Scenario:Sevastien - The Praetorial Ledger
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The Praetorial Ledger
When Lyria finds a mysterious black book on the ground, Cordelia snatches it away, saying its contents are too dangerous for civilian eyes. The owner of the book, Sevastien, appears and retrieves it. Ever the gentleman, he offers to throw a feast as thanks for the book's return.
(Captain) and the crew are walking through town when Lyria notices something.
Lyria: There's something on the ground. See, look. What do you think it is?
She picks up a black notebook.
Lyria: I bet someone dropped this. But, you know, it looks kind of familiar...
Vyrn: Well, why don't we take a peek inside? Might give us some clues about the owner.
Lyria: It feels kind of wrong, but I guess it's okay if it's to find the owner... Here goes.
Just as Lyria moves to open the cover, an agile hand appears from nowhere and stops her.
Cordelia is a crew member
Cordelia: Halt! Both of you, cease what you're doing!
Lyria: C-Cordelia! What's the matter?
Cordelia not in crew
???: Halt! Both of you, cease what you're doing!
Lyria: Uhh... Who are you?
Cordelia: My apologies. I am Cordelia, a member of the Lumiel Order of Holy Knights. You've no reason to fear me.
Cordelia snatches the book from Lyria, peers carefully at the cover, and then takes a nervous gulp.
Cordelia: No doubt about it. This is definitely the praetorial ledger.
Vyrn: What the heck's that?
Cordelia: It's a confidential record of all the information the praetors have ever collected.
Vyrn: Hmm... That wasn't a very helpful explanation...
Lyria: Umm, yeah, what kind of information exactly?
Cordelia: Only the most devastating kind: covert national technology, political policies, economic prospects, military records, even royal secrets.
Cordelia: The kind of information that could serve as a catalyst for war.
Lyria: Whoa, that's scary to think about! We were so close to reading it, too...
Vyrn: But now I gotta read it. Even just a little peep...
Cordelia: Absolutely not!
Vyrn: H-hey! What's the big idea!
Cordelia: This must be handled with care. Some things are better left unseen—especially when seeing them would make you a target for all in the kingdoms in the sky.
Vyrn: This book's no joke! Just pickin' it up puts a target on your back!
Lyria: It sounds dangerous, but it definitely makes me curious.
Cordelia: (This is too bizarre. Only the archpraetor should be in possession of this ledger. So why is it in a place like this?)
Sevastien: Oh, so that's where I dropped it. An acquaintance of mine lent me that notebook. I've been searching for it since morning.
With a bright laugh, Sevastien takes the notebook and slides it into his breast pocket.
Sevastien: You've done me a great service. Thank you very much.
Cordelia: Then that mean's you're the... No, this acquaintance would be the...
Sevastien: Oh, that's right! One would give a reward in this circumstances, I'm quite sure.
Sevastien: Every member of the Grandcypher crew has been—and continues to be—so very courteous to me. Please, allow me to treat you all to dinner.
Sevastien guides everyone to a nearby mountain.
Vyrn: Psst... Why'd he bring us to a forest?
Lyria: Umm... Maybe there's some kind of fancy restaurant out here?
Sevastien: Haha. Fine food requires fine ingredients, so I've brought you here to help me procure a few things.
The Praetorial Ledger: Scene 2
Lured by the feast's aroma, townspeople begin to gather in droves. Cordelia, however, begins to smell a deeper plot brewing beneath it all.
With the finest forest fare procured, Sevastien completes his prep and begins cooking in a public square.
He masterfully transforms the various ingredients into beautiful dishes within the blink of an eye.
Cordelia: Could this be... an example of the SOUP Operations I've heard rumor of?
Lyria: Huh? SOUP Operations?
Sevastien: Hahaha. You're well-informed, I see.
Sevastien: It's just my little hobby of traveling to every corner of the sky, and Serving Our Underserved Populations as the Lumiel Gourmand.
Vyrn: Huh? Givin' people free food? What's in it for you?
Sevastien: Well, it's given me a platform to travel to each island, sample ingredients, improve my gentlemanly cooking skills, and perfect my recipes.
Sevastien: These operations are essential for pursuing finer battlefield rations.
Cordelia: Most excellent! Selfless action certainly becomes you!
Cordelia: I must say... one rarely sees a holy knight spend their time gathering ingredients and cooking methods.
Cordelia: (Hold on—he could conduct his culinary research on his own? So why travel to faraway locales just to distribute food?)
Cordelia: (My praetor's intuition tells me there must be a reason for it...)
Within moments, an appetizing smell draws in a sizeable crowd of townsfolk.
They learn that the source of the delicious scent will be served for free, causing their anticipation to swell into outright joy.
But not all of the people are so easily impressed.
Brute: Hey! Who said you could just open up shop on my turf! Pay up, gramps!
Sevastien: Hmm, a booth charge? To my meager understanding, payment is only due for commercial endeavors. This is a completely complimentary distribution.
Brute: Free don't mean you ain't a shop! And why the hell's a man cookin' anyway?
Sevastien: Oh, is it really so bizarre for a man to cook? I'm but utilizing the wisdom I've collected through the decades.
Sevastien: Here, try some—before it gets cold.
Brute: I don't want your slop! It's coin I want! Coin!
The Praetorial Ledger: Scene 3
The guests smack their lips and loosen their tongues—the feast is a success. But when Cordelia sees Sevastien covertly recording the guests' gossip, she finally realizes who he really is.
Brute: Sacre Blumieeel!
Townspeople: Sacre Blumieeel!
Everyone who tries Sevastien's cuisine thanks him with gleeful smiles and his favorite catchphrase.
After a while, with the haze of fine wining and dining in the air, people begin to gossip with one another.
Townsman: Hey, did you hear? Our lord's a total cheapskate—he never pays his tab!
Townswoman: Oh, well, that high quality meat at the butcher's? I heard there's a different kinda beast mixed in the meat, if you know what I mean.
Brute: Oh! I got another one about that family! I heard the butcher's daughter stuffs cotton in her bra! Hahaha!
Sevastien: Hoho. What a cheerful crowd...
Sevastien is focusing intently on the idle gossip.
Seeing him behave in this way, Cordelia begins to grow sure of something.
Cordelia: These SOUP Ops... You say they're just a hobby but they're actually a cover for something else, aren't they?
Cordelia: Now I see. This is how you hide your true objective from governments and military officials—by making them think you're here for nothing but charity.
Cordelia: Haha. I see who you are now...
Sevastien: Remember this, Cordelia. When people's stomachs are happy, their tongues grow loose.
Sevastien: Take a look around. Just by serving a few plates, everyone here is happily divulging so much.
Sevastien leans his head to the side as a new conversation starts beside them, and then, retrieving the praetorial ledger from his breast pocket, begins recording something.
Cordelia: (There's no mistaking it. You are who I think you are.)
Cordelia: (Then, why? What good does it do to lie about an acquaintance?)
Cordelia: (Humph, to even drop such a precious thing in the middle of the street—that in itself is strange.)
Cordelia: (Could it be... He knew it would lure (Captain) and the crew.)
Cordelia was about to solve the heart of the matter, but Vyrn and Lyria begin a happy outburst next to her.
Vyrn: Hehe, and speaking of, just the other day, right? (Captain) snuck outta the Grandcypher...
Lyria: Oh, I know! I think it's gotten to be a habit.
Vyrn: So one night I decided to get to the bottom of things and tail (Captain)—and guess what!
Cordelia: No! Stop! Cease this gossiping at once!
Lyria: Huh? Did we say something?
Cordelia: No, um...
Cordelia: (What am I doing? A praetor's duty is to be silent and listen. Perhaps I've gotten too attached to this crew...)
Sevastien: Hahaha. I was close, but no graviar.
Sevastien: No matter, whispers on the wind always reach waiting ears. I'll remain close for now.
The archpraetor of the Lumiel Order of Holy Knights, shrouded amongst the crew this entire time, is none other than Sevastien.
His identity is a secret even to his direct subordinates, the ace praetor Cordelia being no exception.
Mysteries encircle and ensorcel all types, but few are as puzzling as those that cling to the archpraetor and his ledger. So what sort of enigma is Sevastien? Only time will tell.