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Hair of the Dog [closed]


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It was one of those mornings where nothing was going right.  The heat in Ul'dah's walls was stifling, the air dead and stinking with the heat.  It seemed like people were moving slow with it, and Tani was no exception -- hurrying anywhere seemed like a losing prospect.  She'd come to Ul'dah on business, and business, but ever since she'd stepped off the airship she'd fought the urge to turn right back around and go back to Limsa.  If it had been anything simpler, she might have.  Then again, probably the urge wouldn't have been so strong.


She'd been digging.  Carefully, discreetly, and she'd been surprised to turn up what she had.  So, she'd dutifully gone and done the errands that were her overt reason for the trip, and then, well, she'd followed the advice she'd been given. Her stomach was in knots.  Moreso when she caught sight of Isabelle.  She was sweating with more than the heat as she followed the other woman away from the main thoroughfare and into a warren of alleyways.  What was worse was that she could smell her own sweat, her own fearstink, and it was a laugh to think that Isabelle wouldn't know it.  But things had ended unsatisfactorily, back in Limsa, and knowing that what she was doing wouldn't be looked upon kindly only added to the stress of the venture.


But she had to know.


She had to ask.


When they stopped, Tani said what had been burning on her mind since Tasa had first told her the news: "Tell me what happened."


She owed Isabelle nothing.  But still, she had to know.

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The tall warrioress, now in armor as black as the void, leaned against the wall. She chuckled a little at the question and leaned her massive sword against the wall beside her. It had been a crazy series of days. Injuries, death, madness. 


Isabelle avoided the question, for now. She merely glanced down at Tani and in the most casual of tones, she'd simply ask,


"Have thou been watering thine plants..?"


The elezen almost seemed reluctant to talk. She wasn't even aggressive or her usual 'almost' cheerful self. Something had changed. Where she had once opened up freely to Tani, there was.. reluctance.

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She would chuckle and glance at Tani. 


"Exactly what thou were told. I murdered a crew member in cold blood. She was unarmed and then.. I escaped after surrendering mine weapon."


The elezen would lean a little closer, "It is all true. Thou hast come a long way to hear the same answer. As Tasa has spoken, I am too dangerous for mine own good."


She would wave off Tani. Clearly resisting the accountant's answer. This too, was new.


"Thou should leave mine monstrous shadow before I cleave thine in twain as well."

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The elezen would glance at Tani, regarding her closely.


"Is knowing the truth worth dying for, Tani..?" She would move and sit on a crate in the alley. "If thou art willing to die for it, I shall tell you... All.. Everything."


Isabelle simply wanted to be sure. She wanted to see what price Tani would pay for such knowledge. The elezen simply had no time for anything else. 


"It.. There is much history between Balgerda and I. I will tell thou my side and what happened."

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"Of course I'm not going to die for it," Tani said, frowning, her voice stiff with the effort to stay standing, and present.  "If you wanted death in trade for what happened, you would have tried to kill all of us.  I'm not Tasa; she has to move in the best interests of the company.  I don't.  And while I might expect many things from you, this doesn't make sense.  I expect it won't until you tell me what happened."


She paused, feeling the sweat at her temples, her scalp, down her back: feeling gross with it and knowing her own fear.

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Isabelle would nod, "Thou knowest me well. I would not kill without reason. Especially nay in cold blood... Which I did." 


She would lean back against those crates, pondering for a moment, the events that had transpired. "Balgerda was an old friend. One whom I mourned when I thought her dead. She .. softened me. When I thought she had died, I left mine crew and put mineself into this precarious position. Hence.. I found solace within thine crew." 


Isabelle would pause. Her hands clenched a bit to force down what could only be emotion. 


"She gave me no choice.. I had.. I had told her things in confidentiality. She knew mine face. She knew mine name. I needed to be sure that I could trust her. Pirates are always seeking favor with the Maelstrom by betraying others."


Isabelle chuckled, "I should know.. I have done such. I have Been doing such since I left mine crew." She would sit up a bit and look at Tani, "Balgerda betrayed mine trust. We departed from the Roses after mine leg was mended.. Aye, that is why I limp a little still. T'was there by mine fireplace that.. I simply could not say more. She forced me to unveil more secrets. Secrets that would have me killed. I could not risk anymore and needed a moment to gather mineself.. This is when it happened." 


The elezen seemed to darken a little, "She went back on her word. Threatened me that if I left mine room, she would tell Tasa all I have spoken. Things that.. that I did not wish the crew to be involved in." Isabelle clenched her fists, "She swore to me. She gave me her word! She betrayed mine trust! What more could I do? How could I trust that she would not betray me anyway?"


Isabelle looked up at Tani, "I ran her through. She screamed upon the linkshell some.. terrible accusations. Accusations that she knew not the true meaning of nor the context. She threatened me and she threatened mine friend, Holly, for her sister's crimes. An innocent! I nay meant to kill her. In mine fury, I kicked her and snapped her neck while she lay there bleeding on mine floor."


She sighed, "T'was all such a mess. I cooperated. I gave up mine lance willingly. I still know not what I did wrong. Why should I wait..? I fled."

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Silence, as Tani stared at Isabelle.  She lifted a hand, wiping sweat from her forehead, and then the sweat onto her skirt.  Ew.  Ew, but much more preferable to deal with than the grand mess to which Isabelle had confessed.


"Ah," she said, because she had to say something. Her brow furrowed, and she thought.  "Maybe...maybe next time take the pearl away before, ah, kicking..."


That was probably the wrong thing to say.


"You drowned in the well rather than take a drink, Isabelle," she said, finally.  "But it's done, and I'll not condemn you for trying to save yourself; that it was done poorly is merely a consequence.  And now..."  she pursed her lips.  "I've no desire to see you hung or imprisoned for life.  Not for such as this."

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Isabelle simply stared at Tani. She wasn't sure what to do. Could she trust the little accountant?


Could she..?

The elezen would slowly reach for her blade and stand..


Take a breath.


Isabelle would sling it against her back, "What now then? I care not to hang either. There are some who rely on me. I cannot give up so easily."

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Isabelle slowly shook her head, "Nay.. At the moment, I am in transit between... homes."


The elezen would tilt her head, "Why..?" 


Isabelle noted the way Tani licked her lips. She would reach out with one arm and, if able, she would hug the little accountant. The elezen would be silent in that hug except for a few words, "Thank you.. for seeking me out."

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Tani's first reaction was to stiffen, and then to pat at the other woman.  After a few seconds, she withdrew halfway; that awkward dance of when to release.  "What happened was ... concerning.  I wanted to gather information for myself."


And it was for herself, no doubt about that, not that she wasn't above showing kindness now and again.


"I know of a safehouse in the Goblet.  Should you need it, I can make arrangements.  How are you on funds?"

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Isabelle chuckled and sat back down, "I shall be fine. I would like to limit debts incurred as much as possible." 


She would glance at Tani, "Thou art very kind."


Isabelle would muse, "I have one thing going for me.. without mine helm, would even thou recognize me?" 


The elezen seemed a little lighter as she chuckled, "Whatever thou needs.. if ever thou is in trouble. Please.. Call for me." Isabelle would offer her hand out, closed around something. "I will come as soon as I am able."


If Tani held out her hand, Isabelle would place a linkpearl in Tani's palm.

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"Your insistence on wearing a helm even in your dressing gown leads me to believe those secrets you mentioned do know your face."


Tani studied Isabelle, her eyes narrowed, but accepted the pearl.  "I have no sway with the Maelstrom, but if you need help staying hidden, please let me know."

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Isabelle chuckled, "I shall. Be safe, Tani." 


She mused. "Remember.. if thou needs anything, call for me. Thou and thine crew were kind enough to give me a second chance once. This.. means a lot to me."


The elezen shook away her own personal thoughts, "Aye.. call me if thou are ever in need. Tis nay for anyone but mineself."

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