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The return to the Tribe [Hipparion Tribe RP]


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K'ailia had arrived back at the tribe camp with her mother about a half hour ago. After setting their things out, K'ailia decided it was time to check in with the elders, or rather, the elder who sent her to Gridania to begin with.


Thus she walked through camp, and noticed a few tribe members looking at her as if she was a completely different person. She didn't really feel all that different. Was it her clothes? Did she have something on her face? She didn't really pay it much thought as she saw ahead, the tent of K'deiki, the tribe elder who sent her to become a Conjurer.


She stepped up to the tent flap and took a deep breath before saying, "Elder... are you there? I have returned from Gridania."

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The air inside the tent was heavy with the warm, earthy scent of dust and the faint tang of burning herbs. With the tent shut against the bright sun outside, everything was cast in long, harsh shadows from the few candles scattered in the small area. Well-trodden skins lay across the sand and muffled the shifting sounds of a body shuffling about to the back of the tent, distorting the shadows into odd shapes across the tent walls.


Green eyes, their color faded with age, turned towards the entry and crinkled in thought, the dim light in the tent emphasizing the spidery lines around them and dragging on the flesh of cheekbones and a jawline that, in the confidence of youth, would have sat high and firm. They still held a memory of this attitude as the individual in the tent stepped away from a small, square skin, upon which metal glinted dully.


"I know that voice," the figure spoke in a warm tone, low and smooth, and white light cut a sharp triangle into the dimness of the tent as an aged hand pulled back the tent's door flap.


K'deiki stood in the entryway, squinting briefly into the sun, and then smiled from under a heavy mane of grey hair that had once, in its prime, shone a sandy blonde. "That is the voice of victory."

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K'ailia nodded, "Yes. My training is complete. I am prepared now for proving myself however you see fit."


She bowed her head in honor of the elder before her, and indeed she spoke true. She had learned the three elements that were a conjurer's ally. She was confident she would pass whatever trial the elder would give her now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

K'deiki extended one hand toward the younger miqo'te, withered fingers curling in a beckoning gesture. "Come closer and let me see you, child," her voice was soft but not weakened by her age and carried a hint of the power she'd once wielded in its commanding tone. "K'ailia, wasn't it? Such a fine shot you were in the sands." The woman chuckled, and the way her shoulders shook made it look as though her bones would rattle right off her fragile frame.


She took a step backwards, into the shadowed tent, and gestured for K'ailia to follow. "We've all placed hopes in you, dear," she spoke as she moved, and the authority in her voice waned under the pull of an old grief. "Tell me, what did you learn amongst the trees?"

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K'ailia smiled as she entered the tent.


"Actually I didn't hit the sand... I had hit a huntress in the fanny", she said as she looked about.


Upon hearing the request to tell what she had learned, K'ailia took a seat in the elder's sitting area and began her reciting of what she had learned.


"The first lesson I learned was of talking to the elements and the elementals. The first element I was introduced to was that of the earth. For it is the earth that nurtures life as it grows. Without it, plants would have nowhere to grow. But it is also unmoving and solid. It is also patient."


K'ailia picked up some of the sand from the ground and it began turning into a solid mass, a rock of sand, "It also is effective as a weapon." And like that, the rock returned to sand back to the ground.


"The next lesson I learned was of wind. It is the air we breath. It also works over time as a weapon, creating small cuts as it moves. It is how erosion happens. Wind can be a weapon too, but it is a weapon that works over time causing multiple smaller wounds."


And around K'ailia, a breeze of wind bows along the ground shifting the sand around her slightly. Finally she looked to the elder.


"And the last lesson I learned was of water. It is ever moving. It is what makes life possible. It nurtures and heals. But a lot of water can be destructive in its own ways. It can play a role in erosion too."


K'ailia smiled and awaited the elder's next words.

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"Earth, wind, and water," K'deiki echoed and moved to stand in front of K'ailia, taking hold of a wooden stick and leaning her aged weight on it. She let silence settle over the tent for several seconds, her own thoughts flickering to old memories of a relentless sun, the grit and sting of sand whipped up into a frenzy by wind and rubbing her skin red. She recalled the weight of a spear in her hand, so very different from the feel of the walking stick she now relied on. Her lips curled up into a sad smile.


"We've struggled since Dalamud's fall - you know that well, I'm sure. Not just from the weight of those we lost, but from the absence of those who left us." Her fingers curled around the top of the staff, and she resisted the urge to let out a sigh. It wouldn't suit the image she was presenting to the young miqo'te before her now. They all must be strong.


"You trained under my daughter, and we'd have you serve this tribe as she once did," the words stung to speak so plainly, but not with grief. There was resentment in her heart. Betrayal. "But first, I must see that you've brought back to us something of true use."


Straightening, K'deiki gestured with the staff towards the door flap and began to move towards it. "Come. The huntresses have likely returned by now, and there is always one who needs tending to these days."

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K'ailia nodded and got up from where she sat. She followed the elder as they made their way through camp to where the huntresses all gathered. The camp seemed abuzz at seeing K'ailia returned, and she seemed to walk with more confidence than she ever had.


As they neared the huntresses area, it was clear the hunt had gone bad. Several huntresses were laying on the ground with deep wounds. K'ailia quickly rushed past the elder to the first huntress and looked the wounds over then placing her hands upon her own chest, a brilliant watery light formed around her hands as the cure magic formed and she pressed it into the huntress who's wounds instantly started closing on their own.


But K'ailia was not finished. She quickly rushed to the next huntress, repeating the process. It looked like some wild predatory beast had attacked them.

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K'deiki followed at a significantly slower, though no less urgent, pace, coming to a stop several steps away from where K'ailia worked intently. As the elder leaned on her staff, the air near them seemed to come to life, rippling around K'ailia in fervent blues and greens, rushing down her hands and nourishing the wounds of the one she tended to. K'deiki recognized the woman - more a girl - under K'ailia's hands as a great grand-niece, one of the youngest of those sent out to hunt, and her heart ached.


Only five years ago, they would have had the numbers to protect the young that traveled with the huntresses, but now, more often they were forced into combat before they were ready, through accident or dire need. The consequences were often horrific, but it was either this or see the whole tribe starve.


The light of K'ailia's magic flickered and sent shadows dancing across K'deiki's face, and the faces of those weary warriors around them. She turned to the first woman K'ailia had seen to, noted the way her movements were not nearly as pained as one would expect for the wounds she had just recently suffered, noted the girl's tanned face staring with grateful appreciation at K'ailia's back.


These things she noted as all around them those uninjured began to shift gears, drifting away from the tense desperation they had entered the camp with and moving on to other tasks - speaking to those frightened youths who had gone unscathed, laying out the quartered carcass of a massive worm to begin preparations for its preservation and use. The tribe bustled mightily around them while K'deiki stood, straight and tall despite her age, and observed K'ailia as she continued her work.

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K'ailia finished healing the last huntress and wiped sweat from her brow as she stood before helping the huntress to her feet. Then it dawned on her. She had completely forgotten about the elder and quickly rushed back to K'deiki.


"Sorry I ran ahead like that elder. I just... well I felt I had to move quickly." she said hurridly, before kneeling down preparing for whatever berating was coming.

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Green eyes dropped to the younger woman, and she kept a stern countenance for several seconds until, in the midst of the noise and clamor of the hunters and children, she tossed her head back, face to the sky, and let out a guffaw that shook her whole, aged body.


The laughter lasted for a good while before subsiding, and she turned her gaze, features crinkled deep with a smile, first to those around them - she could see one of the tias who had taken to alchemy since the Calamity tending to one of the less grievously wounded - and then to K'ailia.


"There's nothing to worry about, dear," K'deiki said at last, nodding to herself to emphasize her words. "Such focus is exactly what our family needs in these moments. When your brothers and sisters are in danger, there's no time for niceties." She dug the end of her staff into the sand, twisting it in her hands.


"It's clear you've learned much in the forest, and not just your magic. But you should know that these desperate times mean we all stretch ourselves well beyond our limits." Her smile evened out, though her eyes remained warm. "Healing your family won't be enough, not when each of us must carry the weight of two, or three, or more of our lost brothers and sisters. Were these better times, I wouldn't ask this of you, but..."


She shifted her weight and began to cross the sand, towards where a number of men and women had laid out a giant sandworm's carcass and had begun to systematically dismantle it, stripping flesh and organs, carving out the bony plates of its armor and the vicious spines around its head. "We must know you can nourish us, as well." A pause. "In a few hours, some will be rested. They'll go with you then, and we'll see just how well you can fight like a sandstorm."

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K'ailia nodded and stood. She took it to mean she had some free time till then.


"Understood elder. I promise to do my best." she said before giving a bow and heading off to the side of camp she most enjoyed before she left.


She went to her favorite rock formation and climbed up onto them. It had been some time since she climbed. Even she realized something was different. For now, she sat upon the rocks and looked out at the desert. Something was still bothering her. And she had a bit before she had to go out on a new hunt. She closed her eyes and focused her mind, trying to reach out to whatever it was that bothered her. She listened to the elements. Earth, air, and even the faintest of water.


Something was not right within the desert. What, she could not tell yet.

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The earth could be felt moving close by. Something else was climbing up the rocks slow and quietly.

Was it a member of the Tribe? Or had a wild beast picked up her scent?


One of the huntresses had approached from behind and against the desert wind. Her sundarkend head peeks into sight no more then nessesary. The dark red hair looks dirty an unkempted. Her eyes as uneven as suspicion and curiousity.

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The huntress brows furrows her brows, a little dissapointed to be noticed.

She pulls herself up the last bit, remains of old pain are all over her skin, probably from when the hunt started.

"Good you can still recognise a threat. You will need that."


She moves next to K'ailia.

"It´s K'gori remember? You have been away so many full moons, did you find where Azeyma goes to sleep?" K'gori points at the sun.

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K'ailia relaxed upon seeing the hunter. She turned then back towards the sun, "Azeyma never sleeps. She merely goes to shine elsewhere till she finds her way back here."


She then turned to the hunter, "I take it the time for the hunt is at hand? What is it we shall be hunting this day?"

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"Easy there hunter, you wont catch anything if you run out of breath from eagerness."

She scratches her hair and shakes her head making sand fly around. "I probably could have given you a name and direction of our pray a long time back but these days?"


There is that same concern in her face that the elder hid away so well.

"We are out there longer and longer and come back with less. Many grief that there are fewer of us now, but we could not feed everyone." K'gori looks to the horizon then back at the camp.


"You should pick up everything that you deem necessary. Plan for days if you think you´re gone hours. We all help of course if you feel like you forgot how food looks befor its cooked" A snarly laughter and the huntress jumps down the rocks in a few bounces, heading of towards the tents.

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K'ailia scoffed as the hunter jumped down and headed for the tents. It dawned on her then, that was why the elder sent her to learn from Gridania. The tribe lacked the skills needed in the post-calamity world.


So K'ailia leapt down from the rock and headed towards the supply areas. She would look to see what the tribe needed the most. To her dismay, the tribe truly was suffering. What used to be a tent filled with many carcasses of prey, only two were strung out, still being processed as the workers cut the portions smaller than how they used to. The water of course was dangerously low.


K'ailia shook her head. Had the supplies always been this low since she left? She left the supply tent heading to the tent used by all the elders when they held council. She needed information.

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K'deiki had remained observing as the tribe tended to its wounded and its hunt for some time, features stoic and body seemingly unmovable amidst the bustle of bodies. The wind shifted direction then and with the deep breath of one hefting a great, internal weight, she turned with it to shuffle across their small encampment, towards a low, wide tent.


Inside, the thick hide of the walls muffled the chaotic sounds of daily life until they were merely a faint, persistent drone. Lamps, their light diffused by the pounded thin skin stretched about them, cast the inside of the tent in a dim yellow glow. A few decorations of historical and spiritual significance furnished the broad room, meant to remind those within of their past, present, and future. The room smelled strongly of incense, though nothing burned presently. She noted two figures already present, knelt off to one side on a few, soft furs, and moved to join them.


"K'luha's child has returned," she spoke as she lowered herself to her knees on the furs - items brought back from Ul'dah during a better time, a time when the tribe could spare two or three to travel across the desert and present items for trade in distant towns. Now, however, all focus was on survival.


Yellow eyes, which had retained the intensity of their former youth, looked up at K'deiki and then narrowed in a heavy frown. "One more mouth to feed," came the aged, masculine voice, tone carrying an underlying weight of anger. Resentment towards their current situation.


"And one more set of hands to help feed us all, K'jhanhi," the other figure spoke, head lowered and shoulders hunched in a posture both weary and crooked from age. Behind thick hair that still held a few, thin patches of the fiery red it had once been, the harsh white of intricate tattoos glared out at the room. K'takka Jihm, ever the voice of reason, did not look up directly, however, instead letting her comment linger in the air between them.


K'deiki nodded, to both of them, and let her bones settle into this new position on the ground. "We will see," she finally spoke and wove her fingers together in front of her. The three elders returned to silence then, sifting through their own thoughts on their own time. For K'deiki, this meant allowing herself a rare moment to think of a daughter lost to the tribe and grandchildren lost to the world; for K'jhanhi, it was a worry of practicality paired with fury towards the gods. As for K'takka, she chose to take this long silence with all the stoicism of one who has accepted their fate and settled her thoughts and eyes on the bright outline of the tent's door, waiting.

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Thin lips pulled into a small smile, and K'deiki closed her eyes at the soft voice coming from the entrance. Her tail shifted on the furs to curl loosely along one leg, and she bowed her head.


K'jhanhi took this as a cue and turned yellow eyes towards the door, expression hard through his wrinkled face, and spoke with enough volume to carry, "Enter and speak what you will." He ignored the sideways chiding look from K'takka, and then both schooled their features into careful neutrality.


K'deiki would not lift her head when K'ailia approached, though her ears would flick back in acknowledgment. She kept her eyes closed, face turned downward towards withered hands clasped together in her lap.

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K'ailia stepped further in, taking a seat before the elders and collected herself before speaking.


"I had a chance now to look at the camp, and how it seemed to of changed. The winds and Earth speak to me..." she paused a moment to let it sink in.


Finally she looked at each elder, "Years ago, this tribe traveled to areas when food became scarce. But now... from what I have seen, everywhere is drying up. Even the very beasts we hunt are starved and looking to other sources for food... mostly us. What's more the Amalj'aa have increased their activities in these lands. The winds speak that they are summoning their primal..."


Another pause before closing her eyes a moment and then opening them, "Elders... I think it is time the tribe moved to newer hunting grounds... the lands north of the Sagolii hold much vegetation..."

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A thin breath escaped K'deiki's lungs as she took in the words, though she did not yet lift her head. Her counterparts, however, reacted far more demonstrably.


"Leave the desert? Who are you to come with us with these suggestions, as though we didn't know how to care for our own?" K'jhanhi's voice rumbled deep in his throat, offense clear in his features and the way grey-fuzzed ears set forward aggressively. He didn't move from his seat on the furs, but his old frame seemed to swell in that spot.


"This is our home," blue eyes set in a maze of tattoos looked at K'ailia plainly. When she spoke, her tone was one of an elder attempting to communicate reason to the unreasonable, "It is your home, too, and it has always kept us. This is only a poor time. We must ride it out."


K'deiki let out another breath and twisted her fingers in her lap before finally speaking without looking up, "You think we have nothing left for us here." Her words were quiet and then, firmer, "Perhaps you are right, child. But the others have spoken well their protest - and you have not yet proved your full worth to the tribe." She could feel the other Elders' gazes turn on her, and had she not spent nearly a century with them already, their weight would have crushed her. "What makes you think these problems would not trouble us elsewhere just as they do here? Has not all of Eorzea suffered since Dalamud's fall?"

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K'ailia bowed her head, "I meant no disrespect elder. I worry about my brothers and sisters. I worry about how we can sustain ourselves."


She then looked up at K'jhanhi, "I am not suggesting we leave the desert. And I know I still must prove myself."


She then looked to K'deiki, "Yes, the rest of the world has been heavily hurt by the calamity. And I do not like the idea of leaving the Sagolii myself. With your permission, I will set out now to hunt the Sundrake that had nearly destroyed our hunters."


She bowed her head once more, awaiting the elders commands.

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The three Elders' eyes met then, and a silence ticked over that lasted through several seconds of subtle communication that to one who had not spent the same decades together as these would seem nothing more than staring.


Finally, both K'takka and K'deiki relaxed their posture, the latter offering a brief nod towards the third who, in a solid gesture with both hands, spoke, "To do so would bring honor to yourself and security to your family. A worthy hunt, if you can complete it." His yellow eyes, wrinkled and aged, watched K'ailia with intent and challenge. "Go then. Don't return until you can assure us it will harm your brothers and sisters no more."

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K'ailia nodded and stood to her feet and gave a bow before heading out of the tent. The moment of her ultimate test was now at hand. She proceeded back to her rock, where she climbed to the top and sat listening to the wind. She let the scents of the desert fill her nose. Turning her head she continued focusing on the wind, trying to find the quarry she sought.


It was then the blood of her sisters and brothers mixed with that of a Sundrake alerted her. It was a ways out, but still close to the hunting grounds. She rose to her feet and lept down from the rock, proceeding to the edge of camp.


Outside the camp, she let forth two sharp whistles. From the distance, two beasts strolled over to K'ailia, the first being a female chocobo she named Lily, a chocobo she had earned while in Gridania. The second, was a beast she had healed in the black shroud that not even her mother knew about. A gorgeous white unicorn.


She climbed upon the unicorn's back and the three set out towards where she last sensed her quarry. It was some distance away, but over one rather tall sand dune, she soon found the Sundrake. It looked starved, and yet much larger than most sundrakes. The hunt was now on. She climbed off of the unicorn and creped around the sand dune to place herself behind the Sundrake.


Focusing on the creature's back, she began calling upon earth which lifted a sizable chunk of rock from the ground beside her and with a flick of her arm, the boulder sailed through the air striking the beast in the kneecap with an audible crack of bone. She then whispered to the earth that created a torrent of wind around the Sundrake that began making tiny cuts along its scales as it turned and started limping towards her. The chocobo though was on it, grabbing the beasts tail holding it while she channeled earth again, this time making several pillars of earth rise up under the sundrake and slam together before shattering into sand, causing great injury to the beasts remaining three limbs.


It flicked its tail sending the chocobo into the sand dune as it continued trying to drag itself towards K'ailia, with drool dripping from its maws. K'ailia quickly backed away and channeled another stone, sending it towards the beasts head. The beast reared its head in agony, as she cast Stone II upon it's body followed by another Aero spell. The creature flailed and thrashed under the magical assault. The time was now to end the creature's suffering. With one final cast of stone upon the beasts crown, the skull gave in and the creature moved no more.


K'ailia fell back onto her bottom panting. She then whispered her thanks to the elements of Earth and Wind, for their assistance before rising to her feet once more. The elders bade she not return without assurance the beast would cause no more harm to her brothers and sisters. She smiled, there was proof right before her, and the beast though starved it was, would help feed the tribe.


Pulling some spare rope out from Lily's saddle, she fashioned a makeshift rope harness around the chocobo, and the fallen Sundrake. But not before ensuring the creature wasn't merely unconcious, she used a knife she got from the leatherworkers guild to cut the throat of the drake. She let it bleed out while she tied the beast to the chocobo and then mounted the Unicorn. Normally many hunters would be assisting in carrying the carcass back. But she did not have that luxury.



After several hours travel, K'ailia finally arrived back at the camp, riding into camp on the unicorn, the chocobo dragging the Sundrake behind it, they went to the center of camp.


"Brothers! Sisters! I present to you the Sundrake that had injured our hunters on the last hunt!" And with that, she climbed down from the Unicorn, and began untying the drake for inspection by the elders.

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