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R'nella Eren

Mini-Novel - The Red Tail

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Hey beans!

 

So I'd like to try something new here, I'm going to start a longer series in an almost novel-like style which will flesh out Nella's younger years as a raggamuffin/guttersnipe on the streets of Limsa Lominsa. I'd like to do this to practice my writing over a longer period of time along with a larger plot narrative. This might take years and I might never complete it but...this is the spot at least for that! 

 

As in genre: Imagine a more darker edged adventure book for with plenty of swearing but no gruesome torture scenes or anything like it. It will probably contain some murder and dark moments, but nothing too graphic and gory. The overarching narrative should be rather pleasant, comedic and be a message of hope for better times, even in face of terrible adversity.

 

If you want to give feedback or generally reply to the story, feel free to give me a poke here in a PM, in the Omega/EU Discord or just ingame (R'nella Eren).

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Chapter I - Ladylike

 

The carriage was exquisitely lavished from the inside with black and dark red fabric making up the cushions and floor. White silk blinds cover the small windows, though the sun is strong today and the inside of the carriage is well-lit despite of this. As the carriage hobbled along on a typical La Noscean dirt road, inside a young Miqo’te girl of roughly nine years old would be reading from a variety of tomes. She was dressed in a neat and ‘professional’ looking tunic, almost resembling a Maelstrom Officer though she clearly was too young to be one. Her hair which was combed into ‘aristocrat’ curls complementing her prim and proper appearance.

 

A gruff but friendly old male voice would come from outside the carriage: “Miss! We’re nearly home!” 

 

The Miqo’te girl smiled as she closed the tome she was reading. “Thanks Gramps!” She opened the blinds and could see the carriage was riding up to a large mansion overlooking the western coast of La Noscea. The white stone walls and brown tiles on the roof were very typical for buildings around Vylbrand, but this place truly was a labour of love further complimented by a well-cared for garden. 

 

As the carriage stopped in front of the entrance to the mansion, the door was opened by the carriage driver which was an old looking Hyur with an eyepatch. He was called ‘Gramps’ by the Miqo’te girl, a nickname given out of affection because Gramps was always there to care for her when her parents weren’t, and his obvious old age. The Hyur took the girl’s hand and gently let her down onto solid from the carriage. He looked at her with a sigh and shook his head.

“Yer’ growing into a fine young lass, R’yalla. An’ a smart one a’ that. Ye go’ yer mothah’s brains.” 

R’yalla smiled widely as she received the tomes from Gramps who was pulling them out of the carriage. She answered politely, because that was what she was taught to do.

“Aww. Thank you, Gramps. That’s real kind of you!”. She started to look around herself over the small plaza in front of the mansion and noticed that her parents weren’t there waiting for her. 

“Gramps...? Are mom and dad busy somewhere today?” 

“Hmm...probably in some business meeting. I’mma take ye inside. Gotta’ park the carriage first.”

 

R’yalla noded as Gramps embarked on the horse again and started to ride the carriage to the other side of the mansion leaving her alone in front of the main door. She sat down on the steps, the bright blue sky and fierce sun heating up the square. R’yalla puffed from her mouth due to the warmth though luckily, her skin was sun kissed enough to not get sunburned. 

 

A meowing sound suddenly came from her right. As R’yalla glanced in the direction she saw a rough furred ginger striped cat which sat up straight next to her in a manner as if she owned the place. The young Miqo’te girl smiled widely and gave the cat a stroke over its messy furred back. 

“You’re warm too huh? Caught any mice?”

The cat mewed eagerly.

            “And the boys?”

The cat put its paw in front of its eyes as if she wanted to say: Don’t get me started. It made R’yalla giggle as she leaned forward to place the cat on her lap. She tenderly hugged the ragamuffin of a cat and awaited Gramps’ return patiently. But suddenly she heard voices through the closed door behind her. Though muffled, R’yalla noticed the voices were loud enough for her to make out the words.

            “…An alliance is unacceptable.”

            “Bleedin’ hells Dranan, ye’know which way the fookin’ wind is blowin’. If no’ now they’ll ban it in a few years when a new Admiral comes along!”

            “Yer cutting us off from our LIFEBLOOD EREN! How do you think we’ll make any gil from now ‘eh? Waterin’ your garden!?”

            “Limsa Lominsa s’gotta become professional, else the othah city states will nevah take us seriously. S’time to change Dranan, else yer on the wrong side o’ the boat when the wind changes.”

            “Your inbred cub made you soft.”

The sound of a struggle came from the other side of the door, as if someone was being pushed against a wall.

            “Don’t involve my family Dranan, or I’ll have your HEAD. DO YOU BLEEDIN’ EAR ME?!”

 

R’yalla gasped as she took a few steps back, holding the ginger cat in her arms protectively. She could hear some muffled voices from the other side of the door again but it was too soft for her to make out the words. Moments later, the door slammed open and a frustrated grizzled Hyur man was looking down upon R’yalla with glaring eyes. Behind him, R’yalla’s father stood tall: A tall weathered Miqo’te man with firm black hair, crooked nose, eyepatch and a walking cane to support his right wooden peg leg. R’yalla took a few steps back more with the ginger cat hissing in her arms against the Hyur. 

            “The bleedin’ pet cat has more balls than your kid, Eren. Inbred weakness…”

 

The Miqo’te girl took even more steps back, a bit of a terrified look on her face as she looked at her father for support.

            “GE’OUTTA’ ERE DRANAN. BE GLAD I DON’ SEND YOU OFF THE PLANK!”

The Hyur man grumbled and started to walk towards the gate of the mansion leading up to the open road. He yelled back at Eren as he left the garden.

            “Watch your back Eren! Watch your bloody’ back…”

 

As the Hyur man left the mansion grounds, he left behind a frustrated Eren, terrified R’yalla and a somewhat surprised Gramps who had just returned from storing the carriage. The old man sighed as he looked upon Eren who was grabbing at his walking cane with the fury of a sea monster. 

            “Eren..le’ it go. He always was against ye. Ye only mistake was to le’ im live.”

Eren turned to Gramps and nodded slowly, closing his remaining eye with a deep sigh before he gently wrapped his arms around R’yalla.

            “I’mma sorry you had to see tha’…”

The small girl wrapped her arms against her father’s side, not coming further than his chest with her head. The ginger cat gently hopped away from her arms and decided to hiss and the gate through which the Hyur left.

            “Dad..will he come back?”

            “I’mma keeping the gates closed nex’ time. Don’ worry bout it little cub. We’ go’ plenty o’ good friends with us. Come..wanna’ ge’ some snacks?”

 

The small girl’s mouth warped into a cheeky smile and she followed her father inside the mansion towards the kitchen. As they arrived in the kitchen, they could see a Miqo’te woman walk inside from the garden, wielding a long rapier and a typical Lominsan vest and leathers. Her face and exposed arms were covered in scars and small cuts along with a red striped tattoo covering the right side of her face. Her gruff and somewhat dangerous look turned into a wide smile as she saw R’yalla enter the kitchen. She walked forward and hugged R’yalla gently, rubbing her hands over her back.

            “Ey’ cub. Ye’ had a good day a’ school t’day?”

 

The Miqo’te girl smiled and nodded eagerly. She could see that her father pointed at a cookie jar near the kitchen sink. Moments later they were happily munching on delicious chocolate cookies which were hand-baked by R’yalla’s mother. That’s some happiness they could all use at that moment.

 

Later that day, after dinner, R’yalla sat on a bench outside in the garden as she looked at the shoreline below their mansion, reading in her study-books while having the ginger cat on her lap. She could sit here for hours, studying and reading without even speaking to anyone. As the evening turned to night, she noticed her mother entered the garden and decided to sit down next to her. R’yalla had heard stories about her mother, mostly told by her father who saw her as the ‘best pirate this side of Hydaelyn’. However, what their parents didn’t know was that R’yalla found a collection of newspapers in her school’s library who detailed her mother’s exploits. ‘Red Tala’ she was called…and that wasn’t because of her hair. 

            “Ey cub, what are ye readin’?”

 

The Miqo’te girl didn’t answer. She only tightly hugged the ginger cat which was still sitting on her lap. Her mother sighed gently and decided to just wrap her left arm around her into a protective embrace. 

            “Is he going to come back?”

R’yalla suddenly looked up at her mother as she said this. Her mother seemed pensive as she pondered upon a ‘soft’ answer. She gently closed the book in her daughter’s hands and nodded.

            “Aye. I’m gonna be honest. Aye, he -is- goin’ t’come back. But I’ll be waitin’ for im’. Don’ ye worry cub. I’mma protect ye.”

            “Is it true everyone hates inbreds?”

Her mother remained silent and sighed deeply at this sudden statement. She hadn’t quite expected R’yalla to come forward with this as early in her life as she did.

            “No...no, not everyone ‘ates inbreds. Most people don’t even know about it R’yalla. And it’s cruel if people like tha’ man ye’ saw today call ye’ out fo’ it.”

            “Am I a weakling because of it?”

            “R’yalla...ye ain’ weak, trust me. Ye are a lovely gerl and ye’ll become grea’ at what ye wanna’ do. No’ everyone needs t’fight. Ye can become a doctor, teachah, lawyah’...the world’s ye oister cub. 

 

Although still concerned, R’yalla was put at some ease by her mother’s obvious calm and collected manner and gently leaned her head down on her mother’s lap. A concerned expression remained on her mother’s face, though she kept it hidden from her daughter. She knew that her child had a difficult life ahead of her due to the mistake she and her husband had made. A relation between siblings taken to the extreme which lead to their expulsion from the R’ tribe early in their lives. Despite the taboo, they had stuck together weathering any storm. Their lives were dangerous and they didn’t expect to live as long as they had...yet when R’yalla came into their lives, everything changed. It was during moments like this when R’tala was most vulnerable and doubted many times over if she had made the right decisions in life. Yet when she saw R’yalla’s smile, she knew it was worth every day of struggle. 

 

After a further brief conversation with her mother, R’yalla wend to her room for the night and after changing into her nightgown, she covered herself with her bedsheets in bed. But instead of gently laying down on R’yalla’s bedsheets, the ginger cat decided to keep hissing at the door, almost in a protective manner. R’yalla sat up straight in her bed and motioned to the cat with her arms, who finally decided to join her on the bed after some firm encouraging words. 

 

The Miqo’te girl smiled widely as she stroked through the cat’s messy fur before falling asleep with her right hand gently placed over the cat’s back.

            “I know you’ll protect me, Nella.”

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Chapter II - Smoke and Waffles

 

R’yalla awakened to the sound of several loud gunshots, followed with Nella hissing and crawling her paws against the door. She threw the bedsheets from herself and noticed that the entire room was filled in a haze of smoke. She immediately threw into a coughing fit and looked around herself in a panicked state. 

            “T…Twelve..MOM, DAD?!”

 

R’yalla screamed at the top of her lungs but there was no response. It became harder to breath. She rushed from the bed into the direction of her bedroom window and pushed her weight against it, causing it to open and give her some much needed fresh air. What she saw though made her heart skip a beat. It was the ‘bad man’ from earlier that day but now it appeared he had brought along a dozen of his ‘friends’. They carried torches, and were throwing them through the mansion’s windows. R’yalla immediately crouched down to avoid being spotted as she overheard the man barking orders to his lackeys.

            “We go’ what we came fo’! Torch the place an’ ge’ outta ‘ere!”

            “Ey boss…wasn’t tha’ window closed?”

            “Bleedin’ ells… . Throw’a torch in’ere. Can’ ave someone sneak-off an’ snitch!”

 

Before R’yalla could make another move, she could see a torch was thrown through her bedroom window and over her head onto the bed. Flames quickly engulfed the soft fabric. She started to panic even more. She had to get out of here…to somewhere! She ran through the other side of her room to open the other bedroom window overlooking the garden. The air was quickly becoming thicker and she could scarcely breath at all at this point.

 

Luckily, as R’yalla looked down over the back gardens, she could see that the place was completely dark save for the occasional light coming from the lighthouse at the south of Vylbrand. More importantly though, there were no ‘bad men’ guarding the backside of the mansion. She stepped through the window, and then her heart skipped a beat. Although the area directly underneath her second bedroom window was covered in hedges, it was still quite a drop, at least several meters down. Her hands began to tremble, as did her eyes. She murmured to herself, pinching her eyes closed as she feared the drop.

“Why is this happening? Please, please be a nightmare…I…I’m going to wake up now...and mom and dad-“

 

Suddenly her face was hit with an abundance of fur, causing R’yalla to slip from the window frame and fall backwards onto her back into the bushes. She then tumbled down from the meter or so high hedge and landed onto the soft grass of the garden. R’yalla groaned in pain as she felt she had bruised her right hand in the fall. As she opened her eyes, she could see that Nella was staring down at her from a sitting potion, before quickly running off into the direction of the cliffside woods. 

            “Nella..! Wait!”

 

But there was no waiting. R’yalla could hear a terrible ruckus coming from the mansion as the entire first floor of the building squeaked and groaned before collapsing, causing an enormous dust cloud to hit her in the face. She coughed loudly as her lungs were filled with ash and dust which nearly made her pass out. Through the darkness however, she could see the light of the Lighthouse at the southern tip of the island occasionally spinning its light against the hedges. R’yalla started to stumble blindly against the hedges of the garden looking for an opening, until she used the momentarily seconds of light to navigate a path through the thick bushes. Finally, she saw the lighthouse on the horizon and started to run over the gravel ground towards it, to safety.

 

Or so she thought. As R’yalla kept running she suddenly felt there was no ground beneath her feet. As she looked down there was nothing but pitch-black darkness, save for the occasional foam of the sea smacking waves against the rocky cliffside shore. R’yalla started to fall quickly, and from a great height. She screamed in terror as R’yalla saw the rocks starting to come closer at a sickeningly fast pace. She wouldn’t survive this, and she knew it. She felt a sickening smack against her feet, cracks through her entire body and all turned black…but for a moment.

 

R’yalla awakened to a loud scream, bathing in her own sweat inside her bed and safely underneath her bedsheets where she wend to sleep.

            “MOM! DAD! AAAH!”

She could hear stumbling through the hallway leading up to her bedroom as dhr started to cry from her nightmare. The door flung open and her mother rushed to her side, wrapping her arms around her.

            “Shhh….shhhshshs….it’s okay. What’s wrong?!”

            “T…they put the house on fire..there was smoke, I…I ran and I fell..I…”

R’yalla continued to weep in her mother’s arms as her mother gently patted her hands over her back, trying to comfort R’yalla. Mother gently looked over her shoulder at her husband who also stood in the door opening and gently shook her head in concern at him. Father sighed deeply and rubbed his hand over his forehead, shaking his head in concern as well as he decided to leave R’yalla and his wife alone.

 

The nightmare was a wake-up call to them all. 

 

As morning came and R’yalla walked downstairs to the mansion’s kitchen, she found that her parents were already talking to each other at the table. The smell of freshly baked dough entered her nostrils making her even more hungry for morning breakfast. R’tala smiled widely at R’yalla as she walked down the stairs and mentioned her over to take a seat. R’eren remained silent however and kept staring at the empty table in front of him. There was deep concern in her eyes. R’yalla decided to not comment on the situation and decided to watch her mother work preparing her breakfast along with a herbal potion you absolutely detested. It was something with a vile taste like drinking solid dirt, but her mother said it was very important to R’yalla to be able to focus at school and studies. 

 

“Here dear, eat up.” 

R’yalla’s dreamy looks were interrupted as mother placed her breakfast meal in front of her on the table. Her heart raced a little: Freshly baked waffles with cream! She started to dig in eagerly Her parents didn’t seem to eat however. Perhaps they had already eaten. That didn’t stop R’yalla to fully enjoy the waffles which were still warm to the touch as they entered her mouth. Within mere minutes she had devoured them whole. 

 

As R’yalla sat back and patted her now full belly, she was met with the depressed look on her father’s weary face. He looked different. Instead of wearing his usual casual white tunic he was dressed completely in black, wearing a long black overcoat, two daggers and some sort of a Commodore's hat. Mother decided to sit next to him and placed an arm around his shoulders and sighed. She finally looked at R’yalla, trying to smile again but it was a bittersweet one.

“Dear…we…need to tell you something important.”

R’yalla blinked and leaned forward again. She nearly let rip a burp from her mouth but managed to keep it inside herself. She only nodded and indicated her mother to continue.

“Your father and I need to take care of some business which means we’ll need to attend a large meeting the coming few weeks. ‘Gramps’ is coming with us as well which means that he can’t take care of you either when we’re away.”

R’yalla blinked and interjected. She wasn’t used to this at all. Her mother was there every night when she went to sleep. Every night! And now she was going to be away…for weeks?!

“But…mom..I don’t want you to go-“

Father sighed and looked at R’yalla with a bittersweet smile as well.

“If we didn’t have to we wouldn’t cub, but we really ain’ go’ a choice. I’m sorry…”

 

No choice. Those words rung through R’yalla for many minutes and would stick with her for longer than she could have imagined. 

 

A few hours later R’yalla was standing outside on the mansion’s small plaza with two small suitcases in her hands, handing them over to ‘Gramps’ who loaded them up into the carriage. She turned around to see her parents gently walking towards her and then knelt down in front of her. Her mother appeared tear-eyed and gently wrapped her hands and arms around her, though put her into a tight and loving embrace for a few seconds. Her father than rubbed his big warm hand through her hair and sighed as he embraced her as well. He normally was a tough man, not easily swayed by emotions but these past few days seemed to have put a toll on him.

“Ye’re growin’ into a fine young lass R’yalla…”

Her father’s words moved a chill down her spine as her mother sighed deeply.

“We’ll be back before ye know I’ R’yalla, don’ worry. Won’ be longah then three weeks.”

 

R’yalla suddenly heard meowling next to her. Nella was sitting next to the carriage expectantly, inclining her head towards R’yalla and rubbing her ginger head against R’yalla’s arm. She smiled widely and took the cat in her arms, hugging it tightly. Mother gently patted on the cat’s head as well and placed an arm on R’yalla’s left shoulder.

“I know ye wanna’ take her with you...but Nella will ‘ave to stay here, she’s used te’ living around here on her own. Taking her to Limsa will really no’ make her ‘appy..”

The cat curled its tail around R’yalla’s arm but she eventually decided to place Nella back on the ground again. Her mother was right. She had taken Nella with her once to school but instead of being calm and loving support, the ginger cat  caused a massive scene in the classroom after it decided to pee over the teacher’s documents. 

“I’m going to miss you, Nella. But...I’ll be back soon! And then you can sleep on my bed again, okay?” 

 

Many more hugs were exchanged until the sun was obscured by dark clouds and rain drops started to cover the cobblestones. Her mother gently rose R’yalla into the carriage as ‘Gramps’ sat at the front. She gave her a ‘goodnight kiss’ on her forehead as she closed the door to the carriage and motioned to ‘Gramps’ to start riding. As the carriage left the mansion grounds, R’yalla kept waving at her parents until the tall hedges around the mansion blocked them from view. 

 

She was now officially on an ‘adventure’.

Edited by R'nella Eren

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