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Something I have missed in every roleplay community I've been involved in since my time with the Ravenholdt server in WoW is a sense of connectedness between players across guild and RP circle boundaries. The community's "bulletin board" was a tool I felt did wonderfully to encourage this feeling, and as I wholly intend to make this community my home for the foreseeable future, I've decided to establish a bulletin board of Balmung's very own.


An MMO server encompasses a dizzying spread of story potential, from grandiose epics to private, touching moments to humble evenings at a local tavern. The diversity in roleplay is reflected in an equal diversity of thought, attitude, style, and dedication amongst the community's members. For this reason, it can often feel nigh on impossible to wholly grasp the scope of your server's roleplaying world. Not everyone has the inclination or confidence to participate in threads on the forums, or to post lengthy summations of their intricate plot-lines. Likewise, not everyone has the time to sift through dozens upon dozens of threads to keep abreast of the latest happenings and community lore.


In comes the bulletin board! Treat this as a character blog of sorts, a place where we can communicate, in easily digestible posts, the goings on of our characters' lives. Is your character reeling from a sudden, nasty break up? How exactly did it feel to have their arm sliced clean off in their latest, unfortunate brawl? What terrors lurk in their nightmares, or hopes in their dreams? Or maybe your lucky guy or gal just happened to have a wonderful morning and you want to share it with the world! 


All of this and more can be fair game. The hope is that it will encourage others to take an interest in the lives of those they play alongside but, perhaps, had not yet had the opportunity to interact with. It might also serve as a useful little tool for rumor-mongering, depending on the content of the post, but shush now, you didn't hear that from me. ;)


Some guidelines to keep in mind when posting in this thread:


1. All posts are to be in-character.

2. No back-and-forth threading here, only one-off posts of reasonable (no more than a few paragraphs) length. However, if you happen to read a post that caught your eye, don't hesitate to follow up on it through other means (PMs, in-game, or just more RP in another thread/location!)

3. Try to post no more than once a day, per character.


With that in mind, happy roleplaying!

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Just after midnight on almost every evening, the hoods brought their victims to this alley between Pearl Lane and the lower class markets. On none of these occasions, so far as anyone could tell, did the Brass Blades interfere. Despite the complaints of shouts and scuffles in the nights and all the blood mopped off of these stones, no investigations were made. And nobody was surprised.


Tonight's victim was an older Hyur woman. Her old joints hit the stone like a bundle of sticks, and her blood-soaked lips had already been diminished to incoherent blubbering before they'd even brought her here.


"I know you got more'n this," a Hyur man shook a bag at her face, and it clattered with the sound of loose gil. Not enough to buy bread with. Not enough to hurt someone over. "Your boy borrowed money to get ya medicine, didn't he? But you ain't sick, is ya?"


The woman just cough and spat and tried to squirm away. Had shadows lay over her craggy features and spared the hoods the need to see what they were inflicting on her.


The man shouted, "Where's the money!?"


And the men behind him, a Roegadyn and Lalafel, nodded. Their chuckles were thick like cold oil. They sound and tasted foul, and in disgust, invisible hands reached out and stopped them cold. That hushed snickering stopped so suddenly that the two men might've vanished, but they simply stood suddenly frozen and breathless.


Still squirming on the ground, the woman hadn't noticed, but the man who'd been shaking the money in her face turned to them and squinted into the shadows they'd been hiding in. "Eh, what's goin on there?" He waited a few seconds for his companions to answer, and then the blood touched his toes. The growing puddles of blood beneath his companions' feet reached out through the cracks on the ground toward him. When he noticed it, he flinched and pulled a knife from his belt, ducking into a defensive stance and turning about aimlessly. "By the hells?"


A rough voice, shaking and echoing like a whisper from the bottom of a well, inquired from the shadows, "You daylight as one of the Brass Blades, don't you?"


The man with the knife shook as the bodies of his companions fell at his feet as though cut free from the strings that had been holding them, "Who's asking!? Thal take you I'll-"


His head split sideways at the eyes, and the splatter of blood was mercifully silent compared to the high-pitched gurgling sounds he made before he collapsed. The Hyur woman was silent for a moment, but screamed when she saw the dark form standing in the center of the corpses. Thin, tall, pitch black and silent, it stood unmoving as though it had always stood there and had simply gone unnoticed.


The form bent down and picked up the bag of clattering gil. It muttered to the woman, "A pitiful bounty for a night of stalking, but I guess I don't require much, do I?" and she just continued to scream. Nimble fingers drew three coins from the bag. "Yes," it said in its deep voice, "I think Ul'dah will treat me just fine. These shadows feel good to me."


Throwing what was left in the bag at the screaming woman, the Duskwight turned to exist the alleyway. Stepping out of the shadows did nothing to smooth out the image, his body wiry and skin tight like a half-starved scarecrow, his thick hair and beard ratty and filthy. The Hyur woman continued to scream until the Duskwight was out of sight, and then took her money and crawled home.


When normal people moved to a new city, they found homes and decorated them with things. When Elder Megiddo Desfosse moved to Ul'dah, he found shadows and decorated them with blood. He wondered who his new neighbors would be.

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The days in Gridania, after five years of being away, have been strange. This is the place she was born in, but somehow, it no longer feels like home. It’s lacking something to feel like home.


Furthermore, Clover still remembers how working on her parents’ shop was; she was quite serious and dedicated to her tasks, the same she’d be later on at her grandpa’s shop of wonders. Her new job at the botany guild, however, has been quite different. She finds herself often distracted, daydreaming about different worlds that are far, far away from her current chores.


It’s started worrying her. Especially the part where she forgets to worry and does it again.

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Antimony didn't understand why Ul'dah's walls were so high.


She had gone from open swaths of desert to an endless horizon of ocean, but one thing had remained constant - nothing stood between her and the edge of the world. Or, at least, the figurative edge, as she was fairly certain their world was not flat.


But not so for Ul'dah, whose walls vaulted dizzyingly above head, blocking much of the sky and the sun and the horizon, leaving only the oppressive heat and sweat and stink of the desert and a people mired in poverty. Perhaps this was why it was so difficult to avoid certain people in the city. Perhaps she had the walls to blame for the two nights she had so far spent in the Quicksand, two nights that had seen little sleep but much unwanted thought on faces and places she would rather forget.


At least she had Ulanan, and her work - always her work - to distract her.


Perhaps it was hypocritical of her to value the walls of her room and mind while damning the stifling, social claustrophobia imposed by those of the city itself, but for now that was not a distinction Antimony cared to justify.

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"She's just a kid!" Darien snarled as he lifted the young lalafell by his collar and slammed him against the wall just outside the coliseum. "Do you have any idea who her father is?"


The lalafell sobbed. "YesyesyesI'msorry."


Darien scowled, tightening his grip. "She needed to see three healers. Three!"


"I'm so sorry! I never meant to hurt her," the young man wailed, flailing small, desperate hands at Darien's forearm.


Darien stared, eyes narrowed, fury in his face. Then his expression slowly softened and he lowered his victim to the ground. "You're just a kid, too."


The lalafell slid to sitting and coughed, wiping his face on his sleeve. "Y-you're not going to kill me?"


"No," Darien said, frowning down at him.


"B-but they only send you-"


"Get out of here. And lay off the booze, kid. I don't want to ever see you again."


The lalafell scrambled to his feet and raced away as fast he could, not once looking back.

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The hallway was filled with the sounds of tearing paper, shreds slowly spilling over motionless feet.


"This.." a voice choked out.

"C-can't be happening.."


Breathing hitched, before throwing off into a heavy pattern; nearly hyperventilating. Trembling fingers made their way through ash-shaded hair while the Miqo'te struggled to regain his composure.




Arms fell limply to his sides.


"They need me.. they.." he trailed off, his jaw clenched with frustration and helplessness--unsure which emotion began or ended. Or whether they were the same all along.


A heavy, sickening pause. Silence saturated the room; looming and oppressing over the male's shoulders.


Suddenly, Vito raised a heel and kicked the trash from his boots.

A nervous, uncharacteristic laugh boomed through his body.


"They would not dare."

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Huddled over a small campfire, hidden in a rocky alcove high over drybone, The hipparion tribe explorer felt sick to the stomach. It wasn't because the possibility that the tribe might be moving soon, nor was it being alone in a strange place, nor was any of the local fauna poisonous.


It was the first time in many years she'd managed to over-eat, an alien experience for a seeker of the sagolii. At least, that's what she told herself, the truth was change would soon come to the tribe; for the better she knew deep down, but change nonetheless, and giving up what little familiarity remained of her father's tribe was gnawing at her.


"Still, giving up sandwurm, orobon and starvation for aldgoat, millioncorn and indigestion doesn't seem like a sacrifice at all..."


She concluded quietly, before rolling over and trying to sleep it off.


"...not even a little"

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With the image of Xydane’s back in mind, Clover could barely sleep that night.


Dear grandpa.


In this world, some of the things that break can’t be fixed again. Or perhaps they just need the right circumstances to be fixed. I've noticed that some people can’t be reached, can’t be saved. Not by me.


Dear grandpa, I wonder how many failures you’ve had to endure, and how you dealt with each of them. It’s hard to imagine you in such situations, but life is long, and no mornings come without their nights.


I hope something good will happen tomorrow.

It’s the way most of us live, I guess.

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Calernyn Stormbreaker frowned as he studied his older sibling. The crimson-haired, thrice-scarred traveler sipped his tea, eyes closed in a picture of inner peace, seemingly unaware of his younger brother's scrutiny. Around them, Cal's children ran barefoot through the garden, their laughter bell-like in the cool afternoon air of the seaside.


"You worry me, big brother." Cal adjusted his glasses, his frown simply deepening as Schezar opened his own eyes again. Crystalline violet versus emerald green eyes, elder and younger brother. Their gazes stayed locked for a few long moments, before the monk simply reached to pour himself another cup of tea. "Whatever for? You shouldn't fret overmuch. Enjoy life here with Marina, and your little ones."


Cal hissed a noise of irritation through clenched teeth. "I shall sleep more easily at night, once I know you won't end up on a foeman's pike somewhere. Why must you continue to take these risks?" Schez simply sipped his tea again, while Cal continued, "Let others fight for the crystal. Let others face the land's dangers, 'for coin and country'! Surely there are adventurers enough to go around?"


Schezar set his teacup down with the same serene, infuriating smile that his family knew too well. "I must be going. Thank you for the tea." Cal sighed, glancing over to the potted plant at the side of the table. "...fine. Anyroad, don't forget your..." The younger man's nose wrinkled. "...you still haven't explained what the sunflower's for."


The battle-hardened, dangerous-looking highlander picked up the potted sunflower with another mild smile. "To cheer a complete stranger up."




"In Gridania. Stay safe, baby brother."


The sigh was long-suffering, but the hug was heartfelt. "You're so strange, big brother."

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((OOC: As a reply to an awesome PM I received today. For some reason, I can't send any PM back, so this will do.))


In the morning, Clover is confused when she's told that someone left a gift for her. She takes no time to start reading the mysterious letter, hoping to find a clue as to who it could be from. The words she finds written there, however, are far from shedding light into the matter.


Her eyes open wider, her mind races. The Echo? Grandpa told her about it on some occasions, but it’s the first time she’s gotten the chance to actually see its effects. What’s clear is that someone has managed to take a look inside her mind, an unknown person who could be just anyone. Scary as the thought might be, she can’t help the rush of interest and curiosity to learn more.


The first thing she does is ask around the guild if anyone has seen the person who left the gift there, but no one seems to know anything about the matter.


“I must let that person know that I’m looking for them,” she decides next, and starts trying to send mental messages to whoever can hear them.


(“Who are you?”) Her thoughts keep asking as the day goes on, no matter where she is. (“Why are you hiding?”)

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No voice, no words answer Clover's call right away.


However, a brief mental image, as if half-remembered, flows gently across her mind - as well as the minds of other crystal bearers nearby:


The outline of an unfamiliar figure, back turned and viewed from behind. Clad in ebon, quietly and peacefully strolling through the woods. A faint flash of long, crimson hair.


A few notes of an old, oddly wistful tune, hummed beneath the leaves.


And an ornate, guarded sanctum in the Shroud, dedicated to the Twelve, visited by fireflies beneath the starlight.




The echo fades.

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"Oh, now I know this is a mistake."




"This name," the Elezen woman pointed at a list that sat on the desk before her, between piles of small glass-and-metal leveplates and boxes of varying sizes. The large window behind her was fogged over with frost, and her cheeks were red from the chill, giving her a festive look as she laughed. "U'tania! Isn't that the Miqo'te stable-girl from a few years ago?"


"Yes," the dark haired Elezen man answered, looking up from a desk that mirrored the woman's. He gestured with his quill, "And no. He changed his name to Mitari and he's a knight now."


She blinked at him, and shook her head. "What."


"Don't bother. It's not a mistake. Just do what the list says."


"No, listen," she held up the list. "It says U'tania is supposed to be sent one of the sexy leveplates and a pair of suggestively tight holiday pantelletes. Every other name on this list is a noble, a knight, or a lady of court, and all good Ishgardian folk."


"Oh, is that the 'sexy' list? I have the 'platonic' and 'family' leveplates over here. Very different pictures on them." He smirked and leaned forward, "Am I on that list?"


"No. Are you on those lists over there?"


He looked suddenly depressed. "No," but only took a moment to sigh, and then shrugged, "If the Lady Midichante wants to send a Miqo'te one of the sexy leveplates, it's not really our place to question. You now how she likes to skirt the edge of reason and taboo."


"Might as well be sending love letters to a chocobo," the lady observed, but nodded. "There's a few dozen names on this list. I just hope she didn't put the name on here on accident, or it'll be my neck when she blames me for the Miqo'te getting too excited." She took one of the 'sexy' leveplates and placed it in the box with red silk pantalettes. "At least pantalettes go on the outside of his bum. Some of the things in these boxes would get the Lady in trouble were they to come up in an inquisition."


"Are you sure I'm not on that list over there?"


"Yes, I am. I'm sorry. If there's an extra leveplate you might be able to take it, but I wouldn't count on it."


"What list are you on?"


She blushed. "That is none of your business!" And she slammed her hands on the box to seal it with sudden roughness. "Sexy leveplate and pantalettes from the Lady Midichante to some miqo'te named U'tania! Alright, done! Now can we just forget I said anything and get back to work please?"


A week later the poor woman would find out that it was a mistake and that she should have caught it, but she would successfully defer blame to man whose counsel she followed. The gentleman would never see any of the sexy leveplates. Mitari, however, would by then have already received a leveplate of his very own from a moogle parcel-carrier.



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With a heavy sigh, Illira let herself sink down onto the feather mattress in her newly acquired room at the Quicksand. She tiredly pulled the leather satchel’s strap over her head, letting it sink down to the ground. Slowly loosening the whiteknuckled grip she had just unconsciously subjected it to.


If the Elezen had any say in the matter, she would be leave Ul’dah on the speediest chocobo available, now that Antimony had been found and accounted for. But no, the woman couldn’t be trusted to carry out such a simple task as sending in progress reports, or even it seemed, checking her own mail. The look on her face when she had answered Illira’s knock on her inn room door had made that quite clear. Her presence and reason for visiting where entirely a surprise. Antimony didn’t even have the presence of mind or capacity to lie, cover up her inaction. Which honestly, was one of the few reasons that Illira had not insisted yet for her dismissal. Qualities such as that were hard to find in the world. Her work was good when she delivered it, but it was obvious at this point in the probationary employment that she had the concentration of the fruit flies that so often loved to congregate in the Ul’dahn markets.


Hopefully the woman would realize the severity of the situation and correct herself, though it seemed all too unlikely in the long term. Maybe Antimony was going senile. It would explain a lot, but it didn’t matter. One must own up to one’s responsibilities and actions, no matter the cost. Which was why she was here now, playing babysitter amidst this plague-ridden city.


Kicking the bag slightly to the side, Illira brought her still booted feet up on the bed, stretching herself out on her side over the coverlet. Maybe she would go to see Amaury while she was here. The one good thing left in the city, not that it had been left to stand. She had not sent him any letters in the past few years, not since before she had spent a spell down at that post in the Southern Shroud at least. Maybe he would be happy to see her, no one else ever was.

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"I'm sorry, miss, but Coerthas is beyond the jurisdiction of the Grand Companies. It's simply not in our or our chocobos' best interests to endorse travel so far north... ah, are you alright? Miss? You don't seem well..."


Coward. Selfish.


... Miss?"


She didn't want to go.


"... If you're set on it, the best I can do is offer rent of one to Drybone."


You're far too gentle.


"They're more kind to the dead than the living there, so there's no guarantee you'll find what you need to get into the Shroud, but..."


She needed to go.


"... You're five gil short, miss."


I can make it so they'll never. Follow you. Again.


"Er, that's not... okay. This girl'll take you to Black Brush. Give the ticket to the porter there, and they'll swap you out with a fresh one for the journey to Drybone. Uh, good... luck, miss."



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Kestlona Guhtgeiswyn looked over the message board in the Adventurers' guild, hoping to find a second job now that her Pugilist instructor ok her taking on a second guild.  The female Seawolf snorted at the open in the Goldsmith guild.  'Yeah, I can just see myself trying to be delicate with all of those gem and metals,' she thought to herself.  Her bothers would probably laugh their asses off if she took that.  'Weaver...nope...escort...oh, that kind of escort.'  She sighed, 'Might check it out late but I need a steady source of gil right now.'


"Hm," she mutter, "Gladiator looking for more students."  She tap her finger against her chin.  "Should check that.  Can't hurt to know other ways of making the bones of my enemies into powder."


An eyebrow went up at one posting. "Ah, the miners' guild is looking for workers."  The post listed the amount of gil that would be pay.  "Yes, this would be just the thing.  What they didn't sell themselves, I could probably sell myself."  She quickly made her way out of the Ul'dah Adventurers' guild, heading deeper into the city to try and find the Miners' guild.

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A loud explosion causes the building to rumble. Pebbles fall from the ceiling and land onto Dennthota's body as she lay on her bed with her arm's casually on her chest. A huge grin appears on her face as the prison erupts into panic. The sound of the footsteps of guards as they rush through the hall echo throughout the jail cells. 


And then another explosion, this one slightly closer than the last. The large roegadyn woman casually sits up out of her bed and looks towards the bars and that is when she spotted her. The roegadyn who looked very similar to her, wearing one of the Flames outfits. 


"Ah, so I trust the gil was enough then? Lets hurry up and do this. My ass is starting to cramp from being locked in this cell."


The mysterious woman opens up the jail cell and the two start to get undressed. Dennthota trades in her dingy prison clothes for a freshly cleaned Immortal Flames outfit. 


"Bye, love."


Denn blows a kiss to the woman as she settles comfortable into the space once occupied by Dennthota. Denn casually slips out through the chaos and into freedom's open arms. A blue haired hyur and a large green eye'd roegadyn wave at her and she smiles brightly at them before running in their direction, making her great escape.

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Sophia turned the corner into an alley narrow enough not to catch any light from the large moon that hung in the sky. Not a moment later, two silhouettes followed, the second one leading the first in an awkward, arm-locked shuffle.


"He followed you out of the Sands, jus' like you said 'e would," said the second man, a Miqo'te, as he pushed the first forward between Sophia and himself. The first man, a Hyur, cradled his arm; Sophia only barely caught the glint of blood reflect off his soaked sleeve. The Hyuran raised his head, breathing as hard as he could given the thick cloth wrapped around his mouth. 


The Miqo'te kicked him down onto his knees. "He's alone, but I'm sure we could get somethin' out of 'im if we had some time."


The man gave a wince at that, Sophia noticed. "No," she answered. "You've done your part. Leave us."


Disappointed, the Miqo'te backed out the alley, wordless.


Sophia dropped to one knee as well, placing a hand on the man's shoulder. "If you've been watching, then I can only guess you've figured out who I am."


The man's brow lowered and his eyes narrowed.


"Despite what you might think, we aren't evil. I take no pleasure in doing this, but as long as you continue to resist more blood will be spilled." Sophia gave his shoulder a gentle stroke. "We're here to help you, really."


At that, the man shook violently to free himself from her touch. Not accounting for how weakened he was, the man ended on his side in a slump, breathing heavier still. Sophia pulled her hand away and sighed. 


"For what its worth, I have a great admiration for this place," she said, cradling the man's head in her lap. "but I have a job to do." Taking the knife at her side, she slid it into his heart. His hand went up to grab hers, but it only fell within the next moment as his body tensed, then fell limp.

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The room was spacious, with sunlight streaming through large rectangular windows and a faint scent of myrrh. Fine furniture in exotic woods, all built to a lalafell's diminutive size, clustered here and there. C'kayah stood at the center of the room, watching as a young miqo'te woman carried his prize to a canopied day bed. He didn't remember the woman from their last meeting, which he took to be a good sign. Babajon Jajajon did nothing unintentionally. That he would engage such a woman showed that he had researched C'kayah's tastes.


The dark curtains of the day bed's canopy parted and a small hand took the box. Babajon's voice was thin, yet carried throughout the room.


"You had no trouble getting this?", the lalafell asked.


"None worth reporting", C'kayah replied from where he stood. The canopy fell closed, leaving the room in silence. C'kayah waited, his eyes wandering. The slim woman stood submissively, head bowed, tail curled decorously around one lean leg. The book shelves, he noted, carried a few new volumes. An instructively erotic tapestry showed young lalafell men wrestling and indulging in Menphinistic sport, also a new addition and entirely in character. As Babajon had researched C'kayah, so had the miqo'te studied Babajon.


A faint sound of wood sliding against wood hissed from behind the canopy. A tiny giggle followed. "I see you took my instructions most literally", Babajon said. "Twelve gold rings of Sil'dahn design, an Ishgardian seal for official documents, and the smallest finger of Tuturikku Gogorikku, my greatest enemy and my saddest loss."


C'kayah chuckled and hazarded a response. "The cemetary keepers near Drybone had taken good care of him", he said. "The tomb was well-sealed, and the body in fine shape for one three years gone."


"Do not speak of those who are your betters!", Babajon snapped angrily. C'kayah cursed inwardly, hoping he had not risked too much familiarity with the lalafell. His fear proved unfounded, however, as the voice continued. "Yet, you have done well. I accept your apology and your penance. Your period of expiation is over, your Ul'dahn privileges are restored."


C'kayah smiled to himself. It had been over ten years since a younger Babajon Jajajon had informed him that his ham handed attempts to steal a comfortable life for himself had attracted the ire of the Syndicate families. Now, a decade older and undoubtably wiser, his skills fully developed and matured, he would not waste this rare second chance.

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“So that is what the whistle does!” Kiht exclaimed as she examined the instrument, and the chocobo that had just approached her soon after she blew it.


The chocobo stood before Kiht; it was young one, but certainly not a chick. It had a saddle on it which meant that it had been trained and domesticated. However, there were no banners, markings or flags on the bird to indicate who it belonged to. Obviously, to whoever lost the whistle.


Kiht looked back to the chocobo with the whistle still held in her fingers. “I am not your master...”




“Just because I found this whistle does not mean I have to suddenly become your master as if it were ordained by the fates.”




“It is not like this is some kind of fantasy tale that might be told to children every dawn. I do not need another mouth to worry about feeding.”




“Gods you make a lot of annoying sounds! Quit bothering me.” Kiht then threw the whistle past the chocobo in an attempt to make it chase the object. The chocobo's head followed the whistle as it flew by, but the bird's body did not move from the spot. When the whistle crashed into a bush, the chocobo turned its head back to Kiht. “Kweh!”


“Ha! You are out of new sounds to make! Now be gone; I hate birds!” Kiht waved her hand dismissively.




“Changing the way you make the sound does not make it a different sound! But it was a good effort, you idiotic creature.”




“Hmmmm, very wel- wait a... You just made half a sound that you had already made before, did you not?




“Well, go and spit it out then! You are not fooling me.”




“I thought as such.” Kiht put her hands on her hips and knit her brows at the big bird. “Now what have you?”


The chocobo bent its knees, and lowered itself closer to the ground. It then motioned its head towards the saddle on its back.


“How do you even exist? You are a kind of loud, flightless, bright yellow birds with the cleverness of Ground Squirrels. You should have been extinct long ago.” Kiht lectured with crossed arms, and a disapproving scowl.


The chocobo simply motioned its head towards the saddle again.


“The ONLY reason I would take to your saddle is if I was desperately in need of a mount. I currently am not.”


Suddenly, a pack of six Shroud Wolves crashed through the nearby brush. They began barking, growling and snarling with the fur on their emaciated forms standing on end. Their toothed maws were foaming and drooling.


Kiht and the chocobo had obviously made too much noise; thus, attracting unwanted attention. She stood motionless for a brief moment; locked in a cross-armed posture, but her expression changed to one of shock.


“Kweh kweh?” The chocobo motioned towards its saddle once more.


The gods have a vicious sense of humor, and Kiht seemed to be a frequent target of it. She then darted to the chocobo.


Kiht held onto the saddle for dear life at first. The chocobo was running and navigating the terrain with ease as it bound through brush, across clearings and around rocks and trees. The wolves were left in the dust.


Despite fluctuating elevations, the chocobo hardly slowed. With the wind blowing through Kiht's hair, her feelings of fear were washed away as she quickly got caught up in the thrill of the ride.


“Whoo! You run like the wind, bird!”


From that moment on, Kiht's faithful chocobo would be known as Windrunner.

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Burned Cypress hugged her bare, red-hued knees, looking out on the rough encampment that she had sat herself down in all those weeks ago. She had stayed too long, felt as if she were almost a part of the landscape. It would be easy to simply fade into the cracked desert around her, so unlike the white capped mountains and dark, cavernous burrows of her home. Where else was there to go? The semi-permanent setup had been erected right outside the great stone Ul’dahn walls, was a sort of limbo. While many that were here found themselves frustrated and angry that they were stuck here, she found within it, a small piece of comfort. As though if she stayed here long enough, she would not have to face her failure once more. In limbo, it was one’s duty to simply wait, there was nothing that could be done.


Tucking her head now, letting the side of it rest down onto her knees, the roegadyn watched a mother try to round together her fluffy-tailed children for a scrappy meal of porridge. Cypress knew that she could not stay forever. Aiswys was right, she had created an empty space by abandoning her post, and it must be refilled, though it was not her fault that she could no longer fulfill the purpouse that she had inherited and upheld for so long.


Perhaps it was time to leave this purgatory. There was nothing to learn here, she would have seen it after all this time if there was something. Time keeps ticking by, it is the way of things, and by sitting she was wasting the little time that she was granted by Althyk upon this world.

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It took more thought and effort than an observer might imagine to pick a few fruits.


Filtered light dappled brown skin as thickly gloved hands pushed through thick nests of branches and leaves, ignoring the occasional scrape of wood on flesh. A tuneless hum sounded oddly hollow behind the plain, featureless mask the man wore, its blank face and empty eyes hiding away all form of expression and leaving only fiery red furred ears and tail with which to communicate.


Not that there was anyone around to talk to; no one save the forest, and the masked miqo'te did not think the Shroud appreciated their conversations.


Still, sometimes he liked to tease it, "Don't mind me, friend. Nothing here but us bushes and trees and... ahah!" One hand patted the twisted bush comfortingly while the other pulled back with an oblong, yellow-green object cupped in its palm. The masked angled down to the fruit as his hand turned it about. "Not one worm! A new record." The bush seemed to shiver with pride, or anger, or maybe that was the wind. With the Shroud, it was hard to tell, unless one had a Hearer.


Dirt and sweat-smeared shoulders shrugged in a stretch as the man arched is bare back and let out a great, heaving sigh. Calloused toes curled into the thick litter beneath his feet, and he allowed himself a moment to relish the soothing coolness just below the surface before directing his attention inward. He noted the stiffness in his spine as he moved, and the way the Shroud's air felt heavy in his lungs. A strange, numbing ache persisted in one thigh. Humming to himself once more, the masked miqo'te tucked the fruit into a mostly empty bag slung at one hip and returned his attention to the bush.


Muscled arms once more reached past branch and leaf, but the gestures were more deliberate now, less searching and more simply... feeling. The shrub shuddered and a faint smell reached his nose of something impossibly old and earthy, but the miqo'te did not fear. The mask and the gloves would hide him for this.


When his hands wrapped around another fruit, something pulsed through the leaves, rattling them into a chaotic music. He felt warmth through the gloves and the ancient scent grew stronger, sharper. Then in a careful gesture, he pulled the fruit from its stem and leaned back. In that instant, the shrub fell still but the warmth he'd felt lingered in the palms of his hands before traveling up his arms to settle into spine, lung, leg.


Red ears cocked lopsidedly. "Thank ya kindly," he muttered and dropped this fruit in alongside its partner in his bag. "I'll be moving along now, so don't worry. Now..." Blue eyes peered around at the dense forest through the round, dark holes of his mask.


"Who's next?"

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Arcane fire wreathed the blackened, wrought-mythril head of the aetheric focus. A deep violet glow began to emanate from the crystal within the stylized shooting star. Thought became action, became a manipulation of aetheric potential. Action became reality and a tremendous explosion rocked the desert as a bright pulse of intense, white-hot aetherial power condensed and expanded outward.


The miqo'te opened her eyes to witness the destruction she had wrought. Fully half a dozen figures lay motionless upon the ground, their features and garments blackened beyond recognition. The sand beneath their bodies had glassed, melting beneath the intensely energetic aetherial manifestation. The cool evening air battled the residual heat, rising in distorted waves from the blast radius.


Aeriyn Ashley blinked and glanced at the staff in her right hand. Thanalan hadn't changed much since she had left, two years previous. The bandits were still fools who would attack anyone not wearing rags. The miqo'te slung her staff across her shoulders and made her way back to the old Allagan road.


She wasn't far from the city now--Ul'dah loomed in the distance, a shining beacon of wealth, intrigue... and more misery than either. Aeriyn had left the city of her rebirth three years after the Calamity. It still looked exactly the same, though perhaps there were more shanty towns cropping up around the city walls.


"This is not a homecoming," she muttered, seemingly to no one at all.


"It's not," a soft, lyrical voice agreed. "It's more important than that."


"Rinah," Aeriyn said, the miqo'te's ears flattening slightly. "You followed me here?"


A soft, golden glow emanated from behind and Aeriyn's violet eyes narrowed as a tiny winged form floated into her vision. The newcomer was perhaps only slightly taller than the length of Aeriyn's forearm. The fairy's body practically glowed with aether, leaving slowly-fading motes of golden light wherever she went, her vividly-colored wings fluttering rapidly.


"Had to," Rinah said, flitting across to land lightly on Aeriyn's left shoulder. "We're in this together, you and I."


"You should have stayed in Limsa. It's not safe for you here," Aeriyn objected.


"It's not safe for you here, either," Rinah pointed out. "This is very likely to be dangerous for you, Aeri. You have a much better chance of surviving if I'm with you."


"Even if it kills you? You've been cut off from the flow of aether. If you die--"


"I know," Rinah cut her off. "It doesn't change anything. If you die, I'll never be able to find out what happened to me. I have a good reason to risk it."


"I'm not completely convinced I can help you," Aeriyn said. "I'm not an evoker."


"You've practiced. You've been studying the processes I've shown you. There are better arcanists, Aeri, but I trust you far more than I trust them. You know how it feels to be cut off, adrift. You saved my life, such as it is, and I'm going to protect yours."

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A member of the syndicate relaxes in his lofty estate within Ul'Dah. He is simply drinking the finest wine and crunching some numbers on a quiet night, He but for some reason he is unnerved. Its too quiet in his estate no matter how skillful the guards he hired are he should at the least be able to hear them move about, but before he can investigate the matter the door opens and he hears a cold unfamiliar voice.


"This is going to be a very simple deal you and I have, I know who you are and the kind of connections you have so there is no need for us to play any games...you listen or you die its simple". While the voice shrouded in darkness spoke in a cold matter the syndicate member was rightfully terrified, he was in a situation where death was assured upon refusal he then anxiously asked


"What do you want me to do"


The voice replied "A number of things but for now every now and then I need you to make certain crystal depot's 'understaffed', ill send you messages regarding which depots and on what day"


The syndicate member replied "I can do it but eventually both the guard and syndicate will find it suspicious, when they do it will only be a matter of time before I am found out" he said with a shake in his voice and sweat running down his face.


The voice said with a slight laugh "Then you better do a good job so you are not found out... unless you wish to lose your life I advise you take orders from me"


The syndicate members mind is in a panic and only out of survival he says only one word "yes"


The voice says "Good I will be in touch, Oh and I apologize but your estate has gotten slightly messy due to your guards incompetence do make sure to clean up."


The door opens and then closes, the syndicate member now stands there surrounded by darkness and silence something he feels he will have to get use too if we wishes to live.

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((*licks thread, sticks to top of forum*


If anyone from Gilgamesh would like to start something similar, I'll be happy to sticky it, too. :) ))

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((Thanks for the sticky! :D Celebratory snippet.))




"I can't wear that - it's far too expensive!"




"No, Ulanan, I can't possibly expect you to--oh here, what about this?"




"Don't look at me like that. It's... simple. The purple is alright, isn't it...? Not too tacky? It's not as though I need to dress for a party or something. Aah, in fact, no. No, no, no. I don't need this at all. Really, the clothes D'hein has lent me are more than enough."




"... is it that bad? The smell?"




"I... well... Oh alright. But I refuse anything more than this! And I'll... make certain to repay you. As soon as I find employment again..."




"I know, I know. I just... want to lead a good example for Airos and..." A sigh. "Alright, I'm ready."




"I do hope she returns soon."

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