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"I Just Wanted Friends..." [Past Story]

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[align=center]Arala Makeo was born into a middle class family in Ul'dah. Her mother was a well respected Goldsmith and her father a great Paladin. Arala herself was born with two white eyes and her signature red head with a small but of black on the tips. While her mother was a Seeker, her father was a Keeper. So despite looking like a Seeker of the Sun, she had some Keeper in her.[/align]


[align=center]Arala loved her father so much that she would wait for him to return to hear his stories. Especially her favorite 'Emperor Xi' which was a five part tale that told of an emperor beridding of his negative emotions and save his people through his own sacrifice. But while her life seemed happy, she had one issue...[/align]


[align=center]Arala sucked at making friends. Not just because she was a Miqo'te but also because she was at one time terribly shy. So making friends was hard. [/align]


[align=center]One day, Arala and her mother had to attend a small banquet. Her father had work out in the field so he couldn't make it this time. Arala was ten at the time.[/align]


[align=center]"Mama...why do I have to attend the Banquet? It's never any fun." said a fustrated Arala. Her mother was helping her in the new blue dress she was given by a tailor friend. As she helped Zip her up she replied "Because, Arala dear, this is the best chance to make friends. Plenty of kids your age will be there." and moved to the table to finish her makeup. [/align]


[align=center]Her mother ran a comb through her long red hair to make sure no knots showed up. Sadly Arala at the time always hated long hair. So she had it short as possible. Now ready, the two headed off to one of many banquet halls in Ul'dah. Walls lined with decorations and the smell of high class food filled the air. It was a banquet to congratulate one of her mother's co workers on her promotion in the alchemist guild. [/align]


[align=center]Arala snuck off and noticed a small group of young girls like her as well. Three in total. One was a huge with blonde hair and blue eyes, another Hyur with hazelnut hair and green eyes and the third being a Lalafell with black pair and brown eyes. They were discussing something when Arala introduced herself like a proper girl.[/align]


[align=center]"Hello, my name is Arala Makeo. Daughter to the Makeo family. And what is your names?" [/align]


[align=center]She was polite as possible and vowed respectfully. The girls looked among themselves and nodded. The blonde introduced herself and the others. "I'm Tiffany, the brown haired is Sally and that girl is Mimiri. It's nice to meet you."[/align]


[align=center]Arala lit up upon hearing then introduced themselves. She couldn't of been happier than to make friends for once! She eagerly got down to it. "So what do you all like to do?! I like to read stories and hope to be a great Paladin like my father!"[/align]


[align=center]Yet at that time...Arala has no idea what she was getting herself into...[/align]

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[align=center]"Mama! Can I play with my friends?" words that Arala hardly said ever before. It made her feel happy to have friends now. She tried to find time to play with them after that party and it seemed like all the while they had fun. Especially Tiffany. She was only one year older than Arala and they looked like a good pair on the surface. A laugh, a chuckle and some games were to be had.[/align]


[align=center]To Arala, it was all she really wanted in life. No money, no material goods. Just companions. But behind the scenes, Tiffany and the others were only being nice to her because she was an easy target. Arala was kind, generous and was a pushover as well. They took advantage of her kindness without her being aware. In truth they kept her around until they found a good time to break her. Why you may ask? We may never know. Kids tend to be fairly cruel.[/align]


[align=center]One particular day, Arala and Tiffany were exploring the streets when they came across a young Hyur boy about their age as well. While Tiffany was not fond of boys at the time...Arala was. She never had a friend who was a boy yet and for some reason it made her blush a little thinking about it. His Highlander like build. The short brown hair and eyes seemed to pull Arala to him inch by inch.[/align]


[align=center]"H-hi...My name is Makeo. Daughter of the Arala Family- no wait! I'm Arala, Daughter to the Makeo family!" she stumbled like a fool. Tiffany then realized who it was and dragged Arala around the corner.[/align]


[align=center]"Do you know who you were talking to?! That's the Weaver's Guildmaster's Son, Roland! How can you stumble like that before him!" Tiffany was generally scared about it. Her family did regular trades and she had seen Roland a lot. most of the time he shrugged her off. Arala blinked. "H-huh? I didn't know. He looked like he could use a friend." her words falling silent as she noticed Roland approaching. "Pardon me, Tiffany." despite his age, he was well mannered compared to other boys. He offered his hand to Arala to pull her from Tiffany's grasp.[/align]


[align=center]"Thank you..." Arala couldn't look at him. She knew that compared to her family, his was FAR more up in status. She simply bowed before him "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to stumble like that!" apologizing for her attitude. This made Roland laugh. [/align]


[align=center]"Don't be! I found it funny that you would mix your name up!"[/align]


[align=center]The two seemed like a cute pair, but Tiffany didn't want any of that. If there was one thing she hated more than kind and generous people, it was people who easily made a connection to others. [/align]

[align=center]"How DARE a second class try to have a conversation with an upper class family! She needs to learn her place before things get out of hand..."[/align]



[align=center]In the pool of her mind, Tiffany would hatch a plan to finally humiliate Arala. But she would need help from her friends to do so. She wasn't going to let some Second Class family upstage her higher class in Ul'dah. It looked bad for her image among the kids.[/align]


[align=center]Arala was a nobody, and so was her family...[/align]


[align=center]Months later, Arala sent out invitations to her friends for her Nameday party. It was the first Nameday party she had outside of family and she was excited to have friends over instead. She was going to turn Twelve.[/align]

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[align=center]It was only a few days until Arala's Nameday. Every year she had looked forward to it. Not for the gifts but for the company. Sadly by this time, her uncle passed away and her aunt went missing. All she had for family was her mother and father. And to her it was just fine. But she had friends now! Making it more of a reason to include the others...[/align]


[align=center]Tiffany meanwhile convinced the other kids about Arala. How she was just a second class citizen compared to everyone. The plan was to humiliate her in some way. Show her where she really belonged. Up till this point they only played nice because their parents said so...but in truth they felt like they were more important. Their status and wealth compared to Arala and her family were nothing. So why should they stick around her?[/align]


[align=center]Not only that but Arala at times acted like commonwealth. [/align]




[align=center]The day came. A banquet hall was reserved for the event. Nothing too big but enough for the kids to enjoy themselves. Nameday as oppose to other traditions involved a sort of gift giving to the person who had turned another year in life. But it was optional. Even the invitation said that gifts were not mandatory... How commonwealth of Arala.[/align]


[align=center]"Mama? Is Papa coming?" A very excited little Arala asked her mother who was inspecting the cake with a baker. "I'm sorry but your father had to be called into work again. He said he will make it later with a gift in hand." her mother told Arala despite not sure about her husband coming at all. Arala just smiled "That's okay! I know Papa works hard like you do!"[/align]


[align=center]Behind the scenes, Arala always felt more connected with her father than her mother. but before they could talk, the guests would arrive. Complete with the parents in tow. They had brought some gifts but mostly letters and notes to congratulate on Arala's day. She was so excited for it all...[/align]


[align=center]And it was going so fine until that incident.[/align]


[align=center]The incident that stuck with Arala for her life. Made her weary of making friends and caused her to hate her own nameday and parties.[/align]



[align=center]Tiffany approached Arala with her friends when the parents were not looking.[/align]


[align=center]"You know, this party is cool and all but where's all the decorations? Where's the big cake?" she asked. Arala answered without much of a care. "I thought that it would be unnecessary to go all out on my Nameday. I just wanted to spend time with my friends."[/align]


[align=center]"...Exactly what Commonwealth Filth would say."[/align]


[align=center]Arala was stunned by her words. "C-commonwealth? I'm not commonwealth." she explained but another 'friend' added "Then why do you not want gifts?"[/align]

[align=center]"Because I have my friends."[/align]


[align=center]They laughed. "Friends?" Tiffany heckled "Friends will not build a home. Friends will not get you armor and weapons to be that 'Paladin' you want to be." they started to devolve and be rude.[/align]


[align=center]"Why are you guys acting mean...This is not normal." Arala was unsure why they changed their tone. Tiffany then finally dropped the ball.[/align]


[align=center]"We were never really friends, Common Filth. You should learn better fashion before you even attempt to talk to us again." [/align]


[align=center]Arala wasn't sure anymore. She wanted to fight back but she felt weak. "B-but....My mother's friend made this...I like it..." to which Tiffany shook her head. "No. It's ugly. Looks like something the poor would use to wipe their rears with."[/align]


[align=center]"My Mother's friend worked hard on it! It's not trash!"[/align]


[align=center]"You are just so...stupid."[/align]


[align=center]With Arala so focused on fighting with Tiffany, two of her friends came up from behind and tossed the cake onto her. Prompting an eruption of laughter from the whole group of kids at her. [/align]

[align=center]"Now it looks better!"[/align]

[align=center]"How appropriate!"

"Just what Commonwealth trash would wear!"[/align]

[align=center]they heckled and laughed. Taunted and made fun of her. These kids were never her friend from the start at all. No...they just wanted to prove they were superior due to their morals and money. While it makes little sense to you or me, to kids it meant everything. Especially those living in Ul'dah.[/align]




[align=center]Arala ran from the banquet hall and to the housing complex. She locked the door and found a corner of the home to sit down on. Legs curled against her chest she sobbed and cried. Arala meant no harm and they treated her so harshly. She thought they were her friends but in the end they were using and playing her just till they found the time to finally say it. [/align]

[align=center]"I...I wanted friend....I never...Meant any harm..." she sniffled, not caring about the remaining pieces of cake on her body at all. Arala felt betrayed and hurt beyond normal.[/align]


[align=center]Just then, the door opened just enough. Behind it was a tall Miqo'te male. Black skin and black hair with the signature Keeper eyes of dim yellow. His armor the standard issued armor of a Paladin and in his hand was the gift he had made for Arala...And he saw her there in the corner crying.[/align]



[align=center]"Arala? What happened?" The Miqo'te asked. He quietly set the gift down to the side and knelt before Arala. She hid her eyes in her knees. "The kids at my party...They were mean...and hurtful...and they tossed the cake on me and call me....C-commonwealth Trash." Her voice barely noticeable underneath the painful sobs and gasps of air. [/align]

[align=center]"I wish i never had a nameday at all, Papa..."[/align]


[align=center]This made her father really concerned. Never did he see his daughter look or act like this in his life. No story could lift her spirit...so he tried to tell her something else.[/align]


[align=center]"My dear Arala. I know it must of been painful for those you called friends to harm you like this, but you must endure it. You want to be a Paladin, right? A good Paladin must strive to fight through the toughest of moments, Physically and mentally." he gently pulled Arala's head into his chest. softly stroking her hair.[/align]


[align=center]"I know that one day, you will be a great Paladin. One that will exceed expectations of others and even be apart of the Immortal Flames. I can see it now...You will carry a torch to brighten up the dark paths ahead of everyone, and with it make the realm a safe place. Your training will be hard, my daughter...but never forget that even the strongest of Paladins will have their moment of weakness. It will be up to others like you to lift their spirits and support them. Even now, you train yourself to become a Paladin like you wanted."[/align]


[align=center]When he left Arala there to look up at him, he grabbed the gift he had for her. "Here. I asked a Carpenter to make these...that's why it took me so long." he offered a wooden sword and shield to her. Made for her. [/align]


[align=center]"Will you take up these weapons, better yourself and be the Paladin you want to be? Or will you let the pain you feel now control and consume what little you are now?" Her father posed the question. She reached out and held the sword in her hand. The shield went around her wrist and hand to hand off the arm.[/align]


[align=center]Arala then stood on one leg, then the other. She lifted herself up and with tears still in her eyes she said to her father...[/align]


"I want to be a Paladin like you...And have lots of friends!"[/align]



[align=center]It would take Arala many years since then to open herself to anyone other than family and her mentor...but just a few days after becoming a Paladin officially...her life would change forever when one man sat down at her table and enjoyed a meal of Marmot Stew with her.[/align]


[align=center]The man named Robert Colt, and her first true friend.[/align]



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