, as she shushes aloud. "Maybe it is hidden!" Dizzy says helpfully. "My village was hidden, and it wasn't discovered until the big cloud came." She explains. "If it exists, and cannot be found, then it must be hidden!" It was the obvious, yes. And then, her face darkens. "But if then, nobody talked about it, that must either mean they didn't want to talk about, or they couldn't... or they couldn't leave." She frowns at that. "Or maybe they were rescued like I was. If there are scary things there, then it might be a terrible, dangerous place to live in." She gives a huff.
"But we need more books."
She closes the map carefully, rolling it up. "We need to find more books, outside the Sacred Order." Dizzy gets a strange presence around her. A dangerous presence. She bows her head. "I think... I think I know someone who could help!" She says brightly. She claps her hands, as she takes a big step... and her tail sticks out. Her walking stops, as she smooths out the back of her dress. "Oh! Sorry." She says. And she begins to shuffle her way towards the door. She pauses.
"... Is this a secret from others, us trying to find Illyria?" She hastily asks, before she makes another mistake.
"We do need more information. The Vatican has been very generous in allowing us to examine these records, but we'll eventually need to reach outside... possibly look in other countries. Fidning hidden stores of knowledge... some of them are, I'm sure, protected in ways we'll have to figure out. We just need to know where to start looking. Like I said... in theory, we already know everything there is to know about Europe, geographically. So... my bet is that wherever Illyria is, it's been buried, in a way. We'll just have to dig it up."
Is it a secret... is it a secret. "Well... I haven't explicitly mentioned it to anyone, because at first I wasn't sure what I was looking at or looking for. But I do think more people should know--at least within the Sacred Order." In other words...
"If the person you know is in the Sacred Order, that's fine. If not, well... we should talk to Leo, Alma, and Ky first, before we bring anyone else in. They'll need to decide that. I can't."
Dizzy was wise to ask.
As Biyu explains the depths of the knowledge in the Vatican, Dizzy is patient to realize that while she was excited to uncover more to know, the trove had already been gone over a few times. The important place was to find where to acquire more information. And more importantly, it was a secret that would stay in the Sacred Order. Nothing to tell Zach, or outsiders... but something to discuss in detail.
She might have to make her own expeditions.
Dizzy bows slightly towards Biyu. "Thank you very- I mean. Grazie, Biyu!" She struggles. "If I need to ask Leo, or Alma, or... Or Ky, I will do so. I will not create more trouble!" She says brightly, with another bow. And she turns to leave the room.
Tail turning behind her dress.
Biyu watches the Command Gear leave, and smiles, turning back to her desk and waking up her laptop. "Thank you for coming by, Dizzy. And for offering to help. I'm really happy for that." A research assistant... of a sort. Not something she'd thought she'd have at this point in her life, she chuckles, as she bends her attention back to the task at hand.
Log created on 21:03:05 02/17/2018 by Dizzy, and last modified on 22:54:07 02/20/2018.