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Whores in Name and Deed [Story]

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(Should you read this, understand this is from the skewed opinion of a one-bitten twice-shy character. The opinions of character in this story are not proper reflection of the actual characters.)



A hundred thousand gil. In Amalia's hand was a hundred thousand gil. As she sat in Peal Lane with that bag she couldn't help but feel filthy as the true side of Ul'dah. Here, surrounded by those who would sell their heritage, their pride and even their bodies for a meal and a warm blanket, she felt horribly in place.


'It was for Ala Mhigo. Her sons, and daughter. It was for them. For them...'



She clutched the pouch tightly, thinking back to the events earlier. She had entered into the Runestone, a magical tournament. Held by none other than Reiner Dorn. She loathed him as deeply as she did the Garleans who took her ancestral home from her and her kinsmen in their ceaseless march of conquest. Who burned from this world good, honest men and women whose only crime was not to accept subjugation.



Gods, she hated that man. Hated him as much as she hated the Syndicate that took advantage of her helpless kinsmen. Who exploited them for their own profit, to add to their never-emptying coffers! Men and women who feigned charity to only practice cruelty. How many of her countrymen had lost life or limb in the mines? Defending the wealth of their puppet masters? All while earning scarcely enough to be called a wage. Pittance, and nothing more.



'This money can help though, help those in need.'


She began to squeeze the pouch as tightly as she grit her teeth. Yes, a hundred thousand gil could change the lives of so many. Put good food in the bellies of children who supped on nothing but broth of bean one day, only to have to go without the next. Clothes on their back, shoes on their feet and a safety net while they searched for good work, or enough to pay for apprenticeship under a tradesman. She told herself of this over and over, but it did nothing to sooth her.



"He has so much, and others have so little!" she said quietly, yet forcefully to herself. "He primps and preens, buying expensive clothing and eating only the best. He's not Ala Mhigan. Not in the slightest!


She leaned her head back against the wall, refusing to let tears fall. She hated him so -much-. He was the same as the Syndicate, feigning goodwill and generosity for only their own benefit. He dressed in silks and satins while his kinsmen had only threadbare linen! How was it fair?! He strut about with his noble pedigree, believing if someone wasn't like him they were nothing! The lowest of the low. Yet he claimed to be -only- interested in the downtrodden and the restoration of Ala Mhigo. But Amalia knew better. He only wanted the glory. To be put atop that high pedestal and showered with lavish praise and accolades. She though he even had his sights set on becoming the next King when Ala Mhigo was restored. Restored with the blood and bone of those he would sneer at, and glare at down his nose. People like her.



His words rang in her ears as she waited in line. Mocking her. Demeaning her, telling her loud and clear she was beneath 'His Lordships' cares because she hadn't bent to his will, or behaved in a manner he most likely saw befitting of his 'future subjects'. He had pointed her out to one of his lackeys and begun the conversation, loud enough for her to hear, knowing she would bite the hook as sure as a fish lured by bait. Gods, why had she taken the bait? To be ridiculed like that, in front of a crowd where he had all the power. He had everything to gain, and she everything to lose. Her defending arguments found no footholds, and if she had demanded a duel for her honor she would have been either barred from competing, or at worst, killed by him and his infernal band of mage slayers. She could have done nothing but shame herself through action or inaction.



It was then she had decided to give it her all in the Runestone, to unleash the Thaumaturgy and Black Magics she had learned from her deceased mother. She had brought the full force of her spells to bare against those who had stood in her way of the grand prize, a quarter of a million gil and to be crowned Champion! The title held nothing for her, she didn't need things such as that to take pride in herself, but that amount of gil would have been a god send to Stonesthrow and Little Ala Mhigo.



The tears stung her eyes, but she refused to let them fall as she glanced up at the night sky. She drew strength from the memories of her victories. Each of the groups of fights had been overseen by Reiner's toadies, and she had felt in that moment if she could leave them speechless with her prowess she had come out on top. Spell after spell of the collective Thaumaturgic elemental categories had left her opponents in the dust. Summoners, Cryomancers, Pyromancers, all had fallen to her will and spells. Some had been spectacular victories, others near-misses, but she had fought hard and advanced to the final round! She had defeated those judging looks and silence Reiners like-minded 'friends'.



Friends. Gods damn it all. Her final opponent had been a simpering child who had only made it to the end by the skin of her teeth and false confidence granted to her by her cheering friends. There was no one to cheer for you on the battlefield, false confidence was a lead chain around your neck. She had been tired by the extended use her long-shelved magicks. The girl had seemed like nothing, so she brought all she had to bare down upon her. Searing Fire, Dancing Lightnings , Frigid Ice and even pure unaltered magic essence!  But she had drawn too heavily, and left herself wide open. She had lost to a simple Ruin spell. She would take the prize and waste it! Spend it frivolously on tinkets, bobbles and dresses. And the girls friends have come to cheer her! Where were her friends? Dead in the killing fields. Shot, stabbed, crushed and torn asunder under the might of Garlemald!



Rhalgr mocked her with such a disgraceful loss!



'Mock you...or teach you?"



The Lalafells words filled her mind now as tears threatened to overflow from her eyes. Tmesis Oan? The name didn't sound right expect for Oan. The man shared her hatred of Garlemald-he was Doman and knew the pain of a lost homeland. He had recognized her spells for Black Magic, and wanted to only learn more. He offered her a quarter million gil for her cooperation, and the pouch she now held was a payment of that. She had agreed, if not quickly and comfortably. These were her mothers magics, valuable gifts and lessons of her ancestors!



She wiped at her eyes, praying the Rhalgr they would stop, but she had broken the seal and they flowed quickly and unending.



They were her peoples magicks! Not his! But the gil, Gods almighty and merciless the gil. Reiner would only give to what -he- deemed worthy, and as long as it didn't put too much strain on -his- coffers! He had tried to buy her allegiance for a million gil, and she had made him spend it on Little Ala Mhigo. A million gil for a single person in their pocket? Gods, she hated him! SHE HATED HIM! And Oan. HE had actually -succeeded-! HE had bought her like she was some strumpet showing her arse on a street corner! She hated him too! She hated both of them so -MUCH-!



But not as much as she hated herself.



With a shrill scream she threw the coin pouch at the far wall, sobbing hysterically. The other Ala Mhigans didn't look at her, or even in her direction. No one would dare try and steal the pouch. She was too volatile, and none of the men or women there wanted to lose their lives. But no one tried to calm her either. Her tears were the tears of the broke, the beaten, and the damned.



Yes, she felt perfectly in place here, and she hated that too.

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