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Noirzea [Fate-14 Plot] - IC Thread

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This thread should provide a gathering point for those participating in Noirzea who wish to engage in short IC fiction. I encourage anyone involved in this RP plot to enhance the story by posting here. Thank you all!

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Steak, steak~ Wonderful Steak~"


It was a strange sight, the miqo'te skipping along Emerald Avenue, her arms full with a bulging package wrapped with paper and string. She wore a tight, military looking jacket, emblazoned with the symbol of a Raven astride a field of stars. Her face was covered behind a carved white mask.


"La la la~ Steak~"


None of that was the truly strange part though. It was her singing.


"Cook it up~ Taste's so good~"


"It is my~ Favorite food~" 


Passerby's gave her strange looks as she passed, but the Miqo'te seemed not to notice or care.


Finances had been tough for a few weeks at the Night Ravens, and fine food was a luxury they had gone without. The Leve to bring in the coblyn cores had been a twelvesend, and their coffers were comfortably full after nabbing a half dozen of the things.


She adjusted the satchel on her back, wine bottles clinking together inside. 


"La la~ Laaaa~ Steak~"


Ueno and Iyrnahctwyn had been as dependable as she expected, and even Eris had pulled more than her fair share. 


"Juicy meat~ cooked just right~"


"Going to have~ Steak tonight~"


At the back of her mind though, she was already thinking of the next steps. Specifically a pair of likely prospects she had met in the refugee camp. There was no rest for the wicked, she supposed.


There was however, steak for them.

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Inside a poor fisherman’s home...



Abigail Grey sat on a small wooden stool beside her mother’s bed. Her father had yelled at her for running off like that, then spent the rest of the night hugging her tight and crying. Of course she was grounded. She was very, very grounded. But those adventurers had saved her from the goblins, so being grounded didn’t seem so bad.


Except for the fact that now she was stuck inside watching her mother die.

They assured her that mother was just sick, but Abigail was eight summers old, not stupid. Mom was sick with Ziz Fever, she hadn’t gotten out of bed in two moons. Abigail could see how pale her face was, how tired she always looked. Doctor Jojobo could make the medicine for it, he could cure her, but father said it cost too much.


That’s why she’d gone looking for the book. If she could have gotten it back, then Jojobo would have had to make the medicine for her. Now, if she left the house at all she’d be in huge trouble.

Abigail curled up. She’d wanted to help, but now her father was out working twice as hard to make up for missing two suns looking for her. She’d just made things worse.



On the Silver Bazaar docks...


“Your daughter is a thief, Gregory.” Though the woman stood several fulms shorter than him, Gregory felt small as she berated him. After suns of searching for his daughter he just didn’t have the energy to fight. Rarali paced, stubby legs taking her a surprising distance with each step, slightly worn silk sashes swaying in the breeze as she stormed about the docks, wooden planks creaking underneath her. “I know it. You now it. Everybody knows it. And the timing of this little escapade of hers is just a bit too convenient for my tastes.”


Gregory sighed and attempted to speak, but Rarali cut him off.


“No! No, no you don’t. You listen to me, Grey. You are going to find that ring and you are going to get it back to me. Get your daughter to tell you where she hid it, find it yourself, or hire those good for nothing adventurers to retrieve it. I don’t care. So long as I get my ring back I won’t be calling the Blades down on your house, and don’t you even get me started on that whore you call a wife!”


Again, Gregory tried to speak, but Rarali was already storming off, keeping a remarkable pace for her size and leaving Gregory on the docks. Several other fishermen were there, tending to lines or mending nets. Not a one of them spoke to him.



An office in Horizon...


“Okay, now sign here. Okay, here. And here. Also here.”


Ut’mah sighed and dragged the pen across the page, signing his name on the documents provided. A hundred gil here, two hundred there. Every last repair had more paperwork and further expenses. If this kept up, he’d barely break even on this venture.


“Very good, sir,” the customs official said as she blotted the ink dry and stacked the papers into a folder. She was a small hyur woman with two very large men standing by as guards, spectacles down on the tip of her nose. “We’ll just get these forms sent off in triplicate, and we’ll have an answer in a few suns.”


“A few suns!?” Ut’mah flinched back, the fur of his tail standing on end. “What could possibly take a few suns? I’ve been stuck here for a sennight already. I’m bleeding gil!”


“I understand, sir,” the woman said with a practiced, and frustrating, air of calm. “Couriers will need a chance to take these papers back to the home office, and then it’s just a matter of waiting for their reply. There is, unfortunately, an order to these things and requests are filed as they are received.”


“Right, right, I know. But a lot of these deliveries are very important. My livelihood depends on them arriving within a reasonable rate of time.”


“Perhaps I could interest you in rush processing?”


“How much...?”



The edge of Horizon...


Ut’lahni was back with the carts, murmuring into a linkpearl when he returned. When she saw him approach, she tapped the pearl and shifted down from her seat to walk over to him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders.


“Three more suns, lovely,” Ut’mah sighed, and placed his hands on her hips. She nodded and leaned in, nuzzling his neck and murmuring softly.


“I know, lovely, I know. But once we make it to Ul’dah I’ll be able to make it all back and more. This is just the beginning of my empire.” Ut’mah chuckled. “Soon, you’ll have plenty of women to fight with for my attention, but you’ll always be my favorite.”

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[align=center]Notice of Reprimand




[align=center](A crude caricature of a Brass Blade wagging his finger at the reader is beneath, along with a series of symbols directing the bearer to conduct the letter to a public reader in the event of an unlettered recipient.)




Be it known that Malin Greaves of the Order of the Orchid is hereby found to have committed the following offenses in the course of her duties (List all below):


  • Jurysdyctionale Overreach
  • Chonduckt unbec Ymproper beehayv Acting lyke a ryght pricke
  • Assaultyng Swohrne Members Of The Rose
  • Off-duty use and damage of Offyciale Eqypment


Following an investigation by Officers                               of the                       , we have determined the following disciplinary action to be appropriate:


(An exhaustive list of punishments follow. Some of the more obscene ones have been circled once, then rapidly crossed out. "Chocobo Stable Duty" was obviously selected several times, but the only clearly selected action appears to be "Central Administrative Duty for Observation")


For a duration of untyl wee feel lyke lettynge you go.





(The signatures of several senior officials in the Brass Blade administration are included, as well as that of Captain Longhaft of the Order of the Orchid. All of these signatures were obviously stamped onto the paper).



[align=center]* * * 




The chirurgeon Malin had hired to tend her injuries was far from the finest money could buy, but “finest” was relative here. To a rich consortium head, he’d been nothing, but to Malin, who’d had to pay out her leve earnings and dip into Donnell’s savings, he’d been more than worth it. He’d cleaned and sutured the ragged cuts along her thighs and hips with the assurance that scarring would be minimal (about which he was probably wrong, but she supposed assurances came with the fee), and had, in addition to a few poultices to be used in avoiding infection, prescribed half a cheap bottle of wine nightly for the pain, to last the week. For that alone he’d been worth the housecall.


When the notice arrived from the Blades’ central administration, neatly crumpled in her flat’s mail slot, she’d chosen to double her evening dosage; that, in addition to pasting the paper on the wall opposite her couch and flinging darts at the image of the scowling Blade that served as “official” notice imagery, served as a good bit of evening’s entertainment. Most of her shots missed, but one managed to hit the fellow in the hand that was wagging its finger at the reader. She took some comfort from that.



She knew this was nobody’s fault but her own. If she had been clearer-headed, she likely wouldn’t have confronted the Horizon Blades as they went through their usual roughing-up-the-merchants rigmarole. And she had no particular reason to believe the merchant was an innocent victim. Merchants paid her coin; she knew exactly how rotten they could be.


But no, a few gashes from the thickshells around the Footfalls, cutting through her haubergeon and getting saltwater in open wounds, and suddenly she was tackling members from the Orchid, pulling rank and shouting threats. And for what? The man’s cargo was still in Horizon and he was as likely to be swindled by the Blades - or to be fair, swindle them in kind - as if she hadn’t said a thing.


And then, she realized with a shudder in the midst of prying the darts out of the notice, hiring the adventurers on top of all of that. Sending them out to get information on a Monetarist of all things. All well and good for the adventurers considering most of their ilk hated the Monetarists and Syndicate on principle and were generally immune from consequence, but as a class they were rarely subtle, and their knack for gathering information could be likened to a stampede of Aurochs with irritable bowels - able to get where it was going but leaving the worst possible mess in its wake. Whoever Fufutilo Keketilo was, he surely had enough power to make Malin’s life a hell if he found her nosing around in his business.


She took a drink, slumped back in her couch, and lined up a dart for another throw. If her aim was true, maybe she’d hit the crotch.


The front door opened a hair too quickly, slamming into the wall since the stopper had long since been removed. The dart landed in the wall a point some half-fulm from the notice, and Malin blamed the shot going wide on the noise rather than the drink. “Gosdammit,” she snarled, the words slurring together as she looked over her shoulder. “Couldya at least - “ She squinted, narrowing bright blue eyes. “Donnell? You’re on . . . shift though, righ’?”


“Mm.” Her husband had entered the front room at a brisk pace, still wearing his garish blue retainer’s coatee. “There’s a sixth-bell left on this venture, and I’ve come up empty.” He passed into their small kitchen area, and started sifting through the cupboard near the stove. “Do we still have that dried fish from last week?”


“Wha? Yeah, I think, third shelf - “ Realization dawned, and she groaned, pressing her hand against her cheek. “No, Don, just - no, okay? Not our stuff tonight. Just go grab some’un’s lawn ornament and hand it over.”


“Would that I could, love,” he replied, making an “ah-ha” of triumph as he found a skewer of dried fish where she’d indicated. “Would that I could. No time tonight.” He passed into the living room again, bending to the side to peck Malin on the cheek. “Another three bells, I think. No more wine, all right?” As he rose up, he noticed the paper on the wall, the image of the Blade glaring back. “What’s this?”  


“Reprimand.” Malin scowled and gave a small, wobbly wave of her hand. “Filin’ paperwork in the city now.”


“Oh.” He scanned over the notice, mouthing out the words. “Until they feel like . . .this is indefinite?”


Her scowl deepened. “Try not to sound too happy about it.”


“Yes, more time with you in the city when you’re not recuperating instead of at Highbridge. What was I thinking.” He shook his head. “Later. We can talk then. All right?”


He was through their door, dried fish in hand, before she could raise any protest. Malin sighed while rubbing her temples. He was right, of course, or at least she knew she ought to think he was right. The two of them hadn’t had a lengthy stay together since all the incidents with those Ishgardian rosaries and the No-Eyed Man nearly two years ago. By all rights she should have taken this as a blessing. And yet.


And yet . . . what? And yet nothing, there was nothing she could attach to that. Just “and yet.” That was all she needed to be dissatisfied. Wounded and out of action, stuck in a bureaucratic mess of a punishment until further notice? Filing papers when she should have been out on the Highbridge frontline, out where the Blades shined the brightest. Instead she would be nothing but a shipping agent, filing arrests, sorting out jurisdictional disputes, reading customs notices . . .




She reached out for her bottle, silently apologizing to Donnell for not listening to him. But it appeared there was a blessing to this after all.

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  • 4 weeks later...

"Here is the letter. Enjoy your sun, as usual, Mr. Postmoogle!" Leanne said with her characteristic bright grin, waving to the departing creature. She knew the letter would be delivered in a timely fashion. And if it weren't, she knew who to complain at, too. A win-win scenario.


And so, she descended from the tree branch she had perched on. Landing on the grass with grace, she resumed her way, through the road of East Shroud, thoughts hanging from her head like fruits ripe and ready to fall.


Names. More names were added. A couple of them, out of sheer effort, and investigation. And others, product of simple, as if blessed, serendipity. A strangely complex board slowly drawn within her conscious.


Shark's Promise.

Fufutilo Keketilo.

The Silent Company.




...The Vylbrandi Chocobo.


And on board, the players...or perhaps, they were actually the pawns. Who was right in this story? And who was wrong? Malin's words suddenly echoed.


"There's no right and wrong in this story. Only gil."


"Maybe you are right, Ms. Greaves. Yet, there is only one truth. One that I shall uncover." she nods in grim determination. It was a dangerous game, she was about to play. But she was already familiar to danger.


"For such is adventure."

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  • 3 weeks later...

Inside a high-class manor amidst the spires of Ul'dah 


A shining well-furnished room was illuminated by the Ul’dahian noon sun. Soft-clinking could be heard from a glass of ice crystals, slowly melting in the sunlit beams. A lalafellin woman could be seen sitting on a table, her hands swirling the heavily inscribed crystal glass cup. Hihisa Hisa, daughter of the illustrious Hihijewa Cacajewa of the East Aldenard Distribution Inc., sighed as she stared at the slowly melting ice crystals. “Is there problem, madam Hisa?,” a nearby steward asked. Hisa ignored him and continued sighing at the glass, the steward maintained his position. He and many others of the house were used to being ignored, a almost universal trait of the Ul’dahian elite regarding low-ranked servants. That said, Mister Hihijewa paid enough and occasionally honored their service, even if his children did not. 


Hisa closed her eyes and recalled a recent social engagement with a few other scions of the Syndicate, “Did you hear the rumors?”, “A shadowy figure amidst Ul’dah,” “They say they’re looking for a cursed item,” “So many thugs and adventurers poking around,” “Did you hear what they did to that entrepreneur?!?,” “Really, someone should do something about this~”. Hisa opened her eyes, brushing her blonde hair aside. In the sunlight, she appeared as a beautiful doll, if one could wrap up childish innocence into a frame forged by greed and ambition; her blonde hair ended in dark jet black highlights, as if the darkness creeped about her facade of a child, tainting her golden hair and casting shadows about; her bright eyes, of which many a suite complimented as being alike to that of the Sultana, gleamed in the light as they devoured the crystals of the glass, like a fire consuming a ornate church.


“Hmm.” Hisa murmured as the steward straightened in response, “Should we do something about this? Hmm~” She let out a smile with a look as brilliant as the sun, yet could also be seen as that of a rabid cat eying prey in the distance. The steward knew by now in his career that it would be pointless, if not dangerous to suddenly interject so he remained silent, eyes alert for the daughter of his master’s commands. “You. Fetch me my linkshells.” “At once, my lady.” As the steward turned to leave, he could hear Hisa humming, representative of her being in a good mood. Perhaps, he’ll get a bonus this moon after all. Or not… many of his fellow servants can predict the whims of their generous master, his wife and children, less so.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Hihijewa Spire - Topmost Floor - Night - 


The city of Ul’dah gleamed in the darkness - its shining towers as figures on a gilded frame over the dark rotting underbelly of a city that celebrates, yet is terrified of itself and the swarms of filth just outside the stone-inscribed walls. Within the walls, lays the Ossuary - a place of worship and corruption - where disease called ‘greed’ is worshipped and death is celebrated. The god of death, Nald’thal, is a divine being whom judges all by the weight of their sins - by which the Order of Nald’thal has conveniently (perhaps correctly) interpreted as the weight of gil, the weight of sin. Overlooking this holy place is a tower, among the many other shining mirages of a city supposed ruled by the worthy. This is the Hihijewa Spire - named after the  illustrious Hihijewa Cacajewa of the East Aldenard Distribution Inc. The spire itself was not always named the Hihijewa Spire, it simply changed its name along with the head of the house that owned it. On the topmost floor, a window was opened towards the desert and the Ossuary beneath. 


A diminutive figure could be seen, glancing down at the streets; the windows of the spire are warded against most typical projectile weapons, a invisible barrier of cowardice born of Ul’dahian paranoia. Blonde hair tipped in jet black highlights matted her large pigtails as the woman looked down into the city proper, as well as the flames of the refugee camps beyond the walls. Some of her friends prefer blocking out light from the camps of the unworthy, but Hihisa Hisa, daughter of Hihijewa Cacajewa, enjoyed the ever-present reminder of a city at siege. The flames of the refugee camps around the city litter the night and Hihisa understood why many Ul’dahians desired for the Hammers to complete their work, so that progress can finally sweep away the undesirables from Ul’dah’s walls, replacing them with the golden manors of Ul’dahian’s true sons and daughters. 


Still… such dreams bore no amusement for Hisa, she was more concerned with the present - with this interesting scenario being played right now within the shadows of Thanalan. Fufutilo Keketilo, she’ve heard of him before within the Ul’dahian rumor mill, a reclusive (not exactly uncommon among the Ul’dahian elite) man and his Vylbrandi Chocobo, his renowned good-luck charm. A charm that Hisa supposed failed its purpose, given that it was stolen in the first place. Nevertheless, it does not seem that Fufutilo’s wealth has declined in the slightest since the theft - perhaps the piece was more of a placebo in the mind of the man - similar to her grandfather’s obsession with his antique Doman fan. However, it appears he has not quite given up on the piece; it also seemed to have gathered vilekin along the way: pesky adventurers, insane merchants, beastmen and a particularly well-known hitman.


The hitman is of interest - he is apparently not employed by Fufutilo - hinting at a player in the shadows. Perhaps a superstitious business rival desired to remove the source of his supposed fortune. Or perhaps there are other reasons for his actions - Hisa looked down at her notes and material. Much of it was collected through her family’s contacts and resources. Utilizing her own funds and the skills taught to her by her father during the little time he has spent with her, she created a few shell companies to launder her resources and act as a filter for information to flow through without alerting Ul’dah’s undesirables. The wealth of information that she has obtained - hint at a broader scheme, beyond a mere theft.


Perhaps, she should also contribute to that noise - after all, the more players are in the game, the less she would need to worry. Hisa smiled adorably, while the light of the room cast her shadow over the family’s crest inscribed on her desk, echoes of a legacy best forgotten.


The Hihijewa Spire - Lower Basement - Night

The dim glow of Belah’dian crystal lanterns illuminated the passageway downward to the basement of the Hihijewa Spire, as Hihisa Hisa descended with a small retinue of her family’s thaumatuges. Eventually, they stopped before a wall; at a glance it appeared no more than a normal wall, but the other thaumaturges stood back as Hisa approached the wall independently. Hisa held out her delicate palm… and a stony claw emerged as a Living Wall responded to her gesture. Hisa channeled her aether into her palm and allowed the Living Wall to grasp at the strands of it - a fistful of her aether coalesced around its arm as Hisa maintained her pose. The Living Wall absorbed the aether and after acknowledging that the aether’s signature was one of those bound by blood, melted back into the wall. The thaumaturges surrounding her sighed with relief as Hihisa regarded them - they were all trusted appointees of her grandfather - old thaumaturges whom her family retains, but rarely contacts within recent memory. Hihisa shrugged and moved towards the wall where the Living Wall melted and phased through.


Before her was a vast dark library, dimly lit by crystal lanterns - light illuminating brief fleeting shadows flapping about the library. As the rest of her retinue emerged behind her, one of the flapping shadows descended from above. A ahriman - a void sent of the fifth tier - appeared before Hihisa; however, it did not attack - only stare at her as Hisa returned the stare back. The ahriman placed its long, lanky legs on the ground, and — bowed deeply to Hihisa. “I’ve come to request assistance, per the terms of our family’s contract,” Hihisa stated to the Ahriman, whom after staring at her further, bowed once more and opened its big, wide mouth, “Of CoUrSe, MisTress. HoWevEr, We were Only COntracTed to MaiNtaiN and PRoteCt ThiS lIbraRy. You NeEdS suMmOn More with YoUr Own ContrAct.” Hisa listen then nodded, “I am Hihisa Hisa, daughter of the great Hihijewa Cacajewa. There is nothing I cannot do!” A small collective sigh emerged from the group of thaumaturges behind her, but the loud flapping of the Ahriman’s wings or perhaps her own willing selective hearing kept Hisa from acknowledging their doubt at her abilities.


Hihisa looked back at the thaumaturges, “Stay here, this needs not take long.” “But Mistress Hihisa, if you…,” one of the thaumaturges replied as Hisa stared at him. She has not known them for long, although her time at the Ossuary has her appreciate the capacity, if not friendship of a few, she cannot show weakness within her family’s own domain. “I can take care of it, besides, the contract of my forebears do not apply to you, if it would decide to amuse itself,” upon hearing this, a few of the thaumaturges recoiled. “I see. Take care, Mistress. We will await you here,” at the leader’s signal, the thaumaturges formed ranks and bowed to her as she snuggly smiled at them. “Needs not worry, I shall take care of this with haste and grace!” Hihisa turned to the ahriman, “Take me to the ritual chamber!”



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The sun beat its relentless cadence onto Vesper Bay, an pounding blaze that could kill a man, or drive him mad. On a day like this, outdoor guard duty was punishment, and any pit boss or sergeant who said otherwise was a smirking liar. The presence of water was a cruel taunt, especially on the docks where you might catch the bloody flux just from looking at it too close. No breeze came in off the bay, so it was hot and stank of fish and unwashed bodies to boot.


Punishment. Rufus and G'drev knew it, knew they'd pissed off the duty sergeant by staying up too late two nights ago on the Lane (wasn't it worth it though) and now they were paying for it, Blades uniforms cooking them alive in that hellish sun. They'd have complained, but this wasn't their first shit duty; day like this, the heat plucks the spit right off your tongue. So they stayed quiet, and watched the bloody ship like they'd been ordered.


"Hey boys~"


That tone of voice, delivered in that pitch, drew the midlander and the seeker's gaze immediately... and despite knowing better, mouths dropped open for just a moment.




"That's a pretty ship you're guarding. You guys must be pretty good, to have such an important job..."


A cop, especially a Blade, learns pretty quick when someone wants something, and knows even better when someone's buttering them up. But when a girl like that, dressed like that, sun and sweat glistening on malms of tan flesh, shows up talking in a sweet voice, touching and flirting, that long tail of hers just kind of stroking here or wrapping there.. well, even men who know better sometimes find themselves talking a lot more, sun or no sun.


And she listened. And smiled. And if those eyes of hers made promises no sane man would expect to be kept... well, who wanted to be sane all the time anyroad.


They didn't even like this duty.


By the time the girl - 'Star', she called herself - took off, Rufus and G'drev were feeling quite a bit better about the day. Might be they'd look her up.. or maybe just head out to the Lane to scratch an itch, see if any of the local girls had hair or eyes like that.. and maybe a long, long tail...






"The 'Mourning Dove', recently impounded by the Blades. During their investigation, the Blades found evidence that the ship was being used to smuggle illicit substances, and had it condemned. Ownership was transferred from the dead captain to Gabriel and Sons Shipping."


Lying in bed, Anstarra tapped her quill against her lips, as she read back her journal entry. Smiling a little, as she thought of the pair of Blades who she'd spoken with. If they were smart, and kept their mouths shut, they wouldn't get in trouble... and hadn't she brightened their day? Maybe they'd meet again. She continued her entry.


"Unfortunately, the Blades don't know who owns Gabriel and Sons. The obvious answer is "Gabriel" but this is Ul'dah, so clearly a Monetarist owns it, and isn't necessarily open about their ownership. The ship is now set to be completely dismantled, in search of hidden compartments that might have more illegal substances on them. The company Westwind Construction has been hired to begin the dismantling process in the next few weeks."


She turned the page in her journal, tail twitching a bit. Red creeping up on her cheeks as she remembered what had happened after. She'd gone to find crew to speak with, the former sailors. Flush with her success with the Blades, as it were, gone to see if she could find any of the sailors here or there around town.


"Ever been with a wolf, lass?"

An alley, barrels.

The massive sea wolf, grinning down at her.

Her hands, eager...


"Dammit, An!" She buried her face in her pillow, tail swishing, until she was able to focus back on what she was doing. That whole evening had been.. unproductive! She moved on to the next page, clearing her throat at herself. The next page, the next day, where she'd gone to find other sailors to talk to.


"Many of the sailors talked of how there was nothing illicit. Insisting they weren't a smuggling ship. Others, however," - a little drunk and a little horny, she thought to herself with a smile - "said there was something special on the ship. A secret delivery the nature of which they ignored, but knew it was important. The Captain would know, but is inconveniently deceased."


Who else would know? The Captain may have kept notes about it in his log. But secret things... well.. you don't want to write those down where they're easily found.


"Perhaps his first mate might have known more, but he seems to have already taken a commission on another ship and left Vesper Bay. Which is not uncommon, or suspicious; many of the other crew have already taken on other contracts, and left town. Only one remains unaccounted for: a man named Garven."


An sighed, putting down her quill. Her entry terminated there, as did her trail. She could try to find this Garven, on the off-chance he knew anything... but where? Odds were just as well that if he knew too much, he'd been weighed down with rocks and dropped in the bay.


She closed her journal. Maybe tomorrow would yield more answers.

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[align=center]Hammerlea, Western Thanalan[/align]


Kiht stood upon the grounds of an abandoned camp in Western Thanalan. Goblins don’t leave much behind when they moved, the Keeper scout knew that. And it was a sign that they were not chased away or killed.


She moved into a kneel then scooped some sand into her hand. She let it trickle from her hand as she sniffed it a few times. After a moment of quiet, she let out a sigh. “One wonders if this is good or bad…” She muttered.


She moved to stand, and took one last look around. All the Goblins left behind was footprints and ash mixed with sand. It was quiet as a breeze blew, and the sun started to rise.


She began to recollect what she had said the night of the trade with the Goblins.

‘In a land of little, a people who make a living on junk have just what is needed to save a sick mother and a poor merchant. When life for many in this place is like that of glorified sand Marmmots, scraping survival off the bottom of a Goblin's junk barrel is an accomplishment. This world is not perfect, but survival is more than some get.’


Kiht slowly shook her head. It was ironic that the Goblins were more beneficial for the poor people than the Monetarists who likely had the Goblins driven off. It was a miracle that the Brass Blades didn’t kill them; the Goblins must have had someone looking out for them.


She turned her gaze to the giant hammers the land was named for. On the other hand, the Goblins -did- sabotage those hammers. The horrible contraptions give some Ul’dahn people jobs. It was not a job Kiht would ever choose, but it’s something for people who might not be able to do anything else… Too bad the people who built and maintain the hammers will never afford to use the summer homes that will be built on the foundations they make. Ul’dah never changes.


Kiht let out an exhale then began her walk back Ul’dah. It was not her job to change Ul’dah, for she would always be an outsider in the desert. The best way to survive the Jewel of the Desert was similar to surviving the Black Shroud: stay unnoticed…


Until there was someone or something that needed to be hunted.

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The Hihijewa Spire - Topmost Floor - Night -  The city of Ul’dah gleamed in the darkness, the Hihijewa Spire glimmered in the night, as figures could be seen moving about.


Within the lower floors of the spire, were one of the many parties hosted by her mother, a persistent socialite in Monetarist circles. Here the wealthy partook of cuisine and rumor in equal measure, Hihisa gracefully stroll through the gathering. She skillfully maneuvered between group to group, greeting and acknowledging individuals of import. Finally, she made her way to one of the private rooms bordering the ballroom, where her rumor circle gathered, “…and they say Dederu won’t leave her manor…, whatever happened up north must have scarred her, Oh. Hihisa!”, her friend, Iququ Iqu, fellow scion of a board member of the Platinum Mirage waved at Hihisa in greeting. “Hello Iququ. How goes your father.” Iququ frowned slightly, “Ever since that whole Scions business, the Mirage has been under scrutiny, but father managed to secure enough favors and assets to ensure our family investments remains viable.” 


Hihisa nods and gives Iququ a smirk, “If you require assistance, remember that you have friends here, Iququ.” A collective giggle emerged from the other ladies around the room, as Iququ blushed and smiled happily. The nearby maid brought forth a chair and Hihisa helped herself up on it. Her blonde, black-tinged pigtails flop behind her as she sat at her place in the private room; the others returned to their gossip and rumormongering as Hihisa listened. Eventually… “So Hihisa, what have you heard about this Chocobo?” Hihisa opened her eyes and snuggly smiled at her fellow Ul’dahian scions. “I have learned of a few interesting snippets here and there. It appears this old relic has attracted a certain amount of interest from poor and wealthy alike.”


“First, the chocobo was lost decades ago during a party held by Fufutilo Keketilo, that reclusive man, as you all know.” Her friends nod, she told them this their last meeting, as well in correspondences with them as she built relations with their servants and family. “Second, I have obtained the list of that party.” Collective murmurs and applause meet her proclamation, “Although it is quite a list, Fufutilo seemed to have a non-exclusive desire to show off his treasures.” Giggles met her statement, another of her friends mused, “Many newborn are such creatures, the Traders tell if they keep their wealth.” Hihisa raised a finger and brought out a pair of glasses, “Fufutilo isn’t quite a newborn, but it has been sometime since it was lost. I supposed if he remains wealthy, he learned from his mistakes.” Hihisa placed the glasses on her head and smiled snuggly at the other girls in her circle. 



She held out her hand and the maid placed a pointer on it, “Second, a miqo’te trader named Ut'mah Nunh and his partner, Ut’lahni. Through my contacts, I learned that Ut’mah was targeted by Brass Blades hired by a unknown figure, of which also made a payment to a known hitman. As for the hitman’s name, I have not had time to obtain, brutish thugs as such are always mere pawns.” Gossip around the room pattered out as the other scions looked at Hihisa’s presentation in interest, “However, mayhap I will find the name of this hitman while investigating a murder in Vesper Bay.” A collective gasp emerged from her circle of friends, “A murder? Is it wise to become involved, Hihisa?” asked Iququ. “Of course, Iququ. I cannot allow a mere thug to scare me away, I’m the daughter of Hihijewa!” Hihisa pompously replied. 



“The guards employed by my father are among the best in Ul’dah, if not Eorzea!” Hihisa declared, before snuggly smiling, “I also have other sources, I say ‘bound by blood’, who would protect me as part of their contract for ‘staying’ in Thanalan.” “Oh! Beastmen mercenaries?” Hihisa glanced with a smirk at the scion who inquired, “It’s a secret.” “Oooooh.” A collective (misinterpreted) ‘realization’ came over the circle as they expressed their satisfaction with the answer. A robed lalafell in the back, one of the daughters of a high priest to the Order of Nald’thal frowned but kept her peace. “These contacts have brought me a wealth of information, especially regarding the target of this murder, a captain of a ship that was docked in Vesper Bay!” 


Hihisa adjusted her glasses as well as slapping her pointer in her hands, “The captain was killed and his crew removed. However, the aforementioned Ut’lahni was apparently accused of the murder.” Hihisa dramatically gestured, “However… Ut’lahni was recently free by a band of annoying adventurers, who absconded with her by aetherlyte to Limsa.” Hihisa glanced at the members of her circle as she continued in a lecturely mood, “However, my sources have come up with a mysterious acronym, KKRP. Anyone familiar with this?” Hihisa inquired of her friends, one replied, “I may know of it, but I would need more time and a few favors, Hihisa.” “Of course,” Hihisa replied, “We may discuss this anon.” She smiled at the respondent, before looking back at the rest of the group with a scholarly pose.





“Next, a party in Vesper Bay by one Garven Waker, a former employee of the ship with the murdered captain. It seems he has come across a large amount of funds, by which he had proceeded to waste by investing in a free-for-all party.” Collective giggles once more rose from Hihisa’s circle of friends, one replied, “Any spoken with a brain would be able to determine that the thug was bribed.” Hihisa smiled at her, “Indeed, Dalia. He most likely was bribed. Alternatively, he could have been given the gil by the legendary gloved hand in the sky.” The group shared a collective laugh at Hihisa’s sarcastic statement. Hihisa frowned, “It appears he was poisoned, or there was an attempt at being poisoned. He survived, unfortunately.” 


“As for the rest of the party, apparently multiple miqo’te were involved. One procreated openly on top of a table. Apparently with a random individual at the party,” Hihisa’s face displayed disgust as she recalled the details, “It appears my contact at the party paid particular interest to this vulgar display,” Hihisa shook her head. “Haaaah?” Iququ and Dalia replied with a weird look on their faces. Her other friends also frowned, while a few laughed. Hihisa shook her head, apparently the flapping ‘contacts’ she sent out were lettered, but had the weirdest way of expressing their proficiency to her, including swarming openingly around a public building, now taking detailed written reports of a overly outgoing miqo’te. She will have to find a new way to re-motivate them, or train them while maintaining her resources, especially since she seemed to be ahead of other players on the trail of the Chocobo.



“Moving on!” Hihisa took a sip of a glass of Coerthean water poured by the maid. “Apparently, the item he stole was of high value to a black market contact, one Wisu Lilisu, whom has since disappeared. There are no sign of foul play, but Mister Lilisu is no longer operating where he normally does.” Hihisa adjusted her glasses once more and lifted her pointer upwards, “My contacts have been unable to locate him, although I assure you I have the best professionals on the case.” Hihisa scowled, “What I can conclude, whatever it was Mister Lilisu bought, either he was killed and it was taken, or he’s vanished and run away with it.” Hihisa frowned, “The trail has become messy again, but I do have more leads now.”


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  • 4 weeks later...

Ul’dah, Night - Hihijewa Spire - Topmost Floor.


Hihisa looked out at the Ul’dahian cityscape - even at night, airships flew in overhead as the sound of wind mixed with the noise of the crowds below. In the past, it was rather costly to keep Ul’dah lit all hours of a sun. However with the introduction of magitek and advances by the Ossuary and the Goldsmith’s Guild, Ul’dah practically glowed in the darkness, drawing in predator and fodder from malms away. She signed as she laid by the window, absentmindedly watching the little people move about. Sometimes you see interesting things, other times boring clockwork, but her father enjoyed such sights and engrained the importance of watching the flows of people and their passions.


A door opened and a figure entered the room, the door wasn’t the entry door but a hidden door on the side, utilized by the more subtle players of Hihisa’s family. Wings briefly flutter then fall silent, this meant the guardian sensed no threat from this new intruder… Hihisa could guess the identity of one of her favorite pieces. Without taking her eyes off the crowd below, Hihisa asked, “What brings you this late into my chambers, my adherent?” A soft response came forth, “My lady, I have come to report on my findings.” “Ho?” Hihisa finally turned her head and glanced at the adherent, “What have you discovered?” Hihisa regard the figure, and gave a soft smile that would be mistaken for a sneer by those unfamiliar with her.


The adherent was kneeling on the ground, she lifted her head, eyes with rings that reflecting the city’s lights. “The woman… rescued by adventurers from Horizon, Ut’lahni may be associated with another figure named S’lahni, whom is a person of interest in regards to the Chocobo that you desire.” Hihisa stared thoughtfully at the adherent, “Mayhap she found a new Nunh. They say tribal miqo’te change their first letter to identify with a new tribe that they are accepted into.” Hihisa looked through her nearby stack of papers and notes, she keeps them close, although she maintains copies hidden within the Ossuary.


“Where did you find this information?” Hihisa inquired of the adherent, “I followed the bard. She’s not that hard to track, especially in light of the city.” Hihisa giggled softly, “I suppose she should learn things about operating in Ul’dah. Least of all talking about such things so openly.” Hihisa popped up on a chair and started writing down notes, “Anything else, my adherent?” The adherent glanced at Hihisa, as if in thought, “I believe the bard thinks that the Dove was carrying the Chocobo, but it has since disappeared since we lost that black market contact.” Hihisa files through her notes once more, “Humph. Does he think he can hide from me? Nay, perhaps he doesn’t need to consciously hide from anyone, at least not anymore.”


The adherent looked up at Hihisa, “There is more. It seems Keketilo managed to recover the Chocobo through the shadows, yet was betrayed by his hand at the last moment.” Hihisa glanced at the adherent, “Is that so? Humph. Heh….” Hihisa broke out into a cackling laugh, “Ahaha. I suppose he hasn’t learned all that much.” Hihisa smiled once more at the adherent. “Trusting mercenaries to find his work, you believe he would have found trusted subordinates by now. Mayhap his previous experiences made him hesitant, although far too late now.” Hihisa turned to the window before making a smug command to her adherent, “Contact the Toll, tell them I’ll offer a substantial reward for information regarding the Chocobo. Add in that if they find it first, after allowing me a few suns to handle it, they can keep it.”


The adherent tilted her head in confusion, “I though the Lady wishes to keep the object?”, Hihisa giggled at her adherent’s response. “I do not wish to handle such a tainted object. It would attract far more vilekin then I can tolerate, although I would like to handle it for a few. Mayhap I’ll show it off to Father. This is what your daughter has done! Not my fool of a brother!” Hihisa smiled snuggly once more. Hisa looked out once more at the city, and her smile broke into a giggle, drowned out by the voices of the city below, as the adherent looked on.


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  • 4 months later...

The Black Shroud


Josephe Bloom, once a respected doctor and conjurer but ejected from his guild for delving into forbidden alchemies, had spent many a bitter night bemoaning his fate. It was only when he found the elezen woman, nearly dead on the edge of where the Shroud met Thanalan, that he found joy in life again.


Nursing her back to health gave him some purpose. Dehydrated and delirious, half-starved and her feet torn up from a trip through the desert; she should have died. Even once he had stabilized her, she would toss and turn in her sleep, babbling about the man who had killed her children. Her plight made his heart ache.


Soon after she woke, he learned that she was herself a skilled alchemist. He never questioned her past, what horrible things had brought her, nearly dead, to the edge of the Shroud. She would tell him in her own time, he believed. With her help, he was able to take his studies to levels he had never dreamed of. With his help, she was able to find a measure of peace. The sounds of the Shroud helped her to remember life, to ignore the nightmares that plagued her. Perhaps she was past her prime, but she had plenty of life still in her. The small shack in the depths of the Shroud was nothing like his old home, but with her there he had come to love it.


With the proper alchemy, she claimed, she could get back to her true self, who she was meant to be. He insisted she needn’t worry about age, but she was not to be deterred. She needed such strange reagents for her alchemy, but the use of voidsent blood in a mixture that healed his sick patients had proven to him there were benefits hidden in the darkest of places. He never questioned the materials she requested.


Her name was Jainelette, and Josephe was in love. So what if she was wildwood and he was a midlander? She was an older woman, but she was still beautiful. She complained about the lines around her eyes, and he swore to her he couldn’t see them. She complained of her age, and he gave her flowers. She was abducted, and he panicked.


He would not turn to the Wood Wailers. He would turn, once again, to the most reliable way to get something done. Adventurers.




Josephe paced back and forth through Camp Tranquil. A trio of miqo’te had answered his call for aid. He had led them to where Jainelette had been abducted, but there was little more he could do.  The trees had been burned by magic, and the male had insisted it was the work of thaumaturges. Had she been taken by some sort of cultists? Though there were many respectable thaumaturges in the world, kidnapping a woman did not place these people within that group. What could anyone like that want with poor Jainelette?


The trio had set off, and Josephe remained behind, left wondering if they would ever return to him. His heart nearly stopped beating when they walked into camp, bloodied but unharmed. Truly, a testament to the efficacy of adventurers: Jainelette walked beside them.


He rushed in and took her hands, looking up into her eyes. They were red from tears or fatigue. She looked weary, the lines around her eyes deeper, and Josephe ignored them. The tiny, tired smile she gave him was all he saw.


“Here,” he said to the adventurers. “I brought medicine with me, fearing you might return injured. The least I can do is give it to you now. In your profession.. Ah ignore me! Here, medicine, and your payment.”


To each of them he gave a small supply of medicines and prepared herbs, as well as an appropriate quantity of money. Perhaps he didn’t want to bother them by rambling, or perhaps he simply wanted to return home as soon as possible, but Josephe did not seek to speak with the adventurers much, once their job was completed.




Josephe opened the door to that small shack that he and Jainelette shared. The scent of dried herbs filled the air, it was thick and wet with the results of their work, and Jainelette looked relieved to be home. Out waddled a tiny little mandragora, that turned its one massive eye up to look at the woman.


“He missed you almost as much as I did,” Josephe said.


--- --- ---




Kokoripu watched out the window as the lovely vixen stepped out into the streets.


“A worthy price,” he said to no one in particular, his attention shifting to the bag the woman carried. He was no stranger to courtesans, but it was always clear when a woman enjoyed her work. None enjoyed it as much as she, he could tell. And when a woman enjoys her work, she works extra hard. The miqo’te had earned every penny with her work last night. And this morning. And every tick between. He’d need to see her again; perhaps offer her a job as concubine and a life in the lap of luxury.


His lap, to be precise.


Though, he would need to make sure she could be trusted. Keep an eye on her, find out who she really was. The lalafell turned away from the window and snapped his fingers. A servant slipped into the room, carrying a platter and wine. She gave no sign that she noticed he was stark naked, she only knelt and offered him the glass of wine.


“I will break fast in the red dining room. Fetch Blushing Mountain and send him to meet me there.”


“As you wish, my lord.”


He would also need to look into those keeper sisters that had been hired to work at the auction. Apparently they’d needed to be ejected from the estate to prevent trouble.


So many loose ends to clean up.

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  • 3 weeks later...

S'imba took a deep breath and swallowed as he stepped onto highbridge. This wasn't going to be easy, but it needed to be done. He couldn't help but feel he was responsible for the deaths of those children. His own recent loss of someone close to him only served to drive the need to this home even more. Talking with a nearby blade he was able to find where the family of one of the children resided.


He soon found himself at their doorstep that felt all too soon. His heart pounded in his chest, he had no idea how this was going to go. He straightened himself up to stand at his tallest though he stood fairly stiffly. Slowly he extended his hand to knock on the door. Biting his lip as he waited.


After what felt like an eternity the door opened, a rough looking Hyur man with a finely trimmed mustache. The appearance of which caused the man to look more than a little intimidating. "Can I help you?" He grunted at the keeper raising his eyebrows. "Oh you're one of them adventurers. What are you doing here? Your kind usually just does their job and moves on."


S'imba stood his ground staring up to the man. "Some of them yes, but with your recent loss I felt it would be kind of wrong to leave you, your family, and the others families that suffered the same thing to deal with things on their own."


The father stared at S'imba for a long time. "We don't need your help." The man growled at S'imba. "We're perfectly fine without it, now leave us alone with our grief." 


"B-but..." S'imba started though he deflated in defeat. His ears perked as he heard a chubby boy walk up behind his father, no older than ten. He was dirty and scruffy and wore fairly ragged clothing.


"Who is it father?" The boy asked his father looking out the door curiously. 


"No one, Tup." The father replied looking back to his son. "Go to bed."


The boy stared at S'imba for a minute squinting at him before his eyes went wide. He started to hyperventilate as he stared at S'imba muttering out incomprehensible words. S'imba stared at the boy with a shocked and worried expression, definitely convinced the boy was about to pass out. The boy's father looked just as concerned at how his son was acting. 


"What's wrong Tup?" The boy's father asked kneeling down to his level and looking the boy in the eyes.  


Suddenly Tup let out a shriek of excitement. "FATHER, DO YOU KNOW WHO THAT IS?!" He squealed at the top of his lungs in the father's face. "THAT'S A REAL LIFE GLADIATOR, THE HELL CAT!! HE'S RIGHT HERE!! AT OUR HOUSE!! RIGHT NOW!! THIS IS SO COOL!!"


Both S'imba and the boy's father blinked, completely taken off guard by the reaction. S'imba rubbed his neck awkwardly while the father looked back at the Miqo'te with a sigh. It was clear he couldn't turn S'imba away now. This had been the most excited he'd been since losing his brother. Slowly the father waved S'imba to step inside the small home that definitely had seen better days. The keeper stepped inside into the light definitely looking awkward now.


"IT'S REALLY YOU!! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!" The boy said running up to S'imba pulling on his pant legs to her S'imba to crouch down next to him. Which S'imba did looking the boy in the eyes and giving a smirk to the boy.


"Tup, quiet down!" The father snapped at the boy. "You're gonna make the whole settlement go deaf!" 


Tup gave a sheepish smile looking back to S'imba and said. "Stay here!" He said before scampering back to a box and rifling through it.


The father looked at S'imba, finally relenting due to his son's joy. "Right, then you're here to help me out?" He said looking down at the Miqo'te doubtfully with a scoff but he decided to see just how sincere this keeper was. He started to think of a list of miserable tasks to give the keeper, when his son returned. 


"Look what I got last I was in Ul'dah!" He said holding out an object in S'imba's face that caused the keeper to pin his ears back. It was unmistakable to him and he couldn't believe it had come back to haunt him, was something that could only be described as a S'imba plushie. 


S'imba turned bright red and reached up to rub his neck. "T-that's pretty cool..." He said, no idea how to respond to that. 


The father cleared his throat and spoke up. "Right then, if you're really here to help you can take care of a few chores." He said nodding to S'imba. "I've been busy with the stand trying to make some extra gil to pay Nald'Thal for my son's burial. As you can see the house has fallen into a bit of disrepair. You can start by cleaning the house, then cleaning the chocobo stables."


"Is that why you're here, to do our chores!?" Tup said incredulously, despite S'imba nodding his head to the boy's father with no complaint.


"Err yeah, you're father wanted me to come and show you that even a gladiator needs to do chores." S'imba said giving an awkward grin. The father raised his brow at S'imba, somewhat impressed at the keeper. 


S'imba set straight to work picking up any trash and organizing everything out of place. Collecting dirty dishes and putting them into the sink and washing them. He wiped off counters and tables. Collected the dirt clothes and set them by the door to wash in the morning. Tup wasn't going to let S'imba work alone. He jumped in helping clean up too, setting books back on the shelf and drying off the dishes. 


"I saw the fight where you fought that big dumb Roe! Uh what's his name? The Darksteel Juggernaut! I thought you were done when you fought him! Especially after he had that chain wrapped around your neck!" The boy said excitedly, talking to S'imba non-stop while they worked. Finally when the task was done the father sent the boy to bed telling him that S'imba would still be there in the morning. He gave S'imba a look that he was staying the night and gestured his head at the couch. S'imba nodded his head wandering over to the couch and laying down as the boy ran off to his bed. 


A rough night's sleep later, no thanks to the super lumpy couch S'imba was awoken by Tup what felt like way too early in the morning. The father made them both breakfast of bacon and eggs, afterwhich S'imba set to work once more. Going out to clean the stables pulling out the old hay and scrubbing the walls of the stables with soapy water. Then put new hay in. Tup of course helped as well, talking excitedly the entire time. Asking questions as to how he got so strong or how fast he actually was. S'imba answered the questions with the usual eat your vegetables type answers. 


He followed up by taking the family's laundry to the river and washing them. When he returned Tup had managed to gather up his friends and S'imba was forced to spend the afternoon signing autographs and telling them stories. Though part of him did enjoy it. Especially when he told tales of his adventures outside the coliseum. Definitely helped him feel like some big name adventurer. 


Thanks to Tup's excitement and telling everyone would listen that he had a gladiator staying at his house and that he was helping their family out with things. His actions spread around Highbridge like wildfire. He found it far easier to get the other families to let him offer his service to the while helping them with their grief. 


While he did feel like he was being taken advantage of with some of the tasks he didn't complain. He just served the families the best he could. Whether he was washing smallclothes, hauling firewood, or digging up crystals for the families he just did his best to help them out.


Finally when the families had no more things they could reasonably ask him to do they expressed their appreciation to him. Tup made him promise to come back and visit again, to which S'imba agreed to. With a wave to the villagers and the guilt he felt on his conscience lifted significantly he started back home. Now able to focus on his expedition he was going to lead into Amdapor.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So much to do...


For Anstarra, sometimes-dilettante, often-celebrant, registered Adventurer and full-time Storm Captain, the notion of being pulled in six different directions as a metaphor was one she was wont to way poetic upon, in her increasingly-limited free time.


"Murder investigations. Voidsent. Cursed relics. Stolen goods. Black market. Garleans. Conspirators. Ninjas. Relatives." Not to mention the increasingly-strange feelings she would get of late, these moments of discomfort, of anger, sourceless and unsettling...


"I need a break. I need.. I need help."


She produced a quill.


Dear Ms. Greaves,


I hope the day finds you well. It has been some time since we've spoken, or even corresponded, but my recollections of you are of one of the more honest agents of law and order that I've encountered in Ul'dah. It is my hope that this has not changed, for I come to you with what I suspect is a case of murder most foul.


Certainly there is a victim. Miss Madeline Reed, late of the Goldsmith Guild, was found slain alongside her porters and bodyguards on the road to Highbridge from Camp Drybone. A case of an attack by Amal'jaa, it would first seem, as arrows used by the Beastmen were found on the location; however, closer examination revealed not only chocobo tracks used in the pursuit, but also that the blows which slew the victims were delivered by smaller killers, certainly no larger than highlander hyurs.


Bandits covering their tracks, perhaps. And yet I think not. I dare not point fingers in this missive, not yet; if you wish to know more about the source of my suspicions, I urge you to meet me in person.


Be it bandits or assassins, I would ask for your help. I have enclosed in this missive a list of the various and sundry pieces of valuable art - creations of the victim, which she was bringing to display in Gridania - which were missing from the ruined convoy (further proof of my suspicions, for what use would the Amalj'aa have for trinkets? And why would they slay the unarmed and defenseless Miss Reed, rather than capturing her for Tempering?).


I believe it likely that these pillaged treasures will find their way into the hands of the city's lowlives, fences and profiteers, and if they may be recovered then the identities of the sellers may also, and so on until we get to the root.


I urge haste, yet also caution, in this case. I believe the killing of Miss Reed was the snipping of a loose end, and if the mastermind behind this happening realizes their minions are being hunted, they too might be snipped.



Yours Truly.



P.S. Feel free, as you will, to seek assistance for this investigation. Miss Delphium comes to mind; knowing her luck she will chase a voidsent off a roof somewhere and fall smack into the midst of the conspirators. I will share further info with anyone you trust, but only in person. I'm sure you understand.



She then spent the better part of a two bells painstakingly copying the details from the ledger to the letter. The ledger itself needed to be returned to the Goldsmiths' Guild. She instructed Allistair as much, in her letter... which would then be delivered, with the rest, via moogles (she presumed) to him, that he might do the rest.


She thought then of the Chocobo. The one she'd been given... the copy. A beautiful work. Solid jade, with gemstones... and none of the darkness at the heart of the original.


"Still not a bad prize," she sighed, almost regretfully. "Shame if I have to kill him... but, if he really had her murdered... well, Malin could arrest him, but he has all that money."


Sighing, she turned, and set herself to the next task. Outside, the ship rocked upon the seas..

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