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Dalamud Cometh (Open)


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((OOC: The following thread is open for all to post in. The purpose is to simply show how different characters are dealing with the Dalamud/Garlean crisis. This is NOT an interactive RP session. There should only be one post per character's viewpoint, though you are free to post multiple characters' viewpoints in different posts. Just thought it would be interesting for people to see how different characters around Eorzea are dealing with this apocalyptic stress ^^. This can also help serve as a 'prelude' of sorts to the final RP community event of 1.0. ))



The red moon, Dalamud, hung over the sky in all of its ominous glory as people went about their daily lives, some occasionally taking their gaze to the heavens with a brief look of dread. A woman dressed in upper-class priestly robes gracefully made her way down the Ishgard street, paying no heed to the nearby small group of citizens gazing up at the sky whilst chatting amongst themselves about the doom that would likely come from the red orb above.


The priestess soon entered the back gate to a small playground attached to an orphanage. The hyur woman removed her hood to reveal her jet black hair. She appeared in her late thirties, though her wisdom-filled eyes would lead many to believe she was slightly older than even that. Her gaze shifted to a corner of the small playground where several small children were huddled together. Smiling softly to herself, the woman made her way toward them. One of the children, a small girl, was first to notice the priestess. âLady Nefron is here!â


The children quickly turned in excitement as Nefron approached them. âHello, children. How are you all?â


A small red-headed boy quickly spoke up first. âZeni overheard some of the adults talking earlier! They said that that big red thing in the sky was going to kill us all! Is that true Miss Nefron?! We donât want to die!â


The children gazed intently at the priestess as a deep frown marked her face. Sighing softly, Nefron slowly dropped to her knees to meet the gaze of the children. âThe adults are scared of something they donât fully understand yet, that is all. And what have I always told you about being scared of something?â


A chubby brunette hyur girl spoke up quickly. âWhen frightened, we should always have faith in ourselves and in the Twelve! Because if we can do that, a miracle can save us!â


Nefron smiled at the girl. âIndeed. And if the adults are having trouble keeping the faith, then perhaps itâs up to you all to do so on their behalf.â


âYeah!â The red-haired boy shouted in excitement. âI still have to become a powerful dragon slayer after all! No big floating rock is gonna beat us down!â


Nefron smiled warmly as the other children cheered their friend on. âThatâs the spirit. Remember, we dream of things so that those dreams can someday become reality. And every single one of you still have so many dreams to bring to life. So run along now and show the adults that even should their faith fail, yours will be ever-lasting.â


âLetâs go pray to Halone for the adults!â A small blond elezen boy shouted enthusiastically. âSheâs so strong that she can easily slice the big meteor in half! Then weâll go around and tell the adults what weâre doing for them!â The boy ran off as the other children eagerly followed.


Nefron watched the children scurry off on their new mission, a warm smile crossing her lips. The voice behind her startled her back to reality almost instantly. âLady Felstar, your husband was looking for you.â


Nefron rose to her feet once again, glancing at the armored knight. âThank you. Please tell Cartius that Iâll be at the manor shortly. I need to speak to him about something after all.â


The knight nodded before turning to leave the orphanage playground. Nefron turned her gaze to the sky at the huge red ball hovering above. A hint of sadness crept over her as her fingers encircled the crystal pendant around her neck. She didnât tell the children, but even she had a hard time believing that faith alone would be enough to save everyone.

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The metallic rattling of the modest-sized birdcage at the opposite end of Eva's bedroom signaled the beginning of another day. Another day fraught with the same level of trepidation as the handful of days that had come before. It wasn't the scarlet-colored light that permeated the edges of her bedroom window that spun this anxiety though; not any longer. No, the fair-skinned duskwight had grown used to the way that Dalamud's glow permeated the canopy of the Twelveswood, reflected off the waters of the lake out back, and peeked its way into the sanctuary of her newly-built cabin in the woods. She had felt safe here until recently, if not quite completely at home yet.


Eva lay in bed, her violet eyes open and staring through the darkness at the ceiling as thoughts from the days past brought her back from whatever dreams she had been summoned away from.


Rising from her bed, she was aware her blonde hair was a mess. Giving a passive effort, she ran her fingernails through it in a half-hearted effort to comb it straight again. It didn't seem to matter. There was no one to look pretty for this morning anyway. She was usually very fastidious about her appearance. Today though, this was enough. Satisfied, she glided across the room to where the creature in the bird cage continued making a ruckus now that he realized she was awake. Opening the cage door, she reached in and withdrew a small ceramic food bowl and scooped some nuts and berries into it from a small wooden bin on a small table nearby.


"Good morning Bixby," her voice was eerily soothing as she placed the bowl back within the cage. The black bat within stretched his wingspan, filling most of the bredth of the cage for a moment. Chirring contentedly in thanks, he began enjoying his breakfast noisily. Eva pressed her hand against the side of the cage. Watching him feast for a moment, she gave a somber smile before going back to the window and drawing up the shade.


The odd crimson aurora filled the bedroom, and Bixby stopped eating for a moment as if to acknowledge the strangeness of the lighting before he commenced with his breakfast. Peculiar shadows cast themselves upon the wooden walls of the room and Eva stood in the large windowframe looking out, her frumpy night gown obscuring her figure.


There was not much to see as she gazed outside. Her bedroom window faced the western wood. She could see through the branches above that the faintest hint of gray was just beginning to touch the sky. The sun would be up over the opposite horizon shortly, lighting up the trees and revealing every ripple atop the lake's surface. And the red wouldn't seem so bad, hidden away mostly behind the canopy.


"Oskar..." The name barely touched the elezen woman's lips. He had been involved with a team that was conducting a land survey somewhere last week and had uncovered a system of caverns. A few days later she had received a letter reporting news that the site caved in. She didn't know for certain whether he was alive or dead. She had been to the company's base of operations each day since - Good Luck Fortune Co. - but no one was ever there. She scoffed inwardly at the company's name. The rescue effort was tying up all of their resources, she had assured herself. If anyone knew how to survive amidst a cavernous environment, it would be him. He had to be alive. She had known him nearly two full cycles now, and they'd been seeing each other intimiately for the past four moons. It had been gradual, and in spite of his faults and her frustrations with him, she had fallen in love. And the thought that he might be dying or dead frustrated her. And the fact that she didn't know frustrated her further. All she wanted was to speak with him, if only for a few heartbeats.


Her hands fell to her belly and she gave a quiet sigh, closing her eyes. The cave-in wasn't the only news she had received last week. After having an unsettled stomach for several mornings in a row, she had been examined at Stillglade Fane and it had been determined that she was with child. Even before news of the cave-in, this brought its own anxiety to the tired-looking woman. "It won't be an easy pregnancy," they had said. She had been told she was barren, after she lost her baby boy just after childbirth five years ago and having endured the trauma that went along with that. It could as easily happen again, if she could even keep the baby for the remaining nine moons. It was a miracle indeed, and she was as excited as she was afraid.


Somewhere in the back of her mind she wondered if it even mattered. Dalamud was coming. Her efforts within Everwatch - even in Oskar's absense - to halt the further descent of the crimson moon seemed to have been in vain. Oh the mission was a success, but she couldn't help feeling all they'd manage to do was prick the Garleans' finger with one of her sewing needles. It was something though, and it had given them hope. And hope is a very powerful thing, especially in times like these.


Her mind wandered a bit as she gazed out the window, the landscape slowly beginning to illuminate as dawn grew nearer. She had thought of running away. But there was no guarantee that Dalamud's reach wouldn't extend however far she could run. She also had a thought to travel to her ancestral homeland, in a complex network of caves deep beneath the surface of Coerthas. She felt like she needed to do something in spite of her faith. Dreams. Visions of the future, of a sky void of Dalamud's angry glow, and of walking and talking with her friends. She knew she would survive this somehow. She know this with alarming certainty. And her faith had been unwavering on the matter. Where others expressed doubt, she had tried to instill hope. But many - Oskar among them - seemed afraid for the worst. And one quiet woman's inexplicable assurances did little to change anyone's mind or assuage anyone's worry.


What kept her up nights wasn't fear of some supposedly-imminent destruction that she knew would never come. No. Rather, she stayed awake and worried for Oskar's life. She wanted to tell him that she held his baby, for whom she also worried. It seemed the odds were stacked against this new life, and where her friend Nel had once expressed frustration at being regarded in her own pregnancy as a 'glass doll' - Eva knew full well this is exactly what she was. A glass doll perched precariously at the edge of a table amidst gale-force winds.


Her thoughts continued to wander as she stepped away from the window and got changed. She had chosen to quit her job at Sunsilks because the weaving of cloth seemed such a frivolous thing. In the mornings she had been either running or practicing the forms with the spear - lessons that her father had taught her when he was still alive. This morning it would be the latter. Once her practice leathers were fit snugly over her form, she shook her head a bit as though to slough away the morning's thoughts, then she grabbed her practice spear and made her way outside to the dock in the back yard that stretched out into the lake and began the dance with her spear that helped bring peace to her mind and prayer to her heart.


All she had to do was hold on. Hold onto her spear. Hold onto her unborn baby. Hold onto her faith. Hold onto hope.


Hold on.

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A tendril of light emerged from between the slightly ajar curtains and laid atop Gerikâs face. He sighed audibly and raised the sheets over his face. âShit, itâs morning already.â He reached for his bag which was normally located on a table to his right, instead his hand made contact with something that was very much not a table, nor a bag.


Opening his eyes for the first time that morning, he realized that he had spent the night at an unfamiliar highlanderâs residence, the interior looked Ulâdahn. Sitting at the edge of the bed trying to recall the previous night with little success, something caught his eye. Atop a few alcoholic bottles, that were probably opened the night before, laid a uniform for the Brass Blades.


Gerik hit his forehead with the base of his palm. âLetâs see⦠I need to find my stuff, and get the hell out of hereâ he thought to himself. He spotted his bag haphazardly placed under the bed, but his clothes were nowhere to be found. He glanced back at the snoring highlander, and carefully slipped the Brass Blades uniform he found on and carefully tried to sneak out of the apartment.


Nearing the exit of the apartment, Gerik noticed the snoring stopped.


The highlander exclaimed, âJust what do you think youâre doing in my uniform?â


Gerik turned around slowly, thinking of a possible explanation; none seemed to come to mind, âWell I uh⦠I uhhâ¦â Gerik furrowed his brows and scratched his head, âI thoughtâ¦. it might be fun toâ¦uh, have a little roleplay fantasy?â


âWell well well, why didnât you just say so in the first place?!â The blades member excitedly exclaimed.


Gerik eased into the conversation and smiled, âWell, if I were a member of the Brass Blades, I donât think Iâd give you any warning before I arrested you for being too uh⦠tooâ¦â


Gerik glanced down at the only article of clothing the highlander was wearing, bright fuchsia toe socks, and cringed a little, âtoo sexy.â Gerik smiled widely, âSo why donât you go wait in the bedroom while I get into character.â


The Brass Blades member nodded gruffly and walked back to his bedroom. The common thought of, âThe pretty ones are never smartâ came to mind as Gerik took a handful of Rolanberries from the highlanderâs pantry before leaving through the front door. âI wonder if Iâm smartâ¦â Gerik thought as he walked down the stairs and snacked on the rolanberries.


He tripped and fell down the last few steps due to the vision-obscuring turban that was standard issue for the blades. A book fell out of his bag, and Gerik inquisitively picked it up. âThe Winds of Ascension, when did I get this?â Walking down Ruby Road Exchange he remembered the answer, âOh, right, this is Kylinâs book.â Flipping through the book, he noticed there was a bookmark with an unfamiliar insignia, Gerik stared at it intently, but shrugged it off and figured it was just a normal bookmark.


âThatâll be 5000 gil for your ticket to Gridania, please.â the airship attendant asked. âHere, keep the change,â Gerik replied as he proceeded to the boarding area and removed the bladesâ turban. The airship seemed to take longer than usual in arriving, however it gave him a good opportunity to look at Dalamud and think about his morning again.


When the airship eventually arrived, Gerik boarded it much less enthusiastically than usual, and when it took off he kept to the railing, crossing his arms and laying his head on them. He stared at Dalamud more intensely this time, then looked over to his right and noticed a dapper Roegadyn approaching him, âNice day isnât it?â He kept eye contact with the Roegadyn and smiled lasciviously.

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A young silver haired miqo'te adorned in an elegant black dress sighed hesitantly at the door as she double checked over a handful of papers before stepping into the other room. The room was dark but the night sky illuminated the area just enough to make out the details of everything inside. The room was littered with strange relics and devices. Dismantled and reworked Vanguards would lie chained against the walls of the room with wires and cords protruding out of their torsos. Numerous tomes detailing ancient myths and lore would lie scattered across the floor and a large observatory telescope would compliment what seemed like a scholars private study.


Victorica would scan the room with calculating eyes before they would lock onto to only other living soul in the room. Picking up some of the scattered tomes across the floor as she made her way over, she would eventually approach the young silver haired man at his desk and set the papers on the table. "Here are the confidentiality agreement papers you wanted. You know, even with the ludicrous amount of money you've been paying these Blades... They are starting to grow very suspicious about what exactly it is that you're up to... Some are even to beginning to question if you are involved with the Imperials, Gospel."


Wearing a black cowl with the hood down, the cowl was adorned with a twin silver snake plated crest across the chest. The young man could be seen reading over a tome as he sat at the desk. Sighing, he would bookmark the page and look over to the girl. "Hm... for something that's supposed to be confidential, they sure are nosy about what I'm up to. You merely mention anything about uncharted ruins and magitech then suddenly they want every single detail so they can try and blackmail you for more then you payed." He'd merely shake his head as he reached for another tome and began to quickly rummage through its pages.


Victorica would merely give a small nod as she took a seat next to Gospel. "You know how Ul'dahns are when it comes to money. I can silence them if they start to become too much of a burden... Anyways, how goes the research on Xandes's tomb?" She would reply without concern as she picked up a tome from the stack and begin to study its contents for herself.


"Well... I've found the location of it thanks to being tipped off by a certain doctor. However, there is virtually no way to even remotely access it." Gospel would reply as he skimmed over one last page before looking up at one of the chained Vanguards. " The ruins and the mysteries along with it lay far beneath the earth. I was hoping I could put these automatons to further use and maybe try and dig my way to the tomb... but moving these things without drawing attention is a task in itself."


Victorica would smirk as she continued to observe her book. "Hm, hm... Yes, I remember you had to completely dismantle the things and have them be mailed piece by piece along with other useless items to help conceal the shipments... I sometimes wonder why you didn't just set up base in Mhor Dhona since we'd be closer to the tomb?"


"Hmph... Even if I were able to get the machines over there I don't think their drills would be strong enough." Gospel would say with an uneasy sigh as he crossed his arms and made his way over to the large telescope. The Vanguards would seemingly begin to activate on their own as if powering the strange looking device. "There's also too much activity going on in Mor Dhona with it being the focal point of the war and all, we'd surely get noticed by someone."


Victorica would gaze over at the machines powering the telescope for a moment before looking through the window to see what the man could be looking for. It became more than obvious the moment she set her gaze upon the red sphere in the sky. "Hm, probably." She would rest her chin on her palm and sigh softly as she looked at the moon with a bored expression "So... Where do you think Dalamud will crash?" She would inquire as she rested her chin on her palm.


"I don't think it was ever meant to crash..." Gospel would quickly reply as he observed the details of the moon through his telescope. "There's far too much weaponry on this thing to have it all go to waste with a big crash. Honestly, I'm still not fully sure how this thing works but if I were to take a guess from the research I've gathered. I'd say that Dalamud is like a parasite... It absorbs the aether from all that have perished, but that aether isn't just being used to speed its descent... I feel like it's using that aether to power the weapons on board." Zooming in on one of the spires, He would turn his attention away to jot down a few more notes. "Once it reaches a certain altitude, I think it will go through with a different phase... Namely targeting key points around Aldenard and unleashing its weapons on those points."


After finishing the notes, Gospel would walk back over to the desk and slide the piece of paper into the book he previously bookmarked. "Chances of survival seem pretty slim... At least for us. If those weapons are using aether at such high levels like I think they are. I feel like the radiation of energy would make most regions in Aldenard almost inhabitable... Though I guess, it works in the Garleans favor since they can just harness and revert that raw aether into ceruleum to help power their cities."


"What should we do then?" Victorica would ask, her words were blunt but showed concern, her fingers tapping impatiently on one of the tomes on the table.


"I don't know, I'll probably think of something eventually..." Gospel would reply as he looked outside towards the red sphere, his chin resting in his palm as he sat at the table with Victorica.


"Do you think the blasts from Dalamud's weaponry will be strong enough to uncover Xandes's Tomb?" Victorica would ask as her eyes shifted towards Gospel.


"It just might be..." looking at a picture of a tower made of crystal in one of the left open tomes. "Heh, maybe Dalamud isn't looking so bad after all?..." Gospel would reply. A small smirk would form across both the Hyur and Miqo'tes lips as they looked out the window one last time towards their grim beacon of hope.

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((EDIT: I realized I leaked a bit too much Stormguard info =P Edited and fixed!))


"The world is coming to an end. Excellent, add it to the ever-growing list of things I need to get on." Moltove mumbled, sighing miserably in the Quicksand, swirling his green drink around absent-minded.


Molt was adorned in his usual garb, the same type of clothing found in the Phrontistery. His glasses rested on top of his head, while he had taken off his mask after being asked for the third time if he was a medical doctor, but even when he tried to explain what the passerby's could do to fix their ailments, they seemed less interested once he corrected them in saying he was only an assistant. "Their loss..." he said after they left moments before.


Adiar entered the tavern, meeting eyes with Molt once he was flagged down. He wore the same clothing, though he truly was a doctor, and Molt's only real friend in the workplace. Adiar was a shorter Elezen, though his noble genes certainly shined through his somewhat-humble appearance. Joining Molt, he took a chair next to him and sighed, rolling his eyes, "Lost in the swill again?"


"Not yet", Molt replied, almost bitterly.


"Well, probably because they water down the drinks here. You know the tavern to be in is the Miner--" Adiar was cut off to Molt's scoff.


"Well, I like the company here, O.K.?"


"And what company is that? The eager and peppy arrivals to the city, believing they're going to save the world?"


Both of them knew the reason why Molt was there. Years after the fall of Ala Mhigo, Molt still searched for his family, though his efforts has come to checking adventurer's taverns, airship landing stations and chocobo stalls. This pale in comparisons to the traveling he did before-- but after a few years, he began to wonder what was the point.


"The moon is coming to party with us, Adiar..." Molt began, though he wasn't sure to go with it, lost in his own thoughts.


"I didn't want to tell you this, but there's rumors that there may be a way to avoid...well, you know.." Adiar said hesitantly. At this point a Miqo'te server came to the table and attempted to take orders. Adiar declined with a less-than-amused expression, as if even suggesting the 'slop' they served here was a major offense to his refined taste buds. After all, he was a well-paid doctor, to boot.


Molt just shook his head, unable to swallow down the drink he currently held. Other nights he was sick of the world and all his inhabitants, but tonight he was more sick of himself and drinking. The server blushed slightly at Molt, unsure if she should be embarrassed for asking if he wanted another drink of if Molt was behaving as such because of her. Either way, she turned around and waited another table.


"What's the point, Adi? Everyone else will perish. I'll awaken to a desolate and empty world, with nothing to do but sit and twiddle my thumbs as I wait for civilization to rebuild itself. A shred of hope with eat away at me like a disease and drive me up a wall in hopes I'll see her again. What if they die? What if my Ama survives, but Sol doesn't? What if they both survive, but die because there's just nothing left? Solae's smart, or at least I thought, but there's only so much you can do after an apocalypse." Molt dropped his head to the table in desperation.


"Molt, you don't know that! And in the mean-time, by the twelve, they could very well show up! Or maybe you'll find them, and be the reason why they survived!" Adiar exclaimed, trying to get Molt of of this impossible mood that has overrun him ever since Dalamud drew near. "perhaps you could do more with the Immortal Flames? They'll get you traveling in no time at all, and you'll at least find some purpose again. If you're lucky, you'll find a clue!"


Molt huffed a sigh, "Might as well. The Phrontistery fired me today, so I've nothing else to loose."


Adiar grimaced. He feigned any knowledge of this, but he couldn't be any farther from the truth without lieing through his teeth. "I-...I'm sorry, why?" He knew why, already. You can't have mopey people in the workplace. They bring others down and usually their own work, as well as others suffers. Showing up to work intoxicated never helps either.


"I don't know, and I don't even care at this point. All I know is that that stupid red ball of death is coming and there's no reason to go on anymore! If the moon won't kill them, the Garleans will! if the Garleans won't, then the moon will!" Molt lifted his head as he said this, tossing his glass to the floor. Glass shards and green beverage covered the floor, and the Miqo'te waitress looked on with a terrified face-- it was her first night and already she had such a dissatisfied customer!


"All the more reason to get back with them and finish where you left off. It'll give you purpose and, in the chance we all survive this moon thing, you'll be there holding the Garleans at bay. Show up at the Hall of Flames tomorrow and take your pole-arm proficiency! You had to of gotten better with your guisarme, so go for it!"


Molt immediately perked up and hushed Adiar, throwing his hand over his mouth clumbsily, "SHHH! What did I tell you? Don't say..." Molt stopped suddenly and removed his hand from Adiar's face. "Forget it. I've failed that, as well. germfliq was attacked and humjikbllet. I couldn't even tell you where vwzisg is, but I can tell you it is no more. With hypsiarber gone, there is no purpose, and we were in the stages of rebuilding with what few people we had, so it was unanimous to...well, go our separate ways." Adiar hardly acknowledged the jibberish. He never could figure out what may have caused it, but it was obviously to cover something important. Molt never knew he spoke that way until Adiar pointed it out to him, all the while he thought Order of the Stormguard and Seraphine, while hushed, were always what came out.


By now, the poor waitress meandered over and meekly cleaned up the mess at their feet. Neither men paid her any mind.


"Do you...have it still, right?" Adiar asked, pointing to his own chest. Molt nodded and tugged his tunic down some, enough to show a small piece of the tattoo he received. He never actually showed Adiar the entire tattoo, just bits and glimpses in the changing room when donning their work clothing. From what Adiar could tell there was a black outline, sort of knotted around what looked like a fuchsia lightning bolt. He noticed Molt did try to hide it even in those circumstances, but they never could talk about it.


"There's nothing I can really do. I can't bchifgy by myself and I'm in no place to judge character on xaquinjy. jhjkguh has..the zfdpfft that would dghmnjg, anyways." Molt sighed and raised from his chair, stretching. Adiar perked a brow, passing the thought to ask him to rephrase but disregarded the thought and sighed, unable to penetrate Molt's thick skull.


"Well, start it whatever you can. They don't have to know the intimate details, but who knows? You'll find kchupah, or whomever you mean to say, along with your wife and daughter and you could live happily ever-after." Adiar replied, sliding from the table and raising from his own chair. They made their way to the desk, and behind it grew a very nervous server. It was clear her peers did not care for her much yet, as they continued about their duties, so she was alone and waiting for whatever belittling she was sure to receive. Molt reached down and pulled a decent sized coin pouch from his belt, setting it at the table. "Thank you, miss, I rather enjoyed my drink and you did a fine job tonight. I appreciate it!" Both the men turned and walked out, the Miqo'te almost fainting from pure relief as her first night became a success rather than a massacre.


The two Elezen walked down the alley behind the Quicksand in silence for a moment before Adiar broke the ice. "Where did you get that purse?"


"It was mine..." Molt replied, replacing his lenses back on his face, adjusting them to sit correctly.




"I lifted it. I couldn't fight it."


"And...the other things we talked about last time?"


"Well...I still have the dagger..I can't seem to dump it anywhere, so instead I've been practicing with it."


Adiar stopped, pinching his nose, "How much?"


"Too much. Idle hands is the Thief's plaything, it seems. You think that's a good quality to have when judging character?" Molt replied, walking a few steps forward, hands on hips. "I..I just can't help it...there's nothing else to live for or do--"


"MOLT! STOP IT!" Adiar abruptly shouted through gritted teeth. He was clenching his fists and shaking by the time Molt turned to face him. "I have a wife and three kids at home. I've worked hard for what I've got, and you know what? With Dalamud approaching we. Make. Due. We spend as much time together as possible, and we make the best of it. But you're right! Of course you've got it worse, but in case you forgot, you're not the only one who's about to get crushed by that giant red blob. Your family, if they're still alive, " Molt cringed as Adiar seemed to strike a heart string, "they won't make it through this any better or worse than you will. There's nothing you can do, nothing anyone of us can do, so. Deal. With. It."


Molt took a step back, his breath swiped right from under him as though it were carpet underneath his feet. Adiar was right, but he couldn't come to terms with it. He was always right, and he never wanted to face it.


"If you can't find anything else to live for, then live for yourself. Do something. Make something. Have fun! Do whatever you want to do, not what you should do, and wait for this sobbing-mush-shit to kick in when Dalamud is just above your head! Make mistakes! Do something rather than piss and moan that you're too spriggan-shit to do anything!"


Adiar took in a deep breath and gave out an exaggerated sigh, trying to calm down. Strangers in they alley looked on with curiosity, keeping to their shadows before wandering off to find something else to nose into. Molt stood, bewildered and unable to find anything coherent to say. They both took a moment, sitting on barrels left by a merchant in the previous day.


"I'm...I'm sorry, Molt. But you can't keep doing this to yourself. You said yourself that you and Solae were doing anything but getting along, so maybe she just left. I'm not defending what she may or may not have done, but we're in a crisis. There's nothing else to do but be selfish and give in. Even the tamest animal will revert to its primal senses once cornered, and Molt...we're all cornered. There's still order, but you and I both see it-- people are running around in a hurry with no destination. They're no better than you or I, and us to them. But while we still have time, make the best of it and stay in control. You never know what will come of this, and perhaps one day, after all this is over, you'll thank me for trying to ground you while you went to visit Dalamud a little early."


Molt crossed his arms like a pouting child, still speechless. He managed a nod when Adiar stood up and turned to face him. "Take control. Don't let these animals lead you- It's the blind leading the blind out there. And me? I'm perfectly fine with all this. My family may be worried, but...here's to hoping this will pass over us and hit the Garleans." Adiar grinned. Molt matched it and outstretched his hand, but Adiar would have none of that.


"Aw, come here big guy! Did I hurt your feelings?" Adiar said while grasping onto Molt with an awkward hug.


"S-stop! By Odin's wrath, get OFF!" Molt shouted, but couldn't help but to laugh, finally shaking Adiar from him. They both stood facing each other for a moment, as though sharing an equal thought and understanding on what must be done. They grasped each other's hand and shook on it.


They went on their way on opposite ends of the alley, but little would they know they would never see each other again.


((EDIT: I realized I leaked a bit too much Stormguard info =P Edited and fixed!))

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There is nothing in the world quite as wondrous as starlight, particularly when starlight is still a fairly new concept. Years ago when Yssen Van crawled out of his subterranean homeland, starlight was the first thing he saw. He marveled at it for much longer than he should have back then, and Yssen still cannot help being entranced by it now. Even the recent new changes he witnessed as he turned his eyes to the night sky couldn't manage to dull the experience, it always took him back to the night he first saw them. Here, now, laying down in a clearing just outside Owl's Nest, the experience was no different. Yssen had managed to even see beauty in the auroras and falling stars that had appeared in the sky lately. He also distinctively remembered when he first noticed that the stars were falling from Dalamud. Pretty little bullets falling from a big red doom sphere, Yssen had long ago given up the idea that Dalamud was in any way, shape, or form a moon. Finding the beauty in the shape destruction was a concept Yssen was fairly used to, he counted it as one of the first lesson's he learned. One must react to found beauty in the proper fashion. Admire beauty, but do not forget the nature of the thing you found it in. That was lesson number two.


Yssen turned his gaze to Dalamud and smirked. There was really nothing to be done about it. If it crashed, it crashed. The damage would be done, and the big red doom sphere would serve its purpose in the grand scheme of things. Raging against it was not the way to get the coin to land on edge in this situation. A coin has more than two sides, always remember that a coin can be made to land on edge. That was lesson number three. When you examine a situation throughly, you always find the right path out. You can rage against a storm all you want, you can fight the rolling in of the tide, and punch the side of a mountain. None of those courses of action will get you anywhere in the end. The storm will not abate until it is good and ready, the tide will always roll in, and the mountain really doesn't care when you punch it. Better to direct your energy into a more useful endeavor. Storms can be weathered, the tide will eventually roll out, and you can find a way around, over, or through a mountain. Get the coin to land on edge. After all, it isn't about saving the world. Leave that to the fools looking for personal glory. Save the ones you can, save the ones you care about. That is how you made an actual difference.


"You cannot save that one you care about."


"There it was again, that really annoying voice in the back of Yssen Van's head that cropped up from time to time. It was an ugly little voice, and it often took a great deal of time to silence.


"That remains to be seen," he replied to the voice.


"You cannot save her, she is too far gone, and it is all your fault. If you cannot save her, what hope do you have to save anyone else."


"Plenty, there is always hope. I can save her. I must."


"You cannot, and you cannot save anyone else. You will not save anyone else."


"That also remains to be seen. I am not going to stop trying."


"You are a fool for that."


Yssen decided to try to ignore the annoying little voice in his head, largely because he was unsure whether he was responding to it vocally or not. He turned his eyes away from Dalamud toward the moon. He smiled for a bit behind his mask before closing his eyes and offering a silent prayer to Oschon, and his thoughts wandered to his last trip to Ul'dah. Stolen food to fill the bellies of some street urchins, stolen gems used to help a dancer pay off her debt sooner, and stolen coin from an overly fat merchant to ease the lives of a few beggars and refugees. It was all that could have been accomplished given the current circumstances.


"It is a good thing Brass Blades never look up."


"People don't want to look up these days, it really is not that curious of a phenomenon."


"It is a confusing course of action, risking precious freedom for such small action."


"That is not too curious a phenomenon either. Consider a night of gambling, one cannot lose what you do not put in the pot. You can risk it all on the long shot jackpot, or you can risk it over and over again taking in smaller pots of winnings. Those small pots add up over time. So do small actions. Like tossing pebbles in a spring. Pebbles make ripples, create enough ripples and you get a wave. Besides, freedom is only as precious as what we choose to do with it."


"Will it all make a difference?"


"That remains to be seen. Everything is a gamble, and you have to keep playing the game to see how it turns out. Could be I'll never know, but knowing how the journey ends is not the important part. The important part is what you do along the way."


"The last lesson..."


"Hope springs eternal."


This conversation was cut short by a loud thrumming sound. Yssen rose as to his feet and watched the airships as they passed overhead. He traced their path in the sky as the slowly moved in front of the moon, the stars, even Dalamud. He smirked under his mask and reached into his pocket for his coin. With a deft series of motions he flipped it, caught it in his hand, and observed the result.


"Going to have to cut this little moment together a little short," he said as he returned the coin to his pocket, "That sound there means it is time to get back to workâ¦"

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Isaac snapped the neck of the black Goldfinch between the thumb and forefinger of his right hand. The tiny bird, conjured from magic, burst into a swirling sandy cloud of inky black that evaporated in the moist air. The message it carried lost. Melfina was nothing if not persistent.


He let his hand fall slack at the wrist as he sighed, his arm propped up on his knee, and leaned his head back against the stone wall of the cave that provided refuge from the raging storm that swept the Coerthas plain. The beating drum of the rain echoed off the walls, ringing in his ears.


âThrough darkness, destruction shines like a beacon. Death looms in its light.â He said absently as he pushed the sleeve up on his left arm, studying the dark tendrils of evilâs taint spreading from the underside of his forearm, wrapping around to his wrist and elbow like a meandering spiders web, trapping what was once his sanity, feeding.


âEvil holds no sway over madness.â The wound was beginning to fester, the taint growing with each day that drew destruction closer.


Eternal looked up from her musing, regarding Isaac with a cautionary expression. She knew to tread lightly when he was in one of his moods brought on, she knew as well, by the darkness that coursed through his veins. She drew her cloak tighter about her self in a vain attempt to stave off the cold of the storm.


âIsaac?â She said carefully in a low tone, the rain nearly drowning out her thick honey smooth accent.


He looked up to her, his green eyes taking on a slight glow beneath the shadow of his hood. Eternal could see the madness seething just beneath the surface, begging for release from its prison. She suppressed a shudder. She had come upon him lying wasted and near death from a battle in the heart of Mor Dhona, the ground soaking up his life blood. His breathing had come in racking sobs. At first, she thought him just another casualty of the Empireâs occupation of the area and was about to put him out of his misery.


The point of her lance drawn to his throat, muscles already committed to the thrust, the kill. His eyes had shot open and pierced into her soul and made her strike falter. The look of utter despair and loss in his eyes had sent a shock of horror through the core of her being. Impossibly, he had lifted his battle torn arm and pointed at first to her, then to the sky behind her. âMeteorâ¦â his torn throat had issued.


She turned to look into the sky, seeing the red moon, Dalamud, looming ever present in the dark sky. When she turned back to him, her brow furrowed in confusion, he had a smile on his face. His arm flopped back down to his side. She had decided, then, to try to heal his wounds. After several hours of pouring forth every ounce of energy she had, she had been able to repair the brunt of the damage, ultimately saving his life. He had done something, then, that had changed the course of her life. He had also saved her life.


Eternal broke from her reverie as Isaac began to mutter in a non-existent language, ramblings, the glow in his eyes becoming hollow and lost. She quickly jumped to her feet, throwing open her cloak, and rushed to his side, kneeling down in front of him. His body was shaking and she could see the taint in his arm throbbing as it grew.


Eternal placed one hand on his left arm and the other over his eyes, closing her own as she began chanting a spell beneath her breath. She let the flow of her magic course into him, beckoning him back to sanity as she attempted to bar the taint from spreading further.


When she removed her hand, his eyes shot open wide. He took a sharp intake of breath, held it for a moment, then let it out slowly. He blinked several times and looked around, as if confused of his surroundings. His wandering eyes finally settled on hers.


Eternal relaxed and gave him a warm smile. âWelcome back.â


Isaac placed a hand to his throbbing head. âHow long was I gone?â


She backed away, pulling her cloak about her again, and sat against the opposite wall of the cave. âNot long. A few moments.â


He peered over to her from beneath his hand. The attacks were happening more frequently lately. Though not as violent or long lasting as they had been in the beginning, the fact that they were happening more often wasnât a good sign; the taint was winning and they both knew it but didnât want to say it. âThank you.â


Eternal nodded to him. He didnât have to thank her for her aid, as she had told him numerous times for what he had done, but he insisted. âWhat do you think the cause of the attacks are? Dalamud?â She asked.


Isaac could feel the red moon burning into his core. Every day it drew nearer and every day he slipped ever closer into the bosom of madness. It pulled him to the cusp, held him, taunting him, slowly eating away at him but never keeping him. Not yet, anyway. But soon he would fall victim to its calls. He felt a sensation he assumed as akin to drowning.


Isaac decided to change the subject, attempting to draw his mind away from itself. âWhat are the Legatus planning? Whatâs the Empireâs next move?â


Eternal shrugged, shaking her head. âI am not sure,â she brushed a stray lock of blue hair from her face. âIt could be anything.â


âSurely you must know something, you held a high rank amongst their order.â


Eternal tapped the side of her head with a finger. âThe bug, remember?â Isaac nodded. âI remember little of my time with the Empire. The bug did its job well.â She shook her head in resignation. âThough I am glad for what you did, you gave me back to myself, I do sometimes wish that I could remember knowledge I had been privy to in their service. Even at the cost of knowing what I had done in all the grisly details.â


She looked up to him, sympathy and longing in her eyes. âWould that I could do the same for you as easily as you had done for me, but alas I cannot. I can only help to stave off the clutches of the evil within you.â


âI know,â Isaac said. He closed his eyes as weariness began to take hold. Though he couldnât see it, he could feel Dalamud like a thorn in his side. The burgeoning sense of doom it brought a constant reminder of the danger the entire world was in. âWe should get some sleep. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow. Letâs hope this storm gives up.â


Isaacâs last thoughts were of his sister, Ailith, before the darkness of a restless sleep claimed him.

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Kylin exited the phrontistery, carefully tucking his bag of vial-filled medication into his bigger bag. He pulled the hood of his cowl back over his head before returning to the lower streets of Ulâdah.


He always felt nervous returning to his hometown. He was still technically wanted for questioning for the House Mavanix downfall after all, though it seems as though authorities were thankfully far more preoccupied with the Garlean threat to worry about such investigations. His father had requested he not return to Ulâdah ever again, but it was the only place he could acquire his medication. Sure, he could have easily hired someone to acquire and deliver it on his behalf. But the allure of the desert city was still too much for the young noble to resist.


As Kylin walked past the chocobo stables, he couldnât help but see a small crowd gathering just down the street from it. The small assembly was surrounding a shouting hyur figure in rags. His disheveled hair and dirt stained face indicated that the man was either extremely poor or had seen better days.


âRepent!â The figure shouted to the group. âRepent and the gods shall save you! In their fury, they have given the Garleans the deadly hound of Menphina! Repent and the goddess shall surely reign in her beast and shower us in her everlasting love!â


A few members of the small crowd nodded and shouted in agreement as several others in the assembly rolled their eyes and carried on with whatever they were doing prior to investigating the scene of action. Kylin continued to watch the preacher for another moment, secretly wondering if prayer alone would be enough. Upon arriving at the city gates, he had witnessed one noble family leaving the city entirely via caravan, their destination known only to them. Not everyone had the same blind faith as this preacher, fleeing for somewhere they deemed may be safe. Maybe that was the smart move, maybe not. Dalamud could fall anywhere after all.


He had only partially admitted it to Gerik so far, but Kylin was indeed terrified as well. He wasnât ready to die. And he wasnât sure how to proceed to prevent such a fate. Those who vowed to fight were surely delusional. How could one battle against a celestial moon of all things? This battle was a losing one. Nothing short of a miracle would be substantial enough to turn the tide, so perhaps the ragged preacher was on to something.


His father and stepmother had assured Kylin time and again that all would be fine, though he could tell that even they were afraid. He never thought heâd see the day but his father, the mighty Cartius Felstar himself, was actually afraid. Kylin knew this because his father was already preparing escape plans in case things got ugly. The Felstarâs private airship had been quietly prepared to take the family and leave at a momentâs notice if necessary.


The hyur sighed inwardly, turning and heading for the city gate to leave the city. When push came to shove, he wasnât sure what heâd do. He was petrified. As if taking the preacherâs advice, Kylin said a silent prayer as he exited the city.

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It was in the late afternoon in Ulâdah when a hooded Hyur figure stepped off from the elevator leading to the Airship docks. The man stretched, his arms, still stiff from the flight, and slowly began to move through the Gold Court and moving towards the Sapphire Avenue Exchange.


As the figured walked, he kept his hood low; a man who didnât want to be seen, clearly, and for anyone know whatâs good for them, obviously someone not to be associated with. The Hyur didnât normally travel through Ulâdah wearing such garb, but given his intent and destination, felt that it would be best.


Passing through an alleyway before heading into the Sapphire Avenue Exchange, the Hyurâs determined step slowed upon seeing three children dressed in rags hiding in a secluded corner. The children were huddled together⦠and from the welts on their faces, he could see that they had been beaten. One of the children, a girl, had one of her eyes swollen shut. The hooded figure glanced up the road, and then back to the children. He looked upon with a myriad of expressions; pity, anger, disgust, all wrapped up into one. After some internal deliberation, the Hyur glanced up and down the alleyway to make sure no one was paying attention to him, and he approached the children.


The children reared back in fear at his sudden approach, as they had grown accustomed to the beating from adults. As the Hyur came upon them, he paused a moment, sizing them up, before speaking, âI havenât seen a much sorrier excuse for Thieves in quite a long time.â The children seemed shocked at his comments at first, and then their eyes narrowed at him, angrily. The Hyur paused, taking them in, âAt most there should be only one of you looking this bad,â he said, gesturing to the girl. âAnd what happened with her? She fall and you all leave her behind?â


A young boy jumps up, seemingly the leader of the group, and the oldest of the bunch, looking to be in his early teens. The boy yelled, âWhatâs it to you, asshole!?â


The Hyur held his hands wide in a welcoming gesture. âStrong words for someone who is doing it all wrong!â


The boy yelled and rushed the Hyur with a swing of his fists, which the Hyur easily dodged. Grabbing the boy by the back of his shirt, he slams the boy onto his chest and plants his knee into the boyâs back, holding him down. âYou need more fear,â the hooded man began. âYou donât just go up and rush someone who is stronger than you. Especially if you are going to let them know you are planning to attack them.â


The boy yelled back, âIâm not scared of you, you jerk!â He struggled but couldnât get away.


The Hyur pushes his knee into the kidâs back more, yelling, âYou should be! Fear is a natural instinct, you know why? It keeps you alive. It keeps you cautious. It means you grasp the circumstances of your situation betterâ,â the Hyur said, trailing off as he looked up and saw the rest of the children had surrounded him, terrified, but their hands balled up into fists, ready to go. The Hyur gives a roguish grin and stands up off the boy, extending his hands in a soothing gesture. âWell, at least you stick together. Thatâs something. That and, you can recognize moments of opportunity.â


The boy scrambles to his feet, kicking up at the man, but missing. âJust what in the hells do you want!?â


The Hyur smiled, and looked out of the alleyway towards the Sapphire Avenue Exchange, and began to walk, moving right past the children surrounding him. âCome with me.â


The boy yelled, throwing his arms down at his side as he did so. âThe hells like weâre doing that!â


âThen donât,â the Hyur said, looking back at them over his shoulder. âKeep on as you have. Iâm not the one starving at the side of the road. Not anymore.â


As the Hyur walked away, the children looked back and forth between each other, then their leader. The boy leader shrugged and grumbled, âGods damn it. Come on,â the boy said and he waved to the other children and they followed the Hyur.


The Hyur man peered around the corner and out at the Silver Avenue. The children ran to his side. âOkay⦠so who messed you up so bad?â


The children pointed to a specific food merchant and the Hyur grumbled, âRuppa Shuppa? Are you serious? You picked him? No wonder, then.â He looked down at the kids, who were glaring up at him and the Hyur sighed. âI want you all to pay attention, and seize the opportunity when it presents itself. There will be times that someone has to take the hit for the team. But with some timing⦠you can have some sort of damage control.â The Hyur glances out into the street. âThe one takes the hit always gets extra food, by the way. Now, watch, and strike when the opportunity is right.â


The Hyur set out from the alleyway, with the children watching. He casually made is way over to the merchantâs stall, Ruppa Shuppa. He thought to himself, I should have told them to pick better targets, too. The Lalafell merchant had several fruits laid out on his counter, and was leaned back in his chair reading through the latest copy of the Mythril Eye. The Hyur made his way past the stand, grabbing an alligator pear in the process. He didnât look back as he her the merchant stir, shouting âThief! Thief!â in the process.


The Hyur closed his eyes and braced. He knew what was coming.


An explosion of pain erupted from the back of his head, quickly being replaced with a warm sensation, as the Lalafell lept from his stall and clubbed him in the back of the head. The Hyur stumbled forward, his vision blurring, dropping the alligator pear to the ground. He nearly stumbled to fall onto his face, but managed to keep himself on his two feet, his hood dropping in the process. He spun around to see the Lalafell readying another strike, but upon seeing the Hyurâs face, the Lalafell stopped mid-swing, dumbfounded.


The Hyur looked only momentarily at the children in the alleyway, and made eye contact with them. They hesitated, and then quickly began to sneak over to the merchantâs stall, now unmanned.


Ruppa Shuppa was caught off-guard with the Hyur, and growled, âWhat do you think you are doing, thief?â


The Hyur laughed, picking up the alligator pear. ââ¦whatâs really funny is that these days, I can actually pay you.â


âThen why didnât you?â


âIâm a sucker for nostalgia,â the Hyur said with a roguish grin.


âAt your age, though, I can get you thrown into the jails, or worse,â Ruppa Shuppa glared. The Hyur looked beyond Ruppa Shuppa as the children were grabbing armfuls of food⦠there are were several people nearby but all their attention was focused on the exchange between the Hyur and the merchant.


âAlright, alright, point taken. Here,â the hyur said, reaching into his gil purse and pulling out several coins, glancing up at the children standing with as much food as they could carry, with the boy leader looking attentively at the Hyur, his face with a concerned expression. The Hyur shook his head and looked down at his gil purse, âAh, sorry⦠miscounted. Here. This should do it.â


Ruppa Shuppa glared, at him, not even counting the money. âJust a moment, you.â But the Hyur was already walking away, throwing his hood back up, and wasnât stopping. Ruppa Shuppa watched him walk away for some time, until he finally remembered the characterâs name. With a frown, the Lalafell recalled it, âAurickâ¦.â


His moment of reverie swiftly came to a close the moment he turned and got a good look at his stall.




Dusk had begun to set in when old Heaucreubiont, an Elezen, noticed a tall hooded figure looking over the decrepit merchantâs home, or what was left of it, at least. It struck him as odd, for someone to take such an interest in place filled with such a dark history. In itâs prime, over ten years ago, the home had served as a storefront on the first floor, with the second and third floors purchased for the familyâs living and crafting quarters. Built into the side of the cityâs states walls, the home was just one of many shops; however, in Ulâdah, this was prime real estate.


Now the home stood, untouched, for nearly a decade. Time had taken the toll the home; a chair was overturned, shelves had broken and fallen, a door completely unhinged due to bandits, and the whole of it covered in thick sand. Now it had a strange man looking it over, with a face Heaucreubiont could not place. Perhaps he meant to pilfer the home? Heaucreubiont couldnât be sure. But, as elderly men are oft to, he decided to stick his nose into anotherâs business.


Approaching the hooded man, Heaucreubiont spoke, âYou should move along, my friend. There is nothing for you to see here. Please, donât disturb this place.â


The hooded man looked to Heaucreubiont, revealing a male Hyur with blonde hair. âMy apologies. I have not come to disturb. I merely have⦠interest, in purchasing this shop.â


The Elezen laughed. âMy friend⦠I can tell from the look of your robes that you are not⦠financially sound enough⦠to purchase that land. Perhaps you would be interested in a retainer? Set up a shop in the Market Wards?â The Elezen paused, shaking his head and looking back towards the shop. âBesides, I donât believe it is for sale.â


The Hyur raised an eyebrow. âSo the sultanate prefers it like this? Letting it waste away?â


The Elezen shook his head. âItâs not that⦠the family that used to live there was a generous merchant family, the Demircans. But one day, they just up and left.â


âLeft? What do you mean?â The Hyur responded, sounding not at all surprised by the story.


âIndeed, they left⦠for lands unknown. Better prospects elsewhere was what I was told. But who really knows. Their youngest son was left here, though. Said that he wouldnât survive the journey, and left him in the care of the sultanate.â


âI bet they took good care of him, then,â the Hyur replied, not sounding convinced by his own words.


âWell, no⦠I mean, the boy ran awayâ¦,â Heaucreubiont said before pausing and looking the Hyur man straight in the eyes. âIâm sorry, I should not speak of this further. It is a sad tale. One that is best left unremembered.â


The Hyur looked at the Elezen man, appearing offended at first, and then forced his face to lighten. âPerhaps so. But I bid you answer my question, why does the sultanate keep it off the market?â


The Elezen looked down. âI canât truly say. Technically the sultanate owns it, and the officer overseeing it has not made any motions to re-establish or open it to the public. All the goods on the inside have either been looted or sold. I donât know⦠maybe they want to keep it as a reminder to those merchants who step out of line. The family wasnât well likedâ,â the Elezen stopped and shook his head. âI really donât want to talk about this anymore. Iâm sorry.â


The Hyur raised his hand, in a calming gesture. âItâs fine. I didnât mean to make you feel uncomfortable,â he said, glancing back at the home. âI shall take my leave now. May you have a pleasant night.â


And with a short bow, the Hyur made an abrupt turn and briskly walked away from the scene. As Heaucreubiont watched the man walk into the street, he found something odd about the man that he could not place. Eventually he shrugged, grumbling to himself and going back to his business, as the Hyur vanished into the bustling crowds.




As night fell, the Hyur moved swiftly through the alleyways, until coming across a particular one that he seemed to be searching for. He swiftly began to climb it, confidently, giving no indication that he was trespassing to those who might see him, but rather that he was supposed to be there. His eyes came fixed to Dalamudâs taunting vision, looming in the sky, itâs crimson red glow shining through the night. He stood there, studying it from his vantage point, turning over the events of the day in his head.


He let his hood drop, and his blonde hair fell loose. The man, who now called himself Blade Belisaire, rubbed the back of his head with a loud groan. âGrumpy old asshole,â he uttered. Blade turned and sat down against a wall, gently letting his head come to rest, gazing up at the red moon shining in the night, bathed in its crimson light. It was almost enough to mesmerize him, but he shook the temptation off and reached into his bag, and pulled out the alligator pearl from before. He brought out a culinary knife, and split it in two, and began to spoon out the thick, paste-like food onto the knife, licking it off every so often.


Why he had come to see his familyâs old home now, of all times, he did not know. Why would he let such events, such history, draw him back in times like this? Why did he ask that elderly man the story of the family that lived thereâhis family, when he knew the story perfectly wellâhe had lived it, after all.


Why⦠why, indeed?


Staring up at Dalamud, he allowed himself a moment to be truthful with himself. Perhaps, with the Seventh Umbral Era drawing nigh as it is, he felt motivated to be honest with himself. If it fell now, today, in a month from now⦠he might not get a chance.


He knew damn well why he had come. He wanted to be told something different about his past. He wanted to believe there was something he had missed. That he hadnât just been abandoned by his family. What memories he had remaining of his family, distant though they were, didnât lead him to believe they were that selfish. He had never believed it, or⦠never wanted to believe it. He had never let himself decide which it truly was, between the two.


Perhaps it really was just as he had always been led to believe it to be. He just wanted to know. Before Dalamud, and the Garleans, come bearing down upon them in a firestorm.


He thought of the boy, leading that group of starving thieves, and how the boy had looked at him in the end⦠in almost some kind of admiration. It wasnât a look that Blade was used to. Not at all. He wasnât even sure he liked it. Because he hoped that the kid didnât turn out like him. He was somewhat regretting his decision to help the children. What had he taught them, after all?


Did he teach them that itâs right to steal from the smallfolk, and take what isnât theirs?


Or did he teach them how to get by in a harsh world, which may only get harsher?


Blade finished with the alligator pear and tossed itâs skin to the side. He licked the last of the green substance off his culinary knife as he stood up and walked over to a railing, looking out over Dalamud, still thinking about the boy. Whatâs more wrong? Letting kids starve at the side of the road? Teaching kids to steal? Or trying to tell these kids they should work for their food, which for a child with no money, is really impossible?


The world is wrong.


Itâs all wrong. Everything youâll do will be considered wrong by someone else. But then whatâs right? Maybe nothing.


He shook his head, to push out the abstract thoughts in his head that usually lead to nowhere. He pulled out Seleneâs personal linkpearl and glanced at it, debating over whether or not to give her a call. He was embarrassed to go through with it, though. Hadnât been quite the gentleman lately⦠always ending up in bed together. Maybe he really was just as bad as he thought he was? He put the pearl away. Instead of calling her, he glared at Dalamud, and as he did, an anger swelled up in him. He had spent so long working to get to where he was at now. With the impending invasion and Dalamud, all that was threatened to be taken away. While he watched others pray to the Twelve to deliver them salvation, clearly, it hadnât done much to help them thus far. Dalamud was still coming. It would arrive. And Blade felt it would be soon.


He would probably die. Thatâs why he wanted to help whoever he could, before it happened. Thatâs why he wanted to find something about his family. Maybe that too, is why he wanted to be with Selene.


As Dalamudâs crimson glow radiated in Bladeâs eyes, he knew that he feared Dalamud, and what it would take from him. He didnât fight this fear. He⦠welcomed it. Because as he told the boy earlier in the day, fear keeps you alive. Although the risk annihilation was high, Blade knew⦠to accept it, would be to accept defeat. To fight and not believe there to be salvation, you will not truly fight. You would have already forfeited your life. You will die.


Surely alone he couldnât stand up against what was coming. The prophets telling of the Seventh Umbral Era had said that much.


Could he but find others who would stand with him.

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  • 5 weeks later...

((His race is subject to change, but the story will hold true. It may be a bit premature, but I wanted to get involved so badly that I couldn't help myself.))



The wooden planks that made up the floor were old and worn by the travelers that passed through seeking shelter for a time. Kerr thought that with all the refugees it must have nearly been worn through. He imagined he could feel each ridge of the grain where the sand from their shoes had ground grooves deep into the wood. It was a modest-sized building, being some years of age. It always smelled of many bodies and the candles used to mask the sweet stench of sweat. There was a constant low murmur of voices of those that came to seek solace in the presence of others; those that came for shelter from the growing red doom.


Comfort was not what he sought, kneeling dutifully on the floor before a Miqoâte woman of some age who sat amidst a pile of her possessions that looked to have been hastily collected. Perhaps it was all she owned in the world now. There was white to her ears and sprinkled throughout her tail, but her eyes were everkeen. She held the letter than he had brought so tightly that the paper creased. He could see it tremble between her hands before he dropped his head forward, fixing his eyes on the worn grain. The minutes ticked by like hours â every breath a slow drag of agony as he waited in anticipation. Finally, her words came and the relief was almost enough to make him sick.


âShe is dead then, my daughterâ¦â


It was not a question. It need not be when it was all laid bare in explanation in the missive. His hands clenched so tightly upon his knees that the leather issued a quiet protest. For some time, that was the only sound that passed between them. He felt dizzy from the press of the silence; the weight of her stare. But he bore it without complaint. He would offer no paltry excuse, no plea for himself. He was guilty of it, this crime. The blood of this motherâs child stained his hands and he would hear her words. He would feel the sharp sting of her wrath, should she give it.


It mattered not that the girl had begged for the release that death would bring. To deliver this letter had been her final request of him. He would honor at least that much for the woman heâd had hand in torturing.


âAnd the children?â


âI know not,â he mustered himself to answer. He truly didnât. He was not even sure the number of them, though he knew two to be his. Taken shortly after birth, heâd not ever seen them.


The woman sat back in her chair with a rustle of clothing and a sigh weighted with the choices she now had to make. âSo young⦠to bare such a burden. How old are you, child? Are you even sixteen summers?â


âEighteen,â he responded with quiet surprise, glancing briefly up toward her face. What did she mean by these questions? Her stern expression made him uneasy and he returned his eyes to the floor. âJustâ¦â he amended.


She sat forward on the edge of her chair, reaching out to him as quickly as a striking snake to catch him by the chin and force his head up. Her eyes were the same soft brown as her daughterâs, but they were filled with pain and ferocity that he had not seen in Mirage until the end. The fire in her calmed him. He knew what to expect now. When a woman looked at him like that, he knew well the nature of what they asked.


âShe begs me for your life, boy. Begs for my mercy, which I am not yet sure I am inclined to give. You owe much for the life you have lived â and those you have taken. Is that the legacy you wish to leave to your name? Will the people left in your wake remember only suffering?" the matron growled, digging her sharp nails in against his cheek and giving him a quick shake. "I have spared your life. As such, I lay claim to it. I will see that debt repaid. Remain and serve those other than just yourself â or face your death this day."


Seeing the cold light in her eyes, Kerr did not doubt she would strike him down in an instant if he refused her.  Yet, there was nothing in his old life that he could return to now. The brief life and the death of that one girl had changed how he viewed everything. His answer was simple and grave.


"I will serve."

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