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Umbral Investigations


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[align=center]Now Hiring[/align]

[align=center]Our agents must have a [/align]

[align=center]propensity for uncovering [/align]

[align=center]hidden truths. They must be [/align]

[align=center]resolute in discerning [/align]

[align=center]the meaning behind every action, [/align]

[align=center]behind every word, behind every [/align]

[align=center]sight and sound. Our agents [/align]

[align=center]must be willing to sacrifice [/align]

[align=center]emotion and instinct in the [/align]

[align=center]face of logic and reason. They [/align]

[align=center]must be belligerent in solving [/align]

[align=center]masked puzzles where the [/align]

[align=center]untrained eye says there is [/align]


[align=center]No experience necessary.[/align]

[align=center]Curiosity a must[/align]

[align=center]Umbral [/align]

[align=center]Investigations [/align]

[align=center]Contact Xha'to Brom[/align]




     The tip of Xha'to's lance sunk deep into the rough ground beneath him as he slumped against it, his feet giving way. Despite the madness around him, the only sounds he could hear were those of his own short labored breaths. The now-dulled explosions of Bahamut's assault had faded everything else to silence. His cracking lips parted to breathe forth not a word, but a whimper. He tore his gaze from the dragon circling overhead to look at those few soldiers who had made it this far by his side. Very few had kept their composure. Most wore expressions of pure awe - a few of pure terror. Some were crying. For those men, nothing would ever be the same. In this moment, they witnessed all seven hells given corporeal form.

     Xha'to dropped to one knee and pulled his lance from the ground. He gazed at each of his fellow soldiers by his side, one-by-one, in turn, studying their faces as he dropped. Their faces tore at his gut, lurching his stomach to and fro. Empty though it was, it found a way to erupt bile into his throat. He swallowed hard and closed his eyes, the pounding of the fireballs hitting the ground in the distance reverberating into his very soul. When he opened them again, his men had dropped their weapons and begun fleeing, tripping over one-another like starving pups offered relief. The dragon had turned its attention in their direction, and soon the spot on which they stood would be obliterated like everything else in the monster's path. They were right to retreat. There would be no winners in this war.

     He laid his lance down before him, studying it for a moment, remembering the many times it had saved his life, before he scooped up two handfuls of dirt damp with the other soldiers' piss, and patted them down flat atop the lance head. If he could not have a proper burial, at least his memories would. He then stood and turned, following in the footsteps of his cowardly men, to die in fear, fleeing, with his back turned.


     In Ul'dah, the surviving forces had begun to gather, trickling in only two or three at a time. Volunteers from the Conjurer's Guild had gathered to mend the injured men. For most of them, there was nothing to be done save for easing the pain.

     "Xha'to!" A tall, thin Hyur woman clad in the cotton attire of the unremarkable Ul'dahn citizen called out. Frantically, she searched, pushing through the uncoordinated mass of people both waiting to be healed and already healed. Her hazel eyes darted back and forth, hoping to catch sight of the Miqo'te's cerulean hair.

     "Xha'to!" She called out again, but her calls were lost in a sea of sobs, screams of agony, and those similarly searching for their loved ones. "Damn it." She shut her eyes tightly and massaged her temples as a wave of anxiety rushed over her.

     "XHA'TO!" She screamed so loudly that her voice went hoarse, but this time, she was heard. An uneasy silence fell over the crowd as most of them looked toward her, some with brows furrowed in annoyance, others with soft expressions of sorrow. She scanned the crowd again, looking for any hint of the man's ears, hair, or trademark scythe-shaped lance. Again and again she scanned, each moment becoming more frantic than the last, hope dimming more and more each time. The silence ended, and the crowd went back to its own business. The Hyur woman's eyes welled up, and just as she turned to leave the crowd, her eyes fixated on a single bloodied, bruised, and broken hand, rising above the heads of all others in the crowd some 15 yalms away. Quickly and quietly, she pushed through the crowd, her heartbeat rising along with her hopes.

     Finally, as a gap opened in front of her, she'd arrived at her hopes personified. On a makeshift cot, legs stretched out and crossed, covered in blood, dust, dirt, bruises, more blood, and bandages, sat Xha'to Brom, an average-height, muscular, blue-haired Miqo'te who, from the looks of him, had been through all hells.

     Fighting back her tears, she was barely able to cough out, "You idiot." His already grumpy expression turned to one of annoyance as she wrapped her arms around him and squeezed, much to his discomfort.

     "That hurts, you know." His moderately deep voice was strained and raspy, his throat dry from the dirt kicked up in Bahamut's wake.

     "You probably deserve it," The Hyur woman smiled to herself and lingered in the hug, probably a bit longer than she should have. When they finally parted, both of their expressions had changed to worry.

     "Alsa, where's Gw-" Xha'to's own anxiety got the worst of him as he swallowed a lump in his throat. "Where's your sister?"

     Alsa looked down, her already damp eyes welling up again, and shook her head. "I don't know. Nobody knows." Xha'to lifted a hand and buried his face in it, rubbing his eyes with his middle finger and his thumb as Alsa continued, "She never came back." Xha'to licked his cracked and bleeding lips and remained silent.

     "So many people didn't," Alsa spoke apprehensively. Then she didn't, "Too many people didn't."

     Xha'to took his hand from his face and looked up at her, lifting a single brow. "What?"

     "There are people missing who shouldn't be missing, Brom. They think... we think someone saved them somehow."

     Xha'to gritted his teeth and snarled, "Don't do that to yourself. Don't do that to me. They're dead, Alsa."

     She nodded, then paused and shook her head, "There were no bodies. I mean they found some but most of them are just ... gone. Even her."

     "You're going to need to give me more than that," Xha'to's expression softened.

     "They said... they said a bunch of them were standing around... and then that Louisoix guy... He did something. He casted a spell. After it was all over, they only found his body... Where were all of the others?"

     "You actually believe this?" Xha'to looked hesitant.

      Alsa simply nodded.

     "Alsa, I'm not kidding. You've been as a compass to me for a long time. If you really believe this, you tell me you believe this, and I'll look into it. You've never steered me wrong. Hell, you introduced me to Gw-"

     "Xha'to, I believe it with all of my heart and soul. She's out there somewhere," Alsa looked to him with a fire in her eyes, the kind of wildfire that can only be extinguished with oceans. He studied her face for a moment, but she was unwavering, unfaltering.

     "Fine then. You and me. We'll find her. And if we can, we'll find the others, too."

[align=center]A LEAD OF MYTHRIL[/align]

Coming soon.


Coming soon.

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