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The Longest Night

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The Grand Companies have gone, taking even a large portion of the Yellowjackets with them, leaving just a skeleton crew to defend the city.


I understand the threat they go to face, but that doesn't necessarily lessen the threats that remain here at home; the aether is fluctuating, and the wild beasts are restless. The Sahagin won't stay away if they're gone too long, as the opportunity is too good for them to miss.


That's why I didn't go with them; there's too much here that I need to protect.


While I'm a competent combatant, a trained fighter, I've never formally joined the Yellowjackets. I wasn't born here, and I have to work hard to prove my loyalty to the city-state, just like others who come here from the lands beyond La Noscae. There's a certain amount of freedom I don't want to give up, time that would be lost to the Yellowjackets that I need elsewhere.


And so I work alone.


They know I've gone out to patrol the cliffs again tonight, as I have since the Grand Company readied themselves for the march to Certeneau; tonight is different, however. The skies are dark with clouds, yet there is still a certain light behind them - the light of the falling moon, Dalamud.


Out of habit, I look to the skies to determine the hour, as I'm too far from the city to hear the bells tolling. The clouds are too thick to see through, and then suddenly they are alight as meteors streak through them, seeming to converge toward Certeneau. They pass over the city so calmly, almost idly, and I can't help but hope that those inside her walls are taking shelter, as nothing good can come from this.


I keep an eye on the skies as I continue my patrol, close to the edge of the cliffs so that I have a clear view of Limsa Lominsa. While I would like to be able to tell myself that I'm just being paranoid, I find that it's impossible to just write off the feeling twisting my gut.


And then the light upon the horizon grew brighter, like flames rising into the dark. My eyes immediately shifted back to the skies, and I saw the fires there brightening as well. I looked from the skies to the city, praying that her children had taken shelter, that she would withstand what may come next.


I never expected to see a Primal part the clouds, with burning lines of fire following behind Him.


My patrol had taken me to nearly the opposite side of the bay; it would take far to long to run back to the city gates, and with the powerful aetheric shifts I knew a Primal could cause, trying to teleport would be suicide. I was left with one option.


As the great dragon Bahamat raced through the skies, I ran towards the edge of the cliffs, the first flames of His burning wrath touching the bay.


As I leapt from the edge, I saw the ships alight, the bay filling with fire.


As I dove through the air, I saw the flames engulf the lower docks.


As I broke the waters, they were bright from the Primal's destruction.


Once in the warming waters, I angled myself towards the city, using the moment of my dive to start propelling me towards the burning lower docks. By the time my head broke through the surface, the great dragon was gone, but His wrath remained.


"Please let them be alive."


Anyone who wishes to call Limsa Lominsa home should develop their swimming skills, and it was one of the first things I focused on after arriving. Yet for all my strength, for all my skill, it seemed to take hours to reach the stone ramps of the lower docks.


The carnage was breath-taking, but I had no time to allow my mind to focus on the dangers around me.


Making my way through the lower docks, I aided where I could. Fires burned, debris littered the streets, and many people ran in terror. I caught a novice Thaumaturge in her flight, turning her and pointing to the nearest fire.


"It's not going to put itself out, mage - help them!"


She was to terrified to argue, and tried to lift her chin as she began her attempts to channel the elements, but I couldn't remain to see if she succeeded in her new task. I can only hope she didn't break from it.


Moving on, I found a Roegadyn moving stones and burning wood from a pile on the side of the streets, his movements frantic and desperate. I realise that someone has to be buried beneath the rubble, and while I must make my way to the upper docks, I can't just pass the scene by.


And so I begin hauling away debris as well. We don't speak, we don't need to. I can see the appreciation within his concerned expression, and he can see that I am here to help. A few more stones, and I see a pale blue hand, strong but slender, and now I must move the rubble faster; the hand barely moves at all, and if we don't hurry, it may never move again.


Together, we move the larger broken stones from the pile, an arm and shoulder becoming visible. There's still motion, a slow up and down movement with each faint breath. We are practically throwing the stones aside to move them, burning our hands on bits of ashen wood, doing everything we can to save the other Roegadyn. He is small, compared to the man beside me, but he is alive - perhaps he will stay that way.


Finally, we've moved enough debris to pull the other man free. I watch as the first man lifts the second, turning to rush to the upper docks, likely hoping to find someone at least familiar with the healing arts. For a moment, we job side by side, but then something else catches my attention, and I peel off towards a collapsed doorway.


I hear the screams of a woman, see her hand reaching out from the broken doorway; a Miqo'te, however part of her fur has been burned away. While the building she is in is made of stone, it's clear that the furniture inside is on fire, that it will consume her alive and leave nothing for the healers to revive. As much as I wish I could turn away, move on and make my way to the upper docks, I find that again I cannot.


Again, I begin to pull away broken rocks, bits of burning or ashen wood, pieces of what were only a few minutes ago the city and her navy. Dully, I sense the aches in my muscles, the pain in my burned hands, but such is nothing compared to what it would be like to be burned alive.


So I continue to rip away at that which keeps the woman from fleeing.


Finally, I manage to reach the metal door. My hands grasp its sides, my feet planted against the frame for leverage, and I'm tearing it away from the collapsed frame before the heat registers. Still, I can't let her die, and so I focus the pain into strength, the door falling away.


She stumbles out, crying, fur-splotched arms reaching out. I realise she can't see clearly, take her arm gently, and suddenly she's clinging to me as we make our way through the streets. I know she's thanking me, but her words are lost in the chaos, and my mind focuses on what lies ahead.


I see others aiding those who need it, though our numbers are so few. Many aren't even strong enough to move the bulk of the debris, but they do what they can to help. From time to time, I see a novice Conjurer trying to heal the growing ranks of the injured; sometimes I see chains of people, passing buckets of water from hand to hand, attempting to quell the fires that rage all over the lower docks.


"...too few..."


Eventually, I find an adept healer that is healing and raising as quickly as he can. I gently help the burned Miqo'te woman to the ground, murmuring that she should be healed shortly, to stay strong because she's safe now.


"But are we really safe anywhere?"


As I pull away, she grips my forearms with great intensity, begging me to tell her my name. Not believing that it mattered with what was transpiring around us, I tell her that I'm no one of importance, and pull myself away, quickly heading towards the ramp up to the upper docks. She calls after me, but I can't hear what she's saying.


The upper docks were not in the same disarray that the lower docks were. While there is some debris and a few fires, most of the chaos comes from the crush of people fleeing the fires below. The entire Aetheryte plaza is ringed with the injured and the dying, the very few Conjurers, White Mages, and even a few rare Arcanists racing to save them.


Something causes the aether to twitch slightly, the manner familiar to me, and I turn towards it.


Quickly, I make my way across a bridge, but find the end partially blocked by a broken cart. The crowds avoid it, the lower half of a crushed woman visible, her legs jutting out at odd angles from beneath the cart. I almost crawl over the broken wood when I catch a small movement from beneath it, straining to hear over the crowds.


I look down and see the eyes of a child, terrified, trapped beneath the broken wood, his mother dead beside him.


All though the wheels had collapsed, and the chocobos had broken free, the bulk of the cart was still largely held together by strong rivets and thick leather straps; it was possible that by ripping it apart, I would only cause it to destabilize, and crush the child beneath it.


Kneeling, I shouldered the draught pole and braced myself before slowly trying to rise. At first, it seemed as though the cart wouldn't move as my muscles screamed in protest. My eyes caught those of the child, the faint glimmer of hope starting to fade with each passing second, fear returning to their brilliant blue.


I couldn't watch a child give up hope, accept death, even here.


Despite their protest, my muscles began to slowly move. With great pain, I stood, draught pole resting against my shoulder and upper arm, hands shaking as they braced it. The child began to move, pausing as he realised he had to crawl over his dead mother, but then he looked up at me and held my gaze, forcing himself to crawl out from under the cart.


Once he was a safe distance away, I gave into the pain in my knees, and nearly collapse to the cobblestones, the draught pole sliding off my shoulder and to the side. Darkness fills the edges of my vision, and it hurts to breathe, everything hurts.


And then I feel a tiny hand slide into mine.


My eyes snapped open. The little boy stood beside me, staring, still watching me so he didn't have to look at his mother.


"I can't show weakness now..."


So I force myself to stand, holding the boy's hand as I lead him through the press of the frightened crowd. Again, I note how few of the people are capable of handling this, how few are capable of helping them, and I fear the worst for the city is yet to come.


The aether still feels twitchy, and so I move us in the direction it leads. Turning a corner, the familiar form of a Midlander becomes visible, and for a split second, some of my concern begins to fade...and then I finish turning the corner and find that his arm and shoulder a pinned beneath a fallen street lamp. The lamp is the only thing keeping him from being trampled by the frightened crowd.


Drawing myself up to my full height, I stride toward him, the child jogging to keep up.. The crowd presses against us, moving in the opposite direction, but many who are still at least mildly coherent catch my expression, follow my gaze, and push aside. It takes longer than I'd like, but I finally reach him.


"I was hoping you'd show up," he says, wincing.


Without replying, I move the boy aside and release his hand. He stares at the fallen street lamp, then looks to me; it's clear he doesn't expect this to be too difficult for me, but he has no idea.


Again, I kneel, and slowly shoulder the street lamp. Were it not pinning his arm, I know he'd have moved it himself, however only a Roegadyn could move it with one free arm. Closing my eyes, I again try to stand, my hands finding easier purchase upon the fluted metal; after what seems like an eternity, I'm finally standing, pushing the lamp over the edge and into the waters below.


He tries to roll his shoulder, but barely moves it before wincing, always the tough guy.


"That was stupid."


Laughing, he shrugs his good shoulder, then motions to the little boy who is suddenly hiding behind my leg. I place a hand on his shoulder, nodding towards the injured Midlander as I kneel beside him. He turns to look from the man to myself, eyebrows raised.


"Can you be brave, and help me?"


He doesn't say anything, but he does nod, still eyeing the idiot warily.


"My friend here tends to be dumb often, make sure he gets to a healer?"


After a long pause, the boy nods again, moving out from his half-hiding position to hold his hand out to the man he doesn't know.


Smiling, the idiot takes the kid's hand, saying. "My name's Edur. And she's right - I'm not always smart."


Before he says more, our eyes meet, and I realise he hasn't made it home. With a nod, I stride forward, leaving him to deal with the child and see to his own injuries.


It takes some time to make it to the house, the crowds moving in the opposite direction, taking comfort in the Aetheryte plaza, the Bismark, and likely the covered halls of the market. Without any immediate danger, most of them don't move out of my path; I would just walk along the walls, but the likelihood of being pushed off by accident is too high, so I continue to force my way through the crowd.


Finally, it tapers off, and a few minutes later, I'm home.


But she's not.


I search the entire house, top to bottom, and find no trace of her. While all of the furniture and decorations have been jostled and toppled, it appears that she wasn't here when it happened.


My fear begins to grow, and I run back towards the Aetheryte plaza until the crowd forces me to walk. It takes some time, but I make my way through the plaza and into the market, searching for Edur as I head towards where she loved to stand and watch the seas.


The market has been converted into a triage centre. The gravely wounded and the dying are in East Hawker, why the less severely injured and the recovering are in the West. It takes some time to find Edur, as they aren't letting anyone but family in, but they eventually relent once I can explain that we don't have family here, at least he doesn't.


"Did you find her?" he asks immediately.


Shaking my head, I reply, "She wasn't at the house. I'm heading to her thinking spot."


Edur sighs, running his free hand through his hair. His other arm and shoulder are bound up with fresh bandages, and he keeps forgetting that it is, and that it hurts. I stare at him as he tries to put his thoughts together, when suddenly he stands.


"I'm going with you to search," he says, in the tone he gets when he's being bullheaded.


Sighing, I shake my head, evenly replying. "No, you're going to sit here and wait for more healing. They only healed the lacerations, didn't they."


It's a statement, not a question.


He growls at me, trying to tower over me as he takes a step forward. I realise he's not going to take no for an answer, but my thoughts are disrupted as he grabs my upper arm; pain shoots through my muscles, and when I try to pull away, he refuses.


"I'm going with you," he repeats.


Without a word, I rip his hand from my arm, which causes a fresh burst of pain in both the arm and the hand. He looks confused by the force, staring into my face with wide eyes.


"You wouldn't be able to help her if something has happened, not in that condition," I reply, my voice still even and low. "Now sit."


My hand clamps on his shoulder, and I force him to the ground. He lands hard on his ass, staring up at me with the same expression for a split second before his rage surfaces.


"How can you stay so calm!?" he yells.


I don't reply. I just turn and walk away from him, one hand formed into a fist; he doesn't follow, he realises that I will knock him out, if I have to. Injured or not.


My eyes lift to the skies as soon as I leave the market, the faint traces of dawn breaking through the clouds and smoke. I can't believe so many hours had already passed, the time causing my fear to grow further, my legs moving faster despite the pain shooting through them.


Soon, I find the little nook she often spent her free time at. It overlooked the bay, and much of the city, and yet there was no sign that she had been there recently; she usually leaves a flower or two, for those who have gone to the Navigator. There's not even ash to indicate there might have been flowers there before the Primal's wrath fell upon the city.


I wander the city, my mind unfocused on my surroundings. I try finding her with the strange tingle of aether, but feel nothing, so I continue to wander the ruined city aimlessly.


I fear she was on the lower docks when the flames engulfed them. I fear she was crushed under rubble, alone.


"I found her!" a voice yells, dimly.


Turning, I see Edur jogging toward me. Before I can respond, he grabs my forearm, avoiding the burned hand, and begins pulling me back towards the market. We pass through West Hawker's and into the East, and he drags me over to a stall, and then around to the side, trying to point with his bad arm.


It takes a moment for my mind to process what I'm seeing.


Her lovely hair was gone, cut to the scalp, a lattice work of scars covering most of the left side and top. Her eyes were closed, her breathing shallow, the only movement generated by her breath. I don't know how long I stood staring at her, with Edur beside me.


"They can't get her to wake up," he's saying, but his voice sounds more like the buzzing of a bee, "but she's alive."


And then it all settles in.


It has become personal, more so than it was before.


I cut off his explanation by growling, "I will kill that Primal."




And then the world went dark, sounds fading away into silence.

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Please feel free to leave comments OOC. This isn't a journal (despite being in first person - it's present tense), it's a story. The next part I plan on posting as a separate thread.

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((I loved this, as I am, like the previous poster, new to all of this, and the story helped me understand a bit more. I can't wait until I finally can buy and download the game and maybe get to RP a bit :)



Well, obviously, I will have to wait, but it will be hard :P))

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