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[Story] An unexpected gift

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((So this should have been posted to the RPC the same night I posted onto tumblr over a month ago. ...but then I didn't. FIXING THAT.))


*plop* *clank* A fluttering of wings.


These were the sounds that Franz awoke to in the shroud cottage. He had returned to the forest again for the quiet and solitude that came with few visitors, wanted or not. The past few moons, he’d spent some time cleaning up more of the Elezen’s belongings. There were fewer items around the small rooms that brought forth memories that were not his. Memories of the man’s life he’d taken unwillingly. Memories of the man the cottage belonged to.


But it didn’t particularly matter anymore. The cottage was Franz’s now and it was his choice to arrange the things inside it as he saw fit. He’d continued to take on a few of the alchemical orders. Only the ones he knew he could properly prepare without the need of an assistant. It kept money flowing and people could simply assume they were receiving the same service as before. It brought few questions and fewer unwanted guests. He would need to eventually stop taking them, but that was an issue to handle at a later time.


The sun had just started to rise and the Black Shroud had a layer of mist that had hung around from the night. Had it not been for the noise, Franz would likely have enjoyed watching the sunrise. Instead, he quietly rose from his bed and grabbed the nearest shirt he could find. If he were to be attacked, he didn’t want to look as if he’d been completely defenseless. Exiting the room, he glanced around.


There was nobody. Expected for a house of one. There was nothing particularly out of place. Nothing that he could see from the bedroom. He quietly made his way towards the front door, passing the small, but well-stocked kitchen. Someone or something had disturbed his collection of liquor.


A bottle of one of his finest whiskeys was missing.


Perhaps he’d been the one to drink it and simply forgotten. It was unlikely but possible. He might have been too drunk to remember if it had been as good as advertised. Nothing else had been disturbed. Maybe he just needed some fresh air. As he opened the door, there was a distinctive sound of wood hitting glass.


The bottle was no long missing.


Had he not paused to look down, he may have stepped onto what was next to the now-emptied bottle. A package had arrived with a small note.


It was surely not something he’d left outside. And it was surely not something he’d ordered. Boxes did not typically show up at one’s doorstep. And the likelihood of any person coming across the cottage and leaving the box was minuscule. He picked up the attached note to read it.




Never to be seen by others, a wide smile found itself on his face. They may not have spoken in quite some time, but it was a welcomed and appreciated surprise. But how had the box arrived? He doubted that the small collection of people to have visited the cottage had said anything about its location to her. Or could have even properly described how to find it. No, this was surely their work. The emptied bottle gave it away.


One or more moogles had delivered the box. And then taken a drink on the job! Under normal circumstances, he’d have fumed and thought of ways to keep the flying furry creatures away from him and his belongings, but he could make an exception this once. He had received a gift he did not expect and the alcoholic beasts were likely the only things that could have delivered it. He brought the box and bottle back inside, placing the emptied bottle next to others to bring into Gridania so that they may make use of it. The box was gently placed upon a table to keep its contents safe.


A slice before his morning routine would be fine. And he was certain another after would be fine too as he set a kettle on his stove to prepare some tea. The smile had stayed all the while. He would need to thank Jancis the next time he saw her for the pies.

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