A salt breeze swept low over the pier, buffeting the young Miqote's hair. Gray wisps danced in an unruly halo around his head. Silk brocade fluttered in red and gold, grasping after the damp wind.
One pale hand rubbed the black enamel pommel of his bow. The other ran slow across the bows length, blue veins bright with the sudden chill. Tensing each end, L'sta ground his thumbnail against the taught bow-string, wiggling it off its hooked end.
The cord snapped off the bow end across L'sta's wrist, drawing a deep red welt. Silence. Gold eyes opened, light piercing the thin slits of eyes belonging to a Seeker. The bow was young, stiff as obsidian, unforgiving. With the movement of a thousand Bards before him, L'sta gathered the waxed cord and coiled it round his wrist.
Moisture is the enemy of a Bard. It causes a noisy arrow and a slow shot. L'sta remembered these teachings, burned into his mind a thousandfold. L'sta stared unblinking at the swelling welt on his wrist, remembering his first kill. The shot was poor, a damp string, and a mildew bow. He had been following the Apkallu through a wet rocky outcrop, waiting for the moment. The noisy arrow flew and burried below the left wing, bleeding crimson across the jagged rocks native to Vylbrand. L'sta remembered. Tears mixed with the white paint, streaking his face as he stumbled after the old bird. The Apkallu had stopped, frozen, chest heaving as it saw him approach.
L'sta had looked into that black marble eye, wet against its soft green plumage, before he struck with his knife. A soft release of breath from its tiny chest. The crash of waves poured out into silence as L'Sta choked his breath, bow forgotten. He had stroked the bird's head until the cold and damp caused his limbs to ache. In the distance, stone still, a gray Sahagin had watched.
L'sta pulled his long glove above his wrist and the bowstring coiled there. Shifting to his side, he reached into his pocket and smoothed the green feather he kept as a reminder. Another gust of wind whipped across the inlet, lashing violent ripples against the pier. L'Sta gazed across the inlet, the black tiered barricades stamped proud against the skyline of the Rhotano Sea. Scarlet banners snapped from white towers like flames against the sky. The creaks and groans of rigging and wood drifted across the expanse. Limsa Lominsa. This was home.