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R'nella Eren

Story Collection - Kisha Taluun - Pre-Stormblood

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So I was looking for a place to store the stories I wrote about my character Kisha in the pre-Stormblood era in order to make them easily accessible from her Wiki page.

To avoid spamming the whole Town Square section with my stories for a whole day, I decided to add them into one convenient topic. In the future, I'll make separate threads for the stories.

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[align=center]Debts[/align]

 

Within the dimly lit room, a Roegadyn sat Aern down forcefully on a small wooden stool. His mouth was gagged and his arms and hands bound tightly with rope. As he tried to utter some words through muffling, the Roegadyn’s right fist hit his face like a mountain rock. Aern felt blood running through his mouth, as the pain of his teeth scraping off the tip of his tongue gushed through his body. There was no time for recovery however as the dark skinned Roegadyn grabbed Aern by his blonde hair and put him upright on the chair.

 

    “That’s enough, Mhasgheim. I still need him to speak, dead men give no coin. Mayhap’s he can be of use.”

 

An educated voice came from the dark beyond a large wooden table, filled with small measuring and weighing equipment but above all a balance scale and various pouches of gold lay littered across the wooden surface. A candle at the edge of the table provided the only light in an otherwise  dark room. The Roegadyn grumbled slowly as he pulled the gag from Aern’s mouth.

    “As you wish, my lady.”

 

Though it was deep at night and but a candle provided the only light, Aern’s eyes slowly got used to the dark. He could see a feline figure looking outside a window as the moon outside provided some illumination of the window’s outlines. As the Roegadyn moved back to stand by the door whence they came into the room, the figure turned from the window and sat down in a large ornate chair with bronze decorations around the edge and soft red velvet fabric as a cushion. As the figure was illuminated by the candle’s light, his eyes met a tall Miqo’te woman wearing a light golden corset dress with silver decorations around the chest. She had gray skin which obviously meant that she was a nocturnal Keeper Miqo’te.

 

 

[align=center]2016110999-4_zpsjum0vt0w.jpg[/align]

[align=center]Picture drawn by Imogen-Mobberly, see more of her work here (some not safe for work)[/align]

 

Aern blinked slightly as his eyes met the self-proclaimed ‘Gil Regent of Gridania’, a ruthless and notorious loanshark, though the tales detailed that she was also willing to eagerly lend Gil in order for her lenders to study. Aern coughed slowly as he swallowed away the blood from his mouth, having an audience with her probably meant he was in really deep shit.

    “I…”

    “Silence. You won’t speak unless spoken to, miscreant.”

 

The Miqo’te’s voice sounded commanding and intimidating, without having to resort to shouting it sent shivers down his spine. She leaned down into a drawer and pulled out a bundle of documents and notes, displaying them on the table as she read them over. Aern sighed slowly as the woman started speaking.

    “Aern Cosset. You appear to owe me roughly 20.000 Gil in coin. Your last due payment was two months ago. Following several reminders and a formal warning by letter, you have yet to pay me back a single Gil. It is very unfortunate when my customers do not listen to my reminders and warnings. Would you have a reason for this unprofessional behavior?”

Aern looked over the Miqo’te woman before glancing down at the floor, sighing.

    “My lady, I lost it while..gambling. ’Tis no excuse but, I tried to make it better..”

The woman’s icy blue eyes stared down on him in silence as the sound of a large ornate clock ticking the seconds away was the only thing that could be heard throughout the dimly lit room. 

    “I presume your definition of ‘better’ is losing all the Gil I have lend you in the process.” the woman continued. “Mhasgheim here also mentioned that your wife has left you and that you have lost your job due to excessive drinking. Do you consider this to be a better situation, sir Cosset?”

 

The words rang true and he could but nod to the woman’s words. She sat back in her chair and folded her hands into each other.

    “I am very disappointed in your behavior. Your request for a loan I granted as your reasoning detailed that you could sent your children to a school. Thus the chance of returning my investment were considerable. Instead, it appears you used all the Gil to finance your addiction habit of booze. Furthermore, when I ask you to return the borrowed amount you decide to try and run for La Noscea. What must I make of this, sir Cosset?”

 

Her words rang throughout his mind once more. He was an addict, he was a hopeless man for not listening to his wife’s concerns…and now he pissed off a major loanshark player in Gridania. How could things get any worse from here? Aern looked up at the woman who still appeared to be patiently waiting for an answer.

    “Miss..I would wish to work to pay off the debts.”

The woman shuffled slightly in her chair and glanced briefly at the large Roegadyn behind him before looking back to him. She placed her right hand’s knuckle against her chin and appeared to be pondering.

    “Now you would work..is that not something you should have done in the previous months? I’m afraid that if you’d work we need to make sure that you will work. Luckily I have methods for that.”

Aern coughed slightly in a nervous manner. He didn’t really like the sound of her words, nor the woman’s tone.

    “My lady, I would do anything to make this right. Just don’t kill me! Nor woodsin!”

 

The woman appeared to ponder once more before she leaned down and pulled what appeared to be a form from a drawer. She started to quickly and efficiently write down a number of details before placing what appeared to be a signature with a few quick a short strokes of the quill.

    “Mhasgheim, if you would be so kindly to ‘retrieve’ sir Cosset’s signature.”

Aern started to look around himself in terror to see the Roegadyn advance towards his chair, the woman continued.

    “In order to repay my debts, you will serve under the Merchant Lord Etrisz of Ul’dah for two years. All proceeds from your work will be returned to me. After two years you will regain your freedom but will be required to pay 200 Gil a month until the debt has been repaid in full with a 20% interest rate bringing the total to 24.000 Gil. My assistant will now retrieve your ring finger to solidify the deal.”

 

Aern attempted to flee and rose from his stool. With his hands bound however, there was little he could do against the large Roegadyn man that now stood in front of him. The giant grabbed Aern by his right shoulder and smacked his arm and hand on the stool. The woman still appeared to be unnerved by the events, perhaps these events were commonplace for her as she stared back at him. Her stare appeared to be a brief distraction as the Roegadyn brought up knife and cut his ring finger off in one swoop. A jolt of pain coursed through his body as he cried out in pain and closed his eyes.

    “The pain only lasts for a minute, sir Cosset.”

 

Opening his eyes, Aern glanced around the crowd that had gathered in one of Gridania’s public squares. Though these were often filled with festive events such as bards or market stalls, today marked a special day as criminals that had been persecuted would receive their public humiliation and torture sentences. It was rather late in the day and several criminals had already received their punishment ranging from hanging, beheading or thumbscrews. He peered on as a familiar looking face appeared on wooden stage.

    “And now, a criminal arrives who has hoodwinked many of you.”

One of the local bards that had volunteered to be today’s announcer was accompanied by a torturer wearing a wooden mask to conceal his identity. In his right hand he held a Miqo’te woman who was dressed in but a sack tunic and trousers. Aern squinted at her..and found his suspicions to be confirmed. It was the loanshark that had lend him Gil all these years ago.

    “The convicted, Kisha Taluun of Sharlayan, stands accused of trials against the nation of Gridania and the whole of Eorzea up to and including Gil forgery, extortion and leading a criminal organization. She has been sentenced to public humiliation for one day, 30 lashes of the whip and forced servitude to Gridania for a period of two years in order for her to pay her debt back to society for the damage she has caused many of you.”

 

The crowd started to take a hold of their local produce including eggs, vegetables and fruit as the Miqo’te woman was lead into a pair of stocks with her head and arms after which they were firmly locked by iron metal bars by the torturer. The bard continued his grand speech to the crowd.

    “Does the convicted have anything to say to the crowd?”

Aern had meanwhile moved closer to the stocks and now was but a few meters away from her as she replied to the crowd.

    “You accuse me now of hoodwinking, but many of you have used my ‘fake’ Gil to get better lives, have your children go to school and setting up business. That you accuse me now is like accusing your dreams of-“

    “SHUT ‘ER UP. She lend me nothing but sand tha’ cat bitch! My business is ruined!”

 

The torturer appeared eager to oblige and smacked his right fist against the woman’s nose, causing it to drip blood. He then ripped the cloth sack from her body exposing her bare back but also her naked bosom as the local populace started to throw their produce against her. Within moments her body was covered in eggs and tomatoes as the torturer made ready to start the lashing.

    “Fuck tha’ bitch up! Cripple ‘er!” were some of the taunts Aern could hear from the crowd.

 

The woman appeared to have closed her eyes and mouth as the torturer lined himself up for whipping her back. With a sickening snap, the whip hit the woman’s back. And again, and again..for thirty times. At first the woman appeared to keep her calm, taking the pain with an admirable amount of restraint in emotions. But as the lashes continued and it was clear her back was bleeding, she started to yell in pain as every consecutive lash ripped open more of her gray skinned back. As the thirtieth lash hit the woman, she was but hanging in the stocks, her face looking haggard and her expression being a mix of intense pain and being removed from the world.  

 

Aern could but mumble himself, though it was unclear if he meant the meaning of the words literally or in a sarcastic manner.

    “The pain only lasts for a minute, lady Taluun.”

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[align=center]The Golden Chocobo[/align]

 

“Have you been reading that Golden Chocobo nonsense again!?”

The young Miqo’te girl looked up frightened from an elaborately decorated book which had a golden emblem of a Golden Chocobo on its cover as an elderly Miqo’te woman peered down onto her.

“But..mother I’ve done all my homework? And I like to read this- “

The young Miqo’te was interrupted by her mother as she was pulled from her bed and the book ripped from her hands.

“Kisha, you can never have done all of your homework. Because there is always more to learn. And you do not learn from books like ‘these’…. disgustingly unrealistic pieces of venom for the child’s mind.”

Her mother walked to one of the bookcases and pulled out a heavy tome as Kisha sighed, sitting on her bed. She could narrowly reach the floor with her feet which she felt was a ‘cool’ feat for someone who was only nine. 

“Here, this is much better.” Her mother said as she pushed the tome into Kisha’s hands. The cover read: Advanced use of Conjuration and the origins of Woodsin.

Opening the book, Kisha sighed deeply as her eyes started to read through the books contents which didn’t make much sense to her as of now. Her mother meanwhile, snatched the Chocobo book she had been reading earlier with her and stood by her room’s door as she fired another stream of commands at Kisha.

“Remember, I expect nothing less than an A+ on Conjuration, young lady. And also remember you need to go to Summer School tomorrow as well. Mister Reynald expects your writing assignment to be in perfect shape.”

Sighing deeply, Kisha replied meekly: “Yes, mother.”

 

As the door of her room was slammed shut, Kisha took the tome to her reading desk and started to read through it, at times taking notes to memorise the contents. The words were vague and ‘posh’, but she managed to slowly but surely struggle her way through the book’s contents. It tired Kisha, but her mother expected nothing less but an A+ and she would rather get the A+ instead of another lecture from her mother. Maybe if she got the A+ she would actually be able to finish reading the whole story of the Golden Chocobo.

 

Her studies were suddenly interrupted as she heard knocking on her room’s window, which overlooked a large garden next to the University. As Kisha looked up she could she a fluffy ball of messy brown curly hair and various branches stuck throughout the curls. Kisha left the tome open half way on her table and shuffled towards the window as she groaned to open it.

“Hey Kisha! Whatsha’doin inside for? ‘Tis nice weather!”

She smiled as she leaned on the window’s edge. “Hey U’ren. I need to study for an exam. Sorry..”

“Aww..can’t you come outside for a little while?” U’ren replied askingly. “You’re already five classes ahead of us, ya can play at least an afternoon with us, right?”

Glancing outside, the green trees which swayed gently with the wind did provide a nice appetizer for her, but she knew her mother would be furious if she went outside now, especially without her permission.

“My mother would be really angry..” Kisha said solemnly.

U’ren chuckled. “You bet. She got angry at me again today in class, for drawing stick figures.”

 

Kisha stared outside and sighed once more. “I hate my mother. I never want to become like her.”

Stopping his chuckle, U’ren looked at Kisha with pity. His gaze turned over her and he patted Kisha on her left shoulder right shoulder: “Well she knows a lot, like, A LOT. It’s scary how much she knows. Some of the bright-heads here love’it. Me? Nah, I’ll just join the Army, can’t all be smart!”

Looking on as U’ren chuckled again, Kisha smiled. She found U’ren’s dumb behaviour charming at times and he was always kind enough to think about her while the other children mostly ignored her, mostly because she ignored them as well.

“What were you going to do then?” Kisha asked curiously.

U’ren pointed his thumb over his right shoulder. “We’re doing a hunt! For the Golden Chocobo!”

Kisha’s eyes grew in excitement as she squeezed slightly: “Wow?! Really?”

Nodding smug, U’ren smirked: “U’huh. A Chocobo who carries bags of chocolate under his wings! Couple of kids said he was nearby, in the forest!”

 

Though Kisha knew she was getting into trouble for this, her curiosity got the better of her and she gently climbed through the window, following U’ren towards a small plaza on the outskirts of the campus. A number of other children had gathered there as well. They were holding leaflets which all too had the emblem of a golden Chocobo on it. They looked up as U’ren arrived with Kisha.

“U’ren, why did you get the bookworm? She’ll just slow us down!” one of them mockingly said as they peered at Kisha. She wanted to open her mouth and sneer back but U’ren was faster.

“Hey, we’re going to follow a Chocobo in the woods, maybe there’s spiders there. Kisha can fight ‘em off, can’t you?”

She gulped slightly. Kisha wasn’t a fan of spiders but his words were somewhat true as being five classed ahead of the others meant she already had learnt the basics of Conjuration magic. She was able to throw stones, big ones, if required.

“Yeah..kinda.”

“See! She’ll protect us!” U’ren replied proudly, as if she was some sort of trophy for him.

Kisha sighed and crossed her arms as she snatched one of the leaflets from the kid’s hands and browsed it over. It appeared to be a promotional for a new brand of chocolate which was loosely inspired on the actual book that she read. The leaflet contained a map pointing towards a hill clearing hidden within the forest. She glanced at U’ren and sighed.

“I’m not sure this is a good idea U’ren…”

“Oh come on Kisha, this will be fun! An adventure! Just, that you’re our protector, and not me, yet.” U’ren chuckled as he patted Kisha on her back which made her feel incredibly insecure. The other children looked at her somewhat ‘expectantly’ now, making the pressure on her even bigger. She glanced at them briefly, but kept her eyes somewhat gazed at the ground as she replied.

“I guess we could take a look, I really need to be back before evening dinner though, else my mother will get really mad.”

“Yeah, that’s it! Come on, we’ll be back before you know it!” U’ren waved at the others to follow him and soon they were walking in the forest.

 

As the group made their way throughout the woods, it became increasingly clear that that U’ren had greatly exaggerated that the hill was nearby. In fact, they had travelled for two hours and still no hill was in sight and the woods were getting thicker and thicker. Though Kisha had left markings on each tree they passed with her limited but handy Conjuring skills, the group became increasingly hopeless and worse yet, it was getting dark. U’ren was still happily walking onwards and seemed to be in his element.

“We’re getting nowhere, U’ren. Let’s head back before evening.” Kisha softly interjected in U’ren’s explorer fantasies.

“Nah we’re nearly-“

 

U’ren was interrupted as the unmistakable sound of a Chocobo roared throughout the woods nearby. The children all smiled at each other happily together as they slowly followed the sound of it onto a small hill. Indeed, the Chocobo was golden and had saddlebags which appeared to be filled with chocolate. But as the group came nearer, still in awe at the sight of such a magnificent creature, it dawned upon Kisha that the Chocobo was not moving and in fact, appeared lifeless.

“This doesn’t feel right.”

Before Kisha could add another word, the entire group was pulled into the air by a giant net which pulled them into a nearby tree. Though the children were screaming at first, the screams soon made room for intense fear and one of the younger ones started crying.

“Oh Gods help us. What did we do?!” U’ren stammered. “What are we going to do?!”

Though Kisha was scared to death as well by their predicament, it didn’t paralyze her like it did the others. She grabbed the net with both of her hands and turned it briefly into its original wooden fibre and broke it apart, allowing her to slip through the net. She smacked down onto the ground hard with her nose and found herself dizzy for several moments.

 

“Get the children to the Airship.”

The children started to scream in terror in the net above as a thundering voice broken the silence in the forest and the night. As Kisha crouched up, still dizzy from her terrifying fall, she looked upon a tall man with armour she had only read before about in the not-so-nice-to-read books her mother had given her to read: A Garlean Scout. Instinctively, Kisha gathered her limited magical strength and conjured up a rock the size of herself and smacked it against the Garlean who was caught completely off-guard by the child’s magical abilities and fell over backwards with a loud audible groan. The children cheered on in the net above Kisha as she rubbed the blood from her nose and looked up.

“WOW that was so wicked!” U’ren cheered, his fear momentarily disappeared. “You knocked him right off his socks!”

“Hold still!” Kisha screamed. “I’m trying to get you out of there!”

With her hands and arms raised towards the net, she once more tried to revert the condition of the rope back into its original wooden state. Before she could finish it however, she heard a loud gunshot coming from behind her followed by a gush of pain overtaking her right shoulder. Kisha fell onto her face once more and felt the most intense pain she had ever felt in her entire short life as she crawled away behind a nearby tree. Seeing her predicament, the children started to cry as other soldiers alerted by the commotion made their way towards the trapped group.

“One of them is trying to get away. Get her, we can’t let the Sharlayans learn what we’re doing here.”

Still overcome with pain, Kisha slowly used the tree as a support to stand back up and held her right arm tightly, breathing heavily as she noticed there was blood slowly covering her simple white linen dress. She glanced through the shrubbery and noticed that some of the soldiers were starting to pull the net out of the tree along with the other children who were weeping sadly at this point at their faith: A life of slavery. Kisha’s mind started to become hazy as the more blood she lost, the lighter she was becoming in her head. Having no option left, she started to run away as fast as she could through the shrubbery around the hill, following the markings she had left throughout the forest. As she ran, she heard various bullets wheezing around her but none appeared to hit their mark. She didn’t know how long she ran. A minute? Five? Ten? Everything was a blur at this point until she saw light appearing throughout the shrubbery: Home!

 

Kisha crashed against the gate of University and slumped down against it, curling herself up into a ball as she finally started to weep. She felt so very alone, and every limb in her body felt cold as the light around her faded away into nothingness.

 

“Gods, wake up! Kisha you’re turning like you’re possessed!”

Rising up in shock, Kisha found herself awake and bathing in sweat while comforted in the arms of Xahla who sat in front of her in their bed. She immediately grabbed her right shoulder and found no bullet, nor any pain. She sighed in relief as she looked down at her own adult self and stammered:

“T’was a Nightmare. Bad memories.”

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[align=center]A Night to Remember

[/align]

[align=center]Contains Patch 2.55 Spoilers[/align]

 

“You’re late, Kisha”

Kisha glanced up at the large Roegadyn who stared down upon her with a face that was entirely too serious for her own good. Being reinforced with another Highlander, the two of them guarded the door that lead into Ul’dah’s palace.

“I had to convince the Emperor he’s a bad man, Svava.”

The Roegadyn kept staring at Kisha for a few moments until her face cracked into a smile and chuckled. Kisha herself just sighed and moved her right hand over her face as she facepalmed.

“Sorry Kisha, y’know the rules. Code sentence required. Especially with half of Eorzea’s politicians around tonight.”

“Who makes up these intelligent code sentences these days I wonder. They are truly the epiphany of witty.” Kisha sighed as she looked forward into the palace’s main hall which was already filled with the brim before she looked up at the Roegadyn again and continued. “Seems rather busy. Didn’t know we had such a large number of members by now in the Braves.”

The Roegadyn followed Kisha’s glance and placed her hands on her hips, shrugging slightly. “Does’ surprise me as well, bu’ I guess we just reeled in a lot of members from Doma or Mor Dhona while we were busy in The Shroud.”

Kisha nodded slightly and sighed. “Anyway, I am required to be social tonight, so I shall follow my orders. Take care Svava, and keep the Garleans out.”

 

As Kisha walked into the main hall of the palace, she was met with a wave of warm air coming from various furnaces and fireplaces. The hall was filled with at least a hundred people, many of them sitting at bars or benches talking to each other and most, if not all, had their blue Crystal Braves Barret on. She felt anxious and uneasy being in a place with so many people, luckily not all of them were looking at her. Deciding to fulfil her duty however, she decided to sit at a bar where her superior was sitting at so he could at least see her ‘being there’. He was a gruff old pirate from Limsa Lominsa, not exactly the type Kisha expected to join the Braves but he was there nonetheless…along with two Miqo’te Courtesans in their underwear who appeared to keep him company, one each on his lap.

 

Grumbling below her breath, Kisha sat down in the sitting corner where a number of his old ‘pirate friends’ where sitting as well. “Fair day, Trevel”.

Trevel turned his head towards Kisha, his left hand on one of the Miqo’te Seeker’s right breast and his other hand holding a mug of ale. “Hah, it’s you! Decided to come after all did ye’?”

Kisha gave Trevel and the Miqo’te Courtesan a stern look before replying. “Indeed. I have to follow orders, do I not? And I intend to do so, without exploiting the local fauna that is.”

Trevel let out a chuckling laugh along with his pirate friends, during which Kisha noticed he also had an eyepatch on his right eye, which was there just for show since Kisha knew his right eyeb was working correctly just a day ago. The Miqo’te Courtesans laughed along with him, but mostly just to please their ‘customer’.

“Ye should enjoy the ‘fruits’ of your labour a bit more often ‘brains’, I dunnae’ know what side ye fancy but there’s plenty of men and women around who would take ye for a ‘ride’. All thanks to our benefactor Lord Adeledji and the Brass Blades!”

Rubbing her chin, Kisha was somewhat startled by such a revelation and glanced around the room. She noticed some familiar faces but many unfamiliar ones. The antecedent and his enjoy were nowhere to be seen, most likely in the palace dining room upstairs where only the ‘politicians’ were allowed to be.

“And here I thought we were working independent and not for a city state.” Kisha replied to Trevel, crossing her arms over her chest.

The man chuckled again, along with his friends. Kisha felt her stomach turn. She wasn’t a fan of her superior in the slightest but the behaviour he was showing now was truly below any level she had imagined from him.

“Enjoy your…fruit, take care.” Kisha said as she rose from her seat and quickly made her way to ‘elsewhere’ in the room without exactly knowing where to. She sighed as she ended up in a corner of the main hall with people she never saw before and her anxiety was keeping her from speaking to them.

“Coming here was a mistake.” she mumbled to herself. “Better to just leave.”

 

As Kisha made her way back to the entrance, she could hear yelling from the palace dining hall which was located above the main hall.

“This will be a night to remember lads!”

Kisha recognized the voice, that being of Ilberd, one of the Braves’ leaders. She thought nothing of it but was soon frozen in place as she start to hear yelling of pain and the clashing of swords from the dining hall above. Kisha increased her pace towards the exit but was met with a crowd of at least twenty people wanting to do the same.

“Oi lemme through ye sea bastard!” a Lalafel yelled, looking up against the thighs of the Sea Dogs.

Several people were trying to push their way outside but several Sea Dogs, along with Svala, were keeping them from accomplishing this.

“Ye lot are not allowed outside on order of the Brass Blades!”

 

Kisha’s heart started pounding as she heard this and tried to look around herself for another way out but she was quickly surrounded by other Braves who also wanted to flee towards the entrance. Finally, she pushes her way past several Braves and fell with her face down through a door into another room: The toilet. She could hear another yell from Ilberd as she shut the door behind her violently and put the lock in place: “Ye bastards are all accused of treason! Now don’t try anything sloppy!”

 

“Gods…treason. How?” she thought. Before she could think about anything else, Kisha could hear the rattle of firearms being fired in the room she had just left. The door pushed against her back violently as someone attempted to kick it in.

“Lemme’ in! They’re shooting at-“

The yell was interrupted by a loud bang from a musket, the round flying over Kisha’s shoulder through the wooden door and bouncing off against the tiles on the wall. She could hear a low and pained groan coming from the other side of the door, and the feeling of a lifeless body slumping down against the door she held shut with her weight and the lock. Her heart was now pounding, fear overtook her but did not paralyze Kisha. Looking forward, the only way out appeared to be through the latrine itself. The thought sickened her, but the other choice was a metal slug to the head.

 

“Anyone in there! A rat ain’tcha?!”

Hearing orders from the other side of the door of ‘traitors’ that were obviously aware of her presence, Kisha quickly and sloppily casted a spell to crush the wooden latrine which exposed a thick pipe leading down into the sewer of Ul’dah. The smell coming from the pipe was something she would never forget. As she doubted if her new existence as a sewer rat would be better than a metal slug to the head, she could hear the pin of a musket echoing through the toilet room. Better to be a sewer rate than dead.

 

Leaping down through the hole, Kisha fell for several meters until she hit the main pipe of the Ul’dah sewer, splashing down into a sickening mixture of shit, pee and other nasty fluids. She could barely breath as both the air felt toxic as well as the current of the sewer canals was too fast for her to fight against. Struggling to keep herself afloat above the fluids, Kisha’s clothes dragged herself down further and further as the linen and leather created a lead weight around her feet. The canals were pitch black with the occasional

 

For what appeared to be minutes, she struggled to keep her head above the shit mixture until the strong current of the sewers increased even further towards a bright light at the end of the tunnel. As she reached the light, she felt as if she was being flown out of the end of a musket herself before she started falling for several seconds until falling into a small river. The current was much less strong now and Kisha slowly crept towards a river bank and fell onto it, completely exhausted.

 

“Fuck..fuck..”she muttered softly as the aroma of shit and pee filled her nostrils once again. Her body felt as a lead weight with all the lovely fluids which had nestled in her clothes. Groaning from exhaustion, she started the painful and slow process of removing her clothes on the riverbank. Luckily, the riverbank offered plenty of long leaves and small branches which she fashioned into a skirt and bra. As she did this, she could see the city of Ul’dah in the distance. As she sat there, cold and filthy but comfortable in the light of the Moon, Kisha sighed as she pondered about what had just happened. The Braves were betrayed, but by whom? Where was the Antecedent? Were the Brass Blades truly against them? What of Eorzea?

 

These thoughts created a headache as she wiped some of the filth from her hair. Or was it the smell that caused a headache? Regardless, it didn’t matter much at this point in time. She rose up from the riverbank and glanced around the vale. Leading out of it was a small path that appeared to be going north. Kisha grabbed a short stick for support and started walking, back towards the Shroud and hopefully back to safety and the Adders. And hopefully to become less smelly.

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[align=center]The Red Haze[/align]

 

“Dreadful”.

The Lalafel teacher sighed as he watched over the 4th year classroom of Conjuration.

“I fear that most of you did not understand my teachings and that we’ll have to organise a resit. Most of you did not pass for your midterm exam.”

“But mister Tamasho, I studied so hard!” one of the students said to the Lalafel Teacher who stroke an elaborate goatee on his chin.

“That may be so, but you clearly did not understand the fundamentals and differences between Conjuration and the Arcane, and most of you did not get the concept of Woodsin. Now enough quivering, I will call out the grades from low to high along with your name.”

The classroom looked on, struck between fear and anticipation as hopes of an early midterm vacation were gradually crushed for the entire class as the grades were called out. At the front of the class, sitting at a single table with no one next to her, Kisha looked on at the teacher with a firm grin as her name was not called out. She was very confident to have passed the exam and listened as all of her ‘stupid’ fellow students were confronted with F grades.

“…Lyn Celes, E-, Quen Maru, E+ and..Kisha Taluun…A+” The teacher smiled lightly at Kisha as he called her grade. “Well done, miss Taluun.”

“Thank you, mister Tamasho.” Kisha replied with a neat bow, smirking widely and her ego obviously being stroked. 

 

Meanwhile, the rest of the class were livid, angry and were gossiping with each other in a murmur. Although Kisha could hear most of it she wasn’t really hit by it emotionally. Nothing did from ‘those lesser intelligent beings’. 

“…That bitch, why does she always have such high grades! I bet she cheats with her mother, no way she can get such a high grade otherwise. She always stays late in school…bet she collaborates with the teachers!”

Mister Tamasho raised his hands and his voice. “Quiet down class, you’ll be able to redo the exam next week so there’s no need for a commotion.”

“But mister Tamasho, I was planning to go on a vacation to Vylbrand next week! And now-“

The student was cut short as the Lalafel teacher replied. “That’s your own problem of making plans and overlapping them with your midterm resits. However, Kisha, could you elaborate on the concepts of Woodsin, the differences between Arcane and Conjuration and how you were able to get a good grade by answering these questions? It could help the rest of your fellow students.”

Kisha took a moment to process the question Mister Tamasho had posed to her but she started to frown as she turned around on her seat and spoke to both her teacher and the rest of her class.

“Mister Tamasho, do you expect me to give the fruits of my hard labour away to the rest of the class for free? Are my additional hours every day at the end of school not appreciated by the school staff and the board of the directors? What you are asking is similar to a sporting event where the Gold Medallist wins by a considerable margin and is then somehow expected to share his or her gold medal with the –entire field-. I will simply not answer that question. The fruits of my labour are mine and mine alone to enjoy.”

 

Kisha’s reply was met with a deadly silence across the classroom as they needed a few moments to recover from her strong words. Fearing a cannonade of shouting from the class, Mister Tamasho quickly adjourned the class and motioned everyone to go outside. The murmur continued as the students left the room.

“Wow..she’s insane.” “Selfish bitch!”. “We gotta’ teach her a lesson not to mess with us.”

Once more Kisha acted as nothing had happened and silently placed her books and writing materials into a shoulderbag and made ready to leave. As she attempted to leave the classroom, Mister Tamasho motioned her to come speak with him, waiting for all the others to leave the classroom.

“Yes, Mister Tamasho?”

The Conjuration teacher leaned back into the chair, which was obviously far too large for him but nonetheless he found a way.

“You might be the brightest student of this year in the Sharlayan College, but you are not the student who is contributing the most to our goal of sharing and gaining knowledge.”

Raising her eyebrows, Kisha crossed her arms and then turned to a frowned stare replying swiftly.

“I work very hard to get my grades to the level where they are at. The rest of these students, if they do note fornicate they play such meaningless games such as..Triple Triad.”

Mister Tamasho sighed and opened his notebook as he was about to start checking some of the homework assignments the students had brought in today.

“Just think about my words Kisha, you’ll be seen as a much better person if you actually act like an exemplary student instead of just getting the best grades.”

 

Pondering about the words of Mister Tamasho, Kisha walked out of the classroom and silently walked up the elaborately lavished stairs to the library of the college. As it was the last day of the week and past four in the afternoon, the place was completely deserted. Placing her shoulder bag down on a table, Kisha took out a notebook along with an elaborate tome on the Arcane and sat down, stroking the skirt of her uniform down. She silently started to study, the silence only being broken by the sound of her quill being dipped into a small bottle of ink and the sound of her writing. During times such as these, Kisha could completely ‘zone out’ and focus on her studies without her mother being around to bark orders at her on how she should plan out her studies. It was something she enjoyed immensely, especially during the last days of the week when only the school’s staff were still around their offices, and they were often quiet as well.

 

As evening draw nearer and the clock rang six, Kisha made ready to leave the library and was busy packing her bag again as she suddenly heard a number of footsteps behind her. Startled, she quickly turned around to find two of her classmates with one of them carrying something reminiscent of a wooden baton.

“Well well..being out late here again, are we Kisha?”

She could recognize the both of them obviously: A well-built Hyur-Garlean mix called Taven Ranir and a somewhat downtrodden Hyur named Eren Wyren who was obviously the ‘follower’.

Turning around, Kisha continued to pack her bag, although somewhat more quickly and obviously a bit more panicked than before as she replied.

“I was studying, though now I am finished and thus returning home.”

“Oh are you?” Taven replied. “Well I think not. We’d like to have a look around your bag, see some of your notes. Share a little bit, hmm?”

Having packed her bag, Kisha was not about to accept Taven’s taunts and quickly attempted to walk away but she was pulled closer towards him as he tore the bag from her shoulder.

“You Garlean degenerate, leave me! If only you could -actually- use your third eye perhaps you’d have been a bit faster at grasping theory!”

Kisha appeared to strike a nerve in Taven with the comment as he grabbed Kisha by her shoulders, his superior strength forcing her onto the table where she was studying. Eren was watching, obviously torn as to what to think of his friend doing to Kisha. Although she attempted to struggle free, Taven’s force was just too much for her to escape as he also used the baton to refrain her from standing up.

“Eren! Look through her bag, I’ll keep her here..” Taven shouted at Eren. Although it was clear that Eren wasn’t completely on-board with Taven’s plan, he meekly obeyed and started to scavenge through Kisha’s shoulderbag. Kisha looked on as she was powerless to stop it.

“See Kisha..if you do not share, we’ll just take it from you. A good lesson hmm..?” Taven taunted at her once more but instead of just holding her down, she could feel his hand reaching down the inside of her tunic and resting on her bare back.

“You bloody bastard, let me go!” Kisha shouted from the top of her lungs as she started to squirm with all her power to get free of Taven’s hold as she could feel his hand touching more of her lower back.

 

Whatever Kisha tried to do physically didn’t work, he was just too strong. However, he wasn’t as smart. Finally realizing that she was not going to stop this by fighting the ordinary way, Kisha lunged up her left arm at a bookcase standing towards her right. The wood started to crackle under her spell as a large section of it broke free and smacked with a sickening crack against Taven’s head, making him fall backwards. Eren dropped Kisha’s bag with a shriek and saw this as the perfect reason to flee away from the library, leaving just Kisha and an injured Taven alone.

“Let that be..a lesson, you bloody pervert.” Kisha gasped as she stroked over her sore neck and chest after being physically assaulted.

Taven could only be heard groaning on the floor. Kisha could have left it at that, but the rare occurrence of adrenaline coursing through her veins had a profound affect on her conscience. She was angry, he had to pay for assaulting her! Grabbing the wooden baton from the ground, Kisha started to uncontrollably slam it against Taven’s body who still lay on the ground who was unable to defend himself against her smacks. A red haze formed in front of her eyes as the library started to fill with the sound of agonizing screams: Kisha throwing profanities at Taven while Taven shouted loudly as several bones in his body were broken by Kisha’s unrelenting fury.

 

“GODS! Stop this madness!” Kisha dropped the baton from her hands in shock as she heard a familiar voice, that of the headmistress of the college who had come rushing up to the library along with several of the teachers. The red haze dissipated from her eyes, leaving only her dark grey hands being covered with Taven’s blood. She stammered in a quiet voice.

“...Mother, forgive me..”

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