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Imp meets World [Story] [OOC welcome]

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Awake in Ul'Dah


I woke to find myself lying in a cot in a grand hall made of stone. All around me were more cots and piles of blankets, impromptu beds numbering in the hundreds. Most of those cots were occupied with men and women of every race. Around the beds, more men and women wandered, checking on the occupants, murmuring soothing words in comforting tones or checking on bandages or testing for fevers. It was easily the largest infirmary I had ever seen, but it was clear that this room was not built to treat the sick and injured - it was a makeshift setup necessitated by... what?


Slowly, I sat up and found my body stiff and aching. How long had I been out? What had happened? Where was I? As I stared around me in confusion, a miqo'te conjurer noticed me and began heading in my direction. Her dark fur stood out against her white robes and her eyes were ice blue, just like the Siamese cat that I'd had as a kid.


Where had that memory come from? Instantly, my head began to pound and I let out a groan, pressing the heels of my palms into my eyes as if I could push the pain out of my skull.


"Careful, now," the miqo'te murmured as she reached me. "Take it easy. You've been unconscious for over a week, ever since the battle."


"What battle?" The confusion tore through the pounding in my head and I blinked up at the miqo'te. She looked momentarily surprised, as if my words had caught her off guard. No, not my words, I realized. My accent. An instant later, she had recovered her composure with an easy smile. "The battle of Carteneau. You were one of the injured who survived. You're in Ul'dah now. You are safe."


I stared at her, my expression no doubt a reflection of the confusion I felt. I had understood maybe half of what she said. Maybe.


One of the other injured cried out several cots down and the conjurer hurried over to help them, leaving me to my thoughts. There had been a battle? I'd been injured? If so, why didn't I feel any injuries? My body felt stiff and sore, but there were no bandages nor indication that I had been wounded. So, what had left me unconscious for so long? And, more importantly, why didn't I remember this battle? For that matter, why couldn't I remember my own name?


Alley Imp


I stayed in the Ul'dah infirmary for another week because I had nowhere else to go. The healers didn't wish to toss out a woman with no name and no home, but in the end, they had no choice. The great beast Bahamut was still tearing up the countryside and refugees were flooding into the city every day. So, after a week of rest, I made my way out into the city proper with nothing more than the clothes on my back.


"Hey! Imp!" The words didn't register for me, until a rough pair of hands caught me by the shoulders and spun me around, slamming me against one of the stone walls of the city alleyway. "I'm talking to you, Imperial scum!" I stared up at a large Hyur boy and cruel eyes and lips that were bent into an eternal sneer. Behind him, a Roegadyn towered a good fuln above him, his large hands in fists. Several feet back, I could spot several other bullies gathered to watch the show. I may not have known my own name, but not hard to recognize a pack of bullies intent on making trouble. And they were staring at me.


"Well?" The Hyur leader shoved me back again. "What do you have to say for yourself! I can't believe you actually have the galls to come here. What do you say we teach this wench what we do to imperial scum?" The roegadyn grunted - or maybe he was laughing, and smashed one fist into his other palm. I glanced around at the group, then did the only thing I could do. I ran.


I got two feet before someone caught my arm. Instinctively, I whirled and my fist swung out. Apparently they weren't expecting a small female like me to fight back because I caught the leader's nose in a solid pound of my fist. There was a crack, and my fist came away red - the blood wasn't mine. For a moment, the leader looked surprised. Then, his gaze turned murderous. I barely had a chance to blink before his hands were on my shoulders and his knee came up into my gut. Instantly, I was on the ground, gasping for air. From behind me, the roegadyn jerked at my hair, yanking my head up so that the hyur could aim his knee for my nose. This time the blood was mine.


Raising my Fists


The blows continued for several minutes, but I think I blanked out for a good part of it. The next thing I knew, a pair of large hands slipped under my arms and lifted me to my feet. I couldn't see through the haze of pain, nor could I hear through the ringing in my ears, but I think the owner of the hands said something. I stumbled a little and the hands caught me just as I blacked out again.


I faded in and out as I was half-guided, half-carried down the Ul'dah streets. I expected to find myself back in the infirmary, but instead, I ended up in a small room with a small wooden table and two chairs. I leaned back, letting my head rest against the wall and focused on the only thing I could do - staying conscious and pushing aside the pain. A cloth appeared at my face, wiping away the blood, then a cup was pressed into my hands. I sipped carefully, then managed to open my eyes and peer up at my benefactor. The roegadyn man who stared down at me was certainly no healer despite the bandages he was preparing. He wore dark trousers and a lose vest, with a headband that wrapped around his forehead and bandages around his hands as if to protect them while he repeatedly punched things. He grunted when he saw me watching him, "You aren't going to throw up on me, are you?"


"I... don't think so?" I replied and was surprised at how weak my voice sounded.


If the man noticed, he didn't comment. He only grunted again. "Good. You've got spine, I'll give you that. Saw you sock 'em before they took you down. But just having the guts ain't enough. You're weak and uncoordinated." He fell silent, then as he yanked my shirt up. My eyes widened, but I was too shocked, and too hurt, to protest. The roegadyn just grunted again, then began to wrap the bandages over the bright purple bruises that were already appearing on my stomach and chest. "You broke a few ribs, but they'll heal. Your nose'll heal, too." When I didn't answer, he continued, his attention on his work and not bothering to look up at me. "Once you've healed, we'll start on your training."


Now I did speak. "Training?"


The big man looked up to pierce me with a gaze that was sharper than his huge form would suggest was possible. "Yeah. Yer training. Yer not leaving the compound until I know you'll be able to hold yer own against those bullies. Got that?"


I didn't know what to say, so I simply nodded. And on that day, I started down the path of the pugilist.

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