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Starlight in the Brume ((open))

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((I wrote this with the thought of setting a scene and seeing who wanted to join in and see what sorta story we can all weave together. Feel free to add to it if you want.))



It was a rare day in Ishgard. The sky above the towering spires of the city was a clear blue with only a few wisps of cloud. Down in the Brume was another rare sight: in the long open area just below the Forgotten Knight a large tent had been set up. The bright red and white canvas covered a good portion of the open and level ground between the wall and the alleys. Inside, braziers had been lit to warm the area and tables had been set out. Every time the wind shifted it carried the smell of cooking food.



Inside the tent, several men and women were busily cooking up a meal large enough to feed an entire army: Roasted dodo from the farms outside Limsa, grilled fish caught in the rivers of the chocobo forest, antelope and boar steaks from the Twelveswood, and of course at least one person out there wouldn’t consider it a proper party if there weren’t miqo’bobs so a good portion of those were making their way to the tables as well. To one side of the tent, near where the alley ended, a bar was set up. Behind it were casks of stout beer and rum, bottles of whiskey and mead, all sorts of drinks for young and old alike.



Eventually all was as ready as it could be so R’shesha adjusted her holiday robe as best she could and stepped outside the tent.


“Friends, the meal is ready and the drinks are as well. Eat your fill and the bartenders will keep your cups full as long as you don’t overdo it. Please enjoy and have a lovely starlight celebration.” With that said she stepped aside and pulled the tent open for all to enter.

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Eliane had spent the better portion of the day bustling between the kitchen and the tent. Sometimes she helped with the cooking; sometimes she fussed with the decorating; and sometimes she had to be gently reminded that micro-managing was a bad thing. Running a tight ship was habitual for her, but she had to admit they were right. This wasn't just her ship, after all, and she had no right to plow over everything now.


But it was more than just that. Starlight was her favorite holiday, and she believed wholeheartedly in the spirit of it. Last cycle, she had walked down to the Knight determined to feed the Brume with just herself and a few knights. Instead, she found more willing hands than she ever could have hoped for. But this cycle...this cycle was beyond her wildest dreams. Now everyone could be treated as nobles for a day, or at least close to it. She wanted to make it as close as possible.


Martiallais' words still echoed in her head, and she'd been unable to shake the guilt from a few nights prior, when he pointed out how much food went to waste at the holiday feasts of nobles. That was normal for her, or normal enough she'd never once given it a second thought. And now...well, now she had to make up for it all the more.


Of course, that meant somehow having to one up THIS banquet even more next cycle...


Still, the lady took a step back and grinned, hoping she hadn't gotten in the huntress' way too much. She took one last look over the grounds and gave a satisfied nod. It was going to be a perfect night.


She couldn't wait to see who all showed up.

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Reese Templeton stepped out of his office in the Jeweled Crozier, breezily humming a melody he had heard from a bard many years ago. He had forgotten the actual lyrics to the song, though he seemed to recall it involving a dragon, starving children, and some Inquisitors on Starlight's eve. It was in fact the only Ishgardian song he knew, but it had a catchy tune!


(At least he was mostly sure it was about Ishgard; the Gridanian bard performing it at the time assured him that it depicted Ishgardians with pinpoint accuracy!)


He minded not the cumbersome box that he carried in front him, propped up against his chest. The box itself was not a heavy thing, only big enough that it needed both hands and it slightly obstructed his vision. He silently offered a prayer to The Matron to help him avoid any slick ice patches during his journey to the Brume.


The Midlander had only been to the Brume once, accompanying his friend Launce on one of his charitable visits. Despite the crumbling walls and the proliferation of scaffolding that he was relatively certain would not pass a proper architectural inspection, the dark alleyways and the unseemly neighborhood did not scare off the Gridanian. The Brume denizens he had studied (with his ever-subtle side-eye) seemed mostly resigned and destitute. It was, in his view, quite unlike the anger that simmered beneath the surface in Pearl Lane or the refugee camps in Stonesthrow.


So he had no qualms about meeting his friend in the Brume, and certainly not for a Starlight charity event! Launce had shared the news of a Starlight feast being prepared for the residents of the Brume, and any and all were invited. His friend was going to show up with some gifts, and so Reese, naturally, offered to bring his own.


The Midlander’s stride slowed as he began to descend the steps leading down into the Brume. He offered one more prayer, this time to The Builder, that the creaking wood would hold him steady. But his heart was light, and so were his steps. He grinned as he pictured the children peering into his box and seeing a wide array of colorfully woven socks. Who would not want knitted socks to keep their toes warm through the winter?


That thought trailed away when a snowball came flying out of nowhere, hitting him squarely in the face. Reese could only manage an appalled sputter as he heard a distant peal of youthful laughter. He felt his cheeks starting to burn, but he told himself to maintain his composure. They were only children after all. He struggled to balance the box onto one hand while he lifted the other to wipe the snow off his face.


“Can I help you with that, mister?” a voice offered. Reese could not protest; he was precariously maintaining his hold on his gift box as it was. He sighed as he was relieved of the weight while he wiped off the ice and snow from his face with both hands.


“My gratitude, good--” the Midlander began, only to find that the one who took the box from him was an Elezen boy dressed in layered rags.


Or at least the backside of him was, as he was now sprinting away with the gift box in hand!


“You! Hold it right there!” Reese shouted after him, but as soon as he took another step to pursue, his boots came upon another snowball laid at his feet, and the Midlander went sprawling onto the stairs, one foot kicking up in what he imagined was an ungainly sort of fashion while his rump landed painfully on the ungiving wood.


More giggling and shouting could be heard from a distance; Reese dazedly spotted two youngsters running away with his Starlight offering.


By the time the Midlander reached the large tent that wafted with the mouth-watering aroma of meats and meads, he was far from the jovial man that left his office earlier that sun. His well-tailored jacket and pants had been stained with dirt, his hair was wet and dripping with melted snow, and his expression could only be described as a... ruddy sort of glum.


He barely managed a polite yet deflated, “Starlight greetings, everyone.”

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X'cinna Ares sat upon the cold Brume floor. Her tail swishing back and forth as the children of the Brume gather about her. Miqo'te were relatively rare in Ishgard, and many children have not seen one up close, especially one as strange as X'cinna. 


"And so? What do you mean you would like Starlight Blessings? Is not presents from the Saint of Nymeia?," a child inquired of the miqo'te. Cinna raised her hand and her a innocent smile crossed her face, "The Blessing is the greatest gift that one could received, kitten. It is everlasting, an experience that will grant you true blessings." Her tail puffed up with pride as she patted another child with her hand. 


To think one such as her would be entertaining helpless kittens who do not know how yet to hold a spear, much less slain their first prey. However, the world of Outsiders is queer to her and she has learned to accept it. 


More kittens (children) gather by her fire, attracted by the warmth or perhaps by the general crowd of youth and curious onlookers, eager to learn about Starlight outside of Ishgard, especially among the tribal miqo'te. X'cinna smiled honestly, and as questions piled up from the Brume inhabitants, gradually explained the wonders of 'blessings', as a means of warm and absolute joy. "What a wonderful tradition," she smiled joyfully as the night wore on.

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Despite the bright, cloudless day the wind still blew with enough bite to remind even the stoutest Ishgardian of the icy condition of his home. People huddled near loved ones and open flames. For many, the day would be like any other in the endless winter, like any other even with the threat of dragon kind no longer looming overhead, no longer giving a reason to fear the clear, open skies. However, there was a lone soul who sought to make the day anything but routine.


“Starlight’s Greetings!” rung out in The Brume. A lone Hyur garbed in festive red cloth, lined with white fur stands in the middle of a crossroad, waving one flyer about in one hand as his other clutched the remaining stack of papers against his breast. “Those in want and need pray search for the strip’d poles of the Dufresne Bellworks Tents and find sup and succor this merry, holy day!” He smiles warmly to temper the tired, icy blue eyes that peaked from beneath long, disheveled brown hair. “By the grace of the Fury and the Saint we bring alms, come one, come all, lowborn or high.” He offers a flyer to a man as he walked by who ignored him “Merry Starlight!” 


he takes a deep breath and readies himself to repeat what he had been saying for the past bell or so. “Sta-“ he feels a tug at his pant leg and looks down to see a small waif of an elezen boy. Orrin dropped down to one knee to meet the child eye to eye “What is it, little one?” he asks with a soothing calm, though the child shied away, casting his gaze downward, hands now gripped behind his back, still shivering ever so lightly.  “Come now, you are cold and hungry, are you not?” he asks, looking just past the boy to see a group of cowering children in barely more than rags peaking out from behind crates and barrels and rubble. “Oh, you are the unlucky one chosen to come to treat with the scary knight?” The little Elezen nodded, nearly whimpering. Orrin smiles as he moves to set down his sack of flyers and puts it on the ground, stopping it from flying away with his knee. “Well don’t you worry, you shall become the brave one, chosen to lead your friends to warmth.” He takes the boy’s hand in his in order to push the flyer into it “There is a map on the back, you needn’t be lettered to know how to get there.”  He closes the waif’s fingers over the paper “Go now, I heard they’ve got more food than they know what to do with.” He stands back up and gives him a small push back towards the group of children “Go on.” 


The elezen boy looks back and meets Orrin’s eyes once more and gives a smile “T-Thank you!” He then turns and sprints off. Orrin chuckles and looks up at the bright sky “Lady Gilrouis and Miss Shesha will have pandemonium about them soon, I do not envy them” he chuckles and then waves a fresh flyer into the air.


“Starlight’s Greetings!”

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