I can, after all, finally summon a carbuncle.
It's a bit sudden, I know. I mentioned the issue to Raha in passing, Alisaie overheard, and next thing I knew I was holding one of her old tomes and getting lectured by Alphinaud on the finer points of arcanima.
I know how skilled he is firsthand, so it's a shame I couldn't absorb much....though Raha seemed to have more luck. To be fair, I had Alisaie whispering more "practical" instructions all the while to try and just start summoning things.
The end result is that I can't explain the theory, but if I channel aether to the "stabby thingamabob" before "making it do the fan thing" then I can summon a Topaz carbuncle with the Sapphire equation. I'm admittedly not sure if I'm supposed to be able to do that.
Alisaie's teaching is impressive in its own way.
Eventually, Urianger happened across us, and took over with a more textbook-standard lecture. This pushed Alphinaud to join his sister in whispering shortcuts to me. The end result was a low-volume spat over calling something "a logarithmic spiral fragment" or "the swirly bit".
It got to the point that Urianger switched to teaching with a brevity I've never heard from him before--something I suspect was born of desperation to get Alisaie to use the "swirly bits" and "fan thingy" correctly.
Any chance of proper lessons in arcanima abandoned us at that point.
The twins reached a truce on the curriculum, allowing Urianger to step into an observer role with a comment about my use of the formulae being a bit odd. Alphinaud resumed lecturing, focusing on the practical, while Alisaie and Raha threw non-arcanist comparisons in to help, with mixed effectiveness.
Somehow, we got halfway through the explanation of Ruby carbuncle summoning when Y'shtola came in--defensive ward at the ready, eyeing my Topaz carbuncle like a sin-eater, and demanding to know "why in the seven hells were we performing arcane experiments in the middle of the Rising Stones".
After convincing her that we weren't about to (intentionally) blow the place up, further knowledge was abandoned in favor of reverse-engineering that question.
We turned to my other magicks, thinking my unusually wide background could be the cause. Black, white, red, astrological....no matter the school, no matter how simple the spell, I'd deviate wildly from the other Scions. It's something that maybe should've been caught in my early thaumaturge days, but the end results are the same to the naked eye.
With an aetherometer, though, it's the difference between Papalymo and Lyse.
I jokingly asked if this meant I'd never be able to summon a Diamond carbuncle, and Alphinaud made a face like I'd asked when he could walk on water. Apparently it's a complex enough summon that we really could blow up the Rising Stones.
Diamond aside, whatever this is is otherwise under control. That said....I suspect the next time our impromptu circle of experts meets, I'll have summoned something strange.
Still, this isn't as surprising as it would've been a few moons ago. With my memories trickling back, I have a decent grasp on where my odd magicks are rooted.
I started adventuring as a thaumaturge, but before my lessons in Ul'dah were lessons in South Thanalan. My teacher's knowledge might've been a formal school once, but the rigor had been lost as it was handed down--generations of Alisaie's lessons, basically.
By the time I learned it, it was a magick that used unprocessed focuses, or none at all. A raw kind of creature, fed by instinct and emotion--not a branch of the arts, but a reversion to the roots. I was talented, despite my age, but that just meant I could light kindling barehanded, heal small cuts, maybe launch a stone or two on a good day.
Feral magick sounds more intimidating than it actually is.
Still, it made my guardian proud--not just aether manipulation, something impossible for him, but skilled aether manipulation. That pride stuck with me--even after the Calamity, when I barely remembered my own name--and led to me taking up thaumaturgy.
Even so, it seems like it should've vanished with formal lessons. Something that might've stayed as a quirk, but not such a pervasive foundation.
But we didn't--couldn't--test all the arts I know. As wide as my Sharlayan peers' skillsets are, there are gaps I can still fall through. So with no other point of comparison, I borrowed an aetherometer and headed to Ishgard.
It's not that I've been walking the path of the Dark Knight all along--it's just process of elimination, pointing to another art fueled on raw emotion. That, and....well.
I think it's safe to say my lessons had nothing to do with using the big sword, let alone the accompanying magick. So if there's a "refined" version of my nonsense, it would be the dark arts.
Still, Sidurgu learned the basics under a real teacher. There could've been differences, my arts an imitation of the "correct" form, but...not according to Rielle. When I Unleash, it's not the "same" as Sidurgu, and none of us expected it to be...but "similar" is a better match than what was said in the Rising Stones.
And it's proof that having a focus and being taught a proper fire spell wasn't enough to train my arts into a branch. Instead, it seems to have flipped the whole thing upside down and replanted it.
The end result, like the botanical analogy, simply gained the ability to masquerade as other things.
What it means for the future, I can't say. It's stable, but I don't think I'll be allowed near the Diamond summoning equation--at least not within the Rising Stones. Even so, I don't see a reason to "correct" it, nor would I know how to.
In the meantime....I have some arcanima and red magic to "learn" in my odd little way.