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I Got A Hangover...


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You think you can escape your crimes forever?



"Oh that's fucking -delicious-coming from you, you unfaithful shithead."


Amazing, you've existed so long and yet still act like a child.



"Aw, is the unfaithful dick still bitter he's dead?"


Mark my words Crate, you -will- be consumed by the powers you control and I'll be waiting for my revenge.



Crate sneered in defiance as he looked at his dead lover's face as it existed in his dream.  The small, blond male lifted both of his hands and extended both middle fingers in a gesture of defiance and contempt


"A gift for you -and- Nald'thal.  Now piss off. I'm waking up now."


And he did.


And he immediately regretted it.


His head was exploding with pain and he could hear his pulse hammering inside his veins.  He closed his eyes tightly in pain to block out the light as he gave a wounded groan and covered his face.


"Oh fuck the Twelve." Crate rasped in a hoarse voice as his tail swished over the cobblestones of a back alley.  The smell of trash and vomit, some his own, washed over him as his senses came awake one by one and he wanted to crawl back into his head but the hammering headache was sure as hell not making that an option anymore.


With each pump of his heart, blood shot into his brain and he felt as if each pulse was going to pop his eyes out of his skull.  He could taste the bile on his tongue and the miqo'te's whole body felt dried out. His kidneys and liver were aching from processing all the alcohol he had forced down his gullet the night before.


The night before.


The miqo'te began patting around his extremely gilded robes for something.  Panic began to take his brain as he searched, his weary mind trying to focus but having trouble.  The idea that all his work last night being in vain...


His hand closed around something inside one of his many pockets and he breathed a massive sigh of relief as he leaned back onto still cool stones of the alley.  It was not all in vain.  He had it.


The small man sat up slowly, his bones popping.  He nearly threw up as he opened one eye and saw his ruined robes, covered in trash and  They were not cheap robes and getting more was going to require he sail back to Limsa and have a chat with his tailor.  That would mean having to travel looking less than fabulous and that idea was as offensive to his body as was the booze it was currently trying to process out of him.


Crate pulled a gloved hand from his pocket and glanced down at the object.


A small, purple stone greeted his blood-shot, ice-blue eyes.  He sighed as a smile played with his crusty lips.  It had taken months of manipulating, lying, bribing, and sneaking, to gain his only shot at this object last night, but he had managed what almost bordered on the impossible.  He had killed, drunk, danced, sung, and crept his way to victory through the massive party, then the vaults of the Free Company Mansion, and then back out.


He coughed and whimpered as his side protested.


Kanako's knife wound was still there, leaving him sore and wounded. 


The one negative of tainting your aether flow: aether healing didn't work on you anymore.


He swallowed weakly as he placed a hand on a wall that smelt of piss and began to risie to his feet.


His new employer was going to be thrilled about his success and would be paying him handsomely for this.  The book she was offering him was something he couldn't pass up.  And soon it would be his.  But of course, so would this stone.


After all, he was already scheming how to betray her.

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The Missing Member.


It was a favorite haunt of the little blond kitty called Crate, Esquire, Purveyor and Obtainer of Discarded Goods.


The restaurant had a wonderful cook, fair service, and, when the doors were open, an amazing view of the ocean, plus the walkway leading to the front that gave the little kitty plenty of time to jump out a side door in the event he might need to make a quick exit ahead of anyone seeking his head. 


And that's why he was here now.


He was seated at the far side of a table opposite the great double doors of the establishment's entrance.  Before him was the ruined remains of a cooked chocobo, the bones and discard pits piled up as a grim testimony to the enduring strength of the bird's life.  Currently he was gnawing on a bone with a feral growling noise as he glanced up at the walkway.


She was late as usual.  Typical of a self-important woman.  Really a self important person of either gender actually, Crate reflected.  In the male's experience, the more important and earth-shattering people viewed themselves, the more they cast punctuality to the side.  And this both fascinated and annoyed the piss out of the littlest, blond necromancer as his teeth grated over the bone, picking any remaining meat clean. 


His blue eyes glanced down as he sought his glass of wine.


"I was under the impression that the savage part of your ancestry was dead in you."


That voice; calm, flat, and female.


Crate pulled the bone from his mouth and spun it through his fingers as he leaned back in his chair and licked his bloody lips.  He liked his meat rare after all.


Seated across from him was a black robed figure with a hood covering her face.  White hair fell free and he could see the wrinkles around her lips.


"You know, if I was a witch hunter, I'd burn you as a cultist, just on -that- atrocious outfit." Crate snorted in amusement as his right hand picked up a napkin and he began to clean his face.  "I mean seriously, could you get any more stereotypical as a cultist.  Wait, don't answer that, I already know the answer."  Crate paused and then added.  "It's no by the by, in case you didn't get it."


The female said nothing as she pulled her hood back to reveal her wizened face and pale flesh.  Solid black eyes starred across the table at Crate and the blond grunted at the gaze.  Those eyes were dead and emotionless and it made even him somewhat uncomfortable.


"I take it back, put the hood back on. You're killing my boner."


"You are as charming as ever." the old female commented with a hint of sarcasm in her calm voice.


"Why thank you!" Crate said as he giggled.  "I try. Play your cards right and maybe you'll be attractive in oh..." he eyed the wine and then scowled.  "Actually, I don't think there is enough wine in Limsa for me to ever find you attractive.  Which is good, cause I'd hate to accidentally have you ever make kids."


"I'll be sure to tell my sons that." the elderly woman said flatly, not rising to Crate's bait.  Crate gagged on his wine as he took a sip and glanced at her.


"The idea of -you- with kids it nightmarish.  They little nutcase cultists too?  Wait, don't tell me, I suddenly don't care. I'm too traumatized by the fact someone screwed you."


The female folded her hands into her lap and gave an expression that she regarded Crate with a something -just- above outright disdain.


"You really are a delight, Crate.  So glad I made time to enjoy your company."


"And you are proof that the Twelve have a sense of humor, Jin." the blond snorted as he put his wine glass down.


"So, before I just get up and walk away, care to tell me what this is about." the elderly woman blinked slowly, clearly growing impatient.


"Oh, does the big, mysterious cultist have a world she needs to be saving? Destroying? Ruling?  See, that's the problem with you idealists.  Always so busy trying to obtain your goals and change the world, that you never stop and just appreciate the beauty of life and how wonderful the world is already.  One day I will finish writing my series of books on psychology and I will dedicate an entire tome to the madness and mental insecurities of the saviors and conquers and social engineers.  I'm convinced you all share a mental disease of sorts."


"Crate." the woman blinked and gave a menacing smile with the corner of her lips.  "I don't really have time for this. So if you would kindly get to the point, I will leave you to whore and drink yourself to death."


"Oh, like I'm -that- easy to kill." the blond male giggled impishly and then sighed as he leaned back into his chair.  "Alright, alright, alright, alright alright.  I got it for you."


The woman raised an eyebrow.


"With you?"


"Hell no!" Crate blurted in a chuckle and shook his head.   "I'm not stupid enough to walk around with -that- thing just radiating it's aura.  No, it's safe at the moment, and not -here-.  But, if you want to pick it up and give me my payment,"  Crate pulled out a balled up piece of paper from a pocket and tossed it at her. 


She caught it in a pale, wrinkled hand and opened it.


"Standard graveyard." Crate explained as he took the wine bottle and paused to finish the last third of the bottle, making loud, gulping noises as he did.  He slammed the bottle back onto the table.  "Find that name on the tomb stone and dig.  You can leave the book in the coffin for me to come back by."


"You know, despite your impish demeanor, you do continue to prove you are not worth killing just yet."  the female commented casually as she slipped the paper into a pocket.  Crate flashed fangs, revealing some chocobo meat stuck between them.  The female recoiled in disgust.  "Though sympathy killing has never been far from my mind with you."


"Well tell you what." Crate replied as he rose to his feet.  "When your little cult takes over the world, you can make me the first victory sacrifice to the god or cause or tenant or whatever you people follow, how's that sound?"


"That a promise?" the female replied.


"Hehe, fuck no." Crate winked as he pulled out his big, foppish hat and placed it on his blond head and adjust the large feather in it.  "Oh by the by, thanks for covering the tab.  I also got the lobster and three bottles of wine in addition to the bird.  None of it was cheap.  Be seeing you around, Jin, I'm sure. After all, good help like me is hard to find."


The female grunted and raised a white eyebrow.


"Not if we can help it." As she answered she interlaced her fingers.  iI was clear she regarded him like she would regard a service dog that could be put down whenever she pleased.


"Aw, when you say things like that, you just get me so sad. Oh well, have fun saving the world.  I have a dinner party to make and unlike some people, I hate being late.  Tah-tah!"


Crate gave her a deep, comic bow and then strolled off, humming to himself as he felt the sun on his face as he stepped outside.  No matter who ruled the world, the sun always rose and set.  Ambition was chasing after dust on the wind. And Crate loved manipulating people with it.

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"You mean the lot of 'em is dead?!"


"Uh, well, uh, I, sir its, all of them."


"That's impossible! How the hell do thirty healthy slaves all die in one night?"


Big Jug was, as his name implied, big. But he was a roe, not a jug. And he was mad as hell as he tried to process the reality that his auction meat that was supposed to make him his this moon's paycheck had just died on him. The giant chewed on his pipe angrily and his black beard shook in anger with his body.


"Looks like some sort of rot sir. None of the boys down below even want to get near them corpses." Squeaked Big Jug's number two: a small, lalafell female who's talent in business made up for her lack of physical prowess.



The two were standing by the door to the basement inside the small, Mist house.  The small, friendly cottage with its many flower gardens outside, seemed unassuming enough to the unassuming eye. But it was tactically located. It's position relevant to the coast, as well its close proximity to other persons eager to trade in flesh and coin meant their little operation normally ran without a hitch.




This was not normal. Thirty slaves was a lot of gil wasted and Big Jug had bills and employees to pay.


"Rot is not possible." Big Jug growled as he looked at the basement door and pictured the cells beneath his feet. "We keep that place too clean and feed them too we'll for this to-"


The door opened and the lalafell immediately went to the basement door and locked it as Big Jug spun.


The sight of the small, blond miqo'te that shut the door behind him didn't help Big Jug's mood.  Not one bit


"I swear to the hells, Crate."  Big Jug began advancing on the small man. Crate eyed the massive Roe with a degree of apprehension but the blond miqo'te gave a mischievous smirk.  "If you have anything to do with my problem..."


"Considering they're dead, you should be glad I'm here to buy." Crate replied with a shrug.


Big Jug roared as his suspicions were suddenly confirmed and he charged Crate.


The small miqo'te threw himself out of harm's way as Big Jug crushed the door to bits and went stumbling onto the lawn, his face red in anger and blood from the impact.  


Crate picked himself up, dusted off his gilded robe and faced the ruined door.


"Tsk Tsk. First the slaves and now the door. How much damage am I going to cause you today?"


Crate..." Big Jug heaved heavy breaths as he shook, barely able to contain his rage.  " You...you...you cost me..."


"Couple million at least based on your figures last year."  Crate beamed and cooked his head. " But seeing as they are dead, and you need to make a profit, how bout you sell those cadavers to me! Standard discount of course."


"You killed them! No deal! Go to hell!" Big Jug snarled like a bull and cracked his knuckles.  "I'll kill you"


"Big Jug, put your pride back in your pants with your dick and suck it up." Crate rolled his eyes.  " I -own- your balls and you should be thrilled I even want to pay seeing as I could have just killed them, told the authorities about your fun little organization here, and -then- taken the corpses for free after they busted down your door and dragged you off. I, oh look a blue bird!"


The blond glanced at a flying speck of blue and locked his lips.


"Turnips,  I could go for some blue bird stew right now. Just like my momma-""


"I should have snapped your neck years ago." Big Jug howled and stormed inside, with Crate quickly retreating and putting a  large desk between them.


"Maybe you should have, but if you kill me now two things happen. One, no one buys the bodies"


"I can live with that," Big Jug added, shoving the desk aside.


"Andandand!" Crate stammered, reaching into his coat and pulling out a vile of water. Crate then began to bluff as hard as his poker face would let him. " You touch me, I drop this, and we all die of the same rot I infected your slaves with! You want to die pooping yourself to death, be my guest. Literally, you poop your own organs out. As well as your flesh rotting painfully."  That wasn't -really- how the pox he had used worked but Crate figured his version sounded way less pleasant.


Big Jug paused and stopped.  He knew Crate, heck he had hired Crate for awhile, and while the blond male might have been bluffing, Big Jug wasn't eager to test out and see if the small miqo'te was.  Big Jug had seen what sort of dangerous things Crate often hid in those ridiculously opulent robes of his.


The massive Roe heaved and shook but did not raise hands to kill.


"I think you are bluffing." Big Jug challenged.  " I know you love being alive."


"Yeah, but you have no way of knowing if I stay dead." Crate bluffed back. " Very good skill, my art. Wanna test em?" He leveled his blue eyes right into the grey rocks that Big Jug used as eyes.  Big Jug grunted, crackled his knuckles, and then backed down.


"Full price for them." Big Jug growled.


"Sod that. I have a discount."


"It's been revoked." Big Jug snorted.  "You lucky I need them gone."


"Way to be a friend and a buddy" Crate pouted.  "Half."


"Full." Jug snapped sternly.  "You think I can't find some scientist or some other spell slinger to sell those corpses too?"


"Not safely and not before they rot and devalue even more." Crate retorted quickly. "Half"


Big Jug crossed his arms.


"Full. Final offer. You clearly need them more than me now."


Crate grumbled and sucked on his teeth.  It was true. He needed the bodies now after all.  Why he'd done all this in the first place.  The short man had the gil, of course, but he was super annoyed that his plan to get those remains at a discount hadn't work.  He, once again, had overplayed his hand and was reminded that he needed to keep his mouth shut sometimes.


"Alright, fine. Just screw your old friend over."  Crate whined, pouting as he flattened his ears.  Big Jug looked like he could spit metal.


"Always a pleasure, Crate." Bug Jug grunted, sarcasm dripping from every letter.  "Bring the gil and a cart round to the cave.  And -you- can load them.  And don't let me ever see your face again after this, or I'll destroy it."


Crate nodded and then, he quickly scooted his way across the room to the door, keep both eyes on Big Jug the whole way.


Once at the door, Crate paused and, despite himself, had to get the last word.


"I'm like herpes, Big Jug.  I just keep coming back."  Crate flashed a grin and then sprinted away at full speed.

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Of course with Crate it had been stupidly complex.


Standard graveyard he'd said.


It hadn't been.


Since their meeting with the blond necromancer, Jin had been forced to begin a process of elimination as she went from graveyard after graveyard seeking the tombstone the little male had used to hide the artifact.


Ceesmore B'uhts


It had taken now almost a week and she was growing annoyed and impatient at this game. Even now, as she stomped around what must have been the dozen the graveyard, she was contemplating how she was going to kill Crate.


Course she had been planning to have the little shit murdered anyhow. He knew to much and certainly was the sort to sell her and her contemporaries out for his personal gain. And Jin had no plans on letting that happen. Not when she was so close to her goals now.


"Found it!" shouted a hour in black robes as he hunched over a headstone, sweat from the heat of the afternoon sun running off his nose.


"At last." Jin sighed in relief as she turned to approach.


The graveyard was a decently sized thing with generations of dead buried together, rows of stones neatly placed around trees and stones. Flowers littered many Graves and the whole scene held a sort of sad dignity to it. Had it not been for the large wagon of rotting bodies and many fresh Graves, it could have been considered morbidly picturesque.


She walked by the wagon and wrinkled her nose at the smell. The bodies were covered by a tarp but dropped cloth did nothing to mask the odor. Jin looked around again. Several shovels were scattered about and some fresh Graves dug but the grave diggers were no where to be scene.


Jin thought it odd but assumed either the diggers were napping or off in the nearby town drinking and avoiding the murderous lyrics hot sun. Either way, they trio of cultists were alone and that suite Jin just fine.


The hyur whom had found the stone had already taken one of the shovels and commenced digging. Jin came alongside the third cultists, a lalafel and both watched silently as the wind tugged at their robes and cooled their hit flesh.


Finally, after half a bell or so, enough dirt was removed that the casket could be opened. The hyur took a pry bar and jerked the lid free. Inside the casket was only a small bag and Jin eyes it greedily as a small smile teased her lips.


"Suddenly seems worth the trouble." She commented to her companions.


"It was more trouble then it should have ever been." grump Ed the Lalafell, pulling his pipe from his lips and blowing smoke. "The little vermin forgets himself."


"Soon the world shall forget him as it as the rest of these wretches." Jin glanced around, an amused smile on her lips as she relished the delight she would take in riding the world of that blond cockroach.


The hyur opened the bag and pulled out a rock. But not the one they had come for. Just a normal rock. With the words ,haha' carved in stone.


"What is this?"


The hyur growled.


"Isn't it obvious." Jin muttered darkly as she played her hand on the book she had brought as Crate's payment. It wasn't the exact book he had wanted or been promised. But she had never planned to give him the actual tome. She had come to Crate about the stone because she needed outside help. Crate had known nothing about the stone till their meeting. But now that he did, it was Lear he wasn't parting with it.


"He set us up."


And then she heard it. Smelt it even. All around them grew the sounds of moving things both in the earth and above. A tarp moved and the stink of death grew stronger. The lalafel and hyur cursed as they looked behind Jin, whose ears caught the tell-tale sounds of musket hammer begin drawn back.


Jin gnash Ed her teeth as the volley of gunfire erupted.




It was over in less than a minute. The once picturesque graveyard ruined and filled with smoke and the stink o burning meat. The wagon was a smoldering wreck, struck by a ball of either fire thrown by the hyur, whose corpse now lawn sprawling in the same box he had unearthed.


The lalafel was also passed, a few charred corpses round his body, a sword lancing his now still heart.


Jin, alone, remained, sitting on the dirt, her hand clutching her left side as a musket ball stood lodged inside her spine. She gated in pain and her breathes were heavy. But her eyes were dark and they looked around for the man whom had done this.


She should have suspected. Hell she did suspect. She had. But she had let her impatience take her. She had been in such a hurry after so many other graveyards, she had let caution get tossed to the wind. And it occurred to er that the little imp had planned for this. She knew he studied psycology.. she just never took the vermin seriously.


A crow flew overhead, caring hungrily. Something fell from its talons and into Jan's lap.


A link pearl.


She gnash Ed her teeth as she picked it up and it it to her ear.


"Afternoon Jin" came Crate's giggle. "How you?"


"You...I'm going to"


"You're looking good Jin from where we are sitting. So, where's my book?"


"Good to hell. Come and fight me like a man."


"Hehe no. You're more powerful than I am in a direct duel of magic afraid. And I have the advantage. So, if you have my book, I let you live. If you dont...well."


Crate and Jin were silent. After a moment Crate grunted.


"You didn't bring it, did you? Oh well, no skin off my assignment. Should have honored the deal. I mean really. But the stone is mine and I'll consider it compensation enough. God bye Jin."


There was a Crack of distant rifle fire and a moment later, the spark of Jan's life was violently put out.




On a distant hill, Crate, peering through a telescope, gave a long whistle.


"Damn, now that's a hell of a shot!"


"I've made harder." Replied a male miqo'te, lying on the ground, his eye peering down the scope of his long, magitek rifle.


"Well you sure as shit made me hard just now." Crate giggled as he looked down at the other male.


"Anyone ever mention you are weird?" The brown haired sniper commented as he shifted himself and rose to his feet. The tall sniper looked down at Crate how giggled and shrugged.


"Who gets to define weird?"


"Point taken."


"I bet you take the point, A'trus." Crate gave a big grin and reached into a pocket and handed over a bag of gil. "But jokes aside, the promised gil. Always a pleasure."


"Uh huh." the sniper grunted as he slung his firearm very his right shoulder. "Well, not a bad play yourself, giving them targets like that to give me cover to shoot. Anything else from me?


"No,no." Crate shook his head. " Not today anyway. I'll just be cleaning up the mess down there and be out. Till next time A'trus. Always a pleasure to watch a master at his craft"


"Till next time then, Crate." A'trus shoved a large hat onto his head and began to walk off towards the town where his mount was tied, his long, brown clock dancing on the wind.


Crate turned back to the graveyard and began walking towards it. He had a few hours still till the grave diggers would burn through the coin he had given them to go drink and he wanted the three buried and forgotten about before then.


As Crate walked, he pulled out the stone Jin had been so eager to obtain. It shone black in the sun, with hint of purple crystal mixed throughout. He kissed it and then put it back into his pocket as he began to whistle happily.

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