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A Tale of a Portrait ~Closed~

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((This story is in progress and will be built in-game and in-forum. It's character-specific development so anyone included will either be invited or their attempts to help/assist will be successful and be included. If you feel prompted to help and assist by all means share an IC PM to me and we can take it from there.


Anyone involved can invite others into the story for their assistance etc. Not all attempts will be successful and the story has many possibilities to an end, however it's not going to be 20 people running around interrogating NPCs))


It was a typical day in Limsa. The sky was splattered with random clouds, bells were tolling in the shipyard, ladies were bustling around the markets.





A cargo ship sailed into port, unloading imported goods. The haul looked like typical dried fruits and nuts from Gridania, the seals from the recognizable merchants of the area and the botanists' guild.


Two smaller crates come out mixed with the rest of the cargo, hoping to blend in with the others. Their boxes are old and have been re-used for years, the straw inside also reused.


Private Teern was on duty checking the crates. It'd been a long night and now that the ending of the third shift was nigh, he was tired and ready to finish up as the other shift slowly trickled in. Looking over yet another ship's cargo he barely checked the contents, skimming over the endless amounts of common walnut bags.

Passing one of the older crates, the Private kicks it. The wood cracks and the sound of china breaking inside is easily heard in the dock. A few yowls go up from the other dock workers, increasing the curses coming from Teern; he got caught and now has to report in.


"Shite... Sarge! Gotta cabotage to tag 'n check." he calls out.


Before the Sergeant on duty can make it there the Private already has his crowbar out. Cracking open the top and rummaging through the stuffing. "Huh," he says offhandedly pulling out a large framed painting. Without thinking, the man pulls down the paper and reveals a portrait of a woman.


The oil painting was average size. Teern stared at what he could see for a moment before pulling away the rest of the portrait. She had light green eyes and auburn hair, pulled up into a decorative bun, with a fair complexion. She was adorned with lace blouse and a silver necklace in the shape of a seashell.


The rest of the contents were mostly a set of china with a few glasses and other tableware oddities that didn't match the set.


Teern looked over the rest of the crate including the instructions for it. Sighing, impatient for his shift to be over, he waited for the Sergeant to make his way to him and give him approval for the cargo.

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Private Teern called out, aggravated "Sarge! Need ya to clear this cargo."


Alveo sniffs and turns around, rubbing at his eyes as he steps toward the private,"... how many times I gotta tell you that I don't have to check every damned box... What is it?"


Teern holds up a portrait looking at it himself, tearing off the rest of the protective paper. "Aye this one 'ere's been damaged. Shite box damn near rot through. Ya clear it fer me? Shift's almost done."


"... No. You clear it your damned self. Oughtta have you work doubles, lately... Oi, where was this shipment from again?"

Alveo steps a bit closer, folding his arms and leaning forward to peer sideways at the portrait. He exhales lightly, but sharply, then straightens, looking up at the liner,


"Ahhh..." Teern stammers and puts down the painting, craning over to look at the crate and then his ledger. "Shipped from Vesper Bay... Huh. Funny that... it stopped in a few places. Where is Apkallu Falls? That's not a place to ship from. Nope... nope. Damn can't find that nowhere."


Alveo  rolls his eyes and snatches at the ledger, stepping back and leaning against other crates as he scans it, occasionally looking to the painting with a cocked eyebrow and clicking tongue. He gnaws on his lip, then looks up at the private with an incredulous expression,"... You're a fuckin' dolt."

He looks at the painting and tilts his head slightly, finally breaking into a mildly confused expression,"... recognize the person in that picture? Ain't like... a famous lady or somethin', is it? Not from Gridania?"


Teern curses under his breath; his arms free. He digs in the crate again pulling out one of the broken plates.

"Eh? Nah never see that bitch 'efore. Ain't one of those padjals. They all look like kids. But her, nay she's older. Look like Gridania though. All those trees in the background. Must be rich. Some rich folk. Take a look at this plate, kinda matches."


The plate itself was green and blue in design, a mix of some of the regular flora from the Limsa and Gridania area were someone familiar with leaves and plants. A seashell outline flavored the middle of the plate along with a silver edging. Other items from the set would look similiar: cups, plates, and bowls. A stamp shows the mark of a Gridanian crafter on the bottom of each piece.


Alveo  glances sidewars at Teern before exhaling a short, quiet chuckle and stepping to the crate in question, peering into it for a moment before reaching for the broken plate and eyeing it over, mumbling,"... any actual contraband?"

Alveo kneels and looks back and forth between the plate and the portrait for a minute, lips pursed. After a minute, he sets the plate and ledger aside on the deck and brushes the painting with a gloved thumb, paying special attention to a seashell-charm in the artwork. He leans to his right and reaches into his boot, removing a similar charm of his own to compare the two, silently.


"Not that I can see. Bunch a ol' junk. Hoy what's that ye got there Sarge?"


Alveo slowly stands, frowning slightly as he holds the charm in his palm for a moment, muttering,"Just somethin' my lady gave me... Figure... a rich family'd keep their shit in one piece, better shippin'... Wrap 'em up, red rope. Stamp it for inquiry, we're takin' this one to the office. Don't think it's legally acquired. Anythin' else on this ship I'd question?"


The Private swore "Mother's arse...  Aye Sarge. Nay nothing else outta th' ordinary. You headdin' there to check it out further or I gotta report to someone else with this shite?" grumbles already as he unceremoniously stuffs the portrait back in the crate and closes it back up.


"... You're takin' it to L-T, not me. After that, you're gonna swab this whole fuckin' pier before you go home. I swear, if I see another muddy bootprint, you're on doubles startin' tomorrow."


Teern starts to curse, but catches himself. "Aye Sergeant." He doesn't face the man, wrapping up the crate.


"Oh... take the manifest for the whole ship with you. Tell 'em we need the whole thing copied."


"Sarge come on it's a bunch of shite. Fuck!"


Alveo sniffs and strides off the pier, calling back over his shoulder,"'Nother bit of lip, you're on doubles, Teern!"

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Lieutenant Carpel looked over the manifest a couple times. She had given permission to Sergeant Camp to take the portrait in question and one of the broken plates.


The name Laun was familiar, though not Ecfen. Mister Laun was a businessman in the loosest of terms, always skirting the law in a delicate weave of loopholes. She wasn't sure if this Ecfen was a youngling doting the old man's name. Either way she had agreed with the Sergeant's concern for the shady crate, despite the junk that was in it. The contents had been gone through and documented, but nothing of real question had come up.


If an owner could be found to claim this crate and, more so, claim them as stolen property, it would give the Maelstrom a much needed edge in bringing in Laun and closing down his operations. She had ordered Sergeant Camp to bring in the person he felt was the owner. Whomever his hunch was had better be good for it.


In the morning, Carpel walked into her office. She waited.




Jancis had been at out, working overtime for the Maelstrom at the docks. The foreman had given her some sob story about being short on hands to get some more of their cargo loaded.


It was there that Alveo found her. He was wiser to the foreman's tricks, but didn't give the lalafell any lip. He was too concerned with getting Jancis back to the Still Shore to show her the portrait and plate.


At first, she did not know what to make of it, staring at the painting immediately recognizing the charm the woman wore.


The plate, too, looked familiar. Granted she had never actually seen this particular piece before, but the leaf design was familiar from other things she had grown up with. The night late as it was, the two retired, leaving some food and drink and some fresh clothes for Rynn when he finally came back.


Jancis did not sleep that night, she could not get the image out of her head. She could not get the question Alveo kept asking her out of her. "Is it yours?"


Trying to be quiet, Jancis got out of bed and walked back in the darkness to the portrait. She picked up the broken plate and held it in her hands. Was it hers? She had given up such thoughts long ago of being more than a student to her guardians. But was no fool. She knew she had been orphaned or acquired in some such way. It was possible there was some remaining family, but in the few years she lived in Gridania with the Conjurer's Guild and working no one had made mention of it and her meager attempts to find out anything of the families in the area came up with nothing.


She took the plate outside. A little after dawn she would have to head to Limsa and speak to this L-T, as Beloved had put it. Was it important to him? Was it important to her?


Sitting outside alone, she waited for the Sun to rise and collected her thoughts.

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Lt. Carpel sat in her small office that she shared with three others. Papers were limited, thankfully, but the office was cramped with extra chests. No other chairs besides the one for the small desk was in the room so all others had to stand. The door was left open, per usual, with the bulky Maelstrom overcoat hanging on it. The roe flipped through a clipboard making marks on it.


Jancis knocked on the doorway, looking in. She was in her cherries (as Alveo put the name for the uniform) and held her cover.




The medic turned back to pick up the painting, wrapped in fresh paper, and came in the office.


"A little late getting that back to me, Milburga, I had to call for another hold on the shipment and send on a notice to the receiver. Where's Camp?" the lieutenant's voice was stern and obviously displeased.


"Forgive me, Lady, he was called to the North on urgent matters. Alas, I have few details beyond a wyvern attack and-" Jancis was interrupted.


"He failed to inform you that by the Maelstrom having to send on notice gives Laun a huge advantage to know we are looking into his goods. He's going to be ready when we show up at his door. Last time I give Camp anything in good faith; have any idea what a lead we had? Give me some good news. Give me a name of who this belongs to." Carpel leaned back in her chair staring Jancis right in the eye, "Tell me this person has claimed them stolen."


"Ah, forgiv-"


"Don't give me that. I don't want your frill. Yes or no you have a name."


"I have no-"


"Yes or no."




The lieutenant tossed her clipboard on the desk, freeing her hands to pinch the skin between her eyes. Jancis stood there with an empathic look and Carpel, once looking up, eased up. "I want you to tell me, in as few words as possible, why."


So Jancis stood there and obediantly explained: the likeness in the painting, the charm from the bracelet, the design on the plates, everything she was familiar with. She explained how she had spent the days pondering the possibility of the connection and the ramifications it posed to her present life.

She had taken the counsel of Sir Iono which in his mind felt the need to find closure; his family was intact and his past of great value to him so that was the obvious answer he would afford.

Sir Filangieri, whom Carpel never heard of, offered a different opinion; he got pent up on the assumption that Camp had stolen the painting. Yet overall with all of his advice and replies the clear answer was the past was just that, past. The loss of his family (and their seedy dealings that the then young knight was excluded from) made it more apparent that the future was more important than digging through the trash of other failures. He did offer to take the painting to have it appraised by the artists and merchants of Ul'dah, hoping to find the painter and


In either case, both were too busy with their own problems to come with Jancis here.


"So you held off because you didn't want to come here alone." Carpel summarized.

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Jancis nodded at the lieutenant. There was no point in agruing with her.


"Milburga. You need to make more decisions yourself. Cost us time looking for an actual lead to bring in Laun. I've got nothing on him." Caprel explained. "But if this stuff is stolen we can at least track it back to where it came from. I don't want some other sop missing out on these items. Calamity already took enough. So listen up."





"First, I want this handled quietly. No coats. No badges. You are to go to Laun, and I don't care who you have to take with you, and you are finding out where that stuff came from. We have nothing on him, so use whatever else you got to make him talk. He's probably still in Swiftperch. Find him. Understood?"


"Yes, Lady."


"Clear as crystal?"


"Pardon?" Jancis asked.


"Disregard that, Milburga." Carpel looked away, picking up her clipboard again to look at it. She looked at it and frowned for a minute.


"There will be an auction before the next moon, always do it. Bunch of vagrants and merchants come out to bid on stuff we've confiscated. Stuff that hasn't been claimed. You have that long to find out the person this stuff belongs to. Dismissed."

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