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Limsa Loyalties [story, ooc welcome]

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((Copy-pasta'd from RP done in the CRA's IC chatbox. This follows several days after Dusty Danger Discovered.))


Behind them was the dock at which still rested the boat they'd crossed in and beyond that, the endless rolling sea; in front was a wooden path leading up to the towering spires and white stone of Limsa Lominsa. Antimony drew a deep breath and smiled briefly before continuing into the city. The sea breeze felt refreshingly cool against her skin, and the thick, blue robes she wore no longer felt stifling. She would speak to Ulanan, her sandy-colored lalafell companion, as they walk, "Welcome to Limsa. I'd invite you to my home, but I think... we should make a brief stop first."


Ulanan walked next to Antimony, her head tilted up, sight dancing between the spires and buildings of the city. "The air is salty." was the only thing she said in answer to her travel companion. She kept gazing upwards.


Antimony looked down at Ulanan and smiled. "Salty, yes. And damp. And..." She took another deep breath, "I can smell the Fisherman's Bottom from here."


"You can smell him, I can hear him..." she blinked once. "Now we just need someone who can see him and someone who can taste him to have all the senses covered. And someone who can touch him." she added as an afterthought.


She laughed at that. "Taste we can cover later. They've always got the best selection just after mid-day."


The lalafell kept looking upwards. "You said something about a brief stop."


The clicking of her staff on wood and then stone as they crossed onto the main walkways of the city filled the silence following Ulanan's prompt for a time. When she finally spoke, Antimony kept a passive expression, "Better sooner than later when it comes to dealing with problems. I suppose I better know what I'm going to say to them by the time we cross the city."


Ulanan dropped her gaze and moved her head in a circle, one hand rubbing the back of her neck. All that looking upwards wasn't very healthy. "I was attacked by assasins because I worked for you. So I quit!" she said.


"... Perhaps," Antimony replied after a pause, looking reluctantly thoughtful. Their walk takes them through a circular courtyard, in the middle of which is a fountain, before weaving through a covered merchant alley. "When this is over with, what would you like me to show you first?"


The lalafell didn't think much before answering. "The highest point of the city. So I can look down instead of up. It's less tiresome."


Humming in thought, Antimony clicked along with her staff through the crowded merchant stalls. "The Drowning Wench on the upper decks has a nice view off its balcony."


"What an omnious name."


"Ah, don't let it intimidate you. Though... you certainly don't want to spend time on the lower ramps there after dark." They left the covered merchant alley and stepped out onto a narrow bridge. On the other side was a broad, squat tower, and Antimony gestured towards it. "My office is in there. You should probably wait in the courtyard outside."


"Of course. I will quietly and willingly wait In the courtyard while you work."


Stopping on the other side of the bridge, Antimony took a moment to bow towards Ulanan, her tail swishing slowly behind her. They stood in front of the wide tower, in a small courtyard with several benches and a few decorative plants. "Thank you. I'm not being much of a host, I know, but... these matters." She shook her head. "Hopefully this won't take long." She turned, then, to enter the tower.


Ulanan nodded in silence. She climbed up on a bench and sit there, resisting the urge to gaze upwards again.

Once inside, Antimony made her way up, rather than down towards the Arcanists' Guild, a spiraling hall. Her steps slowed significantly as she neared the top until she finally came to a halt in front of a heavy wooden door with a simple, metal sign marking it as the property of Paqirelon & Bleigarasyn Finances. She looked at the door and its simple signage for several minutes, twisting her grip on her staff in indecision before finally placing it on her back and entering with a breath. She announced her entrance with a simple, "Perelon? Ernafalk? I'm back from Gridania."


A high pitched but rough voice came from the other side of the front room, the voice of Perelon, cheerfuly greeting: "Ahaha! Aha-ntimony! Come in!" He did that with everyone who dared have a vowel as a first letter in their name.


Ernafalk Bleigaryson looked up from where he was working on a desk that was far, far too small for his relatively large frame. His small blue eyes, set far back in his skull and significantly behind his pink eyebrows, searched in confusion for a moment before catching Antimony, frowning for a moment, and then smiling. He let Perelon take care of the greetings, though, and returned his attention to his work a moment later.


Unconsciously patting the small, leather satchel at her hip, Antimony stepped further into the office. Approaching Ernafalk's desk, she reached out to click on the lamp setting at one corner with a, "Haven't I told you, you'll ruin your eyes working in the dark like that."


Perelon sat on top of small but ornate chair that sat in turn on top of another much bigger one. His desk, contrary to Ernafalk's, was quite huge. One side was filled with stacks of papers, while the other had a lamp, quill, ink, and a portrait the size of his head, depicting his dear father. The lalafell looked up to Antimony, smiling under his big mustache. "With that nose of his, I'm sure he could smell the words instead of reading them!"


Ernafalk turned his eyes away from the lamp for a moment before reaching over and turning it off, "My eyes has adjusted to the light. You're just coming in from outside right?" And then, looking over at Perelon, "It's a wonder you can even find your paperwork on the great cluttered plain of a desk."


Antimony turned the lamp back on as Ernafalk spoke to Perelon and then stepped away from the desk. Her tail tucked against one leg through her robe, but the end of it twitched a bit nervously. "He has a system, as we all do."


"Indeed, she's right!" he said, always smiling. "My system is that if it doesn't give us money, then it goes to the trash pile. Do you see a trash pile? No, you do not! Do you know why? Because -everything- is money! Even your nose, Ern."


"Your desk should go in the trash pile. All that expense on decoration isn't good for making money. And neither," he says as he switches off the lamp again, "Is wasting energy. Antimony! How was Gridania, hm?"


The lalafell nodded and interrupted: "Yes! Tell us, how was the Black Shroud? Let me guess: it was...shrouded! Ahaha!" He laughed at his own joke. He thought it was very, very clever.


"Oh!" She looked to Ernafalk before turning to Perelon and bowing her head briefly. "Client 4389 was very accommodating and gave me access to everything I needed without fuss." She pursed her lips then and hesitated.


"Ah, no fuss at all?" Ernafalk chuckled, "His tone in correspondence leading up to the meeting was rather... Oh, nervous. Honestly, terrified! I was worried he'd give you trouble or try to hide something."


Antimony shook her head while her tail curled tightly behind her. "No, I was able to wrap up the assessment a day early even. There's just... one thing."


Perelon raised his brows. "I hope he didn't ask for a partnership, because we are reserving the rest of the office for Ern's nose's desk!"


"Oh, would you get off it, Perelon. You know the nose jokes get annoying after three. Now, Antimony, one more thing? There's always one more thing! Isn't there, Perelon?"


"Yes. Like your nose. But then it's ussually solved with a hanky."


"Oh now, his nose is not that big," she caught herself chiding before straightening her posture apologetically. "One more thing. Just... a little thing, really. Very small. Hardly worth mentioning, but..." She looked past the lalafell to the portrait behind him. "I do believe Client 4389 hired someone to kill me."


Perelon looked honestly surprised. So much, in fact, that he couldn't find it in himself to somehow tie the situation into another nasal joke. Antimony dropped her gaze to the lalafell and had to very deliberately still her hands that had begun to fidget with the strap of her satchel.


"Why do you think that?" The lalafell finally spoke.


Ernafalk watched Antimony and Perelon with a very straight expression, a bit wide-eyed, obviously unsure what to say.


"Uhm. Well." She paused, cleared her throat, and smoothed down the front of her robes. "He told me so, when he tried to kill me."


Ernafalk suddenly popped, laughing loudly, "Ah, Antimony! I think you had an especially strange dream. Or are you trying to put one over on us?"


The lalafell didn’t share the Roegadyn's laugh, though he smiled somewhat.


"Dream? What? No," she turned around to frown at Ernafalk. "Someone claiming to be hired by the client you sent me to audit tried to kill me!" Two fingers pulled down the collar of her robe, and she lifted her chin to show the thin scab left from a would-be assassin's blade across her neck. "And not just one someone - twice!"


Still maintaining his joviality for a moment, "Ah, that's too much! Twice! Oh," and then it dropped away when he noticed the wound on her neck. His expression went a bit serious, and he looked to Perelon for help.


"Yes, twice," her frown deepened. "Spurred on by some fear that... you two were going to kill him? I'd very much appreciate an explanation."


Perelon looked back to him, then at Antimony. "By the Twelve! Are you alright? Do you need a healer?"


"I'm alright now. There was--well." The very end of her tail twitched anxiously. "You can understand my concern, surely. What if they send a third attack, here, in Limsa? You must straighten this out!"


"Such a thing could never occur in Limsa Lominsa! No Gridanian would dare send an assassin here!" Shaking his head, looking absolutely flabbergasted, "I thought they were pacifists. Perelon, aren't the pacifists?"


"The elementals must have gotten to their heads! Or moogles! Or Thaliak-knows-what!" he proclaimed, throwing his hands up into the air. "This person must be mentally ill. We will deal with him. By telling the authorities." He nodded at the end of that sentence.


"And what of the accusations?" Antimony pressed. "I was told /I've/ developed a... a reputation? That when I arrive somewhere, clients go missing? Turn up dead? What am I supposed to do with that? Baseless rumors don't usually drive someone to, well, to kill another!"


"Obviously the man is paranoid, Antimon,” Ernafalk soothed. “How could these rumors possibly have any basis? It's ridiculous! We're businessmen, for Lymlaen's sake!"


Antimony wrung her hands. "And yet it was the assassin who spoke to me of them - and he seemed very convinced. As though he were doing a... duty! That he was saving a life." She shook her head. "I don't know if I can handle that kind of stress in this job, Ernefalk, Perelon."


Perelon threw his hands up into the air, as if that somehow gave him better arguments. " It's preposterous! Absurd! Ridicolous! We are more lovely than Menphina!" He then dropped his arms. "I understand, Antimony. You should take some days to rest."


"A whole week, I'd say. Me and Ern will take care of this devious, devious man, I promise!"


"Indeed. The authorities will be notified and they'll act on this in no time at all." Perelon nodded, then knit his features together. A moment later, he was waving his hands in front of him, "Wait! Wait! If this person tried to kill you how did you end up talking to him? And about business? Antimony, we have very strict policies about discussing business!"


"A week might not... I know that," she switched her address mid-way through the thought, pursing her lips at Ernefalk. "I didn't disclose anything to him. But... he seemed to think this was not a concern only for this one client. I--I feel like I should look after the fates of other clients. Just in case."


"Now, now,” Perelon began, “...you are obviously shocked by all this and aren't thinking straight. It's understandable and perfectly normal! But you shouldn't listen to the mad rambling of a...madman and his mad assasin. Isn't that right, Ern?"


"I'm thinking very straight, Perelon. I am thinking that someone has tried to take my life twice, and that is not something I ever agreed to under the terms of my employment." The crease between her brow deepened at that, and her ears pressed against the top of her head.


Ernafalk smacked his small, frail desk with both hands, "Now, Antimony, you must see that it is entirely unreasonable to blame us for this! You are listening to the word of someone who tried to kill you based on the testimony of a paranoid Gridanian! And you call this thinking clearly?"


"Well," her hands worked at the thin strap of her satchel. "That... is why I returned here, to... settle things."


Parelon's eyes are open wide. "I still think you are stressed out. By Rhalgr, I would be too if someone tried to kill me!" He frowned heavily at the desk smacking by the Roegadyn.


Ernafalk nodded in agreement with Perelon, "And then tried to blame it on me, what's more. Now, Antimony, let's look at more reasonable explanations. For instance, did you find out anything about the client that they may want to kill you over?"


Perelon nodded back, saying lowly: "Yes, well, I would blame it on you too. That goes without saying."


"Oh, thank you, Perelon," Antimony sighed. "That's just... well. To answer your question, Ernafalk, I did find a few inaccuracies in the client's asset reports, particularly with estimated values of collections."


"And aren't those dangerous things to find?"


Perelon nodded sagely.


"It's not the first time we've found these kinds of things," Antimony countered.


"Well...” Perelon mused, “most people aren't as smart as Thaliak. Surely a paranoid man would thing that any tiny thing would send death to his door."


"There are stories, you know," Ernafalk spoke gravely, as though he were beginning a ghost story. He leaned over his desk and shifted his eyes about, "Of a group of investors and auditors like us, who work secretly for the Lambs of Dalamud, and are trying to build a merchant empire to serve beastmen! And they'll kill anyone who gets in their way!" Then his tone lightened, "Or who work for the Garleans or evil elementals or some such. There's more than enough rumors for a frightened embezzler to latch onto."


The lalafell gave him a strange look. "You need to stop sending your nose to the Drowning Wench so much."


"Rumors for... what if this happens again?" She cast a worried look to Ernafalk and Perelon in turn. "It hadn't even crossed my mind as a possibility before, but if it happens once, it could..." She turned away, ran fingers through her hair. "I'm not sure I can handle that possibility."


"Now Antimony, I'm sure you don't think this is normal. It never crossed my mind either! It's like someone trying to assassinate a barmaid because they heard the local brew can kill you!"


"I'm not so sure..."


Perelon nodded sagely once more. He left his chair, standing up and hopping down from a side. A clear sign that something was amiss: in normal situations, he would have stood up and walked all over his very expensive desk. "Antimony, dearest of all our employees! You should take a few days off. Rest some! Pursue that hobby of yours. Go fishing! Once you are calmed down you can come back and resume working with us."


Antimony kept her back to both of them, frowning at the opposite wall, one arm folded across her chest while the other clutched at the collar of her robe. At Perelon's words she sighed. "Perhaps..."


"While I believe my colleague’s laying it on a bit thick, you should take a few days to yourself. Let us look into the matter. Given distance, and once it's resolved, you'll see it's not as dire as it seems now."


"Your nose is thick," Perelon huffed, now standing in front of his desk.


"Proudly so!"


She turned back around then and her hands dropped to her sides. "Yes. Yes, you're right, of course. I mean, I did spend the days returning here thinking about it, but... I suppose traveling is stressful on its own..." She shook her head and then features reluctant, acquiesced, "... Alright. I'll do as you suggest. A few days to clear my head. And you'll contact the authorities?"


Perelon smiled, his mustache curling up somewhat along with his lips. "Of course! Leave it to us. Do not concern yourself with such...such...what is the word I'm looking for, Ern?"


"Erm. Technicalities? No, from you something ridiculous. I couldn't possibly imagine."


She bowed her head. "Thank you. Though... I should probably submit a statement of my own, as well."


"Your nose is ridicolous." he snorted. Then, at Antimony's words he, literaly, freaked out. "What? No no no! That...no! Just focus on resting. Ah...I'm sure the authorities will call you once we tell them. Yes, yes!"


"It's no problem," Antimony soothed with a gesture of her hands. "I'll just get that taken care of and then I'll relax. It's the least I can do to help resolve this situation."


Ernafalk looked a bit taken aback by Perelon's behavior, but broke that tension by laughing, and then to Antimony, "No, no. You trust us, take at least this night off. Don't think about it at all once you're out those doors until the authorities call for you. Then you have my permission to think about it again."


Perelon nodded sagely, calmed down by his companion's interjection.


"I would really prefer to simply be done with it." She chuckled a bit faintly. "You know how I am. I'll worry constantly until it's all squared away."


Ernafalk finally stands, "And you know how I am. You'll never win. However, if you agree to wait," he points at the darkened lamp, "I'll read with the lamp on for at least the next... two night. No, three!"


"Three? You'll go blind! And your nose will go blind, too!"


Antimony couldn't help but chuckle at that. "... Four nights, Ernafalk. Though you really shouldn't worry over me like this."


"Four? Four!" He looked at Perelon, "See how she drives are bargain? She'll take over this place one day!" And then he was laughing loudly, "Fine, four, but not a minute more."


Perelon smiled. "I'm the witness! I will make sure he does his part of the agreement. Else, we will cut his nose and replace it with an orange!" He added, "That way, it will be smaller."


"Thank you, Perelon," she smiled at the lalafell and then started before reaching into her satchel, "Ah, I nearly forgot..." Out came a rather thick envelope labeled in her neat and precise handwriting, which she held out towards Perelon. "The completed paperwork on Client 4389. Perhaps it will help the authorities, but at the very least it will allow you to do your job."


"Aha!" exclaimed the lalafell, taking the envelope. "Much obliged! Now go have some rest. I will be very dissapointed otherwise and Ern will read in the dark again like some kind of exile."


"Alright. Thank you, Perelon, Ernafalk." She bowed her head again briefly. "I'm sorry for bringing such trouble up. Hopefully this all blows over soon."


"Oh, it will. I'm confident that we can handle this very strange situation. You should be too. We'll see you soon!"


Ernafalk dropped back into the small chair behind his small desk.


Perelon just smiled, and nodded. Then he smiled some more. "Yes, we'll see you soon! Do not worry about this!"


Antimony cast a smile of her own to the lalafell before turning and exiting the small office quietly. Once outside, she stood for a time in the spiraling hall, breathing in the somewhat dank air, and then let out a heavy sigh before making her way back down.

Once Antimony was gone, Ernafalk would give Perelon a very serious look, "Well. We know what we have to do with her, now. This always seems to come up."


Perelon returned the look. He didn't twirl his long mustache. Instead, he opted to scratch the top of his head. "Well, she -is- expecting an assasin...how shameful it would be, if her fears were true!" He shook his head and walked to the Roegadyn, handing the envelope to him. "Take care of this" he said, tapping it with his free hand. "...and I'll...take care of that!"


Giving Perelon's desk a look, he muttered, "At least I know you won't skimp on expenses." And then, sitting down, with a sigh, "I'll write the help-wanted ad. Just make sure it's done tonight or she'll get it in her head to go the authorities on her own."


The lalafell placed his hand on his hips. "Of course. What do you think I am? Your nose? Bah!" He turned sharply around. "I'll have to poke some contacts, I don't think any of the usuals are around."


Ernafalk just muttered something incoherent and began to pour over the paperwork Antimony had given them.




Back outside, Ulanan had taken a liking to walking all around the courtyard, taking careful jumps between the stones. Both feet if the stone was large enough, only one if it was tiny. Touching the edges meant starting over again. She had started over eight times already.


Antimony emerged from the financial tower with a somber expression that she quickly wiped away when stepping over towards Ulanan. She watched the lalafell for a moment before clearing her throat, "I hope you haven't been too bored out here."


Ulanan made one last jump. She landed right between three stones, and frowned briefly at them before looking up at the Miqo'te woman and smiling. "Your city has lovely walkways."


Antimony's eyes crinkled. "I'm sure it appreciates the compliment." Casting her eyes skyward, she thought for a moment and then, "Perhaps we should have lunch at my home. It's not impressive, but I think I can make something you'll enjoy."


"Olives!" she shouted. "Or something else. I'll just put olives on it." she added, patting the satchel were she carried her jar of olives.


"We can do something with that, I'm sure." Antimony gestured towards the bridge in invitation.


"Fish!" she shouted again. Apparently, she was quite excited. She walked towards the bridge. "Do you eat fish with olives?"


"It's not something I've tried yet," Antimony replied as they began their journey back towards the center of Limsa. "But now seems a good time to try something new."


Ulanan followed Antimony. "Let's figure what fine fish will fulfill the function of food, then!"

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