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About Roen

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    A Free Sworn

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    Roen | Nabi
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  1. Roen

    The Art of Cigarettes and Fireflies

    “He isn’t a hero. He killed so many people today. …But he still saved me.” Commission: Anchor Saltborn By ADPong This commission was inspired by this scene.
  2. Roen

    Cigarettes and Fireflies

    Album of cool art I've collected! Either commissions or just awesome art drawn by a talented friend. (I am looking at you Ruen)
  3. Roen

    Cigarettes and Fireflies

    The last of the lanterns were starting to blink out in the streets of Shirogane, the residents bidding farewell to the day as they readied themselves for the respite of slumber. The crickets’ quiet chirps filled the night air, and the stars littered the sky, matching each light that had been extinguished below by waking ten more above. But the beauty of night was lost on Nabi, her gaze solely upon the man she was laying next to. This was her usual nightly ritual, to drink in the view of Anchor Saltborn as he slept. They would murmur quietly about something or another, and slowly but surely his eyelids would grow heavy. Sometimes he would stifle a yawn, trying to continue to listen to her usual rambles, but as her voice grew softer, Nabi could see in the corner of her eyes his blinks growing slower until finally, sleep claimed him. She was usually soon to follow, but just for a bit, she relished in watching him, as peace settled over his features. But this night, it was not so. Her eyes didn’t leisurely roam over him, carefully tracing the scar that traveled across his face, wondering how old he was when someone marked him so. She didn’t marvel over the tattoos on his cheeks, those that still resembled thorns on a stem of a flowerless rose. Nor did she lean in, almost bringing her lips to press against his, so slightly parted. It looked as if there were words held just within, waiting to escape. Perhaps if she kissed him, she would learn what unspoken sentiments were on the tip of his tongue. But she didn’t want to wake him, so only her breath was allowed to brush his lips. But there was always tender affection that swelled her chest as she lingered just a finger’s breadth away from him. She usually found herself beaming, remembering how soft the tip of his nose was. Despite his scarred face and weathered skin, when she lightly grazed the very tip of his nose with her own, it was always surprisingly soft. But Nabi didn’t revel in any of these things. Not this night. Instead, all she saw were the dark circles under his eyes, lending his sallow cheeks a more ashen hue. Even in sleep, the lines between his brows didn’t diminish. Was it exhaustion? Pain? Fear? All of them, Nabi told herself, and there was a cold shudder that rose from deep within. All those nights she doted on his sleeping visage, she had never thought that parts of him were suffering, his arm slowly becoming lost to the energies of the mutated crystals unseen beneath the enhancement. How could she have been so negligent? She was there when the Curator brutally drove the metal rods into the bones of his forearm, so that they could make him a more deadly killer, a pawn in their bloodsport. Why did she allow him to keep it this long? Anchor needed to get stronger before another surgery, she told herself. Then they both put Batuhan’s needs first, because the Xaela’s condition was much more dire. But after that? Shouldn’t she have insisted that Anchor not return to Ironsong until the enhancement was removed? Why didn’t she beg, plead, or say anything to get him to agree to do away with that cursed gauntlet, before they set out for the ruins deep in the heart of the Steppe? Nabi already knew the answer. She had grown too complacent. Too happy. She was busy making him a nameday cake. Planning beach picnics. She wanted to cry and laugh ruefully at the same time. While she was sharing sunsets and fireflies, his arm was slowly being corrupted and warped. So when Anchor stepped up to protect her, when he took it upon himself to become her shield against an angry spirit that haunted the ruins, it costed him dearly. The ghost drained his aether and scrambled his memories, and destabilized the crystals beneath the metal, causing them to shatter and embedded themselves further along his arm. Shael blamed Otsuyu, the ghost of the ruins. But Nabi knew better. She herself allowed this to happen. She was the reason that the gauntlet was on Anchor in the first place. He was forced to use the gauntlet and his aether because of what he did for her. And they had all volunteered to travel to the ruins for her sake. None of it would have happened, if it weren’t for her. Nabi could look on him no longer. Her eyes were spilling over with hot tears, her chest starting to burn. She had refused to show her despair during the surgery, and even after. Anchor couldn’t know of her guilt. He would only be upset, and he needed to focus all his energies on his recovery. For unlike after the escape from the mountain, Anchor now seemed more frail than ever. At least in the fighting pits, his tenacity always burned stubbornly behind his gaze, no matter how broken his body was. But after the ruins, racked with pain and exhaustion both physical and mental, Nabi watched as the man before her struggle with keeping his thoughts in the present. Otsuyu had ravaged his memories, and Nabi wasn’t sure if all could be regained and when. Nabi quickly brushed away the moisture from her cheeks, pulling her brows into a tight frown. She couldn’t let Anchor see her like this, just in case he accidentally woke. She pressed her lips in a determined line instead, and curled in closer to him. She almost listened for his heartbeat, a sound that used to bring her comfort in times of darkness. But now she could only hear that distant thrum, that other presence that beat and hummed alongside his heart. Nabi shut her eyes, burying her face into the pillow as more tears began to flow. Not even the sight of the fireflies taking flight would give her peace. She balled herself up beneath the blankets, thankful that the sheets muffled her quiet sobs through the night.
  4. I've always wanted to share with people here all the art that have been created for the characters in the story thread Cigarettes and Fireflies. So I will post them here as I obtain the permission from the various artists to repost them! They are all lovely and some of them from specific points in the story. I can't wait to share them all! Also the respective artists and where to find them will be posted under each piece. I invite others (I am looking at you Anchor/Ruen and Ghoa) to post any art if you'd like too since I know you have some really great ones! You are totally welcomed to do so! The first commission: Nabi Amongst the Fireflies Artist: Sangrde @ https://www.deviantart.com/sangrde
  5. Roen

    Cigarettes and Fireflies

    Years ago... Chanai never relished in the visions, even though everyone else heralded them as gifts from the gods. When she had her first vision at the age of twelve, Siban declared her one of the blessed daughters of Nhaama, seeing through the eyes of the Dusk Mother, able to interpret the omens of things to come. To Chanai, they were but nightmares that came to her in the light of day. So when another revelation came to her, Chanai tried to dig her fingernails into her palm and shut her eyes, shaking it off. She had so little time to spare. But it was never any use, there was no denying the Sight, for who could refuse the gods? But this time, it was the flowers who would not be spurned. Even as her hands worked to carefully dip the golden petals into the vials, her fingers lost their strength, the glass tube sliding from her grip. Her lips parted in a silent gasp and her entire body stilled. Her Sight took her elsewhere, no longer kneeling before the flower bed in the atrium. “Mide… Mide, don’t! Please!” The woman’s voice was desperate and hoarse. Chanai stood stark still, as she stared down at the woman on the ground. A Xaela, in her mid twenties mayhap, was trying to propel herself forward, trembling arms and elbows pulling the rest of her immobile body along the ground. Dark crimson smears stained the rug behind her, and it was still flowing fresh from the woman’s mouth and eyes. Poison. Chanai knew the sight all too well. Behind the dying woman was a mound of pillows and blankets, a large bed surrounded by candles and incense. Two goblets were turned on their sides, the liquid that had spilled from within splotching the furs below. And upon the bed was another figure, this one male, with dark lifeblood staring to coagulate around his lips and jaw. But the woman had somehow survived long enough to drag herself halfway across the yurt. Even before Chanai turned her head to follow the dying woman’s gaze, she heard the cry. And her heart stopped. It was a newly born baby -- she would know that cry anywhere. It reminded her of her own daughter she held in her arms so many years ago. And to her horror, the scene witnessed before her seemed all too familiar. An older woman, draped in a heavy necklace of bones and carved rocks -- those that marked her as the tribe’s udgan -- was cradling that infant in her arm. And the other, held a knife, its sharpened blade gleaming orange in the distant candlelight. “Mide... she is a but a baby,” the doomed Xaela woman croaked. Her breaths were coming haltingly between sobs and her tears did little to wash away the red that was still spilling from her mouth. She did not have long, but there was a stubbornness in her eye; she would plead for her child until her last breath. “You… you can hide the truth. You can raise her… none need to see the mark! You need not…” “I am sorry, Yisu. This must be done.” Such a look of sorrow the older Xaela wore, Chanai could not doubt the depth of her regret. “She bares the mark. It bodes ill for all. For all.” The udgan repeated, as if to convince herself as well as the fading mother of the deed that needed to be done. “You… you were the one that b-blessed us! Consecrated our union! That it would bring forth peace!” Yisu’s despair turned into one of fury and indignation even in her final moments. She spat out more blood as her voice rose, she would have screamed at the elder if not for her lungs being choked of her last breaths of air. “I was wrong!” The udgan was shaking now as well, her body racked with remorse. “I thought the visions were of peace. Not… this. Not this!” “P-please… I… I b-beg… of you…” Yisu could no longer move, and her head sank with the heavy weight of impending death. She could only claw at the rug beneath her as her hair fell around her face and her body convulsed one last time before it fell limp. She could not even lay her eyes upon her own child one last time. Chanai turned away, as the shadow of the elder Xaela and the babe was cast on to the far wall of the yurt. She could not watch. She closed her eyes as the babe’s coos came to an abrupt end. Her own harsh intake of breath broke the silence around her, and Chanai’s eyes snapped open. The golden flowers still swayed all around her, but the extract from the vial she was holding was no more, the glass having fallen to the soft soil, spilling all its contents. Chanai chided herself quietly as she snatched the vial up again. She didn’t have much time before the golden colors started to fade from its peak. She also didn’t turn when she heard the familiar clacking of wooden staff upon stone, accompanied by the clattering of bones and beads. Of course, she thought to herself. Of course, she would be here. “Ten winters,” Siban broke the silence. Despite her advanced years, the clarity of her voice still could cut through stone. “She was never meant to live this long.” Chanai didn’t turn, but her lips pressed into a tight frown. “It’s because of the mark.” Her fingers trembled but she exhaled to calm them. The proportions of the reagents must be exact. “Have the flowers shown you the truth as well? It was never about peace.” Her words tasted bitter on her tongue and Chanai made no effort to soften them. Siban did not answer right away, but she did approach closer to the center of the atrium. The winter chill had already clung to the stones, and there were patches of ice along the crevice. But the goosebumps that ran along Chanai’s arms was from the memory of the wet sound of a blade’s end meeting flesh. She focused on mixing the solvent, then gently starting to soak the petals in them again. If Siban brought others to take her former pupil back to the tribe, then so be it. But until she was forcibly torn from her task, she was determined to work on the medicine for her daughter. “They showed me the same time they showed you,” Siban’s voice was quieter and nearer. It was also full of guilt. Just like Mide’s. “Like all visions, portents can be interpreted differently. Even the most violent storms give way to the clearer skies after. Mide was afraid that…” “I don’t care anymore!” Chanai snapped back, cutting the elder off. “Ill omens and great change wrought through destruction… this was never what I wanted.” She set the vial upon the ground, digging its tip into the soil to settle it before she turned to look at Siban. There was fury that was burning within her. “I cursed my own blood for a futile ambition. I stole her life even before it began.” Her clenched hand shook along with her voice. “So I intend to do everything in my power to give her a normal, full life.” The aged woman’s visage didn’t flinch at her pupil’s outrage. The lines around her eyes lengthened as she studied the flowers behind the Xaela. Her wrinkled hands clutched heavily onto the gnarled wooden staff she was leaning on. “You may give her another five… ten years? Then what?” Chanai’s nostrils flared. Siban knew as much as she did. The udgan had seen as much as she did. But the elder didn’t love her child like she did. Siban only saw what the gods chose to show her. She didn’t feel the resolve, the absolute undeniable conviction that a mother would, to defy all the gods to give her daughter what she deserved. “Then I do whatever it takes,” Chanai rasped with a lift of her chin. Then satisfied that none but her mentor came for her, and that she would be powerless to take her back, the younger Xaela turned back to her work. I will save Nabi. Whatever it takes.
  6. Roen

    Cigarettes and Fireflies

    Kugane had always been a busy port city, but the pier was where it was the noisiest and most crowded. Ships were always coming and going, with streams of seafarers and passengers disembarking and or loading ships. Traders and merchants were ever eager to make koban, and sailors were hungry for whatever diversions the land had to offer. There was always so much to see and smell on the docks. Whenever Nabi begged to accompany her mother there, Chanai always warned her not to lose sight of her, nor let go of her hand or the fabric of her robe. Nabi always thought that it meant there were dangerous people there. The stories of pirates weren’t lost on her after all, even at the tender age of eight winters. But under the watchful eye of the Sekiseigumi, she always felt safe, knowing that there wasn’t any real threat of violence or thievery. But she clung to her mother’s skirts dutifully each time, while her wide eyes wandered about, taking in all the sights. Once Nabi was in her teens, her mother felt more at ease in letting her go about the city as she pleased. But the docks she still cautioned her daughter against. So it became Nabi’s little secret to sneak onto the piers whenever her mother left the shores of Kugane to journey to Yanxia. While she never considered herself a disobedient child, she was always curious about the lands her mother journeyed to. Nabi was not yet allowed to go with her mother offshore, so sitting on the docks, usually on a pile of crates as she watched the ships disappear into the horizon, was as close as she could get to imagining the lands beyond. She remembered vaguely the tall grass that lined the plains of the Steppe, and the throng of yurts with horses and children running about. But as the years went by, those images were losing their clarity, fading from her memories. She still recalled the sea of fireflies though, that first night when she was lost by herself in the plains. It was a sight she would never forget. Such were the daydreams that Nabi replayed before her eyes as she stared off into the ocean, when sounds of shouting caught her attention. Nabi paused, her hand just hovering over her bag of roasted chestnuts, looking to where the ruckus was coming from. It was a boy -- no a man, he was too tall for a boy -- with skinny arms and lean features. And there was a tattoo on one side of his face, on his dirt ridden cheek. It was the mark, rather than his unwashed appearance, that caught her eye. She thought it was pretty, like the bent stem of a rose with all the thorns. But it had no flower. The scruffy looking hyur was grousing at another bigger sailor who was threatening him about stealing. If there hadn’t been other vendors yelling and hawking their wares, Nabi was certain that this heated exchange would have caught the attention of the law. But the larger sailor didn’t seem intent on calling on the authorities; instead he curled his hand into a fist and held it up in between them. It made Nabi hop off her perch nervously, as she started to make her way back toward the Hostelry. But she couldn’t keep her eyes off the dispute. The large sailor reached to grab the tattooed man by the arm, but the thinner male jerked away with a furious look. It looked as if though there might be impending violence, but the younger man spun away and made his way off the pier, leaving the sailor fuming. But curiously, he still didn’t call for the Sekiseigumi. Wide eyed and stilled, Nabi watched as the tattooed man stalked by her, and it was obvious he didn’t notice her for he roughly shouldered past. Nabi stumbled to the side, but in the press of the crowded dock, the hyur also didn’t see the small pouch that dropped from his belt. When Nabi saw the bigger male also turn away in a huff, she bent to retrieve the dropped purse. The tattooed man was already at the end of the pier by the time she raised it to call for him. But what would she call him? A man of thorns? It should have mattered to Nabi that the younger man also did not bear a favorable disposition when he jerked away from the other sailor, or that he was unwashed and looked unkempt, and even somewhat sickly. At least, these were all the reasons that she could hear in her head as Mimiyo lectured to her about staying away from strangers, but it didn’t really matter to her. He dropped something accidentally and what if it was important to him? And without knowing how to get his attention amongst the rowdy atmosphere of the pier, she hurried after him. After weaving through the mass of people, Nabi managed to follow him around three more corners before she caught a glimpse of him entering the canals. Now both her mother and Mimiyo’s voice were louder than ever in her head. She was never to go down into the canals, after all. And looking into the long dark tunnel that seemed endless before her, Nabi was starting to understand why. I am only going to return this and then leave as soon as possible, Nabi promised those voices and herself, gathering her courage to take a few more steps in. With each corner she rounded, she stretched her neck as far as possible, just trying to spot the owner of the small pouch she carried. A smile of relief brightened her features when she turned into a narrower canal and finally spotted him. The humidity was starting to weigh her clothes, and the stale odor of the aqueducts stung her nose. But she was determined in this task. She paused just at the bend, her face half hidden behind the stones as she watched the tattooed man settle down near one of the steaming vents, possibly for warmth. He had a small rolled blanket nearby and a pack as well. Did he live here? Does he not have a home? Mimiyo did warn her that there were unsavory and dangerous folk in the canals. Nabi chewed her lips, her tail swishing side to side nervously as she hesitated. What would she say? What if he thought she stole it? What if he was still angry? Nabi frowned to herself. What was the point of her coming down here if she was just going to back out now? She straightened and exhaled. She was sure he would simply understand if she just explained-- “Ya lost little thing?” A gruff voice behind her made Nabi jump. She spun around to see the larger sailor she had seen earlier on the dock, except now he was accompanied by two other hyurs. And they were all wearing blades by their hip. “A place like this ain’t for the likes o’ ya.” “Oh! Yes! Sorry! I’m-- I was--” Nabi squealed, her words turning into something incoherent as her lips started to tremble and her breath caught in her throat. Suddenly she was recalling all the worst possible stories that she had ever heard about the canals and they were reverberating loud in her head. She was sure her heart was going to leap right out of her chest the way it was racing. “Now I think she’s gonna cry.” One of the other hyur tutted. “Git. Git on outta here.” He looked back to the larger sailor, dismissing her as if she was a bug. “Ya sure he’s down here?” Nabi didn't wait for the answer; she skittered past them, nearly tripping over herself as she did so. The three men strode past her and turned into the narrow tunnel, their hands resting on the hilt of their swords. Nabi was sure it was the tattooed man they were seeking. But much to her relief, no shouts or any sounds of conflict came soon thereafter. The three men’s voices continued to grow distant, and when she couldn’t hear anything they were saying, Nabi poked her head around again and found that indeed, the tattooed man wasn’t there any more. And the three sailors continued their way further down the canal. What was she still doing down here? Now Nabi was scolding her own self. Perhaps she wasn’t meant to return whatever was in this pouch. It was a silly idea, she was certain Mimiyo would say just the same. But as Nabi was about to turn back, she spotted something in the corner of her eye. It was a small slip of fabric, part of that bedroll she had seen earlier, peeking out from the grated vent alongside the wall. It was where the tattooed man was sitting before. Licking her lips, Nabi craned her neck again to make certain the three men were far down the tunnel, before she too rounded the corner and approached that very spot. Indeed, there was a cavity that was well hidden in the shadows, low to the ground just next to the vent. And there was a small pack and a rolled up blanket there. How clever! Nabi told herself as she knelt down. A little hidey hole. She retrieved the pouch from her belt and tucked it into the pack, then after a thought, stuffed the bag of roasted chestnuts there too. Who knows? If he had no home, he could also be hungry. And these were delicious snacks. But when she started to hear the grumbling of the three men again, she bolted up and raced out of the canals as fast as she could. Her task was complete and the canal was still scary. But by the time she returned home, there was a silly smile about her face. It was as if she went on her own adventure, just as her mother did! Nabi wouldn’t be able to tell her about it, she was sure she would receive a stern scolding besides. And she had no plans of returning there ever again! But still, there was a sense of triumph that settled upon her shoulders. That silly smile returned when, a few suns later, Nabi spotted the tattooed man again on the docks. He looked as surly as ever, but unhurt. Which meant the three men didn’t find him. It wasn’t that she thought he was a good person but… his tattoo was nice and she didn’t want to think of anyone getting hurt. “Did you swallow something you shouldn’t?” Her mother’s hand upon her shoulder made Nabi jump. Chanai was looking at her, a curious expression twisting her lips. “Why are you smiling like that?” Nabi blinked, her eyes wide as saucers. She couldn’t possibly tell her mother what she did, and yet… her finger automatically rose and pointed at the tattooed man across the pier. “I returned something to him that he dropped on the docks, the other sun.” She shrugged her small shoulders. “I am glad to see he’s okay.” Her mother followed her gaze, her own becoming distant and pensive. Nabi saw that look in her mother’s eyes from time to time, where she would go quiet suddenly, and her eyes would glaze over as if she was seeing some mirage in front of her. She blinked out of it after a few moments, as she always did. Her hand squeezed upon her daughter’s shoulder and she looked back down at her. “You are to never go back into the canals again.” Chanai’s voice held a firm warning. Nabi stared up at her, her mouth agape. This wasn’t the first time her mother just happened to know something that Nabi never told her, but it was the first time she seemed upset with something. Or at least, there was something that seemed unsettled about her mother’s usually serene air. Nabi didn’t try to deny it, she just nodded, and started to blubber out a response. “I-I didn’t mean.... I won’t! I promise. I’m sorry!” Chanai lowered herself to her knees, leveling her gaze with Nabi’s own. There was no ire in her mother’s soft voice, and her hand rose to cradle Nabi’s cheek. “I am not angry with you. Just promise me you won’t go down there anymore. I know you were just trying to be helpful, but I don’t want you getting hurt. Now… or later.“ She sighed, and Nabi thought her mother seemed more sad than anything. And that only made Nabi fret and nod even more vigorously. “I promise! Really! Never again!” “Good,” Chanai said quietly, gently caressing Nabi’s cheek with her thumb. But her eyes drifted back across the dock to where the tattooed man was continuing to go from ship to ship. That sadness then left the older Xaela’s face, giving way to something more pensive. “There will be another time,” she whispered to herself. Then drawing a deep breath, her mother rose and took her by her hand. “My next trip to Yanxia, you are coming with me. Would you like that?” Nabi gasped, beaming up at her mother. All thoughts of the tattooed man and the canals flitted away with the excitement. “Oh! More than anything! I would love to!” Chanai nodded and began walking again, and Nabi followed eagerly. Her mother's path led her further down the pier, her pace slowing when she came upon a ship that had recently docked. Nabi's gaze followed up the tall main mast of the ship to the flag flying above, a black crow holding a blade upon blue. “This will be the ship we will travel upon,” Chanai said quietly, giving her daughter a sidelong glance. “They are Confederates, so be wary and careful around them. But their deal is fair.” Nabi nodded dumbly to her mother’s advice, her mouth parted wide open in awe as she stared up at the ship. Her eyes drank in the sight of the sails and the colors painted on them. And the name upon it... it strangely made her smile. The idea that something strong could still sing, it felt right. She whispered the name to herself, the vessel that would carry her and her mother to and fro to the mainland. Ironsong.
  7. Roen

    Hi Hello Hey

    Hello! Welcome! (and what a cute smile)
  8. Roen

    Cigarettes and Fireflies

    The fresh scent of soil. The tickle of the threadlike roots as they ran over her fingertips. The firmness of the pebbles rolling over her skin when she dug into the ground with her bare hands. These were the sensations Nabi recalled as she felt herself sinking into the ground, through the carved stones of the ruins and into earth beneath it. She imagined herself made of rainwater, falling free from her sleeping form above, seeping through the layers of the soil, her senses brushing over the smallest details that she came across. She could see the glimmering shards of crystals embedded beneath the earth, thousands of them, like the stars that lit the night sky. They shimmered most brightly towards the center of the atrium, as if countless stars had came together to form a cluster of constellations. Nabi stared at it in wonder, and without thinking, found herself reaching for them. It would be the closest thing she would come to, holding the stars within the palm of her hands. And as she approached, she could hear a distant hum, a melody that was more felt than heard, like a soft vibration through the earth. It was resonating from the center of it all, but it felt distant and muffled. She inhaled and parted her lips as if to answer back with a song of her own, only she couldn’t. She wasn’t here bodily after all, there was no air beneath the ground. She could only reach, so she did. But just as her fingertips neared them, she felt a barrier in front of her, as if her palm came to lay flat against a wall made of clear glass. She could not reach further, but as she pressed, she saw the faint pattern of runes starting to take form beneath her hand. The more Nabi pushed forward, the brighter the runes glowed, taking on a cold amber hue. She tried to call out again, to the choir that was somewhere beyond this invisible screen. Then she felt it, the soft faint brush of a root as thin as a string. It reached out through the soil from the opposite side, coming to curl around her fingers. She gently enclosed her hand around it, and as she did so, the amber pattern began to crack, fissures growing through its length. She could not hear it shatter, not in this plane of existence, but she felt the song that was trapped behind it suddenly rushing through her, reverberating through her core. All at once, she felt an entire net of entwining roots reach out and embrace her, and through that touch, she could feel their stems rising above the ground. And beyond them, she could hear the whispers of the petals above. They were singing. And with each note, they were plucking different chords of her soul, each emotional chime rippling throughout her entire being. She felt welcomed. She felt at peace. And as each note flowed through her, she could feel them expanding outwards, like the swell of an ocean wave reaching out into the vast sea. That was when she felt something far below, deep beneath the mountain. It was still and quiet, as if fast asleep. Nabi couldn’t quite see or feel what it was, but the gentle swells were barely able to reach it, only able to greet it with the most softest of whispers. Nabi thought if the song was just a little stronger, perhaps whatever it was beneath the earth, could hear it too. But then she heard his voice. “To me now.” It was distant, barely audible, almost buried by the song of the flowers that soaked the soil all around. But those words, they reached into her very core. It was a call she could never deny. It sent ripples throughout her thoughts that pushed away all else. She could almost feel his breath against her cheek as he whispered, but as soft and reassuring as those words tried to sound, she could hear the dread buried beneath them. I have to go. Where her descent into the earth was effortless, trying to ascend back upwards was like trying to swim upstream. Everything around her, the song, the soil, the crystals… they all pulled and tugged at her, wanting her to stay. But he needs me. Nabi implored them, all the things of the earth, to understand why she had to go. She couldn’t deny him. There was an ache that tightened in her chest at his call, and it would not relent until she went to his side. It had felt so tranquil here, so perfect, that she had almost forgotten all else; why she had come, and those she had left behind. The flower’s song would be answered another time. The presence beneath the mountain had to wait. The constellations of crystals, the warm embrace of the earth, Nabi peeled away from all of it, trying to return, to claw back toward the surface. But the higher she climbed, colder it became. She couldn’t see her breaths, but she could feel the chill seeping into her lungs. Had she left him in the cold? She swore she would never do that again, not after the shed, the cold and the dark would never have him. But he felt so far away. Nabi curled her fingers and she could feel the threads of the roots that were still wrapped around her fingertips. She closed her hand tight and brought them to her lips, and she whispered her plea. She could feel that familiar warmth that always grew within her palm whenever she spoke to the earth, and the tendrils answered, glowing faint with their golden light, before the warmth raced upwards toward the atrium above. And she could sense that he was there, standing amidst a bed of vibrant petals, waiting for her. She silently asked them to lend him their light, to protect him just a little longer. I’m coming.
  9. Roen

    Free Company & RP Trouble

    In the years that I've been with FFXIV, I've actually never relied on an FC for my RP. It isn't that I didn't try to join in with what was going on with the FC at the time, but I've always had Roen's story with people that were not in the FC I was in at the time. And that was totally fine. I do think that finding an FC that's a right fit RP wise is hard. At least, I've found it so. The FC's I've stayed with, I've mostly just hung around for OOC attitude. I've yet to take part in any FC driven storyline. (I tried couple of times but it didn't actually happen for whatever reason) Now I am in an FC that was made just with a few friends. We have a house that is open to public RP (an inn in Shirogane!) but nothing FC driven. And lots of activity or lack thereof of the FC in general doesn't really concern me. I go find my RP with people I am interested in RPing with, whether they are in my FC or not. So I wish you luck in finding an FC that might fit you! But running your own, however small is fine too! Just don't let either choices restrict the RP you might find.
  10. Roen

    New To FF14 RP

    Hello! Welcome to Balmung! As a person who is loathed to re-level anything and yet with alts that I want to play with or glamours I want on other classes, don't forget you can boost yourself to level 60 but it will take a bit out of your wallet. As for the general RP scene itself, I would point you to the Balmung event calendar, there are usually events/areas you can poke your head into for RP on any given day. There is also a Balmung RP tumblr site you can check out as well. Otherwise, I would browse this site and just see if anyone interests you and send them a PM! Everyone's pretty friendly. Have fun out there!
  11. Roen

    The Screenshot Thread [Tag Your Spoilers]

    Some screenshots from RPs lately.... Anchor. Ghoa, and Shael accompanied Nabi to the Reunion during the Archery Competition! Akhutai was there too but off camera. Nabi was captivated to see a Xaela competitor participate without any clothes on. "I suppose I ought to return as well, if that's all. Though we will be staying in Shirogane for some time longer, until this business is all behind us. So I will be close by if I'm needed." "We..." Nabi echoed, with a hint of prodding lilt to her voice. "We," Ghoa repeated, with a hint of amusement. "Lehko'a will be staying with me until this mess is done, loathe as I am to have to keep him overlong from home." Nabi's eyes warmed, possibly reflecting the setting sun. "Perhaps... you are his home." Ghoa's cheeks flushed a dark red, she seemed to be struggling for a moment to come up with an answer. She finally cleared her throat, nonchalantly shrugging a shoulder, though the blush remained. "P-perhaps so." There was a small, knowing smile as she dropped her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. "I'm guessing you'd know something about the subject yourself, so?" "And who said there be an end? As you said, you won't stop until I say I am satisfied, isn't that right?" Nabi rolled her shoulders at him coyly. "Who knows when and if that will ever happen?" "I." An incredulous huff escaped him, lips quirking up on one end to match it, "Aye. Selfish as ya be, I imagine there be little chance in it ever."
  12. Roen

    Cigarettes and Fireflies

    It felt as if the moist ground was embracing her feet as she walked, the earth seeping up in between her toes with each step. The soft sands kissed her flesh and the light ocean breeze caressed her cheeks, much like a back of a gentle hand tenderly brushing over her skin. It made her think of him. Nabi pulled the light shawl just a little bit tighter around her shoulders. Despite the warmth of summer, the mornings by the beach still harbored a crispness that threatened goosebumps along her limbs. But the cold did not deter her outing this sun, rising just before the arrival of dawn. The ocean to the east was slowly shifting in color as the sun began to rise from its long slumber, the deep velvet blues slowly painted over with the lighter hues of the horizon. Sometimes Nabi would spin around and walk backwards, watching the white foam rolling up to erase all traces of her passage. “Our time here is finite. A flickering candle that burns out too quickly, compared to the eternity of the stars above. So live and love as you walk the earth, child. Let no one else choose your path for you. The horizon is vast. All you have to do is decide how to get there.” Nabi took a deep breath in, filling her lungs with the cool salty air. Her mother’s words had been returning to her more often of late, ever since the fateful trip to the Reunion. Ever since discovering that her mother had planned her birth all along, that her life and her purpose on this earth had been predetermined by some prophesy gained from an ancient ritual. The very remembrance of that revelation still gave her pause in breath, an inkling of disbelief once again stirring deep within her consciousness. But Arasen, her cousin, had confessed as much without any reservation. Making the journey to the Reunion to meet with a distant kin that she didn’t remember, the encounter was tepid at best. He too bore eyes of gold just like her own, and the Kharlu had trace of features that reminded Nabi of her mother. But mostly he resembled her uncle, the imposing Xaela warrior whose face never truly left Nabi’s memories. Tugan Kharlu was someone even her mother feared, although Nabi wasn’t sure what about Arasen reminded her of his more intimidating father. Perhaps it was the fervor in the Xaela’s eyes. While they were colored the same hue as her mother's, those eyes held no gentility. Arasen, even though his carriage was that of a scholar, still had the same intensity that Nabi remembered of his father. She thought her mother also had that same stubborness as well, but when she looked into her mother’s eyes, there was never fear or apprehension, or even question. At least that was what Nabi used to believe. She desperately wanted it be a lie. That Arasen had fabricated the whole story of her heritage. That was the only way it made sense. All the tales of her mother’s love for her father... they felt true in Nabi’s heart. She didn’t want to believe that she had been lied to all her life. So once she had returned to Shirogane, she looked to Anchor for an answer, for he had always told her she was too trusting. She hoped that he would denounce all the words of her cousin. If he had just said so, Nabi would have believed him in a heartbeat. “My mother couldn’t have done that, right?” she had asked him as he was leading her to the ferry to return home. “He must have made that up... right?” But where Nabi expected possible frustration or annoyance, the look that was on Anchor’s face as he turned around to her, was gentle and patient. "Mayhap. Mayhap not." He huffed and stepped towards her. "There be no knowin'. Words of the desperate are oft not words to mind, aye?" His head canted and his eyes narrowed softly with curiosity behind them. "You spoke of her fondly not long ago. Even if it be true, them words suddenly nothin' now in light of the ones against her? Do her own in past suns, moons, and cycles, not weigh on ya as heavy in face of it?" And that was at the heart of the matter, wasn’t it? Who to believe? What to believe? Thinking back on his words, Nabi recognized them for the only truth that mattered now. “I don’t... love her any less,” she had confessed. “I can’t. She is to me now as she always has been. My mother. A woman who loved me, who risked her life to save me. Who… who made me who I am.” For all the questions that were stirred up, as Nabi heard her own words, the churning began to settle somewhat in her chest. “Even if what Arasen said was true, all my life, all I’ve known is her love.” She didn’t doubt her mother’s affections. She didn’t doubt that there was regret on her mother’s part, and that was why she had left the Steppe. And yet… “But if it is true... why didn’t she just tell me? It wouldn’t have changed my heart. I would have understood.” Tears came then. “I would’ve loved her all the same.” Anchor -- no, it was Jude when they were alone -- huffed quietly. "And all these blasted tears all the same. Hardly a mystery much." He reached for her, so his forearm and sleeve could wipe the moisture from her flushed features. The motion was somewhat brash, but Nabi knew it was meant in tenderness all the same. A shiver climbed her legs as another wave from the sea washed over her feet. Nabi glanced down at the splash against her calves, her ankles disappearing beneath the foamy water. She wrapped her skirt tighter and lifted them, to avoid them from getting soaked. A quiet chortle escaped through her nose. She hadn’t minded the water at all the night before, but that musing gave rise to a small private smile. No, she hadn’t minded one bit. Nabi let out a soft exhale, tucking her hair away as a light wind tugged at her locks and her shawl. Just a sun ago, she had been so distressed, confused, and anxious about what was true and untrue. She didn’t know what to make of the life that she always thought she knew. And that curious birthmark, Arasen said it boded ill for her if she didn’t return with him. She was struggling, trying not to succumb to the feeling of helplessness and uncertainty. Feeling hurt and betrayed by someone she had loved so dearly. But after last night, there was a new calm to her core. A fullness that expanded from deep within, with a new determination turning away the sinking weight that wanted to take up residence in the pit of her stomach. “I want to live my life, however way I choose,” she had whispered to Jude. She was on her tiptoes, her lips hovering just before his, her next words just a breath against him. “I choose you.” Just as the questions of her mother’s intentions were set aside by Nabi’s unwavering belief of her mother’s love, so were the doubts of her future by this newly found vision on the horizon. It was one of her and Jude. Together. “I want to dance with you,” Nabi had whispered to him with a sense of wonder, as they both lay in bed. Their bare bodies were huddled close for warmth, but also because they couldn’t abide any other distance. “I want us to travel to a place that neither of us has ever seen before. And I want to bake you a cake on your nameday. Westerners blow candles, did you know that? I want to see you do it.” “I told ya ‘fore, I don't be rememberin' the day much.” Jude admitted, a softer breath huffed out in his amusement, his brow raising slightly in mock-wonder. “Sailed a number o’ seas, I have. Who knows how far we be goin' to see a sight we two never seen, aye?” That didn’t deter her one bit. “That only makes me more curious on where it would be!” Nabi giggled, turning onto her back as her eyes searched the wooden boards of the ceiling. “They say even at the other end of the world, they still see the same stars in the heavens above. But what of the color of the ocean? The feel of the sands on the beach? The scent of flowers in the spring?” Her expression and tone had turned somewhat dreamy as she imagined those scenes playing before her eyes. “Do the sunsets look the same?” "Mayhap," Jude replied, his voice ever quieter, his words coming slower as lethargy of slumber began to take him. "When it all be over... I'll take ya to find out, aye? Far as we go... long as it be..." Another yawn claimed him, breaking up his words and drawing his eyelids closed. Nabi watched him all the while, taking solace in the peace she saw settling onto his visage."However long it takes for ya to say ya be... satisfied...." Nabi was staring out towards the sea, as the sun just began emerging from the watery depths. The darkness of night was retreating in its wake, the luminescence of the day slowly beginning to seep into all corners of the heavens. And the sun cast its image onto the rippling canvas, drawing a radiant golden beam that stretched from the end of the earth to the very beach she stood upon. She could see it so clearly. That brilliant dream on the horizon. The unimaginable beauty that filled her soul with awe and wonder. And that was what it felt like, falling in love and being with that person body and soul. She had opened her heart completely, and knew with absolute certainty who belonged there. And Jude, in his own way, took her into his own. This was where she belonged. It was like no other certainty she had ever felt before. Nabi smiled and opened her arms out wide, drawing a deep breath and welcoming the new morning. She would embrace each new sun with hope, and perhaps just a little awe, and she was determined to weather even the darkest of storms should it come. It didn’t matter that her mother lied to her. She still felt loved. It didn’t matter if the mark was cursed, she would find a way to undo it. She had to. She had a someone of her own to care for, to cherish, and to love most of all.
  13. Roen

    New RPer - Where to find people?

    Not at all! The events have individual links to them for more info and locations. If the zone is open to you, you can just show up!
  14. Roen

    New RPer - Where to find people?

    Welcome to FFXIV RP scene! I would also like to add going to events as a good opportunity to become immersed. Everyone that shows up to those events are there to RP. There are events going on every night. I would peruse here for this week's events. Good luck!
  15. Roen

    Tumblr vs. Wiki questions

    Maril has some great advice and explanations, so I don't need to add much. What I like and prefer wiki for is that with just quick glance, the reader can get an idea of what a character is all about. Tumblr being a blog, sometimes you have to scroll through a bunch of images or know how to sift through tags and posts to get to what you might be interested in if you just want to get to know a character. Where as wiki, it's much easier to find some basic character information. Tumblr is also interactive with other people, where as wiki I see it just as a presentation of your character. The only interactive part about wiki really is the rumors you can add to other people's pages. I have found new roleplayers to meet through tumblr, but I always look up wiki first to see if any new character I am curious about has a page there. And as Maril mentioned, you can also find plenty of artists on tumblr, if you are looking for such a thing. But tumblr, more than wiki I think, you need to be active on it to get the most out of it. Wiki takes a LOT more work to set up initially (from my experience) but once it's set, it's there as a resource for others to learn about your character. How much of an opportunity it creates, I have no idea since you don't really see the traffic on your wiki page. Tumblr, on the other hand, you get some ideas through likes and such, but it doesn't really reflect the amount of actual interaction you get out of it. Both are good resources though though. I recommend both.