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Found: Pages from the personal journal of the "Sword of the Stones"

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*Note from the publisher*

This publication is not responsible for lost time or hurt feelings. Should you have any concerns, please direct them to the publisher. We usually respond within one to two fortnights. Thank you.


*Note from the contributor*

Who am I? My name’s none of your concern. The way I come by these journal entries is also of no concern to you. Just count yourself fortunate that you’ve got a glimpse into the mind of not only Ul’dah’s most noted officer but the Sword of the Stones herself! There’s sure to be a trove of secrets in these pages; Immortal Flame top-secrets, Alliance inner-workings, or plans against the Empire perhaps?!  And I’ve been given a few pretty gil to keep the oh-so-classified information coming! I tell you; you don’t get paid enough as a lousy soldi-- er, um… Well, let’s just say that those Syndicate snobs won’t be the only rich one’s round’ here soon’! Enjoy or no, it matters none to me. Here’s last night’s journal entry from the Sword. I haven’t read it yet, but I can only assume it’s rife with military back-room dealings and covert operations!


Oh, Journal! Last night was the most absolutely splendid of times! I cannot remember having so much fun since leaving the Stones!  Where do I begin? Tea party? My sister? The monster fighting I got to do with my new friend? Hmm… the tea party is perhaps a good start.


I had heard about this intriguing tea party from a friend… okay, I won’t lie to you, Journal, I overheard about this party from two Miqo’te chattering away on Emerald Avenue. It sounded grand! Tea, snacks, and Gridania! I do enjoy the forest and its beautiful trees. I noted down the name of the location: Shroudrose Teahouse. It sounded fancy! I knew I had to dress to the nines!


My wardrobe had nothing good. Four bathing suits, a suit of armor, and some dress that was probably too over the top for this event. I relented and decided to wear my formal uniform. It was the best thing I had! I decided not to change a thing about my hair; I never was good at that. But I found myself out the door and ready to go! I was already running late!


I arrived in Lavender Beds and found myself at the largest house I had ever seen! There was a bridge that led to the property. It was here where I stopped. I was frozen. I saw three other people: two Miqo’te and an Au Ra. They seemed to be in the midst of conversation, so I was reluctant to interrupt them. Do I walk in? Am I to be escorted? What do I do? That’s when the blue-eyed Miqo’te I’d later come to know as C’thara looked at me. Eek! I was spotted! I blurted out “Pardon me, but I’m very new here.” And the rest was history!


I came to know the other Miqo’te as Yohyo, a stunningly beautiful, pink-haired creature from the far east! The Au Ra was named Nora, also from the east, and wore a huge sailor's hat! Oh, Journal, she looked just like one of those silly Maelstrom sailors!


After braving the inside of the packed tea house, sitting in a corner by myself until C’thara sat next to me, and chattering on for what seemed like hours, I finally started to warm up. I discovered C’thara used to work for the Empire. I’ll be honest, it rattled me at first, but her story of how she came to no longer be affiliated with them struck a chord with me and I sympathized with her. She has seen loss and seeks answers. I know that journey all too well. Considering my station, I offered my assistance in her quest to find those responsible for events that happened to her. Of course, I won’t tell you what those events were, Journal! Not unless she wants me too! Hehe


Oh, what else? Well, eventually the night began to wind down. C’thara had to leave for business. What kind of business I don’t know nor want to know! Yohyo and I were left alone. It’s odd, Journal, never in my life have I had a friend. Not since Ahri… And last night I felt as if I found a true friend. Yet, something else stirs there, just beneath the surface of my chest. I don’t know what this feeling is. The last time I felt anything like it was when I first picked up a sword. When I looked at it and knew that this was part of me. Or when I was officially deemed a Paladin. After all that hard work beneath the Suntansworn, that moment was bliss; as if it was meant to be… Regardless, Yohyo’s soft smile and playful attitude had me beaming all night! She brought out my playful side too! The two of us ended up looking for some danger in distant lands!


I can never help being so serious during a fight, but her liveliness and knowledge of the local flora and fauna seemed to ease me up a bit. Her genuine nature made me reveal a side of myself that no one else knows about. No one that works for me, not even my closest comrades, know of this side of me.


But! I can’t even tell you that, Journal! What if some nefarious type gets ahold of these pages? Could you imagine? Ha!


Anyway, there we were, Yohyo and I, in the middle of the Urth’s Gift, when my senses spike. I felt a chill on my shoulders, and when I turned around, I saw a glimpse of a dark-skinned Miqo’te dodge behind a tree with a swiftness I have only ever seen once. I ran toward the tree, already knowing what I would find: My sister!


While I tried to put on a brave face in front of Yohyo and pretend like I hadn’t seen my sister in eight years, Ahri wasn’t having it. Her eyes were daggers that shot straight into my soul. Our reunion was bittersweet. But, after some time of talking and many, many, apologies on my end, we decided to bury the hatchet – for the time being.


Yohyo, Ahri, and I went for some beast hunting as Yohyo collected some aetheric samples and Ahri gave me side-ways glances from time to time. We ended up back in the South Shroud at Buscarron’s Druthers. Boy was that a flashback to my first years in the Flames! Many nights spent at that tavern with Adder boys and one too many drinks! This night was simpler. The three of us sat and swapped stories for some time. Eventually, it would be time for me to leave; I had to get back to Ul’dah. Ahri seemed more than a little upset at that, but what could I do? There was a major operatio—you know, better if I leave that info out!


Alright, Journal, I have to go! Yohyo is coming over! I don’t know what we’re going to do, but I’m sure I’m going to love it! I’m glad I made a friend. I’m glad I listened in on those Miqo’te and went to that party…


I’m glad I got to see my sister again…


Edited by Crises
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*Note from the contributor*

That last entry was pretty juicy, containing lots of details about Immortal Flames stuff, right? That’s a serious question. Look, I can’t read that good, okay? I can only assume its content was enough to make even the Empire quake in its boots! Anyway, I got some more pages and more gil! Lucky me!


Journal, today was a good day. I took some me time and went shopping for my apartment! I found a nice, big bath, some fancy cushions for my Eastern-themed room… I know what you’re thinking, Journal. I have come to terms with that time in my life; reflected a lot about what happened. I believe it made me a better person because of it. Oh! And I also found the most gorgeous Spring Dress for tea parties and the like! The local shops were selling the dresses for well over 470,000 gil, but I was able to use my Grand Company connections to get an identical dress imported to Ul’dah for only 429,000 gil! I know, it doesn’t seem like it’s worth it, but you’d be surprised what shopping around can do to save you a gil here or there!


After shopping, and re-decorating for what seemed like hours, Yohyo and I went for some adventure! We first ended up in a very strange memory-like retelling of the battle at Al- - oh, well, let’s just say “A big castle-like place”. Anyway, it brought back some very recent memories and was difficult to handle. Yohyo’s aether readings were also running into some difficulties. She blames the mad scientist… like-person-thing that may or may not have been part of the retelling…

After that, I felt bad for Yohyo, so I used my tomestone to get us to a place where I knew there was much and more aether: An Eikon training ground. Mind you, these places aren’t nearly as dangerous as what the Warrior of Light faces, but the look, feel, and dangerousness come quite close! It was an easy win, and Yohyo was able to get the data she needed!


She then asked me to join her on a trip to Limsa Lominsa. She was adamant about joining the Maelstrom. She knew of my reservations concerning that crab-infested, saltwater bucket of chum, and even told me I didn’t have to go. However, it had been years since I visited that godsforsaken labyrinth of a city, so I acquiesced.  

The trip was fun! As fun as it can get in that brime-stink of a town. Yohyo gorged herself on some fish while I attempted to hold back my lunch, and she eventually made contact with the Maelstrom command. That indeed brought back memories. Several officers I once knew as recruits gave me glaring looks. Journal, I won’t lie, I was never nice to those sailors! Hehehe.


Yohyo had been tasked to retrieve a crystal from a Fire Sprite in Halatali. The task made me giggle: a Fire Sprite, in Halatali. These chum-buckets could have made her roam Thanalan for no more than two malms to find what she needed. No, they sent her into a veritable training ground for the most wicked warriors. This is why I can’t trust those arse-pirates! Though, Yohyo handled herself well and completed her task for the Maelstrom.


After that, Yohyo seemed as if she was going to fall over from exhaustion. We retired to my apartments where she quickly made herself at home on one of my chairs. She looked so serene sleeping there. How I envied that peacefulness. How I long to feel that at ease about the world! As I retired to mine own cot, I find my sister fast asleep like she owned the place! I couldn’t be surprised, she did that when we were children, too. Though, how exactly she got into my private residence, I will never know.


That’s it, Journal! That was my day today. I’m so glad I can find the time to take breaks from work and be myself again! I think I may go to a concert tomorrow night! I do love the sounds of an Elezen’s voice! But, if there are any dancing Viera there, I may just jump right out of my separates!

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  • 2 weeks later...

*Note from the contributor*

Word has it that these little snippets don’t contain any useful information about the Flames at all! But, if I get paid, I don’t care what they have to say.


I think I’m being followed, Journal. While attending a special event at the Shroudrose Teahouse, I felt eyes on me. While the drinks made me feel warm on the inside, the feeling of an icy gaze upon me sent shivers down my spine. I can’t shake this feeling. I’ve felt this before. While fighting in the coliseum, during my training under the Sultansworn, at various times on the battlefield, and even in my apartment, I’ve felt an unwelcome presence peering at me from the shadows.


Perhaps it’s my recent boredom catching up with me. Perhaps it’s nothing but a torn nerve from a fight I’ve since forgotten. Either way, I keep my eyes open, staying ever vigilant of my surroundings while trying to enjoy whatever it is that occupies me. Lately, that has been wandering around from event to event. I hear about these events from people I don’t know, and I end up finding myself in strange new places feeling alone as usual.  


One day I found myself in the basement of the Garden of Words & Tea Shop in Gridania.  I had sequestered myself to a chair in a far corner of the room after finding a familiar book on exotic sword arts. Having read the book already, my attention would drift from the words on the page, to the words in the air produced by the staff and other visitors. Everyone seemed so relaxed, so content. Why can’t I be this way? I think I know part of the reason. I miss the war.


What heartless villain am I to say that I miss warfare? The smell of freshly forged steel, the anticipation of rushing the enemy with every onze in your body, prepared to do what you must to walk away as the victor, and the feeling of standing over a field of your slain enemies as you bathe in the glory of absolute victory. The training simulations that the Flames provide for us help bring me some solace, but it’s not the real thing. It’s almost as much to make one incite a war just to have one! But, I would never think of such a thing. And so, seeing as my options are limited, I attempt to find comfort in the things others do; going out at night, shopping, and wasting time at the Quicksand buried in my cups have become staples for me.


I have seen more glorious days, journal. And although the thought of some unknown presence should rattle my cage, I find comfort in it. For if it is true, and there is someone out there who should admire me so, I would welcome it. Worst case, this is an assassin sent by the Empire. Were that the scenario, I would gladly welcome the challenge and revel in the removal of their internal organs. Something, anything to make this world palpable once again.

Edited by Crises
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*Note from the publisher*

It has come to our attention that the contributor of these pages is looser of tongue than is acceptable. There will be no more precursory notes from them. We have also started to transcribe the written letters to a more uniformed print for easier reading. Thank you, and enjoy.


Journal, I am at a loss. My mind has been racing lately and I cannot seem to focus on anything. Work grows mundane. Hunting has become unchallenging and repetitive. Sleep eludes me like ashes in the wind. It is as if my only passion in life suddenly walked out, leaving me alone and helpless. There is but one saving grace to all this, and that is my desire to push forward and carry on. For what, I do not know. Though recently, my time at the Shroudrose Teahouse has put me in the company of individuals I would otherwise never have the pleasure of meeting.


The teahouse is run by a Free Company known as Teatime. At first, the name sounds comical. What Company strikes fear into the hearts of its enemies with a name like “Teatime”? But being in the presence of these people has truly taught me what a Free Company is all about: being free. Do not mistake me; the Immortal Flames is my life. However, with a Grand Company, there are restrictions, regulations, and above all else, a strict dress code to adhere to. With a Free Company, the rules are different. You may go where you please when you please, you can feel free to serve in the way you see fit, and you can wear whatever you want.


Free Companies help you find meaning behind who you are as a person. Teatime epitomizes these qualities and then some. I must admit, my inherent social isolation makes it hard for me to make friends, even with such welcoming cohorts. But, when I try hard enough, I find that being around them comes naturally. None of them expect me to be anything other than myself. None of them ask me to file a report or reprimand anyone. Not one of them looks at me out of fear for their job or life. I like it. It is completely different than what I am used to, and I like it. It was without hesitation that I applied to become a member of their Company, being welcomed with open arms upon acceptance. However, there remains this emptiness inside me. No amount of delicious tea can warm a cold heart.


And while I am appreciative of Teatime to have me in their ranks, it falls to me to take the next step. The Company’s leader and Shroudrose proprietress, Lady Faye Covington, is an enigmatic, caring individual. Upon joining the Company, she has made it clear that I may serve however I would like. When I think about my individual qualities, the only thing that comes to mind is my pension for turning gold sand and green grass crimson red with the lifeblood of my enemies. I am quite sure that Lady Covington would not appreciate an excess amount of blood anywhere near the teahouse. In this, I find a challenge. A challenge to bring to this Company something that builds it up and brings them honor.


But I am at a loss. My skills are quite specific, and while I would not mind taking drink orders for the teahouse, I wonder if I might be able to help with crafting; I have always admired armor smiths for the art of their craft. Even though there are more than enough individuals within my new found Company that can produce plate of armor with their eyes closed, perhaps my personal crafting touch could provide something different? Or, perhaps I’ll fall into the same routine as I always do and end up slaying beasts for their hide to fill our reserves. I will just have to be sure to clean up after myself to avoid tracking blood into the teahouse, least I gain an earful from Lady Covington regarding the gore.


Time will tell, Journal. Perhaps the next time my quill touches your parchment, I will have some juicy, succulent tales to tell.

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