The land of Ivalice had long since been removed from history and its knowledge lost to the masses. The times of magic and monsters had been dismissed by historians as fables, myths, and metaphors. Words such as "Totema" lost their meaning in the ever-rushing flow of time, and the races that had mysteriously disappeared had vanished from history altogether. And yet even after the passing of so much time, there was one family that had continued to look after the old world knowledge of Ivalice through the ages so that in the event of the return of monsters and magic humanity would not be completely defenceless to the potential outcry of violence it would cause.
While the Durai family charged themselves with collecting and maintaining the scarce few artefacts of Ivalice that remained, a single piece had evaded them for going on eight hundred years. This artefact was the great book of ultimate magic; the Gran Grimoire. However, the youngest of the Durai family, Leon Durai, finally believed that he had followed all of the clues as to the ancient book's whereabouts, and ironically its supposed location was in the one place that common sense dictated that it was likely to be in, the one place that maintained the use of a single word from the old world: The town of St. Ivalice.
The clues leading to the book's whereabouts where sketchy to say the least, but the known life of the Gran Grimoire was easy enough to track. The Grimoire was known as being a book of pure magic made by the gods when the land was formed, but it was left behind when the gods sealed off the holy realm to mortals. The magic leaked out over time and granted some measure of power almost equal to that of the ancient Espers to the Humans and the other races. However, prior to the founding of the Light of Kiltia (the religion of the age), it was mysteriously lost. Magic continued to feed into the races of Ivalice, and over time the smaller animals mutated as a result of this same power into monsters (airborne magic that did so became known as Mist). The book was found by an unknown group nearing the end of the Age of Technology, and unfortunately for eighty percent of Ivalice's population, opened. The feedback of power began to draw in torrents of magic which annihilated landmarks of the time and caused all of the non-Human races to simply disappear. It is from this that it is supposed that whoever found the book was in fact Human, since it was the only race to have survived.
Supposedly, the book was closed just prior to magic fading from the world altogether, and it again vanished from history for a long period of time, likely whomever had chosen to open it had seen the power of the book first hand and hidden it, or possibly the book hid itself. At this time, the Durai family began to write the history of Ivalice beginning with Alazlam Durai, although it was not for a few generations that the writings turned from slanderous notes concerning the churches of Kiltia and Glabados into information on the magic that was still slowly fading and the mysterious disappearance of the other races.
It later became apparent that the book had somehow camouflaged itself (or been commanded to) with its magic to become an entire city. While it just seemed to spring up overnight, there was nothing to suggest that it actually surprised anyone, although this was to be expected after the mass genocide of all of the Moogles, Bangaa, Viera, and Nu Mou only a few hundred years before. People began to live in the city as they would in any other, as it was a city that effectively built itself and cost nothing to do so, and so to leave it be would have been a waste. After a host of natural disasters hit the city and caused death on a massive scale it became known as the city of the dead, and an unnamed man (likely simply regarded by history as insignificant) found that the city was indeed the great magic book; the Grimoire itself. When the core of the city was found the book was forcefully removed, but in the process the clasp on the side shattered and absorbed the last remnants of magic into itself. The book then vanished before the boy and the city began to crumble around him.
As quickly as the city had appeared, it disappeared again, and the land was once again clear of all life, with the unnamed teen being the sole survivor. And so the book had once again become lost to humanity, and yet a quick check of an accurate world map would have shown that the location of the modern day St. Ivalice was on the exact spot where the city of the dead has stood hundreds of years before. It became clear to the Durai's at this point that the book most definitely had some form of intelligence, and dubbed its consciousness "Li-Grim" (Roughly "The Darkness"). So he had travelled with great speed to St. Ivalice as soon as he realised this, armed with enough money from the family accounts so that he could buy the artefact if the current owner knew its worth, and was equally prepared to steal or fight for it in the event that the owner would not relinquish it.
As he walked quickly and quietly past the local school, a thin sheet of pure white snow began to form on the ground, and it quickly turned into a thicker and thicker sheet as the heavens quite literally opened up. It was early morning and the sheer amount of snow meant that Leon wanted nothing more than to get under cover and wait it out, and yet the children of the quaint countryside town were all too happy to leave their homes at that time in the morning and hurry past him to school. He could not help but smile at their cheerful faces, and even some of the less happy ones, as he knew that he should really be in school like the rest of those of his age. Yet his family had never liked the idea of sending a child who was considered to be so potentially important to the future of the world to a public school where his perception of the world's history would be diluted by the drivel they taught there.
Still, at fifteen he had more than a decent knowledge of the world and was more than able to get by on his own, and yet he could not wait to finish his business with the Grimoire so that he could return to his family. He did not resent what he had been brought up to do, as he understood that the future of the world, or rather it's past, was more important than the life of one boy. His hair was a silvery-grey which he had grown to love because it gave people the idea that he was older than he was, and the length of it only added to this. His shoulder-length hair aside, his hazel eyes seemed to glow with an inner knowledge that reflected his maturity to a larger degree, although his average build often made people wonder just how old he was. Yet he knew from experience that he could pass for about twenty years old at best, because he was of about the right height and he spoke well enough to get away with it.
A boy with brown hair ran headlong into Leon, and fell backwards in the snow as he rebounded off him, Leon had barely noticed as the boy clearly had little or no strength behind him. Leon stopped and helped him up, and the boy stuttered a thank you before continuing to run in the direction of his school. Seconds later, three boys ran after him without a second glace at Leon who glared at the obvious bullies in disgust as they passed. Still, it was none of his business, so he continued to walk off in the opposite direction. He felt something soft under his shoe that most definitely was not snow, and upon glancing at it he saw a small brown bear in the spot where the boy had fallen. He picked it up buried it deep in the right hand pocket in his combat jacket, making a mental note to find the boy when the end of school came to return it. Until then he made his way through the knee-high snow towards the town's pub where he had decided just at that moment to spend the day. Behind him, a blond haired boy walked slowly towards the school keeping to himself as his supposed peers jogged past him.
He ordered himself a drink and was glad when the barman chose against asking for ID or even making any kind of conversation; obviously it was a close-knit community and if somebody had made the effort to come into town they were extremely likely to come all that was to lie about their age for a pint of beer. He paid for his drink and sat in the corner by the window where he had no doubt in his mind that he would not be disturbed. The Grimoire could wait; while he had every respect for his family's self professed mission to collect the artefacts of ancient Ivalice, it had not moved in the last few hundred years, so he doubted very much that its magic would be disturbed at any time in the next few hours. Oh how wrong he was.