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Justice for Nature (Journal)

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[align=center]A chronicle of Crimes Against Nature from the perspective of Kiht Jakkya.[/align]



The purpose of this journal is to portray the involvement Kiht Jakkya had in the plot, Crimes Against Nature. This narrowly focuses on Kiht, her actions, thoughts and feelings. The broader story is best told on its original thread: http://ffxiv-roleplayers.com/showthread.php?tid=12699 . Please read the original thread to understand the full context of this thread.


In hindsight, I failed to show how involved Kiht was in the story. Events that vary in character cast made it so some people only saw bits and pieces of what Kiht had done. I am hoping this thread will compensate for that issue. If you decide to read, I hope you enjoy.




Zanzan takes a long moment to climb into a comfortable seat on his stool. He offers a wide smile towards Kiht as he regards her, holding a new and pristine, leather-bound journal in one hand and a quill in the other. He gestures her to a seat beside him.


“Not often am I asked to be a scribe... Make yourself comfortable Kiht and we shall start as soon as you are ready!" He says to her in a carefree and cheerful tone.


Kiht looked to him and nodded curtly. “So I just speak?”


"That is all you need to do! And worry not of speaking too quickly. These ears shall catch every word with accuracy and speed." He says with a smile as he flicks one of his large ears with the feather of his quill.


“And you swear this will be kept secret?” She asked as she watched him respond, intently.


“Of course! You have my word... And do not worry, I shall refrain myself from turning what you say into a poem. What words you say will be the words written on these pages." He chuckles softly, crossing a leg over the other as he readied himself.


She takes a deep breath. “Very well, here I go.”


[align=center]The Blood Witch[/align]


“When it started, I was Matriarch of the Shroudwolf Clan. There was naught else I wanted to be, and the Shroud was the only place I thought I wanted to be. Things had been stressful, but prosperous. The life of a leader is not easy.


However, I spent my time taking on jobs in the Shroud. I did not need the gil, really, but the jobs reminded me of what I was. Being a Matron made me feel as if I was losing what made me a scout and hunter.


One sun, there was a leve. Wailers were ambushed and killed by some unknown force. I thought it was poachers, but nay, this was no poacher…


Arriving on the scene with some adventurers that never knew how to stay away from things that did not concern them, we were greeted by a rather racist Wailer. Still, he needed our aid, and was not going to turn it down. We tracked to where the Wailers had fallen, and what greeted us was a horrid sight.


We found the bodies; buried under a forest of blood, and seedkin gone mad. The very vines tried to eat us, and blood-red Orchu tried to kill us. We prevailed in battle, and began to collect the fallen Wailers. That is when I saw her. A woman in red.


She fled into the living vines of horror, trying to escape. I gave chase along with two others; Anstarra and Orrin Halgren. They were fast to respond. The woman may as well have been convicted of a crime. They were not gentle in how they took her down.


They were not wrong though. The woman was insane, and covered in a dress of blood. Questioning her gave us nothing, and when she touched Anstarra, the same craze was given to the Sun-sister. It took two of us to restrain her, but remarkably, she soon regained control of herself.


The crazed woman escaped through the Earth. She was no ordinary woman, she was a witch. When she left, the corrupt forest began to become normal. It had become clear that there was a bigger problem aside from dead Wailers.


Before we could return to the task at hand, the Wailer named Weylan had left with the bodies; choosing to abandon us, and our mission. Things were only brought to a bigger issue when he reported that we had abandoned our leve. A sun-brother who had come along by the name of R’elend was not pleased.


With no pay to see, R’elend threatened and robbed the Moon-sister levemete. To the near-by Wailers, it was just a trio of bickering Miqo’te. Even when I spoke true about R’elend robbing the sister, the Wailers did not believe me.


R’elend escaped with some gil while I repaid the poor sister, and walked away with less gil than I had before. I was… Unhappy.




Outsiders had come to the forest, got involved is aught that was not their concern, and one even robbed a Moon-sister. At that point, I was not pleased about things. There was some odd shite happening, and our efforts only made things worse.


I had a choice to make. I would continue my efforts as Matron, and let Wailers handle their own mess, or I would begin dedicating myself to saving my home from the storm that was building. I only wish I had made some of my choices more quickly.”

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[align=center]Crimes for Justice[/align]


“One sun, I got a letter in the moogle mail. It was an invitation to a feast by the Wood Wailers. I knew the letter was boar-shite the moment I got it. Aside from the Moon-sister I helped, there would be little reason for the Wailers to invite me to some party.


However, I was curious. They invited me to the Carline Canopy, and such was a safe place to go; especially if I was to go unarmed. Little do most know, I am always armed. A hunter is little without their tools.


I dressed in formal garb – formal for me, that is. Then I went to this ‘party’ they had set up. I expected some kind of trick. I did not expect it from… R’elend. The Brass Blade sun-brother sent a fake invitation to get me to meet him unarmed. It was a clever ploy, but not if he intended me harm.


He bought me a drink, and talked with me about what had happened. To me, he is a boar, but he spoke true to my honor this time. I overcame my surprise because what he offered was a chance to learn what the Wailers were hiding. Why a Wailer would make us do a leve then falsely declare it abandoned and flee was too suspicious for me to let go. The crazed blood witch ranted about how it was all the Wailers’ fault. There had to be more to the story. This witch did not attack these Wailers for no reason.


R’elend proposed that we should steal the information from the Wailers. It was an expected proposal from a thief, but not outside of my own willingness. Mayhaps stealing is wrong no matter what, but to me, I had a forest to defend while the Wailers can focus all on their little city of Gridania. I was not content to sit by while they played with conspiracy. A scout does not steal form kin or allies. The Wailers are not my allies…


In the midst of dusk, R’elend and I stalked into a Wailer office. I will not say guards went unharmed, but we caused no permanent injury or death…


We searched through storage and files. We found information on Weylan, the Wailer who betrayed us. While there was little to see that showed the Wailers were hiding something, we did not expect the most secret information to be in a small barracks office.


R’elend and I completed the mission without being caught, but it was close at the end when some new guards arrived right as we left. The Brass Blade and I parted ways, but our work together was not quite done.”

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[align=center]The Crazy Unleashed[/align]


“Anstarra had been cursed with the craze of the Blood Witch. She must be strong of mind to endure it without becoming what the Witch was. Until she was cured, she was limited in what she could do. Nihka Mioni worked tirelessly to aid her, and learn of the new plague that had started in the Shroud. Reports of monsters and corruption and death began to spread, and eventually, Nihka learned that somehow the Blood Witch’s power was related to alchemy and the void.


Unfortunately, while the forest began to fall under siege of these mysterious forces that used void magics, I found myself split between two priorities. The Shroudwolf Clan and saving the forest.


I never wanted to be a mother to the Clan, nor did I want to be a dictator. I wanted to lead by example, and work with the highest-ranking members to decide Clan law. What we came up with was fair and agreed-upon by all members. It was a code of laws much like the code I was raised upon in my own family.


However, I learned that laws will not work when a leader is not around enough. I was there for the Clan at least half of my time, but some time needed to be dedicated to helping my home forest. Unfortunately, it seems I could not be a scout, hunter and Matriarch all at the same time.


Keepers have an insular nature; one that is not quite as potent in me as it is in others of my kin. But the Shroudwolf Clan was founded and created by strays. A clan that grew by sheltering and recruiting stray Miqo’te could not exist if we closed our doors then drove off all visitors and strangers with hostility.


Unfortunately, some in the Clan were content to do exactly that despite laws that forbade them from doing so. I step away to get fresh air for twenty ticks then came back to find one of the Clan had assaulted someone who had done us a service in the past.


Lethal force was used on an unarmed, defenseless Keeper guest. Word spread, and the Clan was shamed. As leader, I was shamed. Friends began to send me letters trying to lecture me on leadership while Wailers investigated us thoroughly.


Never had I been so dishonored. The Clan council took actions to enforce discipline, but not to my standards. What we were left with was an opportunity for the same shite to happen again. Was I to be a dictator or a mother? Clearly, leading by example was not working.


I was at my breaking point, and had to decide once and for all what I would be. The Twelveswood burned; I was not going to continue to look after children who could not behave. Mayhaps it was dishonorable to give up on something and accept failure, but my honor was already destroyed. I chose to rebuild it on a different path.


I stepped down as Matriarch.”

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[align=center]Wailing on Wailer Weylan[/align]


"I doubt many would go to such lengths to track down a single Wood Wailer. R’elend claimed that he was only after revenge. But he had gotten his gil. He either had a bigger pride than he should have, or there was something else driving him. It did not matter to me. My goals were to find out what dirty secrets Weylan and the Wood Wailers were hiding. My friends Enju and R’shesha were there to aid me.


The details of how we set up the ambush would bore most people. Enju was to approach Weylan; acting like a fan of his service. Shesha, R’elend and I were to hide and listen. If Enju was unable to learn all we needed to know, we would act.


Enju met with some good success, but we needed more. It was becoming clear we would need to force information out of Weylan. R’elend and I acted. The situation turned from tense to hectic. We managed to bring down and restrain Weylan. The male was panicked and hostile. He was fond of throwing out empty threats. But we knew we had him. It was time to question him…


Through threats and scare tactics which may or may not have included a stone and a Diremite, we managed to get Weylan to talk. He told us that he was part of the Wailer squad that was attacked by the Blood Witch, and told us a story which brought more questions than answers. However, he did give us a trail.


It took all we could to scare him into submission, but he was ‘convinced’ to aid us further by sending us reports related to what was happening in the Shroud. We let him go.


R’elend got his revenge; Enju, Shesha and I got our information, and soon we had our hands on secret Wailer reports and history. The answers to the many questions we had only spawned more questions. It was time to pool our information, and speak with all others who had taken up the defense of the Twelveswood."

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“When I was a child, the role of scout was chosen for me. One problem with a small society was that roles had to be filled by assignment. We could not be free to choose our own role, or there would be the potential for some roles to be left unfilled. If we did not become what we were ordained to become, we would dishonor our family. I was to become a scout, and for the most part, I felt naught but love of the role.


However, I was one of the few growing children who had a close relationship with my father. Moon-Keepers are insular, but males have a benefit of wandering and learning by adventure and exploration. Because my father visited my Clan often, I was able to learn what he learned.


One sun, I felt too controlled by the role I was to fulfill. I was at a part of my life where I wanted to rebel - at least a little. When I spoke of this to my father, the one person who might understand my urge to explore and seek freedom, he told me he would teach me how to use the spear. He said that a scout’s weapons are bows and knives. I could rebel by a slight amount by being a scout with a spear. It was a simple way to appease me, but I accepted.


It was from that point on where I became a lancer – the one choice I made for myself. I wanted to be like my father. I wanted to be as skilled as he was. I wanted to be the hero he was.


Much from there is history. I learned how to use the bow and knives as was required of me, but I stood proud with my spear when I was tested, and when I was finally deemed a Jakkya Scout. I learned more about the battle art from a mentor and the Lancer’s Guild of Gridania.


It did not matter to me if I faced stronger foes, or if they had longer reach. I struggled, I fought, I got hurt but I overcame. They were stronger? I had to be more agile. I learned to use their strength against them. I learned to parry and deflect. They had longer reach? I had to be faster. I had to learn how to work my way past their reach, and make their advantage a disadvantage.


I do not oft tell others about how oft I lost, or how much I got beaten by those who harassed and ridiculed me. I was a small Keeper, a female Miqo’te, an ‘adorable savage’. But I struggled to the top. With the aid of my mentor, Yvelont, I began to make quick work of Elezen lancers in spars. Hyur and other Miqo’te fared no better. Highlanders were a challenge, but I could match even them in some bouts. I stubbornly fought every sun as an ‘underdog’ lancer.


My mother was proud, but did not show it well. She insisted that I was so busy trying to overcome my weaknesses that I was not building my strengths as a Moon-keeper. She lectured me on the reason Keepers took pride in our archery. Keepers fought with wit, guile, tenacity and tactics. It was true that some in my clan used spears, but those were the ones who did not do as well with the bow. It was considered a weapon for those huntresses that were too dense to be skilled archers and scouts. While my Clan’s lancers used their spears to great effect, they focused on beastkin and creatures. They were the living wall that protected our archers and healers from direct melee. My mother oft said that those who stand there with a sharp stick and wait for the enemy to come at them are brave, but foolish.


When I asked my father what he thought of that, he had little answers or arguments. He simply told me that he used a spear because spears do not run out of arrows, and female Keepers found him more impressive because of the use of the weapon. Unfortunately, this gave me more question than answers. How is it that the lance is seen as a weapon used by the brave, dense and foolish, yet it is also seen as impressive to be able to use one in battle? I suppose somehow a male who does foolish shite and survives to talk about is desirable. I always found that silly. Or mayhaps, lancers were not as foolish as my mother made them out to be.


However, one argument my mother made has always given me pause. It is an argument that I see becoming more valid. Both the bow and the spear are time-honored hunter’s weapons. But the bow, she insisted, would withstand the test of time, and never fully become obsolete.


Despite my mother’s wisdom, I let pride and the love of my father keep me on the path of the Lancer for many cycles. Looking back, I see that I was able to accomplish so much with a spear in hand. Though in the end, I found I was being a ‘Dense Little Miqo’te’. I became a warrior, but my true calling had always been that of a scout.”

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[align=center]The Duel[/align]


The following includes an edited log of an in-game RP duel that was DMed by Nihka using the Fate-14 system. It includes posts and dialogue written by Nihka, V'aleera, Anstarra and I.




“Amidst the storm, unfinished business fell upon me.


V’aleera Lhuil is a Sun-Seeker Dragoon who lived in a city of Elezen and Hyur. I met her one sun in Thanalan where I fought her after she assaulted an archaeologist. Mayhaps Ishgardians do not consider it assault to merely punch a person, but the Brass Blades were not happy with what she did.


Our fight was interrupted, and brought to an end as we came to find we were on the same side. That is another story. However, from that moment on, she saw me as a warrior. ‘Twas odd to me as I had always seen myself as a hunter. Looking back, I understand now that a Lancer is a warrior. I was standing between two things once again. I was trying to solve problems the way any fighter with a melee weapon would, yet I proclaimed my heritage as a scout and hunter at every turn. There are differences…


Many Moons later, V’aleera came to me, and challenged me to a duel. She respected me, but she had aught to prove, and I still think it comes from a life of others who tower above her, and consider her lesser because she is Miqo’te. She claims those who are Dragoons judge by merit, and not race, but I do not believe for a moment that V’aleera never feels pressure from other Ishgardians that would judge her every move. It is my belief that she is use to it, and has accepted it. But she had aught to prove, and I had aught I wanted to learn. Could I defeat a Dragoon in a duel? I accepted her challenge.


Adorned in the armor in which I first fought her, and armed with my guisarme, I traveled to an isolated clearing with V’aleera, Nihka and Sehki. I will describe the fight in great detail…”




V'aleera Lhuil glances around with mild curiosity at the surrounding area.


Sehki squeaks happily, and babbles to Nihka as the trio walk through the beds. Once at their destination, Nihka carries her child to the massive bed of flowers.


V'aleera stands near Kiht, while her comrades situate themselves a fair distance back, clearly happy to observe if not interact.


Kiht Jakkya comes to a stop and turns. "Here we are. Back in the suns of the Morbolvine Clan, many duels were fought here. Nothing to break, and quite isolated."


Nihka Mioni's ears lower. ".... lot.. injure.. cause..."


V'aleera taps her chin, peering about and nodding. "Very fitting indeed. Spacious too." She nods several times, "This shall be as good a dueling ground as any, I think."


Nihka sits down, half hiding behind a tree, and holds her child in her lap. "...Sehki... close.. stay please.... " The cub, of course, tries to squirm away but Nihka doesn't allow it.


Kiht pulls a black cloth form her belt. It's a bandana. She wraps it on her head and ties it tightly in a knot to secure it. She loosens the strap on her spear.


"Very well then, in what manner shall we conduct the duel? In Ishgard, it is common for an honorable duel to be fought until one or both contestants have been soundly struck and had blood drawn three times. Is this agreeable, or would you propose an alternative?" V’aleera asks.


Kiht nods. "Very well. I can agree to that. Or until one is too wounded to fight further. Whichever comes first."


Nihka ears lower against her head. Sehki giggles and grabs at some flowers....


V'aleera nods, moving to walk about the area and finding an agreeable patch of dirt to stand on. She unfastens her spear from her back, deftly taking it in hand and swinging it about in deft, powerful motions before assuming a practiced battle stance. "Aye. And should one of us be in a position to otherwise deliver a killing blow, she shall be considered the victor!"


Kiht unslings her spear and spins it about in her hands before bringing it into position. She takes a deep breath. Then adjusts her stance with her boots digging into the dirt. "Agreed."


V'aleera grins widely, hands adjusting on the length of her weapon, the polished spearhead and wicked blades adorning the sides below it gleaming in the rays of sunset.


Kiht suddenly bursts into a charge; spear tip first. As she closes in on Val, she lashes out to strike her spear aside and thrusts at her left leg in swift motions clearly meant for speed rather than power.


V'aleera stands steadfastly in place, not moving to evade but rather digging her heels in deep. She grits her teeth, genuinely impressed with the other Miqo'te's speed, choosing to respond in kind with a show of strength. With a single strong movement of her body she forces the attacking lance aside, then shouts as she lunges forward to deliver a blow of her own.


Kiht swiftly brings her attack up to parry, and redirects the blow to her chest plate, but the power of it causes her to stagger back. She stops the stagger with an almost dance-like spin then twirls her spear and swings low to sweep her hook at V'al's legs.


V'aleera attempts to avoid her opponent's swift and agile rebuke, but as she moves to leap from her present position the head of Kiht's lance crashes against her ankle. As she lands several fulms away, she grimaces as she places weight on her struck ankle. "Clever maneuver, Shroudwolf.". She tenses for a moment, shifting her weight, before leaping forward in a flurry of short, powerful thrusts.


Kiht abruptly sends her spear into a twirl. It spins in a windmill-like motion then she brings it back into position in time to intercept Val's blows. While their speed was not the issue, the strength behind them was. Kiht is hard-pressed to prevent any real damage aside from the denting and tearing of her armor in some places. She grits her teeth and charges again. She swings her spear-head to bash aside any further attacks that might be incoming then lunges forward in a powerful thrust as she lets out a growl.


V'aleera growls as her last blow is swatted aside by the scrappy Keeper, who proceeds to strike true, dashing the scales off the mail covering her upper arm and drawing blood. Rather than fall back, V'aleera presses through the pain, howling as the Shroudwolf's spearhead rends further along her arm. Deftly letting her spear shaft fall through her hands, the Ishgardian charges up close and engages her opponent with a much shorter grip on her weapon.


Kiht may have been in a fury, but she didn't lose her focus and speed. Her nerves were still a cool as ice. She dances aside from the attack then twirls her spear back into a guard position.


V'aleera refuses to relent, striking out with empty, probing thrusts before committing to another plan of action. She swings her bladed spear in short, powerful, controlled arcs, attempting to force Kiht back in an effort to seize the momentum of the battle.


Anstarra Silverain pads up along quietly enough pausing to watch. Eyes not turning away as she moves to sit alongside Nihka in the flower bed. Anstarra gives the sky a look, then pulls a rolled-up something shiny out of a pocket. She snaps it open, into a hat, which she proceeds to apply to her head.


Nihka has Sehki in her lap, held tightly so the cub can't escape as the pair duel across the grass.


Kiht runs right into one of Val's swings with her haft held out before her like a quarterstaff. She blocks the swing and locks her muscles to stop it. She grits her teeth. "I am no rookie Lancer, V'aleera!" She growls out then attempts to swing both their weapons down then thrusts for Val's legs.


V'aleera grits her teeth as her strike is blocked full-stop. Her tail lashes behind her as her weapon is forced downward, opening her to be struck by the driven spear of her swift opponent. But with her own deft movement, she forces her spear up, bringing its haft to forcefully crash against that of Kiht's. Weapons locked, V'aleera's face sits ilms away from the other lancer's, "If you were not a skilled warrior, I would not give you the honor of fighting me!" She grunts and shoves forward, attempting to shunt the smaller woman off her feet with sheer strength.


Anstarra's tail lashes in the flowers, eyes bright as she watches.


Kiht grunts as she barely keeps her footing. Every muscle in her body locking up to hold V'al's push. It makes her too rigid for her own good, but she holds fast. She suddenly shifts the weight of the push as she turns her spear haft to free it then swings the butt end of her spear to bash Val.


V'aleera growls as her attempt to move her opponent off her feet is stymied, the Keeper holding impressively strong. In spite of being off-balance, Kiht is nonetheless the faster combatant; V'aleera sees the strike coming, but her position only allows her to twist and take a glancing blow to her side. She breathes deep, locking her gaze with Kiht's and grinning toothily, "No more tricks with you; we're blow for blow and you have my respect for it, but I am ending this duel!" She cries out to her Goddess and charges forward with a single, powerful lunge.


Kiht braces herself for the charge then suddenly attempts to dash aside. The blade of Val's spear trusts by, but just barely; the edge cuts into the leather of Kiht's upper leg. There is a moment of delay before blood leaks out from the cut.


Nihka winces, ears folding back. She clutches Sehki tighter.


Kiht is quick to try and use V'al's momentum against her as she charges spear-tip-first for Val's upper arm.


Anstarra watches intently, her eyes practically glowing under the rim of her hat. Her hands, in her lap, twitch reflexively, as if remembering moves, and strikes. The shape and flow of a spear's movement... Her teeth bare, as blood flows.


"Hmph." V'aleera swats the blow away, the head of Kiht's spear barely glancing her armor. The Seeker takes a moment to breathe, eyeing the bleeding cut she had claimed from her opponent before setting herself into a low stance. Strong legs propel her forward as she feints with a thrust toward Kiht's torso before transitioning into a full swing toward her arm.


Kiht is not able to dodge the swing and is hit hard in the arm. She staggers back then growls, but clearly is starting to reach the point where her stamina is running out. Her arm quivers a bit, but she focuses to keep it steady. "I am not done yet! Were you not going to end this now? Mayhaps Halone does not favor you just because you are Ishgardian. Open your eyes, I will tell you what I have told no one else... She is -my- patron as well!" Kiht charges forward, but then sends her spear into a series of spins that end with a spike of her weapon swinging in towards Val.


V'aleera narrows her gaze as Kiht speaks, then smiles. Positioning herself to block the blow in such a way as to place the burden of the force on Kiht's struck arm, she nods, "Halone grants her blessing to all who carry the spear with honor and righteousness. I have no cause to doubt your words. I say to you then: let the victor of this battle claim her victory for the honor and glory of the Fury!" Shouting a short war cry, the dragoon pushes forward, spear driving hard and relentless.


Kiht keenly manages to keep pace and parry each blow with changing angles and spins of her spear. A loud clacking sound echoes through the area as the weapons clash. Kiht suddenly dashes to the side then jumps over Val's head; making a flip to land on the other side, and attempting to throw her off-guard.


V'aleera blinks in surprise as the other miqo'te makes a sudden aerial maneuver. Not to be caught off-guard, she nonetheless is forced to waste a precious moment turning an about face, and attempts to make up for this with a quick, aggressive assault.


Kiht dances aside once more; being an annoyingly agile Miqo'te. She makes a quick thrust at Val's lower flank.


V'aleera hisses softly through her teeth as the Keeper barely dances out of harm's way -again-. She laughs, frustration and exhilaration showing nakedly on her expression in equal measure. As the scrappy Kiht strikes back, V'aleera elects to simply shift her body into the blow, a brief sensation of pain flashing in her lower flank as Kiht's weapon bounces against her armor. She moves forward with only a few deliberate steps, thrusting in a practiced pattern, attempting to land a single strong blow through a small hail of feints.


Kiht is tired, and it's finally slowing the swift Keeper down. While she dodges most of the blows, it takes only one. Val's spear stabs into the same shoulder that bears the bruised arm. She cringes in pain and staggers.


She pulls herself from the stagger as her legs lock in place and moves into a stance that favors sudden balance. She has one functioning arm left, and with that arm being the only thing holding her spear, she makes a reckless thrust towards Val with no regard for her own defense.


V'aleera furrows her brow as she watches the other woman recoil from her blow, a glimmer of concern alighting in her face for a moment before the battle resumes. In a disciplined fashion, V'aleera wards off Kiht's counterattack, suffering no injury but to her surprise finding herself impressed Kiht is somehow still standing as the wounded huntress makes a fierce assault. She swats away yet another strike, her tail sweeping in short strokes behind her as she sets her brow and moves to make her own attack through the flurry of Kiht's own.


Kiht holds her lance in one hand! She now moves with a different style as if trained to use her spear with one hand as well. She smacks her spear against Val's last strike then kicks forward towards her torso.


V'aleera coughs and grunts as Kiht's boot suddenly makes contact with the exposed midsection, forcing the dragoon to stagger back several fulms and leaving her winded. She grimaces as pain flows hot from her torso, a boot print already showing, clearly defined over her abdominal muscles. Shaking her head and clearing her mind, she sets forth into another deliberate and disciplined series of strikes, thrusts, and sweeping blows.


The Seeker Dragoon narrows her gaze, pressing slowly but implacably forward, one step forward for each step the Keeper takes back. Though having suffered many a blow from the skilled lancer opposite her, none were so great to be such a strain on her stamina as Kiht's are. Her attack is persistent, relentless, but not yet decisive. With each parry and block the Shroudwolf slows further, until finally the Ishgardian finds her moment. The shafts of both spears crack loudly once, twice, thrice, in rapid succession ending with one final swift movement, as V'aleera thrusts her spear forward through the created opening and leaving the gleaming head a mere ilm from the Keeper's throat.


Nihka Mioni jumps to her feet, or would if Sehki weren't in her lap. She starts to jump, but she has a cub, so she just sort of tenses up and sits up rigid.


Anstarra claps. "Bravo~".


Kiht drops her spear to her side as she lays on the ground. She begins to chuckle through labored breaths.


V'aleera ignores the applause, burying her spear in the soft dirt beside her, her eyes remaining trained upon the Keeper huntress as she offers a long, deep bow.


Anstarra plucks the squirming kit out of Nihka's arms, tossing her up as she stands, so as to let Nihka have free hands for inevitable health-checking.


Nihka stands, and runs over to the pair, once Sehki is in An's arms. She's already reaching into her bag to pull out potions and other fun things!


"You do yourself great honor with the display of skill you have presented this day." V’aleera says to Kiht.


“.. Kiht...” Nihka speaks.


Kiht smirks almost as if she hadn't lost. "You mean I was a pain in your arse." She says teasingly. "....I am glad I accepted your challenge." She says in a tone of relief of all things. She weakly glances to Nihka. "I think I am bleeding...."


”.. Yes, bleed...” Nihka responds. She rushes close and kneels next to the woman, already prepping bandages and unscrewing jars of her alchemic salve.


Anstarra's eyes are bright as she looks over the contestants, with a brief glimmer of envy quickly suppressed. "It's been a while since I got to enjoy spearplay. It's almost enough to make me nostalgic."


Nihka's ears lower a bit as she works, her tail twitching all serious-like.


V'aleera gestures to Nihka and Kiht, moving several steps back and allowing treatment to be directed toward her defeated opponent before herself.


"Nay.... Treat my wounds, but do not dull the pain this time. I want to enjoy this for a bit. Let the pain be a reminder of all I have learned from this." Kiht speaks out.


Anstarra bounces Sehki a little, looking a bit put-upon as the kitten uses her head and shoulders for stepping stones.


Nihka pauses, her ears twitching... But she nods, and gets to work, letting the salve sting as it starts to mend the flesh.


"You were most certainly a pain, Shroudwolf." She looks down at the boot-print on her belly, grimacing before offering a small, genuine smile and nod of respect, "But yours is a lance I would have fighting at my side against any foe." V’aleera interjects.


Nihka pulls out a bandage and smears on more salve; she pulls out a needle and some thread, and begins to stitch the flesh wound closed with small, delicate stitches.




"At the time, I did not think that loss would change anything about me. Indeed I would learn, and mayhaps become stronger, but in a real battle, there is no living to learn from defeat. There is only death.


It was time I stopped trying to be what I was not.


It was time I let myself be something better."

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  • 2 weeks later...

[align=center]Those Who Escaped the Monster[/align]


“Finally, Weylan mailed the records to me. Parchments upon parchments of words and things to know. It took me much time to read and understand. But I started to learn, after a Moon of work, who it was that was causing the chaos in the shroud.


Fires that could not be washed away with water, blood that corrupt seedkin into murderous monsters, Chocobos turning into creatures of nightmare and sightings of mages and other mysterious people who seemed to be responsible.


Too much of what these people were doing were also crimes from a time before I was born. A generation past, when the Thousand Maws of Toto-rak was still used as a Gridanian prison, there was a group of criminals kept there. That same group of criminals disappeared from the prison. The crimes of that same group were now nearly the same as what we were seeing now.


There was too much on the parchments to tell in this one entry, but what I saw most important was that all of these criminals were captured by a squad of Wailers lead by one man, Arden Wood. When he retired, his son took over. His son, Jeph Wood, was the leader of the squad killed by the Blood Witch. The sole survivor was Weylan.


Jainelette Brenaile, an Elezen woman sentenced to life in Toto-rak for killing twenty-six children in forbidden Alchemy research, seemed the same as the Blood Witch. Void-corrupt Alchemy was what Nihka said the Blood Witch uses, and the Blood Witch was indeed a crazy Elezen woman… However, when she was arrested, it was forty-one cycles in the past. The woman should be elderly. She was not.


I decided to bring all of these facts to allies and adventurers who had taken up the cause of saving the Twelveswood. Everything we had found left a trail to Toto-rak, and the few survivors on the records Weylan sent. Arden Wood was still alive… He needed to be questioned.


I was no diplomat; certainly not one that would do well in talking to Wailers. I had accomplished the tracking of truth like a good scout. I handed it to allies that would do better at playing nice with Wailers.


However, my work was not done.”

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  • 3 weeks later...

[align=center]Trial of Blood[/align]


“It was time.


The Blood Witch, who we believed to be Jainelette Brenaile, wrought havoc. She brought her corruption to a small village. The entirety of the people, a group of traveling merchants and a Wailer patrol, all rendered silent.


Desperate for answers, the Adventurer’s Guild put out a high-risk leve. We did not need to track the Blood Witch, for her crimes lead us right to her. We expected a fight. We expected nothing short of a nightmare. We were not wrong.


Enju, Anstarra, Zanzan, Reppu and I arrived to a dead village. No birds chirped, no wind blew, the place bore the scent of death and countless bodies were spread about the ground. We slowly entered - wary and weapons ready. We hoped to find survivors.


There was the scream. A woman screaming from within something akin to a mill house. A sign of a survivor, yet we did not get the chance to act. All around us, the dead came back to life. They were not revived, but turned into monsters instead.


From behind us, to our flank and to our front; the decaying monsters closed in with large numbers. They began to move like starving wolves. ‘Twas unnatural. I can not describe, and they did not give us much of a chance to study them. They began to swarm; wanting to add us to their ranks, or make us a meal.


Anstarra let loose arrows, Reppu let loose her Carbuncle and Zanzan began to cast fire and lighting in a volley. Enju and I drew our lances. We stood firm to defend the ranged fighters behind us. My guisarme stabbed, slashed and hooked as I attacked any demon corpse who came near.


They were fragile. The spread of magic attacks from Zanzan re-killed most of them. Others were brought down by everyone else. The whole of the time, the woman screaming in that damned house never stopped. Anstarra and Reppu’s carbuncle went in before our fight with the demon villagers was brought to an end.


I do not know what they saw in there, but what came out was not a woman. Crashing out from the building was something I had never seen before, and I have seen some crazy shite in my life…


The Monster was in the shape of a person, but it was huge. It was made from countless bodies of the dead, bloody vines and some stone. This was more than some violent seedkin; this was a thing I would only hear about in legend… But this was reality for my comrades and I.


Attacking this monster was easy for our ranged fighters. Hurting it was not. The vines moved as they took damage; it was almost as if they regrew. One body being burned by fire did not seem to hurt it. Even as the corpses were torn asunder, it gathered the fallen dead, and replaced what we destroyed.


To prevent it from crushing our allies, Anstarra and I charged it. She had tossed aside her bow to use a large pole that use to be a support pillar. She is an odd Sun-sister… I struck at it with my lance, but no matter the fury of my blows, or how well I struck true, killing the monster with a spear was not going to be possible.


I moved with Opo-opo tactics; using agility and speed to avoid getting crushed by its large arms. I used my lance to thrust and hook at it like an angry hornet. My only wish was to slow it down, and keep it distracted with me.


Anstarra bashed it. Strike after strike, she tried to deal her damage. But she was only playing a part as well.


Everyone else did what they could. Zanzan cast his magics while Reppu and Enju fought it outside my attention. So focused on what I was doing, I must speak true and say I remember little about what the others did. There was no plan. We worked together, but we had to rely on our instincts to guide us in the effort.


Enju was intent to guard Reppu, Anstarra was handling her wood and Zanzan did what he is wont to do as a Thaumaturge. He did not try to negotiate with it, thank the Gods. I am sure it was very flashy, and created a great amount of colored light.


In what I would call the last great battle in which I used a spear, we finally tore the monster down. Once we rendered the monster broken and slow, Zanzan cast fire into the depths of its form made of many corpses.


With it defeated, we all wanted a respite. But the Blood Witch was still hiding in the building. I am not certain what she did to anger Enju aside from all she had done thus far, but he immediately charged in after her.


Everyone pursued.”

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[align=center]Judgement of Blood[/align]


“By the time we caught up with Enju, he had trapped the Blood Witch. She had done all she could to fend him off, and he was not unscathed, but he was driven by the same determination we all had that sun.


We defeated her monsters, and most of us bore little injury to show for it. That sun, every one of us were warriors. That sun, the Twelve had been with us. We were ending the havoc of the Blood Witch. We aided him in her capture.


After being knocked out, the Blood Witch was defeated and helpless. Finally, our battle was over. But our judgment had just begun.


In the Wailer reports, she was arrested a generation ago for a crime that only a monster would commit. She was certainly a monster now as well. But there was aught that did not make sense.


Did she kill many children for alchemy research? Mayhaps, but aside from words on a paper, we had no proof. It mattered not, for the crimes she had committed that sun alone - the murdering of all in the village - was enough for me to want to end her immediately.


In the past, I would have ended her immediately… None of us ended her.


Something more was happening in the Shroud. Others like the Blood Witch had been pursued, and some were even captured. It was possible to cleanse them of their powers. It was possible to question them.


One had been questioned, and his story told of a voidsent that had power over all of these corrupt mages. After all, people in a prison do not disappear into the void for no reason. Something either aided them, or stole them.


The Blood Witch had ranted before that ‘something’ was the fault of the Wailers. ‘All their fault’, she screamed. She acted like someone else was a criminal when clearly she was the one who had been committing the crimes. Mayhaps she was insane. Clearly she was. But that did not mean there was no reason for her madness.


I held back my spear, Anstarra held back… Whatever heavy object she favored at the time. Everyone held back their weapons. Of course, Zanzan was not going to kill anyone. He desires world peace.


We were not going to pass judgement on her yet… We granted her temporary mercy, and I still do not know why. I had changed, and I do not know why. We wanted to find out more, so justice had to be put on hold.


We wanted to find out what turned an Elezen woman into a monster more brutal than the worst that could be found in the Black Shroud.”

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