* ❝ tidbits re: Alisaie’s general upbringing & talents.
It is no secret that Alisaie grew up in a strict household that generally, without fail valued mind over the matter in any shape or form; therefore, young Alisaie experienced a sharp distinction between what was expected of her & what she actually “burnt for” relatively earlier on. From the very beginning to the end of her studies, the Studium mercilessly discredited almost every talent of hers due their more experimental & physical nature (she was not one to yield to the raw academics, after all, which the uptight society of Sharlayan generally preferred).
Alisaie reveled in combat exercises, swimming & riding, excelled in gymnastics & preferred to experience nature head on rather than sitting in a library all day; the practical element of mage-craft came naturally to her & she easily far succeeded many a student in her time. However, her written exams usually went lousy & no matter how much she forced herself, she could not reach the impossibly high standards her father (& the rest of the Studium) imposed upon her. Indeed, her prestigious name & almost prodigal brother became more & more of a curse; Alisaie continuously worked hard yet never managed to gather the same levels of academical excellence her brother seemed to “so effortlessly” achieve.
Needless to say, her apparent “lack” made her relationship to her father Fourchenault a relatively unpleasant one. She was constantly being compared to Alphinaud (+ often mistaken for him too) & found lacking. After all he was not only, as stated, a model student & savant when it came to matters of the mind but also their father’s favorite (something he certainly carries no blame for; yet Alisaie finds it hard to not consider him a rival or someone she has to somehow outdo / oppose whenever a decision has to be made. She loves him dearly but her severe fear of being considered lesser or inferior makes it hard for her to show it sometimes). Why, even long before puberty, Alisaie has always been a brash "wild child” who oft stood in crass opposition to the more sensible & artsy Alphinaud. Their father, pretty much a product of Sharlayan elitism & Wildwood privilege, has thus always found it “easier” to interact & converse with his son.
As such, Alisaie was always seen as the “second choice” may it be involuntarily or not. Given their status as twins, it surely left a mark or two; affection & validation were hard to garner for either of them due to Forchenault’s stoic & erudite personality; a scholar & important chairman through & through, he had little time to waste & less to give. What he could spare was oft granted to Alphinaud, who, so Forchenault, would one day certainly follow in his footsteps (again, Alphinaud is not to blame for their father’s favoritism; he ached under the weight of his expectations just as much as his sister agonized over the lack thereof. It is one of the major reasons why both eventually chose to follow their grandfather to Eorzea (as much as I would love to ramble about that too, it is certainly a topic for another mini meta)).
With all this being said, it is important to notice that Alisaie is anything but “lacking”; similar to her brother, Alisaie has always been very dedicated & diligent; traits that showed themselves in her achievements in aforestated, practical mage-craft. During & even far beyond her studies, Alisaie has actively improved on & altered various spells for no other reason than curiosity, interest & wanting to meld them into a figurative “shape” that would suit her needs. Her studies went so far that she invented incantations, eventually seeking out the practices of Red Magic after realizing that limited, conventional magic was not enough, believing she has found her calling in the fusion of physical combat & more offensive magic thus becoming the magical equivalent of a “jack of all trades”.
Additionally, in her youth, especially while traveling alongside Emery & her group of merchants, Alisaie could constantly be found studying for the sake of aforesaid inovation whenever her daily duties left her a moment to breathe. She rose up long before dawn every day to practice her magicks, hauling tomes & parchment with her wherever she went; a routine she stuck to adamantly, even when working hard in the deserts of Alm Araeng (she actually carries a notebook with her that holds all of her work written down in some erratic hand). Eventually, by the time she returns to the Source at the age of 19, her abilities rival that of grandmasters of the art, making her one of the youngest master red mages in Eorzea’s history.