Myranda Al’cyoene And The Secret Deck
Efren Cecht was in a bind. Rather, he was bound, hands and feet, tied to a chair in the center of his room, staring at an unusually big Moogle who introduced himself as Mogwai Meh. Which was ironic, since, just a few hours before, he had tied up his best friend Myranda Al’cyoene and dumped her in his closet. In retrospect, it was probably not the right thing to do. But he’d had an unforeseen setback in finding a certain material to complete Chaos Theory’s second Airship, and was exhausted from his last exploratory mission.
He’d heard it was available on the Goblin Black Market, but at such a cost that put it out of the FC’s reach. So, when Myranda showed him the unusual card that a dead Elezen had slipped into her pocket, he did the first thing that came to mind. He’d heard stories about a fabled card deck, and a secret cabal of players whose games could influence personal success, life or death, history – even the doings of the gods themselves!
But the only way to get into the cabal was to obtain one of the cards – it had to be given to you, as a gift. Needless to say, the cards had never been seen. Somehow, Myranda had been given one. Now all he had to do was (a) get Myranda to give him the card, and (b) sell the card to the highest bidder, enabling him to buy the final material to complete the Airship!
Mogwai Meh cleared his throat. Oh. First priority, though, was to get away from this thug. And his crew.
Big K was not happy at all. Mogwai had never seen her so furious. Tungjii’s Thirteen were panicking, and very afraid. The cabal had seen one of their numbers die recently – the perma-death – and the damn ancient fool had left a card to one of his mistresses, a stupid and sentimental Elezen female who wanted nothing at all to do with them, their scheming or card-playing. Big K saw to it that all but one of her family had been killed, and tried to bargain with her: the last remaining child in exchange for the card. It was then that the fool girl had run for it.
Mogwai had asked her why the card was so important. It was dangerous, and very powerful. That was all she was willing to tell him. In fact, she refused to even tell him what it looked like. She just said, “You’ll know it when you see it. And – this is very important – you must bring the thief to me, alive and unharmed – along with the card. Do you understand?”
Mogwai Meh knew exactly why it was important. It was just as well that Big K didn’t know that he knew. He knew that the cards were ‘alive’ in some way that the mages he had asked had no clue as to their making. Which meant whoever had made them had taken the secret to his or her grave. It was more likely, he thought, that Tungjii Luck himmerself had made them.
Using a spell that had been taught to him by an aether-alchemage in exchange for Mogwai letting him live (he killed him anyway), he transported into the space around which the thief had been located. Only, she wasn’t there. Instead, he and his recruits found a Roegadyn, holding the card in his hands and mandervilling around the room.
Cecht was then tied up, his invaluable card taken, and put into the center of the room. Normally, this would be when he’d assign one of the recruits to lobotomize him. It was messy, but one of the things you could do to someone short of perma-death that would render them harmless. Except that there was a problem. They needed the real thief.
It appeared that Cecht, rather than be afraid, was smiling. So Mogwai cleared his throat. At which point, Cecht’s smile disappeared.
They have the card, Efren thought. But without Myranda, it’s useless. He really, really wanted to tell them where she was, but nothing short of torture could make him tell Mogwai that.
“You can either cooperate with us, Mr. Cecht, or be stubborn, in which case one of my recruits here will be given the task of torturing you into submission. So, tell me where the female Miqo’te, the one you call Myranda, can be found.”
“She left hours ago. I don’t know where she was going.” Cecht grinned.
“I’d believe you, except for one thing. You had the card. I have a hard time believing that she would just give it to you.”
“I’ve loaned her millions of gil. This cancels her debt. Besides, she has no idea what this card is.”
Mogwai thought about that. Truth was, he’d heard about Cecht. He was a damned good Triple Triad player. Big K had said to watch him. But did he know about the Vanadil deck, and Tungjii’s Thirteen? If he was telling the truth, then both of his goals were achieved. If not, well, he could still be tortured.
“Gooey, Prickly, Kaplee, gather round me,” he ordered, “We’re going to take Cecht here to meet Big Kupo.”
Cecht’s heart sank.
Myranda woke up just in time to hear Mogwai’s last statement, and although she didn’t understand what he meant, knew that it was somewhere that she didn’t want her friend to go. She could do nothing, since that damned fool had tied her up. She wished that both she and Cecht could be somewhere safe, right now. She could sure use some luck right about now. “Tungjii Luck, help me and Efren!”
Many unusual things happened all at once.
The universe was jarred out of sync with time and space. Events that had previously happened undid themselves, replaced by several events that had never happened. Existences winked out, many thousands of lives were altered. An entire race disappeared. A member of a royal family died from poisoning.
Efren Cecht felt a very familiar deck under his feet. And found his priceless material stacked in a large pile in front of him.
Mogwai Meh and his crew were just arriving in the Gold Saucer’s Aetheryte Square. And had no clue as to what they were doing there.
Myranda felt the wind on her face, the card in her hand, and a forgotten god/dess’ laughter. She looked around, and saw that she was on a floating piece of rock, high above Gridania. In front of her was a curious being – no bigger than a human child, with pendulous female breasts and a very male member in hisser groin. And s/he was smiling gently at her.
“Wish granted,” s/he said, “and help given. The cost of this small favor was great, but necessary. Now, why do you suppose that is? This card, and the Vanadil Deck, I made with materials of this world, but with powers from other worlds that are no more. Look at your card. It is a well, with an hourglass on one side, and a scythe on the other. It is the Card called Time’s Wishing Well. I should never have made it, but I was tricked by Althyk, who sought its power. And so I placed the condition on it and all the other cards that they must be given freely. This world is too unstable for this card. So I ask you, Myranda Al’cyoene, will you give me that card, and protect your world?”
“Yes,” she replied. The card left her hands, and settled into Tungjii’s lap. “Can I ask you for a little luck?”
The god/dess laughed again. “Off you go now!”
The floating rock disappeared, and Myranda began to fall. Through clouds, down she plummeted. But then she slowed down, and landed gently on the deck of an Airship, to stand in front of an open-mouthed Efren.
Case Report: After careful consideration of the facts, and factoring in postulations, it has been decided by Big Kupo that Myranda Al’cyoene is not guilty of theft, but was a victim, along with Tungjii’s Thirteen, and Mogwai Meh along with the recruits, of God magic.