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Dusty Danger Discovered [story, ooc welcome]

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((Copy-pasta'd from RP done in the CRA's IC chatbox))




Though chocobos didn't sweat and didn't require a great deal of water, it still seemed wise to pause at the small oasis just inside the border of central Thanalan to give them a chance to rest and drink or eat if they needed. Antimony settled herself against a small mound of rocks facing the shallow lake and took a drink from her water skin. A short distance away, cactuar rambled about through the short shrubs, and impossibly massive toads lumbered in the water. "I suppose it takes at most five years to become accustomed to a new climate," she mused to Ulanan, leaning her head back against the stone.


Ulanan was holding the reins of the chocobos. Not because she could exercise any meaningful weight on them if they tried to escape, but because rented chocobos were trained to go back to their keeper as soon as they were let free. She watched as the birds drank from the water while she answered Antimony. "I cannot say. I was born in Ul'dah, so I'm mostly resilient to the heat."


Chuckling, Antimony brushes a bit of sweaty, grey hair from her forehead. "It seems somewhere along the line, I lost that." Closing her eyes, she rubbed at one thigh, working out some of the kinks. Her thoughts flitted to what could be closing the distance behind them, and to distract herself she said, "Are you afraid of heights?"


"I hike away from heinously high hills. I fear my feet will go head over heels and make me roll out of control.  And then I will be eaten by a peiste." she added, chuckling.


Opening her eyes to smile at Ulanan, Antimony took another sip from her water skin, feeling older than she had in a while. The damn desert. "Ah, a fair warning, then. You may want to stay near the middle of Limsa's roads. It's built right into and around cliffs, you know." Her eyes crinkle at the corners. "Just don't look down. Or stay on the lower decks, I suppose."


The lalafell was confused for a second. "No railings?"


"Oh there are! Mostly."


She made a face. "Surely because pirates pleasure theirselves by pushing people to their pummeling deaths. "


Antimony's expression mirrored Ulanan's for a moment before she laughed. "Somehow I... don't think that is unlikely. Sadly. But as long as you don't go down any corners on your own, you should be fine."


"It sounds like a sorrowful site."


"I suppose, but it's not all bad. The markets are... lively. And it has the best fish I've ever eaten." She blinked at Ulanan and then gestured with her water skin. "You should drink."


Ulanan agreed, nodding, and took her canteen out. "Have you lived long in Limsa Lominsa?"


Leaning back against the rocks again, Antimony let out a breath and set the water skin down next to her. "Since the Calamity," she said simply after a moment. "I arrived when it was still being rebuilt."


"Ah." Ulanan looked thoughtful. She nodded, afterwards. "I understand." She tilted her head backwards and took a drink of her canteen. "So their fish are good? All we have here are orobons. And then some more orobons. Not counting the orobons. And did I mention the orobons? I must not forget the orobons."


"I'm sure they're better than sandworms and peiste," Antimony chuckled quietly. "But yes. It is on the ocean, after all. All the fresh fish you could possibly want. I never realized I liked fish before living in Limsa!" Her laugh was a bit too loud following that.


"I find fish fit and fine as food for folks who find fish a feasible food." She then frowned, looking up to the sky and mumbled "Well, that was a useless thing to say!"


"Do you not like fish?" She paused and shook her head. "I don't suppose much of this conversation has been very useful."


Ulanan jerked the chocobos' leashes in an exagerated raising of her arms. "It was like saying 'People who are people are people who are people!'. Or 'hiding your hideous husband by hanging him from a hook is hiding your hideous husband by hanging him from a hook!"


Antimony's eyes widened slightly. "Why would that even be a... thing...?"


The lalafell turned around with a straight face but confused eyes. "Why what would what?"


"Uhm." Blinking rapidly in confusion, Antimony watched Ulanan for several seconds before shaking her head. "Nevermind. I must've misheard. This heat.."


"You should have brought a hat."


Holding her hand up to shield her eyes, she squinted towards the sky. "I could have sworn I did... I must have forgotten it during one of my stops on the way to Gridania."


Ulanan walked to her chocobo and spent a few moments rummaging through the side bag it was carrying. She took out a large piece of cloth and, after shaking it madly and hitting the center a few times, it resulted to be her wizard hat. “You can use mine."


She tilted her head slightly. "Don't you need that?"


"It's an strategical decision: if you faint, I cannot carry you. If I faint, I'm light enough that you can strap me to the chocobo's back and don't worry about it."


She smiled. "Besides, I can make myself a turban with some of my other clothes."


To anyone listening closely, a subtle shuff can be heard from nearby, sourceless. The chocobo would then become somewhat agitated, for only a moment, before calming significantly. Gradually, they would collapse.


"I'd worry about it, to be sure!" She sighed then, resting her head back against the stone. "I suppose we should get moving again soon, though."


Ulanan was distracted by the briefly restless chocobos. "Our mounts seem to agree."


Bending her legs, Antimony moved to push up against the stone she'd been using as a backrest, pausing to bend down for her water skin. As she did this, she spoke, "Eager to be on the road again, hm? I doubt they'll think the same an hour from now." She chuckled lowly at that.


The lalafell walked towards Antimony. The chocobos followed behind, their heads lowering more and more. "They surely are used to carrying strangers across scorched roads."


"Used to it perhaps," Antimony mused as she straightened, dusting off the back of her robe with one hand. "But do they enjoy it?" Turning towards Ulanan, she adjusted her glasses slightly and frowned. "They don't look rested."


She turned around just in time to see one of the chocobos trip on his feet and collapse to the ground like a yellow sack of olives. The other apparently thought that was a great idea, and did the same. Ulanan, on the other hand, frowned.


Antimony took a step back, brow furrowing deeper in concern. "They didn't seem sick when they handed them off to us at Drybone..."


"Precaution." the tiny woman mumbled as she reached for her wand. "Go behind that rock of yours for a moment."


Antimony's lips twitched. "What--You think it's... already?" There was no hiding the nervousness in her tone, but she complied with Ulanan's instruction, moving around a partial outcropping jutting out next to where she'd been sitting.


Remembering the last time she faced an assassin, Ulanan immediately cast a protective spell on herself. "I highly doubt it was the heat."


A few moments would pass after Antimony went behind the rock, before another subtle shuff could be heard and a poisoned dart would smash against Ulanan's ward.


Antimony chanced a tentative, worried peek around the edge of the stone towards Ulanan before shifting back behind it. Her hands moved to clutch her staff in front of her.


A small hexagon of aether materialized in the way of the projectile, a few inches beyond Ulanan's body. A ring of fire formed around the tip of her wand, and she let loose a fire spell in the direction the shield had materialized, hoping the assailant would not take his chances and move, revealing his position.


From the scrub-brush where Ulanan threw her fire, a lithe body is briefly revealed, wrapped in brown and tan linen from head to toe and throwing dust. The scrub brush bursts into small, fast-dying fires and blackened debris as the tan-wrapped form moves swiftly to try and disappear from sight again, a dark-colored tail briefly whipping into the air and vanishing. Behind the rock, Antimony flinched at the woosh of fire from Ulanan's spell and flicked her eyes about the space in front of her nervously.


The thaumaturge pushed her wand swiftly forward, not wasting time in charging any spell. An elemental-less aetheric charge was sent towards the moving figure in the distance. The aetheric charge came faster than expected, and instead of dodging, this time the tan-clad figure pops up and cuts the attack out of the air with an aether-charged knife. The male miqo'te is still mostly unseeable in the garb that camouflages him and protects him from the desert. Even his eyes are hidden in the shadow of his wraps. He continues to retreat as, from another direction, there's a louder and more sudden twang, and an arrow flying in Ulanan's direction.


Ulanan's shield intercepted the arrow, a small hexagonal section of it breaking like glass but stopping the arrow mid-flight. She raises her focus, rushing magical energy towards herself.


Antimony pressed herself close against the stone as though she could meld with it, hearing the commotion beyond but entirely unsure how to help Ulanan.


As Ulanan turns her attention to defense, the male miqo'te she had uncovered vanishes again. The one who had fired the arrow remains unseen. Briefly, movement can be heard from either side, and then nothing.


Swallowing, Antimony took a few breaths to steady herself in the sudden silence and then said in hardly more than a whisper, "Ulanan?"


The lalafell dropped her arms, but the aetheric charge in her remained. "Don't move!" she yelled to Antimony and just stood there, wand gripped tightly in her hand.


Things would remain still and silent for several long seconds. Afterward, there would be a loud twang from where the archer had stopped moving and an arrow would come flying out of the shrub brush at a low angle, heading directly for Ulanan's face. From the other, there would be quick and very audible movement, a tan-clothed body lunging through the brush to skirt around Ulanan at a distance, heading at an angle to where Anti is hiding.


Antimony pushed back into the crack of jutting rock as much as she could, eyes wide. She could hear movement but couldn't tell where it was going.


The arrow smashed against another section of the magical shield, weakening it further. Ulanan cast another quick, shapeless spell at the place the arrow had came from and quickly prepared to cast another one. Where Ulanan cast a fresh spell, a Miqo'te, like the first one but thinner, could be seen moving briefly in the brush. He fired another arrow and does not try to conceal himself again, just moving to notch another while the first Miqo'te turns suddenly to run directly parallel to Antimony's hiding spot. Dully-colored darts flick into his hands, toxin gleaming on their tips. He moved so that he could get a clear vantage on Antimony. With no where to really go, Antimony crouched down suddenly, holding her staff in front of her as though it were a shield.


Ulanan shouted at the archer, growing tired of thinking tactically and just deciding to fling large splashing fire bolts towards him until he stops moving. "Linen clothes are NOT acceptable GARMENTS FOR A WEDDING!"


The archer continued to move, of course, only now he did it in lieu of firing completely, dashing to avoid Ulanan's onslaught. He did not seem to have any thoughts on the virtues of linen clothes at weddings, but it was probably for the best. The other got Antimony in his sights and flung three darts in her direction: sharp, long, poison-tipped needles.


Dropping her staff, Antimony threw herself to the ground fully with a grunt, though one of the needles grazed across an ear with a sharp, briefly burning sting.


Ulanan changed fire for ice when she was about to run out of aether, and kept flinging spells at the archer and yelling about wedding ettiquette. "Maids of honor will wear light blue! The best man will wear black or dark red! LINEN CLOTHS ARE FORBIDDEN!"


The archer continued to run, trying to keep clear of Ulanan's ice blasts, all the while wondering what the crazy thing was yelling about. Eventually, he would take a hit, though, and be encumbered by the chill. Over by Antimony, another series of darts flew unhindered from the first Miqo'te's hands. The first dart thunked softly into the sand in front of Antimony, and she stared at it wide-eyed, keeping her body pressed flat against the ground, only to feel a needling sting in her shoulder as the second dart found its target. The third brushed over her back and knocked uselessly against the rock behind her.


The lalafell moved her hands in a circle, transfusing the elemental ice charged around her into fire and, ignoring the encumbered archer for a moment, cast a bigger fire bolt at the dart flinging man. The miqo'te throwing the darts flung what is left of them at Ulanan, though a number of them were knocked aside by the fireball. He spun, avoiding the brunt of the blast, but came away with visibly burnt clothing. The man whistled loudly, a sound that was returned from his compatriot. The ice-encumbered Miqo'te dropped to the ground and began to retreat, while the other took more darts from his belt and focuses on Ulanan.


"I'm at least killing one of you!" the lala yelled, and turned around, throwing a volley of fire towards the archer.


Antimony shifted a bit sluggishly on the ground behind the rock, attempting to move one hand up to her shoulder to pull out the dart. The action was slow and uncoordinated, however, and her hand dropped back to the sand as her eyes rolled back into her head


The Miqo'te with the darts laid into Ulanan with a veritable torrent, emptying his belt-holster onto her shield and filling the sky between them with the flickering of metal and poison. The one who was crawling away from Ulanan in the brush attempted evade the lalafel’s fire, but could not do so successfully. He was burned where he crawled, and cried out in pain as the fire set alight his clothes and the plants around him.


The darts broke section after section of the shield until almost nothing remained. Ulanan ran as soon as she heard the screaming, evading some of the darts and flinging a quickcast burst towards the attacker.


Behind the rock, Antimony lay still on the ground, having been hit with enough sedative to drop a chocobo - an animal with a great deal more mass than her.


The Miqo'te with the darts continued to lay into Ulanan as she ran. He dashed toward his fallen companion, evading the shot from Ulanan. His accuracy greatly decreased as a result of both of them moving, and most of the darts missed their target now. The thaumaturge, however, kept running. "You are wearing linen clothes!" she yelled angrily. "WHAT DID I SAY ABOUT LINEN CLOTHES?" She stopped to recast the shield.


The darts began to slow as the Miqo'te neared his fallen compatriot, though they do more or less continue. They stopped for a brief moment as the man retrieved the bow and quiver from his fallen companion, though an unexpected flick of darts halfway through the process would keep Ulanan on her toes. What little aether was left on Ulanan's first shield managed to intercept the attack, allowing her to replace it with a new one. She quickcast another shapeless aether bolt towards the attacker. The Miqo'te fired a single arrow before the aether bolt reaches him, knocking him back into the shrub brush not far from his compatriot. He didn’t move when he hit the ground, and the bow fell to one side.


The shield flickered for a brief moment, re-materializing when the arrow was halfway through it. The projectile snaps in half and the head spins and cuts into Ulanan's lower torso. She grunts, the pain bending her downward. The Miqo'te was still on the ground and not moving. He must be hurt. Somebody must have hurt him. Ulanan flung more fire bolts at where he fell, yelling something about how hitting the bride is very rude.


As the fire bolts came at the tall grass, the Miqo'te moved again, and very suddenly. A plethora of darts flew from his hands as he moved aside from the fire balls, skirting the edges so that he was burned but not wounded. And now he's running towards Ulanan.


The shield met the darts, shattering completely. Ulanan prepares to cast an ice spell this time, and shot it towards the oncoming miqo'te.


The Miqo'te ignored the ice spell in favor of getting a few darts thrown viciously past it, at Ulanan. He took the hit hard and was knocked to the side, heavier. Without a shield, however, Ulanan's only choice to avoid being hurt further was to move to the side. She was too slow, though, and one of the darts still struck her. She fell to the ground instantly, the dose being probably too much for a lalafell.


The assailant would not press his attack further. Instead, he would leave Antimony and Ulanan for dead, dragging himself back to his companion and collecting him. As Ulanan's spell wore off of him, he would carry the burned Miqo'te back into the desert. The darts which he used were soaked in a sedative, powerful enough to put a Chocobo to sleep. The nature of sedatives is precarious, though, and that which will put a Chocobo to sleep can do much more to smaller beings. It is enough to put a Miqo'te like Antimony into a coma, and to kill a Lalafel like Ulanan. This would be the case for these two, were it not for a counter-agent that was administered not long after the would-be assassins had been chased off. 


Antimony and Ulanan would be moved into the shade and left to wait out their sleep, their chocobos tied to a nearby shrub so they wouldn't run off upon waking. The mix of sedative and counter-agent would keep them asleep until nightfall. But the assassins did not return to check as they should have. Instead, the larger of the two Miqo'te assassins was busy trying to keep his companion from losing his life to the burns Ulanan had given him. As for who administered to the counter agent to Ulanan and Antimony? A certain hermit, dressed in rags and dirty from the desert, lingered nearby the oasis and watched the moon beginning to rise in the sky.

It was well into night when Antimony finally stirred, a low noise escaping her throat. Several minutes passed before her eyelashes flickered and then cracked open, staring blearily at the ground in front of her without understanding. It took several more minutes for her brain to slowly process the cool, night air and the rough, pebbly ground beneath her, and soon after there came a few slow but coherent thoughts, one of which sent a shock through her that jolted her body upright - too quickly, as she wavered and then toppled back onto her side a bit dizzily. "Ulanan?" she muttered. "Alive..?"


Ulanan seemed perfectly fine except for a bloodstain on her clothes and a small tear, caused by the arrow that hit her, through which bandages could be seen covering the wound. She was, though, knocked out or asleep.


Distracted from the moon, the Duskwight turned his pale gaze over his shoulder. His excellent hearing caught Antimony's muttering, and he watched her in silence for a few moments. He stood about ten meters off, and in the night there was only the sound of wind and bugs about the water. The nearby cactuar had gone still. So his voice carried when he said softly, "You should not move so suddenly. The darts they struck you with were drugged."


Her ears, resting limp against her skull, twitch a bit sluggishly before lying flat and still once more, and Antimony struggles back into an upright position, locking her arm to support herself. She recognized that voice and it left her fearful, especially for Ulanan who she hadn't heard respond to her words. Her head turned towards where the voice had come from, spotting the shadowed form of a tall elezen not far from where they lay. "Are you..." She spoke slowly, working through the lingering effects of the sedative, "... here to finish the job, then?"


The sounds woke Ulanan a bit. She half opend her eyes, but didn’t seem very focused. She mumbled something. "Linen cloths", probably.


"Not at all." He gestured with one palm open to Antimony, "I was no longer welcome in the Shroud after I chose to spare your life. So I decided to wander Thanalan, and Oschon brought me here."


Antimony sighed, shifting on the ground so that she was in a more easily maintained sitting position and moving one hand to her shoulder to rub at the tender spot left from the dart. "I see," she murmured. "So this... man truly wants me dead." The thought made her feel queasy and she glanced wearily towards Ulanan's form. "Is she alright?"


The lalafell woman was having trouble to wake up. Her small frame made the sedative linger longer and far stronger than on the other woman. She was trying, though.


Megiddo let his hands hang limply at his side, and turned his frown to Ulanan, "The toxin will affect her more extensively. I administered a basic antidote, but not knowing more about what she was given, I leave it up to the whims of the Twelve."


Leaning forward to rest her arms on her legs, Antimony cast a sideways look in Megiddo's direction. Her tail shifted to lay limply across her lap. "I see," she repeated and then held her head in her hands, ears drooping further. "Will they return?"


With a shrug, he said, "That depends on several factors I cannot predict. They have been following you ever since you left the shroud, it turns out, and will likely return there. Even if they do not return, there are always others your client could hire."


Ulanan opens her eyes finally, but simply looks around; she's not completely awake yet.


Scooting to one side until she's next to Ulanan, Antimony rested a hand on the lalafel's arm, watching her wake as she process's Megiddo's words. "I... need to get back to Limsa," she finally said in a quiet tone. "My employer will be able to… do something about this." She shook Ulanan's arm gently.


Megiddo nodded deeply, "Of that I have no doubt."


Ulanan spoke, yawning, "Is the wedding over yet?"


Antimony forced a small smile, still feeling as though her body wished to sleep for another year. "No wedding, but the.. they're gone."


Still standing some distance away, Megiddo smiled at Ulanan and said, "Welcome back to Thanalan. You've some sort of poison in your system, but it looks like it's subsiding."


"It's called a husband." she said, still half unconscious.


Antimony blinked at Ulanan for a time, not really understanding.


"Ah," Megs said. And, somewhat delayed, laughed.


Ulanan looked down to the wound in her belly. "I didn't have that before..." Then, she snapped, standing in one jump and yelling. "Ah! Assasins!" The sudden movement and the effects of the sedative made her strumble and fall on her behind. "You need to quit your job" she grumbles.


Megs extended a hand towards Ulanan, "You must be careful. The toxin in your system needs time to expire or you'll simply hurt yourself."


Antimony leaned away from Ulanan at her sudden movement but soon after cast her a worried look. "They're gone," she repeated, though there was a silent 'for now' left in the weight of her silence after. Satisfied that Ulanan wasn't dead or even dying, she dropped her head back to her hands, the tip of her tail twitching slowly in her lap.


Ulanan took Megiddo's hand and used it to pull herself back up. "Hurt!" she said randomly. She then looked at Antimony. "We shouldn't stay here."


"You should rest," Megiddo said, shaking his head slightly. "The two who attacked you are not aware that you have survived. Take this chance to return to full strength."


Rubbing at her head slowly, Antimony nodded - though whether it was to Ulanan's or Megiddo's suggestion wasn’t clear.


Ulanan looks up to Megiddo. "I guess." She squinted and spoke again. "Maybe I should just hire you to escort us intead. I'm doing a terrible job. Because it's not my job. Maybe if I got payed I'd be better because then it would be my job OHHH I'm dizzy again!" and she carefully sat down again.


"Apologies," Antimony finally said. "I'll compensate you for everything when we get to Limsa."


Megiddo watched Ulanan with some mix of pity and respect. "I would say you're doing just fine. If you hadn't so gravely ruined the one, the other wouldn't have been so desperate to flee. They would have finished the job instead of trusting the toxin."


"I'm not asking for money." she growled at Antimony, somewhat offended by the thought. She spoke the duskwight afterwards,"There are only so many wounds I can take, though."


"It would only be right that I give you something for your trouble," Antimony retortedthough without much energy behind her words and without looking up from her hands. Her ears shifted one way towards Ulanan and then the other, towards Megiddo, before resting back down on her head. "All things considered, we shouldn't stay here for more than another day."


"Leave at sunrise if you are feeling better, but stay at least the night. For my sake, that I do not worry."


Ulanan shifted and lay on the ground, face upwards. "Fine. But you still hit me in the head that one time. Was it at a wedding?"


"No," Megiddo answer casually, "You were protecting Antimony from me at the time."


"Which is... no longer necessary?" When Antimony spoke, she didn’t sound entirely convinced.


Ulanan nodded. "If this is a plot of him to kill you, it is extremely convoluted and stupid. I think such stupidity is beyond him."


Megiddo spread his arms, smiling, "I have never been paid a finer compliment."


"I was never hit so hard in the head, so I guess we are even."

A Lalafell, a Miqo'te and a Duskwight are walking, following the road somewhere in Central Thanalan. They are on a mission. A very important mission from which Eorzea's future hangs. But that is not their tale. Instead, this is the tale of a different Lalafell, Miqo'te and Duskwight walking Central Thanalan's roads towards the West. They are not on a mission. They are just traveling.


Antimony's staff digs deep into the gravelly sand of central Thanalan as they move. She keeps her head bowed for the most part, occasionally casting curious, if vaguely wary, looks in the direction of the duskwight who had chosen to follow them.


Megiddo follows behind the pair at an unintentionally unsettling distance. Despite this, as he's wearing his hermit's linens and walking with a slight hunch, he's presenting an exceptionally non-threatening image. Goggles on his face protect his eyes from the sand.


Ulanan's wearing an oversized hat to protect herself from the sun. She rubs the spot where the assasin's dart had struck her. With her other hand, she's guiding the chocobo's they had rented. "I wonder why they are limping. The dart's hit -us- harder than them. Damn sissies."


Antimony covers her eyes with one hand, squinting and wishing she hadn't forgotten her hat wherever it was she'd left it. Somewhere in the Shroud. Never going back there again! "Animals react differently to these things than us," she replies and then stops suddenly to turn around, facing Megiddo. Her lips purse into a frown. "As much as I appreciate the help you provided," she began, raising her voice towards the Duskwight, "I must wonder why you continue to follow us."


His expression turning into a frown at Antimony's question, he continues to walk forward. He answers with a dry throat making his voice even rougher than usual, "Initially I was under the impression that you were going to have someone killed and was trying to protect that person. Now that situation has turned around. So I have as well."


Antimony blinks at that, twisting her grip on the unworked stick she'd been leaning much of her weight on. "That's... a rather sharp turn."


Ulanan stops walking. Not because she wants to interject in the conversation, but because the chocobos have decided to stop walking. She pulls their leashes angrily. "Behold the brittle breed of brainless birds!"


Megiddo pauses long enough to turn to face Antimony, "Not really. If an innocent person is in danger and I've nothing else I'm doing, I'd damned well better protect them, right? What kind of person wouldn't?"


"I'm not sure." Her frown drops, brow smoothing out, but her tone remains unsure. "Someone who would slit the throat of a harmless old woman, perhaps." Her ears and tail rest still and relaxed in position, not giving away any particular emotion towards her statement. She glances briefly at Ulanan and the chocobos.


The lala is still trying to pull them, but they are much stronger than her. It's like watching an ant trying to push two whole trees. "Move, you mindless, mitigated, makeshift plumed mollusks!"


"Perhaps," Megiddo replies, "But those are exactly the kind of people who are after you." He steps over to where Ulanan is and reaches to the reins of the Chocobo, "Can I help you with one of these, Ulanan?"


"Black Brush is not far," Antimony says after a moment, turning more fully towards Ulanan. "We may want to exchange them."


"Tear its trachea, tailor a plumed attire to terrify the other into obeying!" It takes her a moment to realize she was being talked to. She raises her sight at Megiddo. "Uh? Yes, please." She hands one of the reins to him.


Antimony's eyes widen slightly. "I don't think... tearing any vital parts should be necessary."


"It would work, but I imagine the stables would protest." Megs takes one of the reins and and pulls on it hard enough that the chocobo has to move in order to keep from falling.


Wiping some sweat from her brow, Antimony leans a bit more on her staff while watching the two work to get the chocobos cooperating again. "I didn't budget enough to cover replacement costs for a chocobo, so... please just keep them in one piece."


Ulanan mumbles, "The standards of that stable stinks." Her chocobo follows her, motivated by his companion's movement.


Megiddo continues to pull the chocobo forward, looking over at Antimony as he moves, "Is the heat getting to you, Antimony?"


Straightening deliberately, Antimony moves to follow the two and the now-mobile chocobos. She offers a brief smile, tail swinging low and slow. "I wouldn't worry about me. Perhaps two attempts on my life was a bit much." Pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose, she adds, "I'd be more concerned with any fines we may incur if the stables notice the chocobos have suffered damage."


Ulanan turns around, walking backwards. She leans to one side and then the other until she can see Antimony. "Heat hurdles? Hastily hang this hat over your head." She takes her hat off and extends her arm, holding it, towards Antimony.


"If I'm not mistaken, the chocobo stables state that their birds are guaranteed to get you where you're going without any hang-ups. It's a refund policy, actually. You could push that angle."


Antimony shakes her head but accepts the hat nonetheless. "You just let me know if you start feeling under the weather," she advises with a warning look at Ulanan. She dons the hat, her ears pushing down on either side of her head in a rather comical look thanks to the lack of ear holes. But it fits otherwise.


Ulanan smiles. She looks calm, her brief hate for chocobos having vanished away. "I elegantly evoke the elements. No wild warm or wanton wind will weaken my willpower!"


Antimony chuckles at that, tugging at the hat a bit so it sits more comfortably.


Megs reclaims his silence, leaning his weight in such a way as the bird takes some of it to help him walk. His body hangs weakly from his curved spine and angles against the wind.


Ulanan turns to face forward again. She walks a few paces before stopping. She hold her wand, aether gathering into it. She loosens a very weak ice spell into the air, forming a small blue light orb. It floats harmless around her chilling the air somewhat. The chocobo doesn't look impressed and keeps walking once Ulanan resumes her stroll.


Turning forward as well, Antimony picks up her pace somewhat, to catch up with the other chocobo and Megiddo, where she settles into a steady walk behind him. There's a period of silence until she says, mostly to herself, "What are the odds, really."


Megiddo states like a recitation, "There is no coincidence where the Twelve are involved," and then, looking at Antimony, "What are the odds of what?"


Ulanan keeps walking in silence, except for the odd moment where she kicks the sand piled on the road. She finds it amusing.


Antimony looks up, blinking in confusion for several moments as though she were unsure what Megiddo was referring to. "... Hm? Oh." She shakes her head and gestures loosely with the hand not clutching her staff. "Everything, really. Meeting the two of you. You attempting to kill me. But stopping. Another... incident. You showing up again. Ah, but really, I was referring to... what are the odds that my employer will respond favorably to this."


"Ah. I doubt that it is very likely."


"One attempted assassination should be an acceptable argument to avoid additional assignments."


"It's just that I've been thinking," Antimony begins and then falls silent for a time. Her ears twitch a bit underneath the hat.


"About olives?"


"What? Well, no." She frowns slightly. "Though food wouldn't go amiss..." Shaking her head, she recollects. "About what I--or we should do. I'd hate to break my promise of showing you Limsa. But if they're truly the kind of people to send assassins... If they wanted me to know of this, they would have told me before, I think." She frowns at an uncomfortable thought.


Reaching into one of his many large pockets, Megiddo produces a small bag and holds it out to Antimony. It would be filled with berries. "Are you worried for your safety or merely your employment?"


"You should pretend unawareness of the situation." Ulanan says. "Assasins attacked you. Twice. Anyone who is clueless would quit and run away to found an olive farm."


"So I should continue as though it never happened?" Antimony spoke to Ulanan, though she looked to Megiddo as she accepted the offered bag with a quick smile. "Wouldn't that just invite more… well, problems? That is, if this isn't just a misunderstanding, I mean."


"What? No. I mean you should tell your employer the following." She coughs and adopts a very silly, exaggerated voice: "PEOPLE TRIED TO KILL ME! TWICE! I QUIT!"


"It may be for the best," Megiddo says more calmly, "If you continue working as you have been, you will continue to run into problems such as the one you have now. That is, if it's even possible to continue as you have been."


"Perhaps I should speak to the authorities," Antimony wondered after a moment, though her ears and tail droop at the thought. "They - my employers - have always been so good to me."


The lalafell kicks a pile of sand, dispersing it all over. "My husband was very nice to his lovers and not nice to me."


Chuckling at Ulanan as though she'd said something funny, Megiddo says, "Everyone is nice to their bedfellows."


Antimony gives Ulanan an odd look.


"Good point! So Antimony is basically her employer's bedfellow, who murders his real wifes. Or clients." She blinks, pondering. "That's a terrible analogy."


Megiddo laughs.


Antimony's tail flicks behind her and she looks generally disturbed by that imagery. "I never did.. anything like that."


"Nobody's saying you did. That's the point of an analogy." He thinks for a moment, then says, "It's more like your employer is a fisherman and you are their rod. They take good care of the rod, but use it to viciously capture and consume the fish."


"I said it was a terrible analogy!"


"And if the rod stops working?" He looks at Ulanan, "Is that any better?"


"That's a better analogy. I'll give you an olive to signify my approval."


"But in this case, the rod knows rather incriminating things about the fisher... ah, both of those are strange analogies." She shakes her head a bit violently, as though shaking off some thought.


"Would you understand it better if we told you your employer is an employer and you are their employee that gets attacked by assasins?"


Chuckling Megiddo replied, "That one seems prudent."


Antimony sighs. "What I mean to say is... what should I do with this knowledge? If they find out - well, if it is all true - would they not then..." She trails off, unwilling to finish that thought.


"Are there authorities in Limsa Lominsa? I thought it was just pirates everywhere."


"Not then what? Oh, they would have to do something about it. It all just depends on their character." He chews some words for a moment, and answers Ulanan, "The authority is the more powerful pirates."


"Maybe you should just pretend you died."


"There is the Maelstrom. Though... I've never had any reason to--" She stops suddenly and looks to Ulanan. "I can't just go into hiding!"


"It's not that hard! But..." she trails off. "I guess you could not tell them about the assassins. Tell them you have decided to retire, maybe? Because some ailment is...stabbing at your health!" She lets out a small chuckle.


Antimony furrows her brow, looking rather undecided, and leans a bit heavily on her staff as she continues to walk. "Perhaps."


"I think it would be best to confront your employers about this. Putting you at risk has been very rude of them."


"Call the biggest pirates around first, though." Ulanan says. "In case they decide their fishing rod is too unruly."


Antimony looks between Ulanan and Megiddo several times before letting out a sigh. "Well, there is time yet to decide how to approach it." She doesn't sound particularly happy or eager to do so.


Nodding, Megiddo says in a somewhat different tone, "When we reach Ul'dah, I will not enter. If Oschon wills it, I will find you on the other side when you are ready to leave."


"I understand," Antimony says after a moment, and then falls quiet, tail dragging behind her, lost in thought.


Ulanan nods, pulling her chocobo some more just to screw with it.

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