This RP is part of the Great Reformation arc.
Synopsis: Croix needs someone who knows enough about water systems to help her find and fix the water facility in East Ankou. After doing some digging, she takes a trip to the West to locate such an expert and tries to recruit Professor Aislinn Ferim to come to the East and do exactly that. Professor Aislinn is surprisingly willing.
Characters: Aislinn and Croix
Location: Ankou Ennis Academy, West Ankou Ennis
Ankou Ennis Academy
While many institutions claim to be among the most prestigious, there had been a time when Ankou Ennis Academy could claim the top place amongst its rivals in the realm. While the students who graduate from the Academy continue to get top marks it seems, like most things in Ankou, its glory has been tarnished by soot; and perhaps the shadow of the Wall. The Academy is one of the largest buildings on Ankou Ennis Island, constructed of sturdy brick and adorned with gilded, brass embellishments and memorial statues in its yard. The building houses several classrooms, an auditorium and stage, a gymnasium and small library, as well as labs and workshops for its students. Being so large, the Academy offers five schools of learning to its students: Medical, Law, Business, Craft, Arts, and Alchemy on top of its Academy Core classes. Throughout the day students might be found roaming the halls toward their classes, while the sound of gears clicking as new inventions are made provides a background hum to the day to day activities. Upstairs from the first level lead to the dormitories, where all the comforts of home have been provided for students ranging in age from as young as six, to older attendees furthering their education. Despite being so large, many of the dorm rooms are unfilled and the Academy hosts less than six hundred students in its walls. The cost of knowledge does not come cheap, and on top of a hefty tuition fee, monthly tests weed out the undesirables. In return for its steep costs, those who graduate from the academy have never failed to offer the city a brilliant mind and successful legacy outside the school walls.
Aislinn could be found in a fluid mechanics laboratory, the lithe redhead tinkering with a cylindrical device fastened together with torque screws. She carefully disassembles it, examining each piece and placing it in a specifically labeled part of a table; a simple process to add mistake-proofing to re-assembly. She picks up one piece, a mesh-like filter made of some sort of black material, turning towards a board of neatly-organized equations. Other than the occasional scribbling, the laboratory was silent.
The sound of heels from cared-for boots tapping down the hallway echoed as Croix walked. The rhythm was unrushed and deliberate, a sure sign of a woman who never needed to rush to get to where she wanted to go. There didn't seem to be any students out in the hallways as she made her way through the labyrinthine building. She wore high-class clothing of the casual variety, her long sleeve blouse buttoned up ever-so-carefully up the front and tucked into her brown skirt. A fanciful belt with elegant embroidery tied her ensemble together. The only thing that provided color to her outfit was the blood red pendant that hung from her neck. Even her makeup was muted and natural, and her black hair was coiffed up into a bun, curled tresses falling on either side of her face. She held a hand purse that matched the color of her skirt, swaying it at her side as she walked down the hallway. Her expression was just as muted as she looked at the doors as she passed them. Finally pausing at one of the doors, she stared at the label that signaled which lab she was at. She turned the knob and pushed the door open halfway, not stepping in right away but peering inside. "Professuh Aislinn Ferim?" she asked, her accent like the southern drawl of a woman of higher society.
Aislinn makes a change to one of the coefficients in her fluid equation, before turning the carbon filter over and placing it back on its designated spot on the table. The sound of the door opening causes her to pause in her step. The professor reaches up to brush strands of her red hair away from her forehead, before looking up at the entity that had called her by her full name and title. Hazel eyes fixate upon Croix's face, the gaze appearing distracted momentarily before refocusing. The human didn't recognize her as student or faculty. Her face is more hawk-like than the contemporary ideals of feminine beauty, having a more angular jaw and nose. At the stranger's question, she responds in a more highland accent, "Aye?"
Croix straightened when she got the woman's attention. "Hello, Professuh. Ah know you don't know me, but Ah'm known bah mah associates as Croix. Ah've read some of the papahs you've published, and Ah had a few questions for you," she explained, not budging from the door yet. " Ah know you're a busy woman, but Ah would appreciate just a moment of your tahme. Ah was wonderin' if you could tell me more about your research."
Aislinn swiftly approaches the door upon seeing that Croix had not come in all the way. "O' course. But if yer comin' en, I ask that ye not keep the door open. Yer littin' a draft en, and it afficts our more sensitive experiments." She opens the door all the way, gesturing to a chair next to the workbench on which the professor had been studying the object of her attention.
Croix heeds her request and steps inside as deliberately as she had searched for the lab. "You have a lovely setup in here," she drawled, her voice low and milky. She took a seat where the professor had indicated and folded her hands in her lap, one hand clutching her hand purse still.
Aislinn double-checks that the door has been sealed correctly, turning back towards Croix and offering a sheepish smile, "Et's not just mine. Tha's why I try ta keep et organized. I wrot' the lab standards that everyone uses in thes department, so there wouldn' be confusion between users." The woman approaches the upir, removing the inspection gloves that she had been using to handle the equipment. "Now, what research did ye wish to know about? I've worked on a lot of things, from munitions to plumbing."
Croix smiled a beautiful, toothy smile, unintentionally revealing fangs as she did. "That's right," she drawled. "Ah'm admittedly interested in it all," she started, turning to her pocketbook to pull a folded up document from inside. "Ah know this may seem unprecedented, but what Ah'd lahke to discuss is of a sensitive nature. Before we continue, would you sign this affidavit stating you won't disclose anything that may be discussed here?" she asked rather politely, unfolding the document and then procuring a pen. "Feel free to look it ovah, if you'd lahke. Mah fathah always told me to read everythin' before Ah sign anythin'." It was a short document that, sure enough, was an agreement to not disclose the contents of the discussion they were going to have.
Aislinn carefully accepts the document, reading through its contents. It was simple enough. "Certainly. Just keep en mind that I've also signed non-disclosure agreements in regards ta some of ma more sensitive work as well, so no' everything will be up fer discussion." The professor takes the pen and signs the document, handing it back to Croix. "Yer father sounds well-informed."
Croix accepted the document back, folded it up, and returned it to her pocketboot. "Ah do undastand the limitations posed bah prior agreements. Ah won't be askin' you to tell me about anythin' of that nature, so don't worry. But now that Ah have your signed affidavit, Ah'll cut to the chase. Unbeknownst to the people of West Ankou, the East is experiencin' some majah changes. A cure has been found, and the plagued folk are gettin' bettah, but the conditions there can't improve unless certain changes are made. You may or may not be familiah with the history in East Ankou, but it was the most industrial region of all of Ankou Ennis before the wall went up. The pollution from the factories leeched into their watahs, and now the only place they can get clean watah is either through poorly built desalinating filtahs or rain watah catchahs. A woman of your intellect would know the unsanitary nature of sittin' watah..." Though her explanation was long, her drawl made her speech slow-paced and measured. "That part of the island used to get their watah from a swamp to the north. Ah don't undastand much about filtration or watah systems, but Ah was hoping that with your expertise, we mahght be able to improve the lahves of tens of thousands of people... Do you think you could help?
Aislinn turns back to the dis-assembled filter, offering a slight smile and responding, "As fortune would have et, I'm currently working on something of that nature. An improved filtration and storage device. This is small-scale model, but we can still adapt the concept for large-scale water treatment. I'm familiar with what happened to the East side. What we need are raw materials and facilities. Is there a place en East Ankou tha' ye had en mind?" Just like that, the human is on board. It was the perfect opportunity to test her improved concept, and it would give her an opportunity to be a tangible benefit. Win-win. The obstacle, of course, would be resources. The woman is good at her job, but she's not like those fancy magicians on the other isles.
Croix was visibly pleased at the woman's willingness. She had expected some resistance; anyone with half a mind for survival wouldn't give up their lives in the West to endure the hardships of the East, even if the plague was clearing up, but that was exactly the point. Why have a mind for survival when you can have a mind for knowledge and change? Croix wasn't a scientist of any kind, but she did appreciate the knowledge and understanding that was born from experimentation and research. "Ah know there used to be such a facility in the East, but public records of anythin' concernin' the East has been eithah lost or destroyed. Ah have plenty of hands that can help in fahndin' the building, but no one has the expertise to know what it looks lahke. Ah do have an ahdea of where it mahght be, but it won't be found without some lookin'. As for resources, you tell me what you need, and Ah'll get it for you." Although she didn't mention it, she was the captain of a trade ship that brought imports into Ankou and the owner of the local playhouse that offered her a handsome fortune. Money was no object for Croix, so resources would not be an issue either.
Aislinn proceeds to reassemble the filtration system, listening intently to Croix as she provides background information. "Do ye have a survey team to document what ye've found and where? If all maps and records er gone, we'll need to reconstruct what was lost." The woman makes copies of the equations that she had been writing on the black board, all the while thinking about the prospect of searching a bog. "If the facility was to the north, it'll be at the bottom o' the swamp by now. I don't like the idea of draining it, but do we have that as an option, if worst comes to worst?"
Croix had to confess, "We don't have documents of that nature, but we can certainly make them if we need to. That's no problem." She rose then, pocketbook pressed into her skirt in front of her as both hands folded over it. "As for drainin' the swamp, Ah honestly don't know, but we'll make it happen if we need to. We have enough clevah mahnds to figure it out, Ah assure you." She turned to look at the seat where she'd been seated to make sure she hadn't left anything behind, and then looked to Aislinn. "Thank you for your tahme, but Ah must be headin' off. Ah do have so many things to do, but we'll be in touch. In the meantahme, do considah what you need so Ah can make sure you have it all when we begin our mission. Adieu," she concluded in a foreign accent, bowing her head politely and leaving for the door. She under Aislinn was a busy woman, and she would keep her no more.