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In my Brothers' Shadows


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Terrorist. Not a noun Jin'to had ever expected to give to a member of his family. And yet he was now faced with the reality of not having to call not one, but two brothers that word. His little brother Jin'li, and this mysterious older brother he had never met, with Mergrey.


The hot wind blasted Jin'to as he trudged up the massive sand dune slowly, his bare feet sinking into the fine sand.  His tail twitched anxiously as he adjusted the board slung across his back. The board was a long, narrow thing with filed, metal edges, a waxed bottom, and a pair of leather bindings dangling from the top. His prized possession. How many years and miles had he lugged this thing across?


Jin'to had never been to the sand dunes of Southern Thanalan before, but after last night, he needed to get away, to collect himself.  Natalie had almost broken him.  His time in Ul'dah had been stressful enough already. Forced to face the truth of Jin'li's atrocities.  Cast under constant suspicion.  And then Natalie had threatened him. Made him squirm. And, although she claimed he had earned her trust, he was still afraid it might just be words. Natalie was not the kind of woman Jin'to wanted to make an enemy out of.


He had already done that by simply asking for directions.


Jin'to shuddered as he crested the dune's peak.  His golden eyes behind his goggles swept across the landscape, taking in the ocean of sand that danced before him.  The beauty of the landscape before him was diminished in his mind as he thought back on that woman he had met in the bar.  Hound she had called herself.  And she had made is incredibly clear she would eagerly tear him limb for limb for simply being Jin'li's brother.  Jin'to wasn't sure exactly what sort of relationship Hound had with his baby brother, but he hadn't thought it wise, or prudent, to stick around and find out.  The look in that massive roe's eye. . .


Jin'to sat down as he un-slung his board and went about binding his feet to the board, the leather bindings clicking as the buckles snapped shut.  The sun shone hot and clear overhead in a empty, blue sky.  The wind moaned in Jin'to's ears and he rubbed his face with both of his hands.


For the first time in nearly seven years, he questioned the Twelve's purpose for his life.  He looked out at the land, that sun baked realm of sand and considered what he was supposed to do now.  Should he resume his wandering life, spreading the words of the Twelve, and laying the deceased to rest?  Should he stay in Ul'dah and try to redeem the Epinoch name by salvaging what small good will he could with his sermons and services?  Why had the Twelve chosen to curse his little brother with madness and let him commit such atrocities?


Jin'to buried his face in his hands and was still.  He thought back on the smiling little brother he had once known.  That little bundle of joy, who, sick as he was, had always been such a kind and gentle soul.  How many times had Jin'to held his little brother to comfort him?  How many times had they laughed together?  Jin'to's stomach twisted.  What had happened in the seven years since he last saw his brother to make him into the monster everyone in Ul'dah viewed him as? 


Jin'to swallowed, his stomach in knots and his eyes were watering.  He sniffed and then, with a loud scream of frustration, stood up and hurled himself down the dune, his waxed board sliding across the sands with alarming speed.  Jin'to felt the rush as he sped down the hill, his problems and fears, his doubts and confusion falling away  as the sense of freedom he always felt when doing this enveloped him.


This was the Twelve's gift to him.  This was his sense of freedom.  The miqo'to sped down, pivoting his weight back and forth, digging in with first his toe edge and then his heel edge to regulate his speed and control his balance.  Dozens of feet flew by in a flash and a smile creased the miqo'to's lips, his fangs flashing in the sun as he screamed in jubilation. 


In those moments of ecstasy, he was at peace.


But, like all good things, his run down the dune came to an end.  He reached the bottom and fell to his knees.  Immediately, his worries and concerns slammed into him again.  Jin'to's smile faded as he turned to look back up at the dune and the trail that marked his descent.  His feelings of depression were slightly lessened.  The priest figured it would take two more runs to ease his mind, three to ease the pain in his heart, and a total of six more runs for his optimism and faith in the Twelve to return.  This was his therapy.  There was nothing like it in all the world save on snow, and Jin'to had always had this to turn to when things seemed ready to overwhelm him completely. 


Jin'to rose to his feet, unbuckled the bindings, and slung the board across his back once again as he began the long climb back up the dune and the peace of mind he would find at the top.

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Jin'to quietly slipped out of the workshop inside Red Wings HQ.  The priest had come to meet his newly revealed half-brother, this Mergrey.  Instead he had met this Mergrey's fiancee, least she claimed to be such.  She had been pleasent enough, but was not whom Jin'to had wanted to speak with.


The blonde miqo'te's ears twitched as he heard voices down the hall.  The male slipped out and was out the front door like a phantom.  He stepped out into the evening, harsh winds tugging at his coat.  The smell of rain was in the air and the rumbles of thunder were loud.



The priest cast his eyes over the green lawn, reflecting once again in his mind how his little brother, Jin'li Epinoch, was nothing more than ash fertilizing this ground.  Jin'to scowled as he pulled a book from his coat.  The tome was nearly a foot long and two inches thick with parchment.  The blond miqo'te opened the book and lazily flipped through pages.  Scribbled in the Garlean language were numerous names.  Some had lines through them, others scribbles, and still others were untouched.  


Jin'to came to the middle of the book, to a page half filled with names that were untouched my scribbles or lines.  The golden eyes of Jin'to read the newly written names:




Alexei Volkov






Iron Sea


Osric Melkire


Osric Melkire's fiancee




Jin'to paused and reached into a pocket, producing a self supplying quill made of metal and bone with a small reseviour of ink on one end.  Jin'to pressed the point of the quill to the page and scribbled one more name.




Jin'to then returned the pen to his pocket and closed the book.  He slipped the tome into his coat before he began walking as rain began to splatter on the streets of the Goblet.

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  • 1 month later...

Jin'to walked through the Shroud slowly, his coat wrapped around him tightly, shielding him from the gentle rain that was falling.  Across his back, his board was slung, a bandolier of leather holding it against his muscled torso.  His golden hair was pulled behind his ears and his golden eyes twinkled as he walked, his tongue  stuck out of his mouth as he sought to quench his thirst on the falling rain.


The priest had spent the past month in Coerthas.  He had originally gone there to ride the mountains, but had stayed far longer, helping repair various buildings in the small hamlet he had been staying in.  It had been a good month, and given him time to reflect on his meeting with his older brother, Askier, and his to-be-sister-in-law.


The male felt some fresh water trickle down his tongue and he sighed in mild contentment as he lowered his head.  In the distance, the burning lights of buildings shone through the dusk hour and the rows of trees.  Jin'to quickened his pace, and as he went, he began to sing.



From Mountains tall and suns so deep,

I worked for men to earn my keep.

Twelve above, you bless me so,

Now find me shelter down here below.


For I am mortal and be weak,

And filling food I have to seek,

So help me find a soul in need,

and one with mind to give me feed.


And let all this town before be well,

For life is hard as all will tell,

Let me be the kindness that they seek,

and give me humility as I speak.


For I am your implement way down here,

And for your plans my course you steer,

Twelve let me be the light I must be,

And thank you all, for I am free.


Jin'to's off-key song subsided as he entered the walled off village.  He couldn't see a sign naming the town in the dim light, but he didn't mind.  There was a massive inn nearby and the golden-haired miqo'te beamed in delight as he smelt the tang of warm meat filtering on the air. 


The male had only taken a few steps towards the building when he paused and cocked his head in surprise.   A female stood beside the door, her expression one of surprise as well.


"Ashwynn." Jin'to said, recognizing his half-brother's fiancee.  His voice was pleasant, but a tinge of concern was there. The female smiled softly.


"Hungry?" she asked simply.  Jin'to nodded and grinned as a silent prayer of thanks to the Twelve lifted upward.




The hours had ticked by and Ashwynn, like everyone else, had gone to bed.  Jin'to, however, had not.  He sat on the front porch of the inn.  He had no coin to his name and refused Ashwynn's offer of her floor in her room.  Jin'to didn't want her surrounded by any sort of vicious rumors on his behalf, not after everything else she was dealing with. 


And by everything else, it basically boiled down to his brother being an idiot.  Why a male would choose petty revenge over a woman like that was beyond the priest's capacity to comprehend.  But he didn't want to justify his brother's ideas.  He had met Askier once and had immediately understood that Askier was a very... unique individual. And also sort of stupid and childish.  But He had met Ashwynn numerous times however.  She was a kind, unbelievably patient soul, and knowing she was here, alone, worried...


Jin'to sighed and rose to his feet, slinging the board onto his back.  He had spoken with Ashwynn for hours.  He felt he knew what was needed of him.  The world was still dark but he didn't care as he went over to one of the burning lanterns and took it from it's peg.  He unscrewed the filling cap and checked the oil level.  Both wick and oil had several hours to burn, long enough to get him to sunrise unless the rains came again.


With a grunt the tired Garlean began putting one foot ahead of the other as he slowly trudged south, the lantern held in his hand.


It was a long trudge to Ul'dah, but there was no point in waiting.  The Twelve had given him a soul with the kindness to give him food and a problem for him to solve.  Jin'to just hadn't expected it to be such a personal problem.

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