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T'kyiah Soren: A Sun Seeker's Story

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Disclaimer: This is mine (and only my) interpretation of one Seeker tribe's branch in the Sagolii Desert. Though it is based on what lore I could find, a majority falls under artistic license.

[align=center]*this character will be on Gilgamesh*[/align]


"A Challenge!"

A solid thunk of iron striking hard packed dirt followed the announcement, drawing curious faces from within lodges. The air was soon peppered with gasps, cries of surprise and disbelief... then laughter.

T'kyiah pushed her way past several of the women, her eyes curious as she ducked beneath an arm and wiggled to the front.  A young male stood, chin raised and staring belligerently across the center of the village at her father, T'soren Nuhn. His skin was unscarred, his hair  unmatted and a fairly mundane shade of umber, his clothing well-made and clean. His tail fur was thick, his ears erect and unclipped, edged in a darker shade. A chocobo feather attached to his braided forelock fluttered gaily in the breeze- but that was the only movement she could discern from his stance.


Her father, likewise, hadn't moved from his location. Standing strong and proud, shirtless and barefoot near the cookfires, his arms were still filled with the logs he had just cut. His green eyes were narrowed, his tail lowered, but stiff with attention as he studied the challenger for several long moments. A slight gesture towards the younger male near him prompted the boy to quickly begin taking control of the logs, though her brother's eyes obviously couldn't stop shifting back to the upstart standing just beyond the quivering spear buried in the dirt.


Once relieved of his burden, T'soren still did not move immediately. He simply continued to stand looking the young man over, assessing quality and manner of threat. He was a stranger, an unknown...

His head angled to the side, his eyes shifting briefly to gauge the overall response of the village before returning to his challenger.

From the opposite side of the Camp, Kyiah saw the other Sept Nuhn, T'zahk, emerge from his lodge, his eyes narrowed by both the early morning sunlight, and the events unfolding there. He caught T'soren's eye, his head angled to the side questioningly, but the elder simply sketched a minute gesture for him to not engage. She watched as he gave Soren a slight nod of acceptance, his eyes flickering to find her in the crowd. A younger male, Zahk tended to defer to Soren in most matters, which likely had equal parts to do with his interest in her and his respect for Soren as Elder Nuhn. He frowned briefly at her, to which she raised her eyebrow, then looked back at the challenger, ignoring him. From her periphery, she saw him frown a bit more, moving away from the cluster outside his lodge and do the same.


All around her, breeding females  were hissing and spitting, heads shaking, tails jerking in agitation and anger. T'kyiah frowned catching disjointed words, 'nuhn'... 'Southern Camp'... 'disgusting'... 'irresponsible'... 'foolish'...

Just beyond, several young mothers were scooping their infants up and secreting them away into lodges.

Many of her half-siblings clamored forward to see, chattering excitedly about the stranger, whereas the few Tia slowly moved into positions to protect.


T'kyiah tossed her head, inching closer, breaking free of the cluster of females and sidling round the camp for a better view. A firm hand grabbed her tail, making her gasp and hiss as she was gently pulled back, her eyes darkening in anger as they met her brother's eyes.

"Kyiah... be still," he hissed as he released her, his own eyes never leaving the young newcomer.

"Hmph. For a moment, I thought you were Zahk. Who-"

He shook his head once, his eyes narrowed dangerously. "T'garin Nuhn."

She blinked. "What?" Her head jerked back to the unscarred male. "He is Nuhn?"

She sensed more than heard her twin's nod. "Southern Camp, three malms distant."

"A small camp then?"

"No." He snorted. "He has no less than fifteen breeding females in his Sept," his words were nearly buried in a guttural growl.

He head snapped around to stare at her brother, but his focus had not moved from the death-stare on T'garin. His teeth were bared, the hair on the back of his head stiff.  "Kyri-"

"He is a fool. Father will devour his heart."


"I-" she looked back at the young male, then to her father, who now stood tall. The firelight behind him sparked the red-gold in his hair and fur, casting shadows across the numerous scars and hardened muscles on his torso and the planes of his face. His tail had begun to sway slightly, the smile on his lips growing in what T'kyiah knew to be either that of amusement- or warning.

"Go home, boy," she heard him growl, his tone amused.

"I offered you a challenge, old man!"

Soren raised his eyebrow, looking more amused.


"I know you, T'gerin Nuhn, of the Southern Sept!"

Zahk's voice caused both Soren and the challenger to jerk in his direction. He had slowly made his way to the north-western aspect of the camp, away from all but a few of the older females. Kyiah saw an annoyed grimace touch Soren's face then evaporate. She felt a smirk begin to form, which likewise quickly evaporated at her twin's look in her direction.

"Your presence here is..." Zahk gave Garin a slow, dark smile as he straightened up to his full height.


Garin let out a harsh laugh. "What is this? The great T'soren hiding behind a whelp?" He took a step toward Zahk. "I challenged the old man, not you."

"I can understand the fear, Dust-eater," Zahk snapped back, baring his teeth. "But I assure you, age or not- you are less of a match for him than you are me. And I would rip out your entrails to feed the basilisks." He took a step toward him. "Return home while you are still able to serve your females."


This time, his tone was thick with warning.

The younger Nuhn paused, looking quickly to Soren, then snorted. "This is no true challenge."

Soren shook his head once, his eyes locked on Garin. "It is enough. And it is mine."

He crossed his arms over his chest. "T'garin. You have no business here. Go home."


The murmuring around her rose, the women resuming their hissing and muttering. Kyrin grabbed her hand, squeezing tightly as he pulled her close to his whispering lips.

"She comes."

Kyiah's eyes were immediately drawn to the parting crowd on the north side of the village, which soon disgorged her grandmother and the other Elder females. Her father's mother was small and wizened in contrast to his size, but her eyes were sharp, and her tone even sharper.

"Enough of this. What manner of fool are you to leave your Sept, having just acquired it between your trembling claws. Leaving your females in the dust with empty bellies and reaching beyond your power to control? Tell me, T'gerin, how you plan to protect your rights in two Septs so far apart?"

Gerin's lip curled in disdain, his eyes narrowing as he glared at the Elder. "What business is it of yours, old hag? I will claim this Sept, I will plant my seed in all your women, and I will increase my tribe's holdings."


From the corner of her eye, she saw Zahk move to pounce. She gasped, her own body instinctively moving to stop him. Kyrin's hand grabbed her just as another Tia leapt in front of Zahk, physically holding him back.

"No. You will die." T'leera Jhaeren's aged voice was soft, almost pitying. "You are a fool and your Sept is better without your spawn."

A flash of silver shot past, the blade of the dagger buried deep in the woodpost where T'leera's head had been  a moment before. Screams and cries of outrage erupted, those near the Elders filling the area before them protectively, with surges of women and a few Tias rushing forward a few steps toward T'gerin in anger.

"I have no need of your body... or your mind, old woman. Be silent, or once I am Nuhn of this Sept, I will silence you myself."



As one, eyes turned to T'soren, who stood with teeth bared and eyes dark with fury. His fists were clenched tightly, his body nearly trembling with effort.

"You will have your battle, T'gerin Nuhn," he growled. "You will have your battle and I will take great pride in relieving your females of welping your pathetic and foolish kits. I pray Azeyma you have not yet brought any to seed."

He spat on the ground, then marched up to the spear, grasping it firmly in hand, his eyes never leaving Garin's.


T'kyiah watched Garin's faint smirk grow into a self-assured, mocking one as he took the spear in hand just above her father's hand. His gaze did not waver either- and she felt a sudden surge of nausea.


"This.. something..." she blinked, frowning. She shook her head once, as if to dismiss an irritating fly. Something wasn't right. There was a sense, a discomfort...

"Hm?" Kyrin was grinning, clearly amused as he watched the stripling fool that dared challenge their father. He licked his lips, his eyes bright with the eagerness of upcoming battle. He loved to fight, and he was very good at it- but had no desire to assume control from Soren. Not yet. But he did enjoy watching their father in action.

"It is wrong... something,..."


She knelt over, shaking her head. Nothing... nothing obvious portended danger. Save the younger man's arrogance and complete confidence in victory, which only seemed illogical and stupid. Facing one with the renowned skill and strength of T'Soren Nuhn, who had held rights for nearly thirty years and defeated over two hundred challengers during that time, Garin should not be so self-assured.

Unless he was a fool, as grandmother T'leera claimed.

But something... in the pit of her stomach... warned her this one was no fool.

As Challenged, Soren was given rights to weapon choice. As Challenger, Garin was given a Three-Step headstart. Soren chose lances and blades, Garin merely smiled.

At the Pinnacle of the Sun, the moment when Azyema's face was cleaved by the Sunstone mounted atop the Temple of Fire and her light embraced the surrounding Danubrite, casting shards of pure white onto the Arena, T'mahlia Rahl, Priestess of Azyema's Eye, lifted her staff and her voice.

[align=center]"Azyema Watches.

Condor Draws Low.

May the Battle be True.

May the Blood run Pure.

May the Mighty be Victorious.

May the Weak be Crushed.

May Our Descendants rise above our Ancestors."



She paused, looking from Soren to Garin, then back again, her face unreadable.

"T'Soren Nuhn..."

He ducked his head, averting his eyes with respect.

"Claw and Fire," she stated, touching him with her staff, then turned to Garin.

"T'Garin Nuhn..."

He hesitated, then jerked his head slightly, with a brief aversion of his eyes. The sardonic, slightly condescending smirk still touched his lips.

"Claw and Fire." She also touched him with her staff before abruptly stepping away.

"May Azeyma's Will be Done."

She lifted her staff, then struck it once solidly against the massive ornate bronze disc hanging outside the Temple.


At the sound of the metal, both warriors leapt toward the center of the Arena, rushing to be the first to claim the bladed lances buried in the dirt. Despite his head start, Soren's hands gripped his lance first, wrenching it from the ground in a well-practiced arc that caused Garin to leap back. He let out a low curse as he ducked and rolled beneath Soren's follow-up spinning strike, grabbing his own lance and jerking it from its place just in time to block a downward strike that would have cleaved his skull. He spun his lance, shoving Soren's lance away and catching him on the shoulder as he flipped to his feet.

Now armed, he grinned broadly, gripping his lance with both hands parallel to the ground.


T'kyiah watched silently from the sidelines, T'kyrin at her shoulder. They had seen many of these battles, many defeats, much bloodshed- but each time Soren had emerged victorious, and the challenging Tia bloodied, injured, but living.  Shame had only come to those that shamed themselves- T'soren had never treated any of his opponents with insult.

Defeated opponents treated fairly and with respect, he taught, generated the same. The more allied Tia, the more defense for females and children, and the stronger the Sept.

But this one...


She swallowed, watching her father. The tightness of his face, the coldness in his eyes, the economy of his strikes... This one might be different. It was one thing to challenge as a Tia, seeking to make one's mark on the tribe. Seeking to have those that carry on your name and blood. It was quite another to have a tribe- yet seek to claim another out of greed.

T'garin had only been Nuhn of the Southern Sept for four full moon cycles. And rumor had it, the defeated Nuhn had been sickly.

T'soren and T'zakh's Sept was one of the strongest, and largest, Condor Septs in the Sagolii. The Elders were wise, the women were happy,  the Nuhn compatible, the Tias well-treated and the children well-fed and healthy. There was no reason to attempt to lay claim to their Sept by another Nuhn.

Success by Garin would only weaken it.

The Elders knew this, the women knew this, but most of all- T'Soren knew this. And, it was something that, as Nuhn, neither he nor Zahk could allow.  And as Challenged, it was up to T'soren to deal with it. This one... could not be permitted to continue.


She reached out, squeezing Kyrin's hand, her eyes riveted to the battle. He squeezed back, absently rubbing his thumb over the back of her hand.

"It will be fine, Kyiah. Father will succeed. This one has no chance."

"I'm afraid."

"Why?!" he laughed. "By the Twelve, look at him!"

She shook her head. "I know. I can't explain it, but I..."

He looked at her, his eyes worried. "Are you are dreaming again?"

She looked away quickly, shrugging. "Maybe. I don't know. I don't remember..."

He sighed, squeezing again, casting a grin her way. "Have faith in Azyema, Aya. This one is weak and foolish. He lacks skill- look!"

She saw. She saw Soren catch Garin's staff, flipping it out of his hands before spinning back to blurred spin-strike his gut, back of his knees, and throat. Garin crumpled face-first into the dirt, gagging and vomiting. Soren stood over him, bladed end angled at the younger's neck.


"You never should have come, Garin," his voice carried, despite his whisper.

He convulsed, his eyes raising to stare up into Soren's face defiantly. His eyes flickered to the crescent blade at his neck, then up to Soren, grinning slowly.

T'kyiah could tell by his lip movement he said something, but the wind carried the words away. Her brow furrowed as she looked up at Kyrin for insight-

Just in time to see the shock explode on his face and gasp jerk his body.


Kyiah whipped her head back around to see both males now on the dirt, scrabbling for purchase and blood flowing freely. Soren's lance was out of reach, and the sunlight caught the flash of daggers.


"He threw something into his face..."

She took a few steps forward, but Kyrin's hand held her back.

"Dirt?" She sniffed the air, then frowned. "N-"

"No," he agreed. "It was fine and sparkled... and seemed to go directly to his face. Kyiah, come back."

She resisted, her eyes darkening as she watched the two bodies wrestling.

"Kyiah-" he jerked, but she flipped her wrist, breaking his grip without a thought.


She moved quickly toward Zahk. "Do something."

His face was tight, his tail and ears stiff and his muscles bunched with desire to do just that. "I... can not," he ground out between clenched teeth.

"You know it is not a true challenge!"

His dark, mismatched eyes dropped to her face, boring into her own eyes with an intensity that made her step back. "It was accepted by Soren! By the Twelve, Kyiah- don't you think I would stop it if I could?! But he accepted-"

He sucked in a deep breath through his teeth, then forced it out, his eyes once more on the fight. His voice was low and angry, but the intense fury had been replaced my dull resignation.

"He accepted and there is nothing I can do."

Kyiah shoved him hard enough to make him sway before turning away.

"Coward," she hissed.


His hand was lightning fast, grabbing her upper arm and whipping her around. His face dark with anger and pain. "NEVER... never call me that- you know perfectly well I'm not."

He shook her violently once, rattling her teeth.

"I am bound," he hissed, inches from her face. "There is nothing I can do."

He paused, his voice and grip softening a bit. "But I assure you, T'kyiah Soren... if Garin survives this night, I will make him regret his birth."

She jerked her arms free, shooting him a glare. "If my father dies tonight, it will not be your blade that ends him."

"He will not die-"

She just shook her head, waving him off, her eyes set on her next quarry.


Priestess Mahlia still stood by the gong, the other Elders clustered near her watching silently. Kyiah looked from face to face, then up to Mahlia. Her face was impassive as she watched the battle raging before her. She did not even acknowledge Kyiah's approach.

"Do something!"

The Elder's grey eyes were calm, emotionless as she continued to watch the fight. "It is in Azyema's hands."

"This is not a fair battle!"

"Azyema knows."

"So you will do nothing?!"

Her eyes flickered to the other Elders, but there was no response.

"It is in Azyema's hands." Mahlia's elderly eyes slid from the fight to land on Kyiah's face. "If Soren Nuhn is meant to succeed, he will succeed. Deception or not."

A myriad of emotions warred for supremacy over her face. "You toothless old crone..." she hissed, then glared at the others, gesturing angrily. "All of you! You know wh-"

"Kyiah!" Kyrin spun her around, his green eyes dark with anger. "You can't speak-"

She jerked herself free, glaring at him a moment before looking back at the Priestess.

"There is no honor in this. Azyema will hide her fac-"

"Have faith in Azyema, young one..." Mahlia smiled benevolently.

"I have faith, but that does not mean I am blind or-"

At that moment, a scream pierced the air.


She immediately looked to the two entwined on the bloodied earth. Neither moved for a moment, then Garin's body fell off of Soren's. Both lay side by side for several long moments as the cloud of dust settled onto the bodies and the ground. A few whimpers broke the silence, quickly shushed. A burble of soft voices, likewise silenced.

T'kyiah stepped forward, scanning the scene. From her periphery, she could both see and sense several others also moving hesitantly towards the two males. Her half-siblings, a few of the women, Zahk...

Kyli's hand touched her back briefly before he moved ahead of her.

Garin's chest heaved in a great gasp, then laughed.


The night was silent in shock for several moments, save the steadily rising laughter of T'garin.

Then a mournful, disbelieving howl of denial shattered it, followed by several more as all around them as the stunned Sept slowly accepted the outcome. Zahk leap forward, shoving paralyzed people out of the way. Kyiah let out a cry of shock and horror as she rushed forward herself, unable to believe what seemed to be true, but was stopped by Kyrin's arm as the swarms of others suddenly engulfed them. His arms wrapped around her waist, holding her tightly against his chest as they were buffeted from all sides, ignoring her as she kicked his shins, hit his arms and peeled at his fingers. Cries and screams, yells and a few yips filled the air. From somewhere  to her left, a keening cry rose and fell, followed by sobbing.

Garin was picked up, dusted off, and carried away to have his wounds cared for. A chunk of the crowd followed, consisting mostly of her half-sibling females. Many of Soren's females hovered around in clusters, their eyes wide with shock. The Elders remained in a huddle, conversing quietly with furrowed brows while Grandmother Leera stood stoically gazing at the still form of her son.


Kyiah sucked in a deep breath, grabbed both of Kylin's ears from behind her and stomped solidly on his foot with her sandal heel, jerking downward. He let out a yowl of pain, immediately releasing her in lieu of keeping his ears attached and she rushed forward. She collapsed at Soren's side, her fingers skittering over his blood and sweat slick flesh.

"Apa... Apa Soren..." she touched his eyes, his cheeks, his mouth. She placed her palm on his chest, felt the faint staccato of his struggling heart, though she could not hear or feel his breath when she leaned her ear to his face. A strangely sweet odor drifted upward, a faint glimmer of iridescence atop the faint discoloration to his skin.

She frowned peering intently at his face.

"Apa Soren... I-"

His hand suddenly gripped her  forearm tightly. His eyes fluttered open momentarily.


His hand fell slack.

She gasped, lifting his eyelid but his iris was already expanding in death. She sucked in an unsteady breath, a faint crease forming between her eyes.

She felt Kyrin drop to a crouch at her side, still rubbing his ears ruefully as he stared at the man who'd sired him.

"He is gone," he murmured after several moments.

"I know."

She heard him shift slightly. "The Elders are waiting to take his body."

"His eyes were blue."

There was a pause, then, "What?"

"Blue. His eyes were blue." She slowly looked up at her twin. "Just after he died... they were blue. Bright blue."


"Come closer-" she jerked his pants leg, her eyes back onto their father. "Do you smell it? And his skin. " She ran her fingers along Soren's cheek, then angled her hand toward her brother. "Grainy."

"He was blinded by something. Yes- but-"

She shook her head once, firmly, her voice low. "I will kill him."

"That is not your place."

"Spawn take 'my place,' Ryn," she snapped.

"T'kyiah," he said warningly. "Don't."

She sighed, remaining quiet for a several long moments as she studied her father.

"I will not lie with him," she stated evenly.

Kyrin jerked in surprise, then let out a short laugh. "Kyiah... that-"



She snapped her head up to see Garin standing at the doorway of the medical lodge. His head and ribs were bandaged, and his arms and torso glistened with the application of salve. She narrowed her eyes.

"Leave that corpse and come celebrate your new Nuhn."

She gazed at him a moment, then returned her attention to Soren. She ran her fingers down his eyelids, closing them fully.

"I said.." he raised his voice to one of command. "Come celebrate your new Nuhn!"

Kyiah traced the line of his jaw, the planes of his face. The pain still pierced her heart, disbelief filling her mind, and anger surging through her being. She heard Garin approaching, but ignored it as she wiped a thread of blood from the corner of Soren's mouth.

"Leave her alone," Kyrin's growl was dangerous. He had not moved from his position at her side.

"You dare speak to me Tia?" The sneer was thick in his tone. "Get away from her- she is mine."

She stiffened, her fists curling slightly just as Kyrin sprang up with teeth bared.

"You -really- don't want to challenge me," Garin smirked, his hand resting against Kyrin's chest, his nails slowly digging into her twin's skin.



His words were cut off as Garin's body was suddenly knocked free, slamming against the sand with Zakh crouched over him, his hands at his throat.

"This one is NOT yours." His growl was so low, it was almost indiscernible. "Come near her again, and I will rip your ba-"

"Zahk," she touched his shoulder. "Ryn... it's alright," she said softly. She slowly over into Garin's face, struggling to not show the utter revulsion she felt on hers.

"Let him up."

"Yes, Zahkie... obey the pretty girl. Let me up."

Zahk slammed his head once more into the ground, then  stood, shooting Kyiah a glare as Garin slowly stood. He took his time dusting himself off.

"Go away."

He blinked, then smiled, looking at Kyrin and Zahk. "Yes, boys... go away."


"I was talking to you," she smiled coolly, her voice still soft as she stared at Garin. "I cannot bear your face right now."

His face froze, then darkened, his hand suddenly rising to grip her face. She heard the immediate growls by her side, but she held her hand out in restraint, meeting Garin's gaze with a glare of her own. "Fine. I will give you now. But tonight, you will bear more than that."

He released her face roughly, then spun on his heel and stalked back into the medical lodge.


Kyiah watched him go, her body unmoving. Zahk crouched by her side, his own eyes following Garin until he disappeared into the lodge. He did not look at her for a long moment, his jaw working soundlessly, then turned to her, touching her shoulder lightly. "I... am sorry, Kyiah."

She nodded once, looking back at the cooling corpse of her father. She waved for him to go.

"I know. You were bound."

"I... was," he whispered, then sighed, rising. "But no more."

Kyrin halted Zakh with a hand, his voice low. "Don't do anything stupid."

He grunted, nodding once, moving past her twin. "He is safe. Tonight."


The Nuhn tossed his head to look back at Kyrin with a frown.

"It is not your place. Comfort the women."

Zahk grunted again, then nodded once, his eyes flickering to Kyiah, before heading back to his lodge.


"I will not lie with him," she stated again, her voice still quiet.

"I don't think he is one to leave you much of a choice, Kyiah," Kyrin's voice was just as soft.

"There are always choices."

"Yes, there is Zakh..."

She shook her head, lifting her fingers and rubbing them together.  "Zakh has nothing to do with this."

She slowly turned to Kyrin and smiled.

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She lifted her head to smile at the Elder standing at the door. Now pure white of hair and fur, Grandmother Leera looked and carried herself with every bit of the grace and carriage of one befitting her rank. Or former rank... Kyiah was no longer quite certain what changes the Sept would face now.


"Ypah," she nodded once, gesturing for her to take a seat.

The Elder angled her head to the side. "My time is done," she said quietly without preamble. "It is time I took to the desert."

Kyiah stilled, her eyes wide. "N-no. We need you-"

"No, child." She smiled, reaching out to lay a hand on the younger's knee. "My time is done. Soren was my son, his rank gave me mine. Garin is now Nuhn in his place, and I am obsolete."

"No. You are not." She narrowed her eyes at the Elder. "Now more than ever, we need guidance and wisdom. Garin will not produce worthy males- or females. T'reyah Bekh cannot bear Prime alone. Our Sept will suffer and die."


A slow smile touched her mouth as she leaned forward. "Little one, do you truly believe Garin's right will stand? Your brother-"

She rolled her eyes, shaking her head. "My brother is still young."

"Soren was near his age when he took Nuhn."

She frowned. "I cannot imagine Kyrin as Nuhn, Ypah."

Leera laughed. "Of course you can't, Kyiah. He has, and always will be, your brother. Your twin." She tapped the younger Miqo'te's knee, nodding with a knowing smile. "But he would be a good one."

"Well then... he will need your guidance," she set her jaw, gazing at Leera pointedly.

"T'shara can offer it."

"Mother is foolish. She is not like you, Ypah. And Reyah is still learning herself."


A shadow crossed the Elder's face, followed by a faint smile. "My time is done. The young must lead. That is the natural way of it."

"Then she will be Prime Elder- but you, and the other Elders... you have led us well. You have made us strong!" Kyiah grabbed her grandmother's hands tightly, squeezing. "Please, Ypah. If you must go, then I respect that. But... wait. Wait until the Sept is secure."

Leera hesitated, then sighed. "It will take time."

"And you seek Azyema's face so eagerly?"

A faint smile as she touched the young Miqo'te's face. "My precious child... Did you know you and your brother were among my son's most prized?"

She frowned uncomfortably, leaning into her grandmother's palm. "I am glad, but..."

"You should be, hm? You are special, Kyiah. I saw it from the moment of your birth. Set apart. You both were. Soren saw it too," she smiled. "And not only because you were twins, which was already a sign of Azyema's blessing of growth on a Sept." She nodded, patting her cheek. "Kyrin is meant to be Nuhn like is father."

Leera paused, smiling a bit more. "He is very much like him, you know. He and Zakh will work well together to help the Sept grow in not only strength, but wisdom and restraint."


She suddenly fixed her gaze on Kyiah's eyes, her long fingers gripping the younger's chin firmly. "But you. You are not meant to be Zakh... or Garin's mate."

Her eyes flashed as her face hardened, pulling away to lean against the lodgepost. She crossed her arms over her chest. "That is fortunate. For the moment that Dust-sucker touches me will be his last."

Leera snorted a laugh. "He has called for you... to his tent."

She let out a short, wry laugh, smirking up at her grandmother with an arched brow. "Tent?"

The Elder's grin matched hers. "Do you think any of us would allow him to lie among Soren's possessions? He gained breeding rights- not property rights."

"Are they not the same thing in his eyes?" Her tone was dry, disdainful.


Leeta blinked slowly, her voice low and even. "Hmm. Azyema has decreed Five Suns."

"That is enough time to cause damage."

She inclined her head, looking away. "Most of the women are... indisposed. Many claim the Rite of Passing. Your siblings, however, are... foolish. I cannot say what they will do."

Kyiah frowned, flicking a bug off her knee. "I can. They have no more restraint than a rabbit in heat."

She narrowed her eyes, looking back at her grandmother. "Well, I will not lie with him. I don't care what he demands."

The Elder Miqo'te laughed, sitting back to gaze at her with a contemplative smile. "Hmm. Yet it is his right. He is not one to be dissuaded."

She nudged Kyiah's foot with her own. "He is not T'zakh."


"Zakh knows he must earn the right." She flashed her a teasing grin, then sobered. "Garin cheated. Apa's eyes were blue. His skin smelled of Sopora and his blood was thick and sticky."

She raised her eyebrows. "Poison?"

A firm nod. "I suspect a toxin applied to his dagger blade and ground up hallucinogenic herbs. It was not a fair battle. Garin had lost. Fairly. Soren had him at the tip of his lance. He should have spared momentary mercy and driven it through his neck."

She paused, the bitterness in her voice easing to a frank, even tone. "I will not bear the child of a coward and cheat. I will not carry his line out."

"Hm... So what will you do?"

Her grandmother's tone was light, thoughtful, and still slightly amused.

Kyiah gave her a cool smile. "I will meet with him."

Her eyebrows rose in surprise. "Will you?"

"Yes. If he thinks he is well enough to seek my company in his bed..." She rose, dusting her breeks and tunic off. "Then he is well enough to prove it."

"T'garin Nuhn!"

The sky was velvet black, sprinkled liberally with a billion gemstones, the desert animals quiet, and the scented smoke of Soren's funeral procession still thick in the air. The cold wind whipped around her small form, loosening her long hair from its bindings and snapping her sleeveless tunic dress around her waist. She had waited until most of the tribe had left for the Passing Ceremony at his scaffold on the Mesa, having said her own farewell to her father hours ago as the Priestesses prepared his body for Condor.


"T'garin Nuhn!" she called again, standing in the middle of the Arena, her bare toes resting on the blood of her father. The sand was already dry, but she could still imagine its sticky warmth on her skin. She buried her toes a bit deeper, the coolness of it her father's touch giving her courage.

The flap of the drab tent moved, then a scowling face emerged, still wrapped in a bandage.

"I am here, you idiot."

"I am aware."

"Then get in here and do your duty!"

Her eyes lightened as she shook her head once. It was all she could do to keep her voice light and swallow the growl that threatened. "If you want me, you must take me."

He snickered, baring his teeth. "Oh, I'll take you, you can be sure of that, you little minx..."

Kyiah smiled a bit, lifting her hands slightly. "Then come, T'garin. Claim what you have won."



She snapped her head around, impaling Kyrin with a glare. He was still in the shadow of the lodge, out of view of Garin- but would not be for long. 

"What are you doing here?! Stay out of this," she hissed. Her heart started pounding, her attention snapping back to Garin.

"What are you-"

"Go back, Kyr," she ground out between clenched teeth. Her eyes flickered to see T'Leera slip out of her lodge and take Kyrin by the arm, murmuring to him. He shook his head, turning as if to resist- then stilled. She saw him swallow, cast a final look toward her, then nod once with a lifted hand.

She smiled faintly, letting out a sigh of relief as she gave a minute nod. She gave him the responding signal where her hand lay at her side, then returned her gaze back to the tent flap.


Garin's lanky form unfolded from the low tent, his face mixed with annoyance and an odd excitement. "Are you to be my next challenge, then?"

He smirked, moving toward her. "Is this what I have to look forward to every time I claim you?"

Kyiah merely watched him, smiling minutely, her tail swishing slowly back and forth.

"If so... I might not leave until you are swollen with my get," his smile was lecherous, the annoyance all but gone. His eyes raked over her, nodding slowly. "You'll breed very well, I think..."

She felt her fingers curl, her muscles tensing in disgust and anger, but forced it down. He could not see, he could not know...

Two can play.

Her tail swished teasingly as she angled her head to the side, her ears flattening in what she hoped he interpreted as submission as she extending a leg from the long slit in her tunic that extended to her hip.

Just a few steps more.

He took another step- then two, his musk rising to poison the air around him.

She fluttered her eyes, then suddenly dug her toe deeper into the sand, flipping a slender pole into the air. She caught it effortlessly with one hand, spun it and locked it in defensive position one behind her in less than a second.


He blinked.

She smiled.

"What is this?!"

"Mmm... A game." She wrinkled her nose, still smiling.

He narrowed his eyes, fighting a smirk. "A game? Pretty girls shouldn't play with sticks."

"Really?" She smiled slowly, running her tongue over the tips of her teeth.

"Well... not -those- type of sticks..." He smirked. "Those type are liable to hurt pretty girls."

"Hmm... Maybe I want to be hurt."

He raised his eyebrows, then laughed. "It's like that, hm?"

Her eyes lost their teasing, though she continued to smile. "It's like that."


Garin considered her a long moment, then shook his head with a grin. "Another time, my pet. I have fought enough today."

He extended his hand, wiggling his fingers. "Come, I have another game we can play."

"Oh. That's right. It is all about you, isn't it?"

His grin broadened. "Yes, it is. That's my right and my privilege."

She whipped the staff around, catching it in both hands and cracked his extended wrist.



She spun the staff over her head, aiming to crack him across the temple- but miscalculated his pained hunch over his broken wrist. The staff whistled harmlessly over his head, but caught his knees as she dropped, flipping him backwards. She sprang up, catching the body of the staff in her other hand, the weapon angled across her body, her eyes dark.

He glared up at her, his face twisted in fury, his teeth bared in pain as his gripped his wrist, his feet scrabbling to sit upright. "I earned my right- I fought and won. You are MINE!"

"No." She snapped the staff to his chest, shoving him down, then snapping it up to his chin, stopping just under it. She smirked, using the tip to raise his eyes to meet hers more directly. "You fought and won... by cheating. Perhaps you earned the right to bed some of my more desperate half-sisters here, but you have yet to earn the right to touch me. And I will not bear the spawn of a creature such as you!"

She jerked the end up, knocking his head back against the dirt.


"I will have you if I must have you bound and spread before me," he growled, rolling over onto his elbow, his eyes dangerous.

"Try." Her grin was feral.

"Azyema chose ME as Nuhn! You dare defy the Goddess-"

She flipped the staff, bringing it down in a move that would have fractured his skull, or at least his nose, if she hadn't stopped mere inches above. "I defy nothing. You insult the Goddess by trying to take more than you have been given. You compound that by sinking to devious means. You dishonor your bloodline and your Sept. You have harmed this Sept and brought misery to all here. You deserve NOTHING from us." She paused, baring her teeth. "And you will get nothing from me."


She saw the telltale shift in his eye a fraction of a moment before his hand snapped out to grab her ankle. As it was, he caught her just enough to make her stumble and have to catch herself with her staff.

He darted forward, striking like a scorpid to grab her tunic hem with his good hand. She stepped back, snapping the end of her staff across his arm, then snapkicked his face. His nose exploded in blood.

"Touch me again, and I will not hold back."

"Give me a staff and I'll teach you to strike your betters, you little-"

She laughed once. "Unfortunately, it is not my place or duty to do the same. I leave that to others. But my body is my own, and a cheating worm like yourself has no claim over it."

"I will have you!" He yowled, slamming his good fist on the dirt, his other hand clamped to his pouring nose.

She spun on her heel, her tail swishing once. "Hm... I think not."

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She crept into his lodge, carefully avoiding the scattered minutiae of his life. He lay curled on his side, his face lax in sleep, his blanket half kicked off. She smiled, kneeling next to his pallet, watching him with a slightly cocked head. He sighed deeply, shifting briefly before resettling into his dreams. She placed a gentle hand on his head, running her fingers through his thick mop of hair, then slowly began stroking his ear. She grinned a bit more as it twitched and his eyes sprang open. His smile reflected hers as he rolled onto his back, pulling her with him.


"Kyiah... what-"

"Five suns, Kyrin. Prepare yourself."

"I don't understand..."

"Garin." She leaned closer, resting her forehead against his as she gazed into his eyes. Her voice dropped to a barely discernible whisper. "Beware the dust. I have made you a potion and soaked a cactaur pad in it to counteract his poison. Place the pad in the side of your mouth and bite it when he strikes. Have the potion near you to drink at the end." She paused, then smiled, her voice still soft.  "You are Apah's heir..."

She placed her palm on his cheek. "You, not Garin, and Zakh will lead this Sept."


A trace of a smile touched his lips as he dropped his gaze, then met her eyes again. "And what of you, my sister?"

She smiled, running her thumb along the markings along his cheekbone. "My path lies away from here."

Kyrin jerked back a bit, his voice rising slightly. "Away?"

She nodded once, looking back into his eyes. "I have dreamed it."

"So you have been dreaming..." his brow furrowed slightly.

She hesitated, then nodded, rolling away to stare up at the stars through the flap in the roof. "Both waking and at rest. Glimpses, sensations..." She swallowed, "But not of here."



She looked at him, placing her fingers over his mouth. "No. You know as well as I do that I do not belong here. Father trained us both. I was never meant to be a breeder. At least, not right now. He knew that," she smiled faintly. "He always knew. As does Ypah..."

He frowned, turning and grabbing her around the waist, pulling her against him. "I don't want you to go."

She smiled, leaning up to kiss his nose. "I know. But you'll have more than you can handle here when you are Nuhn."

"I'll miss you."

She smiled. "I'll miss you too. We have always done everything together, hm? We have always had each other... But in this, our paths diverge."

He sighed, resting his head back against his pallet again. "When will you go?"

"My chocobo is ready. All I have left is to say goodbye to you."


His eyes met hers, then closed. "Where will you go?"

"Ul'dah. Then catch a ship to Gridania."

He jerked, swallowing. "Why so far, Aya?" His voice sounded breathless and weak.

"My dream..." she whispered, her own voice catching in her throat. She cleared it.

"My dream is o-of green forests and whispering trees... and faces in shadow that I must meet."

He suddenly hugged her tightly, burying his face in her shoulder. He sucked in a deep breath, then let it out after a moment. "You will return though?"

She laughed, though her heart ached. "Of course I will."

She paused, then said softer, stroking his back, blinking back tears. "Of course I will, Ryn."


He looked up, meeting her eyes. A smile lifted the corner of his mouth as he gently brushed away an errant tear. "And you will be safe?"

She arched her eyebrow, laughing once to cover her discomfort at being caught. "I can't promise that, but I will do my best and I will return to see T'Kyrin Nuhn. So don't screw it up, hm?"

He flashed her a grin, then nodded once, his eyes somber. "Just remember: I love you, Aya. No matter where you go, or what you do, I am here an- and I will always be here."

She smiled, the emotion choking her momentarily. She swallowed again, feeling the tears burning her eyes again, but this time, she didn't mind. She smiled brushing away tear as it ran down the corner of his eye.

"Until we meet again," he said softly.

She nodded. "Until then, Ryn. I love you too."



Lest anyone think dark thoughts, this is not GoT & they are not Lannisters. As twins, they are just close in the natural way of two that grew up doing everything together.

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