Completely forgot to cross post the last few, apologies! Spoilers for A Realm Reborn Quests, Astral and Umbral.

The noise in the kitchen was absolutely deafening. Bubbling, clattering pots, knives chopping against wooden boards, the creak of the roasts turning, people calling and screaming at each other, shouting out instructions and questions.

In short, chaos. Chaos that was perfect to hide in.

Until Alphinaud appeared at the door, looking frantic.

“Have you seen the warrior of light? Has she come through here?” His voice made no impact on the noise, looking helplessly around as the people moved by without paying him a wink of attention, “Ah, excuse me. Oh. Um, excuse me!”

It wasn’t until the lord of the house himself stepped into the entranceway that a silence swept across the room, people stopping and looking. Lord Edmont leaned on his cane, “Have any of you seen our guest of honour perchance?”

None of them could really meet his eye as they swept around the room, until one of them sheepishly pointed towards the pantry. The two elezen followed the finger, entering the slightly cooler room where the food was and looking around, until Alphinaud exclaimed, “There you are!”

Tucked away on one of the highest shelves, the warrior of light was lying on her back, legs wedged in between some boxes, a book from the library in hand as she took absolutely no notice of either of them and continued to read. Edmont raised an eyebrow, curiously wondering quite how she had gotten herself up there.”

“Please come down? I realise that attending this celebration is not exactly high on your list of pleasant things to enjoy, but you are the guest of honour, and it will make our stay here in Ishgard much more pleasant if we can get all the High Houses at least on polite terms.”

She didn’t answer, nor did she respond to the next several pleas from Alphinaud. Edmont reached out a hand and placed it on his shoulder, taking his turn, “My lady, if there is something about the evening which is displeasing you so, I can see what I can do to change it. In the short time you have been here with us, you have already had quite an effect on us, and these celebrations are the way we wish to express our gratitude.”

The warrior of light sighed, still not looking at them, but instead up at the ceiling, “The last ‘celebration’ we were at…I just…I don’t think I’m ready.”

Alphinaud immediately softened, “Oh Iscara, I didn’t mean to…”

“I know.”

Edmont know the story, the reason that the trio of Scions had come to Ishgar,d seeking refuge within their snowy city. The poor young Sultana, poisoned, the warrior of light blamed.”

“Would you like to come down to the wine cellar with me? We can check the vintages that are to be offered at tonight’s ceremony together.”

She finally looked down at them, and after a few moments, alarmingly rolled off the shelf, landing on her feet lightly.

“I’d…appreciate that,” she said softly.

Edmont gave her a sympathetic smile, and held out his arm for her, which she took. Iscara looked down at Alphinaud, “I’ll come. Just…tell Tataru I’m not wearing a dress.”

The young scions spread his hands, grimacing slightly, “I’ll try.”