Author's note:

This is very specific to the setting of The Golden Quiche. Shouldn't be reading this if you're not up to date or new to it. This series does accept requests, but it'll be very limited to my time and stamina of fulfilling it. Also the topic must fit the setting itself.

The Chronographer Records is a backstory elaboration that I can't quite fit into the main story. If you've not read the main work, please turn back!


[The following is an audio transcript between Lucidia of House Berendin and Mezil Winston.]

MEZIL
Do we NEED to do this?

LUCIDIA
Of course. Recording our conversations will give you the leisure of reviewing them whenever you so wish.

Remember, it is my duty to prepare you for the competition. My suitors are many and they will not surrender without testing your abilities.

MEZIL
It just seems so… archaic. I thought we're done with this nonsense in the the 1800s. Expected Lemuria to be at least a little more modern in their courtship rituals.

LUCIDIA
Well, it's less about the norms of society and more about my special status. Perhaps the circumstances behind my birth may help put things in perspective.

MEZIL
Do tell.

LUCIDIA
Many years ago, Lemuria was at the risk of a massive invasion. Uncle James and Grandpa managed to prevent that calamity from coming to pass. As a result, my mother pledged her firstborn as a gift of gratitude. The value of a pledged gift matches the deeds it wishes to honour.

MEZIL
Is that even legal? I seriously question the validity of treating your own child as a Christmas present.

LUCIDIA
She's going to be your mother-in-law, you know.

MEZIL
Not looking forward to it. Sorry. I refuse to accept the fact that my wife is some kind of a trophy. You're worth more than that.

LUCIDIA
That's sweet of you, Mezzy. But please do try to at least respect her. Anyways…

Since then, my biological father and another Chronographer began receiving strange recurring dreams. Visions.

Twilight hovered over the horizon, painting the sky in all the shades of time's passing between night and day. They saw a beautiful teardrop fall from the celestial heavens. It left behind a sparkling trail of gemmed flakes. Sapphire. Emerald. Amethyst.

Down and down it went… until it hit the waters of the deep blue ocean.

My father thought it's the most beautiful of dreams. He tried so hard since to paint a recreation. Even then, never matched up to what he witnessed.

MEZIL
Was that… you?

LUCIDIA
Yes. Not long after that, my mother became pregnant. The scanning revealed that she had a girl with the very same Aspect colours as that trail of gems.

MEZIL
I can imagine this becoming the talk of the town.

LUCIDIA
The nation, to be exact! A direct descendant of Sage Corsivus, pledged to the Grandmaster, conceived in exact likeness of a dream… It had all the markings of a legend. Though, I wished the circumstances could be more mundane. Expectations stretched far too high.

MEZIL
You can say that again.

LUCIDIA
Families bothered my parents long before I even entered the world. Genuinity and falsehoods became difficult to distinguish. It's a disturbing trend. What would they do when they conceived children of their own? Especially if they had sons.

MEZIL
Hmph. Hence our current complication.

LUCIDIA
That is correct.

MEZIL
What are the courtship rituals like?

LUCIDIA
It starts with mingling, both as a group and one-to-one at the tables. We're grouped together by approximate age. Those under twenty will have a separate session compared to those above, and so on.

MEZIL
Hang on. Under twenty?!

LUCIDIA
Courtship begins as early as fourteen years of age.

MEZIL
That's too young!

LUCIDIA
What are you talking about? Don't you humans have similar social situations in your 'high school' setting?

MEZIL
Exactly why I think it's too young. Those years are full of wild hormones and poor decisions. Most of them break up after a year or three. Even if they did carry on into adulthood, their immaturity often leads to dysfunctional relationships.

LUCIDIA
The same can be said for those above twenty. Maturity is not about physical age, after all.

MEZIL

Pardon the interruption. Please continue.

LUCIDIA
You're excused.

Regardless, for those under twenty, the parents and guardians will watch their children from the sidelines. My nanny entered me into a session at the earliest opportunity. She thought that even though I may not have a successful courtship, I would at least make some friends.

In truth, I found it extremely distressing. Some tried too hard. Others, I didn't know what to talk about with. More retreated due to my controversial interests.

MEZIL
Controversial? Such as?

LUCIDIA
I find pre-modern weaponry to be extremely fascinating. Why are they designed so and so? For example, the kris dagger from the jungle islands. It owes a mythical reputation to its delicate craft and wavy blade, steeped in spiritualism. However, I can assure you, it's fully practical in function.

As you know first hand, a clean edge heals faster, whereas a tattered wound increases the chances of exsanguination and infection.

Similar designs exist in the Occident as well. They're called flamberge, 'flame-edged'.

...Ah! Apologies for my rambling.

MEZIL
That's fine. I find it interesting. But, I can see why some would consider it rather morbid. Few monsters have extensive knowledge about human violence.

Besides, it's less about your interests, and more on the level of detail. It's not something most fourteen-year-olds are acquainted with.

LUCIDIA
Hehe. You are right. Though, my teenaged self certainly didn't think so.

At the very least, I find the concept of torture completely repulsive. But I must acknowledge it to cross-check any criminal evidence.

MEZIL
That's good to know. Hmm…

LUCIDIA
Do you wish to enquire more about the Lemurian rituals of courtship?

MEZIL
Yes, actually. Let's say that if the participants found their respective partners of interest. What would they do?

LUCIDIA
The two parties would exchange contact details and meet with the family. They may even initiate a test of character.

From then onwards, it will depend on the couple. Some marry within a few months. Others prefer to take their time. Those who're under the age of twenty must wait until they're legally adults. They'll remained engaged in the meantime.

MEZIL
What if either party changes their mind?

LUCIDIA
The engagement may be broken off at any point before the wedding.

MEZIL
What if they're challenged by a rival?

LUCIDIA
If there's a rival suitor… they may choose to win the hand through a duel. Such duels come in two categories. Strength for magic combat, and wits for games of the mind.

The real purpose behind this, however, is to reveal the hearts of the contestants. Many speak in lips of honey without the substance to back their words. A non-lethal competition may shake off the facade.

MEZIL
Would the betrothed be obliged to marry the victor?

LUCIDIA
No. It's entirely possible to win both the duel of wits and strength, yet lose the heart. I've read many case files where the betrothed favoured the loser. Sincerity shines the most.

MEZIL
I see. In other words, my real victory is the approval of your people. Lucidia, I don't like this. Are you some sort of a chess-piece?

LUCIDIA
Regretfully, I must admit that I am so. Many will try to become an official in-law to the Grandmaster. After all, those who wed the legendary daughter of House Berendin will gain massive influence over The Magus Association.

MEZIL
In other words, I've pissed off a lot of people by appearing out of nowhere.

LUCIDIA
Straight to the point as always. Yes, you did indeed crush the goals of many. And I mean 'many'. But, you are still the current bearer of the Keys of Fate. That power does not discriminate. Only the narrow-minded would expect it to come from predictable backgrounds alone.

But Mezil, you're wrong about one thing.

You weren't 'out of nowhere'. Not for me.

After my spectacular failure in the art of social gatherings, Grandpa consulted several Chronographers about my future. They told me that I will not marry anyone from Lemuria. Hence, it was pointless to continue the charade. I didn't participate in any more courtship events since.

MEZIL
…I also have some sort of a dream-like prophecy?

LUCIDIA
I'm sure they had a vision. But having this foreknowledge might damage our relationship, either by skewed romanticism or fear.

MEZIL
I agree. It may very well have been something along the lines of: 'A vampire clawing his way out of Hell, nourished by the blood of his foes'... Not positive imagery for a future husband.

[Lucidia giggles for a while]

LUCIDIA
Your straight face makes it all the funnier. I think it's time to go over your possible opponents.

MEZIL
Very well. Let's see… this is 'Strength'. And this other one is 'Wits'. Tsk. So many names. Who is this 'Sir Latinoros'? He's apparently a fencer.

LUCIDIA
Him? Entering the duel in both categories? Oh, that silly man. He's actually a domestic-issues lawyer. Family related, to be exact. Nowhere trained for combat. As for wits… he's sharp of mind, yes. But, a mere mouse compared to you. I'm sure he's joining the duel just to evaluate you in person.

Unless...

…Hmm… No, he's not in the list… I suppose he wouldn't have the means to register anyway.

MEZIL
Are you expecting someone?

LUCIDIA
Sort of. He… he's a dear friend. I guess you could say he's like a younger brother to me. Though, it's been over a year since I last met him. I just hope that his deep isolation will keep the news from reaching his ears, and thus prevent him from causing any trouble.

MEZIL
What are the chances that your friend will turn up uninvited?

LUCIDIA
…I'd be more astonished if he didn't.

MEZIL
Good.

LUCIDIA
Are you certain? We're talking about a person who could wreck not just the event, but also the duelling grounds. It'll be sheer chaos.

MEZIL
Even better. If that happens, I won't need to go through the rest of that farce.

LUCIDIA
Oh you. Always such a cheating cheater.

MEZIL
Wouldn't be here today if I'm not.

LUCIDIA
Try not to make it too obvious. Were they to catch wind of your little opportunistic ploy, there will be repercussions.

[END TRANSCRIPT]