Found this in my harddisk….
I write this about 1 and a half years ago….
There’s a second part…. But I need to extensively rewritten it until RL made me forget this project (and left a half book of notes…)
Nine World Chronicles
Chapter 1. Margarita Perula, Student.
In front of Cafe Ours de Sédentre, Academic City Celestium. Terra Mundi.
Diskula, 18 Disigons 1287. 46:06.
"Good Day Miss. Are you perhaps Miss Margarita Perula of Sofosregnae Palace University?"
These words makes the girl with glasses that was called Margarita stop drinking her after lunch tea and turn her head toward the speaker - a nondescript middle age man you can found literally everywhere.
"Yes. That's me. Can I help you, sir?"
"Yes. I had a letter for you."
He then hand over an envelope that Rita intuitively take and say thank you. Before Rita can say anything else, the middle age man takes his leave.
“I wish you good luck. Have a nice day, Miss."
Just like that, the middle age man walks away and melts into mass of passerby that walks in front of Domus Iusticiae. Rita was dumbfounded with the situation she found ridiculous.
"What is this all about?"
Sipping her remaining tea, she then carefully tears the envelope open. The envelope has golden signet that maybe belong to the sender. Sadly, she doesn’t recognize the signet. One thing for sure, the letter most probably is from a noble. Hopefully it's not another love letter, she sick of it already...
Rita says unconsciously. The letter can't be normally read. It's not a normal letter like other, because it is written using an uncommon script that Rita quickly identified as a square variant of Lerval script; a script from an extinct antebellum civilization. Not only that, after reading several words she found that the letter is written with Early Period Natrun language. But never underestimate a Historian with degree in Ancient Studies. Rita not had attending Ancient Language classes for FIVE YEARS for nothing, you know. She adjusts her glasses and says to herself, 'Challenge accepted'.
Two cup of tea and a moment of agony later, she had translated the entire letter. Great Sky Father, whoever writes this letter, his/her Naltrun semantics awfully sucks.
[For WomenPerson Margarita Perula.
If can read this words, you success. Accept job interesting. Rich money, good experience. Only after say the magic word you pass:
‘What is name, of women who born years after you.’
If interested, run to place below, say the magic word, next day before hour Skoins.]
Well, it looks like someone is scouting Rita for a job. Rita feels intrigued by the method of job recruitment. What is the job they offered that need the potential employee read letter written on ancient language anyway? Translation, mostly.
At the bottom of letter is an address for Via Nostium Occidentis, House No. 32. Plato Chrysi.
She had heard about Plato Chrysi before. It is a high status residential suburb for nobles and rich guys just outside Celestium. It means the potential client is either a noble or a rich guy.
Hmmm... Rita can use additional income this month, so this job is like a blessing sent from heaven. Hopefully it is nothing illegal; she doesn't want to be deported before her study finished.
Plato Chrysi, outskirt of Academic City Celestium, Terra Mundi.
Munissa, 19 Disigons 1287. 31:02.
After taking city line-carriages -using buses crowded with students in the morning is one situation Rita avidly avoided, she finally reach the station near her destination. She looks at her hand watch. It’s still half an hour before hour three. Skoins refer to the time when school bells ring to signal the first lesson begins. She still need to walk uphill from the station to her destination for ten minutes -she likes to punch the person who name this hills a Plato- before Rita finally reach the pointed location. House No.32.
The first impression on Rita mind is that the person who owns the house is rich. The white marmer wall is quite tall and the main door is silver plated, engraved with the golden signet she had seen before on the envelope. She walks to the door and sounds the doorbell.
*clang cling clang*
The main door opened. The person opening the door was the middle age man that Rita saw yesterday. So he was a house servant, she guess.
“Are you here for the letter, Miss?”
“Please say the magic word.”
Rita wonders why the magic word was ‘younger sister’.
"Please enter Miss; the Young Master had been waiting for you."
The servant politely guide Rita through impressive garden filled with various flora and a large lotus pool with gazebo on top it. What a nice place for afternoon tea, she thinks.
She then arrives on equally impressive guest room with various distinctive decoration and expensive furniture. Is that a ligervern skin she sees? That must cost a fortune.
In the room is a young good-looking man – not a middle age man like Rita though thankfully –, sitting on a decorated sofa engraved with rather complex repeating geometry patterns. She very sure she saw that before.
He’s was looking at the newspaper before turning his head toward Rita. He then gestured to the servant so he enters another room. May he come with expensive tea please, wish Rita with all her heart.
"Are the name of the lovely lady in front of me is Miss Margarita Perula?"
The young noble start with flattery right from the beginning, but unfortunately Rita had sweet talk-immunity, thanks to frequent desensitizations.
“Yes, that’s me. Are your name Balter Nienesti, Sir?”
“Fascinating. I’m rather astounded that you aware of my name. Do you be acquainted with me before? I’m believed this is our first meeting. Was it not?”
“No, Sir. This is really our first meeting. I’m just reading the name on the sofa decoration that I thought was your name. A Renke mosaic script. Never though seeing that outside mural walls.”
“I’m impressed, Miss Perula. That is truly my name engraved in this sofa. This was a present from a dear friend of mine. I really fond of it. Oh, where’s my manners. Please sit down and think this humble chamber as yours. ”
Rita sits on one of another decorated sofa. This decorated sofa only spelled: “Guest”; as the other decorated sofa. It seems only one sofa had special meaning on it. Servants then enter the room carrying golden trays with painted porcelain tea pot, tea cups and crystal bowl with confectioneries on it. Rita smells the scent; it’s a Hibiscus-Camellia dual mix tea with royal honeyed milk. As expected from rich guy!
“Are you the one who invite me, Sir Balter?"
Ask Rita in between sipping her tea.
"Yes, that's quite correct. It is me who invite you to this place, Miss."
"If that so. What is this all about, if I may know now?"
Ask Rita as she refills her cup.
"Straight to the heart of matters, I see. I deduce you had a straightforward personality. It quite simple, we are offering you a job."
"What kind of job you offered?"
Ask Rita as drinks her second cup.
"You may already guess it. We need a rather unique translation service."
"Is that the purpose of the letter?"
Ask Rita fill another cup, you know the rest. She’s a really mean tea drinking machine.
"You cannot be more accurate, Miss. You had splendidly passed the letter’s test, so you are very much eligible for the job."
"Not to be rude, although the letter was written rather horribly it prove that you sir can understand the language although not fluently, why bother a translator?"
"Sadly, your statement not entirely true Miss. It was my friend that write the content of the letter; not myself. It was he that comprehends the language in question. It is unfortunate, that due to some unexpected complicate situation, my friend can't be physically being here. Luckily, he left a letter, so that in case we need a translator, we can search and hire a competent one. That was the letter true purpose."
"So, why me? I know at least several Professors that can decipher the letter effortlessly than me. I'm just a student."
"Another straightforward question. I rather like your inquisitive nature. But let we move to the answer you seeking. See miss, what we do, is rather, unacceptable in front of current authorities point of view. Your student status confers significant advantage from what we can found on Professors in this situation."
Ooow... great... Just when she thinks this isn't some illegal job.
"Is it an illegal job? For your information, I'm a law abiding citizen."
"Don't worry Miss; it is not that kind of Illegal. We in theory didn’t break any law, at least in the beginning. Be that as it may, it could be troublesome if this state of affairs spread to public knowledge. So we like to keep this matter in closed small circle. Using the service of renown professor can attract some unwanted eye, but not if it was a student."
Rita thinks that was a reasonably smart move. There are maybe only three or four dozens of Ancient Language Professors that fluent in Natrun in Celestium but there are more than three thousand student enrolled in Ancient Studies classes. Balter then continues his exposition. He must looooove to speak, Rita concludes.
"So we ask them to refer us to their recommended students. And that's where you came, Miss. I suppose I don't need to explain the things that later followed. I'm gladly to say that you are highly praised as a very bright student with grades that fill your teachers’ chest full of proud. There were several other students we sent the letter to, but only you that come here and saying the magic word correctly."
Rita thinks she heard enough. This has takes too long, even the tea started to get cold. It’s time for business talk.
"So where the text that need to be translated?"
"Can I receive your question as a confirmation that you accept the job?"
"Yes I do. As long as I get my payment I'll do it. So please answer my first question."
"For that, I need you to come with me. The text can't be moved and we can't make a copy of it for secrecy reason."
"So where will we go?"
"Is it bothering you Miss if we walk for a rather long time?"
"Not if I can get some break when I'm tired and please define 'long'."
"About one hour gives or takes."
"Please follow me."
Balter guide her into a rather plain room filled with boxes in the basement. Storage perhaps. Then he opens the door that located in the room's far wall. It opens into a dimly light descending passageway with a one meter width.
"Is the text located beyond there?"
Ask Rita. She now had rather scary worries about this situation, she never feel comfortable entering dark small places.
"Yes it's located quite deep below. I hope you don't mind the rather diminutive space. The elevator we build hasn't yet to be operational."
Rita nods, steels her mind and then following her client descending to the dim depths.
Then she remembered... She forget to ask the reward remuneration.... It's all because of the tea....
(to be continue)