|“||I don't know anyone greedier than the old man. Knowledge, money, power—he'd take everything he could.||”|
Szilard Quates (セラード・クェーツ Serādo Kuētsu) is the main antagonist of The Rolling Bootlegs and one of the alchemists who obtained complete immortality aboard the Advena Avis in 1711. He devours thirteen of his fellow alchemists aboard the ship and five more over the course of the next two hundred years, during which time he quests to recreate the Grand Panacea.
Szilard has short grey hair, and a thick mustache and beard. His face is furrowed with deep wrinkles; in the anime, his eyes are lilac. His descendant Bilt Quates bears a striking resemblance to him.
Aboard the Advena Avis, Szilard wears a white cravat and a long hooded black cloak over his otherwise ordinary outfit—a white shirt, vest and breeches. Throughout the late 1920s he retains the same sense of style with his white cravat and short black gentleman's cloak—a garment that by such time is already considered old-fashioned, reflecting his distance to mortal society. In both eras, he uses a cane.
(Further expansion desired.)
During his years as a mortal alchemist, Szilard's ego and ambitions earn him the fear of many a House Dormentaire knight; according to rumor, anyone who dares cross a Dormentaire alchemist will find themselves slated to become a guinea pig. Great as his ego may be, he is not entirely above praising an invention or construction worthy of his admiration—a sign that his rapacious appetite for knowledge may supersede even his own egomania. In this sense he can be more open-minded than some of his peers—for instance utterly unfazed by the floating fortress where Victor Talbot is astounded by its construction—yet curiously close-minded or 'realistic' in other respects, adamantly denouncing the summoning of a demon as heretical and the idea of an immortality elixir preposterous prior to the summoning.
In becoming immortal, Szilard becomes greed incarnate—obsessively lusting for perfect knowledge and absolute loyalty from the night of the massacre onward. Where other immortals fear their immortality has made them apathetic, Szilard is one for whom immortality makes him all the busier; he spends the next two centuries establishing research hubs, amassing power, contacts, and descendants to do his bidding, and studying alchemy and immortality.
Maiza's rationalizations and 'betrayal' in the wake of the summoning strike Szilard as so irrational that he loses trust in anyone younger than himself; whether Maiza's 'betrayal' is in part why he desires absolute loyalty remains unexplored. He becomes at minimum more aloof to society as a whole, viewing others as tools or potential livestock—though he is willing to reward those who demonstrate genuine loyalty to him.
For an unknown number of years, Szilard and a young man called Victor Talbot work as alchemists for House Dormentaire, a powerful Spanish aristocratic family. In Szilard's free time, he devotes his personal research to artificial homunculi; though he is the type to dismiss common alchemy aspirations like gold transmutation and elixirs of life 'unrealistic', he believes that it could be possible to transplant one's memories and character into another artificial body—and that this is the closest humanity can ever come to achieving immortality.
When the Dormentaires seize control of Lotto Valentino, a port city near Naples with a high concentration of alchemists, Lucrezia de Dormentaire instructs Szilard and Victor to investigate which Mask Maker was responsible for the city's counterfeit gold and thereafter claim the manufacturing method on the Dormentaires' behalf.
Szilard and Victor accordingly travel to Lotto Valentino on horseback, eventually reaching the plains comprising the city's purlieu on a grey day in 1711. Where Victor is excited to scope out such an isolated, unusual town supposedly teeming with drugs, false gold, and serial killers—and determined to expose the Mask Makers to the world—Szilard considers their mission solely a job and accuses him of underestimating their employers. Lotto Valentino soon emerges into view as the two crest a hill—as do the large Dormentaire-crested flags draped from every manor and building.
The two continue on until they reach the city's harbor and the Dormentaires' 'floating fortress': a conglomeration of gigantic warships moored side by side and a dozen to a row, with the first row moored at the piers and the rest moored behind them. Such a colossal construction occupies over half of the harbor; once again, Szilard is unfazed by what he considers "Dormentaire meticulousness" where Victor is dumbfounded. Carla Alvarez Santoña—the leader of the Dormentaire delegation—overhears them and explains a engineer from the Strassburg family designed the fortress, though not even the local workmen who constructed it fully understand the plans themselves.
Szilard asks whether Carla's soldiers have already arrested the Mask Makers and, when Carla admits they have only caught low-level 'thugs' of the organization so far, procures a counterfeit gold piece from his pocket; he finds it difficult to believe mere 'thugs' produced such a high-quality false alloy. Nonetheless, Carla is sure the Mask Makers are behind the gold—although the influx of gold has decreased since the year prior. The drugs local alchemists once commissioned from alchemists, meanwhile, are all but gone. Szilard announces he will take matter into his own hands while Carla's men find more clues, and then takes his leave of the two by boarding one of the ships.
Later that day, an explosion partially destroys a certain building in the marketplace—one that was intended for Dormentaire associates like Victor to stay in, and additionally housed firearms and gunpowder. At sunset, a series of explosions simultaneously go off from Lotto Valentino's central district through to the harbor, with an additional explosion occurring in the single church's courtyard. The Dormentaires' food storehouse is among the targets, and Carla races to the scene after summoning Szilard and Victor; unlike the first building, this storehouse has no plausible cause for going up in flames.
A search of the building reveals that the explosion must have occurred from somewhere in the middle of the storehouse, and nothing indicates the explosion was tossed through a window. Carla consults the alchemists for their opinion: Victor acknowledges the possibility of a time-delayed device, but he has never heard of devices which could be synchronized so perfectly as they would have had to be in this instance. Meanwhile, Szilard pokes at the rubble with his cane until he finds a fragment of a presumed clock underneath a charred shelf; picking it up, he deems the culprit 'fascinating' and affirms Victor's suspicion the explosives were time-delayed. He furthermore observes the device must have been rather small to be successfully sneaked past security—another quality he finds admirable.
Victor sarcastically wonders if either of them will be framed for the crime, but Szilard presumes the explosions are the Mask Makers' way of warning 'alien alchemists' like themselves against stealing their technology. He further expects the Mask Makers may resort to more direct attacks should they ignore these warnings—a sentiment with which Victor agrees.
Unbeknownst to Victor, Szilard at this point has already been made privy and accomplice to a second plan of Lucrezia's: a plan that involves—or, is intended to result in—Lucrezia's publicly faked death. The plan expects Szilard and Huey Laforet—a young man whom Szilard was told infiltrated Lucrezia's bedchambers to exchange the counterfeiting gold method for the support of the Dormentaires' alchemy workshop—to plant explosives throughout the city so as to implicate the Mask Makers' return; whether Szilard and Huey are directly involved in planting timed explosives on Lucrezia's ship is not entirely clear.
Over the ensuing week, thirty-six explosions wreak havoc through the city courtesy of Huey and Szilard; then, over the course of three more days, the aristocrats' manors become targets for arson as well. At some point during these ten days Szilard has the Dormentaires set up an elaborate workshop in a cabin of a ship on the furthest edge of the floating fortress, one filled with delicate, high-quality alchemic instruments sourced from the city.
Midnight of the tenth day finds Szilard reading a letter bearing Lucrezia's Dormentaire crest at his desk; though the letter is in code, he is able to read it without the aid of a key. The letter cites intel claiming Dalton Strauss of the Third Library has imparted the method of creating the Grand Panacea to a young alchemist named Maiza Avaro, and that Maiza is due to board the Advena Avis for North America alongside other alchemists. Lucrezia orders Lucrezia and Victor to board the ship, obtain the formula from Maiza, and not to turn Dalton against the Dormentaires in the meantime.
Szilard burns the letter and scoffs at the apparent ignorance of both Lotto Valentino and his employers, utterly convinced that an elixir capable of granting immortality is preposterously impossible. In the next moment, a gust of wind from a window that had previously been closed sends the smoldering letter scattering throughout the room. Szilard turns to find a hooded silhouette in the corner of the cabin—one wearing an eerie white mask. Either the story is fabricated, or this is Huey paying Szilard a visit; either way, Szilard is responsible for the ship exploding within a matter of minutes.
The Dormentaires disconnect Szilard's workshop from the rest of the ships fast enough to prevent the flames from spreading, and witnesses report sightings of a masked man leaving the ship in a small rowboat and vanishing into the city. Szilard insists on treating his (self-inflicted) burns when the Dormentaires offer to treat him and afterwards roams the entirety of the floating fortress, claiming to be searching for a passageway the culprit must have used; in reality, he is planting explosives throughout all the vessels. One hour after the ship's exploding, a minor arson incident occurs at the Avaro manor on a hill in the aristocrats' quarter.
At sunset the next day, a massive Dormentaire ship said to be carrying Lucrezia de Dormentaire explodes on its way into Lotto Valentino's harbor—though no one is actually on it: Lucrezia and most of her crew disembarked at a previous harbor, and the ship's remaining skeleton crew abandons the ship at a certain point and transfers to the Advena Avis; as the large ship burns, the Advena Avis makes its way into port and is promptly put under guard by clueless Dormentaire soldiers. Lotto Valentino finds itself in uproar for five days after, with the Dormentaire personnel, aristocrats, and commoners mired in suspicion and anxiety—and so they all cast blame on the alchemists for Lucrezia's death. A subsequent manhunt for the alchemists begins, though—per the actions of Dalton, Elmer C. Albatross, and others, all the alchemists make their escape via the underground waterways and catacombs.
Several days later, the same masked figure—presumably Huey again—pays another visit to Szilard somewhere in Lotto Valentino. Szilard asks the figure a question that has been on his mind for some time—why the figure dresses so clandestinely when visiting him—but shakes his head and decides to call the figure 'Mask Maker' for the time being.
A new, even more monstrous series of explosions go off across the whole city—all originating in the debris of the previously targeted buildings. Szilard and Huey join with Elmer before or at the besieged harbor, where Carla and her soldiers are attempting to stop Maiza and the alchemists from departing on the Advena Avis. As planned, the explosives Szilard previously planted throughout the floating fortress ignite; Szilard, Huey, and Elmer detach one of the warships from the fiery fortress somewhere down the lines and sail toward the Advena Avis.
Though the latter ship is small and unarmed, it is fast—and it departs the harbor posthaste. Szilard, Huey, and Elmer chase the Advena Avis for thirty minutes and are closing in on the ship by the time it begins slowing its pace; Elmer waves on the deck in the hopes someone will spot them through a telescope in the meantime, Szilard at his right and Huey at his left. Eventually the Advena Avis slows to a stop entirely, and weighs anchor to let the trio come aboard.
Victor—who stowed away on the Advena Avis—is shocked to learn Lucrezia is alive and demands an explanation from Szilard. Szilard reveals that Huey was a Dormentaire associate before either of them stepped foot in Lotto Valentino, relating the story of how Lucrezia met Huey and accepted his deal; Huey, meanwhile, states that Lucrezia specifically request he refrain from telling Victor their plans. Victor promptly loses his temper, is knocked out by Zank Rowan and Denkurō Tōgō, and tossed into the freight hold.
To be written.
1711 – 1930
To be written.
Skills and Abilities
Physicality: Szilard has enhanced his body's abilities over the years both through devouring others and through personal training; after an arduous duration of time and effort, he manages to train his body to withstand pain. His high pain tolerance may in part explain why he stays alive when riddled with bullet holes in 1930, and his swift regeneration when being stabbed in the back, but it is also likely he had himself killed repeatedly via various methods in order to accelerate his regenerative processes.
Research and Knowledge: Szilard is a highly skilled alchemist whose research focus as both a mortal and immortal is artificial homunculi. His alchemy research sees considerable advances to the field of homunculi over the next two hundred years, and he spends a considerable amount of time researching the 'science' of immortality. He has also devoured a multitude of immortals over the years, thereby absorbing their knowledge, skills, and memories.
Organization: Szilard established and expanded a large research network over time, with laboratories and other hubs spread across the United States and extending into Europe. At least one research lab of his has survived into the twenty-first century in a certain Northern European country based in an artificial Northern European Village, as led by his descendant Bilt Quates.
- 'Szilard', when correctly pronounced in Hungarian, is "C-lard" and means solid or firm.
- In the anime outro, he is only ever credited as Szilard.
- He may potentially named after Leo Szilard, a Hungarian physicist who hypothesized nuclear chain reaction alongside Enrico Fermi and helped develop the atomic bomb. After the Second World War, Leo Szilard focused his studies on biology and was involved in the first cloning of human cells. The Szilard-Chalmers effect, which is a way to chemically separate an atom from its molecule, was named after him.