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Nero

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About Nero

  • Rank
    Carbide Warrior
  • Birthday 12/31/1868

RP Related

  • Main Character
    Ashur Vaye
  • Server
    Balmung

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  1. Nero

    Remnants

    "Immediately," was the short answer that the Xaela gave them. And their preparations were indeed brisk; perhaps even instant, by Ashur's reckoning. Between the three of them, their personal belongings numbered in barely a few ponze. At Tsenkhai's insistence, the trio departed from their campsite at first light. Their travel was a quiet one. Any questions Ashur had, the Au Ra was not interested in answering. The questions were of a more practical sort. How far north would they be going? Were their guards, and of what nature? There was a pall of unease hanging over the Hyur; he did not like going into a job without knowing exactly what it entailed, but such foreknowledge was a luxury that was rarely available to people in his line of work. At best, they would have to rely on improvisation. Either their timing was impeccable or this was the reason for Tsenkhai's rather grating insistence--the Xaela would practically huff and pout and occasionally complain sarcastically whenever they stopped, even to refill their water supplies or to look for the trail that had been lost, and Ashur was tiring of her attitude rather quickly--as they reached Reunion just as the sun was cresting over the horizon of the steppe and the masked Qestir mediators were rising to prepare for the day's exchanges. It was a truly varied marketplace; Xaela hawking their wares, foreign merchant caravans buying and selling. A pair of Lalafell, of all things, apparently having travelled all the way from Ul'dah or farther. "I will see about contacting some...peers, and perhaps securing additional supplies before we go farther north," Tsenkhai said briskly. "Do whatever it is you foreigners do in the mean time." She tossed a small piece of obsidian at Ashur with nary a care for himself or the trinket, and he nearly flinched instinctively after remembering the bright flash that had come from the last stone the Xaela had thrown. "That'll enable me to find you if you get lost or decide to explore." And with very little fanfare, the Au Ra walked off. Ashur's mouth twisted into a frown with a tsk as he stared at the seemingly featureless piece of obsidian. "Well, you know more about her tribe. How much of what she says is the truth, do you think?" he asked Roen.
  2. Nero

    Remnants

    The Au Ra sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose, waving an idle hand at Ashur as the firepit blazed merrily. "You ought to imitate your companion. He seems to be eager enough without all of these qualms." "Don't confuse my compliance with trust," Ashur was quick to retort, a slight scowl marring his face. "I don't know your people as well as she seems to, and those qualms are because I don't think failure is an option, for you or for us. I'd hardly want our goals to be derailed by a slight miscalculation that one of us didn't account for." He didn't say it directly, but the edge on his tone when Ashur said one was clear enough. She sighed again, seemingly irritated rather than perturbed by Ashur's rebuttal. "I said the Aljai aren't at Reunion. They are our merchants, our traders, and the ones who handle...interactive duties. Their absence simply means that the scheduled regularity of trading with other tribes has ceased for now. I am Tsenkhai, which means I can go where I damn please, including south. And the reason why I need you is because, as I said, you are not touched by the magic and rituals of my people, and could thus take the keystone without exploding or having your mind subsumed into our temple which would leave your body as a soulless husk." The Xaela began pacing again. "You have me by your side, and so no one will question you, and no one will fight you. I do not need you specifically; I only need two foreign bodies who can follow my commands. That you happen to need the keystone is a fortuitous coincidence, and nothing more." Ashur glanced at Roen. "Well, she is our only lead," he muttered with some annoyance.
  3. Nero

    Remnants

    The Au Ra clicked her tongue, though whether it was in disapproval or something else--curiosity, maybe--wasn't completely clear. "That is more than I expected. Count yourself lucky as one of the only--if not the only foreigner to have such in-depth knowledge of us. Still, that makes this easier. Kasrjin is being held as proof that vessels can be repurposed successfully, to great effect. Our temple has numerous competent souls: the memories, personalities, and abilities of valuable people who are dead, or close enough to dead that the distinction is meaningless. They are simply lacking in bodies. Kasrjin was something of a test, and the fact that he accomplished his mission is an...achievement worth remembering." The Xaela began pacing again, though not before tossing another piece of obsidian into the dying firepit. With a crackle like a lightning bolt, the fire reignited, but this time its flame had shifted from a warm orange to an ominous, flickering mixture of purple and green. Ashur was startled by the sudden combustion, and somewhat disturbed by the fact that the light being emitted by the fire still seemed to be a yellowish-orange, despite the odd colour of the fire itself. "The Correspondence is what enables us to live as we do, yes. It's also what fuels my magic. Creating it and manipulating requires specific concentrations of aether: more than what exists ambiently in the land, but less than your, ah, crystals. I suppose you could liken the keystone to a cork or a stopper in that sense." The Au Ra sighed again, stopping in her pacing briefly and just as quickly starting again. "In a few centuries, it's hard to predict exactly what will happen. But culture is a powerful force, and even without the Correspondence, we will likely be able to live. It will be without the same cohesion, the same unity. There will be more foolish decisions, more self-destruction, and rampant mistakes. But that is part of being mortal." "So it'll be fine if we take it," Ashur observed rather simply. "Well, there'll be protests if you're caught. But as I said, there won't be any harm." The Xaela sniffed.
  4. Nero

    Remnants

    The Xaela shot Roen a peculiar glance, something of a mix between disbelief and curiosity. "He told you much of us, it seems. I am not sure if it is because you are just that trustworthy or if perhaps his sense of discretion had lapsed while he was in the West." The Au Ra slowly began pacing. Ashur, for his part, was getting tired of standing in the darkness and sat down on the damp undergrowth. He didn't quite understand this conversation, but a part of him said that he didn't need to. If it would get him his objective, then that was really all that mattered. "Our temple is more than just a repository; in fact, that is a relatively minor function, and not one that is used very frequently," the Au Ra continued. "Without the keystone, it will likely bleed aether for...oh, a few centuries, I suppose. There will be no immediate harm, not in our lifetimes, if that's what you're concerned about. We'll all be long dead before the effects will truly be felt." "If that's true, why retrieve it so early?" Ashur asked. The Xaela, for his efforts, passed him an irritated glance. "Preventative action. We are not in the habit of leaving things to the last minute. As for Kasrjin, as I said, he is a...monument, of sorts. Like a trophy, or a badge to the accomplishment that he is. I expect you'll either know of what I am speaking, or you won't. How much did he tell you?" The Xaela stopped pacing and fixed her gaze on Roen. "It would certainly be to both our benefit if I knew what I may speak of and what I may not."
  5. Nero

    Remnants

    "I'd like some leverage to influence tribal politics. Things as they are now are a bit...hmm, strict. My people should be given the freedom to live as they want, and in order to enact that, I'll have to convince the others. Giving you the keystone gives me that leverage. Doing so also sets Kasrjin free from his bondage." The Au Ra snapped a finger. "And just like that, all of us receive what we want. I will have the power necessary to make life for us a bit better, Kasrjin is freed from his imprisonment, and some merry foreigners can have some magical bauble to...sell? Or whatever it is you intend to do." Ashur raised his eyebrow slightly. Yes, that did indeed seem to give everyone what they wanted, for the most part. He didn't know Roen's friend but he assumed she would want him to be freed; this Xaela could do whatever tribal thing they wanted, and he could take the keystone back to Ishgard. It was suspiciously perfect, perhaps, but also the best option available to them now. "And you need us because...?" Ashur asked. The Xaela twirled a finger idly around a loose dreadlock. "There are elements of my tribe's magic that only works on people who have undergone certain rituals. Simply put, I won't be able to carry out the keystone myself. But I can get you inside. Foreigners would be unusual, but given my position, nothing that would be excess cause for alarm. I will get you inside, and then you will take the keystone, and then you leave. Quite simple, all things considered."
  6. Nero

    Remnants

    The Au Ra shrugged again, seemingly in exasperation. "As I said, I doubt you would appreciate the nuance. Let us simply call him a prisoner, then, since I believe that's all the terminology you need to understand. He entered our temple and there is no indication that he will ever be let out ever again, for as long as the sun endures. The keystone did--does--preserve our people, but his life and the lives of others are the price. Simply put, taking the keystone will save him, and others." "And I presume you have a plan for accomplishing that, or you wouldn't be out here," Ashur observed somewhat sardonically. He didn't know this 'Kasrjin' and wasn't really interested in tribal politics. He was just glad that the conversation was now on something that actually mattered, whether they wanted to admit it or not. "Of a sorts. Hence why I was looking for mercenaries. Your...motivations make you especially compelling choices for employment." The shape the Xaela's lips curled into couldn't precisely be called a smile; it was an unnerving facsimile of one.
  7. Nero

    Remnants

    The Xaela's expression softened considerably. "The only way you could know that is if he told you. Which means that by the end of it all, he must have held you in high regard...or, given his nature, enough regard. Which is its own sort of praise. Even a foreigner like you should understand that." While the Au Ra still held a stiff, firm stance, her steely demeanour seemed to retreat, at least for now. "In this particular case, you are right; I do know of him. He did manage to return, and he is currently being held in our temple. Not precisely as a prisoner, exactly...I'm not sure how to explain it in a way a foreigner would understand. A monument, I suppose? Though I am sure the nuance of such a distinction is lost on you." Ashur could only guess at the greater context of this conversation, since it seemed to involve someone he didn't know and a culture of which he knew even less. Which was all well and good, but he was tired of waiting. "Did his return include a keystone?" Ashur asked rather bluntly. "Some kind of black rock, shaped in a sphere." The Au Ra seemed taken aback by his forthright question. "It...did. I am beginning to think that encountering the two of you was more fortuitous than I initially thought. I can only assume that if you are asking about it, then you seek to take it." "Would that be a problem?" Ashur grunted, folding his arms. To his surprise, the Xaela shook her head. "Not quite, though the others of my kind would likely disagree. You will need me, however. A Tsenkhai is needed to approach our grounds safely, unless it was in your plans to fight through a glacier you have no hope of navigating," the Au Ra said. "Though if you had managed to run into some Aljai at Reunion, that might have sufficed, for a time."
  8. Nero

    Remnants

    The Xaela seemed to visibly falter somewhat at Roen's words, and while her demeanour hardened relatively quickly, her expression was not as stony as it had been. Something about what Roen had said affected her. Ashur kept the mildly annoyed expression off his face--he'd have felt better had Roen forced the Xaela to reveal her hand by asking directly about the keystone--but as long as they got the results that they needed, their line of inquiry didn't particularly matter. At least not yet. The Au Ra folded her arms together, exhaling softly. She traded glances between the smoldering firepit, the sky, and her leather moccasins. Even the shimmering light from her gleaming limbal rings seemed to dull somewhat, blunting their initial sharpness as she looked at Roen. Ashur didn't have much hope of comprehending exactly what their exchange meant...but perhaps they would give him answers later. "Did he give you his name? This Khadai you speak so highly of." The Xaela finally asked.
  9. Nero

    Remnants

    Given how taciturn and eerily placid this Au Ra had been so far, Ashur at first thought he'd imagined it when her brow seemed to twitch in response to Roen's inquiry, and her pause was marked. He withheld a sigh. Why couldn't anyone just admit if they knew something? Everything had to be a damn secret, apparently; he was tiring of it. "I know that such an idea you've suggested is absurd, and that you would think it such too if you knew our ways. For Tsenkhai to become Khadai is for a hurricane to become a stone. But I suspect it my fault for expecting such depth of knowledge from a foreigner. No, I don't know of whom you speak, and if there exists one who matches your description, then I doubt he'd ever be allowed to leave the homeland. So all the more reason to not wonder to his fate. At worse, he is in safe captivity." The Xaela snorted haughtily. "The outside world would not trouble him much." Ashur didn't have a totally clear idea of what was going on, but what seemed to matter was that this Xaela woman was part of the tribe he needed to contact, and so far Roen seemed to know what questions to ask. He glanced at her meaningfully. How sacred of a relic was this keystone to them? It would surely not do to trespass on some tribal taboo, not when this seemed to be their only point of contact.
  10. Nero

    Remnants

    Ashur wasn't entirely sure what was going on at first, but when Roen seemed to label this Xaela as one of the tribe that they were looking for, he almost immediately stiffened. Just as quickly he was careful to try to relax his stance so as not to give away anything too untoward, but if the Au Ra woman's slight glance towards him was any indication, that plan already failed. She was a perceptive one. The Xaela sighed, seemingly in irritation as she rubbed her temple with her index finger. "While you seem to know more than I thought, I can hardly say I am surprised at your reaction. For one, it is rather presumptuous of you to believe that I am constantly aware of every single Khadai present or absent. For two, you are the one who must prove yourselves to me. And for three, if you truly knew a Khadai, then you would know enough about them to know how unflappable they are about their 'duty'. Unless he is dead or his mission requires him to be elsewhere, then your friend is certainly back where he belongs." The Au Ra paced ever so slightly, placing the firepit between herself, and Ashur and Roen. "Though, this does answer some of my questions. You won't find any Aljai at Reunion; not at this time of year, perhaps not for several years. And asking myself to prove my caste as Tsenkhai would more than likely both of you similar to...them." The Xaela waved rather dismissively at the unconscious Elezen. "I am sure you can tell that I do not have any of the implements that you foreigners usually require to cast magic. Your...sticks or books or whatnot. Such things are unnecessary. Surely that will suffice, unless you feel you require a firsthand demonstration." Her tone was one of idleness, almost boredom, rather than that of a threat or a warning. Nonetheless, Ashur not-so-subtlely placed his right hand on his hip; the opposite side of his shortsword, but the implication was clear enough.
  11. Nero

    Remnants

    Ashur nodded his assent. "You can be sure that we're a bit less foolish than to go poking around with shiny lights, at the least." The Xaela's expression didn't change, but she shifted her stance from one leg to another, seemingly in assent. She traded hard stares between the two of them for what felt like too much time before finally sighing. "Then I suppose you two will do. I could stand to do significantly worse, that much is evident to me." The Xaela gave a meaningful and rather baleful glare at the unconscious Elezen on the ground. Ashur breathed his own sigh of slight relief. While there were plenty of reasons to be apprehensive--he knew nothing about this Xaela--even having someone with a vague understanding of navigating the tribes at Reunion was at least a small comfort. It ensured that they would not be flying totally blind. Hopefully. The Au Ra returned her thoughtful gaze to Roen. "Though, I must admit I am rather curious to know the nature of this warning. Your Khadai would believe it that much more if it came from me than from you, after all. If what you say is true, that is. Perhaps my name will convince you to tell me here? That is, if the name of Tsenkhai means anything to you. I would certainly be surprised if a foreigner did know of it, though."
  12. Nero

    Remnants

    The Xaela again folded her arms into the wide sleeves of her robe. This wasn't the first Xaela Ashur had ever seen, but he found himself instinctively uncomfortable with the way she fixated her focused stare on him. Perhaps it was merely the way the darkness served as apt contrast to the bright limbal rings around her eyes, or perhaps it was her demeanour and how--despite being greeted by two armed and armoured strangers--she didn't seem to perceive either one of them as a possible threat. The Xaela was, if anything, too relaxed. "A friend? And a foreigner, at that. Unlikely, though I suppose not impossible." The Xaela pursed her lips together in curiosity. "And a warning. Might I ask as to the nature of this warning? Is this a threat posed by someone else, or perhaps posed by yourself? You are quite...loyal to pursue him so far that you were willing to trek to their lands without guidance to give them this warning. Such omens must be ominous, indeed."
  13. Nero

    Remnants

    The Xaela's face was dispassionate, as if carved out of wood. If such info surprised her, she didn't show it. The Au Ra merely raised an eyebrow, the limbal rings of her eyes shimmering in the darkness with a blazing green hue. "You are looking for quite the obscure group, I see. I suppose that would explain why you need assistance. As it happens, I do know a little of them, though they are rare in the south." She clasped her hands together behind her waist and slowly began pacing back and forth in front of the fire. "I'm curious to know why you are looking for such an isolated tribe, though. They are not the kind to make trouble for others and so they are even less of the kind to invite trouble upon themselves in the form of foreigners." A rustle in the underbrush behind the newcomer caused the Xaela to flinch, instinctively reaching a hand into the sleeves of her robe. A few seconds later, a second Hyur emerged with wild sand-coloured hair, armed with a curious weapon that looked like one of the Garlean's firearms. He grunted as he slapped an idle branch away from his face. "You were taking too long," Ashur somewhat mildly, before shooting a narrow glance at the Xaela across from the campfire.
  14. Nero

    Remnants

    "Depends on what you can do," the Xaela said idly, twirling a black lock around her finger. Her green gaze was marked with some vague curiosity, the way one might look at a mutant fruit or a presumably vulgar hand gesture whose meaning escaped the person it was intended to offend. She glanced at the two Duskwight on the ground. Aside from their simple chainmail and swords, she wondered if they and this newcomer were from the same place. Not that it really mattered anyway; the Western continent was a place of variety if nothing else. "If you can fight, that's good. If you can use magic, even better." The Xaela raised an eyebrow. "And if you can do what I say when I say it--such as, not picking through my possessions--then that would certainly be best." She made a show of standing up slowly and dusting off her fur-trimmed robes. "If you're going to Reunion, then I suppose I'm headed in the same direction. Perhaps you might say I'm looking for an escorts of sorts, to a place a bit further north than the Steppe." "What, if I may ask, are you looking for at Reunion? Particularly something that you would need help with? The Qestir take some adjusting, but even a foreigner would be able to navigate their customs if they were gifted with a modicum of the mind. Which I presume you are." The Xaela pursed her lips, leaning her austere face against a hand.
  15. Nero

    Remnants

    The Xaela shrugged. "They tried to go through my things. I warned them not to. I keep some magical baubles on me that don't respond well to being handled poorly." She gave this new Hyur a cursory inspection. The newcomer wore her equipment with ease and didn't seem to be as...bumbling as these other two Elezen. Though, appearances could deceive. And there was also the issue that she didn't know what this newcomer was even doing here in this part of the Yanxian wilderness. "Were there a more interesting tale to spin I might have spun it for you, but there's not much more to it." Though her night vision was quite excellent, the Xaela made a show of squinting in curiosity anyway. "As for you? I was under the impression this was not a popular path for...travelers. A mercenary? Another bandit? Are you, perhaps, for hire?"
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