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Blind Trust [Closed]

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Hours of despair turned into days of struggle. The heavy loneliness bore down on her far worse than the sun above, or the red moon that hung ominously beside it. She was oblivious to the latter, as Dalamud had made its presence known long after her sight had faded.


Yet there was still a spark of pride within her, a lingering seed of the Deh that drove her toward survival. In the two weeks that followed her separation from her tribe, she scraped by on a feast of insects with an accompaniment of water from a nearby brook. It was a meager existence, but it was all she could do to maintain her strength. If she had been able to sustain herself via gathering or hunting, then she would still be with her fellows, after all.


She now sat beneath the shade of a tree within La Noscea, finding reprieve from the sun's unabashed assault on her naturally fair skin. Still dressed in her tribal garb, the 14-year-old miqo'te plucked absently at the grass, her lilac tail curled listlessly around her left ankle. Her long hair was a tangled mess, but she found little point in grooming it. These days, she held only the dual priorities of living, and finding a purpose within it all.


Yet it was on that day that everything changed. The descent of Dalamud had arguably changed all of Eorzea, and it seemed that D'ranmaia would not be spared this fate. The ground rifted with large crackles of aether, tearing at the landscape in a hitherto unknown force of disruption. She clumsily clambered to her feet, pressing her palm against the bark of the tree for aid, as the ground continued to shake beneath her unsteady footing. Even with a lack of sight, she could hear and feel the deafening explosions that tore around her, both arms lifting in a reflexive recoil to shield her face. To her great misfortune, the noise and distortion left her stunned and cowering, completely confused and terrified as to what was going on around her.


Her red eyes watered in their vantage beyond her arms, flinching closed as she expected the next great detonation to end her.

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The Forte has been lost.


That was the message Nero had received, and even as he traversed the mild climate of La Noscea, the sinking feeling in his gut had not receded. The Hyur was still dressed in the traditional featureless black robes of an Ossuary acolyte; he knew he would return to Vylbrand one day, but he did not expect to be returning so soon, and certainly not because his father's ship had vanished. The Midlander occasionally glanced up from beneath his hood; the blood red eye of Dalamud was certainly not a good omen and did not do anything to raise Nero's spirits, and no one in Eorzea, and certainly not the young thaumaturge, was expecting the cataclysm that followed.


First came the tremors. It was unusual enough for there to be quakes that could be felt in Vylbrand, but where there were quakes, there were waves. These were not ordinary upheavals, however; aetheric energy in a myriad spectrum of colours erupted violently from the cracks in the earth. The Hyur was rocked nearly off of his feet. "Gods damn...!" came the curse, as he struggled to maintain his balance. He withdrew from within the folds of his robes a copper sceptre and attempted to form something of a barrier to shield himself, but as soon as the Hyur's mind tried to focus on the gathering of aether, the sceptre fractured before fragmenting and falling apart like shards of glass, utterly destroyed by the feedback.


Then came the flames. Nero did his utmost to keep his calm, but a deep well of fear began to replace the lump that had occupied his stomach. Dalamud was nothing more than a fiery nebula in the sky, one that had begun to sent blazing plumes rocketing towards every corner of Eorzea.


Nero's thoughts vanished, and what remained were the animalistic instincts of self preservation. Inwardly he cursed at the clumsy footwear he had donned; they were made for browsing libraries or traversing cobbled steps, not running furiously on rough dirt paths. As the flares began to impact, the shockwaves whipped the Hyur's robes all around him. Shelter was the only thought crossing his mind. He knew not if he could survive this, but that would not stop him from trying.


It was during his fearful retreat that Nero spotted her: a young Miqo'te girl, who could not have been older than thirteen or fourteen years, cowering behind the trunk of a tree. Another poor soul caught off guard by the explosive catastrophe. Dirt had begun to mat around her lavender hair as her arms struggled to shield her head from the debris and the wind


Protective instincts overrode the impulses of self-preservation as he ran his way to the Miqo'te, kneeling down as Nero gripped her by the shoulders. "Stand up!" He found he had to shout over the din of explosions impacting with the sea and the cliffs of La Noscea. "Stand up! Escape!" There was no way to tell if she could hear his--commands or pleas, he knew not--over her own terror or the conflagrations, but that wasn't about to stop Nero from trying.

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She began to feel light-headed, a numb state of shock falling over her like a cotton veil. In that moment, nothing felt real. The haze clouded her judgment and kept her limbs locked, frozen in a state of fearful denial.


The blaze of a nearby comet sent crumbles of soil flying, falling again like a spatter of rain over its stunned victim. There was a dim squeak of panic as she felt it, and it was a bare miracle that the mass did not strike closer. Several of its like continued their relentless descent, a harrowing series of messengers to the beast that emerged over the distant Carteneau. The environment was in absolute chaos, with each dreaded bombardment missing the two by an unseen union of mercy and luck.


The Miqo'te felt pressure on her shoulders, which jerked her head up from behind her arms. It was a pull back to reality, as large eyes widened further and ears swiveled instinctively forward. Another too-near collision sent a yelp to her throat, her gaze frantic as it stared blankly beyond the Hyur's visage. A part of her may have been content to accept her own life's end here, but the stakes had suddenly risen. Not wishing to doom them both by her inaction, she clenched her jaw and willed her legs to move, in spite of their quaking protests to the contrary.


She was on her feet, but that was the extent of her ability. The usual faculties she used in navigation were distorted beyond recognition; the smell of ash and static combined with the piercing sounds of combustion to render three of her five senses useless. Summoning up a helpless sense of courage, she shouted back, "You! Go! Run away!" A thick accent clipped her words at the command, her head shaking. "Run now! Go to the city! Go!" The petite girl flung her arms out in front of her in an attempt to brush him away, the cognizance of her own liability straining her voice. "Run!"


She knew she couldn't make it alone, but he likely could. In her own mind, this was the only option, refusing to be a burden within such a treacherous circumstance.

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The rate at which the flames impacted with the ground and the sea intensified. Nero couldn't hear what the Miqo'te was shouting over the din of explosions and the shockwave, but from her wild gesturing and frantic flailing of her arms, he could guess at her intent. At any other time, the thaumaturge might have considered the situation humorous. He and this Miqo'te knew each other not. They were literal strangers, wanderers, and the only thing that brought them together was an event that seemed like the end of the world.


Grimly, Nero peered across the coastline. The tremors had definitely made their mark; far off in the horizon, an approaching wall of water made itself visible. From this distance the tsunami looked tiny, but Nero had been in enough journeys at see to know that the size was very deceptive. If the flames and the tremors didn't kill them, the unrelenting waves might.


He knelt down to stabilise his footing, even as the ground continued to shake and flames continued to rain from Dalamud's apparent explosion. The Miqo'te was standing now, her mouth still opening and closing, her arms insistent, even as the repeated shockwaves rippled her lilac hair past her face, but the Midlander was not about to abandon a young girl in this situation. Ignoring any protests that might have come out of her--not that he could hear her anyway--Nero suddenly swept his left arm under her legs, supporting the frail Miqo'te's back with his right as he stood up. She was a thin, spindly thing. Even in the chaos, Nero could not help but note with concern how light she was. He flexed his right arm as much as he could in an attempt to turn the young girl's head into his shoulder to shield her head from the blast, and broke into a loping run towards Limsa Lominsa. The gate was not overly far, but there was still some distance to be covered.


The heat from the myriad of explosions began to grow more oppressive, each blast causing the loose folds of Nero's robes to whip past the pair. He grit his teeth, ignoring the flames and doing his utmost to stay solely focused on making it to the city.

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Oblivious to the distant menace of the rising wave, she continued her protests until she felt her feet swept from the ground. For a scarce second, she believed that the earth had collapsed away, cringing as she expected a fall and her subsequent demise. After gaining some sense of her bearings, she belatedly realized that she was, in fact, being carried.


She could barely believe it, and she certainly couldn't fathom the 'why' behind such an action. Even still, the scourge of Bahamut scattered any further philosophy on the matter, as streaks of fire and crumbling dirt roiled from all directions. Limsa was within sight - standing as a white-walled beacon in defiance of the aetheric torrent.


As the Hyur's eyes lowered, however, a dire visage could be seen clattering toward them. Just as the two were caught within the panicked run across the plains, so too were the animals set into instinct-driven disarray. A living wall had been summoned, the impeding tsunami having likewise threatened a cast of Megalocrabs into a terror-stricken run. There was no time to steer around them, myriad legs scuttling at full speed toward the unwitting victims ahead.


The pincers stampeded about them in a cluster of claws and carapace, swiping and kicking as the beasts struggled for their own survival. The crustaceans climbed over one another in their haste, flipping forward at times and being trampled by their fellows. More fire struck the frenzied collective, wailing croaks preluding the slice of shells as the remnant shards flew past. The steps of the creatures pierced mere inches from Nero's footwear, various forceps snagging his robes during the weave through the inconsistent assemblage of obstacles.


As they broke through the other side of the pod, the city was graciously close. Hastened footfalls crossed the stone threshold of Limsa proper, though the sight within was far less encouraging than it had appeared from a distance. The bombardment had left much of the city in disarray, people darting and scrambling as they tried their best to seek shelter.


Then, just like that, the tremors and terror of the Calamity receded. The ground gave a final shudder beneath them as a few stray embers flicked down to the streets, and the starved dog of death was no longer nipping at their heels. Cries of terror were dying down to wails of sorrow as the populace begin to process all that had happened. Shouts for missing loved ones created a grim backdrop to the barked commands of the nearby Yellow Jackets, trying their best to instill order in the wake of stark confusion.


D'ranmaia felt her feet touch the ground again, eased downward after the danger was established as passed. She knew they were within Limsa Lominsa, although she wasn't certain as to where, particularly since she'd never stepped into the city prior. Her stunned mind was slowly allowing her thoughts to come back into focus, and her consciousness replayed all that had just transpired. The humbling sense of gratitude that followed was overwhelming, to the point that it stifled all of the words she knew she should be speaking. Despite this, her countenance was an open book, standing with a fragile smile and an indiscriminate gaze that sparked with light for the first time in what could have been her entire life.


This individual - this complete stranger - had saved her from a certain and undeniable tragedy. This random Hyur was her first interaction with anyone beyond her tribe, and it flooded her with hope for the future for the first time in all her recollection. D'ranmaia would not know the name of this feeling for quite some time, even though it filled her, in that moment, with such a poignant wellspring of peace and happiness. It would take weeks for her to figure out that she had felt 'trust' for the very first time, though it was a lesson that stayed in her heart for the rest of her days.

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