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Painted Shadows [Story]


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Painted Shadows [slightly NSFW]


She ran. It happened so quick. The horses were shying and the night sky so pretty. Then blood and fire. She hid.



The sun shown on a busy day in Limsa. As the crowds hum with a lively energy, occasional fights and outraged screams of women (and occasionally men) ring out. In the midst of this crowd, a small cloaked figure moves among the throng. With trained pose, the figure danced through the crowd, following the push and flow of Spoken living out their lives. Eventually, the figure disappeared down a alleyway near the Fisherman’s Guild. The figure stopped in the middle of the alley and two rough-looking Sea Wolves emerged from the shadows. They approached the figure in a semi-threatening manner, but remain silent as the figure flashes a metal at them. They grab her shoulder and move the figure inside a door, before returning to their positions as alley ‘thugs.’



She was always good at hiding. She watched her mother chased down by a rider. Her father fought, but was killed. Her brothers, uncles died unawares, they died yelling and confused, while her sisters and aunts sent scattered across the camp, their cries of despair echoing as the Dotharl had their way.



The figure walked down the tunnel inside the door, eventually emerging into a spacious room full of suspicious looking individuals. Some eyes briefly regarded the small cloaked figure, but after watching the figure move purposefully towards one of the side doors, returned to their business. The figure knocked three times on the door, and it opened. Inside were three figures, a Plainsfolk woman wearing a shirt with sash that is typical of Limsan buccaneers, a tall Seawolf man in darksteel plate, and a Hyurian woman with a air of decadence around her. The hyur woman was lying on sofa within the room, while the the Seawolf and the Plainsfolk were seemingly invested in a step-dancing contest.



She hated herself. She ran. They caught her. They ravaged her as they ravaged the others.



The figure pulled back the hood, revealing a young Xaela woman of petite stature. Her violet eyes scanned the room as the dancing duo finished their contest, with the Hyur glancing up from her couch, a pipe smoking a unknown substance wafting into the air. “Your here, just on time, darling.” The Xaela bows briefly before glancing briefly at the two nearby. The Plainsfolk and Seawolf were slightly panting, yet puffed up once the Hyur and the Xaela’s gaze fell on them. “So your the new hire, eh?” The Plainsfolk woman blurted out, her sash somewhat disorganized while the Seawolf glanced downward at his diminutive companion. “Indeed,” responded the hyur from the couch, “This is Dei, a transfer from Ul’dah.” The Xaela nods, “You may call me, Dei. I am at your service.” The Xaela Dei bows respectfully, taking the two privateers back. The Plainsfolk woman quickly regained her composure and sneered pompously, reminding Dei of her patron, “Finally get some respect around here, eh?”



They were about to finish her off, but a strange metal beast flew over the camp. They were distracted and she disappeared in front of them. Turning back to their now-absent victim, they howled in range and tracked her wounded body.



Dei simply stared in response. “Enough.” The hyur woman adjusted on her couch and put down her pipe to direct their focus towards a series of documents. “Here are the report of current shipping movements of the competitors of the EADC, as well as our parent EATC’s ship routes.” She glanced at the trio and stated, “We have been ordered by the main office to scout out their routes and keep a eye out for renegade pirates, whom have been operating in the area.” The hyur picked up the pipe and blew a ring at the Plainsfolk, the smoke passing just above the latter’s head. The plainsfolk woman glared upward at the hyur, “A lot of words from a former whore. So what do we do, your bitchness.” The hyur woman laughed at the smaller plainsfolk, “Your all just going to dig around, darling.” Dei nodded at the hyur, while the Plainsfolk privateer frowned, "I don't do tha'r sneaking or engage in mummery, that be a rogue's job." The hyur laughed, "Of course not, my darling captain." She gestured towards Dei, "We have a professional for that." 



But she was always good at hiding. She ran.



The meeting over, Dei slipped back into the crowds of Limsa. The sky turns crimson as dusk settled on the city. After avoiding the roaming hands of the typical Limsan drunks and pickpockets that emerge as day became night, she made her way back through the markets. Dei kept her head down, as she entered the night markets making for her inn room rented out for her by her patron. As she crossed into Hawkers Alley, she paused. Something caught her eye, as a drunk Sea Wolf bumped into her back, “Oi, watch y-our back! Walking broom?!” After staring at the small figuring standing there, the Sea Wolf staggered to the side and roamed onward as if nothing had happened. Dei continued standing there for a few seconds, before regaining her senses and slipping to the side of the alley. Past memories, happy and sad, emerged as she staggered to the side, her dark hood helping blend her into the shadows of the busy alley, while her movements representative of the drunks that stagger through the alley at all hours.


She had spotted another Xaela, wandering through the marketplace, strong and confident, as the figure from the depths of her memories. She would wait every morning at the edges of the village before her chores, hoping to catch a sight of that figure on top a horse, return to their village. There are many Xaela au ra in Eorzea these days, since the end of the Dragonsong War up north; however, this particular Xaela had face paint. There were others who painted their faces, but her repressed memories lit up as she briefly glimpse the figure. She was always shy, but she recalled that figure was always confident, a warrior born as free as the steppe winds. A memory of a life and a name she rarely recalled, if not used. Nevertheless, by the time her senses returned to her, the Xaela was gone, lost in the evening crowds of the Navigator’s city. From her hood, a surprised inquiry faded into the clamor of the night,  “Big… sis?”

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Qara Hotgo walked through the Zephyr Gate in Limsa Lominsa towards Hawker’s Alley - the market-place of the city. Her pace was hurried as she made her way with intent. Moogles dominated much of the courier service in Eorzea, but there were always people who did not use them, or could not use them. Beastmen who traded with the races of man, refugees who wanted to make sure something got from one camp to another, those who needed something delivered directly to a settlement where Moogles didn’t commonly go and merchants who didn’t trust Moogles with their wares; these peoples gave Qara work. It was what she used to live on, but now she was doing it because she had missed it. The excuse of work to get out into the world to meet people was why she did it. Obligation motivated her to do what she really wanted, but nearly denied herself.


She navigated the crowded streets – weaving around people who did not notice her. A smudge of blue paint under her right eye displayed her own little shield against fear and anxiety. With the Blue Spirit of Confidence watching, she was not allowed to feel fear of any kind. Her Kagon arming sword with the purple-hued blade hung at her belt along with her rolls of letters, and satchels of supplies.


Her expression was serious until she noticed a familiar Goblin trying to argue with an annoyed Sea Wolf merchant at a stall. Something about Goblins calmed her, and she often felt more comfortable around them than she did her own race.


“Listen ‘ere ya… Goblin! I ain’t got copper wire in stock yet. It ain’t been delivered this sun.” The Merchant spoke in his best attempt to remain professional.


“Massive uplander told Gobbie that copperstring would be here todaynow. Why you changemind with Bigstix?” The Goblin responded, and as usual, it was hard to tell if he was angry or confused. Goblins always seemed a bit confused.


“I didn’ changemind with Bigstix!” The Merchant quickly retorted then face-palmed at his sudden urge to speak like the Goblin.


“Hi…” Qara interjected. Both the merchant and Bigstix turned towards her. Their gazes fell on her while she was mid-bow.


“Sorry I’m late…” She spoke far more quietly than the two, stood up straight and unfastened a satchel form her belt before plopping it on the stall counter. “Copper wire. Very smelly.”


“Yer not late. This Goblin’s ‘ere early.” The merchant corrected her.


“Early flyingbird gets the copperstring!” Bigstix declared.


“I wasn’ goin’ to sell yer order!” The Roegadyn grumbled. He placed a small sack of gil on the counter, and pushed it toward Qara as payment.


“Scalefriend! How does daygo?” Bigstix asked Qara; seemingly familiar with her.


She smiled at the Goblin. “Muchbusy, but very peacelike.”


“Goodgood, twicegood!” Bigstix placed the gil on the counter to pay for the order then took the whole satchel of copper wire. “Bigstix has to gonow. There is muchto be donenow.” He waved at Qara and began to waddle off.


“Bigstix.” Qara turned toward him. “Take Southpath back to Gobbiecamp. Usualway has muchpirates today.”


The Goblin paused for a moment then waved back. “Thanksmuch for warning!”


The Xaela continued to smile as he walked off when a sudden familiarity hit her, and made her horns tingle. All the positions of the footfalls and voices in hearing range could be identified. Her horns were good at telling her where things came from, and this familiar sound came from somewhere in the crowd. If only she could make out what the voice had said, but the vibrations awoke memories of Othard.


Emotions began to surge in her mind as her eyes tensed and tingled; threatening to let out tears.


“You are being watched” a deep, masculine voice echoed in her mind. She quickly reached under her shirt, and grasped a dark red stone attached to a necklace. Her fingers curled around it, and she gripped as if trying to crush it.


“Shut up! You know nothing.” She whispered sharply to herself. It was odd for the manifestation of her other side to speak to her. It usually only happened when she was under extreme stress, but her day had been peaceful thus far.


She began to look around as the world outside her mind came back into focus. The familiarity was gone. The only people looking at her were curious passers-by who heard her abrupt whisper. However, their gazes did not linger long before they went about their own business.


Qara let out a sigh. It was time to go home for the day.

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The light fell over the shimmering fields of grass, brilliant sunbeams illuminated the dawn as the wind swept over the Othardian steppes. A village of yurts surrounded by a small herd of grazing horses could be seen on the steppes. A lone figure sat among the horses, scanning the distance. The light of the dawn shone on her white face, while the rest of her was covered in the traditional clothing of the steppes. Two black horns jutted out from her face, signifying her as a Xaela Au Ra.


Her violet eyes reflected the dawn’s birth, as her dark blue hair waved in the wind. She waited there every morning, before her chores, hoping to catch a glimpse of her heroine, astride a horse. The heroine often ranged far from the tribal group, a courier of their tribe; she’ve heard of devices and magicks that allowed an individual to communicate across long-distances during trade meets with other family units and tribes, but her family did not possess any such devices.



Chakha ran. It was a dark night, the light from the moon illuminated the Limsan coastline. She was a shadow, shifting from alleyway to roof to alley once more. Soon, she reached her target. It was the residence of a notorious raider of Garlean supply ships, and the target of her ‘test’ by her master.


A miqo’te woman in a loose buccaneer's dress, part of the crew from her colors, walked away from the house to nearby bushes. As Chakha approached, she could hear heaving noises. This was fortunate. She approach the woman’s back and thrust a needle into miqo’te’s neck. The miqo’te let a small cry which was quickly covered by Chakha’s hand. The female pirate struggled as the alchemical poison spread through her body and with a final desperate lash of her tail, she went limp.


Chakha swiftly set to work, stripping the miqo’te of her clothes and items. She put on the incapacitated pirate’s clothes. Turning the naked pirate over, she memorized the miqo’te’s body structure and face. With a mudra incarnation and a modified glamour crystal, smoke briefly obscured her form, resulting in the very image of the miqo’te that laid comatose.


Miqo’te Chakha stood up and after hiding the pirate in the bushes, checked her illusion and proceeded to walk somewhat sluggishly back to the house. She smiled at the guards, flanking the house. “Hey! Is thar you, C’nali?” A Sea Wolf drunkenly inquired, “Aye.” came the brief reply, “Heh. Heading back inside to see the captain? He’ll be expecting yah,” the guard grinned lewdly. The drunken pirate guards open the door for her, and miqo’te Chakha smiled as she walked right into the house.


Her tail swung as she sat on top of a particularly stubborn horse, who neighed in annoyance, but did not move. Suddenly, her horns vibrated as her tail lifted up in anticipation. In the distance, she spotted a lone rider approach the village; the figure on top the horse was tanned from traveling unprotected in the sun, her blackish-bluish hair a highlight among the primarily blue-haired tribe, a warrior-born who scorned the traditional role of the tribal woman as keeper of the yurt.


She yelped with glee and ran towards the figure, abandoning her horses and waking up some other members of the family, who simply glanced in her direction, aware of the cause of the girl’s excitement. As the figure rode closer, she could see the limbal rings of her eyes, something the girl regretted not having. She looked up as the heroine rode up into the camp, her tail nearly waggling with anticipation.“Welcome home, Big Sis!”


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Painted Shadows - Gross Misconceptions

Mist Ward 12 Division


Melphina shone over the Limsan coastline, reflecting off the lapping waves against the sandy shores of the Mist. A cloaked figure could be seen walking into Ward 12, her violent eyes shifting and taking in the immediate makeup of the ward. Her weapons were prominently displayed, marking her suspicious figure as an adventurer, or supposedly an adventurer. Thus, the Maelstrom guards only gave her a passing glance; another overly armed adventurer within a ward designated for such adventurers.


Glancing about, her eyes slide to the left. A small cottage appeared before her vision, briefly obscure by the nearby pillars of the entrance. She turned and walked with purpose, and jumped over the fence into the foliage. The guards paid her no heed, adventurers have a known habit of jumping randomly and venturing into pointless places; this was typical behavior and the figure counted on their lazy stereotyping to move into position.


After gathering information throughout Limsa, she identified the specific house, and after observing the house for a few suns, chose a time when both the mage and Xaela would be gone from the house. She paused briefly as she recalled the name spoken of in her contacts… could it really be her? The Xaela appeared similar, shockingly similar, her heart bled, while her mind continue to reject the possibility. Nevertheless… She shook her head… there was only one way to find out.


The moonlight reflected off the figure’s briefly exposed hood, and a female Xaela’s face was exposed, for a moment. The woman check her surroundings, and with a push, softly landed on top of the chocobo stables. There was a soft sleepy kweh and neighing from the animals below, but otherwise, little movement. With a brief incarnation, and a clear glamour prism, her appearance blurred and shifted into a clear invisible aetheric shell. Looking down at the grass, she reached into her pouch and took out a small sack.


Preliminary Report: The house was registered under a Zanzan Yanzan, a mixed-blood lalafell of dubious repute. Opinion of Black Market Contact “I’ve never seen someone so universally optimistic, especially a thaumaturge!” [Chakha’s Interpretation: He must be possessed by a voidsent!]


Reaching in, she tossed the thin powder into the air; as it settled down, aetheric lines appeared on the grass, signifying the presence of motion-wards. Noting the position of the wards, she proceed to deftly land in front of the stable, while still shrouded with obscuring magicks. Keeping her scent from the stables, she avoided a roaming tripline of the lawn’s wards and silently moved to a nearby window face behind the home’s well. Taking the same thin powder, she sprinkled the substance at the nearby window face. A complex array of wards appeared before her, the owner of this house appears to be a masterful mage.


Intoxicated Sea Wolf Chef at the Bismarck: “He is Bismarck incarnate. A hole by which all that we made beautiful, he devours. No chef in Limsa dares to create, for he surely will being forth ruin and calamity upon us all! UPON US ALL!” [Chakha’s Interpretation: He’ll must needs to devour much food stuffs as a substitute for aether; a voidsent for sure!]


However, compared to the defenses of her master’s keep and the Ossuary, this was a minor inconvenience. Nevertheless, caution is needed; she took out a silverly knife, its’ edge vibrated with the aetheric frequency of the nearby ward. She studied the ward protecting the window, and ducked as a alarm line passed over her; the ward was surprisingly complex for the work of a average thaumaturge. Recalling the material she read in the Order of Nald’thal’s archives, she looked for the aetheric seals of the ward on the window and lightly thrust her mage-slayer knives into them.


The aetheric vibrations of the knifes shuddered briefly against the seals, but did not set off the ward’s defenses or alarums. She ducked as another aetheric line crossed above her, before completing her work on the seals. Surprisingly the ward broke apart. She froze, but after sensing no further changes in the home’s defense systems, re-examined the window. After removing the rest of the window’s defenses, opened it slowly. Whatever alarums existed were negated by her equipment and skills, and the woman found herself inside the house, still shrouded by obscuring magicks.


Raving individual with unintelligible poster in Hawker’s Alley: “No real adherent of Nald’thal would be so universally cheerful, it must be some insidious plot to ensnare our gil! They say he tells stories to ensnare the hearts of naughty children and he leads them home to devour their souls or use them for black experiments!” [Chakha’s Interpretation: He kidnaps children and uses them for his black magic! A voidsent seeking to reopen a voidgate!]


The inside of the house was surprisingly well-decorated. A fish tank could be seen bubbling by the kitchen; perhaps a holding tank for fresh fish, given Eorzea’s primitive refrigeration technology. It appears that the owner has Starlight decorations up already, she was still unfamiliar with the notions of Starlight; however, it appears to be a response to the yearly snowfall that strangely only fell on the city-states proper.


As she drifted over to the kitchen, she noted the wide array of instruments. Peeking into a storage unit, she beheld tons of food. Was the owner of the house stockpiling supplies? Or perhaps, stockpiling ingredients for illegal rituals!? Mayhap there was a secret chamber full of slaves in this house that the owner kept to feed his control over her… nay, mayhap she was thinking too much.


She moved on to the living room proper, as she scanned the room for suspicious objects, something caught her eye. Moving over to the sofa, and after checking the sofa for traps and wards, she flipped over a cushion. Under it… was the sappiest love poem she had ever had the misfortune of witnessing; however, it bore the name of the Xaela.... And the one from her memories…. ‘Qaratai’ she spoke softly as she involuntarily shuddered. Her eyes teared slighty, she lowered the cushion; however, another piece of paper under the nearby couch caught her eye… it was another poem. She checked carefully throughout the room, there was another, and another, and ANOTHER!


Crying child in Pearl Lane: “He froze my daddy. Daddy was only doing his job. But he froze my daddy! He lost his fingers. He got thrown in jail. The Blades took all our gil. Mommy left us. It’s all that crying lalafell’s fault! Daddy wasn’t a thug! He was a good daddy!” [Chakha’s Interpretation: Zanzan is truly the lowest of the low! How dare he attack honest goodly men doing their jobs! A insidious voidsent for sure!]


As she shifted through the room, sadness twisted into horror that built within her supposedly well-trained mind. The number of obsessive love poems and statements increased. She found them everywhere, the surest sign of a depraved obsessive mind. She recalled the true owner of the house, a lalafell named Zanzan; supposedly a thaumaturge of some repute, whom rumors accuse of participating in black magic. This would explain the uncommonly complex wards surrounding the house, most likely created to keep Qaratai trapped inside while the sinister Zanzan is at rest.


Glancing downstairs, she descended with ample caution. The wards were sparse on the way down, mayhap the lalafell believed his dominion to be absolute here. She’ve seen his like before amid the spires of Ul’dah and among the people that her master associates herself with. At the bottom of the basement, she glanced around the room, a quick assessment highlighted a library, mayhap a bathroom and a door leaving towards what she presumed to be a bedroom.


The bedroom, the location by which the beast slumbers with his prey. After casing the door for alarums, she carefully opened it. Within she spotted a large bed, as well as a armoire and cabinets. She entered the room, a familiar scent caught her nose and her eyes involuntarily welled up. Her horns tingled and she felt herself moving towards a particular place in the room. As she opened the compartment, memories come rushing back…


A tall gallant figure riding towards the village with dawn rising behind her. The clothes were almost the same as those in her memories, or at the very least they were of similar designs. She cautiously touched the clothes and a fragment of a tear dropped down, staining the weathered fabric. She blinked and silently reprimanded herself. However, she reached down and took a piece of the gear; it appears worn and unused. Mayhap the lalafell forbid Qara from wearing the clothes of her birth, the little scourge.


Looking around once more, she took a piece of the clothes and placed it in her pouch. Since Zanzan had his claws on Qaratai, there was surely no way he would notice a missing piece of the clothing worn by ’savages’. This was mayhap typical perspective of the children of the Xaela by lalafells, especially those who delve in the dark arts, as her Master and her compatriots in the Order of Nald’thal. Mayhap she may be able to free Qara from the dastardly Zanzan’s black arts by using items related to her, if she recalled her Master’s lectures.


She carefully closed the compartments that she opened and moved back into the basement foyer, and turned to the library. Many of the books around the basement displayed knowledge of the void; as she carefully shifted through them, her alarm grew. The obviously-malicious Zanzan was most likely a void mage of considerable power, this may create implications for her master and the Order of Nald’thal. Never before, even amid her service with Garlemeld, with her Master and the Order of Nald’thal has she seen such insidious EVIL.


Xaela refugee near Fisherman’s Pier: “I’ve seen that lalafell walking around with that warrior. It is a travesty, what does she see in such a tiny person? He has no scales and no tail! He must be keeping the warrior under a wicked Eorzean curse!” [Chakha’s Interpretation: Zanzan truly is a wicked voidsent! Why else would Qaratai follow such a tiny and surely suspicious individual!]


Suddenly her horns vibrated and her tail stood up, she reached for her daggers, but it was too late. As she turned around she be held a soft white, red rimmed belly launching from the top of the library bookshelf onto her face. She unintentionally squealed in surprise and flailed about the small library, perhaps knocking books off their shelves as the red-orange fuzzy thing latched and hugged her face like a remorseless koala to a innocent eucalyptus tree.


In a rare panic, she Shukuchi to the stairs (which dislodged the furry entity) and rushed upwards and out the window, the wind of her retreat and habits as a infiltrator closing the window behind her. What attacked her was surely a voidsent, summoned by Zanzan Yanzan, the Dark One, through a bloody ritual of sacrifices. As she merged back with the crowd of the Mist, she shuddered at the evils occurring in that house, and the wicked being that ensnarled her Big-Sis.


“I’ll save you from that diminutive monster and his devouring clutches,” she whispered under her breath. “I’ll save you, Big Sis Qaratai!”

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Limsa Lominsa - Main Aetheryte Plaza


Snow fell on the docks, as a cloaked figure looked upon children playing on the deck of the Aetheryte, illuminated by Starlight lanterns and magicked decorations. She learned of Starlight during her training, essential knowledge of Eorzean culture and terminology. Her violet eyes scanned the children smiling and running around their parents, as memories of the past resurfaced.


A large camp spread amid a wide open-steppes, family and relative huddled together, their bodies and spirits warmed by each other’s presence. Many of their tribe gathered together during such difficult times, to pool resources and coordinate the tribe’s survival during the harsh winter of the steppes. Within, she remembered wrapped in a blanket of fur, huddled and teasing with her siblings.


Back in the present, she look heavenward, the snow drifting down as if fragments of the past flicker in her mind’s eye. Reflections of reckless youths racing on the steppes, the wind blowing their hair and the dawn’s light reflecting the luster of their dark scales. Memories of herds of horses and pack animals moving as a stream, a river, thundering across the steppes amid the calls and laughter of her kin.


Her horns shudder and her eyes glance earthward, within her poncho, clutched a coat. A stolen coat, but she stole many things since the world stole everything from her. As the snow continued to fall, she held the piece of clothing close to her chest and felt the warmth of the past wrap around her. They said that the Saint of Nymeia would give anything to the worthy; however, she was no longer innocent nor without sin. Yet she still desired one thing within her heart.


“Happy… Starlight, Big Sis Qaratai…,” she whispered.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Painted Shadows - A Torn Canvas

Mor Dhona - Kahkol Refugee Camp - Revenant's Toll Outskirts.

[RP with Qara Hotgo as Tsenkher Hotgo.]


The afternoon sun fell over the Kahkol camp, a proportion of the adults have left to the Toll for work earlier in the day, leaving a guard detail of older and younger tribe members. The camp was spread out through the Mor Dhona landscape, punctuated by the crystals common now to the region, and normal foliage before the Battle of Silvertears Skies. On the high ground, overlooking the camp, a Kahkol sentry could be seen dozing off in the comfort of the midday sun.


Her dark tail swished as she sang a little lullaby in Xaela. The wind picked up briefly and some dust blew past her. The lullaby was probably a bad idea, she thought as she dozed off and collapsed on the ground in slumber. A figure emerged from behind the shadows of a nearby crystal formation, placing a opened satchel back into her tool belt. Flapping noises could be heard behind her and a strange other-worldly being silently flapped from behind her. “YoU CoUlD HaVe JuSt KilLeD HeR,” the big-eyed being spoke with its eye focused on the slumbering figure.


“I am here on personal mission, killing is work,” the figure replied. The figure is wrapped in a cloak, with a tri-red glow stemming from a visor often utilized by Imperial infiltrators. A poncho hides much of her body and tools, as she surveyed the camp. This site was still relatively far from the camp, and the shadows given by nearby formations kept the other sentries from having a good view of the location. What passing sentry did look over would see the shadow of a figure approximately the shape of a female Xaela, just like the slumbering sentry.


As the patrolling sentry flexed briefly at the Xaela shadow and continued onward, the cloaked figure ignored him and completed her observation of the camp. The flapping shadow behind her, cloaked by a glamour of void energy, stated “DoNe?” “Yes,” she briefly glanced backward at the slumbering sentry; the sleeping dust should keep her out for a few bells; she used a relatively potent mixture, but the wind scattered  most of it.


“Hide her and replace her for now,” she gently lifted the sentry before the eye of the entity and with a whirling noise, the entity mirrored the image of the sentry. “You heard her voice before she slept, correct?” “Of course, Mistressssss,” the entity-sentry replied with a flirtatious statement, and posed in its illusionary Xaela body in a manner like a miqo’te. “I’ll beeee sure to give any onlookers my EYE-catching charms.” The cloaked figure almost brought her right hand up to her face, “Do not talk much. I doubt the girl behaves in a manner as depraved as you.” The not-girl dropped to the ground in a overdramatic display of ‘despair’, “I’m so harmed, Mistress!”




While relatively calm, the camp was still full of activity, just as her tribe, recalled through the fog of her past. She had cloaked herself in a illusionary ninjutsu, facilitated by a modified glamour prism. However, her training still made her cautious and she shifted from shadow to shadow; keeping herself from the eyes of any. A certain yurt came into her view. She had learned of its location from easedropping on a few adventurers and Kahkol in the Toll, a old woman and a fearful child. She could also sense remnants of Qaratai’s aether in the area, a frequency that she had obsessively been attuned.


She had a idea who the old woman was. While a lingering emotion swept over her, her eyes remained focus under her visor. The woman was the past, and Qaratai the future, as her hands moved down into her poncho. A small clicking sound can be heard as one of her magitek implants activated, and she approached the yurt. As a strong wind blows, she approaches the tent, masking her aetheric presence; a small fearful boy emerged, glancing around.


She froze, was she spotted? But the boy’s paranoid eyes moved past her and with a squeak the boy fled the tent. In that instant, Chakha moved; swiftly entering the tent as the flap closed. Inside the tent, she froze. A old Xaela woman worked at a mortar, mixing herbs and minerals into paints by which to express her tribe’s inner selves. The figure subconsciously tugged at a pouch holding memories of her past, but refocused. Another modified prism - while others were attuned to light, this one was modified to use sound - creating a temporary bubble that reflected sound aether from the outside and from the inside - a useful, if not expensive tool for a infiltrator.  No one outside the tent would hear what is going on in the tent, and no one in the tent could hear outside, but this seemed sufficient. The old woman was sighing and mumbling to herself about a hopeless ‘Jurj’, the word triggered a sense of familiarity, but she could not recall. She hesitated for a second, then drew her black daggers and…




A mechanical-sounding voice could be heard, “I have you now, old woman.” The heavily wrapped and disguised figure astride the old woman with her daggers at the latter’s throat, the dim-red light of the magitek visor glowing in the shadows of the yurt. “I have questions for you.” The mortar that the old woman was mixing flew into the air, and bonked the cloaked figure, who remained composed as pink paint spilled all over her wrappings.


Tsenkher gasps at the suddenness of it all. Of all the things she expected this sun, one was not a tiny, angry ninja. She lifts her head a bit as the blades near her neck. She lets out a couple of dry coughs as she inhales after the gasp. “What in the name of Khar?! Who are you?!”


The cloaked figure remained silent, before pushing them closer. “Who I am is irrelevant,” the figure rasped mechanically. “I am here to inquire. About one ‘Zanzan Yanzan.”


Tsenkher grows a scowl. Her eyes narrow. “Then you are in the wrong place. I know little about that Lalafell. Of all the people you would ask, you come here to ask me? How do you even know that I know about him? Hm?”


“Because he has been seen in the company of a woman. A woman related to you. Who came to this camp and went to YOU!” the figure hissed.


“Qaratai. That is her name. No one else visits me. But it sounds like you should be asking her questions… Or do you only threaten old women and the weak?” Tsenkher speaks calmly, but there is unease and tension in her voice.


“Qaratai…,” the figure giggled, the mechanical sound scratching into the voice as if the individual’s voice box was metal. “Zanzan Yanzan is not what she believes. The Zanzan has those who met it in its thrall. It’s ever grinning smile a illusion,” the figure giggles again, and let her daggers slip a little loose from the old woman, while a dark scale-covered tail is briefly seen flickering out of her wrappings. The figure stops and looks down on the old woman, her visor glaring in the dark, “Something the matter?” it almost tauntingly states.


“I am not sure what Zanzan has done to you, but he enthralls no one. If he could not impress me, he could hardly be called enthralling. What has the boy done to anger you? Or have they angered the Garleans?”


The figure giggled, “We desires knowledge. The Zanzan is a unique being. A being that cannot be tolerated to exist.” She moved the right dagger closer, while sheathing her other with a swish. “That woman is attracted to him, despite this. Therefore the Zanzan must be a unique being. Yes.” Her tail lashes again, “I stabbed and injected him with poison, but it is quite resilient. Mayhap I should investigate his ‘thrall’,” she motioned as if to lick the blade, but remembering something, lashed her tail in annoyance, and moved the blade back into place near the old woman’s neck.


Tsenkher’s scowl returns, or that is just how her old face looks; it is hard to tell… “You are troubled, girl. The boy is little more than a common shaman who cannot face every color of this world yet. Hardly unique.” She pauses. “If by thrall, you mean my Qaratai, you need not investigate her. She will be looking for you once she sees what you did to the man who gave her a home in this spirits-forsaken land. What are you after? Why Zanzan? You want to kill demons, there are plenty -real- ones.”


“So she is coming after me? How delightful.” The figure giggled once more, “The Zanzan is a faker. A false one. It cannot be allowed to live. Two souls exist within it, it is a abomination against nature. It is a resident of the void.” The figure stopped and a atmosphere of glee could be felt, “I’v… We’ve been waiting for that.” The figure looked down at the old woman, “Demons and voidsent, they go about their business, as thralls and masters. Qaratai is no demon, but she feels like one. Entrapping yet entrapped.” She giggles once more and shifts position so that she would be directly facing the old woman, while still pressing her down.


Tsenkher is quiet for a moment. She looks at the girl as if she does not know what to make of her. “Do demons give their thralls homes, horses, food, gil, freedom and friends? Qaratai is stronger than she ever has been. In little time she is a warrior far above what her father ever was. She is no thrall, and has even walked away from Zanzan when she wanted some time away from him. No demon would give her these things. No demon would allow her these things.”


The old woman lets out an exhale then coughs a couple times. She could hardly believe she was defending that little man. Her expression remains fixed even as her eyes wander a bit. She wasn’t pleased to have the knife at her neck, but outwardly showed little fear.


“So you think. Give them air to breathe before plunging them back down.” The figure looked down, “There are many great warriors in this realm, from the Bull to the Claw, but they find themselves bowed to greater powers.” The figure lashed its tail once more, “And I wouldn’t look for help, no one is coming. No one can hear us in this place. I made sure of that.”


Tsenkher gives up on trying to argue. Her eyes just look back to Chackha. “You are the only demon I see. Trying to scare me? Trying to use your weapons to get me to say what you want to hear? Girl, threaten someone with more time in this world. I will join the spirits soon regardless of your daggers.” She growls.


“Are you some lost Xaela, broken and abandoned by the Garleans who took you from your tribe, or are you a Dotharl; unwilling to let go of an old war, and looking for any excuse to fight what is left of the Hotgo?”


The figure remained silent. Suddenly, a giggle could be heard. Then a laugh. A honest, if not slightly deranged laugh, “For a old one, you do not see nor know much.” The figure chuckled mechanically once more, “The Empire never took me, they saved me. They showed me the truth of strength.” The figure sat on the old lady like the latter was a cushion, “The tribe you speak of was never strong, it was weak. It was why it died.” The figure stopped and continued in an amused tone, “The Dotharl thought they were strong, but they ran as any vermin when the Empire ‘pacified’ them from the skies. How much in vain they waved their little spears and arrows against magitek machina.” She giggled in a semi-deranged manner, and moved her free hand towards her face.


Tsenkher widens her eyes. Some of the air is taken out of her lungs when she is sat upon. “Truth of strength?! This is what they taught you? To threaten old women? To try and kill tiny men?” She manages to speak despite it being hard to breathe now. She lets out several rough coughs. “You poor girl…” She struggles out. “Which one of those two tribes were you from?” The girl’s age could hardly be seen, but Tsenkher did not remember any female warriors amongst the Dotharl attackers. “Which family…” She coughs. “Which Hotgo family are you from?” It is a guess, but a logical one.


The figure laughed, “So close, yet so far.” The figure looked down, her dagger wavering for a second, but a psychotic sensibility returned to her, “Tribes are meaningless, I am nothing now. But you might know, since there, weren’t you, old woman. So many of us, but they found us all at once. They killed the men, but took their time with the women.”


She giggled psychotically, “They really enjoyed their time with me, but they were distracted. Next sun, the Empire found me.” Her voice wavered off, “I helped them, I was always good at watching, you know. If I only had been awake. But the past is the past, isn’t it. I found their camp and watched it burn. I’ve burned so many things, done so many things, threatening old women is just another.”


Her visor seems to refocus, “And I’ve been around many other little people, little men. I’ve watched them kill entire families for the sake of gil and have tea to discuss it. after. I done some of the killing myself.” She stated as if fondly remembering something.


“Finding pride in such things only hides your guilt.” She coughs. “Laughter tries to cover your pain. A Dotharl saved me. One of the very men who were supposed to all be monsters. He helped me survive, he helped me find Qaratai.” She pants for a few moments; trying to catch some breath. “All the Garlean taught you was to paint the world in two colors. Black and white.”


“And red,” she responded dryly. “Passion, which burns into the present....", she giggled once more, "I cannot paint anymore. The soul is gone and the spirits have died. BUT I have no guilt for what I did. Nor do I care. I will eliminate the fake one, that Zanzan, and then Qa…. I shall all be FREE.”


She regards the panting old woman, and shifts her body slightly up, allowing for some space, but still retaining a degree of restraint. “It feels like our time is coming to an end, the demon is skilled, but more competent warriors should be returning by now.” She chuckled with a slight mechanical rasp, although a glimmer of voice flickers through.


Tsenkher takes in a relieved inhale, but doesn’t show much relief in her expression. “You will only hurt one of the last Hotgo. You will not free her, you will be declaring war on her.” She speaks a bit more quietly and sullenly. “You will trap her spirit in the same misery yours is trapped in.” She turns her gaze on Chakha.


The figure silently eyes the old woman and sheaths the dagger, while regarding the old woman. With a click, a soft, perhaps familiar, voice flickered through, “We shall see, bothersome -Emee-“


She brings her hands together and with a flash of light and smoke, disappears from the tent. Noise from the outside suddenly can be heard, although mostly the sounds of wildlife and weather.


Tsenkher slowly sits up. She stares at the exit of the tent for a long moment. However, without a word, she picks up the spilled container of paint, and begins to fill it with ingredients again. Her expression betrays nothing, but as she begins grinding the materials, a single tear rolls down her cheek. It looks like she could only save one of her granddaughters.

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  • 1 month later...

Night over the Mist - 


The waves lapped up against the shore of the Mist. Chakha sat on the beach, staring out at the ocean. In her hands, was a piece of driftwood she was in the process of carving with a knife. She reflected on her past few moons, what a strange journey it had been. 


She looked down at a letter from her Mistress, on it was a rather flowery apology. She tilted her head as she thought of the diminative girl. They were about the same age, although their relationship had been that of a master and servant. However, she did enjoy her summers with the girl and mayhap, she was a friend… if she deserved any aside from ajaa. She placed the letter inside her well-worn poncho, something she clung too from her past days. Mayhap it would be the perfect occasion to change, while stalking the markets of Hawker’s Alley, she observed a particular set of interesting objects. Objects… she mused as she adjusted the driftwood in her hands. The round head of the figure took shape and her eyes narrowed as she concentrated on the details. The wind blew past her head, lifting her dark-blue hair up as it caressed her light skin. If she spent more time out here, she may become as tanned as ajaa.




Behind the mansion, a loose formation of rocks could be seen. However, Chakha deftly moved about the rubble, carefully clearing away some rocks until a small opening could be seen. She was fortunate to find this small cave, located behind a large mansion of a FC known as the Fabled Few. She smiled innocently as she beheld the objects arranged neatly inside; a large damaged doll vaguely in the shape of a lalafell sat in the midst of a cacophony of weird “objects”. Numerous straw dolls with parchment written in Doman (translated as ZANZAN!) decorated the walls of the small shrine, a nail hammered into the midst of each one.


On the ground, laid a mat of wool that had been badly treated, inscribed with various badly-drawn images of a lalafell in a a variety of robes, each undergoing some form of imagined torment. Better drawn reliefs are etched all over the ceiling, the paint infused with some form of aether-infused glow. There is a painting of what appears to be a oliphant trampling some sort of small person, while in another painting, a herd of antelope seem to be violently goring a similarly small figure. 


Leafs of parchment also saturated the small cave, each with various written curses in Garlean, Hingashian, Allagan, Eorzean Common and various dialects, such as Doman. The writing appears to be a random assortment of rants and diatribes against a individual, although the chaotic writing makes it difficult to ascertain if these documents were assaulting a person or a demon-from-the-seven-hells; however a universal association among these documents is “Z Y,” as inscribed and defined in the aforementioned respective languages. 


With a glee approaching that of a miqo'te dancer getting paid, she carefully placed the newly carved figure of a male lalafell into a slightly-glowing magitek stasis pod... filled with predatory spiders in suspended animation. A Hingashi curse, she recalled from one of her trainers. This pod now formed the centerpiece of her shrine of 'Dislike'.


She had promised ajaa that she wouldn’t try to kill the little demon, but she did say she didn’t need to ‘like’ him. This cave is a testament to her ‘dislike’ of the little demon. His deceptive tears amidst his assaults, like he was plotting something devious for every action  taken. She will never underestimate anyone, not again; after that first event with the Hellfist. She cannot kill him, but she can wait… surely ajaa would tired of him in time. She giggled lightly as the night wore on. 

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