2019-06-11: Sugar-Based Glass

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  • Log: Sugar-Based Glass
  • Cast: Riesenlied, Jacqueline Barber, Noeline
  • Where: Luca
  • Date: 11th June 2019
  • Summary: An explosion brings Jacqueline to the Fereshte, where she and Noeline find Mikaia and the results of her latest experiment...

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

It's been a couple days since the Guard's altercation in Kilika, and in the ensuing chaos the Fereshte has moved to moor at Luca.

They plan to return, soon, to resupply the village with more materials and supplies -- as well as news from Kilikan relatives and family overshore that they're fine and haven't been hurt. But today...


A loud explosion rocks the ship for a moment, originating from somewhere below deck on the starboard side. That's pretty near to Cetiri's laboratory, come to think of it.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline's set up shop in Luca today. She found that she was getting a lot of business of late. There was plenty of wariness and suspicion thrown her way, as well, but there was nothing she could do but keep doing what she did and hope that her wares at least would help - possibly, she's been helping with the resupply effort, as well.

So, she's minding her business, dressed in one of her more casual outfits now that she, for now, doesn't have to worry about the assassin that's been going after her.

Things are going fairly smoothly when, all of a sudden, the docks are rocked with an explosion!

"S-sorry, I'll be right back! Someone cover my stall real quick!" Jacqueline says. She steps away from her stall at the docks, walking away at a hurried pace while making her way toward the sound and slipping her gauntlets onto her hands just in case.

That was...the Fereshte, wasn't it...?

"Is everyone alright?" Jacqueline calls out to the ship. She doesn't /hear/ the sort of tell-tale sounds of something terrible going on, and what's more - the timbre of that explosion, coupled with the scent that was in the air...

She had an idea of what was going on. Someone might need her help, though perhaps not for the reasons she was initially worried about.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

Noeline /had/ been by the gangplank of the ship, calling across the docks as she beckons the next load of supplies on board. She's starting to rather like this whole ship captain affair, grinning with a pleasant sort of energy as she watches the bustle below; she wouldn't have expected herself to have a decent pair of sea legs, but it's nice to know she can still be surprised at herself. It certainly beats dwelling on the events in Kilika, given they've done all they can there.

Thankfully she's close enough to the railing when the ship lurches; she lurches with it, letting out a rare yelp of genuine surprise and concern as she grips onto the wood. Using the momentum of the ship's tilt, she takes a moment to heft herself over the railing, so far it almost looks like she'll fall - because it gives her a way to look down the side of the ship, checking as best she can for any signs of damage or telltale streams of bubbles.

The fact she doesn't see any is a relief, but a slight one; it's not like she's particularly versed at checking things like that, and her lips thin briefly.

A familiar voice from the dockside makes her glance back up. It's easy to pick out the alchemist, and the sight of her sends Noeline's thoughts down a particular path. "--I don't know! Let's find out!" she calls back, an invitation and a declaration of intent. Without waiting for Jacqueline to climb the gangplank, she's turned for the stairs below-decks, hurrying down in the direction of the explosion.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

It doesn't take long for Jacqueline and Noeline to both hurry down the staircase and the hallway -- several Outreach workers look a little dazed as they point and cough, "T-the explosion was that way, I think--"

A familiar tuft of gray hair pops up as she shoves the door to the lab open, and bats a rug that she's using as a makeshift fan. "Ah, geez, Mickey, it's all over the place," complains Janey.

The issue doesn't seem to be as dire as it initially looked... but it's clear that there's a huge mess in what passes for an alchemy workshop, with shards of an exploded erlenmeyer flask scattered all over the floor around a blue splotch and also...

Mikaia standing with her shoulders sagged and her hair in an afro, looking incredibly frustrated. Her face and clothes both are partially blue from the exploded liquid.

"Why... why?? Why can't I make even simple potions???" she shouts, scratching her hair. "I hate it...!"

She doesn't seem to have noticed either of them yet.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline looks up as she hears Noeline causing back to her, and with a nod Jacqueline moves to run up the gangplank.

"Thank you!" She calls out to the Outreach workers who offer directions, using them to find her way to the lab...where, indeed, she hears the voices she was expecting to hear.

Jacqueline exhales a sigh of relief. She's glad it's just what she thought it was, and that no one seems hurt...well, physically, anyway.

"Are you too alright? I hurried over as soon as I heard..." She asks, looking between the two of them. Her eyes drift toward Mikaia, as she complains about being unable to make simple potions.

Jacqueline has an idea exactly where she went wrong with this particularly batch, but decides that can take a backseat to what's important right now.

"It's alright...potion-making can be a bit of an...exacting, art. It isn't something you'll get right away... Even I had my fair share of burst potion bottles." Jacqueline says, trying to reassure her.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

Noeline stops short as the door to their newly-christened alchemy lab opens, spilling out a Lord of Calamity and a distinctly acrid smell and leaving the Hyadean a lot more sure as to what just happened. She lets herself meet Janey's eyes, eyebrows raising for a moment as she conducts a silent conversation that involves looking over the girl's head to where their other daughter is stuck in frustration, huffing out a soft and relieved breath as she does so.

Breaking Mikaia's concentration to surprise her doesn't seem like a good idea what with all the glass around, so instead she silently steps forward, giving Janey's shoulder a squeeze on the way past. It's easy enough to reach the winged girl - and Noeline abruptly plucks her off the ground, scooping her up into a one-armed carry with an amused huff. "You know, I never pictured you being the more impatient out of the two of you," she teases, then immediately softens as she sets Mikaia down on a side counter.

There's a cloth and a pail in reach, and she wets the former in the latter, wringing it out until it's damp. "... eyes closed, alright? First things first, let's get you cleaned up. Janey, please could you grab a broom for me?" she adds as she dabs at her daughter's forehead. She has to hesitate for a moment, then huff. "Then we can figure out what went wrong, and try again. You'll get there, I know it."

Suddenly thankful for Jacqueline being around, she finds herself letting out a chuckle as the other woman admits to blowing up a few things in her time. "From what little I've heard, alchemy seems a fairly personal thing. How you mix, how you work-- I imagine it just takes time to get into your own sort of rhythm?" she wonders aloud, then offers across a wry grin. "Or perhaps I should just take pride in how spectacular that sound was."

And really, it sounds like she genuinely is.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Mikaia looks really surprised to see Jacqueline there, and it's rather obvious Jacqueline is probably the last person she wants to have seen her fail. "Uuh..." Janey scratches her head. "C'mon, it's just a minor setback, Micky!"

"I don't think I'm fine..." Mikaia answers, though it's obvious she's not /hurt/. Her pride is rather dented, after all.

She slumps and mumbles, "I need to get it right soon though...! I just..." She sounds immensely frustrated right now as she sits on a stool sized for herself.

Noeline comes and scoops her off her feet,then starts cleaning her with a damp cloth as she closes her eyes and Janey lets out a kind of sad grin and go, "Aye aye, Cap'n," as she bounces on out and-- "Whoa!" then mysteriously pips down.

The reason is rather clear for Noeline, since she can feel a certain other half of her ring coming up, peeking just over the door outside... ... Mikaia hasn't noticed it, but her horn's kind of sticking out. Riesenlied is just as bad as hiding as she always was.

"There's no time..." Mikaia mumbles. "Mom's..."

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline offers Janey a brief smile out of relief that she seems to be alright, but her attention soon returns to Mikaia, who appears to be the more distressed of the two.

Her pride has been damaged, after all. Jacqueline does feel a bit bad that her presence here may have contributed to that, but even so she moves to step nearby. She makes sure to carefully weave her way around the shattered glass.

"She's right." Jacqueline confirms with a nod, as Noeline comments an alchemy's personal nature. "It takes time, and it takes work. I know you're worried about your mother and want to help her, and I'm proud of you for that. Hold onto that feeling. It'll push you forward - but you can't let it rush you, either."

Jacqueline catches that brief glimpse of horns sticking out and smiles briefly and subtly, but soon returns her attention to Mikaia.

"If it helps...whenever one of my potions goes awry, I like to take a step back, go get some fresh air, and retrace my steps to figure out what happened, and what I can do differently - or, if the reaction might be useful for a different mixture. Just because it didn't work the way you hoped doesn't mean it can't also be a step forward." She explains.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

The hand holding the cloth stills for a moment. It isn't just at the sensation of her link letting Noeline know about Riesenlied's presence - in fact, she only barely manages to register the empathic feeling, most of her attention focused forwards on the girl sat with her. She'd known that Riesenlied's health wasn't just a concern for herself alone, of course, but seeing the expression on her daughter's face... it makes her wonder if she's been a little selfish about it.

"I know it's difficult," she finds herself saying, a lot softer than she'd expected as her arm tugs Mikaia forwards into a hug, blue colouring and frizzed hair and all. "And I know it must feel like there's nothing you can do to help matters. It's frustrating, and it's scary. You want to just-- fix things, however you can, whatever it would take."

For a few moments, her gaze strays to the doorway, and then she lets out a tiny and rather bashful chuckle. "But, speaking as a parent who has no clue what she's doing... we're already proud of you for deciding to do something like this, and that's not going to go away because you can't do in weeks what takes some people years." she says with conviction, smoothing out Mikaia's hair a little as she does so. "There's no rush - there's time, still. Neither of us are going anywhere, we promise." Whether she can keep that promise... she's not really sure. But she's certainly prepared to try her hardest to.

She glances towards Jacqueline's advice, nodding her head in understanding; she knows very little about alchemical theory or compounding, but the scientific method is the same regardless of your field. "Leave the cleaning up to me," she offers as she puts that wry smile back on her face. "So just take it slow, and let's try again," she encourages the winged girl.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Mikaia settles down for a few moments as Jacqueline and Noeline both give their assurances. She clings to her mother for a moment and lets another few frustrated sniffles out, but pretty soon she's been de-blued and looks at the very least cleaner than she did before. "I'm scared, mom. Riesemama's not doing better, is she? I want to do all I can so I can make her medicine..."

The horns bristle a bit more at the doorframe, uuu!

"... you both look really happy when you have walking days. I know how important that is to both of you..." she mumbles. "But.... okay. Okay..." Then she looks at Jacqueline.

"I have something to admit... that book I gave you, um..."

She looks like she's just gotten caught red-handed. "I didn't finish all the potion recipes. Everything else I've done, but I've never... with things that require boiling..."

She scratches her head as Jacqueline tries to guide her through working through the steps. As Noeline encourages her as well. "I work... really, really slow. Mirrors and prisms and other objects are easy because I can take my time..."

It would seem she has a bit of a specialty burgeoning, perhaps, with that enchanted prism that she gave Jacqueline last time.

"But with liquids... you have to heat them up, and a number at a time, and they have to be just hot enough but not TOO hot and...!"

It's probably a common problem for Jacqueline in the past, and probably not all that uncommon a learning hurdle for alchemists. The feeling of feeling overly pressured because of having to juggle temperatures of multiple liquids at a time and getting too caught up in it.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline listens as Mikaia admits her worries about Riesenlied's health, and as Noeline quietly reassures her with a hug.

She doesn't interrupt - that moment belongs to the two of them. Soon enough, though, Mikaia turns to her, and admits that she hadn't actually gotten through all of the potion recipes.

Jacqueline offers her a small smile and a quiet nod. It probably took a lot of effort to admit that - she doesn't see any reason to push her on it. Not that she would, anyway. Jacqueline wasn't that type.

"Well, I'm proud of you for telling me." She says, offering her a smile. She considers, then, the problem Mikaia was facing.

"...I know how that is. That's something every alchemist faces at one point - of being rushed and pressured by having to carefully everything..." She says, with a knowing nod. "Proper alchemy equipment can help, but a lot of it comes down to instinct, focus, and practice."

Jacqueline pauses, taking a moment to think things over.

"Let's see...have you cooked anything before?" She asks. It seems to come from out of nowhere, but there's a reason behind the question.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

Gently, Noeline rests a hand in Mikaia's hair, ruffling it as gently as she can. She hesitates for a moment; she's not entirely sure she should say this out loud, as if it might be somehow dangerous, but it's not like it's anything Riesenlied doesn't already know. "... I'm scared too," she admits with a quiet smile. "I wish I knew what to do to help more - if I had a magical button that would fix things, I promise you that I'd press it in a heartbeat."

She closes her eyes for a second and lets out a slow breath, as much to calm herself as Mikaia. "But the two of us... we can't describe how much you and Janey have done for us. You're already helping, more than I can describe. Just you being here makes her - and, well, me," she grumbles, "--happier than she's been in decades."

A pause, and she huffs. "And you know just as well as I do that she'd never want you to beat yourself up just because of a setback like this. She'd want you to take your time, and learn it however's best for you." Just like that, she can put her finger on what's niggling at the back of her mind, even if she has to take a moment to word it. "We don't want you to just be 'the person who makes us potions'. We want you to be the greatest sort alchemist you want to be."

With a cough, she comes back to herself, bashfully huffing and steadfastly ignoring Jacqueline's gaze as she crosses to the door. It gives her a chance to take the broom from Janey - and to hold Riesenlied's hand tightly in hers for a moment with a quiet smile.

When she gets to sweeping the floor clear, it's all the better to hide the faint blush on her cheeks. She does at least look up as the alchemist mentions tools, though. "... to be honest, I was thinking of stopping by November City once we get back, or perhaps even travelling to Aquvy. There should be some decent glassware in that direction, as far as I remember," she adds in the tone of voice of someone who's just given away the next birthday present.

"I suppose I might have to consult with you as to what would be best to get. My own impression of alchemy is, ah--... I was imagining more glowing rocks and extremely twisty glass tubing, perhaps," she offers a very storybook version of it all. "Or perhaps a giant cauldron glowing pink?"

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

The ruffling, at least, gets it from something that looks like the afro it's exploded into back to its usual state. As Noeline points out that she's scared too, though, there's a significant 'ping' on the ring as a sensation tightens for a moment. But it's not a ping of surprise. Because who would know just as much about her own condition than Riesenlied herself?

".... mom..." Mikaia whispers, as she keeps encouraging her, telling her they don't want her to just be 'Mikaia the Potion-Maker'. The sort of alchemist she wants to be...

... then--


Riesenlied gets nudged into screen as Janey grins her biggest grin to go, "How long're you gonna keep peepin' in, Riesemama! Your daughter needs you! Here y'go, mom," as she hands the broom to her.

"Mikaia... sweetie, come here," Riesenlied stammers after trying to get her senses in order with an embarrassed flush of someone who's gotten caught snooping. Mikaia looks to Jacqueline, and then hops up towards her lap gently as she listens to Jacqueline's earnest advice.

But Jacqueline's not ashamed of her, and that seems to be a big relief. "Cooking, um..." Mikaia looks a bit hesitant again, looking to Janey.

"No, after we fled the orphanage we basically ate nothing but MREs and other soldiers' meals when we crossed the desert..." Mikaia folds her arms in recollection. "And if we did have to heat something up, Janey'd put it in those folding pouches that steam up real hot... and when we got to Wayside, well--" She looks to Riesenlied. The family cook, by now.

Who leans forward and pecks her on her hairline. "Should we start learning family recipes together?"

"Man, that brings back memories... soldiers love cigarettes, they'd trade days' worth of food for 'em, who knew?" Janey grins.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline can't help but smile a little as Noeline offers Mikaia her earnest reassurance. It was heartwarming, really, to see just how much this family loved each other.

She chuckles slightly, though, as Noeline ignores her look.

"That might be true in some cases, but...you'd be surprised at how, well, mundane it usually is." She replies. "It might be a little boring behind the curtain, in fact..."

At this point, Riesenlied gets nudged out into the open and Jacqueline has to suppress a laugh. Mikaia hops into Riesenlied's lap, then Jacqueline considers as Janey explains.

"Hm, I see..." Jacqueline considers, thinking things over.

"Alchemy and cooking have a lot in common - in fact, some of the most well-known alchemists are also accomplished at cooking. There's a lot of crossover between the two skillsets." She explains. "Learning how to cook can help you get a better idea of how to manage the preparation of your ingredients, and the consequences aren't.../quite/ as extreme."

She pauses for a moment.

"...Usually." She amends.

"The general mindset is a little different, but...the techniques involved are similar." She concludes with a nod.

What she means is that sometimes, when no one's around to keep an eye on you, you start looking at meal preparation as an opportunity for experimentation, and that can sometimes end in disaster.

...She knows this from personal experience.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

Noeline closes her eyes at the quivering of their link, reminding herself to cling onto Riesenlied a little later. Surprise or not, it's not something she likes admitting out loud; she already knows that Riese is doing everything she can, and she'd much rather encourage that than focus on the downsides. Still, it can only help to reassure Mikaia she's not alone in her worries.

"Really, now," she adds to Janey's teasing as she takes the broom with a toothy grin of her own. "You'd never guess that /I/ was the one who used to be a spy." She says that - but she takes Riesenlied's hand to draw the other Hyadean inside, squeezing it in hers as she offers reassurance back along their link. If she lingers, it's only to make sure that she offers Riesenlied a warm smile.

Once done, she shakes the broom out, then plants it against her shoulder as if it's a lance, watching Riese and Mikaia cuddle. "... provided you don't start trying to introduce them to Spira, or something," she snorts back towards Janey, already grinning at the idea. "I can just imagine many of those old Yevonite priests with a pipe in their hands. Like Janey, she's kind of dodging the question. She'd definitely describe herself as a diner rather than a cook.

"Well, I can't think there's much boring about large explosions. And I suppose there's only so many ways you can decant and distill things, in the end," she huffs to herself as she nods to Jacqueline once her initial lecture to Mikaia is complete, quietly curious as she listens along. "Still, I imagine there's going to be at least some benefit from having some better-quality glass, at least. The stuff we've made ourselves has sometimes been a little rough and ready."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

There's a sensation in the ring that very markedly feels like 'aaa, aaa' and Noeline probably has the right instinct to cling to Riesenlied to assuage her later. The horns decidedly droop for a moment as she listens to Janey and Mikaia's story, which provokes... no small amount of sorrow, really.

Thinking of children having to trade for food like that in a warzone...

"Well, it's not exactly spywork," Janey grins. "I guess I was more a B&E specialist? It's pretty obvious where encampments put their food and water once you've seen a bunch of Kislevi and Aveh ones..."

There's a hand in turn against Noeline's as she feels her out, moving her closer so she can bring Mikaia in with her.

"That sounds... good, mom," Mikaia answers, flushing a little at the idea of making something together. "Hmm... alchemy and cooking, having something in common... I would've never thought of that."

She pumps her hands up a little. "Um. Well, I'll try making something and offering it for you for next time, perhaps?"

"Y'know, Micky, I heard candy making is real fussy. Maybe if you learnt a real hard craft like that you can eat the candy you love so much -and- get better at alchemy!" Janey's grin hasn't faded.

"I--I don't indulge in a lot of candy!" Mikaia whines embarrassedly.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"It's true." Jacqueline agrees, in regards to Noeline's remark that there's only so many ways to distill things. "And yes, good quality glass certainly helps. It can usually stand up better to higher temperatures for longer, which can be important sometimes for certain recipes."

She nods.

"For actually storing my mixtures I use a special sort of sugar-derived glass I devised that doesn't leave behind shards, but for actually preparing them it's different." She explains.

She can't help but smile a little, though, as Janey and Noeline bond over shared experiences, and as Mikaia agrees to making something with Riesenlied.

Mikaia says she'll try making something for her, though, and Jacqueline smiles.

"I'd be glad to try it!" She replies cheerily...and just barely manages to suppress a chuckle as Janey teases Mikaia about her fondness for candy.

That's the main reason Jacqueline hasn't tried to learn how to bake properly. She'd never stop making pastries...

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

Noeline sticks close to Riese as they sit together, for good measure - and before long she's sat against the side along with her partner, the better to not interrupt Jacqueline and give her and Mikaia space to work if they wish. It gives her a chance to keep Riesenlied's hand in hers, tracing her palm with a thumb as she concentrates on lighter, warmer thoughts. Or existing thoughts in a lighter and warmer way.

"I shouldn't be surprised, and yet I am," she puffs at Janey as she shakes her head, but it's impossible to deny the amused pride that rolls off of her. "Better in your hands than in theirs, at least." The more upbeat of their daughters is always useful to bounce ideas off of, and she hums after a moment. "If they're so similar, I wonder if you could just use alchemy to cook?" she suggests to Janey. "Just place everything in the cauldron, stir it a bit, and out comes a cheesecake."

She hums brightly at her own idea - but leans into Riesenlied's side to ruffle Mikaia's hair once more. "Janey and I will help as much as we're able, though you might end up wanting to just chase us out of the kitchen in the end. For the time being, though-- well, Miss Barber is here, after all. You could always ask for another lesson or two right now, if she's not too busy?" she suggests, her eyebrows raised up.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Mikaia can't help but look a little dazzled. "A sugar-derived glass... you mean you-- you store your potions in what's basically candied glass?" Mikaia sounds so alarmed and yet awed that she's all ears now.

Riesenlied scoots a little forward so that she's a bit past her armrests, the better for them to share Mikaia with their hug. Noeline's warmer, lighter thoughts help assuage and soothe her concerns for the time being.

Janey puts her hands in her pockets and smirks a bit wider. "C'mon, that sounds like the kind of harebrained alchemy I'd do. Micky's always poring over the littlest details, y'know, she's more of an... an..."

"Analytical," Mikaia sulks for a moment.

"That word!" Janey laughs.

Noeline offers the suggestion of another lesson, though. "... if you wouldn't mind, and you're free... I can also show you what else I've learnt," Mikaia nods, as Riesenlied smiles and looks to Noeline, then to the alchemist.

"I'll prepare dinner for us, then? The least I can do is offer you a meal and hospitality, Jacqueline."

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"I-I don't think it /quite/ works like that..." Jacqueline says, as Noeline suggests to Janey the possibility of creating a cheesecake through alchemy. "...At least, if it does, then I'm clearly in the wrong business!"

Will Jacqueline someday learn the terrifying power of creating baked goods through alchemy? Only time will tell.

As Noeline suggests a lesson and Mikaia agrees and asks, Jacqueline smiles.

"Absolutely! I'd love to." She says, with a good-natured cheer. "And dinner sounds great, too."

Something occurs to her soon after, though.

"Ah, I'll need to go shut my stall down properly first, but after that I'll be free!" She says.

Today was shaping up to be a good one. She had been a little concerned earlier in the day...but this had definitely helped lift her spirits.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

The Crimson Notble snickers brightly. "That's nothing. You know those hard candies you like? They start out as big stretchy balls of rubbery mud," she reports to Mikaia, grinning brightly as she picks up on Janey's earlier thread. "I remember watching a confectioner make some long ago. He practically had to wrestle with it as if it were some kind of very thick dough. Sugar turning into glass seems fair enough when you compare it to that."

Perhaps she's deliberately playing the fool at this point, because she puffs up a little further as Janey's rejoinder. "It's not like you have to be one or the other. There's nothing wrong with spontaneity, and if you ask me it's perfectly possible to have an analytical cheesecake," she manages to defend the both of them somehow, even as her eyes light up in Jacqueline's direction. "Spoilsport. You're not going to dash a promising pupil's hopes, are you?" she teases merrily.

"... I imagine we'll be a little while ourselves. If Cetiri's going to find me with a broom in my hands, I have to at least make sure I do a decent job cleaning up," she adds with a wry but very amused sort of smile. "Somehow, I can't help but think she's a little biased towards her grandchildren."