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[Journal/Drabbles] An East Wind Blows

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A strange scent was in the air. Something that caused her feline ears to lie flat. Tail to swish.


Leather, tree mould, rose water and the unmistakable musk of chocobo sweat.




She clutches her kits close to her chest. The twins that Menphina had blessed her with. A boy and a girl, barely two summers old. Asleep on their mother’s lap, unaware of the danger drawing near.


“That's close enough!”


It was her sister’s voice. Tinged with barely restrained rage and a promise of violence. Fear that she refuses to show, even as she draws her bow taught. A cornered animal. The most dangerous kind.


The three intruders, healer, archer, lancer, stop in their tracks.


“Forgive me, it was not our intention to startle you. Pray, lower your weapons. We only wish to talk.” The voice was that of a child’s, though it carried a weight more suited to a wizened crone. A young girl with the poise of a woman grown. Twin horns curving upward from her silver hair. Robes of white. She seemed the leader of the three.


“Talk? Ye ‘ear that, Sister? The ‘orned one wishes to talk!”


A rustle in the bushes. Two more join the field. The youngest daughter: untested, soft-clawed, still a child in so many ways. Hands shaking as she draws the bow. The second eldest daughter: a seasoned huntress, red in tooth and claw. City-dwellers were simply a different kind of prey to her.


“I ‘ear their mothers lay with stags. That’s ‘ow they get ‘em ‘orns.”


“Aye? That true, knife elves? Ye women so unsatisfied, they let the beasts plough ‘em?”


“Silence!” The lancer steps forward. Armour the colour of vines, ashen mask, and weapon of carved bone. Elegant pointed ears peeking out from under an unruly mop of chestnut hair.


“You will watch your tongue, cur, least I remove it from your mouth!”


The shouting causes her kits to stir. Her little huntress mewls, groping blindly until she finds her brother’s tail and snuggles into it. This was bad… she needed to sneak away. Back to the rest of the clan. To safety.


“Aroth please. Please I have no wish to further the hostilities between our peoples. I am simply here to request that you disband your camp. This land is sacred ground, and to stay here may place your clan at terrible risk. The Elementals-“


“To ‘ells with yer Elementals!” The fury was unbridled now, as was the fear. The clan had heard stories. Tales of kin disappearing, hunted down and torn apart by the forest itself. “’ow many times ‘ave we been driven away from ar ‘omes? ‘ow many kin ‘ave we lost ‘cause of ye and yer ploughing wood spirits!?”


“I would more than glad to add another body to the pile, cat!” The air was thick with tension. Too many loses on both sides. The hurt still raw.


“Aroth please! Lower your-“


“Ye wish to dance, mouse?” The second eldest steps forward. Hips and tail swaying like the prowl of a tigress. Wicked daggers by her side. “I’ll be sure to send what’s left of ye back to yer mate.”


“No! Enough blood has been shed already-“


The spear welding Elezen moves in front of horned one. Protective, loyal. He would die for her if it came to it.


“Obviously that is not the case. I tried to warn you, my Lady. These *animals* are beyond reason.”


Animals… that was how they saw them. Animals, vermin, pests to be put to the sword. The young mother peer from her hiding place. No… she couldn’t risk staying in here.


Fight or flight takes hold. The mother darts forwards and the sudden movement tears the tail from the little huntress’s grasp. Small fists close around empty air. Her face scrunches up and she wails, startling her sleeping brother… and the youngest daughter who’s shaking bow was still aimed that the strangers.


Panicked heart jumps. Trembling fingers slip, and her arrow flies loose. Spinning through the air… landing with a thud in the heart of the robed girl.


Whited robes bloom crimson. She falls…


The lancer catches her, but it’s too late. Her light has already left.


“She… no… gods no…”


The bow falls from the youngest’s hand. She had never killed before. This would be her first and last.


“I… I’m sorry… I d-didn’t mean to…”


“You murderer!” One of the strangers nocks their own bow. Righteous anger running through him, giving him strength. “You… you *dare* spill Padjali blood!?”


“I didn’t-“


Whatever words she was about to speak. Whatever pleas or excuses she would make, are lost when the earth erupts around them. Thorn covered vines bursting from the ground.

Twisting and thrashing around them. Something ancient and powerful that had been sleeping

in the soil. Awoken by the taste of blood.


“Matron’s breath…”


The unfortunate murderer is the first to suffer the creature’s wrath. She is snared, vines wrapping around her lithe form, thorns carving chunks from her flesh. Dragging her down into the earth until her screams were smothered by soil.


One by one they were all taken. Gridanian and Keeper alike. Indistinguishable through the entity’s alien eyes. All were guilty. All would suffer its wrath.


The young mother attempted to flee with her kits, only for her path to be cut off by vines at every turn. Tasting her fear in air like a snake. Vines gathering around her, swarming for the kill. Her two kits, unable to understand the situation but sensing their mother’s fear, trembling in her arms.


A thorny tendril lashes out swiping across her back, cutting deep as she shields her kits with her body. The blow sends her reeling. Tumbling across the ground and into the waters of the Hathoeva river.


She would be found later by a Wood Wailer on patrol. Washed up on the river bank. A Miqo’te woman. Tangled wet hair, pale skin, body long since gone cold. In her arms, two children. Twins. A boy and a girl, barely two summers old. Cold, soaked, shivering… but alive.

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